The Third Synodal Letter, Pages 13 - 17


the Missouri Synod bases its published verdict on the biased report of Mr. Crämer! During the 1851 synod it has cunningly attempted to strike down and suppress the protests of its own members concerning the report,

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Conclusion to the footnote:
With the Missourians they found an audience to their liking!

f) Unappointed Crämer (who now sees Pastor Winkler as an intriguer) thus comes as a party man to his gang and joins with another portion of that gang in Pastor Winkler's house! As a party man he commences his trade (as an insolent rogue) in a strange house — since no one was at Pastor Winkler's house (during the morning), he returns a second time on June 17th with his company — his business with Pastor Winkler is now a debate over teaching; Pastor Winkler should prove to him on the spot that the Missouri Synod holds false teaching! Pastor Winkler says he will not debate with him and he indicates that he has nothing to discuss with him concerning dubious church issues. Crämer shouts, this is dishonest! Winkler does not wish to point out the false teaching to me! This man uses such artfulness! — If he had no Christian appointment to bring him to Detroit, then he came as a malicious party man and he no longer enters as one wishing a Christian investigation because he is not qualified — he is an insulting debater before Pastor Winkler. And thus he plays his role!

g) This lie follows: This time Pastor Winkler put his arm on the man's chest and pushed him.

h) The following morning he wants to speak alone with Pastor Winkler and to bring to Winkler's attention his sins against Crämer and his insincerity regarding the entire matter; Winkler will no longer deal with him, which is appropriate since one should not deal with such unappointed fools.

The Missouri Synod declares that the mutineers had every right to separate or quit themselves from Pastor Winkler. A pure teaching! — because Pastor Winkler would not debate with the unappointed Crämer, because he would not go to the trouble of prevailing over this disputer, because he rejected him as an unppointed marauder, who incited rebellion, it followed that the rebels had the right to separate themselves from Pastor Winkler. It was decided that
1) Pastor Winkler misused the ban and craved power.
2) It was a crime that he took the complaint made by the 7 mutineers for an accusation.
3) He impeded the forming of the committee and did not want matters brought to light because his works were evil!
4) He had thus broken the congregation's constitution (how deceitful!) Now the people had the right, and indeed the sacred duty, to separate from Pastor Winkler, and the Missouri Synod was bound by conscience to care for these people by sending a righteous-faith pastor. See here, you Lutheran Christians, how the Missouri wolf hungrily extends its claws into all the congregations of Jesus Christ with debates and invasions. Right and wrong are nothing to it; there is no need for investigation and investigation is not anticipated. There has been sufficient investigation if it is called forth by a gang and befriended and, of course, such people are all too glad to agree with their helper's helper.

How dark the Missouri Synod is comes out in its "Fifth Synodal Report" of 1851. On page 20 it states that
1) Pastor Winkler did not listen to the 7 accusers, who gave him the letter and that he requested a copy of it so he might deliver it to a church court; he did not recognize the sins, for which they wanted to punish him and in accordance with Matthew 18 he was supposed to hear brothers giving a warning when one was recognized! However because Pastor Winkler could not see anything improper in the excommunications and he wanted to turn the matter over to a Christian church court, according to Missouri teaching he was an unrepentant person. O you fools, why then did you send Crämer as a (perspective) committee member? Isn't it evident that you should have investigated first to see if Pastor Winkler had excommunicated anyone unjustly? But in accordance with your teaching, he should recognize it before it happens. You call that listening to brothers giving a warning! Indeed, in our investigation of July 1850 it showed that Pastor Winkler had excommunicated no one unjustly, and therefore he did not have to recognize the so-called warning of the 7 accusers.
2) On page 21 he means the blind Missouri Synod - he thinks that it is maintaining God's word when one relies solely on biblical passages, such as 1 Peter 5, 3 and Matthew 18, 15. With biblical passages the papists could dismiss holy Luther just as an askew lid works on a pot, which has tipped over. This had to be the maintenance of God's word! How lazy the Missouri Synod is with its proofs, as shown on pages 21 and 22 of the Fifth Synodal Report. See details concerning this in the next issue of the Informatorium. Gr [Grabau]
Return to text after footnote on page 11


as shown in its Fifth Synodal Report, pages 20 - 24.

IV.

