Dear friends in Christ,
We continue our survey of Church History from the book of Professor E.A.W. Krauss from our St. Louis seminary of a century ago.
This month we continue our look at Pastor Wyneken in Baltimore. This month we will again see that he suffers much on account of his faithful Lutheran confession in doctrine and practice. It is also interesting that he has to battle those who claim to be Lutheran and who know their doctrine and practice is not Lutheran but don’t want it found out. False teachers are never honest. Prof. Krauss mentions the “New Measures.” That is basically the “tent revival meeting” theology and practice. Among “Lutherans”, the “New Measures” were adopted by those who thought that confessional Lutheranism was too old, stodgy, and “European” and wouldn’t “work” in America; we “Lutherans” had to change to be relevant in America. Does that sound familiar? Our fathers fought that temptation—if only we change and become “relevant” and more palatable will our churches be bursting at the seams. There is nothing new under the sun [Ecl. 1.9]. We also see Wyneken battling the lodges/ secret societies, which thankfully seems to be faltering a bit today.
Wyneken had to fight another battle against the false Lutherans in his congregation, in the city, in the General Synod.45.2 [Part 2] Friedrich Konrad Dietrich Wyneken—The City Pastor
In the section of the city [of Baltimore] called “Fells Point” there was a German congregation that likewise pretended to be Evangelical Lutheran. Its pastor, C. G. Weyl, a son-in-law of Schmucker, was an unprincipled babbler. He was completely devoted to the “New Measures”, had hardly any concept of Lutheran doctrine and in his practice was fanatic, unionist, and essentially without principle at all. At that time Wyneken was a member of the “Synod of the West” and because of that he was also a member of the General Synod. This did not stop the “dear brother” Weyl from working against him. He spread the rumor that Wyneken was an “old Lutheran,” a disguised Jesuit, who even intended to lead his congregation back to the pope. This arose from the fact that Wyneken wore a surplice and made the sign of the cross when giving a blessing. The rest, he said, would follow until the congregation was completely Catholic. Orally and in writing he attempted to stir up the members of St. Paul’s against their pastor and to make them suspicious of him. Individuals trusted Weyl and at the least became a little distrustful of Wyneken.
At that time Weyl published The Shepherd’s Voice [Die Hirtenstimme], a supposedly Lutheran paper but which in reality only represented the recently invented “New Measures Christianity” of the General Synod. Thus it was rightly called “Wolf’s Voice” [Wolfstimmme]. As it came out unashamedly against Wyneken’s faithful witness it earned itself additional justification for having this name.
Wyneken had made an exceedingly excellent confession at the 13th biennial assembly of the General Synod that took place in Philadelphia beginning on the third Thursday in May 1845. He could not be present at the assembly during the first days. In his absence the Synod decided to instruct the Committee for Foreign Correspondence to defend the General Synod against false accusations being spread in Germany (Wyneken was suspected and charged with doing this) that it is not orthodox and to ask the Lutheran societies there to send any missionaries they might have to the General Synod.
When Wyneken arrived at the synod and heard about that decision, he made the motion on the last day of the session: “To send to Dr. Rudelbach, Prof. Harless and other publishers of first rate Lutheran newspapers in Germany, so that they might examine them, the writings of Dr. Schmucker and Dr. Benjamin Kurtz, as well as a volume of the Lutheran Observer and the Shepherd’s Voice and other books and papers in which the doctrine and practice of the General Synod are presented and by this to show the Lutheran church in Germany the orthodoxy of the General Synod.”
The synod tabled this dangerous motion. Wyneken stood up again and said that he did not expect anything other than this would happen and so he had formulated and placed ahead of time a second motion in his pocket. He then calmly took the second one out of his pocket and read it aloud: “The General Synod shall publicly disapprove and reject the previously mentioned writings by Dr. Schmucker and Dr. Kurtz, as well as the Lutheran Observer and Shepherd’s Voice, as heretical and having departed from the pattern of salutary doctrine!”
Until that time, such talk was unheard of at the session of the synod. They were shocked at that sort of crazy demand and did not in the least consider complying with it.
So what did that miserable Weyl do? In order to kill Wyneken morally among the ill-instructed people, he reported the following in his Lutheran Shepherd’s Voice: “At various times Pastor Wyneken of Baltimore expressed himself to be opposed to the doctrine and rites, books and newspapers of the Lutheran Church and threatened to testify against them.”
However even with his lies, Weyl did not achieve his intended purpose—not even in Baltimore. The decent ones investigated the matter; thus Weyl’s slanders only served to bring the truth all the more clearly into the light. Wyneken himself published in the Lutheran Church Newspaper [Lutherische Kirchenzeitung] (Vol. 7, pg. 92) a true presentation of those events at the synod and at the same time it was a well-earned chastisement of Weyl.
