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REV'D. M. L. WAGNER
By MARTIN L. WAGNER
WARTBURG PUB. HOUSE PRESS
TPHE author of this book, the Rev'd. M. L. Wagner,
-*■ has brought to light, and preserved historical data
of great value to the church. The material shows, thor-
oughness in the investigation of the original sources, as
well as great care in selecting the same.
Much time was spent in unearthing, gathering, and
editing the great mass of matter, pertaining to the church
of those early times. The work sets forth the heroic
struggles of the fathers to preserve the truth.
The manuscript was given, by the author, to the
Chicago Synod for publication. The committee having
this matter in charge sends forth the book with the hope
that it will bring much needed enlightenment relative to
the planting and developing of the Church of the Refor-
mation on American soil.
THE REV'D. Z. M. CORBE,
THE REV'D. J. R. E. HUNT,
THE REV'D. M. E. HABERLAND,
Academy, Colburn 252
Carpenter, Rev. William 31, 32
Chicago Seminary 248
Character of Population 9, 245
With Southern District Synod 190
With Methodists 42
With Campbellites 85, 128
With Presbyterians 129
Conferences, Free 207, 215, 236
Congregations, List of 165, 218, 267
Candidates, List of 162, 218
Jeffersontown, Ky 72
Reading, Pa 202, 227
Deacons, List of 164
Deck, Rev. WiUiam H 100
Destructionism 96, 131
Dill, Rev. John Caspar 31
Dissemination of Doctrine 119
Education, Interest in 184, 247, 251
Ft. Wayne Church founded 22
General Council 203
General Synod 57, 127, 256
Generaliste 55, 60, 66, 77
Good, Rev. Samuel 132, 136, 143
(truber, Rev. Jacob 21, 46
Haverstick, Rev. Prof 27
Henkel, Rev. David 41, 61, 111
Henkel, Rev. Eusebius S 50, 151, 212, 231
Henkel, Rev. Philip 22, 43
Henkel, Rev. Paul 84,56,58
Henkelism and Henkelites 40, 55, 59, 66
Heyer, Rev. C. F 29, 31
Hymn Book 153
Indiana— Chicago Synod 223
Doctrinal Basis 240
Missionary Operations 241
Statistical Summary 269
Infidelity 10, 81
Indiana Conference 231, 236
Itinerary of Early Missionaries 27, 31, 47
Joint Synod of Ohio 187, 228
Keller, Rev. Ezra 47
Kentucky Synod 64
Kentucky, Lutherans in 23
Kurtz, Rev. Henry A 32, 63, 66
Lautenschlager, Rev. J. F 133, 137, 139, 141
Licentiates, List of 163, 217
Livengood, Rev. John P 101, 158
Markert, Rev. John L. 23, 26, 44, 100
Markert, Rev. Elias 99, 132
Mau, Rev. John Samuel 24, 30
Meyers, Rev. L. H 32
Miller, Rev. Abraham 46
Miller, Rev. Robert J 57
Miller, Faction 145
Moritz, Rev. Christian 46
North Carolina Synod 20, 26, 57
Owen, Robert 10
Pennsylvania Synod 24, 27, 63
Pastors, List of 164, 217, 262
Political Questions, Attitude on 155
Reck, Rev. Abraham 49
Revivalism 55, 81, 88
Rudisill, Rev. Ephr., M. D, . . . 84, 131, 135, 137, 159, 212
N. C. Synod 59, 113
Synod of Indiana 142
Synod of the West 104
Schober, Rev. Gottlieb Ill
Schnee, Rev 32
Scherer, Rev. Daniel 26
Settlements, Early Lutheran.
In Indiana 19
In Kentucky 23
In Illinois 24
Simon, Rev. Andrew 31
Smith, Rev. David 208
Stirewalt, Rev. Julius L 213, 234, 239
Stirewalt, Rev. M. J., D. D 236, 242
Synod of Indiana 71, 103, 108, 116, 159, 168
Synod of the West 72, 103
Tennessee Synod 20, 25, 68, 114
Unionism 56, 58
Union, Efforts at 75, 125, 186, 187, 201, 225
Universalism 83, 131
Union Synod 177
Standpoints of 192
Missionary Efforts 182
Educational Efforts 184
Western Conference 225, 230
Wynnekin, Rev. F. CD 94
Zink, Rev. Jacob 34
By G. H. GERBERDING. D. D.
"Who is this that Cometh up from the
wilderness leaning upon her Beloved ?"
Song of Solomon 8, 5.
THESE words have often been applied to the Church
in her strange and varied history and experience.
DoWn in the wilderness she has often been. Up from the
wilderness she has ahvaj's come. Down she has always
gone when she ceased to lean on her Beloved, and sought
to nourish herself from earthy and human sources. In the
wilderness she has always wandered when she followed
the fox-fires and rush lights of human reason, unaided by
the Light of the world. Up from the wilderness she has
always come when she despaired of her own resources and
strength, ceased to lean on her own understanding and
leaned again on her Beloved. This new book with its
strange story is another demonstration of the old truth in
the above text.
The writer of this history had a difficult task. The
original seeds and roots of what is now the Chicago Synod
were scattered in distant and obscure places. It required
painstaking digging, searching and sifting to find them.
The results of this labor of the historian are before us.
They are intense in interest and pregnant with practical
lessons. These things were written for our admonition.
May the Church take them to heart and profit by them.
Here we learn much concerning the unknown and
forgotten beginnings of the Lutheran Church in the South.
Mistakes were made there also. May the Church never
What a graphic picture is here of the early settlers
of Indiana and Ohio. Their isolation, their hardships,-
their struggling in the solitude, alone with nature, did not
make them religious. Nothing here of the refining, edify-
ing, renewing and elevating influence of nature. They
were not lifted by nature up to God. They needed the
supernatural brought through Word and Sacrament,
carried by the messengers of Christ, lifting their voices in
the wilderness. Here we meet the Hej^rs and the Henkels,
the Rudisills and the Stirewalts. Here we are reminded
again how the fathers of the Tennessee Synod stood for
sound doctrine, studied and loved our catechisms and
confessions, gave them first to the American Lutheran
Church in English and contended earnestly for the faith
once delivered to the saints.
These sturdy pioneers were heroes of the faith. Amid
privation and poverty, ridicule and opposition they
threaded the wilderness, fought against wild beasts, fever
and ague, frost and storm, content to be homeless here
for the Kingdom of heaven's sake. In the early spring
time they saddled their horses in Tennessee or the
Carolinas, bade a sad farewell to weeping wives and chil-
dren, with Bible and catechism and hymn book and
Luther's postil in their saddle bags, they were off for a
six months homeless itinerary in Indiana without promise
or prospect of worldy ease or emolument. They labored
and suffered. They spared not themselves. They preached
and prayed and catechised and administered the sacra-
ments wherever they could gather a few hearers. In barns,
in cabins, in school houses or under the open sky they
ministered to the souls of men. Their story puts us to
shame with our love of ease and earthly recompense.
We need to read, mark and earnestly apply the lessons
of this book.
But good men make mistakes. The founders of the
Tennessee Synod were not as wise as the founders of the
Missouri Synod. Evangelization without education is
doing only a part of the Church's work. The teaching
office, the teaching books, the teaching family, the teach-
ing church-school are needed to make permanent and
sure the work of the evangelist. While our pioneers deserve
all credit for trying to supply the most needed literature,
they did not seem to see the great need of the church-
school. There was a long and losing wait before the
Academy, the College and the Theological Seminary came
into being. Had they planted log schools like the Missou-
rians did the history would have been different.
Another serious weakness was that they were not clear
on the doctrine of the ministry. They seemed to have no
conception of the call and of the proper relation between
pastor and congregation. Even after congregations had
been gathered, they were neither organized nor supplied
with settled pastors. The band of itinerant preachers
supplied all the congregations in turn, each pastor taking
his turn in going over the whole circuit. With such a
loose and unchurchly arrangement it was impossible to
do thorough and permanent pastoral work.
Another mistake transplanted from Tennessee to
Indiana was that no provision was made for christian
beneficence. The congregations were not instructed as to
the great church of which they formed infinitesimal parts,
of the mission and duty of the church in the world, of the
Kingdom of God to be builded and of the relation and
responsibility of each congregation and of each individual
member to this general work. There was no outlook, no
great hope, no training in giving and working for the grand
whole. This mistake was a serious hindrance to growth
in grace, and kept the congregations ignorant, narrow and
selfish. And this spirit was carried into the early synods.
It required several generations to get the congregations
trained out of this selfish narrowness. In fact there is
much of it left to this day.
On account of the unsettled pastorates, the roving
and restless ministry that it fostered, other evils followed.
While the preacher was a traveling evangelist rather than a
settled pastor there could be at best only occasional lectures
or talks on the catechism and its teachings. Regular,
systematic instruction — from the beginning to the end of
the book was out of the question. And so that good,
effective Lutheran custom of thorough catechization was
neglected more and more until, in most places, it became
obsolete. But something must take its place. The
earliest preachers were wont to stop long enough where
there was a group of hearers, to preach a series of doctrinal
sermons and receive into the congregation those who
accepted and confessed the doctrines and professed a
heartfelt desire to live henceforth as becometh those who
have and hold such faith. Their successors became more
and more lax. Doctrinal preaching was neglected. Hor-
tatory and rousing sermons took its place and by and by
it became the regular custom "to hold a series of meetings"
and "sing in" new members without any previous instruc-
tion. The results were ruinous to sound and spiritual
The most serious drawback of all to the Lutheran
cause in Indiana was the doctrinal defection of its two
leaders. The Rev. E. S. Henkel. so different from his
noble progenitors and relatives, apostatized from the old
faith and for a time was a Universalist. The Rev. E.
Rudisill embraced and preached Destructionism. The
whole Lutheran Church and cause in Indiana received
a staggering blow. Confusion reigned in the congre-
gations, some laymen followed one or the other of the
apostates, others left the Lutheran Church and went into
churches of a different faith, still others lost all faith and
became agnostics and unbelievers. But a faithful rem-
nant studied the Word, the catechism and the old devo-
tional books, prayed, believed and rejoiced in the Lord.
But oh the blighting influence, the ruin and wreckage of
false doctrine. The Church was in the wilderness.
But she did not die. Lutheranism has a strong
vitality. It dies hard. Nay it never dies while it is true
to its name and faith. And "the ears of the hearers are
often more pure than the lips of the preachers."
And so our Church did not die. God raised up true
witnesses. Neither the heresy, nor the unholy ambitions
of the old leaders could kill the Lutheran Church. And
what a warning against pride, ambition for leadership,
desire to rule which grows into rule or ruin have we here
in these men. A drastic warning to self-seeking am-
bition in those who do not live near to the cross and have
cold hearts even while they preach to others. A sound
faith, a warm heart and a holy life must go together.
The old weak and poorly organized Synod of Indiana
died. The Union Synod, disappointed as to its purpose,
torn and distracted, was disbanded. The sainted Dr.
Passavant saw the sorrows of this part of Zion and from
far off Pittsburg counselled the good and true new leaders.
The General Council was organized. Help came from
that quarter. The new Indiana Synod united with that
body. Good men came from the Philadelphia Seminary.
A new hope and a new life came into our cause.
Opportunities for enlargement came. The great cry was
for more good men. And then, in God's good time the
Chicago Seminary was opened. The Indiana Synod be-
came the Chicago Synod. In ten years fifteen congre-
gations were organized. And now there is life and hope
and forward movement on every side. Colburn Academy
has made a noble beginning and is big with promise.
The Chicago Seminary is on the eve of a great future.
The rustling in the tops of the mulberry trees is an earnest
of a greater wind from the spirit of God. Now if only
the spirit of self-seeking could be kept out, if each would
learn to esteem the other better than himself, if each one
could take Passavant's motto for his own and ever strive
"to live, to love, to labor," then would the history of the
next twenty-five years be devoid of the narration of the
mistakes and blunders of the past ; then would the beauty
of the Lord our God be upon us ; then would He establish
the work of our hands, yea the work of our hands. He
would establish it.
Cottage Rest, Grand Junction, Mich.
May the fifth, 1909.
A GENERAL SURVEY OF THE FIELD
OInlmtisatitm an^ jprpparatton
Ololottt^atton nnh Preparation.
CCORDING to the best sources of information
the first Europeans that set foot on what is
now Indiana soil were a party of French Ca-
nadians who sailed up the great lakes in 1670,
and, landing on the southern shore of Lake
Michigan, explored the neighboring regions. They were
missionaries bent upon the conversion of the natives to
the Roman Catholic faith. They made no attempt at
colonization. In the course of a few years these were fol-
lowed by others, missionaries, adventurers and fur-traders,
who extended their journeys far into the interior of the
state. The first trading posts established were along the
Maumee and Wabash rivers, about the year 1700. The
most important of these was Vincennes, the oldest town
in the state. Another was Ouiatenon, not far from the
present site of La Fayette. It never assumed much im-
portance, and eventually became extinct. The third was
near the present site of Fort Wayne.
The Maumee and Wabash rivers were the highway
for these missionaries, adventurers and fur-traders in their
expeditions from Canada to the Mississippi and the Gulf
of Mexico. The trading posts were designed chiefly as
places for barter with the Indians, to furnish halting
places for the traders and rovers of the wilderness, and to
establish the claims of France to the fertile valley of the
Mississippi. It was not until 1725 that Vincennes as-
sumed any importance.
The first settlement made in Illinois, also by the
French, was a mission at the village near Starved Rock,
in 1682. It was named Kaskaskia. Within three or
four years it was removed to the site of the present Kas-
kaskia, near Chester. Soon after missions were estab-
lished at Cahokia and two or three neighboring points.
At the close of the French and Indian War, 1754-
1763, the territory east of the Mississippi known as New
France, was ceded to England, and that west of that river
to Spain. At the time of this cession there were within
the region embraced by Indiana and Illinois about two
hundred white families.
In 1778 Governor Patrick Henry of Virginia sent an
expedition under General George Rogers Clark against
the British posts west of the Alleghanies. He succeeded
in capturing Kaskaskia, Cahokia and Vincennes, and thus
added an immense fertile territory to that Colony. Bj'
virtue of this conquest the western boundary of the United
States was fixed at the Mississippi river by the treaty of
Paris, in 1783. Virginia subsequently ceded the whole
region to the general government, and in 1787 it was
organized into the Northwest Territory, with ample pro-
visions for free schools, and a guarantee for the free exer-
cise of religion. Slavery was forever prohibited in this
Territory, and these wise provisions in the Ordinance of
1787 had much to do in inducing settlers to locate in
— 5 —
The first settlement not made by the French within
the bounds of Indiana was at Clarksville on the Ohio
river, in 1786. It was named after General Clark, who
also had received a grant of a large tract of land border-
ing on the Ohio, in Clarke county, for military services.
The location of Clarksville proved to be unsuitable and
it never assumed much importance.
In 1800 Indiana was detached from the Territory of
Illinois, and organized into Indiana Territory with Gen-
eral William Henry Harrison as the first governor, and
Vincennes the Territorial capital. At that time the pop-
ulation was 4875.
In 1804 Fort Dearborn was built at the mouth of the
Chicago river. In 1809 Illinois was organized as a Terri-
tory and Kaskaskia was made the territorial capital.
The population was about 10,000.
The settlement and development of these Territories
was at first very slow, notwithstanding their immense
natural resources. The settlers were in a defenseless con-
dition, and the Indians were very hostile, being instigated
by the British agents in the north and west, who supplied
them with firearms and ammunition. The British still
held some of the posts in the extreme north and west,
contrary to the stipulations of 1783. Tecumseh, a wily
chief, was organizing the western tribes into a powerful
confederacy for the purpose of exterminating the white
settlers. The notorious Simon Girty, who had cast his
lot with the Indians, also exerted all his power and influ-
ence to arouse the savages against the settlers. Finally
the attitude of the Indians became so hostile that
Governor Harrison decided upon severe measures. After
a fruitless effort at peaceful negotiations with tiie chiefs
at Vincennes, where treachery on the part of the Indians
was foiled by the vigilance and foresight of Governor
Harrison, and the alertness of his soldiers, he marched an
army against the Prophet's town,' about a mile from the
mouth of the Tippecanoe river, intending to secure a
treaty or strike a blow. Harrison halted his army for the
night on the banks of Burnett's Creek, where he expected
a conference with the chief's the next day. But early in
the morning of November 7, 1811, he was furiously at-
tacked by the Indians, who, concealing themselves in the
tall grass, had surrounded the camp. After a hard fought
battle the savages were defeated and driven off. Securitj^
for the settlers might now have been assured, but the war
with Great Britain, which began the next year, and in
which the Indians allied themselves with the British,
prevented any protection until after the establishment of
peace in 1815.
In Illinois the same hostile conditions prevailed. A
number of stockades were erected for the protection of the
settlers. Fort Russel, near Edwardsville, in Madison
county, marked the northern boundary of the settled por-
tions of the state. When war was declared, the British at-
tacked Fort Dearborn, which surrendered on August 15,
1812, and the stockade was burned to the ground. There-
after the Indians in the central part of the state became
very hostile, and several expeditions against them were
necessary to bring them to terms.
When the clouds of war had disappeared, and peace
established with both Briton and Savage, immigrants
from the eastern, middle and southern states and from
Europe, poured into this region. The southern portions,
1 The Prophet, Elkswatawa, was Tecumseh's brother, a vile
imposter, who had co-operated with Tecumseh to destroy the
— 7 —
though far less fertile than the northern, were first settled.
From the banks of the Ohio river, which was the highway
for the colonists from the east, they pushed northward
into the interior. Venturesome pioneers penetrated far
northward into the almost interminable forests, and re-
turned with glowing accounts of the fertile and well
watered regions of that section of the territory. Overland
in great Conestoga wagons, and driving their herds before
them, came settlers from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York
and Virginia, entering the eastern borders of Indiana,
establishing their homes and subduing the wilderness.
From the sunny southland came hardy pioneers, desiring
to improve their temporal conditions, and to escape the
baneful influence of slavery. Everywhere the woodman's
ax was heard and the smoke ascended from hundreds of
clearings, where the finest poplar, oak and walnut were
consigned to the flames to make room for the corn and
wheat of the thrifty farmer. Towns sprang up in all
sections, many of them surviving only a generation, while
others grew into populous cities and centers of commercial
activity. Richmond and Cory don were founded in 1808,
the latter becoming the territorial capital in 1813. In
1815 Fort Wayne was begun, it having been, prior to that
time, only a trading post and military station. The next
year Terre Haute was founded, and Indianapolis in 1818,
becoming the state capital in 1825. The rapid growth of
population in Indiana is indicated by the following sta-
tistics: In 1810 it was 24,250; in 1816, when admitted
into the Union, it was 147,178. Five years later it was
250,000, and in 1830 the state had 343,031 inhabitants.
Illinois kept pace with the sister state. In 1810 the
population was 12,282, in 1820, 55,162, and in 1830,
157,445. In 1819 Vandalia was founded and became the
state capital the next year, and retained this honor until
1839, when the capital was removed to Springfield.
All shades of religious beliefs were represented
among these settlers. Roman Catholics were most num-
erous, but Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists and Quak-
ers were also quite well represented.
The earliest colonists were French Catholics. Those
at Vincennes were under the spiritual care of the priests
residing at Kaskaskia and Cahokia. The first resident
priest in Indiana was Father Meurin. He resided at
Vincennes, and besides ministering to the French resi-
dents, he also labored for the conversion of the Pianke-
shaw Indians, the head of which tribe was near that
town. This was as early as 1749. How long he labored
here is not known. In 1792 Father Benedict Joseph
Flagert began to labor at Vincennes, but remained only
three years. He found affairs in a deplorable condition.
He set about vigorously to restore order and to establish
his authority, but in vain. Religion had lost its influence
and the church her authority over those people. The
church building, probably erected under Father Meurin's
administration nearly half a century before, was an old
dilapidated log structure, open alike to sunshine and rain,
and almost tottering.. The congregation was, if possible,
in a more miserable condition. Out of a population of
about seven hundred souls, and after earnest admonition
by the priest, only twelve could be induced to approach
the holy communion during the Christmas festivities.
The Presbyterians were found in this region at quite
an early day. In 1827 they had 17 pastors and 44
churches, and 1352 members in Indiana. The data for
Illinois are not at hand, but doubtless they were equally
well represented. The Methodists and Baptists were
THE REV. SAMUEL WAGENHALS, D. D.
Pastor of Holy Trinity Church, Fort Wayne, Ind. since ISbS
President of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Lutheran
Theological Seminary since 1894.
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH
Fort Wayne, Ind,
The General Council was organized in this church in 1867
THE REV. PROF. R. F. "WEIDNER, D. D. LL. D.
President of the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary
— 9 —
probably as numerous as the Presbyterians. They mani-
fested great zeal in the prosecution of the interests of
their respective denominations. Lutherans also were
found in considerable numbers in these territories. As
early as 1810 they were in Harrison county, Indiana, in
Union county, Illinois, as early as 1817, and in Missouri,
in Wayne, Madison and Perry counties, about the same
time. The approximate numbers we have no means of
determining. The records are scanty and very defective.
The spiritual, moral and social conditions of the
people of these regions, during this early period, was far
from the ideal. The first settlers were, as a rule, mere
adventurers, who cared nothing for the claims of religion.
As there was practically no public preaching, and no
ministers of the Gospel to present, emphasize, and en-
force the claims of religion and morality, the social and
moral conditions could not improve. In these matters
everyone followed the inclinations of his own will. The
vast stream of immigration which poured into this region
after the war of 1812-1815, did not materially improve
these conditions, but on the contrary, rather gave strength
to the prevalent scepticism and irreligion. That deplora-
ble conditions existed until about 1830 in many sections
is the concurrent testimony of the missionary pastors
sent by the different denominations to labor in this region.
From a religious viewpoint, there were three distinct
classes found among these early colonists — the openly
defiant unbeliever and ungodly, the polished rationalists
and the truly pious and devout.
The first class was very numerous, and for a long
time largely in the ascendency in many sections of the
state. Among these were found men of culture, learning
and refinement, men whose private life was above re-
proach. But these were in the minority. The majority
of these unbelievers were of the worst character, impure,
blasphemous, and licentious beyond restraint. These
logically carried out in their lives what the more cultured
preached in their public utterances. It was an evil sys-
tem which brought forth corrupt fruit.
The most prominent among the apostles of unbelief
in this region were Robert Owen and his gifted son, Rob-
ert Dale Owen. Both were scholarly men, but disbeliev-
ers in the Christian religion. Robert Owen was an
avowed unbeliever, and his son was an ardent believer in
Spiritualism. He denied the supernatural origin of
These two men came to Indiana in 1823, after having
zealously disseminated their peculiar views by means of
the press and public lectures. Theirs was a refined form
of unbelief, so clothed as to command respect and win
adherents. It was a fascinating unbelief, as it appealed
very powerfully to the inclinations and desires of the nat-
ural man. Along with their religion of unbelief, they
associated a form of socialism, which, however, proved a
magnificent failure in actual trial in Owen's socialistic
community on the Wabash, called New Harmony.
The salient points in the elder Owen's religious views
are apparent in his challenge to the world which he fii;st
made at New Orleans, after delivering a course of lectures,
and subsequently published throughout the whole coun-
try. In this challenge among other things he proposed
to prove that "all the religions of the world have been
founded upon the ignorance of mankind ; that they are
opposed to the never-changing laws of our nature ; that
they have been the real source of vice, disunion and mis-
ery of every description ; that they are now the only real
barrier to the formation of a society of virtue, of intelli-
gence, of charity in its most exalted sense, and of sin-
cerity and kindness among the whole human family ; and
that they can be no longer maintained except througli
the ignorance of the mass of the people and the tyranny
of the few over the mass."
Here was the challenge, and until it was met and
disproved, it was the charter and warrant for the unbeliev-
ing class to continue in their course. It was not until
1829 that a man appeared who was ready to take up the
challenge and meet Mr. Owen face to face and debate
the merits of the question. This man was Alexander
The influence of these apostles of unbelief was wide-
spread and powerful. It affected all conditions of societj-.
It is the testimony of creditable witnesses that in Ken-
tucky, in cities of twelve hundred population, not enough
people could be gotten together to hold a religious service.
From evidence at hand we infer that in Indiana and
Illinois conditions were no better. Christianity had be-
come a term of opprobrium, a synonym for superstition
and ignorance, and ministers of the Gospel were looked
upon as men whose business it was to interfere with the
personal liberties of the individual. All moral restraint
had become removed, and the vices flourished and ma-
tured their bitter fruit. Society to a large degree became
abandoned, and reprobate. The carnal nature ran riot
until it exhausted itself in its own excesses.
Deplorable as was the moral condition of society
produced by these tenets of refined but defiant unbelief,
there was a determination on the part of many of this
class to oppose and frustrate if possible all efforts to im-
prove it. When Prof. Haverstick, in 1885, proposed to
— J2 —
preach in a German community in St. Clair county, Illi-
nois, they replied, "We need no priests. Over yonder
live some ignorant Germans who may be glad to have
you come to them." When Rev. C. F. Heyer visited
Shawneetown, Illinois, the same year, the guests at the
hotel were so ungodly that Rev. Mr. Heyer spent the
greater part of the night in the stable with the dumb
beasts rather than submit to the insults of the blasphem-
ers. This ungodly class were everywhere in evidence and
looked upon all religious teaching as a means for sub-
verting their personal liberty. They were determined to
be let alone, and that nothing be said or done that might
awaken their sleeping and seared consciences. The man
most hated by this class was the minister of the Gospel,
and the temperance lecturer. The minister had to temper
his zeal and guard his expressions, lest he incur the dis-
pleasure of the bullies of the community, who regarded it
as their special calling to administer chastisement upon
all ministerial offenders against their code. It not infre-
quently happened that a minister or a temperance lecturer
was assaulted and shamefully abused by those who had
taken umbrage at his public remarks. Only those minis-
ters who possessed a powerful physique and were ready
in any emergency to use their fists were able to command
respect, and could be fearless in their denunciation of
vice. They were respected for their physical strength,
but not for their office.
It is claimed by some authorities^ that the term
Hoosier originated from this custom of the bullies hush-
ing the preachers in those early days. They were called
Hushers, and in course of time the term took the form
2 Prof. Holcorab, ex-State Superintendent Public Instruc-
tion, of Indiana.
Hoosier, and was indiscriminate^' applied to all residents
of Indiana. If this explanation of the origin of this term
be correct, it shows what a reputation the early Indi-
The second class were the polished rationalists.
These were found mostly among the Germans. They
professed religion, confessed in some instances the ortho-
dox faith, and observed the external forms of religion
punctiliously. They came from the Fatherland, which
had but recently passed through the throes of Rationalism,
and brought the baneful seeds with them, which, under
the freedom and license of a new state, soon grew into a
strong plant, maturing its fruit and exerting a pernicious
influence upon religion in general. There was neither
decency, consistency nor propriety among this class.
They committed shocking indecencies in the name and
under the sanction of religion which pained the devout,
and arrayed the sceptical all the more against all forms
of Christianity. In some localities, where these ration-
alists were numerous, congregations were organized,
churches erected and pastors set over them to perform the
functions of that office. But in a few cases these pastors
lacked every virtue and qualification for the holy office.
In character they were unfit. Their reputation was bad.
Learning they had, but it was that of the head, and not
of the heart. The private life of these men was impure,
being drunken brawlers, profane, vicious and corrupt.
Some were renegades, some were fugitives from justice,
men whose offenses in the Fatherland compelled them to
flee to America to escape the penalties of the law. Such
was the character, and such were the qualifications of
men who in not a few cases were elected pastors of con-
gregations which claimed to be Lutheran, to preach
— }4 —
repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
And the worship was the merest sham, a mere form with-
out spirit, saving truth, reverence or grace in it. After
services on the Lord's day morning, the congregation,
pastor, deacons, elders and all would retire to some hall
or grove and spend the remainder of the day in revelry
Many of these congregations claimed to be Lutheran,
but they were not, neither in doctrine nor practice. They
rejected the distinctive principles of the Lutheran church
and abused the Christian liberty which the Gospel con-
fers. They had no synodical connection and their pastors
were amenable to no ecclesiastical or synodical authority.
In some cases the pastors were unordained men, in others,
men who had been deposed from the ministry, but who
still had possession of their ordination certificates. There
were also men who, because of the lax practices that ob-
tained in some of the eastern synods, secured license to
preach, and then foisted themselves upon the churches in
the West. Very often Lutheran congregations were im-
posed upon by these ecclesiastical freebooters. The
stigma that these unlutheran congregations and these im-
postors in the ministry brought upon the Lutheran name,
and upon the Lutheran church, has not yet been effaced.
But there were also true Christians to be found
among these pioneers, Lutherans true to the name and
the faith, godly men and women whose lives shone brightly
in these regions and times of deep spiritual darkness.
Their piety was deep, fervent and heartfelt and abounded
in that ''GemuetlicMeit^' for which the English lan-
guage has not even a name. The Lutheran church had
her representatives in these western wilds, who had been
taught the true faith, and who adorned the same with a
— J5 —
godly life and conversation. They knew the power of
truth in their lives. True they were not so numerous, but
they were the salt that preserved the church from total
corruption and decay. In them the spark of piety was
kept alive. They had their bibles, which was God's
Word, His message to them, and these they studied dili-
gently. That Word was the fountain at which their thirst
was quenched and their souls revived. They had their
Catechisms which they taught diligently unto their chil-
dren. They had their hymn books, from which they
attuned their lips and souls in praise unto their Savior.
These, although without the services of a pastor for years,
were not led away from their faith. From such moorings
the tides of infidelity and rationalism could not sweep
them. They were anchored unto the Rock of Eternal
Truth. Some of these congregations were so staunch in
their Lutheranism that they would not receive the Lord's
Supper from any minister unless he belonged to their
church, nor could they be persuaded otherwise.
UTHERANS were found in consideral)le num-
bers among the early settlers of the region under
review. After the Louisiana purchase in 1803,
"thousands of German families, as well as
American citizens, induced by the flattering re-
ports of the fertility of the lands of the west, and the
advantageous offers made to settlers to secure for them-
selves a home almost without money and without price,
sold their paternal possessions in North Carolina and
migrated to Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois and
other states and territories."' Besides these from North
Carolina, there were thousands also who came from Ohio,
Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, and from beyond the
sea, to make their homes in the fertile valley of the Mis-
sissippi. It is with those who settled in Indiana, Illinois
and adjacent parts that we are mostly concerned in this
History. In this tide of immigration we find the Luth-
erans making their appearance in the southern portions
of Indiana as early as 1810, when their cries went back
to the land of their nativity praying for spiritual attention.
In this year there already existed a congregation on Tur-
tle Creek, an affluent of the Ohio, served by one Andrew
Alms.* In Harrison county there were many Lutherans,
3 Bernheim, 393.
4 It seems that Alms was an impostor, as the Penn. Synod
would have nothing to do with him. Min. Pa. Synod, 1812.
— 20 —
and doubtless one or more congregations existed in that
county, prior to 1820. The Mt. Solomon congregation
was probably organized prior to the war of 1812-1815, as
the traditions are that the Indians were so hostile that
the people went armed to church to be prepared for any
emergency. In 1819 Rev. C. F. Heyer visited Harrison,
Floyd and Jefferson counties, Indiana, and preached to
the Lutherans he found there. As early as 1815 a con-
gregation existed in Washington county, which earnestly
petitioned the North Carolina Synod in that year for
pastoral services. From this we infer that they were
North Carolinians, and that the congregation dates back
a year or more earlier. In 1820 a congregation existed
on Fourteen Mile Creek, in Clark county, which petitioned
the Tennessee Synod for preaching. They were visited
by Rev. Christian Moretz in 1823, on his return from the
meeting of the Tennessee Synod in Greene county, Ten-
nessee, to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, his home. As early
as 1818 we find North Carolinians in Knox county, who
a few years later formed the nucleus of the present Mount
The Synods of North Carolina and of Tennessee felt
deeply concerned for the spiritual wants of these their
children, and hearing their continual call for the bread
of life, sent missionaries to them, who, themselves
becoming enamored with the flattering advantages and
prospects of the new country, likewise soon became
classed among the new settlers. In this manner were
congregations formed in the state. ^
Wayne county received Lutheran immigrants from
Pennsylvania, Ohio, and the Fatherland as early as 1820.
These located at Georgetown on The Walnut Level.
— 21 —
The name was subsequently changed to Gerniantown be-
cause of the large influx of Germans. The town was not
laid out until 1832, and was named Georgetown after the
surveyor, George Shortridge. These Lutherans early
made provision for their spiritual and intellectual wants.
In 1822 two acres of ground were purchased lying south
of the public highway, at the northeast corner of this
ground a log building was erected, which served for a
school house and a house of worship. Part of the land
was set apart for a burying ground, and a man by the
name of Albright was the first person buried there. The
congregation was organized in 1822 by the Rev. Jacob
Gruber, who was a member of the Ohio Synod, and re-
sided at Euphemia, now Lewi'sburg, Ohio. He served
the congregation about ten years. In 1833 a brick church
was erected which for many years was the largest church
in that region of the country. The German Reformed
assisted in the erection of this church, and in return were
given its use every alternate Sunday. They had no title
to the realty. The Reformed element became extinct in
about 20 j'ears.
About ten years after the organization of the Zions
congregation, Germantown,'' a number of Lutheran fam-
ilies from the vicinity of Miamisburg, Ohio, located in
Henry county, west of Hagerstown. For a time they at-
tended services at Zion's church, from eight to twelve
miles distant. Services were also held in their homes,
and during the summer season in their barns or in the
groves. The interest manifested in these services led
them to organize the St. Jacobs church, named after
Jacob Kimmel, a godly pioneer of the community, and a
6 The name of the post-oflice is East Germantown,
- 22 -
church building was erected which served the congrega-
tion as a house of worship for over half a century.'
As early as 1829 Lutherans settled in Parke and in
Fountain counties. They came from North Carolina and
eastern Tennessee. In 1831 they were organized into a
congregation by Rev. Philip Henkel. This was the Phil-
adelphia congregation, in Parke county. The first church
was erected on Big Raccoon Creek. Before it was com-
pleted, fire destroyed it, but the congregation, undismayed
by this misfortune, resolutely set to work and rebuilt
the church, which served them as a house of worship
for many years. About four years later the Phanuel con-
gregation in Fountain countj^ was organized.
Among the pioneers of Fort Wayne were a number of
staunch Lutherans who were willing to make sacrifices
that the church of their fathers might be established in
their new home. Among these was Henry Rudisill, a
Pennsylvanian, and whose wife was a descendant of the
Henkels. Through their entreaties Rev. Jesse Hoover,
of Woodstock, Virginia, a member of the Ministerium
of Pennsylvania, cast his lot among them, and laid the
foundations of the Lutheran church of that city. But the
workman soon fell a victim to the unhealthy climate,
1838, and his ashes repose near the place where he so
faithfully labored. He was a good man and his deatli
was sincerely mourned by the church at large.
The material upon which to base any extended and
detailed account of the Lutheran immigration to the
state, and of the founding of Lutheran congregations is
very meager, fragmentary and defective. After a long
and patient search only a small amount has been gath-
<■' This building is still standing, 1907,
- 23 -
ered upon which to base our conclusions. But we have
become satisfied that there were Lutheran congregations
in Indiana in no less than twenty different counties by
the year 1835, which marks the end of the period under
review. In all there were from thirty to forty congrega-
tions, numbering perhaps 2,000 communicants. In one
year one missionary organized five congregations in four
different counties. Besides these already mentioned
there were a number of German congregations which re-
mained independent of all synodical connection.
From material that has recently come to hand it ap-
pears that there was, at quite an early date, a tide of
Lutheran immigration into the state from Ohio and Penn-
sj'lvania, which formed colonies and congregations in or
near Liberty, Union county, Philomath in Fayette county,
Raleigh in Rush county, and Waldron in Shelby county.
This probably was the field of the early labors of Rev.
John L. Markert.
The existence of the Lutheran church in Kentucky
dates from the year 1792, when the congregations in Jef-
ferson and Nelson counties were organized, but by whom
we are unable to state. Thirteen years later a Lutheran
colony from Virginia located in Boone county and in 1818
Rev. Wm. Carpenter, their former pastor, cast his lot
with them and served them faithfully until his death in
1833. He also established a congregation in Lexington,
but as he was unable to care for it, it in a short time dis-
banded. In 1811 a Rev. Mr. Zink went into the state
and labored for several years. He claimed to have been
licensed by Rev. Dr. Helmuth and Schmidt, but acknowl-
edged that his license had long since expired. He per-
suaded the people, however, that he had a right to act as
their minister. The place where he labored was Buler's
- 24 -
church. In 1813 the Rev. S. Mau was sent into the state
by the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, authorized to serve
such congregations as the pastors in Ohio might desig-
nate. In 1814 a petition, signed by seventy-two persons
from the vicinity of Bardstown, prayed that Synod to
send them a pastor. In response to this appeal, the Rev.
Mr. Zaesline was commissioned as a traveling missionary
for that region. He visited the place, and although he
said he could not settle there, he remained for several
j^ears. In 1820 the cries for pastoral services were so
urgent that the Ministerium decided upon sending mis-
sionaries thither to look after their spiritual needs. Rev.
C. F. IIe3'er and Rev. Mr. Wachter were appointed. In
1818 the Rev. Henry A. Kurtz was sent into the state as
a missionary, and labored successfully for a number of
years. In 1822 he appealed to the Ministerium for more
laborers for this promising field.
In Illinois Lutherans were also early on the ground.
Before its admission into the Union, a colony of this
faith removed from North Carolina and located in Union
county, not far from the present site of Anna and Jones-
boro. These were followed by others who settled in
Wabash, Jackson, and Montgomery counties. Their
numbers were swelled by representatives from Lehigh
county, Pennsylvania, and from Germany. Some of
those who came from North Carolina crossed the Missis-
sippi and located in Cape Girardeau, Perry, Madison and
Wayne counties, Missouri. This was prior to 1820.
In order that the reader may form some conception
of the vast stream of immigration that poured into these
regions we quote from a report made to the Jeffersontown
Convention in 1834, by a committee appointed to present
a survey of the field. The report touches upon the con-
^^^KlT 8 ?■*' ***•
. ■■'■,. >'S^II
ST. JOHN'S CHURCH
THE CHURCH OF MERCY
Destroyed in the great Chicago fire
The firit English Lutheran Church erected west of Ohio
— 25 -
dition of the church in the states of Indiana, Kentucky,
Illinois and Missouri: "From the land of our fathers,
thousands and tens of thousands are annually pouring
forth, like a mighty stream of water in a manner inundat-
ing the soil. Indeed, so very rapid has been the tide of
German immigration to this country that many sections
have been almost wholl}' settled with Germans. And the
spiritual want of this German community has become so
great and distressing as to attract the notice and excite
the sympathy not only of our own church, even to a great
distance, but the English community of other denomina-
tions has been aroused on the subject, and the whole
Christian body united in the same feeling of commisera-
tion, in behalf of our suffering, aye, almost perishing
German brethren in the faith."
The spiritual condition of these people was pitiable.
They appealed most earnestly to the Synods, both in the
east and in the south, for the ministration of the Word,
and the efforts put forth by these bodies to supply their
wants were marvelous when we consider the times and
the means of transportation. Lutheran pastors were few,
the field was so extensive, and the points from which
appeals for help were coming so numerous that it was
next to impossible to supply them. The Synods were
ready and prompt in their efforts to answer the call. The
Tennessee Synod especially was energetic in its efforts to
follow the immigrants from their former homes to the
distant settlements, and supply them with the Gospel.
It also was diligent in seeking the children of the church
who came from other regions than the southland. To
this it was spurred by its jealousy of the pure doctrine
and Lutheran practices. It endeavored to prevent a fur-
ther spread of that type of Lutheranism which it regarded
— 26 —
.as fundamentally heretical. Other Synods were equally
diligent. Before 1820, the year that the Tennessee Synod
came into existence, the North Carolina Synod was
active in missionating among the scattered Lutherans
in these states, and continued so until near the close
of the period under review. In 1815 this Synod was
petitioned by a congregation in Washington county for
pastoral services.*' In 1818 a petition from the Lutherans
in Union county, Illinois, was before this Synod, and it
requested Rev. John L. Markert, then residing in Ohio,
to visit them and minister to their spiritual wants. This
duty he fulfilled within the next two years. In 1825 a
call, signed by forty persons, came to the Synod from the
same place, praying for a pastor who could preach in
both German and English. Rev. Wm. Jenkins was sent
to visit the place, but his brief stay only intensified their
sense of destitution. Two years later Rev. J. C. Schoenberg
was sent as pastor for the place, remained two years, and
was succeeded by Rev. Daniel Scherer, in 1831, who in
addition to his work in Union county, organized congre-
gations at Hillsboro in 1831, Mount Carmel, Vandalia,
1844, and at other points.
Rev. Daniel Scherer may justly be regarded as the
patriarch of the Lutheran church in Illinois. He was for
a number of years the only Lutheran pastor in the state.
He was pastor at .Jonesboro, Mt. Carmel, Hillsboro, and
Vandalia, besides doing much missionary work in various
sections. He was an untiring worker, frequently travel-
ing 150 miles on horseback in order to minister to the
scattered people of his field, who were not included in his
immediate charge. He labored faithfully until his death
on April 4, 1852.
— 27 —
The Ministerium of Pennsylvania demonstrated its
interest in this western field bj' sending earnest men to
explore the field and minister to the scattered children of
the church. The first man thus sent out was T\ev. Prof.
Haverstick, of Philadelphia. He set out from Winchester,
Virginia, at the close of September 1835, and spent nine
months in Illinois and adjacent states. He visited Louis-
ville, Jefifersontown, and other places in Kentuck3\ He
crossed the Ohio river at Shawneetown, visited the Luth-
erans at Jonesboro, assisted Rev. Daniel Scherer twice at
confirmation and twice at communion services. He had
planned to enter Missouri and visit Whitner's Mills and
Apple Creek churches, but found the Mississippi river
impassable. He therefore went 120 miles farther north
into St. Clair county, and visited a German settlement 20
miles southeast of Belleville. Here there ^ras a congrega-
tion consisting of about 20 families. Here he met Rev.
Jacob Reissom, from Basle. He next visited a settlement
at Turkey Hill, of about 35 families. They had a school-
master who usually read a sermon and baptized and con-
firmed their children. He visited several other settlements
in this county, but found them either polished rationalists
or indifferent to his offers to conduct religious services.
He regarded St. Clair county as a very unpromising field.
From Belleville he went northward about 35 miles to
New Switzerland, in Madison county. Then he returned
southward and crossed the Mississippi at St. Louis, the
chief landing place for German immigrants to Illinois
and Missouri. Here he found a small German congrega-
tion served by a German named Koernderfer. He was
brought out by a Rev. Mr. Bueffner, who was sent out as
a missionary by the (xerman Reformed Synod at New
Lisbon, Ohio, May IS, 1835. He next visited St. Charles,
- 28 -
where he found many Romanists, who had endeavored to
proselyte the Lutheran people, but with little success.
He found a small Lutheran congregation here, by whom
he was favorably received. He remained several weeks,
confirmed four, baptized several children and administered
the communion. Thence he went to Marthasville, about
40 miles beyond St. Charles, where there were about 100
German families, served by a Rev. Mr. Garlichs who also
preached at St. Charles. The next point visited was
Pinkney, about 20 miles distant from Marthasville, where
he found eighteen families, to whom he preached and ad-
ministered the communion. On his return he visited
Beardstown, on the Illinois river, where he was delayed
three weeks on account of the ice, which made fording
impossible. Bj' going around 30 miles he was enabled
to cross. He -then visited Edwardsville and Hillsboro,
the residence of Rev. Daniel Scherer, thence to Vandalia,
the capital of the state, where he preached a few times.
From Vandalia he proceeded to Wabash county. He
found the country covered with water and ice, often sank
so that the water and mud came to the horse's breast. This
in fair weather was a three days' journey, but it required
eight days for Prof. Haverstick to cover it. He reached
Wabash county the second week in March, a few weeks
after the visit of Rev. C. F. Heyer, who had prepared the
people for his coming. He found the country so attractive,
and the people so cordial, that he cheerfully would have
entered upon pastoral relations had not arrangements al-
ready been made with a Rev. Mr. Kroh, a Reformed min-
ister, to settle among them, and who was expected to
arrive among them in the following May. There prevailed
among them a churchly spirit, and they were ready to
buy 80 acres of land for a church and school, and to
— 29 -
undertake the erection of a church. The building of the
church was begun before Prof. Haverstick left. He as-
sisted in the laying of the corner stone. This was the
first brick cHurch in the state. These people were from
Lehigh and Northampton counties, Pennsylvania. With
few exceptions these were Lutherans, but being visited by
the Rev. Mr. Kroh at a time when they did not know
whether they should ever be able to secure a Lutheran
pastor, they embraced the opportunity and accepted this
man as their pastor. Prof. Haverstick remained here for
six weeks, preaching and instructing the young. On Sat-
urday, April 23, Rev. C. F. Heyer returned and assisted
in confirming 15 young persons, and administered the
communion to 69 persons. On Monday, April 25, they
laid the corner stone of the new brick church, which was
the fourth Lutheran church building in the state. It was
built upon a plot, a part of 80 acres of land purchased as
a church property. Two other points in Wabash county
were promising places for Lutheran congregations. Mount
Carmel, the county seat, and Centerville. From Wabash
county Prof. Haverstick went to Vincennes, Indiana,
thence to Louisville, Kentucky, and thence returned to
Pennsylvania. During this missionary tour, he traveled
3,200 miles, preached very often, administered conmiun-
ion to 230 persons, confirmed 47, baptized 8 children,
and collected $30.25 for missionary purposes.
We have been unable to determine with any degree
of certainty who was the first Lutheran pastor to set foot
upon what is now Indiana soil. There is a tradition that
Rev. George Forster, who resided in Fairfield county,
Ohio, in 1805, and who regarded the whole northwest as
his mission field, and who was imbued with a deep mis-
sionary zeal, visited Harrison county, and ministered to
- 30 -
the scattered Lutherans there. We have been unable,
however, to verify this tradition.
Among the pioneer pastors who labored in western
Ohio was the Rev. John Samuel Man. lie came into
this section at a very early period, possibly in 1807. He
had been a soldier in the war of the Revolution, and was
somewhat eccentric in character. Several times he
changed his church relation, but confessed himself a
Lutheran before his death. He supported himself by
teaching school. He is said to have been the first school
teacher in the Twin-valley. His education was limited,
and his preaching abilities were very deficient. His
home was near Germantown. He organized the Salem
Lutheran church at Lewisburg, Ohio, in the spring of
1808. He also served congregations in Indiana, one of
which was St. John's. This congregation probably was
in Fayette county. In 1813 he was granted a license by
the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, to serve such congrega-
tions in Kentucky as may be designated by the ministers
residing in Ohio. He continued his pastoral labors in
Montgomery county, Ohio, as late as November 19, 1818.
As he was not a settled pastor, his work was almost ex-
clusively of a missionary character, and we are satisfied
that his field of operations extended into Indiana.
Whether he was ever ordained we do not know. He was
present at the meeting of the Ohio Synod in 1818, and
recognized as a Lutheran minister. He lived to a good
old age, and died in 1830."
Another one of the pioneers in this section was the
Rev. Andrew Simon. He labored in German and Miama
9 Based on Hentz's Lutheran Church in Germantown,
Ohio, and other sources.
- 3J -
townships, Montgomery county, Ohio, for a number of
years, from 1810 to 1818 at least.'" He was not a fluent
speaker, scarcely able to express his thoughts intelli-
gently, and consequently not very popular as a preacher
nor successful as a pastor. It is said that he abandoned
the ministry and turned his attention to the practice of
medicine. He removed to Indiana, where he closed his
earthly career. Whether he continued to preach after his
removal to that state we do not know. He was present
at the meeting of the Ohio Synod in 1818, and evidently
was then still in the active ministry. He was a mis-
sionary rather than a settled pastor.
In 1815 the Rev. John Caspar Dill was called as the
pastor of the Lutheran church in Germantown, Ohio, and
remained in the office until his death in 1824. His field
of labor was very extensive, embracing several counties.
In his removal to the west he was commissioned by the
Ministerium of Pennsj'lvania to act as a traveling mis-
sionary and supply for other congregations in this section
of the country. It is quite probable that in his mission-
ary labors he entered the bounds of Indiana.
Rev. Wm. Carpenter, who came to Boone county,
Kentucky, in 1813, where he labored for twenty years,
was interested in the Lutherans in Indiana, and familiar
with their conditions. He advised Rev. Mr. Schnee in
1821 to go to Indiana instead of Kentucky, which would
indicate that he knew something of the field from per-
sonal observation. It is probable that he did pioneer
work within the bounds of the Hoosier state.
Rev. C. F. Heyer was commissioned in 1819 by the
Ministerium of Pennsylvania to visit some districts in
10 Pates of earliest and latest marriages recorded as solem-
nized by him in Montgomery county. Probate Court Records.
Kentucky and Indiana, and provide the brethren there
with the Word and Sacraments. He spent three months
in this work. It was during this year that he organized a
congregation or more in Harrison county, and ministered
to it for a time. Whether this was the Mount Solomon
church or some other we have not the data to determine, as
there were several congregations in that county at an
early day. He also visited Floyd and Jefferson counties
and preached to the Lutherans he found there.
As the reports of these missionaries, describing the
spiritual destitution of the brethren in the faith, located
in these western regions, came to the Synod its interest in
them increased. In 1821 it commissioned the Rev. Mr.
Schnee as its missionary in these western regions, em-
bracing Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. Schnee evi-
dently had had considerable experience in pioneer and
frontier work. He entered upon his labors July 30, 1821.
He traveled westward, preaching wherever opportunity
offered. He spent some time in Ohio visiting the Luth-
eran pastors, and conferring with them about the work.
Among these pastors he found much opposition to the Gen-
eral Synod, which had been recently organized, and which
seemed to be the paramount question among the Luth-
erans at that time. Rev. Charles Henkel he found most
pronounced and bitter in his opposition to that body.
At Carlisle, Ohio or Kentucky, we cannot say which, he
was joined by Rev. L. H. Meyers, and together they visited
Rev. Wm. Carpenter, in Boone county, Kentucky. Here
the plans of the missionaries were discussed. Schnee's
destination was Kentucky, but Rev. H. A. Kurtz, who
had been sent to that state a year or two before by the
same Synod, and whose reports represented the condition
of the people as pitiable and distressing, had proposed
- 33 -
the organization of a Kentucky Synod, which Carpenter
warmly opposed. He regarded the project as a wild and
foolish idea, and urged the missionaries not to remain in
Kentucky, but to go to Indiana. This advice the mis-
sionaries took, and set out upon their journey. They
traveled together until they reached Paoli, in Orange
county. Here they separated, Schnee going westward as
far as the Wabash, where he found a settlement of Ger-
mans. Here he turned back, passing through Madison.
His tour lasted three and one-half months. He traveled
1,052 miles, organized one congregation baptized 34
children, and administered the communion to 36 persons.
From Paoli Rev. L. H. Meyers went southward. He
visited Salem, in Washington county, and Corydon, in
Harrison county. After tarrying here for a short time he
returned to his scattered congregation in Cincinnati. In
1822 Rev. L. H. Meyers was reappointed as missionary to
Indiana and Kentucky for a period of two months. These
duties he discharged, reporting that he had traveled 767
miles, baptized 37 children, and preached 49 times. No
congregations were organized.
The Tennessee Sj-nod was also deeply concerned for
the spiritual interests of the Lutherans in Indiana and
adjacent parts. Its opposition to the General Synod, and
its intense zeal for the pure faith which it professed,
spurred its pastors to almost superhuman efforts to plant
the Lutheran church in this new country. It was a true
missionary Synod. It had no mission treasury, nor funds
for the support of missionaries, yet it did a vast amount
of true missionary work. Almost every pastor in that
body was a zealous missionary, making extended tours
into different sections of the country, and trusting to
Providence for his support, and this trust was never mis-
phiced. In addition to these individual efforts the Synod
instructed certain of its pastors to visit the frontier settle-
ments and minister to the destitute brethren. These
instructions were always carried out, unless some provi-
dential interposition prevented.
The Rev. Jacob Zink, of Washington county, Vir-
ginia, was probably the first missionary of the Tennessee
Synod to labor in Indiana. His zeal was like his field,
boundless. The whole region east of the Mississippi river
was his parish. He journeyed almost constantly. In
1821 his missionary tour embraced portions of Louisiana,
Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana. Wherever he went he
preached, catechised, and administered the sacraments
as opportunity offered or the necessities required. In
1823 he located permanently in Indiana, but at what
point we do not know. This year he attended the con-
vention of the Ohio Synod at Chillicothe. He labored
in the state until his death in 1827. The place of his
residence is not known, but probably it was near Martins-
ville, Morgan county. Rev. Mr. Zink was a zealous and
devoted Lutheran, and a man of strong convictions. He
loved his church, and preached her doctrines from a con-
viction of their scripturalness. He was a pronounced
opponent to the General Synod and a loyal son of the
Tennessee Synod. He did much to develop a deep
Lutheran consciousness in the congregations he served,
all of which were in harmony with his own pronounced
It is certain that the renowned Rev. Paul Henkel
was instrumental in planting the Lutheran church in In-
diana, although the places visited and the congregations
— 35 —
organized by him are not known to the writer." The
work accomplished by the zealous, consecrated and godly
man, and the intense missionary spirit and zeal which
his teaching and example provoked among his own sons,
and those who were his pupils, entitle him to more than
a passing notice in this connection. Of his five sons who
entered the ministry of the Lutheran church, three,
and one grandson, were instrumental in establishing
the Lutheran church in this state, and another grand-
son, the Rev. J. L. Stirewalt, in later years, both as a
pastor and as the General Council's western missionary,
did much to build up the Lutheran Zion in the common-
Paul Henkel was born on the Yadkin river, in North
Carolina, December 15, 1754. He died at New Market,
Virginia, November 17, 1.S25. The family trace their
descent through Count Henkel of Poeltzig, from .Johann
Henkel, D. D., LLD., born in Hungary, who was father
confessor to Queen Maria. The head of the American
branch of the family was Rev. Gerhard Henkel, who came
to America about the year 1700. In the Fatherland Rev.
Gerhard Henkel was for a time court chaplain to Duke
Moritz of Saxony, who becoming a Roman Catholic,
exiled him. He was the first Lutheran minister in Vir-
ginia, and afterwards pastor at Germantown, Pa. He
died about the year 1742. From him descended a numer-
ous family, many of whose members are prominent in the
Lutheran church and in the learned professions. One of
the sons of Rev. Gerhard Henkel was Justus, who was the
father of Jacob, who was the father of Paul, Isaac, Moses
and John. Moses entered the ministry of the Methodist
n Hist. Tenn. Synod, p. (38.
church, but Paul, Isaac and John were true to the faith
of their father and entered the ministry of the Lutheran
Jacob Henkel had settled in North Carolina, on the
banks of the Yadkin. About 1760 the Indians became so
12 We append an abbreviated genealogical table of the
Johann Henkel, D.D., LL.D., born in Pleutschau, Hungary.
Count Henkel, of Poeltzig.
Gerhard Henkel. Lutheran pastor. Emigrated to America 1700 —
1718, died cir. 1742.
11 Justus Henkel.
12 Jacob Henkel.
13 Moses Henkel. M. E. minister.
23 Isaac Henkel. Lutheran pastor.
3 3 John Henkel. Lutheran pastor.
4 3 Paul Henkel. Lutheran pastor. Born December 15, 1754,
died November 25, 1825.
1-4 Solomon Henkel, M. D. Publisher.
15 Samuel G. Henkel, M. D. Born February 12, 1807, died
March 8, 1864.
25 Heleah. Married Rev. D. M. Henkel, D.D.
2i Philip Henkel. Lutheran pastor. Born September 23, 1779,
died October 9, 1833.
15 Eusebius S. Henkel. Lutheran pastor. Born July 26, 1811,
died December 17, 1874.
2 5 Irenaeus Henkel. Lutheran pastor.
34 Ambrose Henkel. Lutheran pastor. Born July 11, 1786,
died January 6, 1873.
15 Elnora. Married Socrates Henkel, D.D.
44 Andrew Henkel. Lutheran pastor. Born October 21, 1790,
died April 23, 1870.
15 George Henkel, M.D.
25 Vandalona Henkel. Married Rev. J. L. Stirewalt.
54 David Henkel. Lutheran pastor. Born May 5, 1795, died
June 15, 1831.
15 Polycarp C. Henkel, D.D. Lutheran pastor. Born August
20, 1820, died September 26, 1889.
- 37 -
threatening that he removed with his family to western
Virginia. Here young Paul grew up under the inHuence
of frontier life, and became an expert hunter, and familiar
with Indian warfare. Of his early religious training we
know nothing. There is a tradition that when he was
about twenty-two years old, he heard some eminent
preacher and resolved to prepare himself for the ministry.
He placed himself under the care of Rev. Mr. Krug, of
Frederick, Maryland, from whom he acquired a fair
knowledge of German, Latin, Greek and other branches
necessary for the office. He was licensed by the Minist-
erium of Pennsylvania, and accepted a call from congre-
gations in the Shenandoah valley, at and near New Market.
But his labors extended far beyond his immediate field.
On the 6th of June, 1792, he was ordained by Rev. John
Fred. Schmidt, in Philadelphia. After serving congre-
gations in Staunton, Va., and Rowan county, North Car-
olina, he located again in New Market, and labored as an
independent missionary the rest of his days. Not depend-
ing for a support on any special missionary fund but upon
the promises of his Master, he entered upon one of the
23 Socrates Henkel, D.D. Lutheran pastor.
tH Charles Ilenkel. Lutheran pastor. Born March IS, 179S,
15 D. M. Henkel, D.D. Lutheran pastor.
1<; Wife of Rev. A. L. Yount, D.D.
1 " John Yount. Lutheran pastor.
7i Hannah. Wife of Rev. John Stirewalt.
15 Paul Stirewalt. Lutheran pastor.
25 Julius L. Stirewalt. Lutheran pastor.
35 Quintius Spener Stirewalt. Student of Theology.
Rev. Jacob Stirewalt, married Henrietta Henkel, daughter of
1 Rev. J. N. Stirewalt.
2 Rev. Jerome P. Stirewalt.
- 38 -
most remarkable careers of missionary effort known in the
annals of the Church of America. Animated by a truly
apostolic zeal, he threw himself into the work with all the
ardor of youth. His labors are characterized by a zeal
and self-denial, and perseverance and indomitable courage
equalled by but few men since the days of the apostles.
Amidst dangers and the severest hardships, he made
repeated tours penetrating into the wildernesses of the
south and west, to the farthest limits of civilization,
hunting up the scattered members of the household of
faith, baptizing, instructing and confirming their children,
preaching the Word, organizing congregations and schools,
and supplying the people with books of devotion, a
supply of which he generally carried with him. He
exhorted the people to be loyal to their Church and faith-
ful to God. In 1810 he made a tour into Ohio, entering
the state opposite the mouth of the Great Kanawha.
From thence he went to Chillicothe, thence to Springfield,
then to Mad Rivers, the present site of Dayton, where he
came near losing his life by drowning, being accidently
thrown into the river. This was then the limit of white
settlements. He proceeded to an Indian town some
twenty miles farther north, probably Piqua. After a stay
of eight days he traveled down the Great Miami River, to
a congregation where he spent two weeks instructing the
young and preaching the ■ Word. This probably was
Germantown, as he was at this place in this year. From
this place he returned home to New Market, and prepared
for a tour into North Carolina. During this tour into
Ohio, he preached almost daily, sometimes in German
and sometimes in English, sometimes both in one day,
and, as it appears from the data at hand, he organized
one congregation and one school, confirmed 59 and
— 39 -
administered the Lord's Supper to 95. He labored very
hard, and was much distressed because of the bad inHu-
ence of the fanatical sects, and complained that the
schools were English while the people, old and young,
spoke the German.
No more active, indefatigable and self-denying mis-
sionary than Paul Henkel ever labored in this country. It
is strange that no extended accounts of this man's life and
labors are published. In other communions, men of less
zeal and ability, whose work is less fruitful than is his,
have been honored with published biographies, while this
man's work is in danger of being forgotten. The church
should know about his life, his deeds, his zeal and devo-
tion for her and her faith. The whole unexplored west
was his parish. Without any authorization from Mission
Boards, or assurance of support save the Master's command
"Go preach the Gospel," and the promise "Lo I am with
you alway," he went forth in obedience to that command,
and in firm reliance upon that promise, and entered upon
his labors unmoved and undismaj-ed by the darkest
prospects. Tennessee, Virginia, North and South Carol-
ina, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia, were the
fields of his operations.
In some of these tours he was accompanied by his
noble and heroic wife, who was animated by a like
missionary spirit. In a two- wheeled wagon they traveled.
Their journeys were not without dangers. In peril of
waters, crossing swollen streams, in perils of land, often
compelled- to spend the night in the forests, abounding
with panther, bear and wolves, they passed their time that
tlie Gospel might be preached unto the destitute. From
a small farm he derived his subsistence. His sons owned
a printing press, from which a small income was derived,
— 40 -
and the devotional books which they issued, he helped to
distribute in his tours. He would accept no compensa-
tion for his services.
In his journeyings he often came upon gatherings of
people, such as "log-rollings," house- or barn-"raisings,"
"corn-huskings" and the like. On such occasions he
would announce his office, and offer to preach. The offer
as a rule was gladly accepted. The people would seat
themselves upon logs, stumps, or on the ground, while a
stump or short "log cut" set on end served as a pulpit.
Under these conditions and in these improvised sanctuaries
he would deliver his sermon, in the language preferred,
German or English, or possibly a sermon in each. If
time permitted he would tarry for a few days, visit from
house to house, baptize the children and comfort the sick
and sorrowing. His kindly acts, and genuine Christian
sympathy won the hearts of all, and the partings were
often amid sobs and tears. Thus the settlements were
visited, and the desolate made to rejoice in the treasures
of grace. Thus the Word and Sacrament were ministered
unto our forefathers in this region.
In this manner a whole summer was spent in the
field. As the winter approached, he would turn his face
toward his home, and then prepare for a trip into the
sunny southland, or prepare during the winter months for
another trip throughout the north. With such zeal,
fidelity and devotion on the part of her sons, even in a
darkening hour, the Lutheran Church could not fail to
live. By such sons her precious truths were kept fresh
and uncorrupted among the people on the frontiers.
Paul Henkel was a man of fine physique. He was
well proportioned, large, erect, standing about six feet,
with well developed physical organs, full of energy and
MT. ZION LUTHERAN CHURCH
Knox County, Ind.
I. 4. Rev. Paul Roth
2. Rev. Hiram Peters, D. D. 5. Rev. W. J. Finck
3. Rev. M. E. Haberland 6. Rev. A. C. Anda
7. Rev. J. R. E. Hunt
FAIRHAVEN LUTHERAN CHURCH
Near Mulberry, Ind.
— 4J —
perseverance. Without these he would have been unequal
to the task before him. His mind was well balanced.
His attaiiiments were liberal. In disposition he was kind,
afifectionate and forbearing. He was universally honored,
loved and esteemed.
As a preacher he had few superiors among his
contemporaries. He was fervent, animated and at times
eloquent. He preached the doctrines of the Lutheran
church from conviction of their scripturalness. His soul
was in his Master's cause. Few ministers performed more
arduous, faithful, and ellicient labor than he did. In all
the relations of life he was true, faithful, pious, reliable
Rev. David Henkel, moved by the same spirit that
animated his father, was very active in propagating the
faith, and in opposing not only the General Synod but
also the Methodists, Unitarians and Baptists. He heartily
received the doctrines taught and confessed bj^ the Luth-
eran church as set forth in the Symbolical Books," and
defended them with all the power at his command. He
was among the few who saw that many who bore the
Lutheran name, had departed from the Lutheran faith
and practice. He exerted himself to induce the church
in America to return to the old standards. "He was the
best educated and most energetic of the family, although
all ranked high in both for that day. Not so learned as
some of his opponents but possessing great natural talent,
and indefatigably industrious, he was more than their
equal. It was he who by his writings and preaching
became the leader in what was for years popularly and
reproachfully called Henkelism, but which distinguished
itself only by a more rigid adherence to the old Lutheran
13 S. S. Schmucker, Luth. Ch. in Amer., p. 215.
— 42 —
theologj', and by a want of sympathy and co-operation
with what was called the Evangelical section of the
church. David Henkel was a strong man anoiong the
men with whom he was associated, and exercised an
unlimited control over their ideas and actions."'* With
voice and pen he pressed his work. He challenged the
Lutheranism of all the existing synods, and the sub-
sequent history of the church has practically vindi-
cated his position, although he was treated by his oppo-
nents with almost contemptuous silence. In the south he
was belittled by those who could not understand him, but
held in reverence by those whom he had brought to a
clearer apprehension and deeper appreciation of the Luth-
eran faith. He was an earnest student of the Scriptures
and of the Book of Concord, and knew what were the
doctrines of the church.
He had no sympathy with the new measures and
innovations introduced into so many of the churches.
For Methodism he had no love, neither for its extravagant
methods and revivals, nor for its subjectiveness in its
doctrines. With these people he came into sharp contro-
versy. Henkel had published a pamphlet entitled "Bap-
tism, or Heavenly Flood of Regeneration." One Joseph
Moore published some strictures on this pamphlet, which
fell into Henkel's hands. Moore was neither logical nor
consistent, nor fair in his criticisms. Henkel then pub-
lished his treatise "Answer to Joseph Moore, the Meth-
odist," in which he handled his antagonist without gloves,
and vindicated his own position. He also published a
treatise entitled "Against the Unitarians," in which he
ably defends the Lutheran view of the Person and Incar-
nation of Jesus Christ. This was written because of the
14 Morris, Fifty Years in Luth. Min., p. 44.
doctrines that were advocated in both pulpit and print.
This work was published by order of the Tennessee Synod.
These works were widely scattered, even in Indiana many
copies were sold.' ' Besides these controversies through the
press, he had frequent public disputations with prominent
men, both within and without the Lutheran church." He
was in 1S26 requested to visit Pennsylvania and preach and
vindicate the distinctive doctrines of the Lutheran church.
To this he agreed.'"
As early as 1S24 he visited the churches in Indiana,
and encouraged them to be true to the faith of the fathers.
Everywhere he was received with joy and liberally remun-
erated for his services. How long he remained in the
state, and what congregations he visited, we have not
been able to ascertain. The next year he was at Jeffer-
sontown, Kentucky, and it is quite probable that a portion
of the year was spent in ministering to the churches in
Indiana. His visit to these churches did much to estab-
lish them in their opposition to the General Synod. He
spent several weeks in Greene county, Indiana, but in
what year we know not. His career was cut short by an
untimely death in 1831. The churches in the south
lamented his death for many j^ears. His opposition to a
literary institution was his chief fault and the mistake of
Rev. Philip Henkel, an older l)rother of David, labored
extensively in Indiana. It appears that he spent the
1-^ The writer found several copies among the older families.
i'" Henkel, Hist. Tenn. Synod, p. 71.
1' Some idea of the labors of these missionaries can be
obtained from their ministerial acts. David Henkel in a min-
istry of about IS years preached 3200 times, baptized 'J997 infants,
240 adults, and confirmed 1105.
— 44 —
greater part of the year 1831 missionating in the state,
during which time he organized five congregations in four
different counties, namely St. John's in Clear Creek town-
ship, and Zions(?) in Beanblossom township, Monroe
county, Salem in White River township, Morgan county,
Philadelphia in Parke county, and St. John's, Bluff Creek,
Johnson county. His son. Rev. Eusebius S. Henkel,
came to the state in 1833, as a missionary adventurer,
and labored almost exclusively within its bounds until
Very early in the century the Rev. John Lewis Markert
labored in the state, but only in the capacity of a mission-
ary. He had served congregations in North Carolina from
1805 to 1816. During this period he visited Ohio, about
1813, and supplied several congregations, among which
was the one at Germantown. In 1816 he moved to In-
diana, locating, according to the best information, in
Fayette county. He may justly be regarded as the patri-
arch of the Lutheran church in the state. In 1817 he
reported by letter to the North Carolina Synod, and de-
scribed the deplorable conditions of the church in that
state. He told of many scattered congregations that he was
then serving, and that he was the only Lutheran pastor in
the state." In 1819 he was entreated by the North Caro-
lina Synod to visit the brethren in Union county, Illinois,
in response to their "heart-affecting memorial and prayer
for spiritual ministration." He is spoken of as then re-
siding in Ohio, but as his home was not far from the
Ohio line, and serving congregations in that state, the
brethren in the south were probably misled as to his
place of residence. He visited the Lutherans in Union
county, Illinois, in 1820, in compliance with the request
18 Hist. N. C. Synod, p. 88. Min. N. C. Synod, 1817.
— 45 —
of the North Carolina Synod, made two years before. He
labored in Montgomery county, Ohio, from April 18,
1820, to September 29, 1823,'" at least ; but what congre-
gations he served we have been unable to ascertain. In
1823 he had charge of three schools, which he taught in
connection with his pastoral work."" He did not co-oper-
ate with the Ohio pastors in the organization of the Ohio
Synod in 1818, nor did he connect himself with that
body. But it is quite probable that he and Pastors Mann,
Simon and Dill, and possibly also Heinecke, who came
into this region as early as 1822, co-operated in their ef-
forts to supply the spiritual needs of the large Lutheran
population that had llowed into this region. Markert re-
mained in connection with the North Carolina Synod
until 1829, when he united with the Tennessee Synod.
During this year he and Rev. Nehemiah Bonham, in
compliance with that Synod's request, visited all the
congregations in connection with it, a heavy task, but
cheerfully and faithfully performed.
For several years at least Rev. Mr. Markert re-
sided in Fayette county, Indiana, where he served St.
John's congregation in connection with his other fields of
labor. He received such meagre support that he was
compelled to work at his trade, that of a cooper, for a
livelihood. He reported that no minister could subsist
there without some support from a plantation. In 1831
19 Earliest and latest dates of record of marriages solemn-
ized by him in Montgomery county, Ohio.
■M These pioneer pastors were away from their homes so
much, and covered so large a territory in their ministrations,
that it is dirticult to determine the place of their residence. The
early minutes generally gave only the state, sometimes also the
counties, in which they resided.
— 46 —
he located in Fountain county, Indiana, where he resided
until his death, November 22, 1850.
Rev. Christian Moritz located in the state as early as
1829. Some years before he had visited Greene county
in response to an invitation from the Lutherans there,
many of whom had been his parishioners in North Caro-
lina. He was so well pleased with the people and with
the country that he decided to make his home among
them. His first visit to the state, so far as we can ascer-
tain, was in 1823, when he preached for the churches at
Jeffersontown, Kentucky, and at Fourteen Mile Creek,
Clarke county, Indiana. During the interim of these
dates he labored chiefly in Cape Girardeau county,
Rev. Abraham Miller, a deacon of the Tennessee
Synod, located in the state in 1828, making his home
near Columbus, in Bartholomew county. He began to
preach at the age of 18, had been licensed, and served
congregations in Virginia and Tennessee. He was but
23 years of age when he came to the state, and supple-
mented his support by teaching school. He supplied a
number of congregations in the southern part of the state.
Subsequently he moved to Shelby county, and finally to
Bluff Creek, Johnson county, where he resided until his
death, December 4, 1887. He continued to preach regu-
larly until 1864, when he retired from the active work.
Rev. Jacob Gruber, residing at Euphemia, now Lewis-
burg, Ohio, labored as a missionary in the state for a
number of years. He organized Zion's Church, East
Germantown in 1822, and St. Jacob's Church several
years later. Besides supplying these congregations, he
served congregations in Clinton, and Blackford counties.
He followed the avocation of a stone cutter, making a
— 47 —
specialty of grave stones. During his missionary tours,
besides preaching and catechising, he would take orders
for grave stones, which he would Hll upon his next visit.
He travelled in a wagon, and thus delivered his goods.
Like Paul the apostle, he would not be a burden upon the
church but labored with his own hands for his support.
Besides the pastors above mentioned, Rev. Andrew
Henkel, residing at Germantown, Ohio, Rev. John Wag-
enhuls, residing at Lancaster, Ohio, and Rev. Henry
Heincke, residing at Miamisburg, Ohio, did pioneer work
in the state at intervals, prior to 1835. It is evident, that
the Lutheran population in the state was considerable,
and that it was impossible for the pastors on the field to
care for it, and save it to the Lutheran church. They
made heroic efforts, and to them the church owes a debt
In 1835, the Rev. Ezra Keller Was sent out by the
Missionary .Society of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania,
as a missionary explorer. His field embraced portions
of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. The next year he made
his report, a part of which, pertaining to the field under
consideration, we append to this narrative. It is as fol-
lows: "The first place at which I arrived from New
Albany, where I entered the state of Indiana, was Rockford
in Jackson county, where I found a settlement of Swiss,
of about fourteen families. Most of them have been living
here three or four years, and more are expected to settle
in the neighborhood. They are generally piously disposed,
but have no one to break unto them the bread of life.
They are exceedingly desirous to have a minister, who
would preach steadily, and catechise their children. I
remained with them several days, preached once, and
visited some families who were sick. What is very com-
— 48 -
mendable in these people is, that they are in the habit of
meeting every Sunday for divine service, when a few
hymns are sung, and one reads the church service. They
requested me to return their sincere thanks to synod for
the visit and service of your missionary, and also entreat
you to consider their condition.
From this place I proceeded northward into Shelby
Co. where I was told were some destitute congregations.
But before I reached them I was informed that they were
under the pastoral care of Rev. A. Miller, so I passed on
into Marion Co. Here, four miles north of Indianapolis,
I met Eev. A. Reck, a venerable father in our Zion, who,
after having long labored to build up our church in the
east, emigrated in the spring of 1836, into this state, with
the view of doing something for the Master's cause in this
great valley. He has already organized a congregation in
his immediate neighborhood, of about fifty members.
They have put up a comfortable house for divine worship
in sight of their pastor's dwelling. Here I had the plea-
sure of being with him at his first communion. Sixteen
were confirmed, and about fifty united in partaking of the
Lord's Supper. At this place I preached thrice, and bap-
tized one. It was a season of great interest to the mem-
bers, and of novelty to many spectators, it being the first
time these ordinances were administered in this neighbor-
I next visited a settlement of European Germans,
twelve miles east of Indianapolis, of about twenty families.
They are generally in good circumstances, and some of
them are well educated ; but as to religion they seem to
be in a deplorable condition. I felt a great desire to
preach for them, and made application. to that effect, but
they seemed reluctant to hear me except on Sabbath, and
— 49 —
the reason they gave was that they could not spare the
time ; and as I had an appointment for the Sabbath at
another place I was compelled to leave them, after having
traveled many miles through rainy weather, over bad
roads and encountering high waters, without being per-
mitted to preach one sermon. This was painful to my
mind and a strong evidence that they need some one to
lead them in the path of duty. Their condition is indeed
deplorable. Their children are growing up without relig-
ious instruction, and are likely to become as wild as the
country in wich they live.
The next place I visited was sixteen miles north of
Indianapolis, near Germantown. There live about thirty
members of our church from different states of the Union.
I preached for these people in a private house. They are
visited occasionally by Mr. Keck, who will perhaps soon
form them into a congregation.
From this place I went to a German settlement in
Hamilton Co. five miles west of White River, In this
neighborhood live about twelve Lutheran families, origin-
ally from Pennsylvania, and many who are of German
descent, but not members of the church. This settlement
is quite new ; the people have no chairs, not even benches.
They appear however to be hungry for the bread of life
and receive it with a ready mind. I preached to them
with great satisfaction in a little cabin, and afterwards
baptized two infants. I had reason to believe that the
truth made a deep impression on their minds. Many
tears flowed and they appeared to be very anxious to ob-
tain a minister, and promised to put up a house for wor-
ship if they could obtain some one to teach them.
From this settlement I returned to Indianapolis, and
on my way preached in the evening at Abbesville. In
— 50 —
Indianapolis I preached to a small congregation, which
has been recently organized by Rev. Reck.
Another settlement I visited in Marion Co. is on
Little Eagle creek. Here are about twelve families of
Lutherans, all of whom can understand the English
language. To these people I pleached in a private house.
From here I went to Boone Co., where I found a num-
ber of Lutherans from East Tennessee, settled about six
miles south-east from Lebanon. These people have been
visited occasionally by Rev. E. S. Henkel of the Indiana
Synod, who speaks of taking up his residence among them.
I preached to them in a cabin. In the afternoon I rode
to Lebanon where I preached in the evening to a large
and attentive audience in the courthouse. I found one
member of our church here, from North Carolina, who was
much pleased to hear a minister of his own faith. The
roads in this part of the country I found so exceeding bad
that I could not travel more than ten or twelve miles per
The next place I visited was La Fayette, a flourishing
town on the Wabash. Here I found about seven mem-
bers of our church, who despair of getting a minister, and
now speak of uniting with other churches. May God
raise up laborers for our people ! I would here remark
that since I left Indiana, I met a gentleman, a citizen of
Logansport, Cass Co., who informed me that in that
place were many European Germans who were Protestants.
These should be visited.
From LaFayette I went down the Wabash to a little
place called Attica, which I reached on the 12th of No-
vember. Here I found it necessary, for myself and my
horse, to rest for a short time. At Attica I found twelve
members of the Lutheran, and about an equal number of
— 51 —
the Reformed church, chieily from Maryland. During my
stay here I preached six times, visited all the members
at their homes and preached once in the neighborhood.
At Attica a minister is much needed and desired. The
people are willing to receive one either from the Lutheran
or Reformed church. They are hungry for the bread of
life, and care not who breaks it to them.
From this place I went to Perryville, a beautiful
town on the Wabash. In this place and vicinity I found
fifteen members of the Lutheran and a few families of the,
German Reformed church. I remained with them a
week, preached four times, visited most of them in their
homes, and baptized two infants. Most of these people
are from Ohio, are wealthy, are anxious to hear a minis-
ter, and would contribute liberally to his support. Perry-
ville is situated in one of the finest portions of the state,
is growing fast, has but one organized church, and would
be a fine situation for a Lutheran minister. No German
is needed here, or in Attica. While at this place I heard
of a settlement of Lutherans in Fountain county, but
could not visit them in consequence of bad roads and
high water." '
From Perryville Rev. Keller entered Illinois and
crossed the state to St. Charles, Missouri.
Thus far we have spoken only of those pioneer pas-
tors whose work was chiefly English, or whose congrega-
tions became English in due time. These were first on
the field. The Germans came later, during that period
when German immigration to the state became so great.
Among the earlier German pastors of whom we have any
record were J., and .1. F. Isensee. brothers from the
-1 This report is taken from The Life of l",zra Keller.
— 52 —
University of Halle. Rev. J. J. Meissner, Rev. F. C. D.
W3'nekin, and Rev. William Sihler. Besides these, there
were some who belonged to the Joint Synod of Ohio.
The Germans were more successful in making their work
permanent. This is due to their strict adherence to all
the doctrines and principles of Lutheranism, and a larger
supply of pastors for their specific needs.
Sxpertmentation nnh ©rganizatiau of iFurrea
iEx;iprtmrntattiin nnh ©rgamsatton of Wartts.
X order to understand properly the history of the
Lutheran church in this region, and estimate
torrectly the difficulties under which her be-
ginnings were made, it is necessary that we
review briefly the times and the movements
that obtained in the districts from whence her pioneer
members came. The types of Lutheranism prevailing
in the older sections of the church found their counter-
part here, and the controversies that agitated her in
the east and the south found an echo in the newly set-
tled portions of Indiana and adjacent parts. If a pas-
tor visited a congregation in the state — especially one
composed of Tennessee Synod Lutherans — he was at
once required to avow his adherence to the Henkelites,
or else his services were not desired. The Generalists
were not so strict, yet their congregations were, as a rule,
adverse to having a Henkelite preach for them." Two
divergent tendencies were early perceptible, and each de-
veloped into a distinct and peculiar polity and life.
At the time of which we write the Lutheran church
in America was powerfully influenced on the one hand by
•-*•.! These terms, Henkelites and Henkelism, Generalists and
Generalism, designating the opponents and advocates of the
General Synod, were in very conanion usage in this region during
— 56 -
the Unionism of Germany, and on the other by the Re-
vivalism introduced into America a generation or two be-
fore by the Methodists. This religious awakening, like a
tidal wave, swept over the whole country during the first
quarter of the Nineteenth Century, and affected almost
every denomination in the country. It swept over the
Carolinas in 1800-1801, and the ablest men of the Luth-
eran church in that section, Rev. C. A. G. Storch and
Paul Henkel, became greatly disturbed and perplexed
over the phenomena which they witnessed, and which in
some measure unsettled their people. They hesitated to
call the movement fanatical, or to denounce it as unscrip-
tural, for they discovered a remarkable change in persons
who had previously been either ungodly in their lives or
avowedly sceptical in their views. Rev. Paul Henkel,
while he studied the movement, disapproved of the
measures. The extravagant practices and arrogant claims
of some of the advocates of these measures, convinced
him that the movement could not be salutary to the
church. The tendency to ignore doctrine and substitute
human experience as an evidence of divine favor, alien-
ated the conservative pastors from the movement, and
did much in preparing the Lutheran pastors for the organ-
ization of the North Carolina Synod.
The immediate effect of this Unionism and Revival-
ism upon the Lutheran church in the south was deplora-
ble. The enthusiasm it engendered was almost irresistible.
The Patriarchs of the church, Muhlenberg and his com-
peers, had passed to their reward, and their successors
were men of a different spirit and aim ; men who did not
subscribe to the confessions of the church. They evinced
an anxiety to eliminate from the catechisms, liturgies
and hymns, everything that distinguished her from the
— 57 —
sects, and under their leadership the church rapidly
drifted from her moorings. They introduced doctrines
and practices which were foreign to her nature and sul)-
versive of her faith. Their plea was that they proposed
to Americanize the Lutheran church.
It was at the time when she had thus drifted away
from her standards, and while these men were at the
helm, that the General Synod was organized. That
movement was not unanimous. There was a strong dis-
sent in certain Synods, and determined opposition on the
part of many pastors. This opposition was partly due to
unfounded prejudices, but chiefly to the doctrinal inde-
terminateness of the General Synod itself. Probably the
most determined opposition to the formation of the Gen-
eral Synod was found in the North Carolina Synod. For
a number of years prior to 1820, when the General Synod
was organized, there were divergent tendencies in the
North Carolina Synod, arising from personal differences,
questions of doctrine, of licensure and ordination, and
the lax practices that had grown out of the prevailing
Unionism and Revivalism. Personal differences arose
because of charges that were made against David Henkel,
a licentiate. A reaction against the doctrinal indetermi-
nateness of the Synod was inaugurated by the Henkels,
Paul, Philip and David, who were close students of the
Book of Concord. The doctrinal questions that arose
were chiefly "Original Sin," "The Person of Christ,"
"Baptism" and "The Lord's Supper." The formation of
the General Synod also was involved. There was also
great laxity in practice in the Synod.
Mr. Robert Johnson Miller, who had been ordained
in 1794, before a Synod was organized, for the Episco-
palian ministry, became a member of the Synod, and
— 58 —
remained in connection with it for twenty-seven years,
during which time he served Lutheran congregations. He
never confessed himself a Lutheran, and when ordained
he was obHgated to the doctrines of the Episcopal church.
Gottlob Schober, who had been a member of the Legisla-
ture, a lawyer by profession, and a Moravian in religion,
was ordained by this Synod in 1810. He was then 54
years of age. He became one of the most active and ag-
gressive, but not representative members. He did not
subscribe to the Augsburg Confession, and never con-
fessed himself a Lutheran. He was chosen as the repre-
sentative of the North Carolina Synod to the several con-
ventions that were held preliminary to the organization
of the General Synod. He was present at the conventions
at Baltimore, 1819, preliminary," Hagerstown,"^ October,
1820, and Fredericktown,'' 1821.
The opposition in the North Carolina Synod to the
proposed General Synod was led by Rev. Paul Henkel,
his sons, David and Philip, and a few others. The
Synod's affiliation with Episcopalians and Moravians,
and its tendency to minimize the distinctive Lutheran
doctrines, filled the Henkels with alarm, and they de-
termined to save the Lutheran church in the south from
casting off her birthright. The controversy between the
Henkelites and the advocates of Unionism and new meas-
ures became warm and decisive, and a disruption of the
body was inevitable. The occasion soon presented itself.
When the question of the formation of the General Synod
came before the North Carolina Synod, Miller, Schober
and others, whose Lutheranism was questioned by the
23 Bernheim, 439. -i^ Luth. Church Review, Vol. XI. : 68.
- 59 — .
Henkels, championed the movement, and succeeded in
having the Synod meet six weeks earlier in 1819 than the
reguLarly appointed time, in order to elect delegates to
the proposed convention. The Henkels were not notified
of this change of time, and did not attend. '"^ They char-
acterized the session as the "untimely Synod," and never
recognized it as valid or constitutional, and refused to be
bound by its action. They met at the originally ap-
pointed time and place, declared the acts of the "untimely
Synod" null and void, and adjourned to meet at the same
time and place selected by the "untimely Synod." At
the convention of 1820 efforts to effect a reconciliation
were made, but failed, and the Henkels withdrew from
the North Carolina Synod and organized the Tennessee
Synod. It published a "Short Account of the Business
Transactions," in which, among other things, are found
"Important Objections Against the Proposed Constitution
of the General Synod." The German of the book is not
classical, but there is much sound reasoning in it.''
Those who followed the Henkels in their opposition
to the General Synod, and to all practices and teachings
which they regarded as innovations in the church and de-
partures from her faith, whether found in the General
Synod or elsewhere, were reproachfully called Henkelites,
and their strict adherence to the symbols of the church,
Henkelism. They bore the stigma patiently, were driven
by these attacks to a closer study of the Word of God and
of the Confessions of the church, and into closer union
with one another. They appealed to posterity to vindi-
cate their position. These doctrines were the themes of
26 David Ilenkel was present and tried on several cliarges
at this convention. Min. N. C. Synod, 1S19.
■-" Lutheranisni in .\nierica. W. .1. Mann, n. 93.
— 60 —
discussion at their Synodical conventions, in the family
and in the shops. However they may have erred in
their methods and ill-advised, as some of their attacks
upon the General Synod were, it must be conceded that
they were honest in their convictions and struggles to
establish the church upon her true foundation. Their
loyalty to the truth as they saw and understood it, cannot
be questioned. It is not too much to say that Henkelism
was the salt that preserved the church in the southern
section of our country from doctrinal putrefaction. Their
boldness, their earnest pleas for the Augustana, animated
others to examine anew the Confessions, who were thereby
brought to a clearer apprehension of the rich treasures of
truth therein contained.
The term Henkelite and Henkelism were met. by the
rejoinder Generalist and Generalism on the part of the
Henkels, and was applied by them to all advocates of the
General Synod. These terms were long in use in the
churches connected with the Tennessee Synod, or in
doctrinal accord with it.
Each party was zealous in the defense and promul-
gation of its views. Representatives of each traveled
over the southern states, visiting congregations and settle-
ments, preaching their respective views and challenging
the position of the opponents. Many Lutherans had
emigrated from the southern states into Kentucky, Indi-
ana, Illinois and Missouri. These were visited by the
Henkelites and enlisted in their cause. Where therfe was
sufficient Lutheran element, congregations were organized
and pledged to the defense of the pure' doctrine. Pam-
phlets and books were issued by the Henkels from the
printing house at New Market, Va., and assidiously dis-
tributed among the churches. Special agents were at
— 6J —
times sent out to introduce these works."" Many of these
pamphlets and publications found their way into the
western settlements. They were diligently read and the
result was an intelligent laity. Some of the missionaries
from the east who visited these Henkelite congregations
expressed their surprise at the intelligence of the mem-
bers and their acquaintance with the doctrines of the
church. The publication house at New Market was the
right arm in the Tennessee Synod's conflict. It has the
honor of issuing the first truly Lutheran works in the
English language in North America. It did more to
arouse the Lutheran church in America to a Lutheran
consciousness than any other factor in those trying times.
In order that the churches might see for themselves which
party occupied the true position the Synod ordered that a
copy of the Augsburg Confession be deposited in every
In the earlier stages of the controversy the opposing
champions were Rev. David Henkel and Rev. Gottlob
Schober, but in the course of a few years other men on
either side were drawn into the arena. Henkel was ag-
gressive and sweeping in his charges of heterodoxy. The
Generalists were put on the defensive at every point.
They never knew from what quarter they would be
assailed. All the existing S^'nods, together with the
fleneral Synod, were charged with having departed from
the old landmarks. The Tennessee Synod alone, they
contended, was sound in its teachings. "The Henkels
confessedly receive everything found within the lids of the
whole Concordienbuch," was the testimony of their chief
28 In 1829 Mr. S. G. Henkel and his brother, Solomon,
made a tour into North Carolina and Tennessee with a one-
horee wagon-load of books to circulate in the churches.
— 62 —
opponent, and the strongest champion of the General
Sj'nod, Dr. S. S. Schmucker."" He was pastor at New
Market, Virginia, from 1820-1825, the home of the Hen-
kels. He was openly and repeatedly charged by them
with teaching doctrines not in harmony with the Augs-
burg Confession. These charges Dr. Schmucker did not
deny, but justified his course on the ground that the doc-
trines he rejected were Romish errors,'^" and what he re-
ceived were fundamental to the Christian faith. The
Henkels regarded all others bearing the Lutheran name
as errorists. In 1823, when a Mr. Sechrist left the North
Carolina Synod, and applied for admission into the Ten-
nessee Synod, that body examined him and required him
to renounce the errors of the former body and avow his
belief in the doctrines of the latter.^' On the other hand,
the General Synod pastors regarded the Henkels as not
in the Lutheran ministry, but as having separated them-
selves from the communion of the Lutheran church.'^'
While the Tennessee Synod was diligently promul-
gating the views held by it throughout the south and
29 Luth. Church in America, p. 215.
30 Id., 219.
31 Minutes of the Tenn. Synod, 1823, pp. 8, 9.
32 Some years ago several individuals residing in North
Carolina, who had previously been members of our church, on
account of some dissatisfaction, separated themselves from our
communion. They chose as their leader an individual named
David Henkel, a weak, illiterate man, whose ground of dissent,
as far as can be gathered from the crude, visionary and inflam-
matory publications, which have from time to time appeared
either under his name or that of his sect, was that the Evan-
gelical church had departed from the true doctrines of the Refor-
mation, which he and his church had attempted to restore. — Ex-
tract from sermon by the Rev. John Bachman, D. D., Luth.
Church in America, p. 216.
west, the Pennsylvania Sj'nod also was active in mission-
ating in the same regions, especially Kentucky, Indiana
and Illinois. These missionaries as a rule were in sym-
pathy with the General Synod. It was not long until the
controversies which harassed the church in the east and
south also found an echo in the west. The lines were
sharpl}' drawn, and there was scarcely any fellowship be-
tween the churches of the different parties. Whatever
may have been the aim of the Generalists, it is quite
plain that it was the purpose of the Henkelites to win
the churches in these regions to their views, and hold the
key for the future.
At first the advantage lay with the Henkelites. The
missionaries from the east could not overcome the oppo-
sition offered. Revs. David, Charles and Paul Henkel
were strong controversialists, and their influence was
powerful and far-reaching. They were incessantly active.
They visited the congregations throughout the country
and set forth the Lutheran doctrines, quoting the confes-
sions of the church as proof for their statements, and
showing their harmony with the Word of God. Their
opposition was not solelj' against the Generalists, but also
against Unitarians, Methodists and Baptists. While these
men lived and labored the Generalists were practically
powerless to advance their work in the west.
To secure the advantages gained, and in order to
carry on their work more efiiciently, the organization of a
synod for Kentucky, in harmony with the Tennessee
Synod, was soon agitated. Rev. Henry A. Kurtz had
been sent by the Pennsylvania Synod as a missionary to
Kentucky in 1818. He was a Generalist. but coming
face to face with the teachings of the Henkels, he became
a convert to that typo of Lutheranism. and was active in
— 64 -
disseminating these views. By this course he incurred
the displeasure of some of the General Synod pastors in
the state, and resigned his commission as missionary.
In 1821 he addressed a letter to the Tennessee Synod,
asking aid in forming a synod for Kentucky, in harmony
with the doctrinal basis of that body, and also deploring
the innovations that prevailed in some synods. In this
project he met with hearty encouragement on the part of
the Tennessee brethren. After much planning and cor-
respondence, a call was issued for a convention to be held
September 28, 1822, in Harrison church. Nelson county,
Kentucky, to take such steps as may be necessary for the
organization of a synod to embrace Kentucky and Indi-
ana. This was the first convention of Lutherans held so
far west. There were present at this convention one
minister and fourteen lay delegates, representing as many
congregations in Kentucky and Indiana. A report of the
proceedings of this convention was made to the Tennessee
Synod, and upon hearing the same, it authorized the
holding of another convention the next year. The con-
vention of 1823 was held in the same place, on the third
Sunday in June. Revs. Paul and David Henkel and
Captain John Bible were appointed to represent the
Tennessee Synod. The minutes of this convention were
published, and all the actions of the convention approved
by the Tennessee Synod, and its aid and co-operation
promised in the movement.
The immediate effect of this convention was gratify-
ing to its friends. The congregations that were repre-
sented in it became warmly attached to the position of
the Henkels. Most of these were favorable to them be-
fore the convention was held, but now they became en-
thusiastic. Rev. Jacob Zink had visited all the congre-
- 65 -
gations in the region embraced in the contemplated
synod, in 1821, and found them in harmony with the
position of the Tennessee Synod. The next year Rev.
Christian Moritz was instructed by synod to visit the con-
gregation at Jeffersontown, Kentucky, and preach for
them. This he did, and the result was that the year fol-
lowing they petitioned the synod for a pastor, and espe-
cially for David Henkel. In 1825 Rev. David Henkel
visited them, and remained for a portion of the year.
While here he wrote the larger part of his "Answer to
Joseph Moore, the Methodist." The preceding year a
congregation in Harrison county, Indiana, petitioned
synod for a pastor. While it appears that about all the
congregations in the bounds of the contemplated synod
were in accord with the views of the Henkels the time
had not yet come, in the judgment of those having inilu-
ence. for the organization of a Kentucky Synod.
The work so auspiciously begun in the interests of
the conservative Lutherans ended, however, in a failure
to realize their fondest hopes. It is not certain that
another convention was held in Kentucky. A number of
causes interposed to defeat the movement. The Henkels
had a determined opponent in Rev. Wm. Carpenter, who
served congregations in Boone county, Kentucky, and
had considerable influence in other sections of the state.
He foresaw the plans of the Henkels and Kurtz, and ex-
erted his influence for their defeat. When missionaries
from the east came to Kentucky, he advised them to go
to Indiana, so as not to come under the teachings and
influence of the Henkelites. Further opposition was also
encountered in the Rev. Mr. Zaesline, who labored at
Bardstown, Kentucky. It was impossible to unite all the
congregations in the state in the project, and this fact im-
— 66 —
peded the movement until the opportune time was past.
Other causes also interposed. Rev. Jacob Zink, an
ardent Henkelite, moved into the interior of Indiana, in
1823, and died there four years later. Rev. Henry Kurtz
went to Pittsburg July, 1823.'' In 1825 Rev. Paul Hen-
kel was called to his reward, after a life full of labors,
and six years later his gifted son, David, succumbed to a
malignant disease. With these strong men removed from
the sphere of action, and no one able to take up the work
with the zeal, ability and energy they displayed, the
cause of the Henkelites in Kentucky gradually waned.
On the other hand, the Generalists became more and
more aggressive. The Henkelites had lost strength in
North Carolina, and the whole Lutheran church in Amer-
ica made them the target for attack. "The Lutheran
Intelligencer" published letters and articles against them.
The editor, Rev. Dr. D. F. Schaeffer, in 1827, says of
them: "From these (several recent letters from North
Carolina) we learn that those who represented themselves
as Lutherans, the Henkelites, are sinking in the estima-
tion of all who know by experience and from the sacred
scriptures that to be born again and made meet unto sal-
vation is more than to be baptized. Nay, others are in-
duced to inquire into those matters and acknowledge that
the doctrines taught by our regularly authorized ministers
are scriptural, and that those who have arrogated to
33 Kurtz is described by his critics as a small, insignificant
man, with a long beard, a strong voice, a disagreeable, dissatis-
fied man. Despite this description, it is evident that he was
a man of courage, of great resources, of unfailing devotion to
the Evangelical Lutheran faith. He swerved not in the stress of
severe persecution. With him the right thing was the chief
thing. Among the martyrs for truth Henry Kurtz is named
as a faithful witness in the midst of a perverse generation.
- 67 -
themselves the authority to teach without submitting to
an examination or ordination by one or other synod
have departed from the true faith." '* These charges had
their effects. The seminary at Gettysburg, under the
leadership of Dr. S. S. Schmucker, the uncompromising
opponent of the Henkelites, was training young men for
the ministry, a number of whom sought fields of labor in
the west. The Henkelites, having no institution of any
kind for the training of ministers, could not recruit the
ministerial ranks so as to hold the advantageous points
secured. In 1824 Rev. Wm. Jenkins, an ardent advocate
of the General Sjmod, and of New Measures, located in
Bedford county, Tennessee, and took charge of ten con-
gregations. He could electrify any audience, and wielded
a powerful influence. In 1833 Rev. Wm. Carpenter died
and was succeeded by the Rev. Jacob Crigler, a man of
considerable influence, and of decidedly revivalistic ten-
dencies. Rev. George Gerhart located at Corydon, Indi-
ana, about the same time, and Rev. George Yeager at
Jefifersontown, Kentucky. These men were warm adher-
ents of the General Synod, and disciples of Dr. S. S.
Schmucker. They were uncompromising opponents of
the Henkelites and all conservative tendencies. Willi
the leaders in the Henkcl party removed by death and no
one to resist their movements, they entered wherever there
was prospect of winning adherents. Their methods were
those so popular in that day. Emotional religion was
the order. The catechetical methods of the Henkcls were
criticised and found fewer and fewer adherents. In the
course of ten years the Generalists had secured control of
almost every congregation in Kentucky and Indiana that
34 Luth. Church in America, p. 218.
- 68 -
had been served by the Henkelites, that is, those congre-
gations which survived the crucible of the transition.
More congregations perished than survived. Several con-
gregations in the interior of Indiana, and a few in south-
eastern Missouri, were all that remained to the Henkel
party. Those in Illinois passed into the hands of the
The Henkelites were unable to hold the grounds se-
cured through the energetic and self-denying labors of
their missionary pastors, chiefly because they had no
seminary to prepare candidates for the ministry. The
Tennessee Synod had a constitutional provision that
synod shall not have an incorporated theological seminary.
They believed and insisted on having educated minis-
ters, and that they receive adequate theological instruc-
tion, but contended that the various schools throughout
the country furnished the opportunities for the first quali-
fication, and that the other could be secured by studying
under some competent divine. The time required for
a candidate to fit himself for the office under these regu-
lations was so long, and the study so desultory, that but
comparatively few of those who began ever completed
the course of study. The recruits were scarcely sufficient
to fill the ranks as they were depleted by death and
Another defect in their system was the lack of a set-
tled pastorate, and of the organization of a specific field as
a parish. The pastors served all the congregations as their
time permitted. They were all itinerants. Systematic
personal and pastoral work was thus out of the question.
While these men were imbued with a fervent missionary
spirit, traveling, preaching, and organizing congregations
as their time and strength permitted, and that too without
- 69 -
any remuneration scurcelj', they opposed any organized
and systematic missionary effort, supported from a spe-
cific mission fund. A congregation once organized had
to petition synod annually for pastoral services, and in
answer to its prayer, synod would instruct and direct one
or more of its pastors to visit it and minister to its spir-
itual needs. So long as the petitions came to synod, so
long the congregations were supplied and regarded as
belonging to the synod. When the petitions ceased, the
service also ceased, and the congregation naturally fell
into decay. Had the Tennessee Synod, in its early history,
set permanent pastors over certain congregations as their
specific parishes, in Kentucky and Indiana, as those con-
gregations were organized, the subsequent history of the
church in these states would have been very different.
On the other hand, the General Synod was able to
go in and cultivate what the Tennessee Synod had sown.
In 1826 the seminary at Gettysburg was opened, and in a
few years the graduates of that institution were found
penetrating these regions, and zealously building up con-
gregations. By the year 1835 the Tennessee Synod had
lost almost all it had in Kentucky.
But the intention to form another synod in harmony
with the Tennessee Synod was not abandoned with the
failure of the movement in Kentucky. The efforts were
now confined to Indiana, in which many members from
churches in Tennessee and North Carolina had settled,
and many were still coming. Rev. John L. Markert, who
had labored for some years in Ohio, located in the state,
first in Fayette, then in Fountain county. Rev. Christian
Moritz, after Uiboring in North Carolina, Kentucky and
Missouri, located in Greene county, 1829. Rev. Eusebius
S. Henkel, son of Rev. Philip Henkol, came to the state
- 70 —
as a missionary adventurer in 1833, and made his home
in Boone county. Rev. Abraham Miller, a deacon of the
Tennessee Synod, located in the state in 1828, and sub-
sequently made his home at Bluff Creek, Johnson county.
Rev. Jacob Zink had labored in different parts of the
state for four j^ears prior to his death in 1827. Besides
these pastors, there were two men in Missouri who pro-
posed to unite in the movement. Deacons Conrad !F.
Picker and Ephraim R. Conrad. These were all men of
fair attainments. Conrad had been under the care of the
Tennessee Synod as a candidate for the ministry since
1833, and labored in Wayne county, Missouri. Mr.
Picker was a scholarly man, who had studied at Halle,
and was of a retiring disposition. He had been or-
dained deacon by some synod, and had labored quite
acceptably and successfully for some years among the
scattered Lutherans in Cape Girardeau county. He was
met in 1836 by Rev. C. F. Heyer, who says: "Why this
young, well educated theologian had, as it were, concealed
himself in such a remote district was strange and puzzling
to me."^^ What became of him we do not know. He
labored for some years in the state, and then is lost sight
of. The other men were, with the exception of Abraham
Miller, quite well educated. They knew the doctrines of
the Lutheran church, and their fidelity to them was un-
questioned. They had no sympathy with the new meas-
ures that were growing so much in favor among the Gen-
eral Synod congregations. They opposed all revivalistic
tendencies. Feeling their isolation in being so far re-
moved from their brethren in the south, they desired a
(•loser union with one another, so that more. united efforts
Life of Heyer, 64.
— 71 —
might be made for upbuilding the suffering church, and
resisting tlie onslaughts of the sectarians. Several confer-
ences were held when the subject of forming a new synod
was discussed. The experience and fate of the Kentucky
movement made them hesitate. But they felt that some-
thing must be done to relieve the suffering condition of
the church. Convinced that united action was the proper
course, a call was issued for a convention, to be held in
St. John's church,*'' Johnson county, Indiana, August 15,
1835. At this convention the prospects and needs of the
church in Indiana were again taken into prayerful con-
sideration, and the decision was unanimously reached
that the time was at hand for the organization of an
Evangelical Lutheran Synod for Indiana. The outcome
of the convention was, that the Evangelical Lutheran
Synod of Indiana was formally organized August 15,
1835. This was the first Lutheran Synod organized west
The persons present at the convention, and who en-
tered into the organization formed, were Rev. John L.
Markert, Rev. Christian Moritz and Rev. Eusebius S.
Henkel, Deacons Abraham Miller, Conrad F. Picker and
Ephraim R. Conrad. The laymen, representing some ten
congregations, were Jacob Keesling, Henry Stine, Daniel
Sechrist, Frederick Slinkard, Moses Hovis, Matthias
Sappenfield, and Henry Good. Deacons Miller, Conrad
and Picker were examined and ordained to the pastoral
ollice. Revs. John L. Markert and Christian Moritz per-
forming the act. This was the first Lutheran ordination
service held in the state.
This synod adopted the constitution of the Tennessee
30 This was a small lop chnrcli, built a few years before.
— 72 —
Synod, with its accompanying remarks '' as its basis and
guide. Its doctrinal position was clearly defined. It
received the Augsburg Confession as a true declaration of
the principal doctrines of faith and of church discipline.
It expressed its conviction that the Confession contained
nothing contrary to the Scriptures. It allowed no minis-
ter in its communion to teach anything repugnant to any
article of the Augsburg Confession. Luther's Small Cat-
echism was also received, because it contains a compend-
ium of scriptural doctrines, and is of great utility in the
catechization of the youth. The Tennessee Synod and
its daughter, the Synod of Indiana, were the first Luth-
eran synods in America that unqualifiedly received the
The movement resulting in the organization of the
Synod of Indiana was hastened by a similar movement
among the General Synod pastors residing in the west.
In the year 1834 several Lutheran clergymen, residing in
the states of Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and
Illinois, decided to call a convention for the purpose of
considering the propriety of organizing an Evangelical
Lutheran synod in the west. The movement was sanc-
tioned by prominent men of the church in the east, and
approved by those eastern synods to which the pastors
respectively belonged. Synodical organization and pow-
ers were desired by these pastors, for they felt very keenly
the need of a closer union and the concentration of their
forces. The call was issued and the convention assem-
bled in Christ's Church, Jeffersontown, Kentucky, Octo-
ber, 1834. Revs. Jacob Crigler, George Yeager and Wm.
37 This constitution, with its remarks, was adopted by the
Tennessee Synod in 1828. The remarks were written by Rev.
- 73 -
Jenkins, and Messrs. David Mattheis, Ephraim Tanner,
and John Shofner were the pastors and hiymen composing
the convention. The eleventh and twelfth of October
were spent in devotional exercises. On Monday, the 13th,
the convention organized, and Revs. J. Crigler and Win.
Jenkins were elected president and secretary respectively.
Committees were appointed to report on "The Situation
of the Church in the West," "Communications," and on
"A Synopsis of the Doctrines of the Church, which are
either Misrepresented or Misunderstood in this Western
Country." This synopsis covered the following points:
The Doctrine of the Atonement, the Influence and Opera-
tion of the Holy Spirit in Regeneration, Baptism, the
Lord's Supper, Free Communion, Practical Piety, Relig-
ious Feelings, and Women. The report is quite lengthy,
and gives a clear statement of the views held by these
pioneer pastors. The most space is devoted to Baptism,
laying special stress upon the mode and the subject.
These statements of their views were deemed necessary
because of the Calvinistic Baptists, who were numer-
ous in Kentucky, and who held to a limited atonement ;
of the Methodists who did not regard the Lutherans as
converted, and as not believing in sanctification, and be-
cause of the rapid strides made by Campbellism, which
attacked and misrepresented the Lutheran view of the
nature, mode and subject of baptism. This synopsis was
printed in the minutes and widely circulated, and did
much to establish the laity against the attacks of these
rampant sects. After a three days' session, the conven-
tion adjourned to meet the next year at Louisville, Ken-
tucky. It was at this second convention that the Evan-
gelical Lutheran Synod of the West was organized. Rev.
Jacob Crigler was its first president, and Rev. \\'. Jenkins,
— 74 —
secretary. The date of the organization was October 5,
1835. The following pastors and laymen composed the
synod: Revs. Jacob Crigler, William Jenkins, George
Yeager, Peter Rizer, John J. Lehmanowsky, and Messrs.
Ephraim Tanner, John Scivally, Philip Berice, Matthias
The Synod of the West entered aggressively upon the
cultivation of the field open to it. Arrangements were
made for the supply of vacant congregations, and a com-
mittee was appointed to survey the territory for the pur-
pose of establishing new congregations where there were
The aim of this synod was also to unite the Lutheran
element in these regions into one body, and further, it
hoped to attract to itself ministers of other denominations,
resulting in the realization of that dream of some of the
leaders in the east, the formation of an American Lutheran
Church which should embrace all protestants in America.
In order to reach this result, the synod made its doctrinal
basis very indefinite. There is nothing in its constitution
defining its doctrines, only the word Lutheran. In its
form of license and ordination it required of its candi-
dates an acknowledgement that "the fundamental doc-
trines of the Word of God are taught in the doctrinal
articles of the Augsburg Confession in a manner substan-
tially correct." This allowed great latitude of opinion,
and there were not a few who took advantage thereof.
Everyone could decide in his own mind what were the
fundamental doctrines, and to what degree they were
correctly set forth in the Confession. Upon this platform
almost any Protestant could stand ; to this declaration
almost every Protestant, except a true Lutheran, could
subscribe. The aim of the Synod of the West was to
— 75 -
make its doctrinal basis so broad and liberal that it
would unite not only all the Lutherans in tlie west, but
would also attract the pastors and congregations of other
denominations, and thus realize a union of Protestants in
this region. This hope it did realize to a certain degree.
Pastors from the German Reformed and from the United
Brethren churches were received as members of this body,
and without any renunciation of their peculiar views.
Even a Roman Catholic priest applied for membership.
He was required however, to renounce his papistical
In order to realize its purpose to unify the Lutheran
element in these regions the synod made overtures to the
Synod of Indiana for a union. This step was first
ofhcially suggested by President Jacob Crigler in his re-
port .to sj'nod in 1836. A committee was appointed to
address the Synod of Indiana upon this matter. The
latter body responded by the appointment of a similar
committee to confer with them. But the results were
disappointing to the Synod of the West. It mistook the
temper of the Indiana pastors, and underestimated their
convictions. The committee reported that "the Provi-
dence of God had not yet indicated the way and means
for the consummation of the desired object." In 1837
the Sj^nod of Indiana held a special session for the pur-
pose of taking the necessary steps for effecting a union
with the Synod of the West. To this special session the
members of the Synod of the West were invited. We
have not the minutes of this special convention, but it
appears that none of the invited pastors attended. The
conditions upon which the Sj-nod of Indiana agreed to
unite with the Synod of the West were the following:
1. That the Synod of the West rescind its action which
— 76 -
attaches it to the General Synod. 2. That we oppose the
falsely so-called benevolent societies of today, such as
Tract, Temperance, Missionary, Bible, and a host of
other such fantastical societies.'^'* But the Synod of Indi-
ana also misjudged the spirit and temper of the pastors
of the Synod of the West, if it believed that these terms
would be acceptable. A union was absolutely impossible.
The Synod of the West replied that they regretted that
these brethren, otherwise so actively engaged, should
labor under such unfounded prejudices and misappre-
hensions. Each party now understood the other more
fully, and all further attempts at union along this line
The immediate effect of this effort was to widen the
breach between the two bodies. The questions involved
were discussed through the press and from the pulpit.
The Tennessee Synod was again made the target of
attack on the part of the adherents of the General Synod,
and in its defense the Synod of Indiana joined. In
his sermon before the South Carolina Synod in 1838
Dr. John Bachman arraigned the Tennessee Synod,
against which it solemnly protested, claiming that "the
allegations were without the least shadow of foundation,
or slightest approximation to the truth." The Virginia
Synod also, by resolution, did "not recognize the mem-
bers of the Tennessee Synod as Evangelical Lutheran
38 This attitude toward such societies was common to al-
most all the denominations in these regions at that time. It is
possible that the Indiana pastors were influenced by Alex.
Campbell's denunciation and arraignments of all such societies,
and those who fostered them. In the south, from which these
pastors came, opposition to "missionary efforts" was very de-
cided on the part of all denominations. See American Church
History Series, Vol. II. pp. 490, 491.
— 77 —
ministers.''^" In these attacks upon the mother the
daughter synod considered itself also attacked and ar-
raigned. The controversy became so violent that the
Synod of the West appealed for its subsidence, as it
wrought great injury to the interests of the church in the
We have not the minutes of the Synod of Indiana
for 1838, 1839 and 1840, but from the subjects demand-
ing its attention in 1841, and the instructions it gave to
certain of its pastors, these men were defending them-
selves and their views with vigor against the attacks and
charges of their opponents. This aroused a decided op-
position in the congregations of the Sj'nod of Indiana to
the General Synod. Petitions came from them to the
synod praying that the "methods, innovations and impo-
sitions of the Generalists here in the west be exposed."
In repl}^ to this request a committee was appointed whose
duty it was to prepare an exposition of these methods
and impositions, and publish the same in the minutes of
the synod. It appeared in 1842, and produced a deep
impression. Within two years after its appearance seven
congregations, which had been affiliated with the Synod
of the west, or other General Synod bodies, applied for
reception into the Synod of Indiana and petitioned for
pastoral services, and promised steadfastness in the de-
fense of truth. ^"
39 Henkel, Hist. Tenn. Synod, pp. 94, 95.
40 The methods of the Indiana pastors were not always
above criticism. They would enter wherever there was hope of
persuading the congregation to cast its lot with them. Once ad-
mitted to the pulpit, the pastor would appeal to the Confessions,
and generally won the congregation to his side.
dlttfitipUty m\h 3lsms
dlnftiielttQ aitln KantH.
HE region in which we are tracing the history of
the Lutheran church, was, during the first four
decades of the nineteenth century, alternately
swept by waves of unblushing and vaunting
infidelity, and intense religious enthusiasm,
which affected all denominations to a greater or less
degree. Prior to 1800 infidelity and unbelief were ram-
pant in the sparsely settled districts. In the initial year
of the century a religious reaction against the prevail-
ing scepticism began in the southern states, especially
in Tennessee and North Carolina, and gradually swept
northward through Kentucky and into Indiana, spreading
over the whole southern portion of the state. ^' It put a
check, for a time, upon the prevailing infidelity, but
whether in the end it proved salutary to the cause of
Christianity, is a question. Out of this revival grew the
movements which culminated in the formation of several
new sects, namely the New Lights, Shakers, Cumberland
Presbyterians, and Campbellites or Disciples.*"
In addition to these schismatic movements tiiere were
such extravagant practices engaged in by the revivalists,
preacher and convert, and such arrogant claims put forth
41 American Church History, Vol. V. p. 298, Vol. XII. p. 17.
42 Id. Vol. V. p. 327.
- 82 -
that did much to injure the cause of true religion and
piety. Phenomena, such as "trances," "the jerks" and
various cataleptic conditions were very common, and were
regarded as evidences of the Holy Spirit's special presence
and proofs of his saving power. These phenomena became
epidemic, and affected all classes of persons. The master
and the slave, the unbeliever and christian, the indifferent
and the scoffer were indiscriminately and without warning,
stricken down and lay in trance-like state, sometimes for
hours. When they recovered, they told of visions and
experiences that seemed supernatural. The effect of this
upon the public was indescribable. The excitement pro-
duced was intense. The preachers took advantage of these
strange phenomena and wrought up their audiences to the
highest pitch of religious enthusiasm, while the impenitent
and ungodly were in almost abject fear. Although these
phenomena were the natural consequence of intense pas-
sionate and emotional effort, in harmony wuth psychplog-
ical laws, and on these grounds all explainable, and
not in any sense an evidence of the Holy Ghost's presence
and power, yet the majority of those people sincerely be-
lieved them to be manifestations of divine power. There
were men however who while unable to explain these
phenomena, did not concede the claims of the advocates
of the revival methods, nor regard them as evidences of
So confident were the ardent advocates of this move-
ment that these things were evidences and proofs of the
divine favor and of the Holy Spirit's special presence,
that they felt themselves warranted to attack and denounce
all who disapproved and opposed their methods. The
members of conservative churches were regarded by them
as legitimate prey, and the clergy as deserving of attack
— 83 —
for their unspirituality. The old methods of preaching,
the faithful use of the Means of Grace, and especially the
catechization of the j^outh, were denounced as spiritless
formalism. Under these persistent attacks and efforts to
proselyte, the conservative churches suffered much, both
by defection and by schism.
This tide of revivalism in a few years began to ebb,
and was followed by another and far different movement,
namely Universalism. It proved a withering, blasting foe,
and wormed itself into the churches like a deadly serpent.
It was first preached in Indiana in 1825, and the senti-
ments were readily accepted. To the masses it was more
acceptable than infidelity. It promised to man, even to
the most profligate and ungodly, as well as to the pious
and faithful, an eternity of bliss, while unbelief promised
nothing beyond the grave. For years this doctrine was
zealously preached and became quite popular. Not many
Universalist congregations were organized, but Univers-
alist sentiment obtained in the minds of many, even those
who were members of orthodox churches. It was looked
upon as the ideal faith. It acted as an insidious spiritual
poison, as a blighting force upon the spiritual powers,
rather than a vitalizing energy. Its advocates, while in
many cases unable to convince their hearers of the correct-
ness of its tenets, succeeded at least in planting the seeds
of doubt in their hearts, and left them to grow and bring
forth bitter and disappointing fruits. A paper entitled
"The Star of the West," devoted to the dissemination of
Universalist doctrines, and pul)lished in the interests of
the Universalist church, was issued from Cincinnati, and
assidiously circulated among all classes. It was widely
read and by its specious arguments appealed forcibly to
the average reader. The wish in the unregenerate heart
— 84 —
became father to this faith, and the arguments appeared
to it unanswerable.
This periodical came into the hands of many Lutheran
laymen through the instrumentality of Rev. E. S. Henkel,
and it wrought havoc with their Lutheranism. Henkel
encouraged them to read it, and study its arguments, and
its insidious poison destroyed their living faith. A num-
ber of laymen, prominent in the local congregations, and
well known in the Lutheran church throughout Indiana,
in their days, openly accepted Universalism and defended
its doctrines. St. John's Church, Floyd County, Indiana,
one of the oldest and numerically the strongest Lutheran
congregation in the state at that time, and the one at
Salem, Washington County, the only city congregation in
the synod, were destroyed by the blasting influence of
this heresy. But saddest of all some of the Lutheran
pastors aided and abetted in this work. Rev. E. S.
Henkel was openly charged with Universalism, and he
confessed that it was his private belief. He did not
publicly preach it. When he became convinced of its
correctness, he acted consistently and demitted the min-
istry, and engaged in secular business. In this he con-
tinued about two years, from 1849 — 51, when looking
upon a severe bodily affliction which came upon him
regularly, as a visitation of Providence for his apostacy,
he renounced his heresy and resumed the ministry.
Rev. E. Rudisill also came under its baneful influence.
We have no evidence that he ever publicly preached this
doctrine, but like Henkel he also demitted the ministry
and engaged in the practice of medicine. For several
years he stood aloof from the church, and grew quite
reckless. But returning home upon one occasion he an-
nounced to his wife that he would resume the ministerial
— 85 —
office, which he did. But the eflfect of the apostacy of
these two prominent ministers in the synod, upon tlie
churches was disastrous. Their sincerity in their return
to the faith was always doubted, and all their subsequent
zeal could not atone for the evil they had wrought.
By the year 1850 Universalism had lost its charm for
the Lutherans in Indiana, and the churches began gradu-
ally to recover from its baneful influence. While the
churches of the Synod of the west suffered from revival-
ism and intense emotionalism, those of the Synod of
Indiana were paralyzed and ravaged by Universalism.
During this period a violent controversy arose be-
tween the Baptist sect known as Disciples of Christ, or
Campbellites, after their founder, Alexander Campbell,
and the Pedo-Baptists, on the question of Baptism, its
mode and subjects. Alexander Campbell had renounced
Presbyterianism, in which faith he had been brought up,
and attached himself to the Baptists, although he did not
accept all the views of this denomination. Failing to in-
duce the Baptist body to adopt his views, he withdrew
from it and became the leader and founder of the sect
above mentioned. He was a man of wide reading, schol-
arly attainments and unbridled ambition. He was a
powerful debater, and enjoyed controversy. He was un-
sparing in his criticisms and condemnation of what he
regarded unscriptural in other denominations, whether in
practice or in doctrine. Of this he found, in his judgment
at least, an abundance. But his chief issue was Baptism,
the mode of its administration and the proper subjects
for its reception, and the steps in the operation of the
Holy Ghost. Campbell made many converts to his faith,
recruiting chiefly from other denominations. From the
Lutheran ranks he won Rev. Samuel K. Hoshour and
— 86 —
Rev. W. R. McChesnej', a young man, and a member of
the Synod of the West. He attended the "Great Debate"
between Campbell and Rice at Lexington, Kentucky,
1843, and became a convert to Campbellism. There
were a good many defections also among the laity.
Everywhere the controversy raged. Public debates were
common and attended by immense crowds. As a result
the partisan spirit became very pronounced.
In order to counteract the influence of Campbellism
and check the inroads it was making in the churches the
S^mod of Indiana was requested by a number of its con-
gregations to have a treatise prepared on the "Mode of
Baptism," and published as an appendix to the minutes
of the synod. Rev. Ephraim Rudisill was selected to
prepare the essay, and it appeared in 1843. The essay is
a plain, logical and exhaustive discussion of the subject,
and a clear presentation of the faith and practice of the
Lutheran church, without any reference to the views and
practices of other denominations. It did much toward
arresting the tide that had set in toward Campbellism.
Two years later Rev. Mr. Rudisill, at the request of the
synod, published a treatise on "Infant Baptism" in the
minutes of that body. This also was an able presenta-
tion of the teachings and practices of the Lutheran church.
These productions from the pen of Dr. Rudisill, be-
cause of the scanty literature on the subjects discussed,
were widely circulated and diligently studied. They
were commented on by the laitj' in every community
where they were circulated. The faint-hearted Lutherans,
who were yielding under the plausible arguments and
ridicule of the Campbellites, took courage, while the fol-
lowers of Campbell grew restive under the arguments of
Rudisill. There went up a general request that this
- 87 -
Rndisill be silenced and his arguments be refuted. The
tables were turned, and the ranks of Canipl)ellism were
in danger of defections. Something must be done. The
attention of a certain Elder James Mathes, a veritable
Goliath in the Campbellite camp, and editor and pub-
lisher of the Christian Review, a periodical devoted to
the interests of the Disciple denomination, was called to
the essays of Rudisill. Mathes, under the pressure of the
general demand of his church, undertook to review the
essay and refute Rudisill's arguments through the columns
of the Christian Review.
These "reviews" continued from the July number,
1845, to the August number, 1846. After one or two had
appeared, Rudisill's attention being called to them, he
asked permission of Mr. Mathes to reply to them in the
same paper. This request was granted, but after one or
two "replies" had appeared the privilege was withdrawn,
and Rudisill was denied any further hearing in the Review.
He then asked that his essay might be printed in the Re-
view, so that the readers might see the arguments pro
and con, and the garbled extracts Mathes had published.
This also was refused. This so wrought up the fiery Ru-
disill that he proceeded to write his "Reply to Elder
Mathes," and publish the same at his own expense." In
his discussion he handles his opponent without mercy.
In the opening pages Rudisill states the agreement that
had been made between Mathes and himself as to the
publication of the strictures and the replies in the Chris-
tian Review, and explains why that agreement was broken
by Mathes, namely, that he feared a defection from the
43 Rudisill boasted that he wrote his reply, cleaned hit
wheat and went to mill all in live davs.
Campbellite ranks if Rudisill's replies were published.
Prof. S. K. Hoshour is also charged with duplicity and
cowardice in urging Mathes to break the agreement. Ru-
disill's reply is a masterpiece. It is logical, fair and con-
clusive. It was widely circulated throughout the state,
and brought its author into great prominence as a contro-
versialist. He was feared by the Baptists generally. He
was ready to debate publicly the question of Baptism, in
all its aspects with anyone, not even excepting Alexander
Campbell. It is claimed by some of Rudisill's friends
that an effort was made to induce Campbell to meet hirn
in public debate, but that he declined.
The result of this controversy was very gratifying to
the Lutherans, but rather disheartening to their oppon-
ents. They were now ready to keep silent. Their Go-
liath had met his David. There was none to be found in
the ranks of the Baptists who was willing to take up the
gauntlet laid down by Rudisill. Their arrogance and
aggressiveness subsided, and for a decade or more the
Lutheran churches had rest, and were strengthened and
edified so far as the question of Baptism was concerned.
In the fourth decade of the century another revival
swept over Indiana and westward to the Mississippi. It
was attended with all the extravagancies common to those
movements in that time. The congregations of the Synod
of Indiana were slightly affected by this movement, owing
to the conservative methods and the insistence upon cate-
chization that still prevailed. There was, however, a
tendency to yield in that direction. Protracted meetings
were introduced by the Rev. E. S. Henkel, as a means of
reaching a class of people who could not be reached by
the catechetical method. They were not attended by any
extravagancies or excitement, such as usually are con-
CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOR
— 89 —
nected with the revival. The preaching was doctrinal
and expository, and no attempt made to plaj' upon the
emotions. Everything was orderly. The services were
held daily for a period of one or two weeks. After the
sermon an opportunity was offered to those desiring to
unite with the church to come forward during the singing
of a hymn, and after examination by the pastor as to
their faith, were admitted by baptism or confirmation.
This custom, called "singing in members," was the result
of the influence of Campbellism upon the Lutheran
churches. It prevailed in many of the congregations in
the state for over half a century.
The General Synod churches, however, were most
powerfully affected by this revival, and were under its
peculiar spell for a number of years. During a long
period the synodical minutes abound with allusions to
the revival spirit and with reports as to its effects. In
1839 the Sj'nod of the West convened at Hillsboro, Illi-
nois, and from the view-point of the revival, was perhaps
the most remarkable in its whole history. Among the
members of that body were Rev. Abraham Keck, Rev.
Wm. .Jenkins, and his brother, Rev. Daniel Jenkins, Rev.
John Krack, Rev. Geo. Yeager, and others who were ar-
dent advocates of the revival measures. Abraham Reck
was a white-haired, venerable man of scholarly attain-
ments, refined manners and extraordinar}' pulpit abilities.
The brothers Jenkins were dark-complexioned men of
great excitable and emotional qualities, capable of elec-
trifying almost any congregation. Rev. G. Yeager was
of small stature, well educated and of gentlemanly bear-
ing. The conservative men were Rev. J. J. Lehmanowsky
and Rev. Daniel Scherer. But these were carried for a
time with the tide.
- 90 -
During this convention revival services were held
every day and evening. "One of the most remarkable
demonstrations of which I ever heard," says Rev. S. L.
Harkey, D. D., who was present, "occurred at this synod-
ical convention. One evening Rev. A. Reck preached to
a very large audience on the parable of the Prodigal Son.
It made a deep impression. Rev. Wm. Jenkins then re-
cited a death-bed scene of a wicked man, and also of a
child of God, making a very impassioned appeal to the
people to repent. Stopping suddenly he exclaimed,
'Ho^v many are there here who wish to turn to God by
repentance, as the Prodigal Son did to his father?' In an
instant every soul in the house was upon their knees, and
remained there weeping and praying for mercy. The
scene beggars description. I have been in many so-called
revivals since that day, among various fanatical people
of different denominations, and have heard many sensa-
tional preachers, but I never saw anything before nor
since, in all my life, like that scene in 1839 at this synod-
ical convention. When at a late hour on the same even-
ing the question was asked by one of the ministers, 'How
many here believe and trust in Jesus Christ for salva-
tion?' the whole assembly rose to their feet." "
This revival was considered of sufficient importance
that an extended account of it was published in the min-
utes of the convention, from which we quote the fol-
lowing: "Silence reigned through the house save the
speaker's voice only, and here and there a half-suppressed
sigh or groan, which burst involuntarily forth from the
breasts of deeply convicted sinners. The whole congre-
gation became more or less moved. The place became
44 Letter to Lutheran, Sept. 2, 1897
truly awful and glorious, and it seemed that the time had
come when a decided effort must be made upon the
Kingdom of Darkness, and that under such circum.stances
to shrink from the task and through fear of producing a
little temporary disorder, to refuse to go heartily into the
work would have been nothing short of downright spirit-
ual murder. This surely was not the stopping point.
Accordingly those who specially felt desirous of an interest
in the praj^ers of God's people were directed to kneel in
their seats, when probably between fifty and one hundred
persons were seen at once prostrating themselves on their
knees before God, and thus testifying before heaven and
earth to their lost condition, in which they found them-
selves. After this the scene became still more interest-
ing. For the sake of convenience the mourners were in-
vited to convenient seats, for the purpose of affording the
brethren an opportunity of conversing freely with them
upon their condition, and imparting instruction. The
meeting continued in singing, exhortation and prayer un-
til a late hour, when it was thought best to close. But
the people, though invited to return at an early hour in
the morning, were still loth to leave the house, so holy
and blessed had the place become to them. About
eighteen or twenty professions of religion were the fruits
of this evening's meeting." The next morning's meeting
is described as follows: "As usual, prayer meeting was
held this morning. A much larger number than on
former occasions attended ; and from the character of last
evening's meeting it might well be expected that this
would be a solemn season. Such it truly was. That it
was altogether orderly, some who are particularly "con-
scientious' and scrupulous about getting a little 'luke-
warm,' and much more so about ^getting 'hot,' might
— 92 -
doubt. Be their views as they may. If there was a
flood of tears shed, of sorrow and repentance by convicted
sinners, and of joy and gladness by converted behevers,
some audible weeping, sighing and groaning, some mov-
ing around and shaking hands, or a number in studying,
exhorting or praying at once, or even some clapping of
hands and 'shouts of glory,' it is likely yet that the meet-
ing had an 'order' peculiar to its nature, and very much
similar to that observed at Jerusalem by the apostles on
the day of Pentecost. This meeting continued until it
was necessary to give place for the transaction of synod-
ical business. But the tardy movements of the people,
and especially of the distressed, and their lingering looks
as they withdrew, clearly indicated that they felt them-
selves still unwilling to leave the house of the Lord." At
another time during this convention it was found neces-
sary to invite the mourners to remove to the pastor's
home in order to afford the synod an opportunity to close
That these revival efforts were general, frequent and
popular in the churches of the Synod of the West is evi-
dent, not only from the reports made by the pastors to
the synod, but also from the following extract of a letter
of Rev. Abraham Reck, one of the leading spirits in the
"One Sunday morning I went to preach in.S. As I
rode along, I endeavored to think of a text from which to
preach, but could find none to suit me. When I came to
the church I had not yet determined on any particular text,
and did not know what I should do. . . . Before giving
out a hymn, I turned over the leaves of my Bible, but all
in vain ; nothing would suit, and in this dilemma I still
remained while the 'hymn was sung. What was to be
— 93 -
done I knew not, but I thought .1 would ask God in
prayer. A short time after I had commenced praj'ing,
the windows of heaven were opened, and more than one-
half of the audience were on a sudden prostrated to the
ground, crying out, with the most dreadful shrieks:
'What must I do to be saved?' I continued on praying
with great fervency, and when the prayer was concluded
I was lost in amazement at the singular sight the congre-
gation presented. As I could not find a subject on which
to preach, I changed the meeting into a meeting of
prayer, and in this way we spent the usual time appointed
for public worship. ... I then appointed a prayer
meeting for early candle lighting in a private house and
particularly invited all who were convinced of sin to be
present. We locked the doors and windows to prevent
interruption from without, and endeavored to seek the
Lord by diligent and earnest prayer. The God of prayer
was truly in our midst, and the whole assembly were at
work in mighty wrestling with Jehovah. No disposition
was manifest to give over, and we continued until eight
o'clock in the morning in this awfully solemn and de-
lightful employment. As the room we were in was not
large, we placed all those in the next room who had
found peace in believing, and as soon as one was con-
verted the door was opened and he would be welcomed
in by those who were already there. Never did I see
such rejoicing, such exceeding great joy, as in that room.
They sang praises to God for deliverance, they embraced
each other and strove with Jacob's God for the blessing
on those who were yet groaning under the weight of sin.
I can almost hear the glad sound of praise again, though
twenty-five years have sadly dealt with my recollection.
— 94 —
... Oh ! the memory of that night is precious ! It fills
my soul with gladness even at this distant period."
It was a time when these methods were popular in
all the churches, and supplanted the custom of catechiza-
tion. So attached to this one-sided emotionalism, called
"English Lutheranism," did the Synod of the West be-
come, that it not only endorsed the revivals in 1839, but
insisted upon them in 1840. It advised its laity not to
read ''Die Kirchenzeitung^^ because it manifested an im-
proper spirit relative to revivals, and opposed the efforts
to do good. The Germans would not recognize it, but
exposed it as dangerous and subversive of the essence
and spirit of Lutheranism. The Synod of Indiana also
opposed it, and in 1841 appointed a committee to write
and publish an "Expose of the conduct of the Generalists,
and show their attempts at subverting and destroying the
Lutheran doctrines and discipline."
The high water mark of the revival measure was
reached in 1842, the year after this synod united with the
General Synod. By the following year a strong reaction
had set in, due largely to the influence of Rev. F. C. D.
Wynnekin, who located at Ft. Wayne in 1839. Being
compelled to return to Germany on account of throat
trouble, he returned to Indiana in 1843, a man of ripened
powers and of confirmed Lutheran convictions. "He
was a man of powerful frame, and a well educated mind,
fiery and energetic, filled with a burning zeal to carry the
Gospel of Christ to his countrymen in the western soli-
tudes, of whose wants he learned through missionary
magazines in the old world." No sooner did he become
a member of the Sj'nod of the West than he raised his
voice against the revivalism he found there. He had
published a portraiture of Methodism, in which he shows
— 95 —
clearly his opposition to such subjectivism and emotion-
alism. For this he was violently assailed by both, Luth-
erans and Methodists. And now he lifted up his voice in
his own synod for the pure faith and churchly order and
practice. In 1843 the subject of revivals provoked a
spirited and prolonged discussion in the synod, which
seemed to take precedence for a time over all other busi-
ness. After that year, no further allusions to the subject
are found in the minutes. In 1845 Wynnekin was sent
as the representative of the Synod of the West to the
General Synod, and there attracted prominent attention
by his resolutions which he offered before that body.
He moved "That the writings of Revs. S. S. Schmucker
and Benjamin Kurtz, as well as the volumes of the Luth-
eran Observer, and other books and papers in which the
doctrines and practices of the General Synod are set
forth, should be sent to Dr. Rudelbach and Prof. Harless
and others for examination, so that the orthodoxy of the
General Synod might be demonstrated to the Lutheran
church in Germany." This proposition was indignantly
laid upon the table by the body. This was followed by
another, namely, "That the General Synod hereby disa-
vow and reject the aforementioned writings of Drs. S. S.
Schmucker and B. Kurtz, as well as the Lutheran Ob-
server and Hirtenstimme as heretical and departing from
the saving faith." This demand was considered pre-
sumptuous, and not entertained for a moment. Wynne-
kin's influence was powerfully felt in the churches in
these regions, and did much toward finally disrupting the
Synod of the West. His congregation in Ft. Wayne,
which he resigned in 1845, severed its connection with
the Synod of the West, "because of the heterodoxy of
- 96 -
While the congregations of the Synod of Indiana
were but little affected in their policy by this tide of re-
vivalism which swept over the region, yet they suffered
many losses through defection of members. From the
earliest settlement until the present tjme Indiana and
portions of Illinois were the foraging grounds for the sects.
The ecclesiastical freebooter was in the land going hither
and thither, recognizing no one as a Christian unless he
got his religion in his prescribed way. Lutherans espe-
cially were considered as lawful prey. They were not as a
rule much given to making a display of their piety, nor
to demonstrations in their worship, but their piety was
none the less deep, fervent and heartfelt, and of a kind
to which the evangelist was a stranger. They were for
this reason shining marks for the proselyting evangelist.
Every conceivable method was resorted to to "convert"
these devout people. Pitiful pleadings, arrogant claims,
specious arguments, captious criticisms of Lutheranism
were employed as weapons. The end justified the means.
If only these Lutherans would come to the anxious bench
and get religion all the labors of the evangelist would be
fully repaid. Methodist exhorters labored for their con-
version, Campbellite elders for their immersion, and be-
tween these two forces many a congregation was in danger
of subversion by the desertion of its members.
The congregations of the Synod of Indiana had much
to endure, and the wonder is that any of them survived
the successive waves of Infidelity, Universalism, Revival-
ism and other isms which beat upon them. As the re-
vival movement just traced began to subside, another
movement arose which wrought havoc in them. This
was Annihilationism, or Destructionism, as it was popu-
larly called. It is the doctrine of the utter and final
- 97 -
annihilation of the wicked. It is an effort to mediate
between the orthodox view and that of Universalism.
This doctrine had by some means been imbibed by Rev.
E. Rudisill, and he endeavored to foist it upon the
churches composing the Synod of Indiana. It is doubt-
ful whether Rev. E. Rudisill ever at heart believed this
doctrine. He was intensely ambitious to become to the
Lutheran church what Alexander Campbell was to the
Presbyterian, the leader of a movement which would
place him at the head of a new denomination. The doc-
trine of Destructionism he hoped would be to his cause
what Immersion was to Campbell's. But be the question
what it may, one thing is certain, that Rudisill made the
effort of his life to place himself at the head of this move-
ment, and lead a following out of the Lutheran church
which should attain to a separate denominational exist-
ence. His popularity arising from his controversy with
Elder Mathes, he had the vanity to believe would gain
him a following that could not be resisted. He trusted
to his skill as a debater and controversialist to beat down
all opposition thatjnight be aroused.
He began the promulgation of this heresy as early as
1845. He visited most of the congregations and sowed
in them the baneful seeds. He had, by specious argu-
ments, flattery and threats, enlisted in his cause the Revs.
Elias Markert, Samuel Good and possibly also Rev. J. H.
Vagan, members of the Synod of Indiana. Tiirough the
system of the itinerant ministry that existed in the
synod, the heresy was preached in almost every congrega-
tion of the synod, and many converts made to the new
doctrine. With the laity Rudisill had almost unlimited
influence. His word was to them yea and amen.
Through the congregations he and his followers visited,
he had memorials sent up to the synod for such legisla-
tion as he deemed best to promote his ambitious schemes.
Secretly and gradually their plans were formulated, and
they bided the time for their execution. Rudisill was
elected president and secured such legislation at the hand
of the synod as to clothe him with almost arbitrary
power. No pastor of the synod could enter into a public
debate without his consent and approval. No candidate
for the ministry could be advanced without his sanction.
This absolutism he was not slow in exercising. Flushed
with what seemed so easy a victory, he grew bolder and
bolder. He challenged the Rev. E. Greenwald, then at Co-
lumbus, Ohio, and editor of the Lutheran Standard, to dis-
cuss the doctrine through the columns of that paper. To
this Rev. E. Greenwald could not consent. In 1848, at the
meeting of the synod in Johnson county, Indiana, Rud-
isill believed all things were ready for his coup d' etat, 'to
foist the doctrine upon the synod as an article of faith.
A few delegates were there who would not consent, and
an effort was made to decoy them away by arranging for
a service at a neighboring school house. But the dele-
gates suspected something and remained at the church.
Rev. Samuel Good, a young man of excellent qualities,
and a fine preacher, was put forward by Rudisill to preach,
and set forth the new doctrine. But he utterly failed,
and broke down, so that Rev. Mr. Rudisill had to come
to his relief and finish the discourse. The next day three
lay delegates, John Downey, of Knox county, Daniel
Myers, of Daviess county, and Frederick Slinkard, of
Greene county, filed their protest against the innovation,
withdrew from the convention and went home. A reac-
tion set in. The outcome of the affair was that the synod
was disrupted, many of the congregations became divided,
litigation for the possession of the property followed, and
a pall settled upon the whole synod. The church suffered
severely. In 1851, Rev. Samuel Good died, after having
bitterly repented of his folly and renouncing the heresy.
Markert abandoned the ministry and Rudisill, by pre-
tensions and denials, succeeded in persuading the synod
to believe that he never held any but orthodox views.
By this movement the Synod of Indiana lost four of its
pastors, one a young man of great promise, and some
eight or ten congregations, besides its reputation for
orthodoxy. The details of this movement are fully given
in the chapter on the Synod of Indiana.
The affairs of the synod assumed a deplorable condi-
tion as a result of the acts of the Rudisill party, and the
defection of Rev. E. S. Henkel to Universalism. Rudisill's
prestige and influence was gone, and he was restive under
the odium of defeat. His vanity was severely wounded,
and he smarted under the criticism poured upon him
from all quarters of the church. His defeat in the courts
was a stunning blow to his ambition. But notwithstand-
ing all this, he was resolved to retrieve his losses, and to
regain his former influence. In IS.IO he with Revs. S,
Good and E. Markert were publicly examined before the
synod as to the heretical doctrines charged against them,
and their defense apparently satisfied that Ijodj'. Rut
the sincerity of their repudiation of Destructionism was
doubted, and Rudisill did not find it so easy to resume his
former position and influence. In 1852 the synod reaf-
flrmed its adherence to the Augsburg Confession with a
unanimous vote.*^ A revised constitution was also sub-
45 This was due to the adverse criticisms made by other
synods and ministers upon its doctrinal position. I\udisill was
not present at this convention.
— 100 —
mitted and adopted the next year. The synod hoped by
this plan to retrieve its reputation for orthodoxy.
Rev. E. S. Henkel had gone off into Universialism,
but he did not like Rudisill's endeavor to foist it upon
the synod as an article of faith, nor to draw a following
after him. He simply relinquished the ministry and
moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he engaged in sec-
ular business. In about two years he returned to Indiana,
went before the synod, confessed his sin, renounced his
errors and re-entered the ministry. His zeal thenceforth
cannot be questioned. The churches forgave him and
received his messages with greater joy, for his return to
the Lutheran position was to them a living proof of the
unsatisfying character of Universalism. He remained in
the ministry until his death.
Through the Rudisill heresy the synod lost the Revs.
J. F. Lautenschlager, David and Abraham Miller, Rev.
S. Good (died in 1851.) Rev. J. L. Markert's gray hairs
were brought in sorrow to the grave in 1852 because of
his son's defection and the synod's disruption. Enfeebled
by old age, he could do little to stem the tide of Destruc-
tionism. Rev. Enoch Goodwin died in 1851. Rev. Mr.
Keester left the synod, and Rev. J. H. Vagan disappears
from view. The convention of 1852 somewhat encour-
aged the disheartened little band. Rev. Wm. H. Deck
was that year added to the ministerial rank by ordination,
and proved to be a pillar and stay in that body. He was
without doubt the most brilliant, able and lovable man
in the synod during its whole history. Of scholarly at-
tainments, keen wit, and unreservedly accepting the
Lutheran faith, he was more than a match for either
Rudisill or Henkel. He had no sympathies with the
heresies that had vexed the synod for years and had
— lOI —
distracted and disrupted his church. He was earnest
and aggressive in his work, and a true son of the church,
preaching her doctrines faithfully' and eloquently. He
opened an academy in Newberry, Indiana, and had many
pupils. He continued this institution until health and
strength failed him. He began a work against Unitarian-
ism, which promised to be an able production, but he
did not live to complete it.
Besides Rev. W. H. Deck another worthy accession
to the synod was in the person of Rev. D. P. Groundt.
He gave promise of great usefulness, but in a few years
with Rev. Eli Myers, moved to Texas. These men, with
the Rev. John P. Livengood, were the hope of the synod.
The secretary expressed the sj-nod's hope ''that these
proceedings may tend to the bringing about of a speedy,
an honorable and an amicable adjustment of all existing
dilliculties ; that the dilapidated walls of our distracted
Zion may be speedily rebuilt, and she again maintain an
honorable position among her sisters of other states, and
thereby promote the best interests of the church at large."
But the troubles that vexed the churches could not
be removed by pious resolutions. Time alone could
efface the effects of the terrible blow they received. The
dilapidated walls could not be rebuilt in a day, nor the
scars effaced at will. The demon of discord and jealousy
still rankled in the bosoms of some, and on every favora-
ble occasion would exhibit its ugliness.
In 1858 the synod adopted the new constitution, and
cherished the hope that it could thus restore itself to the
confidence of the church. In 1S,"')4 Rudisill expected to
remove from the bounds of the synod and asked for an
honorable dismissal, which was granted, but which the
secretary. Rev. E. S. Henkel, failed to note in the pro-
— 102 -
ceedings. He changed his plans, however, and remained
in the state. But he took umbrage at the secretary's
oversight, and refused to attend the convention of 1855.
He demanded as a condition of returning that the synod
take action upon certain political questions, which it de-
clined to do. He therefore remained out of practical
connection with the synod until it disbanded.
Troubles began to multiply. Rev. E. Markert de-
mitted the ministry on account of throat trouble, but most
probably on account of Rudisill's influence over him.
Rev. H, Fairchild became discouraged and advocated the
dissolution of the synod. It was found in 1857 that the
new constitution had not been signed and therefore inef-
fective. The synod therefore organized under the old in-
strument, and then adopted and signed the new, and
formally organized under the new constitution. But how
this synod had diminished ! Two pastors, three students
and six lay delegates were all that were present at the
twenty-second conveAtion. But these few were dauntless.
They set about to re-enlist the co-operation of the disaf-
fected and discouraged pastors, and to induce candidates
to offer themselves for the ministry. Rev. J. P. Liven-
good was elected president, and proved himself a good,
able and wise leader. His popularity was growing and
he deserved it. He was ably seconded by Rev. E. S.
Henkel and Rev. W. H. Deck. By the next year several
more pastors were added to the synod, but when the time
came for the synod to convene in 1859 there was conster-
nation. Rev. W. H. Deck passed to his reward in 1858
in the prime of life and usefulness. He was followed by
the synod's beloved secretary. Rev. J. P. Livengood.
When Rev. E. S. Henkel heard of his death he wept
aloud. A good and beloved man had fallen. There was
— 103 —
sorrow everywhere. Rev. E. Rudisill was still unap-
peased. Revs. John and Christian Good had removed to
Iowa, and Fairchild was discouraged beyond measure.
It seemed that fate had decreed the sj'nod's destruction.
When the tidings of Livengood's death reached
Henkel, who was president, he wrote to Rudisill and en-
treated him to renew his relation to the synod. It met
in Whitestown in November, 1859. Henkel was unable
to be present. Four pastors and three candidates were in
attendance. Rudisill was there. Organization was ef-
fected by the election of Rev. H. Fairchild as president
and Rev. Philip A. Peter secretary. A motion to give
Rudisill a seat and voice in the synod was made, and al-
though vigorously opposed by one delegate, Mr. Joseph
Klingensmith, of 8alem church. New Augusta, it pre-
vailed. Rudisill accepted the offer, and the delegate
withdrew from the synod. It was the opportunity for
which Rudisill waited for years, and he was not slow in
embracing it. With all his eloquence, pathos and lilting
sarcasm, he censured, browbeat and maligned the synod
until it was ready to accede to his demands, namely that
that body dissolve and cease its very existence.
Meanwhile the congregations composing the Synod
of the West also had their dilliculties and contentions.
The revival measures were distasteful to the German pas-
tors, who, after 1840, began to arrive in these regions
from the Fatherland. They were men of a churchly spirit
and of conservative tendencies. They were largely under
the influence of Wynnekin, while he was in the synod,
and to which body the most of these German pastors at-
tached themselves. Besides the revival question, the
doctrine of the Lord's Supper also came to the front, as
well as several others. The synod grew rapidly in num-
— 104 —
bers. Its territory was extensive, embracing Indiana,
Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee. It was evident that a
rupture on these above-named questions was inevitable.
In 1846, by mutual consent, the Synod of the West was
divided, not on doctrinal, but on territorial lines. The
Indiana body retained the name, title and seal of the
original body, and its historic continuity. The other two
bodies were the Synod of Illinois, embracing the pastors
and congregations in that state, and the Synod of the
Southwest, embracing those in Kentucky, Tennessee and
Missouri. But this division did not evade the doctrinal
differences. The congregation at Fort Wayne officially
declared that this division was only for the purpose of
attaching the Synod of the West more closely to the Gen-
eral Synod, and it withdrew from that body. There were
in this body men of the most opposite views, and they
could not Ubor together in harmony. It became evident
that that body would be short-lived. Rev. J, J. Leh-
manowsky did all he could to perpetuate its existence,
but failed. We have no evidence that another conven-
tion of this body was held after 1846, though there might
have been. Several of its pastors, Germans drawn to-
gether by elective affinity and common sympathies, met
in Indianapolis in 1846 and 1847 for mutual interests,
enlightenment and encouragement, and in 1848 organized
the Synod of Indianapolis. This was a German body,
and grew rapidly. But in a few years it came in contact
with the Missourians, who absorbed quite a respectable
portion of its pastors and churches. The remnant con-
tinued under their organization, and eventually became
merged into the Southern District of the Joint Synod of
The English pastors of the Synod of the West, after
— 105 —
the dissolution or default of that body, were absorbed by
the Synod of Miami, and the Olive Branch Synod organ-
ized in 1848. In the breaking up of the synodical organ-
izations we note that the pastors attached themselves to
those bodies which represented their respective doctrinal
In a quarter of a century from the time that the
Lutheran churches in Indiana were formed into synodical
organizations, there was a general breaking up along
the lines of their original aims, a readjustment of forces
and a reorganization for further work. The causes that
led to these were chiefly internal, although external causes
had some influence. Among the German congregations
there was a growth from the earlier rationalistic to a
more distinctive Lutheran position, due chiefly to the
labors of the pastors who came from Germany. There
were two tendencies especially discernible, one which
landed its congregations in the fold of the Joint Synod,
the other in the bosom of Missouri. Among the English
congregations, or rather the native American congrega-
tions, there also were two tendencies, the one leading to
the unionism and revivalism of the General Synod, and
the other to the conservatism of the General Council.
Thus far we have endeavored to trace the beginnings,
the growth, the trial, and the results of the efforts of the
Lutherans in the region under review. We have based
our statements upon such material as has been available.
The field is virgin soil, and we are conscious of the fact that
we may have been mistaken in our judgment and conclu-
sions on some of the questions discussed. A more exten-
sive investigation and more thorough research may bring
to light other material which would enhance the historical
value of this work, and add interest to the narrative. We
— J06 —
now propose to present in detail the history of those
synods whose work we have aimed chiefly to trace. In
these subsequent chapters there will be repeated much of
what has been presented before, but it will be in the con-
nection where it most intimately belongs.
We regard the Synod of Indiana, the Union Synod and
the Indiana-Chicago Synod as historically one body. The
changes were those of names rather than of organizations.
The same congregations, and the same pastors which
constituted the dissolving body, formed the new organiza-
tion. These two, the Synod of Indiana and the Union
Synod, are the historical and logical antecedents of the
THE SYNODICAL HISTORY
(311)0 iEuamjrliral ICutI|eran ^yitoiJ of 31ittimita
T may very properly be said that the Synod of In-
diana had its genesis in the settlement of Luth-
erans in North Carolina. In the early part of the
Eighteenth Century there was a large Lutheran
immigration into that state, but it was for the
most part absorbed by the Episcopal church. On account
of Indian troubles many were constrained to remove to
other colonies. The enterprising Germans of Pennsyl-
vania pressed southward toward the frontier of their state
and then into Maryland, far down the Shenandoah valley
into Virginia. These were largely families springing
from those who had settled in Montgomery, Berks, Lan-
caster and York counties, strengthened by immigrants
direct from the Fatherland. This stream of immigrants
as early as 1750 reached North Carolina. Among them
were many Lutherans who settled in Mecklenburg, now
Rowan, and Cabarrus counties. Their first pastors were
Rev. Adolf Nuessmann and Rev. Gottfried Arndt, who
came to America in response to the petition sent by two
laymen, one from Organ church in Rowan county and
the other from St. John's church, Cabarrus county. They
went first to Hanover, where the interest of the consistory
was gained and then to London. The result was that the
Lutheran church in North Carolina was placed in the
hands of the Lutheran consistory at Hanover under
— 109 —
George III. of England. The constitution of St. John's
church binds its pastors "to confess with the heart and
mouth the symbolical books of our Evangelical Lutheran
Church," and to send reports to Europe every six weeks.
During the Revolution the church in North Carolina
suffered severely, but the pastors. Revs. Mr. Nuessmann
and Arndt, labored faithfully during and after the war
with marked success. Appeals were sent to the Helm-
staedt Mission Society, and in response to them Rev.
Charles Augustus Gottlieb Storch was sent over in 1788.
He located in Salisbury, and entered diligently upon his
labors. In addition to his original field he extended his
labors to other points. He organized churches in Rowan,
Lincoln and Cabarrus counties, and made missionary
tours into South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
The first convention of Lutheran pastors in the state
was held in May, 1794, in St. John's church, Cabarrus
county. It was called for the purpose of ordaining Rob-
ert Johnson Miller to the Episcopal ministry. The ordina-
tion was performed in response to a petition from Mr.
Miller's people in Lincoln county. His ordination certifi-
cate is still extant, and charges him to "obey the rules,
ordinances and customs of the Protestant Episcopal
The Ministerium of Pennsylvania never exercised
jurisdiction over the churches in North Carolina. They
were under the care of a European missionary society, or
else independent alike of the care or fellowship of any
ecclesiastical body. Two causes led to the formation of
the North Carolina Synod. The principal impulse lead-
ing to the organization seems to have been the religious
awakening which passed over the country in the first
years of the Nineteenth Century. The ablest minds of
— JJO —
the church in that section, Revs. C. A. G. Storch and
Paul Henkel, became greatly disturbed and perplexed
over the phenomena which they witnessed, and which in
some measure unsettled their own people. They hesi-
tated to call the movement fanatical, or to denounce it as
unscriptural, for they discovered a remarkable change in
persons who had been previously either ungodly in their
lives or avowedly sceptical in their views. The German
ministers were divided in their sentiments, and instead
of alienating them, this movement drove them to more
intimate communion with each other, and to investigate
it more thoroughly.
A second cause was the cessation of help from the
Helmstaedt Mission Society, about the same time. The
churches were therefore thrown upon their own resources.
Distracted by revivalistic excitement, and deprived of
parental guidance and the material support of their
friends in the Fatherland, they felt the need of united
counsels and active co-operation for their own defense
and prosperity, and "that the Gospel may be brought to
many thousands of souls who have hitherto been neces-
sarily deprived of the same," they met in Salisbury, May
2, 1803, and originated the Synod of North Carolina.
The ministers present were Gottfried Arndt, Carl A. G.
Storch, Paul Henkel and Robert J. Miller. There were
fourteen lay delegates present also.
For some years the churches of this synod prospered.
The pastors of South Carolina, with a few exceptions,
united with it. But divergent tendencies soon appeared,
arising chiefly from the revival of the study of the confes-
sions, by which a Lutheran consciousness was developed,
and which highly prized its heritage. This soon gave
rise to questions that violently agitated the synod. They
— in —
were questions both of practice and of doctrine. The
licensure system, which prevailed very generally in the
church at that time, was disliked by an element in the
sjTiod, and the validity of ministerial acts performed by
licentiates was questioned. An amicable controversy
relative to this question was carried on with the Minis-
terium of Pennsylvania, but the decision reached by that
body was adverse to the views of the conservative ele-
ment in the North Carolina Sjniod. The lax practices
that prevailed were another matter upon which divergent
tendencies soon became pronounced. The synod's afhli-
ation with Moravians and Episcopalians filled the con-
servatives with alarm, and the formation of a General
Sj'nod was the wedge that finally sundered the bod}'.
The leaders in the conservative movement were the
Henkels, Paul and his four sons, but especially David,
the youngest son. They were close students of the con-
fessions of the church, of the writings of Luther, and of
the Word. They had a Latin copy of the Concordia, and
from this they would make translations with which to
sustain their positions. The correctness of these transla-
tions was questioned by their opponents, until David
Henkel came into possession of a German copy, which
settled the matter of the translations. The Henkels be-
came convinced that the Lutheran church in America
had departed from her confessional basis, and they were
fearless in the expression of their convictions in the mat-
ter. They were determined to save her from casting off
In ISIO the North Carolina Synod admitted into its
ministerial ranks, by ordination, a man who was not a
Lutheran, but a Moravian, Gottlieb Schober, and who
remained in the communion of the Moravian church until
— U2 —
his death, although during all this time he served Luth-
eran congregations as a Lutheran pastor. At the time of
his ordination he was fifty-four years old, a lawyer by pro-
fession and owner of large property interests, plantation,
paper mill, and slaves. He had been a member of the
North Carolina legislature, and wielded a wide influence
socially, politically and religiously. In his practices he
was decidedly unionistic, and upon his reception into the
synod at once became a recognized leader, and the cham-
pion of the unionistic tendencies.
Besides Rev. G. Schober, there was another pastor
in the synod who was not of the Lutheran faith, but an
adherent of the Episcopal church. This was Rev. Robert
Johnson Miller. True he had been ordained by the Luth-
eran pastors, but charged to teach in accordance with the
doctrines of the Episcopal church. Notwithstanding this
he served Lutheran churches for twenty-seven years. He
was prominent in the work and councils of the synod,
served as the synod's travelling missionary, and mani-
fested deep zeal for the church. Besides these there was
a unionistic spirit pervading the whole synod which filled
the conservative brethren with alarm, and they were re-
solved that matters should go no farther without a protest.
Many of their efforts to stem the tide were ill-advised, but
none can question their sincerity, and time has vindicated
the correctness of their judgment on not a few points
upon which they were met with opposition and ridicule.
It became evident, as early as 1816, even to the warmest
friends of the synod, that a rupture was inevitable, and
that only an occasion was needed to effect it.
The doctrinal questions that arose, and which were
the source of different views and practices, were Original
Sin, the Person of Christ, Baptism and the Lord's Sup-
- n3 -
per. On all these the synod's position was challenged by
the conservatives, and with much reason, for the North
Carolina Synod did not receive the Augsburg Confession
in its entirety,^" and the "Plan for a General Synod of the
Lutheran Church," so warmly espoused by the unionistic
element, was regarded as an effort to repudiate the Augs-
The occasion for the rupture came in 1819 when, in
order to send a delegate to the Ministerium of Pennsyl-
vania for the purpose of considering the project of a Gen-
eral Sj'nod, the North Carolina Synod met six weeks earlier
than the appointed time. In thus changing the date of
meeting thf- advocates of the General Synod movement
overstepped their constitutional 'rights. The conserva-
tives were not all notified of the change of date, and it
appeared to them that this was a scheme to circumvent
their opposition to that movement. Rev. G. Schober, the
leader in the movement in the synod, and the pronoum-ed
opponent and antagonist of David Henkel on all the dis-
puted questions, was elected to represent the synod at
the meeting at Baltimore. All this tended to intensify
rather than mollify the personal feelings and doctrinal
differences that existed, and convinced the conservatives
that their wishes and views would be disregarded by the
majority. Rev. Philip Henkel gave notice that he could
not recognize the irregular meeting. When the time came
for the meeting of the synod. Trinity Sunday, 1819, he,
his brother David Henkel, a catechist. and Rev. Joseph
Bell, a licentiate, met at Organ church. Rowan county,
for the purpose of holding the synod as per the adjourn-
46 Rev. S. S. Schiiiucker, Luth. Cluirch in America, pp.
— 114 -
ment of the previous regular convention. At this con-
vention David Henkel and Joseph Bell were ordained by
Rev. Philip Henkel. As the use of the church was de-
nied them for synodical business, the ordination took
place in an adjoining grove. The proceedings of the un-
timely synod, as the other convention was termed, were
declared null and void, and these three men assumed the
name and title of the Synod of North Carolina. Warm
controversies ensued, which developed a sharp conflict on
doctrinal points, and rendered fruitless all efforts at recon-
ciliation the following year, when both bodies assembled
at the same time and place for the synodical convention.
After an earnest discussion of their differences, the ma-
jority withdrew to another building. Those who remained
soon adjourned, and a few months later met and com-
pleted the organization of the Tennessee Synod, (July 17,
1820.) This was the first rupture that occurred in the
Lutheran Church in America.
The Tennessee Synod was the only Lutheran Synod
in America at that time that unreservedly and unqualifiedly
received the Augsburg Confession. The Henkels con-
fessedly received everything within the lids of the Con-
cordienbuch. They felt it their special duty and mission
to challenge the orthodoxy of all other synods, and to
oppose the General Synod, which they denounced as a
hierarchy depriving the congregations of their rights, "a
measure replete with mischief, threatening imminent
danger to the liberties of the American people." It set
itself diligently to the work of reviving the pure doctrine
of the church, and by means of the printing press at New
Market, Virginia, disseminated its views far and wide.
It was exceedingly jealous of its name and faith, and re-
quired pastors from other synods desirous of uniting with
— US —
it to submit to an examination as to their faith. The
leader and ablest exponent of the synod, until his death,
was the Rev. David Henkel.
The work done by the pastors of the Tennessee Synod
was thorough and solid. Catechization was faithfully
practiced. Doctrinal preaching was prominent. The
people were encouraged to study the Word, the catechism,
the confessions, and the writings of Luther. This they
did, and the result was an intelligent laity who could
give a reason for their faith. The synod was averse to
everything that savored of the sects, or of union of church
and state. The constitution forbade the incorporation of
the synod and a treasury for missions and education.
But notwithstanding their mistaken idea about thorough
organization for missionary operations, and for replenish-
ing the ranks of the ministry, it did not dampen their
ardor nor arrest their activity in prosecuting vigorously
this work in their peculiar way. They were diligent in
planting and watering, and trusted to the Lord for the
increase. The statistics are very defective and not at all
flattering in some respects, yet those pastors were all true
and ardent missionaries. With no board to aid and di-
rect their labors, with no treasury to support them, they
made long, arduous but frequent journeys on horseback,
over rough roads, through wild and thinly settled dis-
tricts, exposed to serious dangers, and suffering untold
privations, that they might bring the Gospel to their
scattered brethren in the faith. Their time was spent in
teaching, preaching, visitation, and the administration of
the sacraments. The whole region south of the Ohio
river was their territory, and they even penetrated the
states north of that river, Indiana. Ohio and Illinois, and
beyond the Mississippi.
— JI6 -
The exact date that pastors of the Tennessee Synod
entered the state of Indiana we have not been able to
determine. But as early as 1835 there were in the state
at least four pastors belonging to that body. They were
Revs. John L. Markert, E. S. Henkel, Christian Moritz
and Deacon Abraham Miller. Two licentiates or candi-
dates were in Missouri, namely, Ephraim R. Conrad, and
Conrad F. Picker. Feeling their isolation, and the in-
convenience of being so far removed from their synod,
they had several conferences, at which the propriety of
organizing a new synod was thoroughly discussed. See-
ing the pressing needs of the church and the necessity of
more united and concerted action for the welfare of the
same, "a portion of the members of the Lutheran church
in the west, believing it expedient that all ecclesiastical
bodies should have some center of union, so that by their
mutual considerations they may be enabled as much as
possible to arrive at the truth, and take steps and devise
means for the promulgation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
saw fit to invite as many of the Lutheran ministers and
churches as practicable to meet in St. John's church,*'
Johnson county, Indiana," for the purpose of organizing,
if deemed expedient, an Evangelical Lutheran Synod for
Indiana. The date set for this convention was August
15, 1835. On that date three pastors, seven, laymen, rep-
resenting as many congregations, and three applicants for
ordination as pastors, were present, to take part in the
organization. The minutes are silent as to who was
elected president, but doubtless the Rev. John L. Markert
was honored with the office. Rev. Eusebius S. Henkel
was elected secretary. The synod had no treasurer until
47 This was a log building erected several years before.
-- 117 -
1844. After a prolonged discussion they organized them-
selves into a synod, and adopted the constitution of the
Synod of Tennesee, adopted by that body in 1828, with
its accompanying remarks, as their constitution, and
chose the name the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of In-
diana. They addressed a letter to the Tennessee Synod,
"entreating their former brethren not to consider this
course as an intention to separate from them, but as a
means of strengthening the same cause." The mother
synod heartily approved the course pursued by these
brethren in Indiana. The most cordial relations between
these bodies were maintained for many years. Both
bodies occupied the same position relative to the General
Synod, and other Lutheran synods. Both were avowed
champions of Henkelism, over against General Synodism,
and this did much to cement their union and friendship,
until the Destructionism heresy made its appearance in
the Synod of Indiana.
The doctrinal position of this synod, being the same
as that of the Tennessee Synod, was considerably in ad-
vance of other Lutheran bodies in the United States. "It
was a time when all the tendencies of progress were in
wrong directions, when the Lutherans in America were
few, and those who maintained the doctrines of the
church were fewer." These two bodies were then the
only synods that formally and unqualifiedly received the
Augsburg Confession. The Tennessee Synod took de-
cided grounds on the doctrines of Original Sin, the Person
of Christ, and especially on Baptism and the Lord's Sup-
per. It condemned all other synods as heretical and un-
lutheran, and especially the General Synod, whose posi-
tion on these points was very indefinite. In these matters
the Synod of Indiana concurred when it was organized
- ns -
fifteen years later. It represented the pronounced type
of Lutheranism in Indiana. It placed itself unequivo-
cally upon the Word of God as the only rule of faith,
doctrine and church discipline. It acknowledged without
qualification the Augsburg Confession, "because it is a
true declaration of the principal doctrines of faith and
church discipline. Neither does it contain anything con-
trary to the Scriptures. No minister shall therefore be
allowed to teach anything, nor shall this body transact
anything that may be repugnant to any article in this
confession." Luther's Smaller Catechism was also re-
ceived and acknowledged "to contain a compendium of
scripture doctrines, and is of great untility in the cate-
chising of youth." "Lutherans acknowledge the Holy
Scriptures as the only rule of doctrine and discipline ;
nevertheless, they receive the Augsburg Confession be-
cause it exhibits the same views as they have on the
Scriptures, and is a formal declaration of what they be-
lieve. But if it were possible to prove that the views on
the points of doctrine contained in the Augsburg Confes-
sion were erroneous it would be the duty of this body to
renounce it; nevertheless, in that case they could by no
means be Lutherans, as they would have rejected the
views of Lutherans." The synod required all its candi-
dates to "covenant to officiate only in accordance with
the Augsburg Confession of faith." Such was the doc-
trinal position, officially declared, of the first Lutheran
synod in Indiana. In the midst of the latitudinarian
Lutheranism of the west, and the sneers and cavils of the
sects in this new state, the Synod of Indiana stood out
boldly as a precursor of better things for Lutherans in a
future day. It would be a source of great satisfaction to
the conservative Lutheran if it could be said that it
— 119 —
adhered faithfully to this position in its practices and acts
in later days. But it cannot. It gradually yielded to
the unlutheran tendencies, which led to the adoption of a
new constitution in 1853, in which it expressed its doc-
trinal position as follows: "This synod acknowledges
and receives the Holy Scriptures, namely, the inspired
writings of the Old and New Testament scriptures, as the
only rule of faith and church discipline ; and as the great
bond of union and of church fellowship among us."
"This synod declares itself a Lutheran synod, because we
acknowledge the Augsburg Confession of faith, ....
to be on all the essential doctrines of salvation a true
declaration of scripture principles, and upon the various
doctrines and matters upon which they treat generally
correct." This last clause was three years later, upon
motion of Rev. W. H. Deck, stricken out, thus making
its doctrinal statement more explicit.
The synod and its individual pastors were diligent in
their efforts to spread the Lutheran doctrine, especially
on those things concerning which the church's position
was misunderstood or misrepresented. Not having a
periodical of their own, and unable to support one, al-
though several attempts were made to establish an organ,
they made their minutes the, means through which to dis-
seminate the distinctive doctrines which they held. This
was done by authorizing some member to prepare an
essay upon a certain subject and have it printed as an
appendix to the minutes. At the first convention the
synod requested Rev. C. Moritz to prepare a treatise on
Infant Baptism, and present it at the next meeting of the
synod. This he failed to do, so far as the minutes show.
In addition to this instruction of Rev. Mr. Moritz, the
83'nod recommended to the membership of the churches
- J20 -
as sound doctrinal Lutheran literature and appropriate
reading, the hymn book used by the Tennessee Synod,
the Augsburg Confession, Luther's Small Catechism, and
the Treatrise on the Incarnation and Person of Jesus
Christ, by David Henkel. Rev. E. S. Henkel was author-
ized to procure a number of copies of each of these, and
distribute them among the congregations. At the synod-
ical conventions doctrinal discourses were delivered in
order to fortify both pastors and people against the heret-
ical views and lax practices of the sects and pseudo-Luth-
erans. In 1840 the synod instructed Rev. Mr. Rudisili to
prepare a treatise on Infant Baptism, to be printed as an
appendix in the minutes of the next year.*^ In 1841, at
the synodical convention. Rev. E. S. Henkel preached a
powerful sermon against "Innovations," and portrayed
the evil consequences that would follow a departure from
their established customs. This year's convention was
replete with efforts to establish and promote sound doc-
trine and churchly practice. It was resolved that at each
session of the synod a discourse be preached upon one of
the following subjects: Justification, Baptism, the Lord's
Supper, or the Reformation, the preacher to be appointed
a year in advance so as to have ample time for prepara-
tion. Rev. E. S. Henkel was instructed to prepare a
"form of ceremonies for the administration of the ordi-
nances of the church," and submit the same at the next
convention for examination and adoption. "During this
convention Rev. E. Rudisili preached a strong sermon in
defense of Infant Baptism." In 1842 Rudisili was re-
quested by the synod to prepare a treatise on the mode of
i^ This, owing to sickness, he was unable to do. In 1844
the request was repeated.
— 121 —
baptism, to be printed as an appendix in the minutes of
1843. This he did. The essaj^ is an able, forceful and
logical presentation of the arguments in favor of sprink-
ling as a scriptural mode of baptism. As a controversial
treatise it has merit, and its wide circulation among the
churches had a salutary effect. It was diligently read
and widely commented upon in the churches. It gave
Rev. Mr. Rudisill a commanding position in the synod,
and throughout the state a reputation for erudition and
The synod granted the right to every congregation in
its connection to have one delegate to its conventions.
Each delegate had equal right and vote in the sessions of
the synod with the minister. Indeed, no business could
be transacted exclusively by either ministers or delegates.
A layman on several occasions was elected secretary, and
during one of the conventions of the Miller faction a lay-
man was honored with the presidency.
In regard to the ministry this sjTiod taught that
there are two grades, deacons and pastors. It provided
that as a prerequisite to ordination to either of these
offices the individuals must be called to the office by one
or more congregations. Ordination to the diaconate was
a prerequisite to ordination to the pastorate. The licen-
sure system was introduced about the year 1843, and was
in vogue until the synod disbanded.
In its anxiety to avoid the recurrence of the evils
that had arisen in the church in earlier ages, and believ-
ing the incorporation of ecclesiastical bodies to be an ap-
proach to the union of church and state, this synod made
a constitutional provision forliidding the incorporation of
the synod by any legislature or civil power. It also pro-
vided that it shall not have any incorporated theological
— 122 —
seminary under its care, nor any particular treasury for
the purpose of supporting missionaries and theological
seminaries. Their idea was that the candidate for the
ministry could obtain his classical training at the acad-
emies and colleges then in existence, and his theological
training under some competent divine. Time proved
this provision to be very unwise. It prevented the synod
from carrying into effect, in a business-like manner, the
very things for which it was organized. Gradually the
consciousness of this mistake dawned upon the minds of
its members, but they hesitated to make a change. In
1844 a treasury was created "in order that the synod may
have the necessary funds in readiness to meet any of its
pecuniary wants." By-laws were drawn up to regulate
and govern said treasury. These by-laws provided that
"this treasury be for the exclusive purpose of defraying
the expenses of the Evangelical Lutheran Sj^nod of In-
diana." The original idea of no funds for missions and
education still prevailed. In 1849 the synod laid before
its congregations, for approval or rejection, an amend-
ment to the constitution providing for a "treasury for the
purpose of supporting missionaries and students at theo-
logical seminaries under the selection of the synod." It
also expressed itself "that it is its opinion that it would
seem just and right for the benevolence of christians to
exercise itself in the assistance of such applicants for the
ministry as are destitute of the means to educate them-
selves." The synod was convinced of the necessity of a
change in its policy in this department of its work by the
great defect existing in their system. Its applicants for
the ministry during this period pursued a desultory course
of study under some one of the pastors. They thus failed
in being brought face to face with the standard authors
— J23 —
of the church. They had to relj' upon the exposition
and the testimony of their teacher as to what was and
what was not Lutheran doctrine. In view of the unset-
tled condition of the church, and the vagaries held by
some of the pastors, such men were not likely to become
living exponents of the pure doctrines. In order to create
an interest in this cause the synod organized an education
society, whose object it was to bring the united action of
the whole synod to bear upon this work of benevolence.
Thus, after fifteen years, the synod had the courage to
admit that its original position on these questions was
untenable and impracticable.
Notwithstanding its position relative to educational
and missionary' work, its zeal for spreading the truth was
not curbed, nor was there any limit to its missionary ac-
tivity in spreading the gospel. Every pastor in the synod
was a travelling evangelist. There were no definite pas-
toral charges within its bounds. It had no settled or
permanent pastorate. The congregations annually peti-
tioned the synod for the ministration of the Word, and
that body would instruct certain of its pastors or deacons
to visit the congregation during the ensuing year. Efforts
were made repeatedly to have all the pastors of the synod
visit at least once a year ever}' congregation in connection
with it. This arrangement compelled the pastors to be
almost constantly on their journeys, making their labors
exceedingly heavy. They were at times separated for
weeks and months from their families. Besides these
pastoral visits to the established congregation, they would
seek out new settlements, preach to the settlers, and or-
ganize new congregations where, in their judgment, suf-
ficient material was found to warrant it. For their
services these pastors received such remuneration as the
— 124 —
congregation visited might bestow. This was always
small enough. No stated salary was pledged. The
whole synod was, what it later declared itself to be, a
missionary society without officers or financial basis.
Its chief work was missionating. Its pastors labored
hard, trusting in the Lord for their support. It was a
work of love, and an example of faith, that made them
Considering the condition of the country, the bad
roads, the frequently swollen streams, the sparsely set-
tled districts, the rude character of many of the inhabit-
ants, the exposures to the inclemencies of the weather,
their trials and hardships were not of a light character.
Their journeys were made on horseback. A few books were
placed in the saddle-bags, and the trip was often a long
and fatiguing one. For lodging and food they relied
upon the hospitality of those living along the way. Their
sermons were composed while in the saddle. The long
and dreary journey was often spent in reading or in med-
itating upon certain portions of holy writ while in the
saddle. Across their paths darted the agile deer, and oft
was their meditation broken by the fierce barkings of the
wolf. In some settlements the preacher was hated more
than the wild Indian, and these it was wise for him to
avoid. At other places he was a welcome guest, and
family vied with family to do him honor.
The services were held in the cabins of the settlers,
in school houses, or under temporary sheds erected for
that purpose. Preaching day in a settlement was usually
a red-letter day. Sometimes sheds were erected by
planting four or more "crotches" in the ground and lay-
ing poles from one to another, and then covering the
whole with boughs, boards or straw. In these structures
— 125 -
the people joyously worshipped when the weather was not
too severe. At other places the groves were the temples
"When, in the darkling woods,
Amid the cool and silence, they knelt down
And offered to the Mightiest solemn thanks
To these services great crowds of people came, from
far and near, spending the day in social converse and in
public worship. The pastor felt his labor well repaid
when greeted with such an audience, ready to hear all
things whatsoever was commanded him of God. Two
services were usually conducted, one in the morning and
one in the afternoon, after which the assembly would
The Synod of Indiana came into contact and contro-
versy with the "Generalists," as the adherents of the
General Synod were called, at a very early stage of its
existence. In 1836 Rev. Jacob Crigler, president of the
Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the West, suggested that
an eflfort be made to unite the two bodies. A committee
was appointed to confer with the Synod of Indiana, which
reciprocated the feelings of the former body, and in 1837
appointed a committee on conference. After some cor-
respondence, the Synod of Indiana held a called session
in 1839 for the purpose of "making arrangements for ef-
fecting a union with the Synod of the West," and for this
purpose respectfully invited and earnestly solicited all the
members of the Synod of the West to meet with it at its
convention in 1840. Rev. Abraham Miller addressed a
letter to the corresponding committee of the Synod of the
West, dated June 1840, stating the terms and conditions
upon which a union might be effected. These terms and
conditions were agreed-upon at the c;illed session. They
- J26 -
were: "1. That the Synod of the West rescind its resolu-
tion attaching it to the General Synod. 2. That we op-
pose the so-called benevolent societies of to-day, such as
Tract, Temperance, Missionary, Bible and a host of such
like fantastical societies."^" It is needless to add that
the Synod of the West rejected these terms, and no union
between the two synods was effected. During the nego-
tiations a strong opposition against the Generalists was
exerted. In 1837 the congregations in Missouri "prayed
the Synod of Indiana to be steadfast against the Gener-
alists." The feelings against the General Synod grew
more and more intense. There may have been some rea-
son for this, but doubtless it was more from ignorance
and unfounded prejudice than from any real facts. At
least so the Synod of the West claimed. But be that as
it may, a spirit of deeper and more pronounced opposition
was aroused among the pastors and congregations against
the General Synod pastors and churches. In 1841, pos-
sibly from fear that a union would yet result, possiblj'
from knowledge of some of the innovations practiced by
the General Synod pastors, petitions came from Philadel-
phia church, Parke county, to the synod, requesting it "to
49 This attitude toward such societies was common among
all denominations in these regions at that time. It is possible
that the pastors of the Synod of Indiana were influenced largely
by Alexander Campbell's denunciations and arraignment of all
such societies and those who foster them. See Amer. Church
History, Vol. 2, pp. 490, 491. Minutes Synod of the West, 1840,
pp. 13, 14. In the south, whence Rudisill, Henkel, Markert
and Miller came, there was decided opposition to "missionary
efforts" among other denominations, especially among Baptists.
Vid. D. Parker in Hist, of Baptists in American Church Hist.
Series. The Tennessee Lutherans, or Henkelites, were not alone
in this view.
— J27 -
expose the attempts of the General Synod to destroy and
subvert the true Lutheran doctrines;" one from Union
church, Montgomery county, "thanking the synod for the
knowledge they have obtained through those labors (of
its pastors), of the impositions and innovations of the
General Synod;" one from St. James' church, Montgom-
ery county, "asking the synod to annex to its proceedings
of this session an expose of Generalism, so that all who
desire to be Lutherans may see their impositions and
innovations, and come out from among them." A letter
was received from the venerable John L. Markert, in
which "he earnestly admonished synod to have no con-
nection either with the General Synod, or with the Synod
of the West."
In compliance with these earnest appeals from con-
gregations and pastors, the synod resolved to publish an
"expose of the conduct of the Generalists, and show their
attempts at subverting Hud destroying the Lutheran doc-
trines and discipline." Revs. E. S. Henkel and E. Rudi-
sill were appointed to prepare said "Expose" and have it
printed as an appendix to the minutes of 1841. It ap-
peared in the minutes of 1841. What the character of
this "Expose" is we have no means of determining, as no
copy of the minutes of that j'ear have come to hand.
Whether the charges against the General Synod pastors
therein are just, or warranted, we cannot say. But it had
its effect. Within two years Union church. Montgomery
county, Indiana, West Union, Knox county, St. George's,
Shelby county, St. Peter's, Carrol county, St. Paul's and
Philadelphia churches, in Harrison county, and the con-
gregation at Jeffersontown, Kentucky, applied for admis-
sion into the Synod of Indiana. They all appear to have
been affiliated with the General Synod. Some of these
— 128 —
expressed their determination to remain steadfast in de-
fense of the truth.'"
During this time Rev. E. Rudisill also came into
sharp controversy with the sect known as Disciples or
Campbellites. Campbellism was making rapid progress
in the southern and western regions of our country. One
of its favorite dogmas then, as now, was the mode of
baptism, namely, immersion. Prof. S. K. Hoshour, a
prominent Lutheran in Virginia, was converted to the
faith of Campbell about 1840, and became an ardent dis-
ciple. Hoshour came to Indiana, and took at once a
prominent place and part in the propaganda of that sect.
Another convert from the Lutheran ranks was Rev. W. R.
McChesney, a member of the Synod of the West. This
caused much rejoicing in their ranks, and every nerve was
strained to make other proselytes. When Dr. Rudisill's
essay on the mode of baptism appeared in the minutes of
1843 a certain defender of Campbellism, Elder James
Mathes, undertook to confute the arguments advanced in
the essay through the columns of "The Christian Review,"
a paper published by him in the interests of his sect, and
widely read in the church of that name. When his
strictures appeared. Dr. Rudisill asked the privilege from
Elder Mathes to reply to each article through the same
periodical, so that every reader could have the opportunity
50 Whether the methods employed by the pastors of the
Synod of Indiana were always fair and honorable is a question.
They would enter wherever they had hopes of persuading a con-
gregation to leave the General Synod body and attach itself to
theirs. The only justification and extenuation that can be offered
for this is, that they were so opposed to the methods of the G.
S. pastors that they felt it their duty to wrest the churches from
their hands and set them right.
— J29 —
of studying both sides of the question. This was pro-
mised him, and the controversy soon waxed warm and
interesting. But after the appearance of a few replies by
Rudisill space was no longer allowed to the doctor for his
articles. Rudisill then published an exhaustive reply to
Mathes' confutation in pamphlet form, in which he
handled his antagonist without gloves. In the opening
Dr. Rudisill states the agreement that had been made by
Mathes, and then openly and fearlessly charges him and
his chief supporter, Prof. S. K. Hoshour, with cowardice,
and the fear of losing adherents to their cause if his re-
plies were published. This reply to Elder Mathes did
much to establish the Lutherans in their position on the
subject. The effect of this controversy was that for a
decade the Campbellite sect was more reserved and care-
ful in its attacks upon Lutherans. It brought Rev. E.
Rudisill to the front as one of the ablest controversialists
in the state.
About this time he also got into a controversy with
a Rev. Dr. Dickson, of the Associate Presbyterian church,
concerning the doctrine of the Lord's Supper. It culmi-
nated in a public debate, held in the Associate Presbj'-
terian church in Parke county, Indiana. The discussion
lasted for two days, and was attended by vast crowds of
lieople. In the discussion Rudisill acquitted himself with
credit. His opponent was a mild-mannered, scholarly
and pious man, but not able in this case to maintain his
position against Rudisill. At the close of the second
day's discussion Rudisill proposed to continue it, but the
Presbyterians were ready to let it rest. The effect was
salutary so far as the Lutherans were concerned. It
strengthened them very materially, and added fame to
their champion. Rut it also puffed up Rudisill, and fos-
- 130 -
tered his vanit3^ With all his faults and erratic move-
ments Rudisill was strong in his defense of the Lutheran
doctrine over against the erroneous views of the sects.
He knew the Lutheran position, and when assailed was
ready to fly to its defense.
Important as was the work of this synod and abund-
ant its opportunities for establishing the church in the
state and spreading the gospel of peace, it was destined
to be rent into factions by the demon of discord because
of the unholy ambition of some of its most prominent
men. The effect of this dissension upon the churches
was disastrous. The bitter fruit thereof has not yet all
disappeared. Some of its strongest congregations perished
through this bitter and malignant controversy.
In its early history, doctrinally, the Synod of Indiana
was soundly Lutheran on all the articles of faith. Its
ministers were pledged to teach in harmony with the
Augsburg Confession. But the doctrinal basis of the
synod did not remain the doctrinal basis of its pastors.
Lutheranism was not as clearly defined in these regions
as it should have been. The pastors were zealous in de-
fense of the name, but permitted the thing to be repu-
diated. The times were unsettled. In the Lutheran
church dissensions, divisions and estrangements pre-
vailed. Out of other communions sects arose under the
leadership of ambitious men. In the Synod of Indiana
were men that aspired to leadership who were inordinately
ambitious, whose convictions of the truth were not deep-
rooted, and whose actions were not wholly guided by di-
vine grace. Religious movements swept like tidal waves
across the country, breaking up the old order of things,
and out of the confusion and chaos came new sects, whose
leaders soon gained prominence and notoriety. Universal-
ism had swept across the state during the first third of
the centur}', and many a congregation went down before
its withering, blasting and poisoning curse. It was
openly insinuated that some of the pastors of the Synod
of Indiana winked at its progress, and privately admitted
that at heart they accepted its tenets. A reaction, how-
ever, set in. Universalism was too blatant. The en-
lightened judgment was repelled by it. Absolute Uni-
versalism, therefore, gave way to the more acceptable
doctrine of Destructionism. This was a new doctrine to
the people of the Lutheran church in the state, and it bid
fair of being widely accepted. It promised prominence
and popularity to those who would champion the new
heresy. But it had not sufficient merit to give it stand-
ing. It must needs be leagued with other doctrines that
possess merit, respectability and historic association. An
effort was therefore made by certain pastors of the Synod
of Indiana to incorporate this tenet as an article in the
synod's doctrinal basis. These pastors were Revs. E.
Rudisill, M. D., Elias Markert, Samuel Good, and possi-
bly also John H. Vajan.
As early as 1845, if not earlier, these men began to
preach this heresy in the congregations and at the synod-
ical conventions. They conspired to foist the doctrine
upon the synod, and elaborate plans were laid and prepar-
ations made to carry out successfully their project. Rev.
E. Rudisill was the leader, and he was faithfully and ar-
dently supported by his lieutenants, Markert and Good.
Whether Rudisill was persuaded b}' some one to adopt
this view, or whether he merely pretended to believe it,
and used it as a means to gratify his ambition and to
place himself at the head of another ecclesiastical body,
we cannot say. That he aspired to be the head of ;.i new
- 132 -
ecclesiastical body is beyond question. That he knew
this doctrine to be not only unlutheran but anti-lutheran,
is also certain. He expressed his conviction repeatedly
that it is a scriptural doctrine, and that it would be ac-
cepted by the church. He therefore made strenuous ef-
forts to have the synod adopt it as an article of faith.
He was well fitted for this task. Eloquent and persuasive
in speech, and shrewd in debate, he hoped to bear down
all opposition. His success in the Baptist controversy
made him sanguine of victory in this movement. He
feared no opposition from Henkel,'^' and he considered
himself more than a match for any other pastor in the
synod. His vanity led him to believe that he could van-
quish anyone in the whole Lutheran church who might
oppose him. Especially did he desire "to lock horns
with the Generalists on this question," as he expressed it.
His plan was to preach the doctrine in the congregations
and win them to his support, and then by flattery, argu-
ment and threats win the pastors to his side. But he
reckoned without his host.
Rev. Elias Markert was nothing more than a willing
tool in the hands of Rudisill. He had not the elements
nor the ability of a leader. But under Rudisill's manip-
ulations he aided very materially in spreading the heresy.
Rev. S. Good was Rudisill's chief lieutenant, and
heartily seconded his efforts. His confidence in Rudisill's
judgment and learning had more to do in leading him
into the movement than his own convictions, and when
the cause failed so ingloriously the wily Rudisill made
him the scapegoat for the sins of the conspirators.
51 Henkel was at this time in the mazes and toils of Uni-
— 133 -
In 1844 a young German, John F. Lautenschlager,
was commended to the sj'nod by Rev. C. Moritz, then re-
siding in Iowa. Mr. Lautenschhvger was received bj^ the
synod as a worthy candidate, and phiced under the care
of Revs. E. S. Henkel and E. Rudisill. Under their di-
rections he pursued his studies. He was a man of fair
attainments, a close student of the confessions and of the
M'ord, and of great courage and strong convictions. In
1846 he was licensed to preach and was assigned as as-
sistant to Rev. S. Good. He soon discovered the heretical
views of Good and could no longer conscientiously
serve under him.^' He then went to Rev. E. Rudisill for
comfort, and to his astonishment, found him holding the
same views as did Good. Thereupon he began publicly
to expose and oppose the destructionist heresy, and thus
becahie a thorn in the flesh of the conspirators. Under
this opposition they became restive and entered aggres-
sively and defiantl}' upon their course. Plans were laid
to give the doctrine official and synodical sanction. To
forestall the opposition that was arising, at the instigation
of Rudisill, who was president, a resolution, drawn by
him, was railroaded through the synod, clothing him with
arbitrary and almost absolute power and authority over
the candidates, licentiates, deacons, pastors and congre-
gations of the synod."^ As there existed an emergency
52 "When he. Good, and I conversed on religious subjects
he would charge the Lutheran church with superstition, would
deny the immortality of the souls of the wicked, the resurrection,
a day of judgment, everlasting punishment, original sin and the
Holy Ghost in toto. He declared the bible a heretical book, the
work of man, and ordered church councils to burn Luther's
catechisms." .1. F. Lautenschlager, Minutes Miller faction, 1850.
53 This was at the convention in 1847.
— 134 —
it was made immediately effective, contrary to the rules
and regulations of the synod. It was to remain in force
one year, and if ratified by the congregations, should be-,
come, after the next convention, a part of the rules and
The resolution, as it was finally adopted in 1848, and
which somewhat curtailed the powers vested in the presi-
dent by the resolution of 1847, was as follows : "Resolved,
that the duties of the president of this synod shall be,
not only to preside over the deliberations of the synod at
its sessions, but in the interim to call sessions of the
synod when petitioned for by two ministers and two con-
gregations ; and also to call councils of preachers, when
the same is demanded by a minister or congregation.
All students and licentiates shall be guided by his advice,
and call upon him for counsel. He may examine and
grant license to preach, catechise and to baptize during
the interim of the synod. And when any minister is
about to enter into a public debate he should seek his
counsel as to its necessity, and if possible have his pres-
ence. And when complaint or complaints are made to
him in writing, against a minister, deacon or licentiate,
by a minister or congregation, he shall call a council of
two ministers and delegates from three congregations, and
if the complaint is sustained, a majority of the council so
voting, he shall suspend said minister, deacon or licentiate
until the next meeting of the synod. He shall give in
writing a full account of his official proceedings to the
next session of the synod for its examination and ap-
proval ; that this resolution be an amendment to Regula-
tion No. 3 of the local and temporary regulations of the
constitution of this synod." This resolution was carried
through, all opposition, being borne down by the impetu-
— 135 —
osity of its author. Several of the pastors who voted for
it sulisequently confessed that they did not understand its
full import, else they would have opposed it. The subse-
quent course of Rudisill clearly showed that he introduced
it for designing purposes.
The advocates of Destructionism, however, were not to
go on unchallenged. Among both clergy and laity there
were men who knew that this doctrine is not a part of
Lutheranism, and who loved their church and her doc-
trines too dearly to let the matter go on without a protest.
While not equal to Rudisill in learning, eloquence and
forensic skill, the clergymen who opposed him had the
consciousness of being in the right, and the courage of
their convictions. They had the scriptures, the Lutheran
confessions and theologians on their side, and felt thrice
armed because on the side of right.
The first official notice we have of the heresy was at
the convention of 1847. During the preceding winter
and spring Rudisill was in the south endeavoring to se-
cure funds for the purchase of a printing press, but in
which effort he was not successful. His intentions evi-
dently were to promulgate his views by that means. He
wished to discuss the doctrine through the "Lutheran
Standard," but Rev. E. Greenwald, the editor, could not
consent to any such thing. At the convention in 1847
Rev. Abraham Miller addressed a letter to the synod in
which he stated "that some of the ministering brethren
are debating against the Augsburg Confession, and that
if the synod wishes to be Destructionist he would not, but
desires to hold to all the articles of the Augsburg Confes-
sion." In this protest Rev. A. Miller was heartily sec-
onded by Licentiate John F. Lautenschlager. But the
protest was treated with contempt. The synod resolved
— 136 -
to discountenance it, and no investigation was made.
With much bhister and airs of injured innocence each
suspected pastor present declared his readiness to answer
every charge of heresy against him. The specific charge
was evaded, and another year's time secured in which to
strengthen their defenses, and to spread the error.
The controversy waxed warm, and affected ahnost
every congregation in the synod. The introduction and
passage of the resohition above given was Rudisill's coup
(V etat, and he cherished the hope it would enable him to
carry his point. He declared repeatedly that "Destruc-
tionism is the doctrine of the synod, that it had to be
established as such within three years, and that all who
would not come to it would have to go it." He ruled
with a high hand. He wielded the resolution over the
pastors, and they dreaded his displeasure and feared his
wrath. Rudisill, Markert and Good were ready to debate
the question publicly with anyone. Rev. Hugh Wells, a
pastor of the General Synod, accepted a challenge from
Good, and they had a public debate in Boone county on
the 24th and 25th of September, 1847. In this debate
Good denied the resurrection of the wicked and their
everlasting punishment, the day of judgment and future
punishment. In the course of the debate he repudiated
the Augsburg Confession and Luther's Small Catechism.
Rudisill also openly preached the doctrine. Even pastors
of other denominations openly opposed him, and charged
him with departing from the Lutheran position. Protests
from Lutheran pastors and Lutheran synods were sent in,
but these were disregarded.''^
The Destructionists became intoxicated with the
w Rev. A. H. Meyers, Henry Fairchild, E. Goodwin. The
Synod of Indianapolis and the Ohio Synod.
- 137 -
notoriety they gained, and construed it as evidence of
ultimate success. They were sanguine as to the outcome.
Meanwhile, Rev. Mr, Lautenschhiger was also active.
He opposed the heresy with all his power, appealing to
the scriptures, and showing from the confessions that it is
not a part of the Lutheran doctrine, and that as Lutherans
they should repudiate and denounce it. The unconstitu-
tional procedures of the synod, and the arbitrary acts of
its president, were exposed and denounced. Many of the
congregations perceived that they had been hoodwinked
by Rudisill, who, with all his faults, was almost idolized
by the laity. In this work Lautenschlager was heartily
supported by Revs. Abraham and David Miller. While
neither learned nor eloquent, these men possessed a large
degree of common sense, and were devout servants of the
church. Their earnestness, humility and fidelity to the
truth compensated for their lack of education.
But Rudisill could brook no opposition. He was
determined to rid himself of these troublers of his cause.
In 1847, there were three petitions from as many con-
gregations, " praying for the ordination of J. F. Lauten-
schlager to the office of pastor. These petitions were
disregarded by the synod, through Rudisill's influence,
and he was ordained to the office of deacon, to which he
was not called, but which ordination was, according to
the regulations of the synod, a prerequisite to ordination
as pastor. But this second ordination could also have been
performed had it not been for the opposition of Rudisill,""
•''•' St. George'e, Shelby county, Slipher's, Clinton CDunty,
and Zion's, Tippecanoe county.
•^■' "At the same session of the synod there were also three
petitions asking for my ordination as pastor, but as I had pre-
viously exposed the heresy of Rudisill, (iood and Markert, and
- 138 -
who took advantage of a technicality.'" He stood a fair
examination, and according to the rules of the synod was
entitled to ordination to the pastoral office, but for some
cause his ordination was opposed by Rev. E. Rudisill,
who contended, and carried his point, for the postpone-
ment of the ordination to the next meeting of the synod.^'
After the adjournment of the synod Revs. J. F. Lauten-
as the two former were officers of the synod, the prayers of the
churches were not heard; but Rudisill, when three delegates and
one minister arose and plead for my ordination, said: 'I can't,
I won't, my conscience won't let me.'" — Rev. J. F. Lauten-
"J. F. Lautenschlager would have been ordained pastor at
the convention of 1847, as he was found qualified, and his ordi-
nation was prayed for by three congregations. But the reason
he was not ordained was that Rudisill wanted to keep him out
of the way of his pet schemes." — Rev. Henry Fairchild.
It is also evident that Rudisill's opposition was due to the
fact that if Lautenschlager were ordained pastor he could not
have the same authority over him as while licentiate or deacon,
by virtue of the resolution of 1847. Lautenschlager, as pastor,
would also have mor^ authority, influence and prestige than as
deacon or licentiate.
57 Lautenschlager's ordination was refused on a mere tech-
nicality^ The constitution provided that candidates "must be
called by one or more congregations," whereas Lautenschlager's
call was made by the "Church Councils." The synod took the
position that church councils as such had no constitutional right
to so petition. — Minutes of 1849, p. 9. It will be observed that,
this was a plea brought in as an afterthought to justify its course.
If the plea had weight, it would also have prevented his ordina-
tion as deacon, which the synod performed. "Rudisill affirmed,
during the convention of 1847, that he altered and counterfeited
the petition of St. George's church, after it was signed by the
members of the church." — Rev. J. F. Lautenschlager in Expose
of Rudisill, etc., minutes of Miller faction, 13th session, 1850.
58 Maumee (Rev. J. E, Wesner) in Lutheran, Sept. 3, 1896.
- 139 -
schlager and the Millers returned hom^ in company, and
on the evening of the second day's journey reached Abra-
ham Miller's home in Johnson county. That night the
Revs. A. and D. Miller re-examined Lautenschlager,'" and
ordained him to the pastoral ofHce, under a constitutional
provision that any two ministers .might, during the in-
terim of the synod, in case of necessity, examine an ap-
plicant for ordination, and if qualified, ordain him to the
office of the ministry.
This action on the part of these three men, when it
became known to Rudisill, roused him to fury, and fur-
nished a pretext for him to exercise the authority and
power vested in him by the resolution. He accordingly
issued an order for a special session of the synod, to be
held in Philadelphia church, Parke county, on the 18th
and 19th days of February, 1848, in order to try Revs.
Abraham Miller, David Miller and John F. Lautenschlager
upon the charge of official misconduct.
This called session was, as might be expected, a
stormy one'. Rudisill ruled arbitrarily and haughtily.
He declared that the Slipher church, which had petitioned
for Lautenschlager's ordination, and which he was then
serving, "should not have the preacher they wanted."
He arrogated to himself the position of prosecutor, judge
and jury. He threatened with dire vengeance all those
who dared to oppose him in his plans, and thus awed
into silence any who sympathized with the accused, or
were disposed to come to their defense.
■i'J It appears from the minutes of the Miller faction, twelfth
eeeeion, 1849, that the church councils of Slipher's church and
of Mt. Pleasant church, Hamilton county, petitioned individual
pastors of the "Old School Lutheran Church" for the ordination
of J. F. Lautenschlager, which ordination was performed by
Revs. A. and D. Miller.
— 140 —
The accused ^lead to have the trial deferred until
the next regular convention of the synod, claiming that
the people of that community and congregation were
prejudiced against them through Rudisill's influence.
This was true, for it was with difficulty that the accused
could secure entertainment during the convention. This
petition was overruled. They protested against Iludisill
being the prosecutor, judge and jury, but this protest was
unheeded. They questioned the constitutionality of the
meeting and of the proceedings, as neither a majority of
the ministers were present nor were a majority of the con-
gregations represented. This question was also ignored.
There was nothing else for the accused to do but to make
their defense and submit to the despotic procedure.*""
In the case of Rev. David Miller, Iludisill first mis-
represented his statements so as to lay him under tlie
charge of falsehood. He then informed him privately
that if he would adopt the tenet of Destructionism all
charges against him would be withdrawn, but if not he
would have to take the consequences. Und6r the stress
of the times Miller consented to this, at least in part, but
subsequently repudiated his confession, and reaffirmed
his former views, and justified his course. In the case of
Rev. Abraham Miller, Rudisill did not find so pliable a
subject. Miller, a godly man, and who had assisted in
Rudisill's ordination, boldly and fearlessly rebuked him
for his course, for his heresy, for his ambition, and for
the desolation he had wrought in the churches by his
Destructionism, and in turn was abused, maligned and
60 "Rudisill was made a god, and could and did do what-
ever he pleased, regardless of the bible, concordia, constitution,
or any rule of love or justice. Whatever he said was law and
gospel." —Key. J. F. Lautenschlager, Expose of Rudisill.
- 141 -
threatened witli dire vengeance. He informed Rev. A.
Miller that if he did not like his course in establishing
the doctrine of Destructionism "he would pick his feathers
too, and . let him go." He openly charged Miller with
falsehood, and when the latter produced a certificate of
good character, signed by a number of honorable citizens
of Johnson county, he declared they might as well have
signed a libel. The defense made by the Millers for
their ordination of Lautenschlager was treated with con-
tempt by" Rudisill and his minions who constituted the
Ikit the brunt of the attack fell upon Lautenschlager.
Five charges were preferred against him, one of which
was for solemnizing marriage while a licentiate, and
another for being clandestinely ordained. The other
three we have been unable to ascertain, but there were
no charges against his moral character. It was apparent
that he was the man most feared by Rudisill, and the one
who stood in the way of the success of Destructionism,
Lautenschlager appealed to the constitution, which made
it the duty of the pastors to expose false and erroneous
doctrines, as a justification of his course of opposition to
Rudisill, Markert and Good. He defended his ordination
as constitutional, lawful and open. But all of no avail.
The findings of this session were that all the charges
were sustained, and the sentence was pronounced accord-
•'1 There were several accounts of this called session and of
the evidiMici' then adduced, pubiislu'd, both by the deft-ndaiits
and by Kudisill, but we have been unable to secure any of them
except Lautenschlager's Expose. The facts concerning tlie pro-
ceedings of this called session we obtained chiefly from persons
who resided in the neighborhood of the church and were eyewit-
nesses of tlie proceedings.
- J42 -
The verdict and action of this called session were
the confession and forgiveness of Rev. David Miller, the
suspension of Rev. Abraham Miller, and the excommuni-
cation of Rev. John F. Lautenschlager. At the regular
convention of the synod in 1848 the acts of the call session
were confirmed and the following action taken :
"Resolved, That, whereas, David Miller at the call
session of the synod, was arraigned on certain charges of
official misconduct, made the proper acknowledgements
then, and was forgiven; but has since wilfully 'denied a
part of those acknowledgements, and has, and is acting
in a contemptuous and unchristian manner towards this
synod in absenting himself from its sessions, and associ-
ating with, fellowshipping and upholding suspended and
excommunicated individuals, that this synod solenmly
declare him unworthy of their confidence and fellowship,
and dismiss him from their connection."
"Whereas, Abraham Miller was suspended at the
call session for official misconduct, and for being guilty
of wilful falsehood, until he should render full satis-
faction to the synod,— which he promised to do at this
session, — and, whereas, he has continued obstinate, and
continued to exercise the office of the ministry, notwith-
standing his suspension, and has failed to render to this
synod any satisfaction or make any acknowledgements ;
and whereas, in such state of suspension he is trying to
raise an ecclesiastical body, and will not meet these
charges, it is Resolved, by this synod, that his suspension
be and hereby is changed into excommunication, and that
he is dismissed from this body as unworthy of its confi-
dence or fellowship."
Lautenschlager and the Millers were not, however,
silenced by this arbitrary procedure. They treated their
- 143 -
excommunication with scorn and contempt. They in-
sisted that they had violated no law, but exercised only
rights which belonged to them. In this the civil court
sustained them, and also the judgment of other Lutheran
bodies. They continued their course of exposing the
Destructionists, fastening the responsibility and guilt of
the disruption of the churches upon them. The tyranny
of Rudisill became apparent to many congregations, and
the current of sympathy turned against him. In some
of the congregations two parties were formed, and litiga-
tion resulted with reference to the legal ownership of the
property. In every case brought to court, the claims of
the adherents to the "Miller faction," as it was called,
Meanwhile Rudisill prosecuted his plans assiduously.
With the Millers and Lautenschlager out of the way, the
road to success seemed clear. An attempt was therefore
made to spring the new doctrine upon the synod at its
convention in 1848. The advocates thereof, knowing
that there were a few delegates present who would not
adhere to it at all, made an effort to decoy them away by
arranging for a service in the evening at a school house,
but the plan failed. The delegates suspected a plot, and
against all persuasion they remained and attended the
regular service at the church. Rev. S. Good was put
forward to preach the new doctrine, taking for his text
John 3: 35-36. But he failed in his efforts, and l)roke
down completely, so that Rudisill had to come to the
rescue and finish the discourse. The next day John
Downey,""' of Knox county, Daniel Meyers, of Daviess
•■•■i Downey was one of the best informed Lutheran laymen
in the state at that time.
county, and Frederick Slinkard, of Greene county, filed
their protests against the sentiments uttered, withdrew
from the convention and returned home. Thus were the
opponents of Destructionists eliminated from that con-
The lines - of battle were more and more sharply
drawn. The adherents of the pure doctrine took steps to
reorganize the synod and eliminate from its official history
these arbitrary and unconstitutional proceedings. On the
10th of October, 1848, a public meeting was held in St.
John's church, Johnson county, the one in which the
synod was organized thirteen years before, for the purpose
of entering a ministerial protest against the negligence of
the synod in reference to false doctrines, arbitrary and
unconstitutional rulings, and the neglect of catechisation.
They elected a corresponding secretary, J. Sechrist, Es-
quire, who subsequently issued a call for a synodical meet-
ing to be held in Klingensmith's church, Marion county,
Indiana, May 28, 1849. On the 15th of October, 1848,
the St. John's congregation, Johnson county, Indiana,
entered a similar protest. On May 26, 1849, the Klingen-
smith's congregation took like action. This was followed
by St. John's, Monroe county, March 2, 1849, Zion's,
Tippecanoe county, February 14, 1849, St. George's,
Shelby county, December 20, 1848, Schlifer's, Clinton
county, November 11, 1848, Zion's, Morgan county. May
28, 1849. On May 28, 1849, Revs. J. F. Lautenschlager,
Abraham and David Miller, and delegates from seven
congregations, met in pursuance to the above-mentioned
call, in Klingensmith's church, and reorganized the "true
Synod of Indiana." By resolution they declared them-
selves to be the Synod of Indiana in its twelfth conven-
tion assembled, repudiating the conventions held in 1847,
— 145 —
in St. John's church, Floyd county, Indiana, and in St.
John's church, Jolinson county, Indiana, in 1H48. They
proceeded to the transaction of such business as came
before them. The ordination of Rev. J. F. Lautenschlager
by Revs. A. and D. Miller was confirmed. In 1850 this
synod, generally designated as the "Miller faction," held
its second, or thirteenth, convention in St. John's church,
Johnson county, Indiana. They met with hearty en-
dorsement for their bold action from Rev. C. Moritz, one
of the founders of the Synod of Indiana, and Rev. Casper
Bringle, a member of the old synod, who attached them-
selves to this body at this session. Both these men de-
nounced the Rudisill party as unlutheran. In addition
to these, a letter from the Rev. Henry Goodman, a mem-
ber of the Tennessee Synod, was received, in which he
rejoiced "that there were yet some who endeavored to
stand firm in the truth." Rev. Henry Heinecke, presi-
dent of the Ohio Synod, wrote them assuring them that
their party was Lutheran, and that the Rudisill party was
unlutheran. The Synod of Indianapolis took official
action relative to the difficulty, and "Resolved, first, that
this synod holds the destruction or annihilation of the
wicked, and the denial of everlasting punishment, as
taught by E. Rudisill and adherents, as a corrupting and
ruinous heresy. Second, this synod does not hold Rudisill
and adherents as orthodox teachers. Third, this synod
does not hold the Synod of Indiana, the Rudisill party,
as an orthodox synod, for taking them into protection,
and justifying all their actions without cause or reason."
It also declared that Revs. A. and D. Miller had a consti-
tutional right to ordain J. F. Lautenschlager, and that
his ordination was valid.
At its convention in 1S.50, this Miller faction made re-
— 146 —
newed overtures to the Destructionist party to have the
differences between them honestly and fairly investigated
before an impartial jury, and called upon Christians
everywhere to force upon them the necessity of such in-
vestigation. It called upon Rndisill and his party to re-
cant, deny or to justify their action. It also declared
officially "that the Rudisill party did act unconstitution-
ally, unchristian and unjustly with our ministers, and
that Rudisill and adherents are guilty of heresy. First,
because they do not deny said anti-Lutheran doctrines ;
secondly, because they do not wish to have the difficulties
between us impartially investigated. Therefore we call
upon them publicly to recant, deny or justify their course ;
and further, that we cannot, therefore, fellowship with
them until these difficulties are adjusted." In the min-
utes of this convention Rev. J. F. Lautenschlager, in an
appendix, exposes the whole proceedings of the Rudisill
party, fastens upon them the guilt of preaching heretical
doctrines, and describes the arbitrary method of Rudisill
in the call session of 1848.
The Rudisill party were not disposed to let the mat-
ter rest with their act of excommunication. They would
also enforce it, so far as there was any authority. Dr.
Rudisill, having failed in silencing his opponents by the
act of excommunication, next resorted to legal measures.
He employed an attorney and had Lautenschlager in-
dicted for preaching without authority, and ordered the
churches to sue for trespass, in case he used any Lutheran
church edifice for the purpose of public worship. This
brought the whole matter before the civil court for a
The question was tried before the Shelby county
court. It dealt with the validity of Lautenschlager's
— 147 —
ordination, and with the legality of Lautenschlager's and
A. Miller's excommunication. On the former Rev. J. F.
Isensee, president of the Synod of Indianapolis, was the
chief witness. "After considerable testimony had been
introduced both pro and con," said he to the writer,
"Judge Wick asked me, 'Do you think that Lauten-
schlager was lawfully ordained according to Lutheran
usage, and the provisions of the constitution of the Synod
of Indiana?' I replied, 'yes.' 'So do I,' said the Judge,
and decided the ordination valid." The question of his
and the Miller's excommunication was also tried, and the
decision rendered that it was null and void. After this
decision, the suit for trespass was withdrawn by the Rudi-
The question of property rights was tried in both the
Shelby county and in the Clinton county courts and the
title of the Miller faction was allirmed.*^*
The thirteenth convention of the Miller faction was
the last one held. The costs of the suits and attorneys'
fees had to be borne by them, and they were unable to
support their claims with the requisite funds. In one or
two cases the church property was sold to defray the
court expenses, and the contest was abandoned. Lauten-
schlager says "our body died a natural death."'"
••3 "The indictment was tried and I was yet easier cleared
by an impartial court than by Kudisill, Good, and Markert, be-
cause it took them to lie from 9 a. m. to 4 p. m., when the bull
of excommunication was passed; whereas, Judge Wick would
not hear me two hours before I was cleared."— Kev. J. F. L. in
w We have not had opportunity to consult the court records
on this case, but have stated what persons cognizant of the facts
have given to us.
^^ After their excommunication and the dissolution of the
Miller faction synod, which the courts upheld as the lawful
- 148 -
Gradually a reaction set in. The Rudisill party
would not recognize the decisions of the courts, except in
the property cases. The Millers and Lautenschlager re-
fused to resume their former position among the ministers
who had so arbitrarily and unjustly excommunicated
them. To them the lawful Synod of Indiana had no
longer any existence. The Rudisill party, however, con-
tinued their body under the old name and title. But the
exposures to which they had been subjected, and the de-
feats they had sustained, convinced them that they could
not accomplish their designs. They felt it necessary to
retreat out of their dilemma as best they could, yet in
such a way as not to appear defeated. In 1851 Rev.
Samuel Good, the most radical advocate of the Destruc-
tion heresy, died, and his repudiation of the heresy before
his death, was a heavier blow to the party than his
demise. This left Rev. E. Rudisill and Rev. E. Markert
the sole champions. Rev. J. H. Vagan was no longer in
synodical connection. We do not know what became of
him. A decided sentiment against Destructionism stead-
ily grew both among the pastors and in the congregations,
so that its advocates deemed it the part of wisdom to re-
main silent upon the matter. In 1850, at the convention
held in Zion's church in Morgan county, Indiana, the
Philadelphia church, Park county, petitioned the synod
Synod of Indiana, Rev. J. F. Lautenschlager united with the
Joint Synod of Ohio. David Miller went to Iowa, where he
ministered until his death. Rev. Abraham Miller continued to
preach in St. John's church, Johnson county, until 1864. He
was elected a justice of the peace, in which capacity he served
very acceptably for quite a long time, and with credit. Benjamin
Harrison, afterwards president of the United States, once argued
a case before him. He died at a ripe old age, 82 years, 9 months
and 21 days, highly respected by all who knew him.
— 149 —
to "notice the correspondence of Revs. Ileinecke, of tlie
Ohio Synod, Goodman of the Tennessee Synod, and Morilz
and Bringle, formerly of this synod, with the 'Miller fac-
tion,' in which this synod was unjustly assailed, but that
this synod pay no attention to the 'slang of the said Mil-
ler faction' in their last minutes." When this item was
read before the synod it was "moved that inquiry be
made of Revs. Rudisill, Good and Markert to know what
they do teach in regard to the doctrines they are accused
of." Rev. E. Goodwin was called to the chair and the
three pastors above referred to were put under examina-
tion by the synod. From this examination "it appeared
that all three of them believed in the resurrection, or
bringing forth of the ungodly to judgment and punit^h-
ment, and in the infliction of a punishment in Hell which
is everlasting, but deny that said punishment is being
endlessly inflicted. Finding, therefore, that these brethren
are sound in faith as it respects the bringing forth of the
ungodly to judgment, and their everlasting punishment,
this synod do not feel that they have anything to do with
their views or doctrines, or opinions, in regard to the end-
less duration of punishment, or the final destruction of
the wicked (as held by some of them), until they shall
make it a point of faith or a bar of fellowship, and hence
are bound to consider them as Lutheran in faith, and
hence consider the letters of the 'Miller faction' as unjust
toward this synod." — Min. 1850, p. 7.
The minutes of 1851 are not at hand, and therefore
we know not whether any action was taken at that con-
vention. The agitation continued, however. The action
of 1850 evidently did not please the loyal element. In
1852 the St. James and Hopewell churches heartily
prayed "both ministers and members to lay aside tlie
- 150 -
little Mclierings about non-essentials, and mutually unite
in the great cause of the Redeemer." The synod took
tlie following action relative to this item, it being in com-
mittee of the whole: "Whereas, a difference of opinion
has existed between some of the ministers and members
of this synod in regard to the mode and duration of future
''Whereas, said difference of opinion has proved det-
rimental to the progress of the best interests of the church,
and the advancement of our beloved Zion : Be it therefore
''Resolved, that the Synod of Indiana will henceforth
recognize the Augsburg Confession of Faith, as extant in
the book entitled 'Christian Concordia,' as a true declara-
tion of scriptural doctrines upon which this synod was
first organized, and upon which it yet continues firmly
based; and all contrary doctrines are hereby renounced,
and declared not to be the doctrines of this synod." This
preamble and resolution was unanimously adopted.
This was a clear official declaration as to the synod's
position. But it evidently did not affect the private
views of the ministers, nor did it restore the confidence
of others in the synod's sincerity. Whether the heretical
doctrines were still advocated is not clear, but in 1855
President E. Markert, in his report to the synod, uses the
following language: "Reports are in circulation abroad,
to the discredit and injury of this synod, with reference
to the doctrines of the final destiny of the wicked. An
emphatic expression of the doctrines of the synod on this
subject is evidently very necessary." At the same con-
vention petitions from Newtown church, Boone county,
and Hopewell church, Marion county, were laid before
the synod, requesting an expression of the synod on the
— 151 —
doctrine in regard to the final destiny of the wicked, stat-
ing "that these were objections against the synod." The
synod took the following action relative to these matters :
''Whereas, there are reports abroad, injurious and
detrimental to the principles and doctrines of this synod,
in reference to the final destiny of the wicked and ungodly,
to which the president has directed our attention, and to
which some of the petitions refer,
''Resolved, that our true principles and position as a
synod are expressed in the symbolical books of our
church, and more directly declared in the XVII article of
the Augsburg Confession ; that we do not recognize or own
any other doctrine or principle as the doctrine or principle
of our synod."
With this action this heresy of Destructionism, which
had wrought so disastrously among the churches, and in
the synod, sank to rest. No further allusion is made to
it, but its bitter fruits were in evidence for many years
Evils do not come singly. They did not to this
synod during this period. The apostasy of Rudisill to
Destructionism was attended by another, that of Rev. E.
S. Henkel to Universalism. He did not, however, like
Kudisill, attempt to draw after him a following, nor put
himself forward as a leader. When he became convinced
in his own mind of the reasonableness of that view, he
followed a logical and consistent course. He reasoned
that if all would be saved, what need is there of preach-
ing? Why should a pastor preach repentance and faitli,
when heaven is the goal of all, even of those who obey
not the command? He therefore relinquished the pas-
toral ofHce, moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and engaged
in secular business. With Henkel's withdrawal, Lau-
tenschlager, David and Abraham Miller excommunicated,
and Rudisill, Good and E. Markert in disrepute, there
was little left of the ministry in the synod. Besides
these losses, almost every congregation in the synod was
divided as a result of the Rudisill apostasy, and a num-
ber of them never recovered from its effect. There are
still a number of dilapidated churches in parts of Indiana
abandoned and falling to decay, the silent witnesses to
the havoc wrought by this unbridled spirit. In the God's
acre hard by sleep the ones who once worshipped in them,
but who have left none behind to perpetuate the faith so
dear to them. The heart of the Lutheran sinks in grief
as it reflects upon these sad events.
The few pastors who remained made an earnest effort
to retrieve what was lost, and recover its reputation for
orthodoxy. A few new men entered its ministerial ranks,
men of piety, ability, character, and in whom the congre-
gations had confidence. Among these were two that
claim special mention, Rev. John P. Livengood and Rev.
William H. Deck. The former was a christian gentleman
of high order, of amiable qualities, fair attainments, and
fine pulpit and pastoral qualities. He wielded an influ-
ence for good that was widely felt, and did much to heal
the wounds inflicted by the apostates. The latter was
06 Henkel's apostasy, however, bore its fruit. While he
did not openly preach Universalism, he nevertheless was instru-
mental in circulating Universalist literature. As a result, the St.
John's church, Floyd county, Indiana, fell into decay and ruin.
Some of its most prominent members, men of influence in the
community, and widely known in the synod, became converts
to this faith. The only city congregation in the synod, the one
in Salem, Washington county, was ruined irretrievably by this
heresy through Henkel's instrumentality.
WICKER PARK LUTHERAN CHURCH
North Hoyne Ave. and LeMoyne St., Chicago, ID.
Wicker Park Lutheran Church, Chicago, III.
f/fe«'ivl#C^^?^7^ ^' ^-rf
=J '"■^'■^•kif-x--- '■■^" '■
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH
Chapel and Division St., Elgin, III.
— J53 —
without question the brightest, most scholarl}' and ablest
man the synod ever had. His classical training was re-
ceived at the Indiana State University, while his theolog-
ical studies were pursued in private. He was a close and
hard student, a clear thinker, versatile and witty, and of
winning qualities. His influence was felt as soon as he
entered the synod. He was the only man in that body
able and ready to cope with the heresies of Rudisill and
Henkel. Under his influence the synod gradually recov-
ered its reputation for orthoxy, but his career was cut
short by death, and there was none to take his place.
In 1853 the synod adopted a new constitution, which
it was hoped would atone for its past mistakes and heal
the wounds that still gaped ugly and sore. This docu-
ment was more liberal in its provisions than the other,
and provided for much practical work. Doctrinally it
was a concession to the lax Lutheranism of the times,
but after three years it was amended and made more pro-
nounced in its adherence to the confessions. This docu-
ment constituted the synod into an education and mis-
sionary society. It made it the duty of every pastor to
preach at least one discourse a year upon the subject of
missions and education, and made it the duty of each
congregation to contribute annually to these causes. It
empowered the synod to establish a classical and theo-
logical institute, if deemed advisable, and to have the
same incorporated, if thought best. It laid great stress
upon the thorough indoctrination of the young, and in
the main was a good constitution. It was quite an ad-
vance over the old instrument.
In 1844 the synod resolved to publish a hymn-book
for the use of its congregations. A committee was ap-
pointed, consisting of Revs. Rudisill, Henkel, E. Markert
— 154 —
and S. Good, to select 400 hymns, 200 of which were to
be taken from the church hymn-book then in general use.
Subscriptions were solicited, and sufficient funds were se-
cured to warrant its publication. The work of compila-
tion was left to Rev. E. Rudisill. The book appeared in
1846, printed by Lenord Green, at New Albany, Indiana.
A misunderstanding arose between the synod's agent and
the publisher, and the hymn-book matter dragged along
from year to year, and was still unsettled when the synod
disbanded in 1859. Only four hundred copies were
bound, the remaining sheets were left on the primer's
The book was of convenient size, bound in leather,
containing 402 hymns, preface and index. A large num-
ber of the hymns are the old classics usually found in such
collections, while many are of no particular merit. The
typography of the book is very unsatisfactory. The book
never proved very popular.
In 1841 the synod took some action looking toward
the publication of its own religious periodical, but found
insufficient support to warrant such a venture. Five
years later the project was revived, but again failed for
the same reason.
In the early history of the synod it expressed itself
as emphatically opposed to temperance societies, and any
expression of opinion relative to intemperance. In 1855
Rev. E. Rudisill, who had withdrawn from the synod the
preceding year, expecting to return to the south, ad-
dressed a letter to the synod, in which he stated that he
would gladly cast his lot again with the body of which he
was so long a member, but until the synod placed itself
aright in regard to the fanatical notions of the day,
namely. Abolitionism, Maine-Lawism, and Catholic Per-
— 155 —
secution he could not do so. In reference to this the
synod took the following action :
^'Whereas, in the communictition received from
Brother Rudisill upon the subject of Abolitionism, Maine-
Lawism and Persecution of Catholics, is brought before
this sj'nod ; and
" ]Vhe7'eas, we consider these subjects foreign to the
business of this synod, considering them as secular and
political matters. It is therefore
''Resolved, that we cannot as a synod prescribe what
a man shall teach or hold in political or secular matters,
nor to bind the conscience of man upon these matters.
"Resolved, that we cannot let these matters come
into our synod, nor to make them a condition of fellow-
ship among us.
''Resolved, that each individual in our connection
shall have the privilege to hold any political principle
he may choose, or attach himself to any secret society,
provided they do not militate against the principles of
our church or the truth of God,— unless he may endeavor
to introduce or impose them into the church.
"Resolved, that we disapprove of our ministers
meddling with these matters in the church, or taking
them into the pulpit. We wish everyone to hold and be-
lieve on these matters whatever he may be convinced to
be right, and enjoy that privilege uninterruptedly."
■ At the twenty-third convention a committee on tem-
perance was appointed, the matter having been brought
to the synod's notice by the president. He stated in his
report that "our standpoint on this subject is nowhere
laid down. We know not whether we favor the temper-
ance movement or whether we are opposed to it. It is
the duty of ecclesiastical bodies to define their position
in reference to all reform measures. I recommend thut
some definite action be taken upon this subject."
The committee appointed to consider this question
and recommend action, reported as follows:
''Whereas, we believe intemperance to be a great
moral evil, hindering the progress of the church of Christ
on earth, and believing that it is the means of destroying
moral and social order among mankind, it behooves us
as Christians to take a decided stand in regard to this
matter. Be it therefore
"Resolved, that we consider the bible to contain the
whole duty of man in relation to God and his fellowman.
We pledge ourselves to be governed in our walk and con-
versation by its precepts, and hold it to be full and ex-
plicit in all matters pertaining to our conduct as Christians.
''Resolved, that we will not aid or support any sys-
tem but such as is strictly in accordance with divine writ,
and calculated to preserve peace and harmony in our be-
"Resolved, that we will not recognize or fellowship
any church member who is in the habit of becoming in-
toxicated, or who will hold out inducements to anyone to
"Resolved, that these resolutions express the senti-
ments of our synod in regard to this subject."
The adoption of the new constitution in 1853 did not
work the change that was anticipated by its friends. It
was evident that the pastors had lost confidence in each
other, and the synod learned also that it had no standing
before the church at large. The apostasies of the past
could not be buried from memory by mere resolutions,
nor the evil undone by protestations of fidelity to the
Augustana. There must also be works meet for repent-
— 157 —
ance. Meanwhile, death and removals were making in-
roads upon the ranks of the pastors. In I80I Rev.
Samuel Good died, after bitterly repenting of his folly.
The next year Rev. Enoch Goodwin and the venerable
Rev. John L. Markert passed to their reward. In 1854
Rev. E. C. Kiester, who had charge of a congregation in
Terre Haute, was dismissed at his own request. The
same year Rev. E. Rudisill asked for a dismissal, expect-
ing to remove to the south. With these removals there
were but few active pastors left on the field. Revs. D. P.
Groundt and Eli Myers removed to Texas. Revs. John
and Christian Good were in Iowa and were only nominally
in connection with the synod. The congregations also
had dwindled down to a mere shadow of what the synod
once possessed. The outlook was anything but encour-
aging. In 1855 some of the ministers advocated the dis-
solution of the synod, but the older pastors were loth to
consider such a step. The name was dear to them, even
if the history was not a pleasant memory in all respects.
They admitted that its reputation was soiled, and its
earlier heresies and vagaries were still cast into their
teeth. They repudiated the errors, and protested against
the charge, but they could not remove the stain, nor undo
the mischief that had been wrought by their errors. Too
many ruined congregations stood as monuments to the
ambitious follies of its leading spirits. But notwithstand-
ing all this, they would make an effort to retrieve their
losses and prove their sincerity. In the spring of 1858
Rev. W. H. Deck died. While the convention of that
year was overspread with gloom because of this loss, the
future looked more promising, and the deliberations were
characterized by earnestness, peace and hope. The spirit
of this convention was irenical, and iield out the olive
- 158 -
branch of peace to the offended Rudisill and his followers."
When the synod adjourned that year it was with the feel-
ing that a brighter day was dawning. These feelings
were chiefly the result of the efforts of Rev. John P. Liv-
engood, who exerted his influence for better things. His
loving, peaceful and sympathetic disposition won the
confidence of all. Largely through his influence, and
that of the lamented Rev. W. H. Deck, several young
men offered themselves as candidates for the ministry,
which did much to revive the languishing spirit of the
But the fondest hopes were soon blasted. Rev. Mr.
Livengood died in the summer of 1859. He was the sec-
retary of the synod. When Rev. E. S. Henkel heard of
his death he wept aloud. In his stress of sorrow he
opened correspondence with the offended Rudisill and
earnestly solicited him to renew his relations with the
synod, and help save the Lutheran church in the state
from total ruin. In this he had a measure of success,
but it was inviting the synod's bitterest enemy to come
into its midst and slay it.
When the synod met at Newtown church, November
2, 1859, Rev. E, S. Henkel, for some reason, was absent.
Those present were Revs. Henry Fairchild, D. P. Groundt,
Jacob Deck, John Good and Philip A. Peter, and students
J. Mutz, Henry S. Slinkard and J. E. Wesner, besides a
number of lay delegates representing the congregations.
The students were entitled to a seat and voice in the con-
vention. Rev. E. Rudisill was also present.
C7 Rudisill did not remove to the south, as he had expected.
The secretary of the synod failed to note in the minutes his re-
quest for a dismissal, and at this he took umbrage.
— 159 —
Organization was effected by the election of Rev. H.
Fail-child president, and Rev. Philip A. Peter secretary.
When ready for the transaction of business a motion was
made to give Rev. Mr. Rudisill a seat and voice in the
synod. This was the occasion for a bitter contest. A pro-
longed debate of much warmth followed. The leader of
the opposition was Delegate Joseph Klingensmith, of the
Salem congregation, New Augusta. Indiana. This con-
gregation was wrecked by Rudisill, some years before,
through his Destructionism heresy, and the fragments
were gathered up and reunited by the long, patient and
devoted labors of the lamented Livengood. After a bitter
debate, the motion prevailed, and Delegate Klingensmith
withdrew from the synod. The Salem congregation stood
independent of synodical connection until 1871.
Rudisill accepted the invitation, thanked the synod
for its courtesy, and came forward to deliver his address.
He executed his plan with great skill and adroitness.
He first read a letter, which he had received from the
former president of the synod, Rev. E. S. Henkel, in
which he regretted his inability to be present, urged Mr.
Rudisill to enter the synod again and take iiold of the
work, and assured him of his approval of whatever he,
Rudisill, would do. This was the opportunity for which
the wily and vindictive Rudisill had waited for since 1<S54,
and he was not slow in improving it to his own advantage.
He marshalled all his powers of vituperation, raillery and
oratory, and hurled them upon the synod. He recounted
the trials he had endured, the sacrifices he had made for
the cause it represented, and the slights and injuries he
had received from it as his compensation ; how he had
demanded satisfaction at its hands, but received none ;
prayed for the journal to be amended so as to throw no
— J60 —
reflection upon him or his acts, but was refused. He
asserted that the synod in chiiming to have done hinri no
injury', and therefore no reparation was necessary on its
part, simply Hed, and that he could not unite with it
with that lie on its records. He expressed it as his de-
liberate judgment that the best way to cover up that lie
would be to dissolve the synod, bury its record and or-
ganize a new body ; and he made this the condition upon
which he would again co-operate with those brethren in a
sj'nodical capacity. It was from his view-point a master
stroke. He knew the weakness and defenselessness of
the body under fire, and he pressed the fight to a success-
ful termination. When he closed his long and impas-
sioned address, he was the master of the situation.
No one present was able to cope with Rudisill.
Fairchild, the president, had neither force nor skill in
debate, and was disposed to vacillate. He made no ven-
ture to reply to the sweeping charges. The students
dared not incur his displeasure in doing so. Henkel, the
only man who could have replied to him with any degree
of success, was absent, and his name was so used by
Rudisill as to favor his own demands. The proposition
carried, and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Indiana
came to its death by the act of Rev. Ephraim Rudisill.
The proceedings of this convention were not pub-
lished, doubtless also the demand of Rudisill. The facts
here recounted were obtained from those present and are
well authenticated. It is probable that if he had had the
power, Rudisill would have destroyed every copy of the
proceedings of the several conventions of the sjmod in
order to bury in oblivion all records of his vacillating
and destructive policy. Thus after an existence of 24
— J6I —
years, the first Lutheran Synod organized west of Ohio,
came to an end November 4, 1859.
It is impossible to form even an approximate esti-
mate of the numerical strength of this synod, either in
the number of congregations or the communicant mem-
bers. It was rather lax in its reception of congregations,
so that it is dillicult to determine what congregations
were regularly and formally received, and thus became
an integral part of the body. In many cases if a congre-
gation sent a delegate to the meeting of the synod the
congregation was regarded as a member of the body. So
also, if a congregation received a minister as its minister,
it was considered as a part of the synod. Only when a
congregation asked to be received into connection with
the synod was there any formal action taken.
Besides this method of receiving congregations, ther6
were no reports of their parochial labors made to the synod
by the pastors. In fact this was almost an impossibility,
in view of the peculiar pastoral arrangements that existed.
No pastor had a distinct and specific field of labor. The
whole sjmod was one parish, of which the ministers were
joint pastors. This condition was practically maintained
during the whole history of the synod. It is difficult
therefore to form any estimate of the synod's real strength.
Repeated efforts were made to have the pastors send
in their parochial reports, but the requests were unheeded.
In 1843 a partial report was made, showing 188 infants
and 17 adults baptized. 98 persons confirmed during the
year, and 1,084 communicants. The next year 242 infant
and 17 adult baptisms, 107 confirmations and 1,202 com-
municants were reported. It is probable at the time of
its greatest strength the synod had about 2,500 communi-
— 162 —
Having no institution of learning, either classical or
theological, to which the candidates for the ministry
migiit be sent, it made provision f^r their instruction pri-
vately. After securing such education as the public
schools in the state afforded, and few of the candidates
ever obtained more than a high school training, the can-
didate was placed under the charge of some pastor, who
would direct his studies and supplement them with pri-
vate lectures and instruction. Each year he was required
to be present at the synod, submit to an examination, and
if found qualified, advanced. The synod thus became
also a preparatory school for the candidates of theology.
The work done by these was necessarily very defective,
yet by perseverance, faithful application and close atten-
tion, a number of these candidates became able and influ-
ential pastors. Among them were several who had marked
natural ability, and had they had the training which the
schools of the present offer, would doubtless have risen to
eminence in the church. Among these we might name
John P. Livengood, D. P. Groundt, and Samuel Good.
The following persons were at one time candidates
under the synod's care, with the dates of their reception.
Some of these completed the required course and entered
upon the pastoral office; some became discouraged and
abandoned the work, and some were removed by death,
before their course was completed.
E. Rudisill and David Miller and Henry Fairchild
were received as candidates in the early history of the
synod.''^ Paul Stine in 1841, Enoch Goodwin in 1842,
Jesse Kepley, Philip P. Fleshman, John P. Livengood and
fiS Several numbers of the minutes are lacking and dates in-
— 163 —
Martin Warner in 1843, J. F. Lautenschlager in 1844,
John Good in 1847, Eli Myers, W. H. Deck and D. P.
Groundt in 1851, V. A. Myers and E. Peter in 1852,
Nathan Booher in 1854, Jacob E. Deck in 1856, Philip
A. Peter and Jacob Wesner in 1857, and Jacob Mutz,
Henry S. Slinkard and J. E. Wesner in 1858.
Notwithstanding the fact that the fathers of this synod
were brought up in a school which vigorously opposed
the license system, it was introduced in the year 1843, if
not earlier. The synod held to the theory of two grades
in the ministry, deacons and pastors. But as the candi-
dates advanced in their studies, and the calls for minis-
ters were so numerous and urgent, the synod, in order to
supply the needs, granted license to such applicants as it
considered qualified to preach, but not deemed suffi-
ciently advanced to be vested with all the rights and
authority of a deacon or pastor. The president had
power to issue ad-interim licenses, which were returnable
at the next convention of the synod. It exercised careful
oversight over the work of its licentiates, so that there
was not that abuse of this system as prevailed in many of
the cases that came before the Synod of the West and in
a number of the German congregations in the state.
The following were licentiates: Henry Fairchild in
1843, John Good, John F. Lautenschlager and Enoch
Goodwin October 12, 1846, John P. Livengood October 13,
1846, Eli Myers and D. P. Groundt, 1851, C. R. Otto
Miller, 1855, J. B. Hine January 26, 1857, Jacob E.
Deck August 28, 1857, Philip A. Peter June 6, 1858,
Nathan Booher June 18, 1S5S.
This synod held that there are two grades in the min-
istry, deacons and pastors, and ordination to the diacon-
— 164 —
ate was a prerequisite to ordination to the pastorate.^" A
call from one or more congregations was necessary to a
candidate's ordination to either the diaconate or pastorate.
The following persons were ordained to the diaconate
by this synod : Ephraim Rudisill, date uncertain ; Samuel
Good, David Miller and Elias Markert, October 13, 1841 ;
Jesse Kepley, October 2, 1844 ; Henry Fairchild, 1845 ;
John F. Lautenschlager and Enoch Goodwin, 1847 ; Caspar
Brengle, 1837-41 (?); John P. Livengood and John Good,
October 10, 1849; William H. Deck, 1851 (?); Jacob
E. Deck, October 4, 1857; Jacob Wesner and Nathan
Booher, October 23, 1858. There evidently were several
others, names and dates not at hand, owing to the incom-
pleteness of the fil^ of the minutes.
The following were ordained to the office of pastor:
Abraham Miller, Conrad F. Picker and Ephraim R. Con-
rad, August 17, 1835; Ephraim Rudisill, 1839(?); Elias
Markert, 1842; Samuel Good, October 11, 1843; Henry
Fairchild, May 2, 1847; Enoch Goodwin, October 10,
1849; John F. Lautenschlager, 1848;™ Wm. H. Deck,
69 The rule that candidates for the ministry must first be
ordained to the diaconate, and then to the pastorate, was derived
from the Tennessee Synod. But it was not confined to these
two bodies. The Ministerium of Pennsylvania also held to this
view in theory and in practice. In 1805 the Lancaster Confer-
ence, through Dr. Muhlenberg, proposed thereafter to have
three grades, catechists, deacons and pastors. This proposition
was referred to the Ministerium, but overlooked. In 1812 it was
again brought forward and allowed to rest. In 1816, at Fred-
erick, Maryland, the synod resolved to introduce the order of
deacons. In 1828 this act was repealed. The main object of
this step seems to have been to admit to ordination those who
had not enjoyed sufficient educational advantages.
70 This was by Revs. A. and D. Miller, and never recognized
as valid by the synod, although so held by the civil courts, and
other Lutheran synods.
September 29, 1852 ; C. R. O. Miller, October 28, 1855 ;
Christian Good, June, 1857 ; Davoult P. Groundt, October
4, 1857; Jacob E. Deck and Philip A. Peter, October 23,
1858. Revs. C. F. Picker and E. R. Conrad did not at-
tend the sessions of the synod after the first, and possiblj'
the fourth convention, and finally are dropped from the
clerical roll. What became of them we do not know.
The following pastors and deacons were at some time
connected with the synod :
Rev. John L. Markert, 1835— 1852. t
Rev. Christian Moritz, 1835-1850.
Rev. Eusebius S. Henkel, 1835-1859.
Rev. Ephraim R. Conrad, 1835-.
Rev. Conrad F. Picker, 1835—.
Rev. Abraham Miller, 1835—1849.
Rev. John H. Yajaii, 1841 (?)— .
Rev. Ephraim Kudisill, 1839 (?)— 1&54.
Rev. Elias Markert, 1841—1859.
Rev. Samuel Good, 1841-1851.1
Rev. David Miller, 1841—1849.
Rev. Caspar Brengle, 1841 (?)— 1850.
Rev. Henry Fairchild, 1843—1859.
Rev. Jesse Kepley, 1844—1845.1
Rev. J. F. Lautenschlager, 1847—1849.
Rev. Enoch Goodwin, 1847-1852.1
Rev. John P. Livengood, 1849-1859. t
Rev. John Good, 1849— 1S59.
Rev. Eli Myers, 1851—1859.
Rev. W. H. Deck, 1851—1858.1
Rev. E. Keester, 1852—1853.
Rev. C. R. Otto Miller, 1855—1859.
Rev. Jacob E. Deck, 1857—1859.
Rev. Nathan Booher, 1857—1859.
Rev. Christian Good, 1857—1859.
Rev. Philip A. Peter, 1857—18.59.
Rev. Jacob Wesner, 1858—1859.
The following congregations were at some time in
connection with the synod during its history. The dates
— J66 —
are the years in which mention is first made of them in
the minutes :
1. Apple Creek church, Cape Girardeau county, Missouri,
2. Church at Whitner's Mill, Madison county, Missouri,
3. White Water church. Cape Girardeau count}', Missouri,
4. Ehode's school house, Madison county, Missouri, 1837.
5. Myers' Settlement, Madison county, Missouri, 1837.
6. St. John's church, Johnson county, Indiana, 1835.
7. St. John's church, Monroe county, Indiana, 1835.
8. Union church, Daviess county, Indiana, 1835.
9. Phanuel church. Fountain county, Indiana, 1835.
10. Philadelphia church, Parke county, Indiana, 1835.
11. Salem church, Morgan county, Indiana, 1835.
12. Zion's church, Morgan county, Indiana, 1837.
13. St. John's church, Floyd county, Indiana, 1835.
14. Union church, Boone county, Indiana, 1835.
15. Beaver's church (?), Fall Creek, Madison county (?),
16. St. James' church, Montgomery county, Indiana, 1837.
17. Union church, Montgomery county, Indiana, 1841.
18. Zion's church, Washington county, Indiana, 1837.
19. St. John's church. Union county, Indiana, 1837.
20. Newberne church, Bartholomew county, Indiana, 1841.
21. Klingensmith's church, Marion county, Indiana, 1841.
22. Salem church, Washington county, Indiana, 1841.
23. West Union church, Knox county, Indiana, 1843.
24. St. George's church, Shelby county, Indiana, 1843.
25. Mt. Solomon church, Harrison county, Indiana, 1843,
26. Philadelphia church, Harrison county, Indiana, 1844.
27. St. Paul's church, Harrison county, Indiana, 1844.
28. Philadelphia church, Floyd county, Indiana, 1846.
29. Zion's church, Shelby county, Indiana, 1849.
30. St. Peter's church, Carroll county, Indiana, 1843.
31. Slipher's church, Clinton county, Indiana, 1843.
32. St. Paul's church, Tippecanoe county, Indiana, 1843.
33. Zion's church, Tippecanoe county, Indiana, 1843.
— 167 —
34. Hopewell church, .Marion county, Indiana, 1846.
35. Mt. Pleasant church, Hamilton county, Indiana, 184S.
36. A German church in Terre Haute, Indiana, 1852.
37. Mt. Eden church, Monroe county, Indiana, 1858.
38. INIt. Vernon church, Parke county, Indiana, 18'>0.
39. Tennessee churcli, Clinton county, Indiana, 1S52.
40. St. Peter's church, Greene county, Indiana, 1852.
41. Newtown church, Boone county, Indiana, 1852.
42. St. Luke's church, Monroe county, Indiana, 1852.
43. St. Stephen's church, Clinton county, Indiana, 1852.
44. St. ]\Iary's church, Knox county, Indiana, 1854.
45. Fairhaven church, Clinton county, Indiana, 1854.
Besides these congregations there were a number of
preaching points, and several congregations in Iowa,
served by the Revs. J. and C. Good and Christian Moritz.
Rev. C. Brengle served congregations in Pike county, 111.,
and Revs. Groundt and Myers in Texas. The congrega-
tion at Jeffersontown, Kentucky, also belonged to this
synod for a while.
It can hardly be said that the Synod of Indiana ac-
complished the work to which it appeared to be called.
There was a vast and fruitful field before it, to be occu-
pied and cultivated. For half a score of years it pros-
pered, and the prospects for future success were bright.
It had men among its members who, in learning and
ability, were equal to any minister laboring in the state,
men who, for zeal, devotion and labor, were unsurpassed
in those regions in their day. There were congregations
in its connection that were strong and influential, whose
membership was loyal and devout. These responded
nobly to the calls made upon them by the church. As
congregations, they took a deep interest in the work of
the synod. Laymen who were endowed with zeal, intelli-
gence and influence, represented these in the synodical
conventions. A number of young men responded to the
call of the church to devote themselves to the ministry,
and the sacrifice these made, and the obstacles they over-
came, are almost incalculable at this day. The efforts
made by individual pastors to prepare these young men for
their work is highl}^ commendable. In addition to all this,
Lutherans were flocking to the state by hundreds, material
ready to be gathered in and amalgamated with the organ-
ized congregations. But the synod, it appears, was un-
able to make any substantial progress in the work before
it. After a quarter of a century of effort, struggles, sac-
rifices and disappointments, it had made but little farther
progress. In doctrine its official position was clear, and
in advance of most of the Lutheran Synods then existing.
From this doctrinal position it never departed as a body,
except for a very brief time. This is not true, however,
of some of its individual members, as is clear from the
The following may be regarded as the chief causes
why this body failed in establishing itself perman^ently,
and which ultimately led to its dissolution :
1. Its narrow and restricted policy relative to educa-
tion and missionary work. This policy was the result of
a wrong conception of the nature and duty of the church
in these departments of church work. This is evident
from the remarks appended to the article in the constitu-
tion bearing on this subject. They believed that any ef-
forts to aid in this kind of work would tend to beget a
spirit of dependence in those assisted. Their conception
of the nature of a theological education obtained at a
seminary was a very erroneous one. The same is also
true of their conception of an incorporated institution, re-
garding it as a step toward the union of church and state.
This position and policy of the synod had an injurious
— J69 —
effect upon its communicant membership. It tended to
prejudice them against the great commission to disciple
the nations. They inferred that it is wrong, if not posi-
tively sinful, to engage in missionary etTorts. They felt
no obligation to render any assistance to the weak and
scattered people of the same faith. This synod denounced
such organizations as Tract, Temperance, Missionary and
Bible Societies as "fantastical and falsely so-called benev-
olent societies." Under such a policy it is clear that no
systematic, aggressive work could be accomplished.
This narrow policy also tended to keep pastors who
located within the bounds of the synod from identifying
themselves with it. Many conservative Lutheran pastors
located in the territory of this sj'nod, but they cast their
lot with other bodies. It also led to many misunder-
standings, and gave rise to wrong impressions. The
members of this synod were characterized as "laboring
under the most unfounded prejudices," and this being
published abroad, and the almost universal opposition to
Henkelism, of which this synod was an ardent champion,
did much to array other synods and ministers against
them, and also resulted in alienating some of its own
congregations. The Sj'nod of Indiana was regarded as
very bigotted and intolerant.
2. Soyne of the leading men of this synod were con-
trolled more by unholy ambition than by ardent devotion
to the principals of which the synod was the representative.
Instead of the spirit of unity, and concerted effort for the
advancement of the church, wliich they professed to love
80 dearly, a spirit of intense rivalry and rankling jealousy
prevailed. The interests of the church were permitted to
suffer, so that personal advancement might be secured.
Rev. Ephraim Rudisill and the Kev. Eusebius S.
— 170 —
Henkel, both men of marked ability, and fitted for lead-
ership, were lifelong rivals. Notwithstanding their abili-
ties, their great labors for the church, and their power and
influence in the pulpit, their personal ambition and their
aspirations to be chief among their brethren, militated
greatlj^ against their work, paralyzing all efforts to ad-
vance the interests of the church. Rudisill was ambi-
tious, impetuous, eloquent and persistent in his purposes.
Through all the opposition against him, and for the time
defeated in his schemes, he never lost sight of his aims,
and labored on patiently in the hope of gaining his pur-
pose in the end. At times he bore down all opposition
by his impetuosity and vehemence. With tears and
threats he would awe his inferiors into submission. If a
scheme of his was too strongly opposed he would startle
the synod by either resigning his official position or ask a
dismissal from the body. His audacity in this alarmed
his opponents, and they feared to press matters farther.
By these coups iV etat he gained his purposes in the end.
These methods, and the traits of character they betrayed,
disgusted self-respecting men, who quietly withdrew from
any part in the transactions of the synod.
Henkel, perhaps, was equally ambitious, powerful in
argument, but vacillating. He was visionary, warm
and sympathetic, imprudent and indiscreet in his meas-
ures, but sincere. He aspired to influence and leader-
ship. In his efforts he often departed from the landmarks,
faith and practice of the church, but no more than did
his rival and opponent. These men were the very oppo-
sites in temperament and character. They alternately
influenced the doctrinal and practical status of the synod.
Between these two leaders the other members of the
synod were divided. Rudisill compelled his followers to
do his bidding from fear, Henkel won them hj' his warm
and sympathetic nature.
3. The lack of definite pastorates was another cause
of failure. There were, strictly speaking, no definite
pastorates in the synod. All the congregations of the
synod constituted one vast parish, of which the ministers
were co-pastors. Congregations annually petitioned the
sj'nod for preaching, and arrangements were made by
which they were statedly supplied.'' Thus at almost
every successive service (which were conducted no oftener
than once every three or four weeks) a different pastor
officiated. There could be no systematic, aggressive,
solid work done under such a regime. There was preach-
ing, but no pastoral oversight. The latent strength of
the congregation could not be developed. Catechization
was neglected, and the people grew indifferent and grad-
ually neglected the church.
4. The preaching of heretical and unlutheran doc-
trine did more to destroy the synod than any other "cause.
Rev. Ephraim Rudisill determined to make Destruction-
ism a tenet of the synod, and to originate a new sect.
He aspired to be to the Lutheran body what Alexander
Campbell was to the Baptist denomination, the founder
of a Lutheran sect, a species of Lutheranism with De-
structionism as its distinguishing mark. But while unable
to rally the whole synod to this standard, as he predicted
he could and would do, by force or fear, he nevertheless
succeeded in gaining a large following among the congre-
71 The Ministerium of Pennsylvania during the first almost
fifty years, 1748—1793, hail a similar custom. The congrega-
tions continually sent their applications for pastors and supplies
to the synod. Action upon these matters was usually taken in
— 172 —
gations. While we have no exact data, yet it appears
that about a third of the synod's strength was at one
time on his side. The opposition from the Millers and
Lautenschlager, which Rudisill's course provoked, saved
the Lutheran element in Indiana, represented by this
synod, from being swung off into a new and heretical
sect. While this led to the dissolution of the body, it
saved the churches from total wreck. The Synod of In-
diana never recovered from the effects of this heretical
movement, and the responsibility must be laid to the
charge of Revs. Ephraim Rudisill, Elias Markert and
It may seem strange to the reader that this heretical
movement was not rooted out before it gained such a
foothold in the synod. Were there not some who knew
its heretical character? Yes. But Destructionism was
not the only heresy fostered by members of this synod.
Rev. E. S. Henkel, who was perhaps the only one with
the ability to combat successfully the arguments of the
Destructionists, was at this period deeply in the mazes of
Universalism. He had the good judgment not to preach
it publicly, for he knew it to be inconsistent with Luther-
anism, but he admitted that he held to Universalism
privately. His views were rather Restorationism. On
one occasion when asked if these views- could be proved
false he replied: "From the Bible they can, from reason
they cannot." It is also claimed by some that the va-
garies of Swedenborg found advocates and champions
among the members of this synod. Such being the con-
dition of things, it was hard to find one who had the
courage to make complaint against another.
During the period when the Destructionism heresy
was to the front there was a large influx of Lutherans
- J73 -
into the state, mostly Germans. A number of Lutheran
pastors, some from Gossner's Institute, and some from
Leipzig, were sent to labor among them. Among these
were the Isensees, J. and J. F., directed to Indiana by
Rev. W. A. Passavant, J. Kunz, J. J. Meissner, Oscar C.
A. Hunger, Ph. D., and others. These at first were affil-
iated with the Synod of the West, but felt ill at ease in
that radical body. They quietly withdrew and organized
the Synod of Indianapolis, which grew quite rapidly. If
the Synod of Indiana, which was a German-English body,
had at that time been true to its doctrinal basis, and its
great work had not been overshadowed by personal am-
bition, it is quite probable that it could and would have
attracted to itself these pastors and their congregations.
But it could not attract them while in the mazes of her-
esy and rankling with jealousies and discord. It could
not command respect, and those men preferred to organ-
ize a distinct body than cast their lot with the Synod of
Indiana. The ambitious leaders in the synod did not
much desire these German pastors, lest their ambitious
schemes might fail. The Synod of Indiana failed to see
its opportunity for great growth and good, and when that
passed by no other came.
5. The abandonment of Lutheran nistonis. In the
early history of this synod the Lutheran custom of thor-
oughly catechising the youth prior to their confirmation
was strictly adhered to, at least so far as the pastors had
the time. But this custom l)ecame unpopular under the
infiuence of the fanatical measures in vogue among other
denominations, and fell into disuse. The youth grew up
with no clear idea of the doctrines, policy or history of
the church. They could not give a reason for the faith
that was in them. Instead of this rational educational
— 174 —
method new measures and revivalistic efforts were resorted
to. It was less laborious to the pastor and more popular
with the people. There could be no grounding in the
faith under this method, and the result was, a number of
the congregations of this synod fell before the tidal wave
of error. It seems strange thnt this synod, which had so
vehemently and unremittingly opposed the "Generalists"
"in their unlutheran practices and efforts to subvert the
Lutheran faith" should become an advocate of some of
those same practices even while crying out against the
General Synod, and refusing fellowship with it.
The unstable policy of this synod arose chiefly from
its isolated position. With representatives of the General
Synod it would have nothing to do. While it held to the
same doctrinal position as the Tennessee Synod, yet it
had no connection with that body, not even exchanging
delegates. In its later history it contemplated union with
the Ohio Synod, but the consummation was never reached.
In this isolated position, and priding itself upon its inde-
pendence, it arrogated to itself a purer Lutheranism than
that held by any other Lutheran body. The pastors were
thrown largely upon their own resources, and their indi-
vidual" interpretations of the symbolical books were not
always consistent nor in harmony with the utterances
of the leading theologians of the church. It may be lik-
ened to a ship at sea without rudder or compass, and
every member of the crew taking his turn to steer the
vessel into a safe harbor. It may also be remarked that
the times in which it existed, and the religious vagaries
that then so largely abounded in this region, all conspired
to turn the synod out of its true historical and doctrinal
©I|p llnton i'yitoii of t\]t lEuanijpliral
(Tlir Imon ^yttnli of ti^t lEuauijpUral
FIE next day after the dissolution of the Evangel-
ical Lutheran Sj'nod of Indiana, being the 5th
da}' of November, 1859, the several ministers
who had constituted the clergy of that body, and
the lay delegates representing the congregations
met in Newtown church, Boone county, Indiana, and af-
ter reading a portion of God's Word, engaged in prayer
for God's blessing upon their assembling, and aid in ac-
complishing the good work for which they were convened.
After these devotional services, upon motion of Rev. E.
Rudisill, the Rev. John Good, of Iowa, was called to act
as chairman and the Rev. E. Rudisill was elected tem-
porary secretary. After this the chairman read the fol-
lowing call for a meeting of Lutheran ministers and con-
gregations in convention for the organization of a synod,
which was ordered spread upon the minutes:
" Whereas, there is not at this time in the state of
Indiana a regular organization embracing all the minis-
ters and congregations of the Evangelic Lutheran faith in
the state, and
-2 The title was from 1859 to 1863 the Union Synod of the
Evangelic Lutheran Church, thenceforward the Union Synod of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
— 178 —
" ^Yhereas, such an organization is on many accounts
desirable, and if rightly managed and conducted in har-
mony with the principles of the Augsburg Confession of
Faith and Luther's Small Catechism, cannot fail to be of
lasting benefit to the Church of Christ, and will lay a
good foundation for its future prosperity, I, as a minis-
ter of the Evangelic Lutheran Church, desiring its pros-
perity, do hereby make a call for all ministers of said
church, who are not at this time in any ecclesiastic con-
nection, and who are anxious for the well-being of our
beloved Zion, with all Lutheran congregations that may
wish for such an organization, to meet on the 5th day of
November, 1859, in Newtown church, Boone county, In-
diana, for the purpose of exchanging views and uniting
together in such organization as may be deemed necessary
for the present wants of the church in the state and ad-
joining states ; and to agree upon such additional arrange-
ments as shall be required to secure a convention of the
ministry and congregations, at as early a day as possible,
to form a constitution and such regulations as shall be
considered just and equal for the government of the min-
istry and congregations in such organization. And that
such convention shall, in the foundation of such constitu-
tion, adopt the Bible containing the Old and New Testa-
ments as the only rule of faith and church discipline ; the
Apostle's Creed as the rule and bond of christian fellow-
ship ; the Augsburg Confession of Faith and Luther's
Small Catechism as the declaration and expression of the
views of such organization on all the Biblical doctrines
upon which they treat." — John GoodJ'^
'3 "This call purportB to have been issued by Rev. John
Good, but it was written by Eev. E. Kudisill, who prevailed
upon Good to sign the same and read it as his own. This infor-
mation I have from the lips of Kev. John Good."
- 179 -
After this call was read and some explanatory re-
marks pertaining to it were made by the chairman, the
whole question was freely discussed, and those pastors
and delegates present who approved the organization of a
new synod were requested to hand their names to the
secretary. The following pastors, students and delegates
were present, and favored the proposed organization :
Revs. John Good, Ephraim Rudisill, Jacob E. Deck,
Philip A. Peter, Henry Fairchild, C. R. 0. Miller and
Nathan Booher; Students H. S. Slinkard and J. E. Wes-
ner. The following congregations were represented by
their respective lay delegates: Newtown church, Whites-
town, Indiana, W. J. Laughner; St. Peter's church, New-
berry, Indiana, H. S. Slinkard; Union church, Daviess
county, Indiana, H. S. Slinkard ; Mt. Zion church, Mor-
gan county, Indiana, H. S. Slinkard; Fairhaven churcli,
Clinton county, Indiana, Moses Jacoby; St. James' churrh,
Clinton county, Indiana, Charles Koontz ; Mt. Solomon
church, Harrison county, J. S. Hammond ; Union church,
Boone county, Indiana, Philip Lucas; Phanuel church.
Fountain county, Indiana, John Fine ; Philadelphia
church, Parke county, Indiana, Alex. Bowers; St. James'
church, Montgomery county, Indiana, Reuben Foust ; St.
Georg*! church, Shelby county, Indiana, Daniel Snepp.
There were also three other delegates present, namely, Jacob
Mutz, A. Treon and Edward Kern, Init what congregations
they represented the proceedings do not indicate. These
pastors and representatives, by resolution, formed them-
selves into a synodical capacity, elected the temporary
officers as the permanent officers for the ensuing year, and
adopted the name and title of "The Union Synod of the
Evangelic Lutheran churcii."
In this capacity it adopted the following declaration
of principles :
''Resolved, that this synod adopts the Bible as their
only rule of faith, union and church discipline; the Apos-
tle's Creed as a summary of doctrines necessary to be be-
lieved and acted upon as a principle of union ; and the
unaltered Augsburg Confession of Faith, with Luther's
Smaller Catechism as the expression and declaration of the
views of this synod, of christian doctrine. And that this
synod hereby binds itself to these principles, and lays
them down as the principles by which, and in harmony
with which, the convention shall form a constitution for
the government of this synod.
''Resolved, that upon all matters relating to the tem-
poral concerns of this synod, or the manner in which bus-
iness shall be transacted in the synod, a majority of votes
shall govern. Every minister, deacon, student and dele-
gate shall be entitled to a single vote ; and that this rule
shall continue until the contemplated convention shall
form a constitution, pointing out the various duties of
officers and the manner of conducting the business of the
It was also resolved to call a convention to form a
constitution in the near future, and ordained that each
congregation in connection with this synod elect and send
a delegate to that convention ; also that all Lutheran or
union congregations which approve this basis, and desire
to unite with this synod, send a delegate to the conven-
tion. Other Lutheran ministers were invited to attend.
The time and place selected for this convention was Feb-
ruary 2, 1860, in St. George's church, Shelby county, In-
- 181 -
Pursuant to the resolution, the synod met at the
above mentioned time and place. There were twelve
pastors, two students and eleven delegates representing
fifteen congregations, present to take part in the delibera-
tions. President Good being absent. Rev. H. Fairchild
was called to the chair. The sj'nod resolved to go into a
convention for the purpose of formulating a constitution,
electing Rev. E. S. Henkel chairman, and Rev. E. Rudi-
sill secretary. Rev. C. Schadow, president of the South-
ern District Synod of the Joint Synod of Ohio, and Rev.
Borchers, of the same synod, were present and given a
seat and voice in the convention.
The document used as the basis for the proposed
constitution was the constitution adopted by the Synod
of Indiana in 1853. To the consideration of this instru-
ment the convention confined itself. The second article
provoked a lively and warm debate. A motion was made
to acknowledge the symbolical books of the Lutheran
church as a correct interpretation of the Augsl)urg Con-
fession. But this motion was lost. The doctrinal part
of Article II is as follows: "This synod adopts the in-
spired writings of the Bible, contained in the Old and
New Testaments, as their only rule of faith, union and
church discipline ; the Apostle's Creed as the summary
of christian doctrines necessary to be believed and acted
upon, as a christian union; and the unaltered Augsburg
Confession of Faith with Luther's Smaller Catechism, as
they are generally set forth and defined in the symbol-
ical books of the Lutheran church, as an expression
and declaration of doctrine of this synod." It was con-
tended by those who opposed the above-mentioned res-
olution that in this article the symbolical books were
acknowledged, but it must be conceded that the doctrinal
— J82 —
basis is rather indefinitely stated.'* The effort to make
the doctrinal basis clear and unmistakable was due to the
influence of the Joint Synod pastors who were present,
but Rudisill's influence outweighed theirs. He was the
controlling spirit of the convention.
Two days and a half were devoted in convention to
the formation of the constitution, and when the instru-
ment was completed the convention adjourned, and the
synod resumed its sittings. The constitution was for-
mally adopted by it, and permanent organization effected
by the election of Rev. E. S. Henkel president. Rev. E.
Rudisill secretary and Noah W. Grimes treasurer. This
newly formed ecclesiastical body was now ready for the
work which it felt called upon to do.
Although the older pastors of this synod were brought
up under very erroneous ideas of missionary work they
now seemed to have divested themselves of these and en-
tered most zealously upon the work that lay before them.
Measured by the customs, methods and conditions of that
generation, they proved themselves true and efficient mis-
sionaries. They traveled miles and miles through the
forests, and over almost impassable roads, crossing swol-
len streams in order to reach the appointed place where
they might preach the everlasting Gospel. They were al-
most constantly in the saddle, as other transportation fa-
cilities were very limited. At the first convention it was
resolved to organize both a Missionary and Education So-
ciety, and a committee was appointed to draft a constitu-
tion and by-laws for these societies. At its second conven-
"4 The secretary states that "it was finally agreed, as set
forth in the second article that the symbolical books were ac-
knowledged as generally setting forth the true meaning of the
confession." — Minutes, p. 3.
- 183 -
tion it resolved, "that the Union Synod in- its synodical
capacity be a Missionary Society." The funds for th(* pros-
ecution of its work were to be the personal free-wHl offer-
ings of the members of the churches, who were earnestly
requested to give cheerfully from three to five cents per
month to this cause. The pastors were urged to lay this
matter upon the conscience of the people. The following
year this action was reaffirmed, and the synod acknowl-
edged the great duty of carrying the Gospel to the scat-
tered Lutherans in the state. It took steps to carry out
this work in the most eflficient manner. In 1862 appeals
were made to the churches to make special subscriptions
for the mission cause, in addition to their contributions
for local work, and made the delegates the agents to at-
tend to the above subscriptions. The president of the
synod was authorized to employ a minister able to offici-
ate in both English and German, to visit every congrega-
tion and also new fields, and hold services for a week in
each, and also to catechise the youth during his visits.
The interest in missions grew steadily. In 1864 a Mis-
sionary Society was organized, which was authorized to
collect funds and to take such steps as may be calcu-
lated to secure a system of missionary labors wherever
they were needed. The plan adopted by this society to
raise the funds needed was by membership fees. It also
provided for the organization of auxiliary societies in the
congregations. The society held its meetings during the
convention of the synod. In the same year a constitution
was adopted and the title given as the Parent Missicniary
Society of the Union Synod. In 1866, Rev. John Stine
was appointed as missionary, to be supported in part by
the society. He was instructed to visit the destitute con-
gregations of the synod, and minister to Iheir ."Spiritual
- 184 -
wants. In 1.S70, Rev. E. S. Henkel devoted one-half of
his time to missionarj^ labors, and was supported in part
from the funds of this society. In 1871 assistance was
voted to the Gosport charge in support of a pastor for
that field. While the results of this society's efforts were
not very great at any time, yet it did much to stimulate
an interest in the cause of home missions, and to over-
come the opposition thereto engendered under the early
and anti-mission spirit of the Synod of Indiana.
From its inception, this synod felt the need of an ed-
ucated ministry, and the advantages of an intelligent
laity. The pastors of the synod were almost all men who
never had the advantages of a thorough training, either
literary or theological. This answered quite well in the
pioneer days. But the times were changing. Schools
sprang up, and the people became more and more in-
formed. Intelligence, and men with classical training
were entering the professions. With these the ministry
must keep abreast. The preacher of the Gospel must be
so equipped that he can meet the sceptic on his own
grounds. The position of the Lutheran church was as-
sailed by representatives of other denominations, and the
need of men qualified to cope successfully with these was
deeply felt. Young men were offering their services to
the church, but the time had come when they must have
a course of training and instruction under competent
teachers. To meet these wants the synod in 1861 ap-
pointed a committee of three ministers and three laymen
"to collect information and present some plan for the estab-
lishing of an institution of learning, in which students of
the synod and the sons of the church may obtain a liberal
education." The next year this committee reported that
owing to certain circumstances they had not been able to
- J85 -
have a meeting of the committee, and had "arrived at no
definite conclusion in relation to the location of, or the
best means for raising funds for, its building. They have,
however, from all they have learned, become the more
deeply impressed with the importance of the undertaking,
and are fully persuaded that, if the synod shall pursue
the proper course, and use the proper means, that such
an institution can be reared up and sustained among us ;
and, from the information gained the committee is fully
impressed with the conviction that, under the present dis-
turbed condition of the country, its success will depend
very much upon not urging its claims too much at the
present time, but await patiently for the proper time to
arrive, and perfect a plan for its upbuilding." During
the following year this committee made a strenuous effort
•to secure sufficient funds to begin the institution. The
effort failed. In 1864 the committee reported that it had
not been able to secure the maximum amount necessary.
At the convention of 1864 this committee was discharged,
and the whole matter was transferred to the Parent Edu-
cation Societj' of the synod. This society was organized
at the same time that the Missionary Society was organ-
ized, for the purpose of creating an interest in educational
work, ''to collect funds and procure means for educational
purposes ; to make arrangements by and with the consent
of the .synod to educate students of theology ; to adopt
and execute any plan for the erection of an institution of
learning for the purpose of educating students that meets
the sanction of the synod. The funds of this society were
raised by collections, membership fees, and subscriptions.
The president of the Parent Education Society was in-
structed to "visit all the congregations of the .'^ynod, to
deliver lectures upon the education cause, and urg<' its
— J86 —
claims upon the churches." This met with a hearty re-
sponse on the part of the congregations, most of which
petitioned the synod, at the next convention, to make
every effort in its power to establish the institution. The
president reported that he had visited as many congrega-
tions as he could, and secured $21 5.82. In 1865, the synod
adopted a constitution for the embryo college, adopted
a definite plan for the erection of suitable buildings, and
selected Whitestown, Boone county, Indiana, as the loca-
tion. The report of the committee in 1866 bespeaks a
decline in the interest in the institution. In 1868 an ef-
fort to secure a meeting of the board of trustees failed,
and one of the trustees resigned. At this time the union
of all Lutherans in the state became the uppermost ques-
tion before the synod, and the committee recommended
that the college question be deferred until aftel" an effort.
had been made to unite all Lutherans in the state into
one synod. In 1869 a proposition was made to the synod
to transfer to it Alimo Academy, located at Alimo, Indi-
ana. But the synod declined the offer on the grounds
that the location was inconvenient and the buildings un-
suitable. With this action the effort of the Union Synod
to establish an institution of learning came to an end.
Other matters took precedence and the educational ques-
tion sank to rest in the final dissolution of the sj^nod.
It is reasonably certain that the chief object that
Rudisill had in mind when he demanded the dissolution
of the Synod of Indiana, and the formation of a new syn-
odical body as the conditions upon which he would again
co-operate with his associates in the ministry, and en-
deavor to save that part of the Lutheran church in Indiana
from total destruction or absorption by other ecclesiasti-
cal bodies, was the union of all Lutherans in the state in
— 187 -
one ecclesiastical body, of which lie would be its head
and guiding spirit. His failure in founding a new ecclesi-
astical body with the tenet of Destructionism as its shib-
boleth, did not allay his ambition, nor weaken his self-
confidence. He was the same ambitious, aspiring man
as before ; he simply changed his plans. He would unite
those Lutherans who would subscribe to the doctrinal
basis of this synod into the Evangelic''' Lutheran church.
He was for this reason very jealous of the synod's reputa-
tion for orthodoxy. The watchword for a number of years
was "Union." It was the "Union Synod," "Union Col-
lege," and the congregations organized during this period
were almost all, if not all, named Union Lutheran
churches. Even some of the older ones were renamed
with the qualifying terms "Union" and "Evangelic."
Any strictures upon the synod's orthodoxy, or criticism
of the practices that prevailed, aroused his wrath to the
Occasions for this arose repeatedly. The constitu-
tion gave the synod full liberty and right to enter into
correspondence with the Joint Synod of Ohio, or with any
other synods of "Old Lutherans" in the United States,
and of electing delegates to such synods for the pun^ose
of entering into ecclesiastical connection with them as
shall best promote the interests of the Union Sj-nod.
Among its first acts was an effort to effect a union with
some synod of Old Lutherans. At its February conven-
tion, 1860, it decided to send two delegates to the next
convention of the Joint Synod of Ohio, with full power to
unite the Union Synod with that body as a district synod,
'•'■> After the formation of the Union Synod he always used
this term instead of Evangelical. When hia influence began to
wane the term was dropped and Evangelical substituted.
— 188 —
or to make any arrangements with that body as would
secure a proper fraternal relation with it. Rev. E. Rudi-
sill and Mr. Noah W. Grimes were the delegates. It also
appointed delegates to the Southern District Synod of the
Joint Synod and instructed them to present to that body
the love of the Union Synod, and assurance of its prayers
for their continued prosperity in the work of Christ. The
Union Synod held its second convention about four weeks
before the Joint Synod convened, and reiterated its former
action in the following resolution :
''Resolved, that we appoint Rev. E. Rudisill as our
representative to the Joint Synod of Ohio (which is to
commence its session on the 25th of October, 1860, in
Gallon, Ohio), with full power to enter into correspond-
ence with said synod, and present our request to unite
with them as a District Synod, or make such arrange-
ments for ecclesiastical relations as he may think proper
and deem best for the interests of this synod." ■
Rev. Rudisill submitted the following report of his
visit and its results as delegate :
"I met with the .Joint Synod at Gallon, Ohio, on the
25th of October last, and was very kindly received, and a
seat and voice in their deliberations was promptly voted
me. After an opportunity had been afforded me, when
in a brief and succinct manner I had unfolded to the
synod the objects of my mission, the synod appointed a
committee of conference to meet with me, to more fully
hear from me and to become acquainted with our doc-
trinal views and practical operations, and to make me
acquainted with their standpoints, and internal and ex-
ternal relations. I had several meetings with the com-
mittee, in which I stated very frankly our views and
church practices, being persuaded that they were squarely
— 189 —
based upon the truth, and had therefore no cause for con-
cealment. The committee, I believe, just as frankly and
brotherly advised me in relation to all the points of doc-
trine and church regulations, concerning which I desired
information. And after we were mutually satisfied, the
committee made the following report to their synod :
" 'Your committee would respectfully report that a
conference was held with the Rev. E. Rudisill, representa-
tive of the Union Synod, in which the desire of his synod
was clearly explained ; and in return your committee ac-
quainted the representative with the standpoints of our
synod, both in respect to its internal and external rela-
tions. To obtain this knowledge and thus to enter into
friendly relations with our synod, which in the future may
perhaps lead to a synodical union between the Union
Synod and that of Ohio and adjacent states, was the ob-
ject of the visit of the Rev. Rudisill. Your committee
rejoices in the confidence which the Union Synod places
in us, and is of the opinion that mutual friendly relations
should be instituted, and believes that the still existing
differences in relation to the symbols, but especially in
relation to church practice, would disappear. To accom-
plish this your committee moves that a delegate be
chosen by our synod to be present at the next meeting of
the Union Synod.' " The report was adopted by the
Joint Synod, and Rev. Prof. Worley was appointed the
delegate of that synod to attend the next session of the
"From the very friendly report made by the coinniit-
tee," continues Rev. Rudi.'^ill. "its adoption by the Joint
Synod, and their appointment of Prof. Worley as delegate
to attend the sittings of our synod, you see that that large
and honorable body of Lutheran brethren manifest ;i
— 190 -
desire to be on friendly terms, and take our small band of
brethren by the hand. It is a source of sincere gratitude
to God that I can inform you that there is very little of
doctrinal differences between them and us. On all the
fundamental doctrines of the church, I know of none ; on
some of the minor, or doctrines of secondary considera-
tion, there are some differences, but none such as should
prevent mutual friendly relations and co-operation. On
church practice there is considerable difference, growing
out of the difference of circumstances with which our con-
gregations and the synod are surrounded."
The action of Rev. Rudisill was endorsed by the Un-
ion Synod, and Prof. D. Worley appeared at its conven-
tion in 1861 as the delegate from the Joint Synod of Ohio.
Expressions of friendly relations were exchanged, and as-
surances of mutual good- will given. Delegates to the
next convention of the Joint Synod were appointed. The
Joint Synod opened the doors of its institutions to stu-
dents from the Union Synod, and its leading periodical,
the Lutheran Standard, found a home in many families
of this body. The prospects for the union were favorable,
but in 1862 the Union Synod, owing to the distracted
condition of the country, deemed it inadvisable to send a
delegate to the Joint Synod, but it gave assurance of the
most friendly feelings toward it. With this action all
official relations between the two bodies came to an end.
Its efforts to cultivate friendly relations with the
Southern District Synod were also abortive. The dele-
gates appointed in February, 1860, were unable to attend
the convention of that synod, for which the Union Synod
expressed its regrets, and further declared that only the
most friendly feelings for that body were entertained, and
cherished the hope that in the near future it would be
- J9I -
able to reciprocate the kindness of that body as shown in
the presence of Revs. C. Schadow and Borchers at the con-
vention in February of that year. To give tangible evi-
dence of this feeling it appointed Rev. E. S. Henkel as
its delegate to the next convention of that synod. But in
the meantime circumstances arose which made fraterniza-
tion between the two bodies impossible. At its Rich-
mond convention, in 1860, the Southern District Synod
took it upon itself to pass judgment upon the Union
Synod's orthodoxy. It declared the Union Synod unluth-
eran in doctrine and in practice, especially as denying the
importance of Baptism. The unlutheran practices con-
sisted in holding protracted meetings, partaking some-
what of a revivalistic nature, and confirming applicants
for membership without catechization. For the.«;e prac-
tices the Union Synod had assigned its reasohs, but they
were regarded as insufficient by the Southern District
Synod. President Henkel, learning of this action,
deemed it unwise to attend the next convention, 1S61, of
the Southern District Synod, but addressed them oMicially
denying the charges. This official letter, dated April 24,
1861, was misdirected, and was returned to the writer,
who re-mailed it, and it did not reach the president of the
Southern District Synod until May 10, 1862. In the
meantime, the Union Synod convened in Phanuel church,
Fountain county, Indiana, October 16, 1861, when the
action of the Southern District Synod in 1860, was laid
before it, and to which it replied as follows: "We deny
most positively, the truth of the accusations made in said
report; and that until they shall correct as publicly as the
misrepresentation has been made, we shall consider them
opposed to us, and cannot fraternize with them." At its
convention in St. John's church. Dearborn county, Indi-
— J92 —
ana, in June, 1862, the Southern District Synod replied
at length to the official letter of President Henkel, reaffirm-
ing their former charges. The feeling between the two
synods grew quite warm, owing to the charges and pro-
tests. In its convention, September, 1.S62, the Union
Synod adopted the following report as its reply to those
charges of the Southern District Synod made against it.
This report was adopted unanimously, after a careful dis-
cussion of every single item :
EEPORT OF THE COMMITTEE
On the Standpoints in the Usages and Practices of our Synod.
1. The Church of Jesus Christ is built upon the foundation
of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief corner-
stone, Ephesians, chap. 2d, verses 19 to 22 inclusive. Therefore,
there can be no reception into this Church, Lutheran or churchly,
that has not a "thus saith the Lord."
2. Baptism is the only means of reception in the Church of
Jesus Christ. Matt. chap. 28, verses 19-20; and Gal. chap. 3,
verses 26 to 29 inclusive.
3. The adult is only a proper subject of baptism when he
believes in Christ. Mark, chap. 16, verse 16; Acts, chap. 9,
4. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of
God. (According to the German translation: "Faith cometh by
preaching, and preaching by the Word of God.") Romans, chap.
10, verse 17.
5. So far as catechising is the preaching of the Word of
God, it is a means by which faith is developed.
6. Whenever we are satisfied that a person has faith in
Christ, we are bound to receive such individual into the Church
by baptism, (see Acts, chap, 9, verse 37,) and such assurance
we can only have by the confession of such person.
7. Every person that is baptized in infancy and walks by
faith is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. Gal. chap. 3,
verses 26 to 29 inclusive.
8. We therefore hold that the Church has the right, and
that it is her duty, as well as it is proper and right, for her to
— 193 —
acknowledge such individual as a member of the Church by con-
9. We do not admit that confirmation is a means by which
a person becomes a member of the Church, but that it is an ac-
knowledgement of membership by the congregation ; for confir-
mation is an acknowledgement of Church membtTship in the
church universal, and also of membership in the particular con-
gregation where it is administered.
10. We therefore hold that there is no other process in the
reception of members, Scriptural, Lutheran, or Churchly.
11. We hold that in the administration of the Sacraments
of the Church, they are only properly administered when the
words of Christ are used as He used them in the institution, and
we further hold that no practice can be Lutheran or Churchly
that does not conform to this standpoint. See Matt. chap. 28,
verse 19, and I. Cor. chap. 11, verses 23 to 25 inclusive.
12. We hold that the symbols of our Church are to be ex-
plained and understood as explained and defined by the Word
of God, and not the Word of God by the symbols. See Formula
of Concord, Epitome, articles on the compendious Rule and
Standard, according to which all doctrines are to be judged, etc.,
paragraph 1. Also in the Full Declaration of the same, in Tart
IL, in the Preface; article treating on the compendious Form,
Basis, Standard and Rule of Doctrine, paragraph 1.
13. We hold, therefore, that any Church to be Lutheran or
Churchly should adhere to the above standpoints.
14. We hold the above principles to be essential ; but on
all matters that are not essential to salvation, we hold that no
man's conscience should be fettered or his privileges restrained.
All of which is respectfully submitted,
K. S. Henkel, Chairman.
This controversy, however, did not cease. The
Southern District Synod in 1^68 again expressed itself on
the questions in dispute. But the Union Synod, believ-
ing that any further controversy and dispute ahnut the
matter would do no good, or he productive of any bene-
ficial results, declared that it still entertained its christian
regard and love for that body, and earnestly asked of
— 194 —
them to extend to it that charity that beareth long, en-
dureth all things and never ceaseth. Thus ended this
The failure to consummate a union with the Joint
Synod of Ohio, and fraternal relations with the Southern
District Sj'nod of the Joint Synod, did not dampen its
ardor nor abate its zeal. Its leader still believed that this
synod could attract other bodies unto itself, and thus be-
come the instrument for uniting into one body the sepa-
rated portions of the Lutheran church in these regions.
It came into existence for this very end, and along this
line it would exert its influence and direct its energies.
The next effort was made in 1864. That year it expressed
its conviction that a "speedy effort should be made to form
a union with some truly Lutheran synod in the west."
This time it decided that the English District of the Joint
Synod was the proper body with whom to confer. Rev.
E. S. Henkel was appointed as its representative and sent
to the English District Synod "for the purpose of bringing
about a union with that body." These were his instruc-
tions. He therefore opened correspondence with the
president of the English District Synod with reference to
the contemplated union. The latter body called a special
convention for the purpose of considering the question.'''
Pastor Henkel attended this convention and was accorded
a seat and vote. We have not been able to ascertain the
exact propositions which were made by the Rev. Mr.
Henkel, but it would appear from the action of the Eng-
lish District Synod, that there were two, namely that the
Union Synod as a body unite with the English District
Synod, or if that should be found to be impracticable, that
76 Held in CarroUton, Ohio, April 4, 1865.
- 195 -
the pastors and congregations unite with it. In the former
case it would mean either the formation of a new body, or
making the Union Synod a district of the English District
Synod ; in the latter it would mean the al)sorption of the
pastors and congregations of the Union Synod, and the
dissolution of that body. The following is the action of
the English District Synod, relative to this proposition
for union: "The consideration of the subject of union on
the part of members of the synod represented by Pastor
E. S. Henkel with our district, was resumed, and Pastor
Henkel was requested to give a free and full statement of
the matter to synod." The action of synod on this propo-
sition was as follows :
"1. That, after a careful examination of oflicial docu-
ments, and consultation with the delegate from the Union
Synod, we would state that we are not fully clear as to,
and therefore, not satisfied with the doctrinal standpoints
and usages of said synod: and even if otherwise, that a
union of said synod or any other, as such, with ours, is
incompatible with our rights and relations as a district
"2. That we shall always be glad to receive any regu-
larly ordained ministers of the Evangelical Lutheran
church, who are willing to subscribe to the requirements
laid down in the second article of the constitution of our
synod, 'That all members entitled to hold a seat in the
synod shall adhere to the doctrines of the Word of God,
as set forth in the Unaltered Augsburg Confession and
Luther's Smaller Catechism, and in the sense and spirit
of the other Symbolical Books,' and present an honorable
dismissal from their former synod.
"3. That we shall also be pleased to receive any
Evangelical Lutheran congregation, desirous of coming into
- 196 -
our connection or discipline for their government and regu-
lation as is in accordance with the constitution of our
synod; provided, that it has obtained an honorable dis-
missal, from the synod with which it is connected, or has,
at least, applied for it and has been refused upon insuffi-
This action shows that the English District Synod
could not receive the Union Synod as a body, for the
following reasons : 1. That it was not satisfied with the
doctrinal position, nor with the usages of that body.
2. That it was incompatible with its rights and relations
as a district synod of the Joint Synod, to receive it or any
other synodical body.
That the pastors of the Union Synod could be received,
provided, that they subscribe to the doctrinal basis of the
English District Synod, and present an honorable dismissal
from their former synod.
That the congregations could be received, provided,
they conform their constitution and discipline to the con-
stitution of synod, and be regularly dismissed from their
former synod, or had at least applied for a dismissal and
were refused upon insufficient grounds.
This action of the English District Synod was perfectly
fair, consistent and honorable. It could not do otherwise.
It had no authority to unite with the Union Synod as a
synod, and was frank enough to inform that body.
When this m.atter came before the Union Synod at its
next convention, it aroused the fiery Rudisill to a high
pitch. That the Lutheranism of the Union Synod should
again be challenged, and that by a body which it had re-
garded as composed of genuine Old Lutherans, was rasping
to his vanity and self-confidence. He induced synod to
take the following action :
— 197 —
"We, your committee, would beg leave to report.
We have had the action of the English District Synod of
the Joint Synod of Ohio with regard to the connection or
union with it, proposed by the Union Synod of the Evan-
gelical Lutheran church, at its last session, under careful
consideration, and that we agree with the said Englisli
Synod ; that a union with it is impossible, as long as they
make, as they do in their second item or article, the doc-
trine of the Word of God explainable 'by the Augsburg
Confession of Faith and Luther's Smaller Catechism in
the sense and spirit of the other symbolical books' — as
such a course makes these confessions the interpreters of,
and, hence, superior to the scriptures, and reduces the
Lutheran church to the pitiable condition of a sect.
