1952 Special Convention
ORTHODOX LUTHERAN CONFERENCE
January 30 – 31, 1952
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Convention Sermon
The Presidential Report
Roster of Attendance
Signatories to the Confession of Faith
Resolution Regarding the Church and Ministry
Resolution Regarding Devotional Literature for Home Use
Letter of Certification Regarding Subscription to the Confession of Faith
delivered by President W. H. McLaughlin, M.S.T.
The Text: Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Dear Brethren, “perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment!”
We are met in this, our first convention since the organizing Convention four months ago, as liberated Christians, as a great army of liberation, great not in numbers, wisdom, or strength, but great in the Captain of the host of the Lord (Joshua 5:14) who is with us. It is fitting that we should thankfully recall our liberation from the oppression of human rules and regulations. We have experienced the application of these rules in most tyrannical fashion, but we have not been bound by them. Only those who chose to yield allegiance to the commandments of men rather than to the Word of our God have been snared in the shameful yoke of hierarchical bondage.
And yet it is not to any supposed temptation on the part of any of you to return to the entanglements from which we have so recently been set free that I allude when I address to you the God-breathed words: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” I believe that we are all mindful of the words of Jeremiah 15:19, ”Let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.” The size and power and prestige of the corporate body from which we have withdrawn, in obedience to our Lord’s command in Romans 16:17 and 1 Timothy 5:22b, have no attraction for us. We counted the cost before we took that step; and even afterwards, “if we had been mindful of that country from whence we came out, we might have had opportunity to have returned” (Hebrews 11:15). But we seek and enjoy something far better than those earthly treasures which we have left behind, namely, the very heritage of pure doctrine and Scriptural practice and freedom of conscience which was once the most treasured jewel of the old faithful Missouri Synod. We desire, by the preserving grace of the Holy Spirit, to obey the admonition: “Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Revelation 3:11.
It is to stand fast in this liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free that our text admonishes us. This inspired admonition brings to our attention:
The Responsibilities and Privileges of Liberated Christians
I. Responsibilities of Liberated Christians.
II. Privileges of Liberated Christian
When we speak of the responsibilities of liberated Christians we do not mean that a human being should have a feeling of responsibility over against the acceptance of God’s grace. From our inborn sin, and its fruits in sins of commission and of omission, in thought, word, and deed, its guilt and punishment and dominion, we could by no means set ourselves free. Christ and He alone has made us free. We could not by our own reason or strength even accept the liberty wherewith God in His universal amnesty upon all sinners, based on His Son’s vicarious atonement, has endowed us. The Holy Spirit has graciously called us by the Gospel, enlightened us with His gifts, sanctified and kept us in the true faith. He has by the Law brought us to the knowledge of our sins and by the Gospel wrought in us the faith which accepts the forgiveness of sins, liberation from sin, death, and the power of the devil, from the hellish realm, and from the wrath of God. And all this has been the working out of God’s eternal counsel of grace by which He chose us out of the corrupt mass of lost and condemned mankind, of which we are by nature a part, prompted thereto only by His mercy and the most holy merit of Christ, without any cause in us on account of which God should have elected us unto everlasting life. We have been brought to faith and freedom by that grace whereby as many as are ordained to eternal life believe (Acts 13:48). Unnumbered sinners, with whom we are by nature in the same condemnation, and to whom we are “found to be most similar” (F.C., Triglotta, page 1082, par. 60), for whom the same ransom price was paid, and whom God’s universal grace endowed with the same liberty, remain in their chains. And we were as unable to escape as they. Truly Christ alone, and not we ourselves, is responsible for our liberation.
But our text addresses us as those who have been made free by Christ, and by divinely wrought faith have accepted that liberty. And it admonishes us to “stand fast,” that is, to be steadfast, not to lie down and sleep, but stand up. They that are secure and negligent cannot keep this liberty, for our adversary the devil is doing everything in his power to deprive us of it and to reduce us again to slavery under his diabolical rule. But what can we do against the deep guile and the great might of the old evil foe? The Valiant One who fights for us tells us where to find His power to make and keep us free: “If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31,32. Only by the use of the sword of the Spirit, the full truth of God’s Word, can we “stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.” Only as we are saturated with God’s Word, hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest it, can we draw from it the power and joy and steadfastness to hold fast our blessed liberty in Christ. We have His word for it: “Blessed are they that hear the Word of God, and keep it.” Luke 11:28. This is the master weapon of our defensive and offensive warfare, the nourishment of our souls, the light of our path, the security of our spiritual liberty. Not grand schemes of human devising, not new measures, not ecclesiastical machinery, not organization, techniques, psychology, publicity, but the Word of God must build and preserve the Church and the individual Christian. “What the Word does not do remains forever undone.” (Luther).
