The Third Synodal Letter, Pages 33 - 37


however it was with the approval of the joint congregations in 1841. It is correct that the first synodal assembly was formally held in 1845 and it was at that time that the synod was constituted. That first synod was also convinced that sending Krause to Wisconsin was a correct move. There is only the appearance of conflict here.

If it happens to be true that he committed perjury in Milwaukee among the mutineers, he may have done it in fawning subservience towards the gang members, who had most likely pestered him.

Concerning this matter we must take note and recognize that it is foolish and unchristian to declare an erroneous or seemingly confused statement made before the court false testimony one moment and then hurl insults at it the next. (The individual may be our friend or our enemy.) Anyone, who comes before the court, swears an oath to tell the truth to the best of his knowledge and memory. If the individual makes a mistake in answering a question but soon after recollects differently and makes another statement, then it's quite improper to declare it swearing a false oath. In order for it to be false oath taking, the intention must already be there to tell lies.

XII

The Appointment of the Mutineer Preachers Schaller, Krause, Ernst, Franke and those in Wisconsin, Lochner, Fürbringer, etc.

It was reported how the gang preachers were appointed to our rebel congregations from 1848 to 1851 - Ernst in Eden, Schaller in Detroit, Krause in Macomb County near Detroit and Franke in Buffalo. Ernst and Franke were named Burger's successors and they took his place. (1) After deliberation the synod delivered a verdict:

that these people have no divine vocation; they are gangleaders, enticed here by the confused circumstances to fortify sinners. They deserve the name "devil's apostles" as long as they remain in such false and devilish vocation.

We have heard that a large number of people once again withdrew from the old Bürger gang in Buffalo. Bürger still has a few families. The group which withdrew, indeed a gang from the gang, thought it was a good idea to discharge Bürger and take on a better gang priest. They believe they have found that better priest in Franke from Missouri. Bürger discussed the matter with Franke and delivered over the few gang groups, which he still had. Bürger is currently living like a farmer in Indian Bush near Buffalo, serving a few families there while at the same time serving

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(1) Diehlman, who had been sent by Löhe, is currently (1852) in Franke's post as a gang priest. Return to text


the small gang in New Bergholz. (Those are the Missouri congregations in the State of New York!)

What was necessary to know about Schaller and Krause has already been reported. — In Wisconsin the Missourians are teaching the people that they must immediately discharge their rightfully installed ministers and appoint so-called righteous faith preachers out of a sense of duty to conscience. The first to be called was Mr. Keyl after Geyer had previously been sent to them for the same reasons. Currently Keyl has one gang in Milwaukee, another in Freystadt and yet another in Kirchhayn and he rages against our pastors and congregations. Previously Klügel had a gang in Milwaukee and one in Freistadt while Geyer had one in Watertown. Thereafter Romanowsky had one in and around Freistadt. — Now circumstances had changed and Keyl has moved to Baltimore. A man named Lochner (previously considered a talented apprentice) was sent by Missouri to take his place in Milwaukee and a man named Fürbringer, also sent by Missouri, is in Freistadt and also serving the gang in Kirchhayn.

The Geyer gang has broken off into 5 parts - Geyer has one group, underofficer Hökendorf has another; a third group is led by tailor Pankow and the fourth group is akephalos, that is, without a leader. The fifth group has gone to the re-baptizers, and that is no small matter. Finally we must consider the Martin Arend gang, which stands separate from all others and is in conflict because of the Pomeranian cathechism of the Fürbringer gang. The Christian Woldt gang in Kirchhayn seems to be in harmony with them, however they stand for the most part alone. — Here we have listed only those congregations, whose members emigrated from Prussia as Lutherans, or at least were supposed to have; they broke away from our church band after having been confused by false Missouri teachings and pseudobishops. — Finally we need to consider that the old Roggenbuck gang is still alive in Milwaukee. — Bürger's first love! 12 or 13 gangs in all, whose numbers in the near future may still increase. For the most part, this gang existence is the dreadful fruit of Missouri principles and teaching. The Missourians have fortified them in their sins and they have adorned themselves with the name, the true church and congregation of God. Since that time a goodly portion of them have entangled themselves in an unscrupulous manner to Missouri's synodal band.

XVI. The District School Issue

There was occasion to take up the matter of district schools. In two districts inhabited by the Kirchhayn congregation, where no district schools had been built, the question arose, whether people could in good conscience build one near a parochial school. Within the Freistatt congregation there had been a district school and a parochial school for some time and it was asked how Lutheran Christians should conduct themselves here.

1) Herein what was stated in the Second Synodal Letter, page 72, was confirmed


and furthermore it was recognized as true and proper that

2) it was a misfortune and a great evil when, for the sake of sectarian religious freedom (that is, in order not to tread upon any sects), the authorities find it necessary to build schools without God's word, that is, schools in which nothing is taught other than reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, secular history, etc. Here these are called Country Public Schools or District Schools.

3) We must also acknowledge that these schools do not accomplish the goal of educating because over and over again they only impart a set of rules for outwardly conducting an honorable secular existence. The education of a human being only occurs with instruction in divine revelation and pure Christian teaching. As the Lord, Jesus, commanded in Mark 10: Let your children come to me. The blessed Dr. Luther also states, "I advice that no one should reside where the holy scriptures do not reign, for such people hinder their children." In Psalms 119, 9 it states, "How can a youth follow his irreproachable path?" Answer - "When he keeps to God's word." And St. Paul states, "Raise your children in discipline and obedience to the Lord."

