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 the life and work of Pastor F.K.D. Wyneken as he served a congregation in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and brought the Gospel to surrounding areas. This month we have first-hand accounts of his work from people that knew him and also vignettes from his life.
45.1 [part 5]—Friedrich Konrad Dietrich Wyneken
In the summer of 1839 the Pennsylvania Synod again sent a missionary to Indiana, Mr. Johann Joseph Nuelsen. On 02 August he met with Wyneken in Ft. Wayne and stayed with him a short time. What he reported to Baltimore about Wyneken is very important for us. On 16 August he wrote to Pastor Haesbaert, among others, the following:
I greeted Brother Wyneken after several hours when he rode from his home, which is with a miller, Mr. Rudisill, about 4.5 miles east of the city, into the city to instruct the children. I accompanied him into one of his congregations in Adams County where he also taught school for three days. He preached there in the morning and I preached in the afternoon. The people greatly loved him and were devoted to him. The Lord had already used him everywhere as an instrument of blessing to many hearts. On the way, we stopped into a house and the neighbors, two other families, came right away. This was a group of about eight souls who had been converted to the Lord mainly by his work. He generally dealt with the people in a very simply and childlike manner. He also planned to introduce church discipline so that there would be at least an outward discipline and change to the rough behavior of many Germans who wanted to join his congregation. He is completely in favor of German school teachers coming, and I too think that some could be placed where there are several settlements that are made up almost exclusively of German immigrants—and especially if they can teach in both German and English. In addition, he wants to be able to return to Germany soon in order to bring back even more candidates. If they would be content with clothing and food like he is, there could six of them in the places he visits. Brother Wyneken does not even know what he has or what he does not have. He is so unconcerned about the fact that he really does not have anything; instead he is content if he has something or if he has nothing. He has quite shamed me in this life of faith.
And now we have room for a word that Pastor Haesbaert wrote on 26 August 1839 to Pastor Fr. Schmidt in Pittsburgh:
Wyneken is a hero of faith like one is only used seeing in ancient times. O, how his example shames so many of us who sit in rest and comfort, with much abundance and do not present to the Lord, in his humble brothers, even the most humble sacrifice! [Luth. Kirchenz. II, 12]
On 10 September 1839 Wyneken himself could write to Pastor Schmidt: Here in Ft. Wayne the Lord has given us so much grace that we have built our own small church, a frame structure, to the point that we are able to hold worship services in it; a parcel for a parsonage has also been purchased.
This parsonage was first built much later and consisted of a tiny room that Dr. Sihler later used as a kitchen.
When he was home, Wyneken also gave instruction in doctrine on Sunday afternoons because he realized very well that there must be an interest in the youth if conditions for the Church are to be improved.
One day the young boys began to be neglectful and careless in their attendance at the doctrinal instruction. He admonished them publicly and privately, but it didn’t help. He then enquired where they were gathering and what they were doing. With sorrow, he had to hear that they played cards and had useless, idle talk. The following Sunday when the doctrinal instruction was to begin, he had the congregation wait a little and went into the house where his young students were assembled. Suddenly and unexpectedly he stood among them gave an earnest reprimand and then admonished them in a friendly way and led them with him into the church.
In yet a different way, he also came out firmly against sin and the way of the world. From his heart he hated dancing because it arose from the flesh and gave opportunity to all sorts of sin. If he heard that the young people were at a dance he was greatly troubled and did not rest until those in question had promised not to do it again in the future. On the other hand, he was in no way averse to acceptable and proper cheerfulness. Yes, he liked to see cheerfulness and liveliness in his presence.
Once in Ft. Wayne he had a man put in jail because he had mistreated his wife and he did not allow him to be released until the man, in tears, had promised to improve.
The way he admonished the erring and immoral to leave the path of sin and to cast themselves into the arms of Jesus Christ was very extraordinary. He would take hold of the hand of the one he was speaking to, or he would grab the lapel of the coat or vest as if he wanted to stop them from fleeing, or he would place his finger into a button hole and firmly hold the one he was addressing. Then he would speak from his heart, urgently, and with his kind eyes he would look warmly and inwardly into the eyes of those he wanted to win and insisted on a quick decision. As one who cared for souls, he was as zealous as he was loving and friendly.
Sometimes he seemed to be hard and loveless, but for the most part the result justified his method, which he used only to bring those in question to their senses and to make a mighty impression on their heart.