What They Say About the Pomeranian Catechism, Page 31
(Lecture from our Second Synodal Letter,
pages 83 - 98)

Here the synod decides after some inquiry:
a) that they wish to make a false distinction between preacher and preaching office. They state in their Second Synodal Report on page 23 that they shall refer to "preaching office" rather than "preacher" and they do just that as though they are making an improvement on the text. However this is no improvement since God gave the preaching office only to preachers and there can be no preacher without the preaching office.

b) In their false pietistical teaching they see it as an a priori principle that the key of authority is not given exclusively to the preacher in his office but also given to each congregation member. The 28th Article of the Augsburg Confession states that the ban over the godless belongs to the bishop's office by divine right (that is, according to teaching of the gospel.) Therefore we know that congregation members have no key of authority in and of itself unless they have the holy preaching office and the beforehand given ordained ministerial right. This is the living, divine ordering empowered by the gospel, by which the congregation has access to the key and the authority. It is pietistical fanaticism to say that the key and the authority should be placed in the heart of each individual congregation member as part of the spiritual priesthood.

c) It is also slanderous and false when they say that in our time unlutheran teaching has been taken up "as though the servant of the church may not administer his office in the name of and by commission of the congregation without doing so in a jewish and papist manner because he raises himself up over the communal Christian priesthood as the mediator between God and man." We know nothing of such fanatacism, for it states in our catechism, "I believe that the appointed servant of Christ deals with us out of divine command." We know for certain that they are the servants of Christ and that they have divine mandate to serve and therefore must serve the Lord Christ and assist poor sinners. We have never been taught and we would never teach that these persons are mediators between God and man.

d) This entirely false teaching has already been refuted in the appendix to the Second Synodal Letter, page 83. The refutation of the false teaching and the evidence of proper teaching from God's word and the symbolic books on pages 83 through 98 were read before the synod. At this inquiry the assembled synods decided that this was the teaching of God's word and that of the symbolic books; the testimony of many old righteous faith catechisms lent support.

V. Concerning Private Confession, Page 30

Here we must take up what has been stated on page 39. The first item is the inquiry of the congregation in Frohna and the second is the inquiry of the congregation in Baltimore.


The people in Frohna ask whether the older members of the congregation are obliged to abolish private confession for the sake of the newer members or to introduce general confession as an ancillary practice. They received the answer: The congregation should maintain its old orders, however if newer members announced that they did not have private confession in their previous congregations, then people should deal with the situation tactfully, making an exception for them for a period of time until they learn the advantages of private confession. Once they have learned, they will submit themselves to the order.

On the other hand, the congregation in Baltimore issued a statement to the Missouri Synod, "it protests against any attempt on the part of the Synod to introduce private confession while abolishing general confession." The response to them: The Synod has declared in its constitution that it would never encroach upon the rights of the congregations (that is, to have or not to have private confession as a matter of preference.) The Synod wonders why the congregation in Baltimore could even ask such a question!

In comparing these two answers we find they are favorable to the human circumstance yet a breach of an oath. Our symbolic books, to which they promised to remain true, require private absolution, therefore it is necessary to maintain private confession and not allow it to be abolished as it states in the 11th Article of the Augsburg Confession: "Concerning confession it is taught that people should maintain privatam absolutionem in the church and not allow it to be abolished." In the short catechism and the symbolic books it is professed and acknowledge by all Lutheran Christians: "Confession consists of two parts; the first whereby one confesses his sins, the second whereby he receives absolution or forgiveness from the confessor as if from God himself, etc." Herein nothing other than private confession and absolution are intended; plus the 11th Article of the Formula of Concord states: "Christ would not merely allow the promise of the gospels to be expressed in general terms — for this reason we retain private absolution, and teach that it is God's commandment that we believe in this absolution; in this way we are reconciled with God as though we had heard a voice coming from heaven."

It is necessary to administer an oath to the symbols and we encourage and teach all Christians and congregations to observe nothing other than private confession and absolution to support existence and redirect those who have fallen. Whosoever does not observe these things does not keep his oath to God. Even if indulgence should be exercised towards the weak and the inexperienced, this does not mean that people should observe general confession for months or years; rather it means that these people should be instructed by God's word and the catechism that as Lutheran Christians they are responsible for holding firmly with us to the profession of faith before they are administered the sacrament.

Unfortunately we see here that this Missourian frivolity stems from their democratic church existence whereby the freedom and rights of the congregation permit people to uphold whatever they wish


and to merely make a show of observing the Augsburg Confession. *

Yet a synod cannot justify what individual teachers and ministers have interpreted as indulgence under difficult circumstances when it essentially sets the congregations free in this manner so they may do as they wish. This leads to the free union spirit, which turns the first deceiver [Satan] into the father.

