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American Lutheranism by Friedrich Bente


77. Charges Preferred by Tennessee Synod. -- The report of the committee which the Tennessee Synod appointed in 1824 to discuss the doctrinal differences with the North Carolina Synod charged them with the following statements of un-Lutheran doctrine which they quoted from their writings: |1. 'Jesus says, without being baptized; and furthermore He says: He that believeth not shall be damned -- hence, baptized or not baptized, faith saves us.' See the committee's appendix to the proceedings of said North Carolina connection of the year 1822, p.4, Sec.2. The President of said connection [Stork] says in his English Review, p.46, 'that none but idiots could believe that the body of Christ fills all space.' See also their proceedings of 1820, p.18.| (Tenn. Rep.1824, Appendix.) Accordingly the charges lodged by Tennessee against the North Carolina Synod were that they rejected the distinctive doctrines of Lutheranism. In keeping herewith Tennessee refused to acknowledge the North Carolina Synod as Lutheran, and declined to grant her this title, speaking of her as a connection |which calls itself a Lutheran synod.| In 1825 the Tennessee Synod declared: |We must here observe that we cannot consistently grant to the Synod of North Carolina this title [Lutheran], because we maintain that they departed from the Lutheran doctrine.| (6.) The same convention headed a letter addressed to the North Carolina Synod as follows: |To the Reverend Synod of North Carolina, who assume the title Lutheran, but which we at this time, for reason aforesaid, dispute. Well beloved in the Lord, according to your persons!| etc. (7.) According to a letter of Ambrosius Henkel, March 24, 1824, Riemenschneider declared: |The North Carolina Synod must have deviated not only from the Lutheran doctrine, but from the very words of Christ as well, as I have lately, in one of their publications, read the horrible words: Baptized or not baptized, faith saves us. What is that except to declare Baptism unnecessary? One would think that these people were crazy (man sollte denken, diese Menschen waeren verrueckt).| The North Carolina Synod, however, in spite of their avowed unionistic and essentially Reformed attitude, boldly insisted that they were the |true Lutherans| -- a bit of bravado imitated several decades later by Benjamin Kurtz, one of the Reformed theologians of the General Synod, over against Missouri and other synods loyal to the Lutheran Confessions.

78. |Lutheraner| on Division of North Carolina Synod. -- The first unbiased Lutheran estimate and, in all essential points, correct presentation of the division in the North Carolina Synod is found in the Lutheraner of June 5, 1855. Here Theo. Brohm, who attended the thirty-fourth convention of the Tennessee Synod in 1854 as the representative of the Missouri Synod, writes as follows: |German Lutheran congregations had been organized in the State of North Carolina as early as the middle of the preceding century. About 1798 the first attempts were made to unite these congregations by a regulated synodical bond. However, the removal of a number of pastors resulted in the decay of the church life in this field. After a number of years the congregations increased again, and so the foundation for the Ev. Luth. Synod of North Carolina was laid in 1803. Paul Henkel was among the charter members. The beginning was weak, but the good cause progressed. Gradually Lutheran congregations were organized also in Virginia, South Carolina, and in Tennessee, uniting with this synod. As most of the pastors had come from Pennsylvania, cordial unity obtained between the Pennsylvania Synod and the Synod of North Carolina. In the course of time, however, Satan succeeded in sowing tares among the wheat. Two opposing parties sprang up in the synod. The one, to which the great majority belonged, found its expression and embodiment in the General Synod, and is too well known to our readers to require further characterization at this place. The other was the staunch and truly Lutheran party, to which, indeed, but a small minority adhered. The majority, in agreement with a number of influential men in the Pennsylvania Synod, proposed the idea of a General Synod, which, according to their view, was to embody not only the various Lutheran synods of this country, but, if possible, all other religious bodies as well. While the true Lutherans could see nothing but mischief arising from this General Synod, the majority entered upon this unhappy scheme with great enthusiasm. And, in order to carry out their plan, without the let or hindrance of the staunch Lutherans, the friends of the General Synod convened a meeting of synod in 1819 at an unlawful time, and also without notifying all pastors, especially those of Tennessee. Delegates were elected to the convention of the Pennsylvania Synod in Baltimore, where the plan for the General Synod was to be matured. In order to destroy the influence of one of the most decided opponents, the young David Henkel, he was suspended from office for a period of six months, ostensibly because he was spreading Roman Catholic doctrines, which in reality, however, were none but pure Lutheran doctrines, especially those of the power of Baptism and of the presence of the true body and blood in the Lord's Supper. When the Synod met at Lincolnton, N. C., in the following year, those members of Synod who were dissatisfied with the resolutions of the previous year demanded a thorough investigation of the mooted questions. In answer reference was made to the majority vote, which decision was to be final. Hostility to the Augsburg Confession and especially to the doctrines of Baptism and of the Lord's Supper, as well as the tendency to unite with all religious bodies, became more and more apparent. And when the plan of the General Synod met with the determined opposition of the staunch Lutherans, the other party dissolved the meeting and made the beginning of the General Synod. Those pastors who remained faithful to the Lutheran Confessions, six in number, now united and organized the so-called Evangelical Lutheran Tennessee Synod.| (11, 165.)

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