Once in Ft. Wayne a man came to him to announce for Holy Communion. Wyneken looked clearly at him several seconds and then said abruptly, “You cannot go to Holy Communion!” “Why not?” the man asked. “Because you are a drunkard!” Wyneken answered just as abruptly and definitively. “What? I, a drunkard?” said the man, now offended. “Where did you find this out? Who told you? May it go badly for the shameful liar! I want to know who told you this.” “Now,” said Wyneken very calmly, “the man who told me knows you best and is one whom you cannot contradict!” “So who is it?” “Come here. You shall see him!” Wyneken answered. He then stood up, took the man’s hand and led him to the mirror. He then said in his warm earnestness, “Now look in it. This man there with the bloated schnapps face, with the red nose, with the bleary eyes and trembling hands—he’s the one who told me. Now look at that man square in the eyes and say ‘No!’ if you can.”
But then with a moved heart he added, “See, dear man, you are a creation of God. He created you in His image; by the precious blood of His Son you are redeemed; and you—whom God so honored and considered worthy—you throw yourself like a sow into the muck of sin and wallow around in it!”
The man became pale, trembled and shook, confessed his sin and, in alarm, asked whether there was still help for him, if he could hope for forgiveness. “Yes!” Wyneken then said, “Sit down. Even you can still be helped.” He preached to him the grace of God in Christ and showed him that he must receive it. When the man finally got up and wanted to go home, Wyneken called after him, “I had almost forgotten. You can go to Communion!”
Another time, Wyneken had called a foul mouthed man a “filthy person”. That annoyed the man and he publicly threatened to soundly wallop the pastor. Several days later both met each other on the street. “See,” said Wyneken, “it’s good that I met you. You wanted to thoroughly wallop me. Now here’s your chance.” “Yes, I want to do that,” he answered half in embarrassment and half in anger. “You called me a filthy person.” “Quite right and that’s what you are.” “What? No one can say that about me!” the man responded angrily. Meanwhile about 20 bystanders gathered around the two of them to see where this would end up. “We’ll see,” said Wyneken to that all too bold justification. He turned around to those standing around and said, “People, all of you have known this for a long time already. What do you say? Whoever is of the opinion that he is a ‘filthy person’ let him say ‘Yes!’” “Yes! Yes!” said the whole crowd. And the man? He quietly slunk away from there. But Wyneken hurried after him, spoke to him in a friendly and upbeat way and soon had the joy of being able to boast of him being an improved man.
Wyneken had a great presence of mind and an amazing, ever expert wit so that he easily found the right word, was almost never embarrassed and could even stop the mouth of the mocker. Here are only a few examples of this.
Once on his travels he entered an inn, as they were back then, quietly sat at the table and ate his simple meal. A young vain man came in, saw the preacher and asked him in a rude tone, “So, you are indeed a pastor?” “Yes,” Wyneken quickly replied discreetly, “and you have that fact alone to thank that I did not throw you out the door.”
Although the event took place much later, we can place a similar anecdote here. When, after a long absence, Wyneken returned to Ft. Wayne and entered Meyer’s drug store, he met an old acquaintance. “Hello, Mr. Wyneken,” this man said, “How do you do? Are you still the old Pietist?” “Yes,” Wyneken replied, “are you still the old miser?” He had enough and went.
Another time he was at the same drug store and just when he was about to leave, a man who heard him preach on occasion, came to him and said with a serious face, “Tell me, Pastor, do you really believe what you preach? I don’t believe it.” “Just stay that way!” Wyneken replied at once. “And when the devil has you by the collar and drags you into hell, just keep crying out, I don’t believe it! I don’t believe it.” With that he jumped on his horse and rode off. The smart aleck went but several days later he returned into the drug store, asked for Wyneken and said, “The man made me uneasy. I must speak to him.” It came to pass that he became a believer.
This is how Wyneken worked in Ft. Wayne and the surrounding area. At the same time he was in constant correspondence with his Christian friends back in his homeland. The main purpose of this was to get more workers in the vineyard of his Lord. He was successful in winning Mr. F. W. Husmann from Bremen, Germany who came to Ft. Wayne in May 1840 and became pastor in Marion Township. Wyneken’s letters had convinced him that he was needed more in America than in Bremen. At the same time, mostly due to Wyneken’s influence, a club was formed in Bremen which made it its mission to win and send over church workers for America.
So far Professor Krauss
- Trinity Lutheran in Ithaca will host the LWML Fall Rally on Saturday 30 September. Please plan on joining us for what should be an interesting and informative program for this 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
- Our Ladies’ Day Out is Columbus Day, Monday Oct. 9th.
- On 29 October is our special 5th Sunday 500th Anniversary of the Reformation Dinner after church.
Beware of Reformation anniversaries!
“The great ecumenist and defender of confessional Lutheranism, Herman Sasse, once said, ‘Beware of Reformation anniversaries!’ He writes, ‘In view of the many Reformation anniversaries which we have celebrated…one might well ask whether we have now had enough of looking back to the past, whether we have heard enough speeches and read enough anniversary articles.’ The purpose of Reformation anniversaries rarely promotes the primary theme of the Reformation, which is encapsulated in Thesis 1 of the Ninety-five Theses: ‘When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” [Mt. 4.17], he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.’” [Albert B Collver, Director of Church Relations—Assistant to the President LC-MS, CTQ, vol. 78, January/April 2014 pg.157]
REFORMATION CONVOCATION 2016
On Saturday, 28 October, join fellow Lutherans from all over our circuit at Zion in Owego as we welcome Dr. David Scaer from our Ft. Wayne seminary. Dr. Scaer will lead our circuit convocation at 9.30. At 11am he is the guest preacher at the Reformation worship service. After Divine Service a lunch will be served.
LUTHER AND COLUMBUS DAY
Luther was born in 1483. 11 years later Columbus sailed the ocean blue. The time that Luther lived was an age of discovery. Luther, though, doesn’t mention the discovery of the explorers too much. In a sermon for Ascension Day, 1522, Luther said: “A question arises over this verse, ‘Go into all the world.’ How is this verse to be understood and taken since the apostles did not come to the whole world? No apostle came to us. Also, in our time many islands have been discovered on which there are heathen and no one has preached to them. Yet Scripture says, ‘Their voices have gone all over the earth’ (Rom. 10.18). Answer: Their preaching has gone out into all the world although they themselves have not come to all the world.” (St. L. XI 950).
Thinking people in the days before Columbus did not think the earth was flat; they just thought it was smaller—which is why Columbus thought he was in India when he was really in the West Indies. Luther makes the comment about the round earth in his commentary on Jonah [emphasis added]: The Romans have different names for the seas, as Mediterranean, Indian, Red, etc. The one which goes around the whole earth they call Ocean. [AE, XIX, pg. 9]
FROM THE CONGREGATIONAL LANDSCAPING TEAM: Since this year is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we thought it fitting for us to thin the hostas. If you would like hostas that have grown in the church gardens, please tell pastor who will reserve for you these special 500th Reformation Anniversary hostas for you.
From our friends in the Wisconsin Synod
In 1520, four of Luther’s works [all mentioned in the Reformation history quiz appearing in the newsletter the past two months] sent shock waves throughout the church of his day.
The first was the Treatise on Good Works. Luther directed Christians to look to the Ten Commandments for direction on what to do that would please God. Only what God commands is good when done out of faith in Christ. It is better for a Christian to serve others than to go on pilgrimages or follow self-imposed good works.
In the second, To The Christian Nobility, Luther challenged the princes to reform the church. He maintained that all Christians are equal before God and have the duty and right to oppose corruption and error. Luther removed the special distinction between clergy and laity; only ministry made them different.
The third, The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, shook the ground under the Roman Catholic concept of a sacrament. Luther identified only two sacraments instead of seven. Baptism and Holy Communion are the only two sacraments that have New Testament authority and were part of the early church’s practices. He defined a sacrament as a rite instituted by Christ that has visible elements connected with the promise of forgiveness in Christ.
The Freedom of a Christian is the fourth. Luther suggested that the Christian is free from all false ideas about good works. God grants forgiveness by grace. Therefore, Christians freely love God and their neighbors, jot to earn something from God but willingly to do what pleases Him.
STEWARDSHIP ARTICLE FROM OUR MISSOURI SYNOD
We are nearing the 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, All Saints’ Eve, 1517, when Martin Luther posted the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. So, let’s hear from Luther himself on the topic of giving and stewardship.
In the Small Catechism under the Table of Duties, Martin Luther gives specific Bible passages to help Christians know their duty in their various vocations as members of their family, society at large, and in God’s family, the Church. Under the heading “What Hearers Owe Their Pastors,” Luther lists five passages from the Bible, three of which have to do with giving to your local congregation. They are these:
“The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14).
“The elders [presbyters, i.e., pastors] who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages’” (1 Timothy 5:17–18).“Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:6–7).
Luther comments on these passages in his 1535 Lectures on Galatians. He wrote:
When Paul says “all good things,” this is not to be taken to mean that everyone should share all his possessions with his preacher. No, it means that he should provide for him liberally, giving him as much as is needed to support his life in comfort. . . . The apostle is so serious in advocating this topic of support for preachers that he adds a threat to his denunciation and exhortation, saying: “God is not mocked.”. . . All this pertains to the topic of support for ministers. I do not like to interpret such passages; for they seem to commend us, as in fact they do. In addition, it gives the appearance of greed if one emphasizes these things diligently to one’s hearers. Nevertheless, people should be taught also about this matter, in order that they may know that they owe both respect and support to their preachers. Christ teaches the same thing in Luke 10:7: “Eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages”; and Paul says elsewhere (1 Cor. 9:13–14): “Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the Gospel should get their living by the Gospel.” It is important for us who are in the ministry to know this, so that we do not have a bad conscience about accepting for our work wages . . . it happens when those who proclaim the glory of God and faithfully instruct the youth derive their livelihood from them. It is impossible that one man should be devoted to household duties day and night for his support and at the same time pay attention to the study of Sacred Scripture, as the teaching ministry requires. Since God has commanded and instituted this, we should know that we may with a good conscience enjoy what is provided for the comfortable support of our lives from church properties to enable us to devote ourselves to our office. (LW 27:125–126).
In other words, pastors are not to suffer from low wages just because they are servants of Christ and the Word. They are to share in the livelihoods of all to whom they preach the gospel and instruct in the faith, so that the Word can be proclaimed and the faith carried from one generation to the next.
IN OUR EFFORT TO AVOID EXCESSIVELY MENTIONING THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE REFORMATION, WE HAVE SEVERAL INTERESTING ARTICLES SUITABLE FOR HALLOWEEN
And [Jesus] called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. [Matthew 10:1 (ESV)]
Luther comments: It is true that the devil is seen and heard one time this way and another way the next time. But call upon God and pray. Let the devil scratch and crash about as long as he wants. You will certainly remain safe from him. Just openly and confidently tell him: You are the devil and remain the devil. But I am a Christian and have a stronger Lord than you are. Therefore leave me in peace. I have often experienced that he brought about a clattering in the house and wanted to frighten me. But I held my calling before me and said: I know that God has placed me in this house to be lord in it. If you, then, have a stronger calling here than I do and are lord in it, stay here. But I know for sure that you are not a lord here. You belong in a place—in the abyss of hell. I then again fell asleep and let him be evil, and knew for certain that he could have done nothing to me. [Wegweiser, 10 August]
Notice that although the previous article was written by Luther, it in no way referenced the 500 anniversary of the Reformation. Lest we be tempted to refer to the Reformation anniversary in the following article, we use an excerpt from a book written by a Russian Orthodox priest.
Only once in my life did I attend an exorcism—but that was more than enough. It was performed by Father Adrian: literally devilish and inhuman cries and shouts eerily resounding in a church packed full of people. The people were growling, bleating, squealing, and crowing. Some were cursing so vilely that I wanted to cover my ears. Others were spinning on the ground like tops and slamming themselves with force onto the floor—and in all these cases it was obvious that these people absolutely had no desire to do what they were doing. One well-educated and obviously intellectual man with a face that seemed to death was running around the church oinking and snorting like a pig or a wild boar, and finally collapsed with exhaustion only after he was forcibly grabbed and dragged to the priest, who sprinkled holy water on him.
The Russian word for exorcism is otchitka, meaning a “reading-out”—a prayer rite for the driving out of demons. It is frightful to describe this procedure, and even more frightful to be present during such things. How Father Adrian was able to stand it, I have no idea.
Father Adrian began his monastic path in the Holy Trinity Monastery. There he was also involved in exorcism, but secretly, so that no one would notice. They took place in a little church far off the beaten paths of the tourists. It is said that one day high-ranking Soviet authorities arrived at the monastery and, unfortunately for themselves, wished to inspect all of the sites of the monastery without any exceptions. This included the out-of-the-way church from which strange yells were emerging.
There was no refusing such high-ranking officials, so the monks brought them into the church, where a sluggishly speaking and extremely disheveled Father Adrian happened to be saying the exorcism prayers. The visitors were petrified when they saw people rolling around on the floor and screaming with savage voices. But imagine the shock of these high-ranking Soviet guests when one of the ladies who had come along with their group, who happened to be herself a very high-ranking official, suddenly began to hiss and meow like a cat in heat, screaming and rolling around the floor of the entire church—on top of which she began using such language that even experienced men of the world have never heard anything more revolting.
Later this lady came back to visit the monastery. This time she was all alone. She sought out that same thick-tongued Father Adrian and asked him just one question: what had been wrong with her?
Father Adrian, being a simple man, answered her very simply: “You have a demon inside you. That’s what causing your troubles.”
“But why is this demon inside of me in particular?” The lady was quite indignant.
