To all our Christian congregations and brothers in the Lord!
Grace be with you and the peace of God, Our Father, and of the Lord, Jesus Christ!
We hereby delivery to you, beloved in the Lord, the long-delayed Third Synodal Letter, in which you will find the the transactions of our Christian synod of 1851 along with its related reports. May the Lord, Our God also grant His blessing on this testimony of truth so it may fortify resolute church faith in our hearts and direct our lives. May it cast shame upon our foes and slanderers here and in Germany in true measure of His grace.
Most of the members of our synod had assembled on Saturday evening, August 30th (1851). On this day a confessional vesper service was held and on Sunday, August 31st - the 11th Sunday after Trinity Sunday, a celebration of the holy eucharist took place. A second service was held on Sunday evening with a synodal sermon on Acts 15: 1 - 6. The synod assembled at 9 AM on Monday, September 1st in the German Lutheran Trinity Church in Buffalo to conduct the synodal business of the following pastors and congregations:
J. Andr. A. Grabau, Senior Minister of Buffalo, NY.
Christoph Schmelzer, from Buffalo.
Gotthilf Ziemer, from Kirchhayn, Cedarburg and Watertown.
Aug. Grobengiesser, from Bergholz.
Dan. Page, from Martinsville.
Friedr. Haseley, from Walmore.
Jacob Murrer, from Detroit.
Gottfr. Kaufmann, from Macomb County, Michigan.
Friedr. Lüdke, from Freystatt and Milwaukee.
Phil. Rauch, from Eden.
Nicol. Weidmann, from Humberstone, Ontario, Canada.
For a few days, starting September 8th, Christian Deterling took Weidmann's place.
Also present were various school teachers of the representative congregations plus the pupils of the preparatory seminary as audience; often there were members of the congregations from Buffalo and the surrounding area in attendance. The Senior Minister opened the session with the song, "Come Holy Spirit, Lord God", with prayer and with a reading from Isaiah 12.
Through general consensus it was decided
In our first synod of 1845 we had dealt with the unfortunate mutineers of the 1840s and with the Ehrenstrom matter. In the 1848 synod we dealt with the persecution of the Missourians, then called the Stephanists. In this synod of 1851 we will deal with the Krause case as well as with further issues concerning the Missourians. May the Lord, Our God bless this communiqué within and without our synod. If the Missouri church devastator Walther and his adherents had not sent 8 or 9 rogue preachers into our congregations and attempted to perpetrate open and hostile destruction upon them, we would have been prepared on every occasion possible to exercise trust and joy in discussing matters of teaching with the Missouri synod. However, since they currently continue to send these devastators of churches and will not call them back, indeed since they have renewed their efforts in this work,
|to which Löhe contributes and even escalates *, it follows that we can not deal with those preachers whom our excommunicated rebels and purveyors of abominable scandals accept. It is they, who have made peace impossible since 1844. Already by 1845 we had told them when they stopped protecting our excommunicated mutineers, then we would discuss matters with them. Disdainful replies followed. Since that time we have been compelled to carry on a quarrel with them because of their blatant sins and to point out how they have produced false, mostly piestistical teachings concerning Christian freedom, spiritual priesthood, church and preaching office and proper appointment to the preaching office. It seems now that they (and their spokesman, Löhe) have deviated so far from God's law and become so indifferent to right and wrong that atonement and the attempt at Christian reconcilation by retracting their injustices no longer has validity for them. And anyone can attest to the fact that we can not negotiate with people, who have allied themselves with our excommunicated and hostile rebels. It is up to them to point the way back to the Christian church. We have done our part. If our righteous voice of accusation will not be heard, there is still one ear, which will hear the prayer and one set of eyes, which will see to justice. The face of the Lord looks upon those who do evil.
Buffalo, July 20, 1852.
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of the Prussian Emigrant Lutheran Church
The Synodal Address of Prof. Walther
In this synodal address it is 1) an untruth that they (the Missourians) have established themselves in peace, have conducted themselves in fear of the Lord and have been comforted in the Holy Spirit. In their published rebel book of 1849 they themselves have made it known that they have been in dispute with us for over 7 years now and since 1844 have sent rogue preachers to our congregations, who have attempted to destroy us. The word of the Lord applies to this hypocritical writing, "The godless have no peace." They should consider that they are the destroyers of the peace.
2) The second untruth is (page 5) their allegation that there is a lack of workers for the harvest of the Lord and they may justly complain about it; indeed they have so many workers that (up until now) they have installed seven rogue preachers within our congregations (by means of Satan's tactics.) If there were truly a lack, they would have had those workers in their own congregations.
3) On page 7 there is the statement that we had introduced things into the church, which Luther had cleared away and we had cast out small gems of holy teaching and ordering, which had been obtained at the expense of the blood of our fathers. We will declare this a lie until such time as they provide proof.
4) The fourth untruth: Once again we confine the teaching concerning the power of the sacrament ex opere operato (from the operation of the deed). This is a shameless piece of slander. Evidence concerning this was given by all the deputies of the congregations, who were questioned.
5) The fifth lie (page 7) - that we again attempted to bind the profession of faith and the church regime to manmade rules. All our congregations have freely and unaminously submitted to the old church orders in order to maintain charity and peace among themselves and to show their unity and harmony with the old Lutheran church. This duty has been in effect since 1839 to the extent to which it applies to our current circumstances.
6) The sixth lie (page 7) is that we oppose the important and cherished right of the spiritual priesthood of all Christians. Our entire Second Synodal Letter testifies against this.
7) Similarly it is a blind or purposeful perversion that we derive the preaching office from the power of ordination. Ordination does not make the office, rather it establishes and sends the person into the office, which is in and of itself an institution of Christ, given in and with the gospel and ready at hand for us. Ordination is merely one portion of divine ordering, which mediates the process by which a person is properly brought to the office.
7) A seventh willful slander is that we attribute to preaching derived from divine right the mastery of extraneous skills, but this has never happened.
Go on to pages 8 - 12
Copy of text provided by the A. R. Wentz Library, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, PA
Imaging and Translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks