Full Text for Church History 3 - Volume 47 - The Impact of Wyneken's Writings (Video)

ROUGHLY EDITED COPY CH3-047 PROFESSOR LAWRENCE RAST PROFESSOR WILL SCHUMACHER Captioning Provided By: Caption First, Inc. P.O. Box 1924 Lombard, IL 60148 800-825-5234 ***** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communications Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. ***** >> DAVID: Wyneken sounds like quite a man. What impact did his writing about the challenge of Germans in America have back in the old country? >> DR. LAWRENCE RAST: Well, David, we've already seen that the initial impact was that it pulled Wyneken back to Germany for a few years. And, in fact, he spent some time lecturing throughout Germany, as I've already mentioned. But in addition to that, what his writing did was to raise the awareness of Germans generally to the plight of German Lutheran immigrants in America, German immigrants, generally speaking, and to motivate them to support this mission, not just in terms of their financial support, as I've already said, but also in the terms of giving their lives to the activity. And in this respect, we see some extremely fundamental examples of how people are willing to give themselves to the work of the Lord. Wyneken�s message reached some remarkable individuals in Germany and motivated them to come to the United States to serve these scattered German immigrants and to help bring to them the word of the Lord so that they might be spiritually fed. Two cases in point I think are especially important here. One is a man by the name of Wilhelm Sihler. Sihler was quite a guy. As a matter of fact, he had an incredible career, brilliant man. He's Prussian. He started out his work in life as a member of the Prussian military, served in Latvia. He was exposed to the theology of Schleiermacher in the 1820�S, ultimately studied, wrote significant volume and was awarded a Ph.D. by the University of Jena. A brilliant man who had many opportunities at his disposal. Yet, he chose to give up those opportunities in order to come to the United States to serve the German Lutherans in distress. He first came to Ohio. And while in Ohio, made a name for himself, not only as a clear preacher, but also as an incisive thinker. When Wyneken left Fort Wayne in 1845 and took a call to Baltimore, Sihler was called to be his successor at St. Paul congregation. And under Sihler�s leadership, with Wyneken�s help, and with Wilhelm Lohe�s sponsorship back in Germany, these men together formed Concordia Theological Seminary, today Missouri Synod Seminary in Fort Wayne. This Seminary began operations in 1846 with the specific intent of training pastors well but quickly so that they would be prepared to preach the gospel on this emerging mission field with all alacrity. The success of the seminary was quick. And Sihler�s clear vision and vigorous activity was a tremendous blessing to the Lutheran Church, generally speaking, but more specifically, David, to the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod when it was formed little more than a year later in April 1847. So what do we find? The purpose for the formation of the seminary is the realization that while the German churches may support the mission in America, they are not the ones who ultimately are responsible for the mission. God had given that task to Americans, Americans, certainly, who were German as well, but who were on site and had the responsibility to take the gospel out into the world. Hence the formation of the seminary. Sihler was joined on the faculty in 1850 by another remarkable individual, a man named August Cramer. Cramer first came to the United States in 1845, again, as a missionary. And again, a remarkable man. Early in life was training for the ministry, studying at university. He got himself into some significant trouble. He tried to overthrow the government and spent several years in jail and ultimately realized that because the German church was so closely related to the state, that perhaps because of his political activity, he would not be able to be a pastor in the German church. As a result, he studied languages, philology. He was one of these men who could learn any language quickly and well. To make a long story short in Cramer�s terms, he ended up teaching at Oxford University in England, brilliant man, but gave all of it up because he had become aware of a plea, this time by Wilhelm Lohe. Lohe was looking for a man who could do two things. In leading a mission, he needed a pastor who could not only organize the scattered Germans into congregations, but who was also willing to do mission work among the Native Americans in Michigan. Cramer was just the man, and in 1845, he and a group of settlers left Germany, came to the American scene, and established a colony in the thumb area of Michigan called Frankenmuth, or Courage of the Franconians. The purpose again, to organize the scattered German Lutherans into congregations as well as to do mission work among the Indians. Cramer was joined by missionary Baierlein. The two of them worked on translating Luther's Small Catechism into the Chippewa language. And although the mission was ultimately not a success, that was not but due to the lack of effort of Cramer and Baierlein. They did have converts. They were successful in proclaiming the gospel. However, as time went by and as more Americans pushed into Michigan, the Native Americans, the Chippewa tribe, were forced to the west and north outside of the scope of Cramer's activity. So by the mid-1840's, we see a very distinct response on the part of Lutheran pastors, Lutheran laypeople in Germany to the missionary need in America. That includes specific individuals coming to this country to work within the context of this great missionary opportunity. However, the question will be there for them. What will their relationship be to the Lutherans who are already in America? In this respect, they find themselves hard pressed. One of the instructions that Wilhelm Lohe gave to those who came to America was this: Affiliate yourself with an orthodox Lutheran synod. Well, when these men first arrived in America, they sought out the geographical synods of the areas in which they were and inquired of them are you orthodox. Are you confessional? The answer they received was, of course, yes. It took some time for these men to realize, however, that the confessional stance of many of these synods was, in fact, not a strong and solid one. To go back to our Latin terminology we used earlier, many of these synods adopted the Augsburg Confession quatenus, that is, in so far as it agreed with the scriptures. Now, the question, of course, was: What does that mean? What does it mean, insofar as? And the answers were varied as we've seen in the case of American Lutheranism, Samuel Schumacher, Benjamin Kurtz. These men, however, wanted to subscribe to the Lutheran confessions in their entirety, quia, that is, because they agree with the scripture. And in all of these men's cases, these lead to splits between them and the synods of which they had been a part. With Wyneken, he was compelled to leave the synod of the West because of its weak confessional stance. Sihler left the Ohio Synod. Cramer left the Michigan Synod. All of them became independent, if you will, but they realized that this was not a good thing and they became increasingly hopeful that they might affiliate themselves with other like-minded Lutherans. As the 1840's progressed, that possibility came to the forefront as these men became aware of another group of Lutheran. These Lutherans being of Saxon origin who were vigorously at work in St. Louis and Perry County, Missouri. And the work that this group would do, combined with the efforts of the other Germans in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, and ultimately Illinois and beyond, would lead to the formation of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. But before that happens, we need to get the Saxon immigrants into Missouri. ***** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communications Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. *****