Since these things do not occur in district schools and the word of God is not taught, we must profess along with all Christians in this country that district schools do not fulfill the goal of education and at best may be perceived only as institutes offering instruction in extraneous secular matters, thus holding the door wide open for the devil to exercise his power over youth.

4) Therefore, if there is no district school along with a parochial school where a Lutheran congregation resides, then it is proper for Lutheran Christians, as citizens, to vote against any attempts to build district schools. If they are compelled to help build district schools due to the majority vote of indifferent citizens and the insistence of the state, then they must submit to this authority, provided they retain the right to maintain their Christian parochial school. But if this freedom is taken away from them, they must oppose the building of a district school by refusing to lend financial assistance. On the other hand, if there is already a district school and a parochial school within a Lutheran congregation parish and thus the evil is already at hand, then it is the duty of all Lutheran Christians to neutralize the evil as much as possible for the church and the country. This is done when they install Christian school teachers and trustees by their voting ballot, thus insuring that secular lessons are delivered with Christian sensibility and discipline. This applies to any congregation currently being compelled to build a district school.

5) To the specific question, "whether a Lutheran pastor and spiritual caregiver may take upon his office the function of seeing that members of his congregation are elected trustees for the district school, in which religious instruction is prohibited by law,"


it is our Christian opinion that:

As long as the Lutheran church retains its freedom to have a parochial school, there is no moral obligation to establish another facility within the town or district where its main function is to teach the English language, reading and writing. In this case a Lutheran preacher is considered a local citizen, who may wish to be politically active within the existent legal system. In itself it is not contrary to God's word to have schools of secular instruction along with parochial schools and obligations towards these districts schools cannot be transformed into moral issues. However it is the preacher's moral obligation to advise his church members and to encourage the trustees to make the facility as Christian as possible. It is necessary to remind people that this should not be done to the detriment of the parochial school since only this school gives and is capable of giving a child a true education.

(See the Second Synodal Letter, page 72, capital letter K, No. 1 and No. 3)

6) We must also admit that currently there is an injustice in the way the State distributes its public school funding
a) since citizens belonging to the church are being discriminated against because they have already built their own parochial schools at their own expense * and yet are forced to build and support other schools with non-church citizens of the state through school taxes. They would have no need for these schools if they had financial support to hire teachers of the English language.
b) It is also unfair that only non-church schools are supported through school funding while church schools, which accomplish the same purpose and contribute even more to civic life, are denied financial support.
c) It is also religious oppression since many citizens belonging to churches for the sake of their religious principles would rather have a Christian parochial school, yet they are hindered in their efforts to build and maintain one by the steep school taxes of their district. ** Thus church members are compelled by necessity and seduced by stinginess to withdraw their children from the church, enroll them in district schools and expose them to all the evils inherent to them. All citizens, who are churchmen, should ban together and draft petitions to be presented to their legislatures so the state will justly distribute school funds and church schools as well as non-church schools in this country will receive their share of support. Church schools are just as open to the public as

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* For example, the Lutheran congregations in Buffalo support their schools of 4 classes (besides the expense of their construction) at an annaul cost of between $600 and $700; other examples could be cited. Return to text

** A Lutheran parochial school of 3 to 4 teachers costs between $600 to $800 per year to operate. A district school in the the same area costs between $1500 and $2000 annually! That's quite an outlay of tax money for a school district! Return to text


so-called public schools in that no child is denied enrollment.

XV. Concerning the Office of Lutheran Church Fathers
also known as
Church Officials or Aediles Ecclesiae.

First there was a reading from the Saxon and the Pomeranian Church Order (Saxon, page 310 and Pomeranian, page 24.) This was compared with God's word found especially in Acts 6. Upon further deliberation by the synod the following was decided to be in accordance with the word of God and our old Lutheran church orders:

1) that the 12 apostles of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by virtue of their Christian church authority, solely administered the church estate in Jerusalem and this lasted for as long as there was not an overabundance of church members. However once there were many disciples and they could no longer take care of everything along with preaching, praying and administering the sacraments, they chose St. Stephan and other deacons, as shown in various orders such as Acts 6 - "they commanded them to see to the records and the church property so they could better tend to their holy office in the congregation and give their attention to doctrine." "There was fraternal harmony between them and the first deacons in the perpetuation of Christ's empire and the care taken with church property and church records. For this reason the position of church father shall exist within the church; above all else there should be harmony with their church superiors and pastors and it shall be recognized that they are assistants, deacons and servants in all external matters such as church property, housing, cemeteries, perpetuation of good order. They shall not allow Satan to come between themselves and their pastors and they shall guard against miscontent and peril. The pastor shall also maintain peace with them, however when a misunderstanding arises between them and their pastor, they shall (jointly) seek advice from the next parish pastor or their spiritual superiors."

2) It therefore follows that within the Lutheran regime, church fathers are not authorized agents who may exercise church power as they wish or form an enclave among themselves. Instead their office is an extension of the authority of the preaching office only so far as it operates within church orders and it is tightly linked under the authority of the preaching office. Within church orders the preaching office is represented as
a) the office intended for the use of the church property
b) the office, which administers said property.
In accordance with the texts of the holy scriptures and our old church orders the spiritual caregive is both the primary and superior entity among the church fathers as empowered by the Christian church regime. The church orders state, "that they [the church fathers] are the assistants, deacons and servants in external matters." There is sufficient agreement here with the Saxon church orders


Go on to pages 38 - 42


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

Imaging and Translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks