Dear friends in Christ,
We continue our survey of Church History from the book by Professor E.A.W. Krauss of 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 comes toward the end of his life.
45 [part 1]—Friedrich Konrad Dietrich Wyneken
- The Patriarch
We still have to sketch the final years of our dear Wyneken’s life. I purposely call him a “patriarch” because he was a remarkable “old man”. But in no way does “old man” sufficiently express what I want to say, because Wyneken was truly a “right reverend” old man, and so I call him a “patriarch”.
Even before Wyneken gave up his office as synodical president, he was chosen (on 12 June 1864) by Trinity in Cleveland to be its shepherd and caretaker of souls. Its pastor had been called into another area of activity shortly before. At the time, Wyneken was still pastor of Trinity in St. Louis and it had hoped that he would return. The congregation did not want to release him from their service when he had first requested it. They placed the following requirement on him: He was to make a written request and then the congregation would consult before granting a peaceful release. He had already written the congregation in Cleveland that he was certainly inclined to come but at the moment all he could say for certain was that he had received their call. When he gave up the office of synodical president at the end of the synodical convention in Ft. Wayne on 29 October, he was pastor of Trinity in Cleveland. On 07 November (25th Sunday after Trinity) he was publicly installed into his new office by his old friend and comrade-in-arms, Pastor W.F. Husmann. The congregation had been served for two months by neighboring pastors. Now they thanked and praised God that they had His proven servant in their midst and in their pulpit. Wyneken was greeted with the most fervent love and with the greatest confidence so that he gained new strength that enabled to continue to work fruitfully.
When he came Wyneken was feeble, weak and almost despondent. He had already feared that he would never be able to assume a pastoral office again.
The many exhausting travels, combined with all sorts of unfortunate experiences with pastors, teachers and congregations and voters’ meetings, which were frequent and very draining, combined with a thousand other kinds of experiences that were all part his office of supervision pressed down on his soul and had worn him down and spiritually broke him.
In Cleveland, though, he soon made noticeable improvement. The congregation was not all that large; the majority of the members did not live far from the church and they lived near each another so that he could easily visit and associate with them; peace and order prevailed among them. The climate was very favorable for him and what made living in Cleveland especially pleasant for him was that his nephew Dr. H. C. Schwan had been pastor on the city’s east side since 1851. Wyneken could then enjoy invigorating visits with him where he could “let off some steam” and return back to the west side considerably cooled down.
The old man was certainly allowed some rest and ease in comparison with his earlier activity. He soon felt at home in Cleveland; his disposition again cheered up and he joyfully carried out his office—just like at first and, in fact, even more meticulously than an even much younger man could have done.
He was still an energetic and powerful preacher, just like in earlier years, but now he had experience at his disposal--experience like few others had. For like a rich head of the household, he could bring out old and new for the benefit of his hearers [Mt. 13.52]. Every sentence he spoke from the pulpit made the impression that it came from a heart that was tried, thoroughly purified, and rich in experience. On top of that, he was he made sure he spoke simply so that everyone could understand him. At the beginning of every sermon he was still seized by a certain unease, but when he got warmed up, the words again flowed freshly and joyfully from his lips. It was still the case with him just as it always had been: he did well according to the Lutheran rules: “Show up fresh; open your mouth” but he often forgot the third, “end soon.” He preached long, frequently much too long, and then had to end abruptly without having come to the conclusion.
He continued to prepare his sermons carefully and he especially made use of the postils of Brenz. He then wrote the sermons in a book and kept them. Yet, I dare not to assume that every detail was preached and much less that he had memorized them and delivered them word for word.
He also conducted the rest of the duties of his office with great conscientiousness and care. The school had a special place in his heart. In him the sick had an untiring friend and helper who would always bring comfort. The elderly in particular were also dear to him and they spent many blessed hours with him, even privately.
He strictly maintained church discipline and with great zeal insisted on good customs in the congregation and praiseworthy decency in the church.
Soon the congregation grew significantly due to the arrival of many immigrants. “Father Wyneken” could no longer conduct the numerous duties of office alone, so the congregation called an assistant pastor. The call went first to Heinrich Craemer but when he was then called to Zanesville, Wyneken’s own son, Henry, remained with him until Henry was called as professor of the practical seminary.
Wyneken was also very supportive of the civil authority and was always concerned for what was best for the city. When he found opportunity, he stood up for the government and its ordinances.
