The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream


NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Friday, June 23, 2017

So Many Filters - Looking Back at Augustana History

 A. D. Mattson was the subject of my PhD dissertation
at Notre Dame.

I was looking for information about one of the early feminist radicals in the LCA, because they chose her to give the A. D. Mattson Lectures at the LCA's Chicago Seminary. That led me to a journal article where they talked about the Augustana (Swedish-American) Synod as rather small. It had 600,000 baptized members at the time of the 1962 merger.

I wonder if Lutherans will remember Roland Bainton's
Here I Stand during this year of ignoring the Reformation's 500th.
The YDS chapel rises above the Georgian style campus.

I zoomed around the Net for a time, going from one article to the next, a combination of nostalgia about

  • Yale (where A. D. and his brother Karl were), 
  • the Quad Cities, where I am from, and 
  • various overlapping figures.

The Mattson and Bergendoff families were related. At one point Conrad Bergendoff was president of Augustana College, Karl Mattson was president of Augustana Seminary, and A. D. Mattson taught at the seminary.

Our son posed with the ever-gracious Paul L. Holmer.

Another connection was Gustav Andreen, the Augustana college president who left a full professorship at Yale University to lead their struggling college. His daughter and my mother were friends via the local teachers' network. I met Andreen's daughter at Augustana and she said, "Are you going to be a teacher like your mother?" I said, "No," and now I am teaching at three institutions.

 My dissertation advisor at Notre Dame
had some of the same professors at Yale that I had.
And he taught at Augustana College -
Stan Hauerwas.

I was on the staff at Bethesda Lutheran Church in New Haven, just down the hill from Yale Divinity School. The pastor became the Bishop of the district once it was ELCA. Mattson's brother Karl was the pastor of that congregation. When we were there, all the Lutheran YDS professors worshiped at Bethesda -

  1. Paul L. Holmer - Theology and ethics.
  2. Nils A. Dahl - New Testament.
  3. Sydney Ahlstrom - Church History.
  4. George Lindbeck - Theology, Official observer at Vatican II.
  5. Jaroslav Pelikan - Church History.

Roland Bainton had an apartment just around the corner from the church, and he was often around the campus. He was dubbed an honorary Lutheran, and we all came to hear him when he gave lectures. The Lutheran divinity students were numerous. My classmate in New Testament, Stan Olson, became a seminary professor, a bishop, one of the top ELCA leaders in NYC, finishing as the president at the failing Luther Seminary in Iowa.

Harvard New Testament scholar Krister Stendahl called
Nils Dahl the best exegete in the world.

I wonder if any of those who established these church and educational institutions would recognize who is currently living off those endowments today. Some of the endowment consists of gifts accumulated over the centuries. Most important is another endowment - the heritage squandered, with all traces expelled. But naturally, they want to be associated with the respect earned in the past. They will drain that away with their hysterical hatred of the past.

ELCA is no different from the LCMS, WELS, or Little Sect on the Prairie. ELCA is just a few years ahead of the rest. I could add details, but I have covered that ground many times before. That is why I write about apostasy rather than the glories of Holy Mother Sect.


The main library at Yale is awe-inspiring,
fashioned like a "temple of wisdom," as Bainton said.
But now, that wisdom is largely repudiated.