Chronicle of the First Trinity Evangelical-Lutheran Church, Pages 12 - 17

The Causes and Consequences of the
Roggenbug Dispute

There arose in Pastor Grabau's congregation the so-called Roggenbug Dispute, caused by the teachers Zion and Dreier when they drew false teachings from the Dresden Catechism concerning questions 190, 216, 220, 230 and 242. This dispute created a schism in Pastor Grabau's congregation (31), in which the members from Pommerania left Pastor Grabau's congregation and attempted to ally themselves with the Silesians. This unification came about at a meeting held November 18, 1840. The united congregation used a room on Chippewa near Ellicott Street for their church services. Teachers Zion and Dreier (32) took over the instruction of the children and a place was rented at Main near Tupper Street for that purpose. However the unity didn't last long. A dispute developed over a question brought up by two men named Schmiedel and Ammrey, whether the Lutheran Cathechism had 5 or 6 main parts. The Silesians said there were 6 and the Pommeranians said there were 5 main parts. Then Ammrey commented that we couldn't recognize those as Lutherans who learn 6 main parts. Thus the Silesians withdrew and held their church services once again in F. Langner's house while the Pommeranians called forth Ammrey and ordained him as their pastor. The Pommeranians continued to hold their church services at the place on Chippewa near Ellicott Street. Further unsuccessful attempts were made at reunification with Pastor Grabau by the Pommeranians and the Silesians. A number of families from the Silesian contingent moved on to Wisconsin; the Pommeranians also moved to Wisconsin. Only 3 families and one individual from the Pommeranian congregation remained in Buffalo. Scripture services were held in the Silesian congregation by Mr. Faude and Teacher Mayer, who also instructed the children.


Pastor Krause's Return to Buffalo and
his Relationship to his Congregation

On July 23, 1841 Pastor Krause returned from Germany with 63 Lutherans, however he did not ally himself with his falsely banned congregation. He sided with Pastor Grabau (33). "With his arrival in Buffalo he can not completely distance himself from participation with the excommunicated Silesian congregation because that would make him look suspicious. He asked about his congregation, sought to examine the Silesian matter, but all his dealings showed that in his heart he had decided that in his official capacity he could not help the Silesians (34). Shortly after his arrival in Buffalo, probably during the period when he was getting himself established, Pastor Krause corresponded with the excommunicated contingent (a large part of which had moved to Wisconsin) and a meeting before the congregation was called. The Silesians appeared before Pastors Grabau and Krause and about 20 members of the congregation. Pastor Krause asked: Are you all here? He received the answer: All those on our side are here, but are you all here? Pastor Krause: No, only the committee members and the appointees. The Silesians answered: But we had hoped that the entire congregation would be assembled, and you did promise to assemble the entire congregation; we're not going to settle anything unless they're here. Pastor Krause: Then the women and children would also have to come. Sieffert: What kind of nonsense is this, this discussion is only for those with a vote. Pastor Krause quoted from Acts of the Apostles 15, 1 - 6 as precedent that only the apostles and the elders should be assembled (see also verse 22)."


The Silesians at first were appeased by this but insisted that the Hamburg incident must be dealt with. Grabau and Krause insisted that the Silesians must renounce their erroneous assertion that Grabau was guilty of false doctrine. Then the Hamburg matter could be dealt with. The Silesians maintained that the original cause of the confusion needed to be examined. They told Pastor Grabau that he had insulted them by calling them a rebel sect and a gang, and he was still doing it now. Krause denied this. Grabau replied: You are a gang and a rebel sect because you separated yourselves from the church and held your own secret church services. Seiffert answered: You speak as though it is a united church. Then there was an exchange of words and the Silesians raised their original objection: Unless the entire congregation is assembled and the Hamburg matter dealt with first, we cannot resolve anything, so we'll leave this meeting (35). Eight days later the following second written summons came to the Silesians (36):

"The undersigned hope this letter finds you well and in the name of the Lutheran congregation here invite you to meet once again at a Christian conference with the 14 appointed members, the 8 representatives and the 2 pastors on Wednesday (August 18th) at 6 PM in the school; at this meeting you may present your proof that the Lutheran Church has advocated false doctrine, after which time the Hamburg incident may be discussed."
    Buffalo, August 17, 1841.
        The Lutheran Pastors,
                Krause and Grabau.


"The time interval was too short to prepare to speak with the group from the congregation and several individuals only found out about the invitation the day of the meeting, therefore they could not attend. The Silesians decided however to send several appointed members as their representatives to explain that the time frame was too short so they could not attend. The appointed Silesians were asked at the meeting: Did they recognize this as the true church? If this were not the case then they [the Lutheran congregation] could not even begin to deal with them. The Silesian representatives gave an elusive answer,saying it remained to be seen if Grabau and his congregation were the true church; the Hamburg incident must be handled first." The appointed Silesians left the meeting with things unresolved (37).

"The Silesians decided to table the Hamburg incident for the time being, to consider the question of false doctrine, and to prepare a statement for a new meeting wherein to prove their claim of false doctrine. Another meeting was arranged and 4 appointees were sent. A third meeting was thus arranged and the Silesians received the following note:

Through the office of the pastorate the Evangelical-Lutheran Church invites you, as decided at the last meeting of August 17th, to come before the pastors, committee members, appointees and supporting members of the church for the last time at 6 PM on Monday, September 6th to prove your allegation of false doctine raised against this Lutheran Church and to discuss the Hamburg incident. For the love of Christ and the sake of your souls this invitation originally proffered on the 17th of August is extended once again. We wish to clarify here that if you decline this invitation,


the Church must act in accordance with the Word of Our Lord Jesus Christ as spoken in Matthew 18, 17.
      The meeting is in the school.
      Buffalo, September 3, 1841.
                              Krause, ev. luth. Pastor.
                              Grabau, ev. luth. Pastor."

"The Silesians sent their 4 representatives, Faude, Sr., Gräser, Mayer and Keller, with the prepared response. Faude posed the first question before the assembly - Was the entire congregation present? Yes was the response. Then a song followed: Come Holy Ghost and be with us, etc. Pastor Krause said a prayer. Faude, Sr. explained that they had drafted a document in which they provided proof of false doctrine (38) and they had brought that document with them. Pastor Grabau asked for the document in order to examine it. After this came the answer that they had no case. Nothing was accomplished and the meeting was adjourned with no resolution to the matters. On the following Sunday the Silesians were publicly excommunicated before the assembled congregation and the day after the following ecclesiastic ban was sent to:

Faude, Sr., Faude, Jr., Gräser, Grottke, Hanschke, Langner, Mayer, Pelzer, Sieffert, Toy, Widow Bindig,

The Evangelical-Lutheran Church as manifest through us, the undersigned pastors, committee members and appointees, inform you, Faude, Sr., Faude, Jr., Gräser, Grottke, Hanschke, Langner, Mayer, Pelzer, Sieffert, Toy, Widow Bindig, that you have willfully severed yourselves from the motherly comfort of the Holy Christian Church. No warnings, instructions or corrections have been heeded and your blasphemy against the Church of our Lord has prompted that on the 6th of September of this year we publicly declared: You will never again be united with our Evangelical-Lutheran Church, -


You will remain an outcast sect, - By the law of Our Lord Jesus Christ as found in Matthew 18,17 you are a blasphemous gang and rebel sect, in the name of the Trinity endowed by the Church to bind and to absolve (Matthew 18,18.), you are cast out of the communion of the Holy Christian Church (taken from the preachings of God's Word) until such time as you prove yourselves worthy and escape from the clutches of the Devil (2 Timothy 2,26). May God grant that you receive his forgiveness, which is still available to you, so that you may not suffer the judgment to be rendered against the unrepentant. Amen.

   Buffalo, the 14th Sunday after Trinity Sunday, September 12, 1841.

      The Evangelical-Lutheran Church

         In whose name and with whose authority we are,

   The Pastors, Committee Members and Appointees of the Church,

      C.E.F. Krause, Evangelical-Lutheran Pastor
      A. Grabau, Evangelical-Luther Pastor."

(Hereafter were listed the names of the committee members and appointees.)

On September 15th, while Pastor Grabau was celebrating the Day of Repentance with his congregation in the new church, the Silesians made "their way to where the church stood", lit a fire and burned the ecclesiastic ban. "Their good names were publicly taken from them, the name of God was publicly misused, an entire congregation was publicly slandered; public accusations were made and this Papist chaos could not be better punished than through imitation of the burning of the Papal Bull issued by Leo X against Luther. The Silesians were right in their taking this action on a Day of Repentance of the Grabau congregation. The burning was the best message for repentance by which the congregation would remember what sins they should atone for,


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