Germany’s rise brought him great joy. He was, in the good sense of the word, an admirer of great noble heroes. He lived in the history of his people and had a warm heart for their well-being and woe. For many years he had lamented that since the generation of the old warriors and heroes had died out long before, there were no longer any outstanding men. Then the wars against Austria and France broke out and there were men leading the Germans who were equal to the great heroes of old. Wyneken was pleased with Kaiser Wilhelm, Bismarck, Moltke and Roon. He had a great heart-felt pleasure seeing “old boys” so united, so modest and humble. However, the rapidly increasing open godlessness in Germany did not allow him to have great hopes concerning the welfare of the new empire.
Although since coming to Cleveland, Wyneken had somewhat recovered from his ailments, he was and remained an “old, broken man” and year by year he became all the more so. Rheumatism and gout stung his limbs, greatly tormenting him; then later there was breathing difficulty. In his final years he would place his left hand on his back while preaching in order to help support his weak back. It became increasingly difficult for him to stand up after he had sat down. His once so strong and noble posture, and his certain and firm manner had given way to a bent back, an unsteady step, a labored walk.
Although each year he had become frailer, his whole appearance became even more venerable and commanded greater respect. In old age his God adorned him with a charming dignity and a wonderful grandeur, not to mention a stateliness that is only allotted to those who become old and gray in the school of the Holy Spirit. His wrinkled face testified to great experience, which was in part very painful. His blue eyes, which still continued to shine brightly, announced both manly earnestness and the most heart-felt, tender kindness; his high and wide free forehead betrayed natural understanding and common sense; even the bright sunshine of his disposition was enthroned on it.
His typical Low German face was framed with silver-white hair on both his head and face. He mostly wore his hair long. Especially when he stood in the pulpit, this venerable spirited face shone or beamed as if a breeze of the Transfiguration lay upon it, as if it carried traces of contact with the living, majestic God. Yes, old Wyneken’s appearance in the last years of his life could most vividly remind one of the patriarchs.
Not only did he stand in his pulpit as a venerable patriarch, but also as he walked down the street. Whoever saw him each day did not notice him; but many who saw him for the first time, stood still, looked at him and asked in wonder: Who is this old man? He himself had no idea of this; he did not know that he was looked upon with such great esteem.
What a position he still had in the church! Although he no longer had a synodical office, was he not still the highly esteemed “Father Wyneken”? Did not even the brothers older than him treasure him as a highly gifted, well-tested servant of the God of heaven and earth? And did not hundreds of younger preachers, hundreds of school teachers, regard him as one who bore in himself the marks of the Lord Jesus? Did not many who were awakened or strengthened in the spiritual life by his service, call him their “spiritual father”? And wasn’t the esteem he enjoyed a wide-ranging one that extended far beyond the borders of our synod?
And now his position in his family! He was not just the son of a pastor, not just the brother and brother-in-law of six pastors and the uncle and great uncle of such. No, two of his sons and three sons-in-law served the Lord, his Lord, in Word and Sacrament. These servants of the church were his children and they brought him a host of grandchildren. Also in this regard Wyneken was an especially blessed father. Thus in whatever way we may consider him in his old age, we must say: he was a venerable patriarch!
Wyneken was a man of action. Thus in difficult trials, regardless of whether they concerned an individual, or the congregation or the entire Church, he would give exceptionally superior advise for the practical Christian life. Since he had been had primarily educated by the school of life, he knew how best to advise and to help in the practical area of Christianity. He was certainly not one to speculate, nor was he really a theological writer. He had only written very little, and what little he did write was also mostly practical Christianity. Lehre und Wehre has only two essays he wrote in volume 1 page 65 ff. … and … in volume 12 page 78. The Lutheraner contains more than a dozen articles from his hand. The Distress of the Lutheran Church is a historical work (XI, 113 ff.), which he never completed. Still very interesting and quite worthy of consideration are the letters he wrote under the pseudonym “Hans” (V, 113; VII, 97; X, 97; XII, 115; XXIII, 52). Most successful, though, is his final such work: Give All Respect to Blessed Harms! Just No Idolizing And No Worship Of Saints, Either Living Or Dead, In The Lutheran Church It is the last public word that we have by dear Wyneken—a word of the tested man, who may so speak because he is not only a Christian and a pastor but also an old, tried and respected hero of faith.
But didn’t this man have any weaknesses? Until now we have almost exclusively spoken of what is commendable. What about his sinfulness and his mistakes? It is necessary to speak of them as well so that it may not appear as if we had not noticed them, as if we had intentionally been silent about them. If he himself had to write about his life, he would have made a very long chapter of his sins and weaknesses because he was also honest in judging himself and knew the wickedness of his heart. Such self-knowledge is rarely found today. His sermons, his catechesis, his exhortations, his comforting, his conversations testify of a deep self-knowledge. He was throughout a “poor sinner,” who knew he had no merit before God; and in fact, he knew he did not even have a little glory before man.
Wyneken had a somber nature. According to conditions, sometimes more sometimes less, its natural weaknesses and bad behaviors were pronounced in him. His old friend H, rightly said of him about 20 years ago: “He is a valiant man but he also has valiant vices.” He could always easily blow up, appear commanding, dispute dogmatically, place demands in a certain “pious” wrath, pass judgment, which did not always come from the Spirit but at times also from the flesh.
To his great sorrow, the older he got, the more that these temperament flaws became all the more noticeable. Especially Saturdays, when he had preaching sickness, he could, be “very short” and forcefully send away and send home the people who “got in his way”—especially church workers. He was now often eccentric, irritated, morose and not only in his house, not only in association with individuals, but also in congregational assemblies. He liked to “grumble” a bit about every possible thing: church and state, bad windows and failed spires. He was occasionally “somewhat unpleasant”, and not everyone could associate with him.
No one understood him better than his wife. She knew him and could be silent and speak at the right time. She knew that the bad mood was only momentary and that he himself was terribly hurt by what came out of his mouth. I never saw her offended and sensitive but always was very ready and happy to meet her husband, especially then when synodical and congregational cares made him a bit cross.
In addition to her, her “nephew Heinrich” could always “rummage around” with the “old uncle.” He often heard his complaints and then with an anecdote, or by a good joke brought him to other thoughts; he often had the opportunity to give him serious comfort.
Whoever knew the old venerable “Father” in the final years of his life will have to say that this sketch is in accord with the truth. If he would be able to see it himself, he would say: everything is, unfortunately, true except that it is too short and mild and much is completely left out. He never made a secret of being a great sinner and although his weaknesses in word and deed are known, it must still be said that as a rule he also fought earnestly and gallantly again his old Adam and most readily asked God and man for forgiveness as soon as he recognized his wrong.
So far Professor Krauss
The LWML Zone Event is Saturday, 29 September beginning at 10AM at Grace, Vestal.
IT’S BACK TO SCHOOL TIME. HERE’S SOME THOUGHTS ON EDUCATION
By reading this newsletter, you are head and shoulders above most other people:
What the defenders of present civilization usually mean when they say that modern man is better educated than his forebears is that he is literate in larger numbers. The literacy can be demonstrated; yet one may question whether there has even been a more deceptive panacea, and we are compelled, after a hundred years of experience, to echo Nietzsche’s bitter observation: “Everyone being allowed to learn to read, ruins in the long run not only writing but also thinking.” It is not what people can read; it is what they do read, and what they can be made, by any imaginable means, to learn from what they read, that determine the issue of this noble experiment…. In a society where expression is free and popularity is rewarded they read mostly that which debauches them and they are continuously exposed to manipulation by controllers of the printing machine… It may be doubted whether one person in three draws what may correctly termed knowledge from his freely chosen reading matter.
It has been said countless times in this country that democracy cannot exist without education, The truth concealed in this observation is that only education can be depended on to bring men to see the hierarcy of values…. Yet the prevailing conception is that education must be such as will enable one to acquire enough wealth to live on the plane of the bourgeoisie. That kind of education does not develop aristocratic virtues. It neither encourages reflection nor inspires a reverence for the good.
[Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1948, pg.13, 49]
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THOUGHTS ON LABOR DAY
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. [Colossians 3.22-24]
FROM A RUSSIAN NOVEL
Khlobuev's face was glowing with emotion, and from the older man's eyes also a tear had started. "You will do well to hearken unto Him who is merciful," he said. "…Therefore take unto yourself whatsoever task you may, and do it as though you were doing it, not unto man, but unto God. Even though to your lot there should fall but the cleaning of a floor, clean that floor as though it were being cleaned for Him alone. And thence at least this good you will reap: that there will remain to you no time for what is evil—for card playing, for feasting, for all the life of this gay world.” Gogol, Nikolai Vasilievich. Mertvye dushi. English (Kindle Locations 5222-5227). Kindle Edition.
FROM A SCHOLARLY BOOK
Now when men cease to believe that labor is a divine ordinance, their attitude toward it becomes like attitude toward the secularized state. The state is then wholly man’s contrivance; but egotistic men are competitors—they are seeking to get the better of one another and to evade demands made on them by their theoretical equals….. The situation deteriorates because the idea that work is something apportioned out by men leaves people discontent with their portion and dubious about whether work is a good thig at all. [Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1948, pg. 76-77]
This month our Jewish friends celebrate their new year on 10 September and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, on 19 September. The following is an interpretation of St. Ambrose on the account of Gideon and the sign of the fleece. It will be helpful to read the account from Judges 6. 11-40 to refresh yourself in the background.
- Holy Gideon then saw the mystery beforehand. Next he chose out three hundred for the battle, so as to show that the world should be freed from the incursion of worse enemies, not by the multitude of their number, but by the mystery of the cross. And yet, though he was brave and faithful, he asked of the Lord yet fuller proofs of future victory, saying: "If Thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, O Lord, as Thou hast said, behold I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing-floor, and if there shall be dew on the fleece and dryness on all the ground, I shall know that Thou wilt deliver the people by my hand according to Thy promise. And it was so." Afterwards he asked in addition that dew should descend on all the earth and dryness be on the fleece.
- Someone perhaps will enquire whether he does not seem to have been wanting in faith, seeing that after being instructed by many signs he asked still more. But how can he seem to have asked as if doubting or wanting in faith, who was speaking in mysteries? He was not then doubtful, but careful that we should not doubt. For how could he be doubtful whose prayer was effectual? And how could he have begun the battle without fear, unless he had understood the message of God? for the dew on the fleece signified the faith among the Jews, because the words of God come down like the dew.
- So when the whole world was parched with the drought of Gentile superstition, then came that dew of the heavenly visits on the fleece. But after that the lost sheep of the house of Israel (whom I think that the figure of the Jewish fleece shadowed forth), after that those sheep, I say, "had refused the fountain of living water," the dew of moistening faith dried up in the breasts of the Jews, and that divine Fountain turned away its course to the hearts of the Gentiles. Whence it has come to pass that now the whole world is moistened with the dew of faith, but the Jews have lost their prophets and counsellors.
- Nor is it strange that they should suffer the drought of unbelief, whom the Lord deprived of the fertilising of the shower of prophecy, saying: "I will command My clouds that they rain not upon that vineyard." For there is a health-giving shower of salutary grace, as David also said: "He came down like rain upon a fleece. and like drops that drop upon the earth." The divine Scriptures promised us this rain upon the whole earth, to water the world with the dew of the Divine Spirit at the coming of the Saviour. The Lord, then, has now come, and the rain has come; the Lord has come bringing the heavenly drops with Him, and so now we drink, who before were thirsty, and with an interior draught drink in that Divine Spirit.
[Early Church Fathers, Post Nicene Fathers, St. Ambrose, Book 1]
ON 29 SEPTEMBER WE CELEBRATE THE FEAST OF ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS
We pray in both Luther’s Morning and Evening Prayers: Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
Why do we pray for the help of God’s angel instead of just asking for God’s help? Scripture teaches:
- For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. [Psalm 91:11]
- Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! [Psalm 103:20]
- “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. [Matthew 18:10]
- Are not all angels ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? [Hebrews 1:14]
We believe: The Lord works through angels to accomplish His will. A chief responsibility of the angels is to guard the righteous.
Pray: O God, Father of spirits, Your throne is continually surrounded with myriad of holy angels, always ready to execute the commands of Your divine will. Send one of these blessed messengers from above, to guard and defend me from those numberless dangers to which I am continually exposed. Give him Your commission to remove from me those accidents which must otherwise befall me, unless You protect me. O that I may never by any impurity of mine, offend or drive away this guardian which You are pleased to set over me! May he be with me in all my ways; through Christ my Lord. Amen. [Johann Gerhard, 1582-1637]
From: The Lord Will Answer: A Daily Prayer Catechism, pg. 446, CPH, 2004
FROM OUR SYNOD’S STEWARDSHIP DEPARTMENT:
It’s September, and everything is in full swing again: back to school and back to church attendance after vacations and weekends away. And since everything is back into full swing, it’s a perfect time to get back to basics, back to the foundation.
