The Error of Modern Missouri

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Apr 30 2012 4:10 PM

In 1897 The Joint Synod of Ohio released a collection of documents presenting their side of the Predestination Controversy.  All are translations of German originals, and all were written by past members of the Missouri Synod.

The first section is by Stellhorn.  He was a Professor at Fort Wayne (the main undergrad school for Missouri Synod) when the controversy started.  His wife was actually a relative of Walther, but Stellhorn was one of the original critics of what Walther was saying in the late 1870's.  He moved to Ohio for the rest of his career, teaching at Capital University.  His section is a historical overview of teaching on predestination.

The second section is by Schmidt.  He had been a member of Missouri a long time back, but had since been a leader in the Norwegian Synod.  He collected an extremely extensive collection of Lutheran sources to show that Election is in view of Faith.  While it is not at all clear that all the sources mean the same thing as he does, it is a quite impressive list, reaching back to the authors of the Formula of Concord.  His writing is quite polemical, especially in the footnotes.  The text is a translation of a work from the 1880's, so was a bit old in 1897 when the book was published, but he was a major combatant for decades on this issue.

The last section is by a group of Missouri pastors, led by Allwardt who got together in October 1881 to leave Missouri Synod and document their protest.  Their theological theses and explainations are a useful statement of what the "opponents" actually believed.  Particularly interesting is the historical appendix by Allwardt about how the fight began.

All three writers were important early writers against Walther on predestination, and so are useful primary sources.

To be honest, I am getting tired of these predestination controversy documents.  I have more respect for Ohio now than before, but still my sympathies are with Walther, even if I must admit that some of what they were complaining about seems to me to be a bit over the top.

Way back I read that this fight showed the difference between a Traditional Lutheran (Ohio) and a Confessional one (Missouri).  Unfortunately, I can't remember who it was that made this comment...

SDG

Ken McGuire

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

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 30 2012 4:35 PM

Ken,

thanks a lot. Your files are a great help and I think are a necessary counterpoint to all the other stuff that comes across as if Calvin and Beza (or rather Owen and Edwards) had invented the reformation. I think I'll try to become better read in these Lutheran disputes - I may not fall out with the Missourians in the end, but this discussion seems very interesting to me.

Mick

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