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 conclude our look at the time Pastor F.K.D. Wyneken served as president of our Missouri Synod. This month is a series of anecdotes giving us a picture of what sort of man he was as Synodical president.
- FRIEDRICH KONRAD DIETRICH WYNEKEN
[Part 2] The Synodical President
What he saw, experienced and said as he attended Synodical conventions and dealt with people at conferences and visitations is best illustrated by several anecdotes from that time.
After he began his tenure as president, Wyneken visited a far western congregation. The meeting lasted until midnight. The people spoke very passionately; it was almost tumultuous and Wyneken tried to settle the conflict but was unsuccessful. The meeting finally had to be adjourned without bringing about reconciliation. The pastor of the congregation was the last one to leave and was extinguishing the lights in the church; the president stood in the vestibule. There he heard from the other side of the street several of the most vehement opponents, mostly young men, strongly complaining about him and even saying that they wanted to soundly thrash him. Without giving it a further thought, Wyneken suddenly stepped before them and said, “Young men, I want to tell you something: I am not afraid of the devil and do you think that I would be afraid of you? You are certainly the most pitiful fellows!” He then gave them a blunt law sermon and calmly walked away. The men looked at each other bewildered. They respected for the president and showed this at the next meeting as they acted respectfully. One of them later became a strong member of the congregation.
In either 1860 or 1861 he was in K. to make a visit to settle a dispute on confession in F in the upcoming days. He was pacing with Pastor J. in the yard of a congregational member, pondering the sad events in the congregation. At the same time he was carving a small piece of wood with his knife. B., was one of the main people involved in the dispute about confession. Wyneken had recently dealt with him. B. ran after him and cried out, “Pastor J. taught false doctrine about private confession!” Wyneken peacefully continued on without interrupting his carving. He only said, “You lie!” B., who was very arrogant, then became angry and scolded Wyneken, “I think you’re afraid of me because you’re not standing still.” Then Wyneken, as flexible as a boy, quickly turned around and said emphatically, “Listen, B., I am not afraid of the devil, much less of your scales!” The ever so bold B. was frightened and beat a hasty retreat.
When the proceedings were to begin in F., Wyneken had such anxiety that his heart began to beat loudly. When they were about to enter the church, he said to Pastor J., “Take along Luther’s little book on confession, as well as pen and ink. I will then dictate to you three questions. I will then put these before the people and the men will either catch life or eat death!”
After the congregational assembly was opened, Wyneken’s anxiety abated and he was again the fearless warrior. He dictated the three questions and then sought an answer to the first: did Luther teach rightly about confession? The opponents of private confession soon noticed what he was getting at, and the above mentioned B., angrily called out, “People, the fox wants to catch us!” Wyneken then read aloud Luther’s praise of private confession and then gave a sermon that penetrated heart and soul so that all opponents ran out and stayed out forever. Peace was restored.
In 1863 a pastoral conference convened in Kirchhayn, Wisconsin at which also Dr. S. and several Norwegian brothers participated. President Wyneken had also announced his intention to come; but on the evening before the proceedings began, he was still absent. It already was dark and those gathered thought that this time they would not have the pleasure of seeing the well-loved president in their midst. Then there was a knock on the window and a voice called, “Is there still room in the camp?” All immediately recognized this voice, jumped up and called out, “Our president is here!” With “Hurray! There you are!” he entered and was greeted with rejoicing.
At a visitation a proud man ran after him and called, “Mr. President, I too am one of those who in Germany fought against the union!” Wyneken turned around and calmly said, “Would to God that you had rightly fought against your old Adam!” The brave opponent of the union left with a long face.
He greatly complained about the greed of the people in a congregation who said, they had no money to collect for the poor and to contribute toward common church purposes; they could only gather small collections and had to comfort themselves that the Lord saw the widow’s mite. But Wyneken knew them. In order to shame them he said, “Now then, forget the one cent! Give half a cent for my sake; and if you all do not have half a cent, two of you together can always give one whole cent.”
