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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : TENNESSEE AND MISSOURI.

American Lutheranism by Friedrich Bente

TENNESSEE AND MISSOURI.

116. Mutual Attraction. -- The doctrinal, confessional, and practical position of the Tennessee Synod being such as described, it was but natural that, as soon as Missouri and Tennessee became acquainted with each other, both should sense their kindred spirits, and feel attracted mutually. And such was the case in spite of the fact that Tennessee at this time had practically sloughed off the German language, while Missouri was thoroughly German, and continued so for many decades. Immediately after the first contact with Tennessee, Missouri displayed a lively interest in these early protagonists of genuine confessional Lutheranism. They rejoiced in having found in the Tennessee confessors flesh of their flesh and bone of their bone. With great satisfaction they reported on the antiunionistic position which Tennessee held over against the old, apostate synods. In Loehe's Kirchliche Mitteilungen of 1847 we find the following: |Several Virginians came to St. Louis to the Lutheran Pastor Buenger, and asked him whether he still adhered to the old Lutheran faith, which he affirmed to their joy. Thereupon they told of Henkel. . . . They had protested against an edition of Luther's Small Catechism in which, with reference to Baptism, the words 'who believe it' (die es glauben) had been made to read 'who believe' (die da glauben).| (94.) The Lutheraner of February 22, 1848, published the Tennessee resolution, stating that they could unite with the Synod of North Carolina |only on the ground of pure and unadulterated Evangelical Lutheranism,| and added the comment: |We confess that a closer acquaintance has filled us with the best prepossessions for this Synod. As far as we can see from the Report, they are earnestly striving to preserve the treasure of pure Lutheran teaching.| At the convention of the Missouri Synod at Fort Wayne, in 1849, Dr. Sihler was elected a delegate to the Tennessee Synod. He wrote to Loehe that |according to its Reports and confessions, this Synod maintains an upright churchly position.| |It would be a great joy,| Sihler adds, |if we could enter into definite church-fellowship with them, especially, as we, above all others, have been stigmatized as the 'exclusive Lutherans.'| (Kirchl. Mitt. 1849, 92.) Reviewing the Tennessee Report of 1848, Walther remarked in the Lutheraner of January 23, 1849: |Like its predecessor, this Report proves that this Synod belongs to the small number of those who are determined not only to be called Lutherans, but also to be and to remain Lutherans.| After reporting their chief resolutions, including the one expressing their delight over the organization of the Missouri Synod, and recommending the Lutheraner to their German-speaking members, Walther continues as follows: |We close this extract with the sincere wish that the Lord would continue to bless this Synod, which for almost thirty years, in spite of much shame and persecution, has faithfully testified and fought against the apostasy of the so-called American Lutheran Church, especially against the General Synod, and which, as far as we know, of all the older Lutheran synods, alone has preserved in this last evil time the treasures of our Lutheran Church; and we also wish that the Lord would make this Synod a salt of the earth to stay the growing spiritual corruption in other synods.| (5, 84.) At the meeting of the Tennessee Synod in 1853, a letter dated October 6, 1853, and signed by Theo. Brohm and A. Hoyer, delegates appointed by Missouri, but unable to attend personally, was read, stating, in part: |We are highly rejoiced in this vast desert and wilderness to meet a whole Lutheran synod steadfastly holding to the precious Confession of our beloved Church, and zealously engaged in divulging the unaltered doctrines and principles of the Reformation among the English portion of Lutherans, by translating the standard writings of the Fathers, at the same time firmly resisting the allurements of those who say they are Lutherans and are not. Our Synod extends, through our instrumentality, the hand of fraternity to you, not fearing to be refused, and ardently desires, however separated from you by a different language and local interests, to cooperate with you, hand in hand, in rebuilding the walls of our dilapidated Zion. We are authorized to beseech your venerable Synod to delegate as many of your members as you may deem proper to our synodical meeting to be held next year at St. Louis, promising hereby a friendly and hospitable reception. Should your Synod next year assemble at a place more easily accessible, and more convenient, to us, we, or they whom our Synod may appoint, shall not fail to attend.| (1853, 18.) With special reference to a letter of Rev. A. Biewend, also a delegate appointed by the Missouri Synod, but prevented from attending, in which he expressed |the hope and desire that a more intimate acquaintance may be formed between both synods,| Tennessee adopted the resolution, |That we duly appreciate the kind regard of the Missouri Synod, and that we also desire a more intimate acquaintance with them, and that we appoint Rev. J. R. Moser a delegate to the next session of that Synod.| (1853, 13.) In the Tennessee minutes of 1854 we read: |The Rev. Theodore Brohm, of the Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States, was introduced to Synod, and received as a corresponding member of this body.| (5.) |During recess, Rev. Th. Brohm preached from Rev.14, 6.7.| (11.) |The Rev. Theodore Brohm, of the Missouri Synod, being present, the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted: Whereas the Rev. Theodore Brohm, of the city of New York, delegate of the Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States, has appeared amongst us, and we are assured from personal interviews with him, as well as from other sources of information, that the Synod which he represents adhere strictly to the doctrines of the Ev. Lutheran Church, as exhibited in her confessional standards, and are zealously and actively engaged in promoting the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, be it therefore 1. Resolved, That we are highly gratified to see Brother Brohm in our midst.2. Resolved, That we fully and cheerfully reciprocate the kind and fraternal feelings expressed and manifested towards us by the Missouri Synod.3. Resolved, That we endeavor to cultivate a more intimate acquaintance and a closer union with the Missouri Synod.4. Resolved, That, for this purpose, Rev. Socrates Henkel be appointed a delegate from this body to the Eastern division of the Missouri Synod, to be holden in Baltimore; and that Rev. J. R. Moser be appointed our delegate to the Western division of said Synod, at its next session.| (12; Lutheraner 11, 77.) Moser attended and reported to his Synod in the following year. (1856, 23.) Brohm, relating in the Lutheraner his visit to the Tennessee Synod, said, in part: |Let the assurance here suffice that, among the pastors in attendance, I have found a faithful adherence to our common Mother Church, and that I have not met with any essential doctrinal differences. It gave me great pleasure to observe how these men, in spite of the great dearth of English-Lutheran literature, have preserved such a living consciousness of Lutheran orthodoxy and such a firm Lutheran character.| (11, 78.)