While emphasizing the source of power for obtaining our spiritual objective, we must not overlook the nature of that objective. The reason why so many strive to accomplish the work of the Church by other means than the only effective means is that they are not clear as to their objective. Great organizations can be built, masses of people can be won, the world can be impressed, by other means than the Word of God. But the objective placed before us in our text cannot be attained by any other means. That objective is to “stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.” “Liberty” is in everyone’s mouth today. But not “the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.” Where is that liberty? Luther answers in his great Commentary on Galatians: “In the conscience. There resteth our liberty, and goeth no farther. For Christ hath made us free, not civilly, nor carnally, but divinely; that is to say, we are made free in such sort, that our conscience is free and quiet, not fearing the wrath of God to come. This is that true and inestimable liberty, to the excellency and majesty whereof if we compare the other, they are but as one drop of water in respect of the whole sea. For who is able to express what a thing it is, when a man is assured in his heart that God neither is, nor will be angry with him, but will be for ever a merciful and loving Father unto him, for Christ’s sake? ……Wherefore, this is an inestimable liberty, that we are made free from the wrath of God forever; and is greater than heaven and earth, and all other creatures.” “This liberty Christ hath purchased with no other price than with His own blood, to deliver us, not from any bodily or temporal servitude, but from a spiritual and everlasting bondage under mighty and invincible tyrants, to wit, the law, sin, death, and the devil, and so to reconcile us unto God His Father.”
The distinctive privileges of liberated Christians may be summed up as freedom from the yoke of bondage that we may take upon us the easy yoke of Christ. The Galatians whom St. Paul addresses in this letter were in great danger of falling back again from grace and faith to the law and works. Therefore he speaks very contemptuously of the law, calling it a hard bondage and a servile yoke. And the gross legalism which threatened to bring about their fall from grace is by no means a temptation which holds no perils for us of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference, for it is deeply ingrained in our nature and is part of our common humanity. “For,” says Luther, “this pernicious opinion of the law, that it justifieth and maketh men righteous before God, is deeply rooted in man’s reason, and all mankind is so wrapped in it, that it can hardly get out.” We dare never lose sight of the fact that the conflict in which we have engaged must be fought out, not for the victory of “our side”, for the vindication of our actions, and the discomfiture of our opponents, but for the purity of the unconditioned Gospel which we and our hearers need for the salvation of our souls. If we should begin to take pride in our struggles and sufferings, and make these our righteousness, then indeed all would be lost the Truth, God’s Word, pure doctrine, the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation then we should have become “entangled again with the yoke of bondage!” Never shall I forget Dr. Franz Pieper’s “O weh! O weh!” when he spoke to a candidate class of the awful possibility that some of them, after a richly blessed ministry, might fall into the snare of taking a little credit to themselves for what God had done through them. The peril is very imminent. God has done great things for us and through us, and we shall not surrender our conviction that He has great blessings in store for the Orthodox Lutheran Conference, but let us, upon peril of our salvation, never forget the humble confession of liberated Christians: “Not unto us, 0 Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake.” Psalm 115:1.
But there is a more subtle legalism which also threatens us. The specific warning against this legalistic peril is sounded in 1 Corinthians 7:23, “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men”. Do not think that because our very existence as a church body is due in large measure to our opposition to a synodical polity, that therefore there is never any danger of our succumbing to human rule and authority in the Church of Christ. Remember that the Missouri Synod at its founding was as strongly anti-hierarchical as we are today, that in our polity, as in our doctrine, we are harking back to what that organization once was. May God preserve us from any loyalty to the mere name and organization of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference, right or wrong, and keep us loyal to Him who purchased and won us to be His own! “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.”