There were many conflicts to investigate during another visitation in an old congregation. These conflicts had already created discord between individual members and parties for a long time. The longer it went on, it seemed that they only fought each other over miserable inconsequential things. Wyneken told them that it was foolish and childish to fight about such things; but it was even more foolish and childish to bring them before the president. He urged them to bury the hatchet and settle the matters. But, alas, the people were offended; each one wanted to have “his rights” and know that “the sin of the neighbor” was punished. A frightening self-righteousness was so clearly shown. Wyneken was aggravated and finally said, “I wish you great saints would just once do a proper great sin so that you might learn what truly is sin; but you drown in your great godliness!”
At a visitation in H. C. O., L. from C. accompanied him. After the worship service was over the sermon was reviewed. All the participants lay in the grass and the sun, which the clouds had long covered, shone on their backs. L. then said that the Law had certainly been preached too sharply. “Certainly not!” exclaimed Wyneken, “No! No! The Law can never be preached sharply enough. In fact, it can only be rightly preached with sharpness so that the people wake up and come out of their security! But of course, afterward, with all diligence the Gospel must be preached in it absolute fullness, sweetness and beauty so that the sinners summon the courage to throw themselves, as they are, into God’s arms of grace!”
He was also very diligent in visiting the schools. He liked to listen to the children’s singing and if they sang a song he liked, he would ask them to repeat it. He did that one day in Pastor Str.’s school. The children had sung In the Midst of Earthly Life well and sincerely. He wanted to hear the glorious hymn once more and his request was fulfilled with joy.
More often he was dissatisfied with discipline in the school. All disorder, all slovenly, frivolous conduct was odious to him; instead, he loved punctuality, order and strong discipline. But even more than that, he wanted the teachers to be merciful toward their students. Based upon his rich experience he said well: “Seldom have I found a merciful teacher.” But here he also complained about himself for lacking so much of the merciful patience and a tolerating love.
When the visitations were over, he could tell the congregations and pastors the straightforward truth without hurting them with it. For example, Pastor J. tells the following about him: “When Wyneken had his first visitation with me, I was still a young pastor. After the worship and congregational assembly were over, he took me by the arm and said, ‘Now we will go a little into the thicket.’ When we arrived there, he sat on a tree trunk lying on the ground, laid his hand on my leg and said, ‘My dear J., I am now president and so I straighten you out; one day when you are president then straighten me out.’ And then with fatherly words he critiqued me for this and that wrong thing and gave me instruction for improvement in such a way that I held him dearer with each moment.”
At another visitation he said to a young preacher after the service, “My dear L. I was very happy with the sermon; only the conclusion was terrible! Do you know how it seemed to me? Just like as if someone pours out the best food in the troughs for the sows and then entices them there to eat it. But as soon as they come and want to put their snouts into the trough, he hits them with a club so that they are terrified and run away howling. You see, one must not only show the sinners the heavenly treasures, one must also encourage then to seize them and take them home.”
In the Synod in I. there was much talk about contributions for church purposes. Much was said that sounded as if a person could and would control the giving of Christians. Wyneken spoke out against this unambiguously. He wanted everyone to be allowed to know the freedom of giving according to his own judgment and concluded with the words, “I do not allow anyone to look into my wallet!”
Many of his remarks he made at synods and conferences, in gatherings and in private conversations were instructive, rousing, comforting and worth keeping. They flowed freely spontaneously and unsuspectingly from his heart.
One day he gave a very joyful and comforting sermon. Afterwards S. came and lamented to him that he found it so hard to believe the Gospel so simply. “Yes,” Wyneken said sighing, “it’s the same with me!” “How?” S. responded, “You gave an absolutely delightful sermon!” “Ah!” Wyneken said, “So you then think that I so firmly believe what I have just preached?” He then added, “O, who can always believe so firmly?” Thus he was always aware of his weakness.
Another time he said sadly, “I may not go to confession any more. I always promise improvement but nothing comes from it.”
Often a great anxiety and distress would suddenly come upon him.