117. Tributes from Dr. Walther. -- When, in 1852, the book, Luther on the Sacraments, published by the Tennessee Synod, came to Walther's attention, he wrote: |We praise God that He has caused this glorious work to succeed. The importance of the appearance of this work in this country, where the great majority of the English-speaking Lutherans have fallen into Reformed errors regarding the articles of the holy Sacraments, and are ignorant of, yea, do not even suspect, the good foundation on which the Lutheran doctrine of the Sacraments is built, cannot be estimated at its true value. After the Book of Concord had been presented to the English-speaking Lutherans in their own language, no better selection could have been made for them than the above-mentioned three writings [Sermon on Holy Baptism, of 1535; Letter on Anabaptism, of 1528; Confession of the Lord's Supper, of 1528 of Luther, the chosen vessel of God for the reformation of the Church. These two books, now rendered into English, are gracious visitations indeed for the English Lutheran Church of this country. May it know the time of its visitation! . . . And the right reverend Tennessee Synod, which has issued both works (the Book of Concord and Luther on the Sacraments) in the English language, as well as the dear men who moved by love for the truth and the Church of their fathers, have regarded neither the unspeakable labor nor the great expense connected with this undertaking -- may God reward them by showering His blessings upon them in abundant measure!| (9, 115.) When the second edition of the Book of Concord appeared, Walther wrote: |We thank God for the unspeakable blessing which He has conferred upon the Church of our adopted fatherland [through the publication of this book], and in our hearts we bless the faithful publishers. It is surprising as well as faith-strengthening to learn that already in the first year a second edition has become necessary. May many hands reach out for it, and may a third edition soon become necessary!| (L.11, 63.) Walther's joy and enthusiasm over these works published by Tennessee in the English language will be understood when we remember that it was the time when the Definite Platform was preparing, and Benjamin Kurtz and others, in order to discredit the |Old Lutherans,| who still adhered to the Lutheran doctrine of the Lord's Supper, were boldly repeating the Heidelberg Lie (die Heidelberger Landluege), according to which Luther, shortly before his death, disavowed his doctrine regarding the Lord's Supper. (L.12, 31.)

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