In the following year he took the opportunity to write in the Lutheraner [edited by C.F.W. Walther] against Weyl’s type of Lutheranism when Weyl printed in the Shepherd’s Voice the Laws of His Congregation, which were full of heresy and false principles. But Weyl did not in the least think of repenting of his slander and false doctrine. Instead he persisted in spreading insinuations and lies about Wyneken. He succeeded in strengthening the hatred of the disingenuous for Wyneken so that some of them even dared to write in the newspapers that Wyneken wanted to return his congregation to Romanism. Weyl even gave his Shepherd’s Voice over to spread these malicious lies. Thus Wyneken’s congregation found it necessary to justify him in the Lutheraner (III, 32).
In this battle Wyneken remained the victor. Although those of the General Synod did not stop slandering him privately and publicly, Wyneken had the truth on his side and more and more people came to it. His congregation learned to treasure him all the more and placed greater confidence in him. In fact, even many non-Lutherans, who did not support his theological position, still had to say that Wyneken was a true man, a pure character, a thoroughly honest soul.
We also want to mention here that Wyneken completely broke with the General Synod because it wanted to know nothing about correct doctrine and sound church practice. He then closely aligned himself with the “Saxons” in Missouri, with the “Franconians” in Michigan, with Dr. Sihler and those with him who left the Ohio Synod. He was already in active correspondence.
He was present at the assembly of these pastors who had come together in September 1845 in Cleveland, Ohio in order to consider leaving the Ohio Synod and establishing a new orthodox Lutheran synod (compare Lutheraner II, pg. 42).
After the founding of the “German Evangelical-Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio And Other States” in April of 1847, Wyneken meticulously examined its constitution which was published in the Lutheraner and discussed it with his congregation. He traveled in the summer of 1848 to St. Louis, where that synod held its convention from 21 June until 01 July. He joined it as a member and at the same time so did his congregation, represented by Franz Buehler.
At that time much time and effort was required to travel back and forth between Baltimore and St. Louis; several weeks were required for that. But without doubt it was quite rare when Wyneken returned home more joyful than he did at that time when in St. Louis he found a considerable assembly of like-minded, truly united Lutherans. He had been strengthen by their faith and refreshed by their brotherly love. He would often testify with joy that he thanks God from his heart for having experienced this.
His congregation also was renewed in joy and received new courage by joining the synod. They then saw that their pastor, who had been so greatly slandered and had insinuations made again him, did not stand alone but had many fellows in arms who experienced something similar. They also needed this encouragement because hardly had the greatest heat of the battle against the Reformed and false Lutherans subsided when new enemies rose against them.
The nuisance of the secret societies was at that time already wide spread and deeply seated. In particular the Germans joined and organized several lodges of the Order of the Red Men. The Order of the Odd Fellows was also very much a favorite and the Germans all too frequently also sought out their lodges. Unfortunately, several members of St. Paul’s also belonged to these lodges. Wyneken quickly saw through the heathen, idolatrous activity of the orders and immediately began to testify against them. He showed how dangerous they were to church and state; he showed that they were enemies of Christ’s Church since they also welcomed Jews into them and the Christians would then have to pray and work together with them, and in addition they had their own chaplains (prophets) who had to lead their so-called acts of worship, etc. In particular he spoke with those members of his congregation and called upon them to leave the lodges. Thus he was, to my knowledge, the first pastor in America who publicly steadfastly rose up against secret societies and rebuked their works of darkness.
Naturally what he spoke in the congregation against the lodges and what he said to individuals privately was again reported in the lodges in a distorted manner. In particular, the German mystery mongers became his enemies, deriding and slandering him. Not only did they do this secretly and in small groups but in public streets when they marched in “festive” procession.
One day he stood before Buehler’s house and spoke with several friends. Suddenly a lodge of “Red Men” in full official robes turned the corner and marched past in procession. All removed their hats and scornfully greeted Wyneken as soon as they passed by. He cheerfully smiled as he looked on this rudeness. Similar things happened frequently.
Wyneken had neither destroyed the lodges nor had he rescued all his congregational members from them but yet the victory was again here on his side. The congregation as such recognized the abomination of secret societies and soon decided that no one else should be received as a member who belonged to a lodge and intended to remain a member of it. Several, for example, H. Hn. were convinced and left the society; others, for example, A. Hg. went elsewhere that they might have peace. Wyneken’s battle against the lodges became a blessing for many other congregations. He began it in the zeal for the glory of God and for the well-being of his congregation; we only followed him later.
He fearlessly offered a brave front to all opponents and mostly also a friendly face. Even in the most difficult battle he never lost his good humor; he never forgot to make a distinction between the weak and the malicious. He was always aware that his human enemies were only the instruments of the devil and the battle was really against him. He despised the devil as much as any upright Christian was able because he believed that Christ his Savior had conquered him. Therefore he regarded nothing as being lost when opponents stood up on all sides and acted as if they would devour him. He could have laughed at it if he had not felt sorry for the people who had been led astray by the devil.