Once he came to A. to preach during a vacancy. Teacher B. picked him up at the train station and brought him to Mr. P.’s house where the vacancy pastors had their quarters. There he sat on the bench in front of the house and spoke of this and that. When B. expressed certain fears, Wyneken began to comfort him most wonderfully. When he did that, he said unexpectedly, “So, now comfort me. I do not know how to advise and help myself. Tell me at least a little verse.” B. at first somewhat surprised to have to comfort the president, then said to him, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” He was then again soothed.
In dealings with people, he seldom let it be known what weighed on his heart; the good-nature, the timely wit was more prominent.
Once he and Professor C. visited Pastor J. at Ft. Wayne. On the way back they stopped by the farmer, Konrad T. It was around harvest time and T.’s people complained that they could never get all their work done. Professor C. consoled them saying that it is the same for him. Wyneken then laughed and said, “Yes, so it is for you farmers and professors; you want to do everything yourself and not let God do anything!”
When he departed Ft. Wayne in October 1864, he said kindly, “Now I will give you one more piece of fine advice. When you come to A. you will find many large stones there, perhaps on your path. If you cannot lift them, let them lay there and go, then, around them!” Admirable advice of an old experienced man. May his memory be blessed among us.
So far Professor Krauss
JOIN US! Our adult summer Sunday morning Bible Study begins 03 June at 9.45. This year we will begin a cover to cover reading and study of our Synod’s new edition of Luther’s Small Catechism. We will be following a synodically approved reading schedule developed by Concordia Publishing House. Our course of study will take about 38 weeks. There will be a section to read each week which we will then discuss in our time together. The beginning section of the catechism is written by Luther and is always the same; the second half of the catechism is updated from time to time explaining, amplifying and applying these timeless truths to modern day life.
CATECHISM REVIEW: Beginning 03 June we will begin our review of Luther’s Small Catechism during the Sunday morning service. The catechism can never be studied enough. It has in simple form the basic teachings of the Christian faith. We target our review of the catechism during the Sundays after Trinity because this is the half of the Church Year we focus in on our Lord’s teaching [the first half of the Church year has as its focus the life of our Lord]. We encourage you to take your bulletin home with you each week and use that portion of the catechism that we reviewed on Sunday as part of your devotions in your home.
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. St. John 5.39
That is: because we maintain that Holy Scripture is God’s salutary word which can eternally save us, we should then also read and study it so that we find Christ confirmed in it. Whoever does not study the Scripture as Christ here commands us cannot know anything about eternal life because he lives without God’s Word without which human reason cannot rightly think nor speak of eternal life. Whoever studies Scripture but in such a way that he does not find Christ in it cannot obtain eternal life, even if he learns, speaks or even hopes much about it. Jesus says here that a person must seek, not judge; not be a master but a student. We must not drag our pride into Scripture but rather must get from it its testimony about Christ. And as long as Christ is not rightly found in it, the Scripture is not being searched correctly. –Luther [23 May]
REMEMBER: THE CHURCH STILL NEEDS YOUR OFFERINGS EVEN WHEN YOU ARE AWAY ON SUMMER VACATION.
DEVOTIONAL READINGS ON THE LORD’S SUPPER
Among us this food is called the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things that we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration [that, is, Holy Baptism—ed.], and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these, but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation. So likewise have we been taught that the food that is blessed by the prayer of His Word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me” [Lk. 22.19]
[St. Justin Martyr, Apology, 66, quoted in: A Year with the Church Fathers, CPH, 2011 pg. 166]
The bread and wine are not merely figures of the body and blood of Christ (God forbid!) but the deified body of the Lord itself. For the Lord has said, “This is My body” not “This is a figure of My body,” and “My blood,” not “A figure of My blood.” And on a previous occasion He had said to the Jews, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you”; “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.” And again, “Whoever feeds on Me, he also will live because of Me” [St. John 6.53, 55, 57]…. The bread of the Communion is not plain bread but bread united with divinity. But a body that is united with divinity is not one nature, but has one nature belonging to the body and another belonging to the divinity that is united to it, so that the compound is not one nature but two.”