“Well, don’t ask me, ask him,” Father Adrian replied, pointing with his finger at an icon of the Last Judgment—especially at a frightful image of a horned and repulsive creature. However, when he saw how his visitor turned pale, he hastened to calm her down. “No need to kill yourself about this. Maybe the Lord let this happen so that he might lead you through sickness back to faith.”
Father Adrian had grasped the truth. The lady began to visit the monastery frequently, confessed all the sins of her life, and took Communion. The demonic attacks ceased and were never repeated: her belief in Christ, her new life according to God’s commandments, and her participation in the sacraments of the Church all were sufficient to drive out any spiritual filth from the human soul.
However, Father Adrian himself began to have problems soon after this, because the lady took no measures to conceal her new attitude towards religion. The big scandal was only resolved when under very serious pressure from the authorities the abbot of the monastery sent Father Adrian far away to the provincial Pskov Caves Monastery, so that high-ranking and responsible Soviet comrades could now make their tourist excursions to the Holy Trinity Monastery in peace, drinking libations with the steward, and reasoning with profound condensation that “maybe there is something in this stuff.”
[From: Everyday Saints and Other Stories, Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), Pokrov Publications 2012, pg. 317-318. The 2012 "Russian Book Of The Year"]
ALTHOUGH THE REFORMATION THAT BEGAN 500 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH HAS AT ITS CORE THE TELLING THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS, WE WILL NOT MENTION THE REFORMATION IN THE FOLLOWING DEVOTIONAL WRITING:
[A tribune asks Paul] Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” Acts 21:38-39 (ESV)
“Church? Just let me be in peace! So many crimes have been committed in the name of religion. They’re all fanatics…” The Christian often meets these negative attitudes.
The soldier who had to protect St. Paul from a furious crowd thought the same thing. In Jerusalem there were frequent attacks by religious extremists. Some time before, just such a fanatic had plotted a rebellion. The soldier must have thought: who knows what this Paul did. If there was such uproar in the temple area because of him, he certainly must be one of these extremists—perhaps even its leader.
From St. Paul’s answer we can learn how we can react to prejudices against Christians. He was not silent. He answered calmly and to the point: “No, I am a normal citizen of an important city of the Roman Empire. I will not overturn it; I do not want a revolt.”
Just as sensibly and clearly can we dispose of prejudices. We are not extremists. We do not want to spread our faith by force [and where that has happened, it is sin]. We are not super pious dreamers who join the day-to-day politics with the Bible. We are normal citizens. We respect our authorities—and want to speak: to our people, in the places God has placed us. Like St. Paul we want to speak of Him who loves us and all people and has redeemed us and calls to Himself. The Lord grant His blessing to this speaking—for us and for our nation.
Lord, let us be messengers of peace for Your Good News. Amen.
[By Pr. Albrecht Hoffmann, in God Is For Us, 09 August 2017]
The following article from the LCMS Foundation has absolutely no reference to this month being the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The newsletter staff believes it has not excessively mentioned the fact of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in this newsletter.
Generosity in Your Own Words
How do you understand or describe generosity? Such a quality is described in the dictionary with words like being ‘kind,’ ‘big-hearted,’ ‘open-handed,’ ‘understanding,’ ‘not selfish,’ ‘caring,’ or ‘charitable.’ Often, these characteristics are attributed to a person’s ‘spirit.’
Generosity can also be described as a willingness to give money and other valuable things to others or in caring for the downtrodden or poor. In most descriptions of generosity, another word that is often associated with this quality is the word ‘bounty’.
Many people have experienced an act of someone being generous to them. If you are a person who is so blessed to have generous parents or grandparents, these experiences may have influenced a pattern in your life to act accordingly.
We are told by Paul in Romans 12:6-8 that ‘generosity’ is a spiritual gift of Christ to the Church. We praise the Lord for giving people in the Church this quality of spirit.
How ‘generosity’ is described in your own words probably has much to do with your own worldview, experiences or influencers. For the baptized child of God who believes in Christ, it is difficult to remember our baptism without recalling the great generosity of God Himself, who gave up His own life for ours.
Worldly and secular influences would prefer if Christians forgot this spiritual understanding. We live in a time where the concepts of generosity and love aren’t always connected with a generous spirit. Unfortunately, these emotions often come in the clothes of those who would seek to harm.
Among the people of God, His Church, we find that GENEROSITY is always accompanied by a selfless love that knows nothing but life. God’s generosity is an oasis that encourages and sustains our life, and gives joy.
For more information, contact Robert Wirth, LCMS Foundation Gift Planner @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-863-4427.
Comments for this post have been disabled.