We have now only briefly and superficially mentioned his battles. We must now see what he did for the proper edification of the congregation, for its spiritual care.
So far Professor Krauss
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LWML NEWS: We had our Epiphany dinner on 07 January. It was great, enjoyed by all and, of course, we had lots of food. Thanks to all of you for your help and time. Special thank you to Karen for the meat which was great.
From the Church Fathers: St. Cyprian, Epistle 62.8
Whenever water alone is named in the Holy Scriptures, Baptism is referred to, as we see intimated in Isaiah: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” [Isaiah 43.18-21] There God foretold by the prophet that among the nations, in which previously had been dry, rivers would afterwards flow plenteously and would provide water for the elect people of God, that is, for those who were made sons of God by the generation of Baptism.
It is also predicted and foretold that the Jews, if they should thirst and seek after Christ, should drink with us, that is, should receive the grace of Baptism. If they thirst, [Isaiah] says, They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and the water gushed out [Isaiah 48.21], which is fulfilled in the Gospel, when Christ, who is the Rock, is cut by a stroke of the spear in His Passion. Encouraging with what was before, He cries and says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” [John 7.37-38]. And that it might be more evident that the Lord is speaking there, not of the cup but of Baptism, the Scripture adds, saying, Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive [John 7.39]. For by Baptism the Holy Spirit is received; and thus by those who are baptized, and have attained to the Holy Spirit, is received the drinking of the Lord’s cup.
Give up heresy for Lent says St. Leo the Great
In his Sermon 46 on Lent, Saint Leo the Great (died AD 461) exhorts the faithful to fast from food and luxury and vain thoughts. And then he goes further and exhorts them to give up heresy for Lent:
For the mind then only keeps holy and spiritual fast when it rejects the food of error and the poison of falsehood, which our crafty and wily foe plies us with more treacherously now, when by the very return of the venerable Festival, the whole church generally is admonished to understand the mysteries of its salvation.
ASH WEDNESDAY IS 14 FEBRUARY—SERVICE AT 7 PM WITH IMPOSITION OF ASHES:
Sermon: St. Matthew 6. 16-18
It’s Time For The Lenten Fast
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent, the season when Christians meditate on the great price Jesus paid to save us from our sins. This season also reminds us to take up our cross daily to follow Jesus—even suffering, if need be, for His name.
As disciples of our Lord Jesus we are called again to renewed struggle against everything that leads us away from love of God and love of our neighbor. Repentance, fasting, prayer, and works of love—the disciplines of Lent—have helped Christians through the centuries in waging this “spiritual warfare.” The disciplines of Lent prepared the catechumens of the early church for their baptism on Easter, and prepare us today for a full and transforming celebration of Christ’s glorious resurrection.
Beginning in the tenth century, ashes were imposed on this day upon penitent sinners in preparation for their restoration to full communion with the Church. Since the eleventh century, ashes have been imposed upon all the faithful who desire them, as a reminder that the wages of sin is death, for “dust you are and to dust you will return” [Gn. 3.19]. We begin Lent marked with ashes on our foreheads, and end it with the reminder that these marks of mortality are obliterated in the washing of baptism: “We were buried with Christ through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may lead a new life” [Rm 6.4].
PRAYER FOR LENT BY ST. BRIDGET : We implore You, by the memory of Your cross’s hallowed and most bitter anguish, make us fear You, make us love You, O Christ. Amen.
LENT SERVICES: Our Lenten services are rightly especially dear and valuable to us. In them we examine our Savior’s holy Passion. What an important subject it is! What is comparable to them? How small and insignificant in comparison are all those things with which the wise and learned of this world busy themselves! The Passion of our Savior is the center of the entire work of redemption, the spring of all salvation, the source of all comfort, the firm foundation of our faith, the anchor of all our hope in life and in death. How important and valuable must the passion of our Savior be! And how dear to us should these services be in which we consider this story of all stories!