[St. John of Damascus, An Exact Opposition of the Orthodoox Faith, 4.13, quoted in: A Year with the Church Fathers, CPH, 2011 pg. 103]
For the Sacrament of the Body of our Lord is the fruit of the holy cross, and whoso would eat its fruit with profit must break it off from the cross by steadfast internal contemplation of the Passion of our Lord.
Tauler, Johannes . The Works of Johannes Tauler: Meditations on the Life and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Following of Christ, The Inner Way: Being Thirty-Six Sermons ... (3 Books With Active Table of Contents) (Kindle Locations 6562-6564). Kindle Edition.
When you see the body of Christ set before you, say to yourself, “Because of this body I am no longer dust and ashes, no longer a prisoner, but free. Because of this body I hope for heaven, to receive the good things there: eternal life, the portion of angels, and converse Christ. This body, nailed and scourged, was more than death could stand against. The body the sun saw sacrificed and turned aside its rays [Luke 23.45]. For this body both the veil was torn, and rocks were burst asunder, and all the earth was shaken [Matthew 27.51]. This is even that body, the blood-stained, the pierced, out of which gushed the saving fountains, the one of blood, the other of water, for all the world [John 19.34]
–St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on 1 Corinthians, 24.7, quoted in: A Year with the Church Fathers, CPH, 2011 pg. 138]
WORSHIP NOTES: “In the divine service we have Christ’s own right of open, unrestricted access to the heavenly King. We may approach Him as if we were Jesus; we may come to him with the assurance that He will treat us just as He treats His own dear Son. In the Lord’s Supper Jesus gives us His own flesh and blood as our physical way into the heavenly sanctuary. No curtain now excludes us from the Father’s presence as it shut off the Israelites from the Holy of Holies at the tabernacle. The curtain has been replaced by Christ’s flesh. His flesh now puts us physically in touch with God. By His body and blood Jesus comes to us where we are and ushers us into the very presence of the living God. As Luther said, He is our ferryman; He acts as our Jacob’s ladder, our living, life-giving bridge between heaven and earth. Through Him we override the restrictions of time and space and matter, so that we earthlings can already now join with the angels and saints in their worship around God’s throne [Heb. 12.22-24]. By the presence of the risen Lord and by the gift of His body and blood in our worship we now have access to heaven here on earth in the Divine Service. Worship then is a supernatural mystery based on the work of Jesus in arranging our access to His Father’s presence. Its operation does not depend on our decision to meet together but in God’s call for us to join with Jesus in sharing His divine life as God’s Son. That is our heavenly vocation [Heb.3.1, 14]!”
From: Entrance Into the Heavenly Sanctuary, John W. Kleinig
FROM OUR MISSOURI SYNOD:
LCMS Stewardship Ministry
By Rev. Jason Braaten
Immanuel Lutheran Church – Tuscola, Ill.
“There are three conversions necessary to every man: the head, the heart, and the purse.” Attributed to Luther, though yet to be located in his vast writings, this statement echoes what Jesus taught about hearts and treasures. He said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34).
But which conversion comes first? I submit that the order is this: first the head, then the purse, then the heart. Let me explain.
Our Lord Jesus Christ dwelt among us to save us. He took on our flesh, fulfilled the demands of the law in our place, became sin for us, and suffered torture and death on our behalf, in order that we would be free from sin, death, and hell. He gives us what He accomplished through Baptism, Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper.
And so, He doesn’t just do it for us but gives it to us, makes what He did ours by making us His. Thus, we are called by His name: Christians. We have a new life in Him.
Through the preaching of Law and Gospel, God grants us repentance, a changing of our minds. It is a conversion of the mind. We are called to turn away from our sins and turn toward Him for forgiveness, life, and salvation. For when God calls us away from something, He is, at the same time, calling us to something.