At the end of the first of his chapters on the virtue of faith in Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis provides a helpful reminder, by way of analogy, for the foundation of stewardship. He wrote:
Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already. So then, when we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what it is really like. It is like a small child going to its father and saying, “Daddy, give me six pence to buy you a birthday present.” Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child’s present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is six-pence to the good on the transaction. When a man has made these two discoveries God can really get to work. It is after this that real life begins. (128–129).
This is the first thing we are given to confess about stewardship, and it has to do with ownership. God owns everything, and we are simply managers — stewards — acting on His behalf. This is true not only of all that we have in this life (Deuteronomy 8:17–18), but also all that we are in this life (1 Corinthians 6:20).
The rest flows from here. Since we are stewards, or managers, of what belongs to God, entrusted to make use of it according to His will, there is an expectation of responsibility and accountability.
For the Lord said, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (Luke 12:48b).
And from this comes blessing and reward: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21).
We have everything we need to support this body and life from our God’s fatherly divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in us. We have everything we need for our spiritual life also from His merciful hands.
On account of the sacrifice of His Son, our Lord Jesus, through the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments, we have the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and everlasting salvation delivered to us with absolute certainty that it is ours — not as stewards but as sons (Galatians 4:1–7).
Let us then, as His own sons, press all that He gives to us into the service of His church and to His glory.
This week on KFUO.org, hear from missionary teacher in Taiwan Hannah Shull (8/20) and details about Concordia Seminary's Opening Service (8/22) on The Coffee Hour (weekdays at 9:00 a.m. CT), study 1 Corinthians with Rev. Jonathan Fisk and guest pastors on Sharper Iron (weekdays at 8:00 a.m. CT), and dig into a curious topic on God's ordering of the world with Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller and his guest pastor on Cross Defense (8/20 at 2:00 p.m. CT).
Then on KFUO.org, begin studying Galatians on Thy Strong Word with Rev. William Weedon and guest pastors (weekdays at 11:00 a.m. CT), hear about Back to School Breakfasts (8/27) and missionary DCE Krista Young's story (8/30) on The Coffee Hour (weekdays at 9:00 a.m. CT), and study 2 Corinthians on Sharper Iron with Rev. Jonathan Fisk and guest pastors (weekdays at 8:00 a.m. CT). Find these programs on demand at kfuo.org or wherever you get your podcasts!
DECLARING THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD...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: Marriage & Divorce, Responding to Roman Catholicism's Claim of an Infallible Magisterium, An Introduction to Isaiah, Jesus Teaches About an Unforgiving Servant and more. You can listen live or at your convenience at www.issuesetc.org and on the LPR mobile app.
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Seasons Change as Love Endures
As the cooler Fall temperatures and winds blow in the northern hemisphere, people begin to prepare for the impending seasonal changes. Our closets and our seasonal migrations reflect preparation.
Closer to the Equator, the changes are subtler. Yet the God-given cycles remind us that the winds of change are inevitable.
These changes remind us that one thing doesn’t change. It’s truth is based in all of Creation. History gives evidence of the irrefutable truth of God’s Word; that His love in Jesus Christ endures forever. His love is the eternal constant, the only thing that doesn’t change!
Changing seasons don’t only apply to the weather. It also applies to circumstances where we manage life and all of life’s resources. Whatever season of life you are in, God’s love motivates we who recognize and believe by faith, that faithful stewardship of material and spiritual blessings cares for what is loaned to us for our life’s seasons.
This stewardship reflects Creation’s First-Fruits. With God as the priority among earthly concerns, our decisions reflect how we spend time, use talents and share wealth entrusted to us. During our life we give the first-fruits to the Lord in keeping with the gift of faith given to us by God’s Holy Spirit’s Gifts.
When our earthly life changes from mortality to immortality, we can continue the planting of love that endures forever. Our own ‘lifetime plan for giving’, expressed in our estate and financial plans, can care for people we love and further ministries we care about.
Yes, change is a reliable constant in life’s sojourn. But God’s great eternal love in sending His Son Jesus to rescue us from being eternally forsaken by God, compels us to not keep His grace to ourselves. For guidance to reflect faith in your earthly plans during the seasons of life, contact us. For more information, contact Robert Wirth, LCMS Foundation Gift Planner @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-863-4427.
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