St. John 13.22-27
A Johannine Lent
St. Matthew 26.30/ St. John 18. 1,2
Strengthened For The Struggle
St. John 18.28-30
Two Ways Jesus Is Rejected
St. John 18.38b-19.6
Ecce Homo! Behold The Man
Public Examination of our catechumen
29 March—Maundy Thursday
Zechariah 9. 16-17
God’s Word And Sacrament Do Everything
30 March—Good Friday
Meditations on the Stations Of The Cross
THIS YEAR 14 FEBRUARY IS ASH WEDNESDAY, BUT 14 FEBRUARY IS ALSO ST. VALENTINE’S DAY. AND 14 FEBRUARY IS ALSO THE FEAST DAY OF ST. CYRIL AND ST. METHODIUS
And who are St. Cyril and St. Methodius? Commenting on St. Cyril and St. Methodius is our guest columnist this month, Pope St. John Paul II:
“One of the greatest events in the history of evangelization was certainly the mission of the two brothers from Thessalonica, Saint Cyril and St. Methodius. They were the apostles of the Slavs—they introduced the Gospel and at the same time laid the foundations of Slavic culture. In some measure, the Slavic peoples are indebted to these saints for their liturgical and literary language. Both were active during the ninth century between Constantinople and Rome, working on behalf of the unity of the Eastern and Western Church, even though this unity had already begun to crumble. In the vast regions of central and southern Europe the heritage of their evangelization lives on. To this day, many Slavic nations acknowledge them not only as teachers of the faith but also as fathers of their culture.” [Crossing the Threshold of Hope, pg. 109]
FROM OUR SYNOD—LCMS Stewardship Newsletter Article
“I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:8-9).
Without commands or even arm-twisting, St. Paul encourages, even challenges, the Church in Corinth to demonstrate the sincerity of their faith by their generosity in giving. He does this because giving generously is a gift of the Spirit given to us through the Gospel.
St. Paul wrote: “But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving” (2 Corinthians 8:7). In other words, just as we grow in faith and speech and knowledge of eternal things by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, so also do we grow in giving from the same Spirit through the same Word.
The problem is that the grace of generosity often grows cold in us. It’s not so much that we stop giving, but we don’t put it first. We treat it like all the other bills that must be paid. It becomes a chore, just one more thing to check off a list of things to do. That empties it of its spiritual power and robs us of the joy that Christ and the Scriptures assign to it.
On top of that, since this generosity is linked to faith and knowledge of divine things, a lack of excelling in giving is a sure sign that our faith and knowledge of God are under attack as well.
Thus St. Paul points to the foundation of generosity: the generosity of Christ Himself. Even though He was rich, He became poor so that we who are poor might become rich. Thus, the incarnation, suffering, and death of our Lord on the cross is the reason, source, and driving force for our generosity in giving to the church.
And since Christ who was rich became poor so that we might be rich in His grace—of which generous giving is part—so we also who are rich in His grace can excel in pressing His grace into service toward the gracious work of the church.
Pay attention to what you give to the church so that you may excel at it. And if you find that your heart has grown cold or indifferent toward it, immerse yourself in God’s Word. Read it at home. Attend Bible Class. Hear and listen to it preached in the Divine Service.
Be reminded of what Christ has done for you in His incarnation, suffering, and death. For this will strengthen your faith and knowledge. And where that excels, so will the grace of giving excel also.
Love: More than an Emotion
Love is described in the dictionary as affection that is felt for another. Love causes one to be devoted to the object of love, whether a person, place, thing or thought. People find the object of their love irresistible. People hold their loves dear and are very keen on these objects.
Love is a consuming sense that has the capacity to control a person’s life. To be sure, love triggers the emotional senses, but is love more than emotions?
Martin Luther’s explanations to the Ten Commandments began with the words, “We should fear, LOVE and trust in God so that. . .“ Love, being associated with the words ‘fear’ and ‘trust’ tell us that our motivations are entwined.
How interesting that the Apostle whom Jesus loved writes, “For God so LOVED the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” Love is of God!
God told Abraham, when speaking of the son He had promised, to “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you LOVE and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Can LOVE for God ever compete with our LOVE for our own family?
Paul, in his letter to the Romans says, “God's LOVE has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Indeed, LOVE is God’s gift, given to us to reflect His desire to bless.
Love is more than an emotion. Love defines our relationships, motivations and priorities. When your last will and testament is read, will your LOVES be evident? Want to talk? For more information, contact Robert Wirth, LCMS Foundation Gift Planner @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-863-4427.
or 314-996-1441 if you have any questions concerning this change.
PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION VS. CLASSICAL LUTHERAN EDUCATION...You can listen to in-depth teachings by Dr. Thomas Korcok of Concordia University Chicago on topics like: Methods Driven Education, Socialization, Technology in the Classroom, The Role of Teacher, Goodness & Beauty in Education, Teaching Worldviews and more. Issues, Etc. is a radio talk show and podcast produced by Lutheran Public Radio in Collinsville, IL and hosted by LCMS Pastor Todd Wilken. You can listen live or on-demand at www.issuesetc.org and on the LPR mobile app.
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This week on KFUO.org, meet new LCMS National Youth Gathering Program Director Rev. Derek Broten on The Coffee Hour with Andy and Sarah (2/7 @ 9:00am CT), begin studying 2 Kings on Thy Strong Word (weekdays @ 11:00am CT), and continue digging into the Gospel of John on Sharper Iron (weekdays @ 8am CT).
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