First Free Lutheran Diet in America

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Apr 15 2012 5:06 PM

Just after Christmas of 1877 there was an open theological conference for all Lutheran in Philadelphia.  Representatives of General Synod, General Synod, South, and General Council all attended.

Twenty years ago, these bodies had generally been "united" in the General Synod.  But the South was unable to attend the meetings during the Civil War and set up their own institutions.  And after messy few meetings where the Minnisterium of Pennsylvania had walked out and then was refused seats the next time they got together.  This resulted in the formation of a new body - the "General Council".

These bodies got together to see if they could even talk with each other, and while there were some animated moments, they were able to.  It took forty more years of various discussions before they merged together, but looking back, we can see they were on the track.

Like all conferences, the papers are uneven.  Probably the most academically significant one is the History paper from Jacobs.  It certainly is the one with the most footnotes, including one with tables in the footnotes...  But for me the most interesting parts were the discussions.  In the discussions it is obvious that 1) there are still very real differences, and 2) General Synod has moved in a much more confessional direction from that of SS Schmucker.

Some of the issues are still remarkably current - worship forms - educational systems - how we can work together, etc.  Others issues are not really around, namely language.

Main source was from http://archive.org/details/firstfreeluthera00free I replaced the ditto marks with the actual words in many tables and the table of contents.  Following this litterally did end up making an error - referring to "D. Luther, MD" as "Rev.".  This medical doctor who gave a paper at the conference was indeed a lay person and not a pastor. I am sure that I have inserted errors myself in the process.

I hope that this is interesting to some others out there.

 

SDG

Ken McGuire

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

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