Human rule and authority in Christ’s Church are a shameful “yoke of bondage”. May God preserve us from becoming entangled again in this yoke of bondage! But it is our privilege as liberated Christians to take upon us another yoke, a yoke which can never by any possibility become a yoke of bondage, for our blessed Savior, whose service is perfect freedom, calls it “My yoke”, and assures us: “My yoke is easy,” Matthew 11:29. As surely as human authority in the Church entails slavery, the yoke of bondage, so surely does Christ’s authority in His Church bring freedom, the easy yoke. Divine authority never enslaves, and whoever struggles against it struggles against his own liberty and felicity. The organization of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference was not an act of rebellion. We are not a “Lutheran revolt group”. We find our whole liberty in subjection to the Word of our God. We want no other freedom than the freedom to obey Him “whose we are, and whom we serve.,Acts 27:23. That is the “liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,” when He “purchased and won us from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that we may be His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.” Amen
In a group so small as ours, coming from such widely separated sections of our country, yet keeping in such close contact with one another by correspondence, and so closely knit in spirit, it will hardly be expected that the president render a detailed informational report on the state of our Conference. Rather it is one of the purposes of our meeting in convention to hear first-hand reports from the representatives of the various congregations of our fellowship. In a summary way, it may be said that the situation has been clarified in Tinley Park, Illinois, Pastor Mensing; Wilmot, South Dakota, Pastor Bloedel; Coos Bay, Oregon, Pastor Koehlinger; and Minneapolis, Minnesota, Pastor O. G. Schupmann; in all which places we have internally unified and peaceful congregations. At Chesterfield, Missouri, Pastor G. G. Schupmann, where we have the valued privilege of holding our sessions; at Okabena, Minnesota, Pastor George Schweikert; and at Plymouth, Nebraska, Pastor A. M. Schupmann, the battle for the truth is still being waged internally; so also in Pastor Walter Buhl’s congregation at Springfield, Minnesota, as yet bearing no formal relation to our organization, although we know that Brother Buhl is one with us in spirit. Pastor A. T. Kretzmann, at Crete, Illinois, has not only rendered most outstanding fraternal services, especially to the brethren Mensing and Natterer, but his congregation has also formally declared its fellowship with the Orthodox Lutheran Conference and generously contributed (without stipulation or restrictions) to our treasury. That we reciprocate the fellowship declared by this orthodox congregation of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod is inherent in the very principles upon which we were founded. It should also be mentioned that Pastor Hallstein, of Corona, South Dakota, though not affiliated with our organization, has also rendered fraternal services to Brother Bloedel. Pastor Francis Schupmann, of Frazee, Minnesota, is at present the only brother holding “interim membership” in the Orthodox Lutheran Conference, but as such enjoys all the prerogatives of membership except holding office, and is entitled to any fraternal service which we can render him upon his request therefor. Our other Missouri Synod visitors at the organizing convention in Okabena, Pastors Bramscher and Schleef, hold their place in our thoughts and prayers and are welcome at subsequent conventions in the same capacity until such time as developments in their congregations may make it possible and advisable for them to apply for membership. Our brethren in the Wisconsin and Norwegian Synods who have shown their interest by attendance or correspondence are not looked upon as prospective members of our Conference but as esteemed and highly valued friends and brethren in the Faith.
Our brethren in Winter Haven, Florida, have recently, with the advice and assistance of Dr. P. E. Kretzmann, organized an Orthodox Lutheran congregation, which, I understand, is to be represented at this convention. My own faithful group in Pittsburgh, consisting at present of only five families, but stalwart in the full truth of the Word, has recently also enjoyed the presence, advice, and encouragement of Vice President Kretzmann; and while not as yet in a position to organize or to provide for my continued residence in Pittsburgh, is determined to work together and meet together for mutual edification until such time as the Lord opens the way for it to call an Orthodox Lutheran pastor. Brother Melvin L. Natterer, Vice President P. E. Kretzmann, and myself are at present without a pastoral charge, and stand ready to follow the Lord’s directions, as they may be imparted through our brethren, for further service in His vineyard. Our treasurer, Mr. Fred Niebruegge, and Board-member-at-large, Mr. H. A. Strumpler, have rendered faithful services in the offices they hold, the latter especially also by extended correspondence and much travel in the interest of the Orthodox Lutheran cause.
Outstanding service has been rendered to our cause through our official organ, The Orthodox Lutheran, by its competent editor, Pastor George Schweikert, and his assistant (unnamed in the paper for reasons known to us), Pastor Walter R. Buhl, who also deserves our thanks for his efficient services as secretary of our organizing sessions and stenographer at the Chicago Study Club meeting in November.
