The Third Synodal Letter, Pages 48 - 50


which is communicated in the Buffalo Song Book (2nd Edition, pages 281 and 282), be maintained because it is partly in accordance with the Saxon Church Orders and partly in accordance with the Pomeranian Church Orders. However the time of day and other ancillary issues can remain at the disgression of the district preachers and congregations and it is our hope that nothing will be changed in their proscribed and holy usage unless dictated by need.

XVIII. Old Church and School Orders

In conjunction with the statement made in the Synodal Letter of 1848, page 71, Letter i, the synod agrees that our church ministry shall assemble and publish a North American Lutheran Church Agenda along with church orders from the old and proper sources into a monthly or bimonthly issued set of 4 volumes. However before this can happen the necessary number of subscribers will be gathered by the Informatorium.

XIX. Concerning Salutations to the Excommunicated (Those within the Ban) and Intercourse with Them.

After much inquiry the entire synod is unanimous in rendering the following decisions.

1) First and foremost there must be a distinction between the salutation and the necessary intercourse. Children, subordinates, spouses and similar people must have dealings with their next of kin, their employers and supervisors,etc. Even if these people have been banned, others are bound by duty to show respect in accordance with the Fourth Commandment and thus pray for these people ever more fervently so that they may return to Christ and be released from the ban.

One must also remember the Fifth Commandment where one is required to show Christian charity to one's neighbor; the individual must not withhold this but rather joyously give it. But what about social intercourse, where one might wish to have a banned person as a godparent or wish to invite him to an engagement or wedding ceremony? On these issues the church orders place definite prohibitions because they are church-related matters and one must shun these people completely, for the word of God states that one shall not eat with these people specifically at a celebratory feast.

2) It is a different matter when no subordinating relationship exists and the banned individual is merely a neighbor. In this case we have to distinguish between the false teachers, who insinuate themselves among all the other seducers of teaching and proponents of dissolute living, from the unfortunate bunglers who have been mislead or who have no say in the matter and who sit among the seducers. We shall completely shun the first group in all matters of social intercourse as much as possible and even refuse to greet them (since this is a signal for further intercourse) as St. John commands, "He, who does not abide in the teaching of Christ and trespasses, has no God; do not take into your house anyone who does not abide by doctrine and do not greet him, for when you greet him, you make yourself a participant in his work." However there is not prohibition in the scriptures directed at the latter group concerning greeting [a superior] or at least acknowledging his greeting.


The general apostolic command concerning refrain from social intercourse still remains in regard to church and church matters. What is stated concerning seducers also applies to excommunicated slanderers, who persist in carrying on their evil work in arrogant and blatant disobedience.

In conclusion let it be remarked that our conduct against said excommunicated people, whom we must refuse to greet as a matter of conscience, is not enacted out of personal hatred because the conduct is not enacted out of hatred but out of God's commandment concerning the expression of righteous love; we shall continue to live in accordance with God's order in treating our neighbor thusly. We should not love our neighbor at our own discretion but in accordance with God's precept and order, where it states, "Consider him a heathen and a tax collector" and "do not greet him" and "shun him as a heretical man," etc.

XX.

The Stettin Order of Sanctity, which was added to the Small Pomeranian-Lutheran Catechism in 1764 by Mr. Hesseland (In Stettin)

Concerning this order of sanctity, which is added to the old Pomeranian Catechism (that is, to the small catechism of Luther with the old Knipstrowitz [pomeranian] form concerning office of the key), the synod desires that an explanation be given in the Kirchliches Informatorium so that it will not be confused with the Pomeranian Catechism. *

XXI. Church and School Visitations

With regard to church and school visitations, the synod was unanimous in its agreement that these should occur in accordance with the Lutheran Ministerial Constitution. When there is notification of a ministerial conference at a particular place and time, visitations may be scheduled. These notifications will be executed by the Senior Minister.

The costs shall be taken out of the synodal coffers and in the event that there are no funds, the congregation, which will provide the venue for the visitation, will take up a collection.

The instructions for hosting a church visitation shall be laid out at the ministerial conferences in accordance with the Old Lutheran Church Orders.

XXII.

Concerning the Various Measures of Church Atonement in the Case of Lewdness

The necessary clarification shall

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* This should appear in the 3rd volume of the Kirchliches Informatorium. Return to text


be given at the ministerial conferences in accordance with the Old Church Orders * and printed in the synodal letters as a supplement.

XXIII. In Conclusion the Synod desires

that all its pastors prepare a yearly report for each congregation listing the number of those baptized, confirmed, married, newly accepted into the congregation, excommunicated and deceased. Said lists shall be sent to the Senior Minister shortly after the New Year. The number of school teachers, school children and classes should also be included.

The 32nd Session closed on September 19th at 10 PM.

All Glory to God Alone!

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* Up to this point a clarification has not been completed. Return to text


Go on to pages 51 - 55


Copy of text provided by the A. R. Wentz Library, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, PA

Imaging and Translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks