I was reading Preus of Missouri again. Every century I pick up a book about Lutheranism or the Reformation, to stay even with the synodical leaders. I know from experience that they are a studious lot.
I happen to own Pope John's copy of Preus of Missouri, probably through a book sale. I thought I left the night light on in the library, but the glow came from this iconic book, which should really be in the rare books collection of Bethany Lutheran College. In the high-security showcase: "SP John Moldstad actually owned this book. Scholars are divided about whether he read it."
Robert Preus left his priceless collection to Bethany rather than Concordia, Ft. Wayne.
I chuckled when I read Preus of Missouri's description of the Little Sect on the Prairie as "hyper-orthodox." The journalist's grasp of theology was definitely mainline, but he tried to be fair and largely succeeded.
Neuhaus played a significant role in the Seminex split, leaving the LCMS, joining ELCA, and now prominent in the Church of Rome. Leigh Jordahl was a student of Jack Preus at Bethany. Leigh married a Gullerud (CLC president) and became ELCA by steps. Jordahl was friends with Wilken, who joined Rome. (Jordahl had some minor involvement with my dissertation at Notre Dame, as an advisor.)
Bethany itself is central to Lutheran history of the last century. Al Barry and Oswald Hoffman studied there. Robert Preus earned the first seminary degree there, leaving Luther Seminary just before graduation. Jack Preus had a faculty position at Bethany, etc. Preus relatives at Bethany College included Ylvisaker and Norm Madson.
Once upon a time, the Little Sect on the the Prairie had courage. On November 22nd, 1938, the Norwegian Synod (now the ELS) sent a letter to LCMS President Behnken. Missouri was getting close to the American Lutheran Church without expecting a repudiation of errors, such as unionism, Lodge membership, etc. The Admonition was signed by two Preus relatives: S. C. Ylvisaker and Norm Madson. It was also signed by Christian Anderson and H. M. Tjernagel. The ELS followed with a longer message in April of 1939, signed by the same four leaders, sent to all LCMS pastors and professors.
The Norwegian Synod was impoverished and tiny in size. They did not have Marvin Schwan as a sugar-daddy yet. But they had faith in the efficacy of the Word. The Word proved efficacious, hardening Missouri's attitudes against orthodoxy. Behnken was definitely a see-no-evil president.
Can anyone imagine the ELS writing a similar admonition to WELS? I cannot. For one thing, the ELS is so eager to parrot WELS that they have nothing to say to correct WELS.
No synod has repudiated the Church Growth Movement and meant it. Instead they have spoiled the Egyptian compost heap while denying their involvement. The ELS likes to hold itself above WELS but is no different.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "James Adams' Preus of Missouri":
Oh yes, the holy Preus name. They can certainly do no wrong can they! Robert left to join the unionists in Missouri. Rolf gets kicked out of the ELS and sends his kids to Constantinople...I mean Fort Wayne. Smart theologians who evidently have no concept of fellowship. I guess if you can't stand the heat you might as well jump into the fire.
GJ - If Anonymous reads the Adams book, he will see that Jack and Robert grew up among three synods: Big Norwegians (eventually ELCA), Little Norwegians (ELS), and LCMS. I think Jack was a Missouri member for 20 years while he was growing up. Governor Jake Preus was an all-synod man. Founding Lutheran Brotherhood and other causes made Jake sceptical or maybe indifferent about church organizations.
Jack and Robert Preus did more to change Missouri in the twentieth center for the better than anyone else. Their publishing efforts alone were worthy of note. Too bad Lutherans do not read good material anymore. Robert's last work was an excellent repudiation of moving toward Rome. UOJ is also repudiated in the clearest possible language.
I do not consider the Preus name holy. I am saddened that the men who started to change Missouri went after each other and handed victory to the apostates. Bohlmann was of course a Bohlmann loyalist, so he may not count. The same is true for Waldo Werning. According to legend, Jack was just as much an antagonist toward Robert as Bohlmann was. The Otten brothers have kept the same Bronze Age Missouri position.
Everyone in a synod is a unionist today. Scaer is fond of saying, "Why join the community ministers group? Just go to LCMS circuit meetings. Each one is a rainbow coalition."
WELS is united behind Leonard Sweet, Reggie McNeal, and Fuller Seminary. They have their own Holy Office of the Inquisition set up: Church and Change. There are pastors who dissent, but they are being disciplined. The buddies of these errorists? - the CG gurus of WELS.
The Little Sect on the Prairie is silent about false doctrine. In 1939 the quoted Walther as saying, "Indifference is unionism." That was then, this is now. The ELS certainly echoes and imitates the worst errors of WELS.
The Church of the Lutheran Confession (sic) protects the two worst false teachers from the consequences of their errors.
ELDONA disagrees about justification by faith, unles Stefanski(associated with but not a member of ELDONA) has read the Book of Concord or the Gospel of John and changed his mind. Stefanski is a UOJ fanatic. [GJ - Note that this changed - and ELDONA became the only organized group to teach justification by faith. Various UOJ fanatics had their Calvinist robes in a knot about this.]
Causes for apostasy are:
1. Lack of study.
2. Blood is thicker than doctrine.
3. Loyalty to classmates (who are often relatives).
4. Loyalty to the seminary, whose professors are often relatives.
5. Veneration of Holy Mother Synod, Immaculate and Infallible.