My official correspondence during the past four months has involved the writing of 115 letters, all of which have been typed by my faithful wife, some taken on dictation, but most copied from my handwritten rough draft. Several of these letters were sent out in twenty copies. My office has involved no traveling on my part except for the Board of Directors meeting at Crete and the Chicago Study Club meeting at Oak Park in November and for the present convention. My location at Pittsburgh made it impracticable for me to be “on call” as Dr. P.E. Kretzmann and the St. Louis brethren have been, but with my contemplated move into southern Indiana about two weeks from now I may be more available to brethren who wish to call upon me for service that involves traveling.
In conclusion, some notes on the business before this convention, correspondence I wish to bring to your attention, and the suggested program for our sessions, a matter which should in future be taken care of by a program committee appointed for that purpose.
For our doctrinal paper, the Church-Ministry Difficulty discussions in our pastoral conference and the conclusions reached by the pastoral conference should be briefly summarized by our essayist, Dr. P. E. Kretzmann.
The major item of convention business is the reception of congregations and consideration of any matters which the representatives of the congregations may wish to bring to our attention.
Ten other items of business and information, listed not so much in the order of importance as in the order in which they came to my notice, are the following:
1) Constitutional matters A tentative draft of a permanent Constitution for the Orthodox Lutheran Conference, upon which Dr. P. E. Kretzmann has been at work, will come before us for preliminary consideration. I believe that final adoption of such a Constitution should be deferred at least until our annual meeting in August. Dr. Kretzmann has also prepared a fine conservative revision of the old “Model Constitution for Congregations” which has been in such wide use in the Missouri Synod. The Constitution adopted by Peace Lutheran Church, O.L.C., at Tinley Park is also available for study, and probably also those of our congregations at Wilmot, South Dakota, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. I believe all of these, and any others available for study, such as that from Coos Bay, Oregon, should be referred to a committee which might report its compilation to our next Board of Directors meeting, so that a model congregational constitution might be adopted and authorized for publication by the next full meeting of the O.L.C. Brother O. G. Schupmann spoke of submitting a form for a Diploma of Vocation to be used by our congregations in calling a pastor. This matter might also be referred to the same committee.
2) The time, place, and nature of our next meeting (Board of Directors, pastoral conference, or special convention, or a combination of these), as well as arrangements for meeting with the Thiensville and Mankato Faculties previous to the Synodical Conference for a discussion of the Church-Ministry Difficulty, should not be left to the decision of the officers but should be determined at this present convention before adjournment.
3) A program committee for the next convention should be elected or appointed at this present convention.
4) We should consider authorizing an expenditure for the purchase of a mimeo- graphing machine to be the property of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference, and to be placed at the present disposal of Dr. P. E. Kretzmann for the production of his own valuable releases and other literary materials which the Orthodox Lutheran Conference may desire to have in mimeographed form, for example, the A. T. Kretzmann – H. D. Mensing “Examination of the Common Confession,” the stenographic report of the November Chicago Study Club meeting, and the like, although regular printing may be desirable for some items.
5) The founding of a theological seminary for our students has been suggested. This matter might be included in the consideration of a broad policy with regard to theological students, a number of whom, now studying at Mankato, are conservative men from the Missouri Synod, who could not with conscience serve under “new Missouri” conditions, and who probably cannot be absorbed by the Norwegian Synod. We should have a carefully formulated policy whereby such men can be put to work in the Lord’s vineyard and others of the same caliber may be trained for service in our Orthodox Lutheran Conference. Floor discussion, followed by committee work (including personal conference with the men concerned), to be presented for consideration and final adoption at a subsequent convention, might be the best way to handle this important matter.
6) I have considerable correspondence from a Finnish brother, L. N. Wilenius, who professes acceptance of our doctrinal basis, and is very anxious to be put to work in mission development under our auspices. Since he has asked for a personal interview with me in the near future, I should like to read you the correspondence I have had with him, and to receive your suggestions and guidance for dealing with this brother.
7) Pastor Paul Burgdorf, editor of the Confessional Lutheran, has asked me to convey his greetings to our convention and to express his regrets that congregational responsibilities do not permit his attendance at our meeting. My relations with him continue most cordial and brotherly, and he is rendering our cause a considerable service by printing the Resolution of Fellowship with the O.L.C. on the part of Trinity Congregation, Crete, Illinois, with my comments. Unfortunately it will not get into the February issue, but will appear in March. The February issue will carry a report on the November Chicago Study Club meeting. In this connection I would like to urge that any of our brethren who may be able to attend the C.S.C. meeting on February 6 and 7 do so by all means, as Dr. Behnken will be present to read his reply to my essay presented in the November meeting.
8) Another important communication which I desire to read to you is from Dean Madson of Mankato, giving his favorable reaction to the above-mentioned Crete Resolution and to my comments upon it, and an interesting statement made by him at a meeting of the Intersynodical Relations Committee of the Synodical Conference.
9) Since the suggested date, January 28, was unsuitable to Dr. Behnken, the meeting with him which I promised to report to you at this time has not taken place. Under these circumstances, I should like to place before you the entire matter of such a conference of your president and vice president with the president and vice president of the Missouri Synod, and the conditions to be stipulated for such a meeting, in order that we may be guided by your pleasure in this matter.
10) An individual or committee should be appointed to take care of arrangements for the equalization of traveling expenses.
Wallace H. McLaughlin, President.
Paul R. Bloedel * Florida: Immanuel, Winter Haven
H. F. Koehlinger Emil L. Weis; Jesse D. Shaffer
P. E. Kretzmann, D. D. Illinois: Peace, Tinley Park
W. H. McLaughlin, M. S. T. Lloyd D. Martin; Fred L. Rossow
H. D. Mensing Minnesota: Holy Trinity, Minneapolis
M. L. Natterer * J. H. Meier; H. A. Kurtzahn
A. M. Schupmann Missouri: Trinity, Chesterfield
F. Q. Schupmann ** Elmer Schaefer
G. G. Schupmann Oregon: St. Paul’s, Coos Bay
George Schweikert *** T. E. Fischer
* absent, excused Lay Members of the Board of Directors:
** interim member
*** excused Jan. 31 Fred J. Niebruegge, Treasurer
H. A. Strumpler, Director of Public Relations
The convention opened with a divine service at 9:30 a.m., January 30, 1952, in which the Lord’s Supper was celebrated under the auspices of the local congregation. The preparatory address was delivered by the local pastor, the Rev. G. G. Schupmann. The Convention Sermon was delivered by the President, the Rev. W. H. McLaughlin. An offering was received for the Fund for Equalization of Travel Expenses of pastors and lay delegates.
After the opening service the convention was called to order by the President and Chairman, who then read his Presidential Report, which is found on page 4 of these proceedings.
The Treasurer’s Report was given by Mr. Fred J. Niebrugge, showing an account of funds as of January 1, 1952, as follows: receipts of $1360.50; expenditures of $306.21; and a balance of $1054.29. This report was adopted.
The afternoon session was opened with a devotion led by the President.
Since not all the minutes of the organizing convention, held at Okabena, Minnesota, September 25 and 26, 1951, were available, the reading and acceptance of those minutes were postponed until the next convention. The minutes of the Board of Directors meeting, held November 27, 1951, at Crete, Illinois were read and accepted.
A report on the Orthodox Lutheran, official organ of the Conference, was given by the editor, the Rev. George Schweikert. A motion was made and seconded to increase the size from twelve to sixteen pages. An amendment was then moved and seconded to limit the proposed increase in size to the present momentous period only, thus allowing freedom to return to twelve pages when such return seems necessary. Both the amendment and the original motion carried.
There was discussion of either printing or mimeographing a study of the Common Confession produced by the Rev. A. T. Kretzmann and the Rev. H. D. Mensing. It was agreed not to devote an entire issue of the Orthodox Lutheran to it. A motion carried to print this study in at least a thousand copies for sale at twenty cents each or fifteen cents in bulk orders of twenty-five or more copies.
Pastor Schweikert asked to be excused from sessions on January 31.
Next came the formal signing of the CONFESSION OF FAITH of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference in accordance with Articles II and IV of the Articles of Agreement by the delegates of member congregations. This signing was done in a copy of the Proceedings of the First Annual Meeting of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference, page 55. Those who signed and the congregations for which they acted were the following, in the order given:
1. Mr. T. E. Fischer for St. Paul’s, Coos Bay, Oregon; H. F. Koehlinger, Pastor.
2. Mr. Lloyd D. Martin and Mr. Fred L. Rossow for Peace Ev. Lutheran Church, Tinley Park, Illinois; H. D. Mensing, Pastor. (In lieu of signing page 55 of the Book of Proceedings, the delegates presented a separate certified subscription of the CONFESSION OF FAITH, signed by the Rev. H. D. Mensing and the present delegates and dated January 25, 1952 at Tinley Park, Illinois. A copy of this is included with these proceedings.)
3. Mr. J. H. Meier and Mr. Herman A. Kurtzahn for Holy Trinity Lutheran, Minneapolis, Minnesota; O. G. Schupmann, Pastor
4. Mr. Emil L. Weis and Mr. Jesse D. Shaffer for Immanuel Orthodox Lutheran Church, Winter Haven, Florida.
5. Mr. Elmer A. Schaefer for Trinity Lutheran, Chesterfield, Mo; G. G. Schupmann, Pastor.
As delegates came forward to sign, they also reported on conditions in their congregations, telling past experience and future hopes. All delegates reported orally except those from Tinley Park, Illinois, who gave a written report. The congregations of Tinley Park, Illinois, and Winter Haven, Florida, also submitted their constitutions for examination and approval.
A letter from the Rev. A. T. Kretzmann, Crete, Illinois, addressed to the brethren of the O.L.C. and delivered by the Rev. H. D. Mensing, was read by the secretary. Brother Kretzmann expressed his regrets at not being able to attend the Pastoral Conference on January 29, preceding this convention, although he had hoped and planned to be present. This letter also presented an excuse for the absence of Pastor M. L. Natterer. After the reading of this letter from a brother who is still a member of the Missouri Synod, a motion was passed to instruct the secretary to reply to Pastor A. T. Kretzmann in the spirit in which the latter had addressed the Conference.
The Rev. H. F. Koehlinger of the Coos Bay, Oregon, congregation presented a resolution of his congregation which asked the question: “How does the O.L.C. harmonize the Articles of Agreement, III, 3, with Matthew 12:30, Romans 16:17ff.., and 1Timothy 6:3-5?” President W. H. McLaughlin read the Bible passages cited and answered the question. Others also contributed to the discussion. Agreement was reached among the brethren present that a more thorough explanation of the question be made available for the consideration of our people, of prospective members, and of pastors and laymen outside of our body who might be interested in the principle of fellowship. The following Bible passages were cited as aids in understanding the question raised: Galatians 6:1; James 5:19ff; 1 Thessalonians 5:14.
A motion was passed to hear a letter of Dr. Norman A. Madson, Dean of the Bethany Lutheran College of the Norwegian Synod, Mankato, Minnesota, to President McLaughlin. This letter showed the position of one leader of the Norwegian Synod on the question of fellowship with the O.L.C. according to Article III, 3 of the Articles of Agreement. Dean Madson expressed approval of the resolution on fellowship with our Conference passed by Trinity Ev. Lutheran Church of Crete, Illinois (Missouri Synod, A. T. Kretzmann, Pastor), in which resolution that congregation declared its full fellowship with the Conference.
A motion was passed to have the local pastor and his lay delegates serve as a committee for equalization of travel expenses.
The delegates of Holy Trinity, Minneapolis, Minnesota, extended an invitation to the Conference to hold its second regular convention in their midst. A motion was passed to accept this invitation. President McLaughlin thanked the delegates and asked them to convey the thanks of the Conference to the brethren of Holy Trinity.
A motion was passed to set the dates for the 1952 Convention and Pastoral Conference as follows: The Pastoral Conference, August 23, 1952; the Convention, August 24-25, 1952.
By vote it was decided to let the Board of Directors determine among themselves the time and place of their next meeting.
A motion passed to set the times for the morning and afternoon sessions on January 31 as follows: 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. The sessions of this day closed with the Lord’s Prayer spoken in unison.
The morning session on the second convention day, January 31, was opened with a devotion led by the President.
A motion was passed to mimeograph the proceedings of this convention in a thousand copies.
President McLaughlin read some correspondence between him and Pres. J. W. Behnken of the Missouri Synod. President Behnken wrote to President McLaughlin to arrange for an oral conference in St. Louis, Mo. The date of January 28, 1952 was suggested by our President, but this date was not suitable to Dr. Behnken. President McLaughlin asked the convention for instructions regarding such a meeting. Since Dr. Behnken’s request for a meeting did not state the purpose of such a meeting nor propose an agenda, it was suggested from the floor that such a specific purpose and definite agenda be established before our representatives agree to a meeting. It was also suggested that the convention concur in the request made by our President in a letter to Dr. Behnken that the Missouri Synod pay the expenses of our representatives since the invitation had come from that synod. The convention agreed also that the points to be discussed at such a meeting be stated by the Missouri Synod representatives, not by the O.L.C. participants.
By formal motion, duly made, seconded, and passed, each of the following congregations was accepted into full membership by a standing unanimous vote: 1) St. Paul’s, Coos Bay, Oregon; 2) Peace, Tinley Park, Illinois; 3) Holy Trinity, Minneapolis, Minnesota; 4) Immanuel, Winter Haven, Florida; 5) Trinity, Chesterfield, Missouri. The accredited delegates of these congregations had signed the CONFESSION OF FAITH the day before.
Dr. P. E. Kretzmann reported for the committee which had received the assignment from the Pastoral Conference on January 29, 1952, to summarize the discussion of the “Church-Ministry Difficulty” in that conference. A brief but thorough presentation of the salient points of the discussion was given to the convention for the benefit of those laymen who had not heard the discussion in the Pastoral Conference. The prepared summary was then read. A motion was made, seconded, and passed unanimously to accept the report as a brief summary of the position of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference concerning the doctrines of the Church and Ministry as discussed in the Pastoral Conference and in the Convention.
1. Regarding the Doctrine of the Church:
While the Greek word for church or assembly (ekklesia) according to its etymology may be applied to any group of Christians, and such a group has the rights of the universal priesthood, the specific usage of the word in the New Testament clearly indicates that Holy Writ applies the designation to a group of Christians in a limited locality, with a permanent organization, and with specific functions associated with the local congregation. (The use of the plural in Revelation 1 – 3; the naming of congregations according to cities Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, etc. Note in particular the “churches of Galatia” and the distributive use of ekklesia; rights and functions spoken of only in connection with churches bearing a permanent character.) A synod is a federation of congregations (and individuals), a service organization, not a super-church. We have no instance of a synodical organization in the New Testament, but only of cooperative efforts under apostolic direction and supervision.
2. Regarding the Doctrine of the Ministry:
While the individual Christian possesses the rights of the universal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) and may exercise these rights also in a group, as an individual bearing the keys, within the limits indicated by the Word of God, the public exercise of the Office of the Keys is in the hands of the parish pastor, who holds an office established according to God’s will and order. This office, as the best teachers of the Lutheran Church have correctly stated, is the highest office in the Church, and all other congregational and ecclesiastical positions and offices are auxiliary to this office, as clearly indicated in the New Testament. (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:1- 13; 5:17; etc.) More Church and Ministry Documents
The Committee: F. Schupmann
H. F. Koehlinger
P. E. Kretzmann
W. H. McLaughlin, ex officio
A resolution was adopted to print the foregoing summary in the Orthodox Lutheran, with comments by Dr. P. E. Kretzmann if he wishes to add to them.
The afternoon session was opened with a devotion led by the President.
Much time was given to a proposed synodical constitution, drafted by Dr. P. E. Kretzmann and presented by him for discussion.
The Preamble (as in the Articles of Agreement) was adopted with the following change in wording: in the last paragraph, the last sentence, “we hereby withdraw” should be altered to read “we have withdrawn.”
Articles I, II, and III were adopted. In Article IV the second section was voted to be omitted. There was much discussion of the third section, concerning the voting power of persons holding individual membership, i.e., outside of member congregations. Article IV was then adopted as changed (but see below a vote to reconsider it).
By the way it was agreed that Mr. H. A. Strumpler continue to receive and keep record of subscriptions to the CONFESSION OF FAITH.
A motion was passed to reconsider Article IV after the IXth and final article had been presented. A motion was passed to add to Article V, point one, the words: “…and agreement with the objectives stated in Article III.” The article was then adopted as amended. Article VI was discussed at length. A motion was adopted to change the last clause of the last sentence to read: “…unless it finds that the matter is clearly decided by the Word of God.” Then a motion was passed to refer this article back to Dr. P. E. Kretzmann with the instruction to revise the fourth sentence, beginning with the words: “No resolution of the Conference..,” to agree with the original German constitution of the Missouri Synod on this point.
Articles VII and VIII were adopted. A motion was adopted to add Articles III and IX to the list of unalterable and irrepealable articles given in the first sentence of Article IX. Article IX was then adopted as amended.
Article IV came up for reconsideration. No agreement was reached on point three. A motion was adopted to defer further discussion and adoption of Articles IV and VI until the convention in August, 1952.
It was reported that By-Laws would be ready for discussion at the next convention. The suggestion was made by the President that the By-Laws contain some limit on tenure of office.
A motion was adopted giving a member congregation three votes at the 1952 Convention in Minneapolis one for the pastor and one each for two delegates, and giving a person holding individual membership the right to vote and to hold office.
A motion was adopted to have the host pastor, his delegates, and another pastor serve as the program committee for the Minneapolis convention. Dr. P. E. Kretzmann was elected to serve as the second pastor. The host pastor was declared the chairman of the committee.
A resolution was adopted to ask Pastors W. H. McLaughlin and O. G. Schupmann to serve as a committee to keep in contact with certain Finnish pastors who have expressed an interest in the position and work of the Conference.
The matter of a model constitution for congregations was discussed. Dr. P. E. Kretzmann reported that he has revised the old Missouri model for use. It was resolved to have a committee of two to consider and report at a future convention upon a model constitution and a standard diploma of vocation. Pastors H. D. Mensing and O. G. Schupmann were elected to this committee. There was some discussion of the naming of individual organizations like the Boy Scouts, the Masons, and the like in constitutions.
A question of great importance to the Conference, namely, that concerning the training of theological students, received consideration. The possibility of making arrangements with acceptable Synodical Conference schools was noted. It was agreed that Pastors G. G. Schupmann and W. H. McLaughlin serve as a committee to study the entire matter and that they have authority to coopt help.
The suggestion was made that the Conference purchase a mimeograph for necessary printing. Pastor O. G. Schupmann made the offer that he and his members would be willing to do as much mimeograph work as possible for the Conference, thus obviating the need of buying a machine at the present time. This offer was accepted with thanks.
The secretary reported on attendance at the Pastoral Conference and the Convention as follows: 8 pastors attended the Pastoral Conference, with laymen also present throughout the conference; 9 pastors attended the Convention; 2 pastors were absent from all sessions and were excused; 8 accredited lay delegates from 5 member congregations attended the Convention; 4 non-delegate laymen from the host congregation attended the sessions; and 6 laymen who came by special invitation. Totals were: 21 O.L.C. pastors and laymen and 6 special guests were in attendance for all or part of the convention.
Mr. H. A. Strumpler estimated that from $2000 to $2500 would be needed within the next six months for necessities.
President McLaughlin read sections of “A Report to the Presidium of the Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod from The Advisory Committee on Doctrine and Practice,” dated August 15, 1951, which treats especially the attacks made via memorials against certain essays of Dr .William Arndt. The President pointed out that this report rejects most of the charges brought against Dr. Arndt and supports the position of Dr. Arndt. This report seemed to members of the O.L.C. here present to furnish additional justification for their withdrawal from the Missouri Synod.
RESOLVED, that the Orthodox Lutheran Conference recommend to congregations:
1) that instead of the devotional booklets published by the Missouri Synod, which are frequently unsound or, at least, shallow in doctrine, our people be advised to use for devotional purposes at home either Holy Scripture itself or, in conjunction with the Bible, such fully acceptable books as Herzberger’s Family Altar, Zorn’s Crumbs, etc.; and
2) that our Sunday Schools be advised to use the regular orthodox Bible Histories instead of the usual leaflets and manuals.
A motion, adopted, asked the secretary to write a letter of thanks to the host congregation for its hospitality to this convention.
Adjournment with prayer followed.
Albert M. Schupmann, Secretary
To the Orthodox Lutheran Conference
In Convention Assembled
January 30 & 31, 1952
Dear Brethren in Christ:
This certifies that Peace Ev. Lutheran Church of Tinley Park, Illinois, having previously applied for membership in the Orthodox Lutheran Conference, now herewith subscribes to the Confession of Faith, Part I, not dissenting from Part II, in accordance with Articles II and IV of the Articles of Agreement of September 26, 1951.
In witness whereof, we, therefore, in the name of and by the authority committed to us by Peace Ev. Lutheran Church at its meeting on Sunday, January 20, 1952, affix our signatures as follows:
(Signed) H. David Mensing, Pastor
(Signed) Lloyd D. Martin, Elder & Trustee
(Signed) Fred L. Rossow, Elder & Trustee
Tinley Park, Illinois DULY APPOINTED DELEGATES
January 25, 1952 TO THIS CONVENTION
End of the Proceedings