VI.

Some Items from the Recorded Proceedings of the Missouri Conference, such as concerning the Baptism of St. John and the Self-Administered Communion of the Preacher - Page 28.

In 1849 the conference of the so-called Chicago District dealt with, among other things, these two questions:
a) How is the baptism of St. John related to Christian baptism? Former gang preacher from Milwaukee, Keyl, thinks that the baptism of St. John was only an outward sign and model for the baptism of Christ, thus all, who were baptised by John, still had to receive the baptism of Christ. For this gross error he cited Acts 19, 1 - 7. — Regarding this we know definitively from the Evangelist Luke in Chapter 7, 29 and 30: St. John's baptism had become God's advice on sanctity; therefore it must be seen as holy and not merely an external sign and model for the baptism of Christ. Apart from this the New Testament has nothing more to do with signs and models in matters of sanctity. Keyl's statement and use of Acts 19 is completely erroneous. From it nothing can be deduced which proves that the baptism of St. John is merely a sign and a model because St. Paul himself states that repentance, true faith in Christ and righteous vindication came about "because the people on the Jordan had heard credible things in St. John's preaching, (Paul states) and had allowed themselves to be baptised (in the Jordan) in the name of the Lord Jesus." Thus it was at Ephesus that he had full justification in baptising the 12 disciples and through St. John's baptism they became people of faith; St. Paul laid his hands upon them and the Holy Spirit came to them and they spoke in tongues and uttered prophecy. Through this their baptism from St. John and their Christian faith was properly established. Mr. Keyl's interpretation is somewhat the same as that of the papist sects at the Council of Trent.

b) What is there to say for or against the self-administered communion of the preacher? Answer on page 29: "There is more for than against the self-administered communion of the minister." This is incorrect. Our old teachers, as one can see by consulting the Wittenberg Council Documents, Part 2, pages 162 through 164 and the Dedekenni Thesauris, Part 3, section 145, had more to say against it rather than for it; and on page 163 the

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* It is and remains a blatant lie to say: We profess and commit ourselves to the Augsburg Confession; and yet they disagree with an Article and will not obey it. Therefore they should state: We profess and commit ourselves to it to the extent that we wish. Return to text


Wittenberg Council Documents cite 6 reasons against it, reserving the practice for only the most dire of circumstances. Thus we decide that Lutheran ministers may not exercise frivolity and that it is better for them to receive the eucharist of Christ from another Lutheran minister and above all else they may not give themselves absolution. This is better stated in the words of the sacrament given by Christ: "Take this and eat; take this and drink;" it does not state: I take and eat; I take and drink.

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VII.

The Eighteen Tenets of the Missouri Synod concerning the Church and the Preaching Office, drawn up in 1851 in Milwaukee

These tenets were read aloud from a transcript since one was at hand.

A. The Nine Tenets concerning the Church

1) The Missouri Synod splits into two distinct churchs, the visible and the invisible. They consider the visible church as a figurative church, not to be perceived as a church but merely as a multitude of humanity, which outwardly hears God's word or goes to the eucharist. They call this the multitude of the beckoned. Within this extraneous multitude of humanity there exists a secret and invisible group in which we find the true believers and blessed in Christ. They establish a difference between a visible multitude, which is present for God's word, and a secret, hidden church, in which no man can be seen or discovered.

This is false doctrine concerning our symbolic books, which teach and profess that there is and must remain only One Holy Christian Church on earth for all time, which is an actual and true assembly of the faithful, to whom the word of God is purely preached and the holy sacraments are administered as Christ established them. Concerning these faithful, who truly profess Christianity, we maintain and believe that they are the true church of God and they are both visible and invisible; visible by their pure and true profession and service to God, invisible in their internal splendor as manifested by their faith in Jesus Christ. This is the case no matter where individual members may find themselves. This concept of One Church of God is not altered in the least even when a hypocrite joins in the church assembly; the presence or absence of hypocrites does not affect the concept of the church, merely its well being or degree of malady. (Augsburg Confession, Article 8) And when we say , "We believe in One Church," it follows that we can not know each individual member of the faithful as the infallible God knows them although they possess the internal splendor and are living limbs of the church. In His omniscience God recognizes and knows the church, however we recognize and know them


Go on to pages 18 - 22


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

Imaging and Translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks