Correspondence BetweenJ.C.W. Loehe and C.F.W. WaltherAbout the Fort Wayne SeminaryAs Transcribed in James L. Schaaf, "Wilhelm Loehe's Relations to the American Church: A Study in the History of Lutheran Mission," Heidelberg University, Ph.D. Dissertation, 1961, Appendix VII. Translated by Erika Bullmann Flores
http://www.projectwittenberg.org/etext/loehe/letter.txt SYNOD'S LETTER TO PASTOR W. LOEHE IN NEUENDETTELSLAU (sic) Highly honored and dearly beloved brother in the Lord: Pastor D. Sihler has requested at this year's first synodical conference to call Pastor Oster as director and teacher at the Seminary in Fort Wayne. He based this request on his declining health and the fact that his own ever-growing congregation is making it impossible for him to expand the time and energy necessary for the seminary. We have come to the unanimous conclusion that we do not have the right to issue a call on behalf of the seminary, because it is a private institution, founded by the love of the German brothers. Consequently it was decided to ask you, beloved brother, and through you also the other participants of this work of love, whether you are willing to surrender the seminary to the Synod, formally and actually giving it under the Synod's free disposition, while nevertheless continuing with support in the forms of money, books, etc. in the usual loving manner, because the Synod--especially at this time of its organization--does not have the resources for the seminary's upkeep. In addition, it was agreed to ask you in a brotherly manner to forward to us the writings of Pastor Ostor (sic) thus enabling us to form our own opinion concerning his attitude, knowledge, spiritual gifts and qualifications for the proposed position. With the heartfelt request to include us and our work in your brotherly supplications, we command you to the Lord's mercy. Chicago, May 6 in the year of our Lord 1847. On behalf and in the name of the "German Evangelical--Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States" at their first annual conference here. Signed respectfully and most humbly, C. Ferd. Wilh. Walther, President We release all our claims of ownership to the seminary in Fort Wayne with the condition that it shall, for ever, serve only the Lutheran church and train her preachers and shepherds. As Lutheran churches we recognize only those who confess the Lutheran Book of Concord. 2. We are releasing all our claims to the seminary under the further condition--which shall be inviolate--that the German language shall be the only vehicle of instruction. 3. We are releasing our claims under the condition that the seminary remain what it is now, that is, an institution whose purpose it is to train--thoroughly and when possible without delay--preachers and ministers for the countless lost, German brothers-in-faith, as well as for newly arrived congregations of our faith. In the beginning we did not consider a theological institution in the usual, German tradition, but rather as a "nursery" of preachers and ministers whose studies are to be preparation for the holy office itself. Presuming that these conditions meet with your approval, we gladly promise to continue support of the seminary, that is, to the best of our abilities and as God provides us. As the situation presents itself now, there cannot be any specific promises. You are already familiar with one of our ideas, and Dr. Sihler, director of the seminary, has also espoused it as his own. It is this: the seminary is to be also a place for the training of missionaries among the heathen natives of North-America. We must tell you that it would cause us extreme pain if you were to let go of an idea which--especially in Bavaria--has gained many mission-minded friends and their support. However, we have no doubt that you will continue faithfully in this matter also. We also must inform you that Pastor Oster from Posen has emigrated with some of his parishioners to Australia. Therefore, examination of his faith and life on your part, as well as a call, are too late. In closing we want to share with you what is making our hearts heavy, especially since it is of the utmost important to the seminary in Fort Wayne. With much regret we have noticed that your first synodical constitution, as is set now, did not completely follow the example of the first congregations. We fear, and most likely rightly so, that the basic, strong mixing of democratic, independent, congregational principles into your church constitution will cause more harm than the meddling of the princes and authorities did in our church at home. Careful study of the apostles' many lessons concerning organizing the church and ministry, would have better and differently taught the dear brothers from among the laity. Constitution is a dogmatic, but not a practical adiaphoron. May that which the NT teaches of constitution, organization and ministry at large, be the right locus of the new seminary, and may the results of new research done by Lutheran theologians in the home country not be considered inferior and be ignored by the professors and teachers at Fort Wayne. If a large, interconnected church is to be assembled which is to be a haven for harried souls, care must be taken that she be endowed in holy form and shape by which she can be recognized and grasped. Signed with heartfelt, loyal love and esteem your devoted friend and Brother, Johann Conrad Wilhelm Loehe Pastor at Neuendettelslau in Franconia ______________________________________________________________ This text was converted to ascii format for Project Wittenberg by Erika Flores and is in the public domain. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary. E-mail: email@example.com Surface Mail: 6600 N. Clinton St., Ft. Wayne, IN 46825 USA Phone: (260) 452-3149 Fax: (260) 452-2126
|Walther kidnapped his niece and nephew and Bishop Stephan,|
and CFW stole gold, land, books, and personal possessions from Stephan.