And thus, He calls us to a new life, with new deeds. This is the conversion of the purse. Jesus said that “it is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24). “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Notice that our hearts follow our treasures, not the other way around. As Christians, God calls us to invest our treasures in His Kingdom to ensure that the gospel is preached and the sacraments are administered. He calls us to share all good things with the one who teaches us the doctrines of Christ. He calls us to be generous in giving to the church, for it is more blessed to give than to receive.
So where is your treasure? If it is not invested in the kingdom of God, then the only response is repentance—a conversion of the heart—and to begin doing just that. And as our Lord promised, where your treasure is there your heart will be also.
This is not to say that you earn your way into heaven. It is simply to say that as Christians, those who have been made to be temples of the Holy Spirit, who have been given a new life in Christ, who are dead to sin and now alive in Him, we are, actually, to live — think (conversion of the mind), do (conversion of the purse), and be (conversion of the heart) — a new life in Him.
And when you fail, know that God in Christ loves and forgives you and still calls you away from that and to Himself.
This week on KFUO.org, we remember and thank God for the sacrifice of the men and women in our armed forces who have died in our nation's service as we observe Memorial Day tomorrow. Hear about visit opportunities at CTSFW for young men and women considering church vocations (The Coffee Hour 5/30 at 9:00 a.m. CT), study the Gospel of John on Sharper Iron weekdays at 8:00 a.m. CT, celebrate National Donut Day with Andy and Sarah on June 1 on The Coffee Hour at 9:00 a.m. CT, and continue studying the book of Jeremiah on Thy Strong Word weekdays at 11:00 a.m. CT.
Listen to Worldwide KFUO.org, your radio station for practical Lutheran talk, daily Bible and Confession studies, daily worship opportunities, and current issues from a Lutheran worldview. Programs are archived at KFUO.org for 24/7 on-demand listening. You can also find our programming wherever you get your podcasts! Have a question or comment? Find us at @KFUOradio on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Don’t Leave Home without It
Family vacations, planned during summer months, involve packing needed provisions to fully enjoy intended destinations. You’ve heard the commercials, reminding us not to ‘leave home without it.’ This message corresponds to a credit card that promises to provide sufficient financial funds for travel risks and opportunities.
Financial resources for vacation cost is important to travelers. The promise of financial reserves evokes fear and greed, motivations for many. Some haven’t saved enough of their earned resources to pay for the enjoyment they desire. What if vacationers incur unforeseen expenses?
Like planning for financial excesses, so planning for the unlikely possibility of tragedy during family trips is another motivation that people consider before vacations.
Writing a last will and testament or living trust is also arranged in larger numbers during this season. Apparently, many don’t want to leave home without these important plans completed.
An estate plan that witnesses to faith, protects minor children and provides adequately for them involves a will that nominates a trusted person as guardian(s), who care for the physical well-being of legal minors. Additionally, parents nominate a trustee(s) to manage financial resources left behind. Minor trust’s provisions stipulate how property will be managed for their benefit, if orphaned.
Protecting minor children includes trust provisions in your will to detail how income and principal assets are preserved and spent, at the trustee’s discretion, for the children’(s)’ health, education and general welfare. If Christian education is desired, stipulations encouraging this are included.
Trusts for minors determine the age and nature of distributions to assure funds are distributed at an age when they can handle property. Proportionate ministry distributions can validate their parents’ faith, upon final distribution.
Don’t leave home without a ‘Lifetime Plan for Giving.: Plan today for blessings tomorrow, so Christ’s love, which last forever, can be exalted.
For more information, contact Robert Wirth, LCMS Foundation Gift Planner @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-863-4427.
CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR THE CONFESSIONAL LUTHERAN... Issues, Etc. is a radio talk show and podcast produced by Lutheran Public Radio in Collinsville, IL and hosted by LCMS Pastor Todd Wilken. This week's topics include: The Movie "'Solo: A Star Wars Story,'" The Visitation, Jesus Welcomes Little Children, The Marriage of Priests, Deaf Ministry and more. You can listen live or on-demand at www.issuesetc.org and on the LPR mobile app.
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