"The covert invitation to our ministers and congre-
gations to obtain honorable dismissions from our synod,
with the promise of finding a home in the English District
Synod, is surely very much out of place, and very unbe-
coming a religious body making any pretensions to the
spirit of Christ, — and while we hope these items were the re-
result of hasty and inconsiderate action, this synod cannot
so degrade herself, or deny the claims of a common
Christianity, as to return such an invitation to the minis-
ters and congregations of said English District Synod."
With this ceased all efforts to unite with synods of "Old
Lutherans," such as the Joint Synod and its several dis-
trict synods were regarded.
It is evident from the action of the Union Synod that
the position of the English District Synod was eitlier not
understood by the Union Synod, or designedly miscon-
strued and misrepresented for efYect. To assume the
former is to reflect upon the intelligence of its members,
and to assume the latter is to impeach their honesty. To
— 198 —
have its Lutheranism challenged, and its practices criti-
cised by these "Old Lutherans" was more than they an-
ticipated, and naturally was very irritating to their feel-
ings of self-respect. They had posed as sound Lutherans,
and now for the third or fourth time to be charged with
unlutheran doctrines and practices, was galling, especially
to Rudisill, who here saw an opportunity to exhibit his
combativeness, and to place the synod in the position of
a persecuted bod3\ This he did by misconstruing and
misrepresenting the action of the English District Synod.
He found that the union of Lutherans in those regions,
and under existing conditions, was not the easy task that
he had assumed it to be.
These charges made by the several synods against
the standpoints and usages of the Union Synod, had their
effect. It drove the pastors to a closer study of the con-
fessions of the church, and to inquire after Lutheran
usage. The younger pastors no longer took the dicta of
Rudisill and Henkel as final, but provided themselves
with such Lutheran literature as was available, and in-
vestigated for themselves. The scepter was gradually
slipping out of Rudisill's hands, and he realized it. But
before yielding to the inevitable, he would make another
effort. This was his attempt to lead the synod into the
But as mentioned above, a conservative spirit was
developing. There prevailed great laxity in the admis-
sion of members into the congregations. Catechization
had practically ceased, while candidates were received
without any definite knowledge of the faith of the church.
Neither did there exist any uniformity in the mode of ad-
mitting members. President Henkel called the synod's
attention to this chaotic condition, but it was unheeded
— 199 —
at the time. But gradually a conservative spirit revived
and prepared the way for more uniform and churchly
practices, until at length the synod insisted upon more
frequent and thorough catechization. It called upon the
heads of families to catechize their children in those pure
and saving truths of the Gospel. The pastors were urged
to conduct catechetical services every Saturday afternoon
prior to their Sunday ministration, and to catechize three
days before communions. Where there was no pastoral
oversight, the president of the S3'nod, or someone author-
ized by him, would hold "protracted meetings" for at
least a week. During this period the young were cate-
chized on the afternoons, and at night doctrinal sermons
were to be preached. Revival istic efforts were to be dis-
carded. There should be plain, earnest, practical preach-
ing at these services. Public invitations to unite with
the church were given from time to time, and those who
applied for membership were examined as to their mo-
tives, and as to their knowledge of the way of salvation.
If found worthy they were received by the rite of confir-
mation, or by baptism. The synod laid great stress upon
the preaching of the Word as a means of awakening the
sinner. During the synodical conventions, there was in
.variably preaching during the noon intermission, and at
"early candle lighting." The meetings of the synod were
made a feast of good things and "times of refreshing" to
the people in whose midst the conventions were held.
These services did much to establish the people in the
faith, and were a means of sustaining the church during
those times. People hungering and thirsting for the
truth, came for miles to attend the sj-nodical conventions.
So large was the attendance at times that overflow meet-
ings were held in a grove, or some suitable place near the
— 200 —
In its early history the synod made provision for the
establishing of Sunday schools in the congregations, and
urged their formation wherever practical. It recommended
the study of the bible and a diligent use of the catechism
in these schools.
The Campbellite sect had somewhat recovered from
the effect of the Rudisill-Mathes discussion of baptism,
and were again directing their polemics against the Luth-
erans in a number of places. While the Philadelphia
church was being built in 1866 they annoyed the Luther-
ans very much by their arguments, and their opposition
to the building of a Lutheran church in that community.
The people bore with it patiently for awhile, and then re-
ported to Rudisill. He promised that if they would secure
a place he would come into their midst and preach upon
the subject. A grove was secured and a stand erected,
and the announcement made. At the appointed time a
large crowd assembled, all anxious to hear the arguments.
The Campbellites and Baptists were well represented.
Rudisill was in fine condition. For two hours he held
his audience spell-bound. He took up their arguments
one by one and demolished them. He quoted scripture,
giving reference for each passage, and completely vindi-
cated the Lutheran position. The outcome was that the
Lutherans were let alone in their work, and their oppon-
ents deemed it the part of wisdom to hold their peace.
While the doctrinal position of this synod was not as
clearly expressed as might be desired, and considerable
laxity prevailed in its practices, it was very guarded in its
teachings concerning the Lord's Supper. In 1861 Pres-
ident Henkel called attention to the unlutheran teachings
concerning the sacrament in the Liturgy'' used by the
77 We have been unable to learn what Liturgy was in gen-
- 201 -
ministers, and recommended that the pastors in the ad-
ministration of the Lord's .Supper use the exact hmguage
of Christ. This recommendation the synod adopted, as
the position it held on this question. He also called
attention to other matters in the Liturgy which were not
strictly Lutheran, and advised that in all these things the
pastors conform strictly to the Lutheran position. There
was at least a desire on the part of these pastors, to be in
harmony with the church's teachings. Their errors were
more of the head than of the heart."
The long cherished hope of this synod for which it
had labored, promised at least to be realized, but not in
the manner nor to the degree, that it had originally ex-
pected. God wrought out the results in His own way.
The union of a portion of the Lutherans in the state,
became at last an assured fact. After its unsuccess-
ful efforts with the Ohio bodies, it directed its energies to
the union of the Lutherans in Indiana. Besides the con-
gregations and pastors in the state adhering to the Ohio
bodies, there were two General Sj'nod bodies, the Olive
Branch Synod, and the Northern Indiana Synod. In 1.S6-")
the president of the Union Synod was instructed to open
correspondence with the different Lutheran Synods in the
state "with regard to the common interests of the church
in the state, as also with respect to the difYerent benevolent
institutions of the day, and if upon consultation a meeting
of the members of the different synods should by them be
tliought beneficial to the advancement of the church, that
78 It is due to these brethren to say, that owing to their iso-
lation, thoy did not come into contact with the ropresentativi'
men and authors of the Lutheran church, and therefore failed
to apprehend as clearly as otherwise might have been the case,
the distinctive doctrines of the church.
— 202 —
they make such appointment sometime during the coming
year." At the next session of the synod, in the report of
the president, he states that "he did not open such cor-
respondence, for the reason that he did not know who
their officials were, and had no means of learning, as
neither of those sjniods favored him with a copy of their
minutes ; and from the fact that he was informed of the
action of the Pennsylvania Synod with reference to a
convention, he was satisfied that this would answer every-
thing contemplated in the other." He also officially in-
formed the synod of the rupture in the General Synod, and
that a portion of its former members contemplated calling
a convention of all Lutherans in the United States and
Canada, for the purpose of organizing a general body
upon the true Lutheran basis, and upon the old landmarks
of the church, which, if carried into effect, he believed
would be a great blessing to the church. He recommended
that the Union Synod make such arrangements and pro-
visions as will enable it to be represented in said proposed
convention, with full instructions and authority to enter
at once into the compact. This recommendation was
favorably received by the synod, and it appointed one
clerical and one lay delegate to attend the proposed con-
vention. They were Rev. E. Rudisill and Isaac Skomp,
with Rev. E. S. Henkel and N. W. Grimes as alternates.
The delegates were not instructed as to their powers and
duties. Neither of the delegates, however, were able to
attend the convention.
In 1867 President J. E. Wesner called the attention
of the synod to the convention held in Reading, Pa., in
December, 1866, and laid before it the proceedings of
that convention, recommending appropriate action. The
St. Peter's church, Newberry, Indiana, also petitioned
- 203 —
the S3'nod to co-operate with other Evangelical Lutheran
synods (English) to unite the Lutheran ministers and
congregations into one bodj'. In answer to this petition
the synod declared itself ever "ready to co-operate with
any other orthodox Lutheran Synod in the state, with the
view to unite the brethren in one common faith, which
heretofore have been separated. The proceedings of the
Reading convention were placed in the hands of a com-
mittee, who subsequently reported as follows, upon the
points in which the synod was interested.
The committee consisted of Revs. E. Rudisill, R. D.
Emerson and Henry Fairchild :
"In connection with the proceedings of said General
Council, we find their proposed constitution, which pre-
sents, generally, a correct and proper exhibition of the
relation to each other of the different parts of an ecclesi-
astical body and of their duties toward each other.
"Upon a careful examination of both the proceedings
of said convention, the 'fundamental principles,' and the
passed constitution, the committee would suggest to the
synod a candid and careful examination of both, as the
synod, for several years, has been seeking a connection with
some other body, so that if this one ))e founded upon the
unaltered Word of God, the only distinctive position of the
true Lutheran church, that in that case, the synod take
the necessary steps to become connected with the same."
This report was considered at length, and a committee,
consisting of Revs. E. Rudisill, J. E. Wesner and Henry
Fairchild, was appointed "to report upon the principles
and theses adopted by the General Council, and the rela-
tion of the Union Synod to the same." Tiiis committee
discharged its duty and the synod adopted the following
as an expression of its views and opinions concerning the
General Council :
— 204 —
''Resolved, that this synod has watched with much
anxiety the various steps taken in, and causes leading to,
the formation of the General Council, and its present
status before the Lutheran community in the United
States, and whilst it rejoices in the stunning blow which
fanaticism has by its formation received in the Lutheran
church, the synod is nevertheless not quite certain that
its promoters and friends have not, in their anxiety to be
relieved of fanaticism and error, bordered on the other
extreme of placing man's labors and opinions upon an
equal footing with the unaltered Word of God, whose
adoption as the only rule of faith and church discipline
is, in the judgment of this synod, the only distinctive
doctrine and position of the true Lutheran church, and
therefore, until this synod is satisfied by the further de-
velopments of said General Council's acts, that they
subordinate all confessions, writings or orders of men to
the Word of God, — until then, this synod judges it best
to remain by her own published declarations and stand-
points, and hope and pray, that those brethren influenced
by the Word of God, may under the influence of the Holy
Ghost, yet reach that clear and holy ground upon which
all Lutherans may with joyous hearts stand, the unaltered
Word of God, standing in its own unapproachable posi-
tion ; and the confessions and writings of all the defenders
of the church occupy their proper place, and thus occupy
their proper relation to the Word of God." This report
was adopted as the expression of the synod.
Meanwhile the movement to unite all Lutherans in
the state continued to grow in strength. Union with the
General Council, and the formation of a new synod, were
the absorbing topics at its conventions. In 1868 Presi-
dent Henkel officially informed the synod that "some of
- 205 -
the Lutheran ministers in Indiana contemplate calling a
convention of the members and churches for the purpose
of organizing a synod for Indiana." He urged the sj'nod
to consider carefully this movement and to make pro-
visions for its representation in that convention. A letter
was also received from Rev. Miles J. Stirewalt, of the
English District Synod of Ohio, recommending the calling
of a convention of all the Lutheran ministers and congre-
gations in Indiana, and assuring it of his willingness to
give his aid in so great an enterprise. He named St.
Mark's church, Whitestown, Boone county, Indiana, as
the place for the convention. Rev. D. Smith, of the
North Indiana Synod, was present at this convention of
the synod, doubtless to urge the matter of union. At this
convention the question of uniting with the General
Council was not discussed, the other question having
taken precedence. A committee was appointed, who
subsequently presented a report which the synod adopted.
The report is as follows :
"l. The union of all christians is desirable and
sought after by all lovers of the Lord Jesus, and more es-
pecially should all those bearing the same denominational
name seek to be perfectly joined together in the same
mind and in the same judgment. — 1 Cor. 1: 10. That
their talent, grace and wealth may be united in building
up the church, by the enlargement of her borders, the de-
velopment of her doctrines, and the education of her sons
and daughters, and bringing up of the rising generation in
the knowledge of God, and to prepare them for usefulness
in their day and generation.
"2. Such a union is especially desirable in the state
of Indiana, for, unfortunately for the Church of the Refor-
mation in this state, she is divided into some four or five
- 206 -
different organizations which very seldom labor for such
christian unity, but are too often found opposing, dis-
tracting, breaking down, and disorganizing each other,
and thus effectually preventing the prosperity of our Zion
within this state. Brethren, these things ought not so
"3. It is believed that the difference in opinion on
faith and doctrine is more in words than in fact, from the
defining of the same word differently ; and that, if brought
face to face, a free and full interchange of views upon
faith and practice, the most of the difference in views
would disappear, and that the Lutheran church in Indi-
ana would be found to agree upon all the essential doc-
trines of the Bible in her confessions, and that such divi-
sions would be no longer tolerated, but that we would be
drawn together in the bonds of christian unity.
"4. Another reason which exercises great influence
upon the committee in recommending that an earnest
effort be made for bringing about such a union, that owing
to such a division, Lutherans have been, and are still un-
able to unite their means, by which the necessary educa-
tional facilities may be afforded to our sons and daughters
to be educated under the care and influence of our be-
loved church, and thus be preserved to the church ;
whereas, by the wants of such facilities many of our
bright youth and promising maidens are educated under
other influences, and lost to the church.
"5. In view of these and many other reasons which
the committee might present, and which readily present
themselves to every Christian heart, the committee agrees
with the reports in the great necessity and utility of mak-
ing an effort, a prayerful, united effort, in bringing about,
within this state, a union of all the Evangelical Lutheran
— 207 —
elements into one synod, based upon the Word of God,
contained in the Old and New Testaments, as the only
infallible rule of faith and practice, as exhibited and
clearly set forth in the Unaltered Augsburg Confession of
"6. To take the initiative in so great and glorious a
work the committee would suggest that the synod ap-
point a committee to present this report to the Western
Conference of the English District Synod of the Joint Synod
of Ohio, to meet shortly at Colburn, Indiana; to the
presidents of the Olive Branch and Northern Indiana
Synods, and to other Lutheran organizations or individual
ministers not connected with any organization in the
state, and earnestly beseech them to consider these things,
and, if approved of, that they appoint a committee to
confer with our committee ; and they shall agree upon some
time and place to hold a convention of the ministers of the
Evangelical Lutheran church in Indiana, that a free and
Christian interchange of opinions may be had ; and, after
a free and full consultation, if the prospects be favorable,
said convention may proceed to call a convention of the
Evangelical Lutheran church, both ministerial and con-
gregational, to meet at such time and place as the con-
vention may select." ''
Revs. E. S. Henkel and J. E. Wesner were appointed
the committee provided for in this report. The next year
the meeting of the synod was postponed two months, and
the place changed from Mt. Solomon's church, Harrison
county, Indiana, to St. George's church, Shelby county,
Indiana, in order to give the committee more time, and
to afford opportunity for their conference with representa-
"'-1 This committee consisted of Rev. J. E. Wesner, Rev. N.
Booher, Samuel Hampton, Daniel Slinkard.
lives from the other synods. When the synod convened
there were present from other synods, Rev. D. Smith, of
the Northern Indiana Synod, Rev. H. W. Roth and Rev. S.
Wagenhals, of the Pittsburg Synod, Rev. J. L. Stirewalt,
of the Evangelical Lutheran District Synod of Ohio, and
Rev. A. Thompson, of the Olive Branch Synod. After
the synod was duly opened and organized, and the nec-
essary committees appointed, the synod went into a com-
mittee of the whole upon the state of the Evangelical
Lutheran church in Indiana, and the best means for her
advancement. On Thursday, November 18, the synod
"went into a conference**" with the brethren of other sj^nods
present, upon the demands, wants and necessities of the
Evangelical Lutheran church in Indiana, in order to pro-
mote the best interests in the advancement of the Re-
deemer's Kingdom, and the salvation of souls." C, W.
Sappenfield, Esq., was chairman of this free conference.
After a free and lengthy discussion of the leading ques-
tions concerning the synod and the church in the state,
which discussion was marked by charity and moderation
throughout, the following resolutions were adopted.^'
They were offered by Rev. D. Smith, and were subse-
quently adopted by the synod. Rev. J. L. Stirewalt had
offered a substitute, which, however, was lost:
'^Resolved, that the best interests of the Lutheran
church in Indiana imperatively demand the union of all
the Lutheran ministers and congregations.
^'Resolved, that such union in order to be lasting and
effective for good should be based upon the Word of God,
contained in the Old and New Testaments, as the only
infallible rule of Christian faith and discipline.
80 Minutes Union Synod, p. 6.
81 Four votes cast in the negative.
— 209 —
Resolved, that such union should adopt the unaltered
Augsburg Confession of Faith as a correct exhibition of
the principal doctrines of salvation, and Luther's Small
Catechism as a correct declaration of Bible truths, and
very necessary for giving instruction in the doctrines of
the Christian religion.
''Resolved, that the reformers in the formation of
said confession intended to present the pure teachings of
God's Word ; therefore, it is subordinate to God's Word
and is only justly interpreted, when explained by the in-
fallible teachings of Christ and his apostles."
When the synod resumed its sittings, these resolu-
tions were adopted, and the following action taken:
''Resolved, that the Union Synod adopt the resolution
and articles presented to the synod by the free conference
as a whole, and offer said articles as the principles and
landmarks upon which they are ready to unite with the
Lutheran synods and conferences in the state of Indiana ;
and the guides by which they are willing to be governed
in their intercourse with them, and work with them in
the upbuilding of the great cause of Lutheranism in the
This convention of the Union Synod was the most
important in its whole history, for it was at this time
that the real crisis was reached, and the future policy of
the synod inaugurated. Both the General Synod and the
General Council were courting it, and the synod itself was
desirous to enter some one of the general bodies of the
church. The sentiment that had been developing both
among the pastors and congregations during the preced-
ing two years was decidedly in favor of the General Coun-
cil, whose literature was diligently circulated by the Rev.
- 210 -
J. L. Stirewalt, the western missionary of the Council.*^
The onlj^ pastor that was favorable to the General Synod
was the Rev. E. Rudisill, notwithstanding his bitterness
against it in former years. He inducted General Synod
pastors into several of the vacant parishes prior to this
convention, and professed great interest in the movement
toward the contemplated union. In his last report to the
synod he suggested a new basis for such union, namely,
"the unaltered Word of God contained in the Old and
New Testament as the only infallible rule of christian
faith, church discipline and Christian Union," and "the
unaltered Augsburg Confessiop of Faith as containing a
catalogue of Bible facts, and a Bible exhibition of the
principal doctrines of the Christian Religion."'* Although
honored with a re-election to the presidency, the brethren
were becoming weary of his domineering spirit, and were
resolved to follow their own judgment and sense of duty,
and leave him to do as he might choose.
The crisis came on Saturday afternoon, November 20.
The delegates from the Pittsburg Synod had returned
home, leaving Rev. D. Smith and Rev. J. L. Stirewalt
as the representatives of the two general bodies. During
the noon intermission Rev. D. Smith circulated among the
82 "So much may be said that the General Council and her
institutions and periodicals stand in greater favor with these
brethren than those of any other general body. Though they
may not see their way clear to cast their lot with us at this time,
they are nevertheless inclined to cooperate with us in the circu-
lation of our literature." Letter of Rev. J. L. S., August 16, 1869.
83 Minutes of 1868: 4, In the discussion of the basis of
union R. insisted on the adoption of this basis. One of the
brethren opposing him said the statement is not tenable, as the
Flood, one of the "Bible facts," was not mentioned in the Augs-
— 2n —
delegates and those pastors whom he thought he could
influence, and endeavored to pursuade them to vote for
a resolution which would he offered, namely, that the
sj'nod should unite with one or the other general body."*
This passed without trouble. He next introduced a reso-
lution that it should decide at once with which body it
would unite. This was the occasion for a prolonged debate.
He made an earnest appeal for union with the General
Synod and made a deep impression.
But Rev. Mr. Smith had not estimated correctly, the
power of the western missionary in debate. He replied
to the arguments of the former, that the Union Synod
should unite with some general body, but that the question
to which, should be referred to the congregations, that the
constitutions of the two bodies. General Synod and General
Council, should be placed before the congregations, and
should be fairly examined by them ; that the next dele-
gates should be instructed by them how to vote ; that the
present delegates were not prepared to vote, and had no
right to decide so important a matter. This was a fair
and reasonable view, and the motion was lost. The matter
was then referred to the congregations who were requested
to hold an election on the 25th day of the following
December, to decide with which general body they desire
to unite. This threw the contest back to the congregations.
84 "I learned that while at dinner, he, Hev. D. Smith, was
busy at work with the delegates preparing them to vote against
the substitute. He told them that we were symbolists of the
worst type, on the way to Home, and were stealing all the con-
gregations we could take along; that Wagcnhais had plundered
Fort Wayne, and was guilty of shameful outrages of various
kinds; that my trade was to supplant every man I could, wh«
was not a symbolist, etc., etc." Letter of Kev. J. L. Stirewalt
to Rev. H. W. Roth, November 22, 18(59.
— 212 —
During this debate and others that were carried on at
this convention, Rev. E. S. Herfkel acted very erratically.
He professed to be a General Council man, but his actions
and arguments indicated the opposite. He subsequently
explained his course in a letter to the western missionary.
His purpose was to get Rudisill out of the way."'^
When the synod reconvened Saturday evening. Rev.
E. Rudisill resigned the presidency and asked for a dis-
missal from the synod. This was a repetition of his former
tactics, and too well understood to be of any weight with
the synod. The resignation was accepted. Rev. E. S.
Henkel was elected president, and instructed to grant the
desired letter of dismissal. Thus the most bitter and in-
fluential opponent of the General Council in the Union
Synod, was eliminated by his own course of action.**^ But
he continued his opposition. No language was strong
enough to express his hatred for the Council.**'
In 1870 the synod met in Newberry, Ind. The chief
question before it was the union of the Lutheran element
in the state with itself. The vote of the congregations on
the 25th of December was almost unanimous in favor of
the General Council. This prepared the way for the synod
to adopt the Fundamental Principles of Faith and Church
Polity, and the Constitution of the General Council. It
appointed a delegate to attend the next convention of the
Council with full power to unite the synod with it. This
step was however deferred and the delegate did not attend
the General Council, because of a new problem that was
«^ Letter of J. L. S. December 28, 1869.
«6 He never thereafter identified himself with any synod.
87 Rev. J. L. S. had proposed the republication and circu-
lation of Rudisill's expose of the G. S. in order to silence him.
- 213 -
now laid before it, and of which the Union Synod pastors
had been kept uninformed.
While these movements toward the General Council
were in progress, another was inaugurated by the execu-
tive committee of Home Missions of the General Council,
which will be traced in the next chapter. This was now
for the first time officially brought before the Union Synod
by the Rev. J. L. Stirewalt, who was present, as the dele-
gate from the English District Synod of Ohio, and also
as the General Council's representative. The other move-
ment was so well in hand by this time, that they were
confident of leading the Union Synod into the adoption
of their plan for the union of all Lutherans in Indiana in
sympathy with the General Council into one synod. The
reason for this counter movement lay in the fact that there
was a strong prejudice existing among the General Council
element, against the Union Synod, and deservedly so, but
iis evil spirit in the person of Dr. Rudisill had now with-
drawn, and there was therefore some hope that what
remained of the exorcised body might be led by the good
spirit of the Lord to a closer union with the Council in all
'things that pertain to the bonds of true unity.'"
The Rev. J. L. Stirewalt met the Union Synod, August
10, 1870, and "was received with becoming courtesy.
He found the synod willing to pursue whatever course that
would promote to the greatest degree the interests of the
church. They were ready to meet in a fraternal spirit
those who belong to the Council and live in the state,
with a view of unity with them in one synod.'"' But it
58 Letter of Hev. J. L. S. to ex. com. of 11. M. of Cieneral
59 Letter of Kev. .1. L. S. to Lutheran and Missiotiary
August 24, 1870.
— 2J4 —
required much argument and diplomacy on his part to
bring them to this position. He asked the synod to re-
consider the election of a delegate, and his authority to
unite the synod with the General Council, upon the follow-
ing grounds: That the English District Synod had passed
a resolution authorizing the Indiana Conference to extend
an invitation to all pastors in the state in sympathy with
the Council, to meet them in conference for the purpose
of uniting in one synod the General Council pastors in the
state; that this synod sent him to urge them not to apply
until such a union could be effected ; that then there
would be a synod of ten or twelve pastors instead of only
four, making application. He urged that it was the desire
of the Council to have only one sj^nod in the state, and
knowing that the Union Synod did not embrace in it all
the true Lutheran element in the state, it would be insisted
upon that a more general organization must be effected so
as to unite all in sympathy with the Council. Still farther
he urged, that if the members of the Union Synod could
not agree, and were willing to unite in fair terms witli
those men in the Council, living in the state, that they
could not agree with them afterwards, and so would be-
come an element of discord. And as they the General
Council Synod had now as the larger body extended to them
an invitation to meet the brethren in the state with a view
of organizing a synod that would embrace thetn all, their
rejection of this overture would be a barrier in the way of
admission into the Council. Nor would this be the only
trouble that might meet them ; it was doubtful whether
as the Union Synod then existed, it had sufficient mem-
l)ership to entitle it to representation, and lastly if they
were willing to meet with the Council element and unite
with it they should postpone the election of a delegate
— 215 -
until the meeting of the convention, so if a union could
be brought about, that all could have a voice in the choice
of the delegate to represent the synod at the meeting of
the General Council.""
Besides the presence and efforts of Rev. J. L. Stire-
walt, other influence was brought to bear upon the synod.
Rev. Dr. G. F. Krotel, president of the General Council,
wrote them expressing the hope that the General Council
element in Indiana might become united ; also one from
Rev. H. W. Roth, secretary of the General Council, of the
same nature. Another letter from Rev, M. J. Stirewalt,
secretary of the Indiana Conference, was received, in
which the president of the Union Synod was invited to
attend the next convention of that body, to be held at
East Germantown, Indiana, May 10, 1870, which invita-
tion was accepted. All these had their weight with the
members of the synod, and did much in preparing them
for their subsequent action. All opposition to the project
was now removed. The opposition of Rudisill reached
its limit when he, with Rev. D. Smith, succeeded in pre-
vailing upon the St. George congregation, Shelby county,
to reverse its decision, and go into the General Synod.
Thenceforward his influence waned, and in a few years
death ended his career."'
The synod appointed representatives to meet the rep-
resentatives of the Indiana conference, to consider the
matter of organizing a new synod. This free conference
was held in St. Mark's church, Whitestown, Indiana,
J.une 20, 1871. After a frank and full review of the situ-
ation, and of the interests of the church in the state, it
w Report of Kov. .1. L. S. to ex. com. of II. M. of the
'■•1 He dii'd Feb. 24, 1874, aged (V^ years and 7 dayp.
- 216 —
decided to issue a call for a convention to organize a new-
synod for Indiana.
At its thirteenth and last convention, the Union
Synod decided that in the event a new synod is formed,
in pursuance to the call issued by the Indiana Conference,
it now be disbanded, and its pastors and congregations
regarded as members of the synod.
The congregations of this synod were all virtually
one large parish, of which the ministers were joint pastors.
Gradually a desire grew to have separate parishes formed,
each with its own pastor. There was much opposition to
this movement, but it finally succeeded, and in 1870 the
synod was divided into twelve parishes, namely, the New-
berry charge, consisting of four congregations and two
mission points ; the Nashville charge, consisting of one
congregation and two mission points; the Edinburg
charge, two congregations and one mission point; the
Whitestown charge, consisting of five congregations ; the
Mulberry charge, consisting of one congregation and
three mission points ; the Alimo charge, consisting of
three congregations ; the Gosport charge, consisting of
two congregations and three mission points ; the Corydon
charge, consisting of one congregation and two mission
points; the St. Paul's charge, consisting of one congrega-
tion and two mission points; the Woodberry, 111., charge,
consisting of two congregations and one mission point;
the Marshall, 111., charge, consisting of one congregation
and mission points around Marshall ; and a mission
charge embracing Crawfordsville and Armantrout's school-
house. According to this there were some twenty-two
congregations connected with the synod at the time of its
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH
Lindsey St. and Sherman Ave., South Bend, Ind.
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH
Ltndsey St. and Sherman Ave., South Bend, Ind.
FIRST ENGLISH LUTHERAN CHURCH
The following pastors were at some time in connec-
tion with this synod :
Rev. John Good, 1859—1871.
Rev. Ephraira Rudisill, 1859—1869.
Rev. Jacob Elias Deck, 1859. t February 16, 1864, aged 30
years, 9 months, 24 days.
Rev. Philip A, Peter, 1859—1866.
Rev. Henry Fairchild, 1859—1870.
Rev. C. R. O. Miller, 1859-1860.
Rev. Nathan Booher, 1859-1871.
Rev. Eusebius S. Henkel, 1860—1871.
Rev. Davoult Philo Groundt, 1860. t June 11, 1863, aged
31 years, 7 months, 11 days.
Rev. Elias Markert, 1860-1868.
Rev. Jacob Wesner, 1860-1871.
Rev. J. Efrid Wesner; 1862-1871.
Rev. Eli Myers, 1864—1871.
Rev. R. D. Emerson, 1867—1869.
The following were ordained to the ministry :
Rev. Jacob Wesner, October 21, 1861.
Rev. Nathan Booher, October 21, 1861.
Rev. J. Efrid Wesner, October 25, 1863.
The following were licentiates:
Rev. J. Efrid Wesner, June 7, 1862.
Rev. John Stine, August 31, 1863. License recalled for
cause, February 1, 1867.
Rev. M. M. Groves, 1868. Expired October 28, 186S.
Rev. R. E. McDaniel, 1870. Expired August 10, 1870.
Rev. M. M. Groves came from the seminary at Phila-
delphia. He applied for ordination, but having no call,
the synod declined to ordain him. He thereupon took
his departure from the synod. He served the St. James
church, Vandalia, 111., for a very short time, and upon
request of the congregation vacated the field, leaving his
hooks and other effects behind. He was never heard
from, and what became of him none of the people at
Vandalia ever knew.
- 218 -
Rev. John Stine was quite active in the ministry for
a short time, serving chiefly as a missionary of the synod.
His license was recalled for cause, and he disappears
from synodical notice.
Rev. E. Markert abandoned the active work, and his
name was dropped from the roll.
Henry S. Slinkard and J. Efrid Wesner were students
of theology under the care of the synod. The latter was
finally ordained to the pastoral office. The former, on ac-
count of ill health and physical weakness, abandoned the
purpose and entered into business. He acquired consid-
erable property, and was always a devoted friend of the
church. He did not live many years. After the death of
his wife, Mrs. M. E. Slinkard, his property passed to the
Theological Seminary at Chicago. Though dead, he yet
preaches through others whom he in this way assists to
prepare for the oftice which he was providentially de-
terred from entering.
Two deaths occurred in the ministerial ranks : Rev.
Davoult Philo Groundt, June 11, 1863, and Rev. .Jacob
Elias Deck, February 16, 1864.
Two young men were received as students of theology :
R. E. McDaniel and John P. Deck. The former received
aid to pursue his studies at the seminary in Philadelphia,
and the latter was placed under the care of Rev. Nathan
The following congregations were in connection with
the synod during a portion or all of its history :
Newtown, afterwards St. Mark's, Boone county, Indiana.
Union church, Boone county, Indiana.
St. Luke's church, Boone county, Indiana.
St. .John's church, Boone county, Indiana.
Mt. Zion church, Daviess county, Indiana.
Union church, Daviess county, Indiana.
— 219 —
Fairhaven church, Clinton county, Indiana.
St. James' church, Kossvilie, CHnton county, Indiana.
Phanuel church. Fountain county, Indiana.
Emmanuel church. Fountain county, Indiana.
Fulton (?) church, Fulton county, Indiana.
St. Peter's church, Greene county, Indiana.
Mt. Solomon's church, Harrison county, Indiana.
Mt. Zion church, Knox county, Indiana.
St. John's church, Monroe county, Indiana.
St. Paul's church, Monroe county, Indiana.
Waupakon church, Miami county, Indiana.
St. James' church, Montgomery county, Indiana.
Mt. Zion church, Morgan county, Indiana.
West Salem church, Morgan county, Indiana.
Philadelphia church, Parke county, Indiana.
St. John's church. Hush county, Indiana.
St. George's church, Shelby county, Indiana.
Smithland church, Shelby county, Indiana.
Union church, Jasper county, Illinois.
Liberty church, Clarke county, Illinois.
St. Luke's church, Richland county, Illinois.
Besides these organized congregation.s there were
quite a hirge number of preaching iioints where consider-
able Lutheran material was found.
The numerical strength of the Union Synod is not
ascertainable. There were no parochial reports sent in
by the pastors. The strength of the several congregations
cannot be determined. At a conservative estimate the
synod numbered at the time of its dissolution probably
1200 or 1500 communicant members. The congregations
were all in the country and generally in localities which
were settled chiefly by Lutherans. From the lack of pas-
tors to minister to the spiritual needs of the churches,
and the haphazard method of supplying them with the
means of grace, many of the congregations gradually fell
(HI)? 3fnbiatia - QHtragn B^noh of tlje 1£oati0?liral
®I|e HInbtana - (Elitraiio B^iiah of tl)e lEuaniiipUral
HE occasion and immediate cause for the or^ran-
ization of the Indiana Synod of the Evangelical
Lutheran church, now the Chicago Synod of the
Evangelical Lutheran church, was the formation
of the General Council. The more remote causes
are to be found in the movements which led to and grew
out of the rupture of the North Carolina Synod in 1S20.
As early as 1823 the conservative type of Lutheranism,
represented by the Tennessee Synod, was planted in In-
diana by the missionaries of that body. Other factors
also contributed their part in bringing about this result.
These were chiefly the eflPorts of the General Synod pastors
to plant in the state the lax type of Lutheranism then
represented by that body. The representatives of these
two tj'pes of Lutheranism frequently came into sharp
conflict, and each party made strenuous efforts to push
its work to the front. Each type took organic form in a
synodical organization in 1835, the conservative in the
Synod of Indiana and the lax in the Synod of the West.
The conservative body received a severe blow in the
Destructionism movement under the leadership of Hev.
Ephraim Rudisill, and in the apostasy of Hev. Eusebius
S. Henkel to Universalism. Hut it in a measure recovered
- 224 —
from these effects, partly through Rudisill's change of
front, and Henkel's repentance and confession of error,,
but chiefly through the influence of two godly and earnest
men who entered the synod at this period of its history,,
the Rev. John P. Livengood and the scholarly Rev. Will-
iam H. Deck. The radical body also received a crushing
blow in the doctrinal reaction which arose in the Synod
of the West under the leadership of the Rev. Conrad F.
D. Wynnekin, who led the conservative wing of that
synod into the Missouri Synod, from the effects of which
the Synod of the West never recovered. But the General
Synod type soon after took organic form in the state in
the organization of the Olive Branch Synod.
As stated in Chapter V the Synod of Indiana dis-
solved November 4, 1859. The causes for this are nar-
rated in that chapter. This dissolution was followed by
the organization of the Union Synod, which was to all
practical purposes but a continuation of the Synod of
Indiana under a new name. It was composed of the
same pastors and congregations, and had substantially
the same constitution. The change was made in order
to conciliate the offended Rudisill.
The chief objects that Rudisill had in demanding the
organization of the Union Synod were to unite all the
Lutheran elements in Indiana with this body, and to re-
trieve his reputation as a leader, a controversialist and as
a preacher. Of his ultimate success in this he had no
doubt, until his defeat in 1869. But his plans miscarried.
Disappointed in uniting all the Lutheran element in the
state with this body, the synod through his leadership,
next endeavored to draw into it the conservative Lutheran
element in the state, and these efforts were partially suc-
cessful, and may be regarded as the first steps that event-
— 225 —
ually culminated in the formation of the Indiana Synod.
Finally the synod consented to the union of all Lutherans
in Indiana in sympathy with the General Council in a
new synod, and when the time came, dissolved that that
object might be effected.
Besides the movements in the Union Synod, there
were two others more or less independent of each other,
which coalescing with those in the synod, resulted in the
organization of the Indiana Synod.
The first of these originated among the ministers of
the English Evangelical Lutheran District of the Joint
Synod of Ohio, resident in Indiana. In 1866 this synod
organized all its pastors living west of the Springfield,
Ohio, meridian, into the Western Conference.'" This
Western Conference soon agitated the formation of a new
synod, based upon the principles of the General Council.
This was to be an Indiana Synod. As early as 1.S6H the
propriety of organizing such a synod was discussed by the
conference, and it contemplated calling a convention for
that purpose. This conference proposed the absorption
of the Union Synod in this new body, and expressed its
judgment that the call for such a convention should orig-
inate with the Union Synod." The Union Synod took
action upon the matter at its convention of 1868,"* hut it
did not meet the expectation of the Western Conference.
The intention of the Western Conference was to unite in
a new synod all Lutherans in Indiana in sympathy with
the General Council, The Union Synod either did not
understand this, or else evaded the real question and
framed its report so as to embrace all Lutherans in the
92Min. 1866: 22.
93 Letter of Rev. M. J. Stirewalt to the Union Synod.
'-»4 Minutes U. Synod, 1868: 11.
— 226 -
state, irrespective of synodical affiliation. It well knew
that such a union was impracticable and impossible at
that time. But Rev. E. Rudisill, who professed to be in
favor of the General Council, and dominated the synod,
frustrated the design of the Western Conference by insist-
ing upon a plan and terms which he knew it would not
accept.**^ The conference then proceeded upon its own
authority, and a call was issued through the Lutheran
and Missionary for a convention to be held in connection
with the conference at its spring meeting in St. Paul's
church, Fulton county, Indiana, May 20, 1869. The
convention was organized by the election of Rev. G.
Schmogrow chairman, and Emmanuel Reed secretary.
There were eight pastors and three lay delegates present.'"'
Those present were all of one mind as to the necessity of
a new synod. Letters from a number of pastors who
could not be present were received, all urging the organ-
ization of a new ecclesiastical body, but there was a di-
versity of opinion as to the time when the organization
should be effected. Some thought the time not yet at
hand, and the movement premature, and because prema-
ture, might only prevent the future organization of a more
efficient body. The final decision reached was that the
time had come for the organization, and that delay would
prove injurious. The convention appointed a committee to
lay before the English District Synod the reasons and mo-
os Rudisill's vanity and jealousy would not consent to a
proposition of union which originated outside of his own brain.
His actions from henceforward proved that he was not in sym-
pathy with the General Council, but wished to lead the Union
Synod into the General Synod.
90 The pastors were Rev. M. J. Stirewalt, Rev. J. L. Stire-
walt, Rev. Isaac Hursh, Rev. A. V. House, Rev. T. W. Corbet,
Rev. G. Schmogrow, Rev. H. Fairchild and Rev. Frederichson.
- 227 -
tives influencing members in Indiana to form a new synod,
and take counsel from the synod as might best promote the
work. The convention adjourned to meet at Lima,' Ohio,
immediately after the sessions of the English District
.Synod at that place the following August, for the purpose
of consummating as soon as possible the proposed organ-
But before the time arrived for the Lima convention
a storm was gathering that threatened to destroy the
bright prospects of the proposed new synod. To under-
stand the situation we must go back to the Reading con-
vention, December 12-14, 1<S66. The Joint Synod as well
as its English District were represented in that convention
and participated in its deliberations, but when the Gen-
eral Council was organized, November 20, 1HG7, the Joint
Synod not only declined to go into immediate union with
that body, but it also opposed the union of its English
District with it. At its special session in 1SG7, the Joint
Synod appointed delegates to the General Council,'* which
should convene in Fort Wayne the following November,
which indicates that it intended ta consummate its union
with that body. In August, 1867, the P^nglish District
Synod convened, and while its president expressed regret
that the Joint Synod, through a majority at its special
session, declined to enter into immediate union with the
General Council, yet it proceeded to the adoption of both
the fundamental principles of faith and church polity,
and the constitution of the General Council, and appointed
delegates to represent it at the Fort Waj'ne convention.
^" Letter of Rev. J. L. S. in Lutheran and Missionary May
98 Min. of J. Synod, German, of June 13-19, 1867: 12. Also
Min. Eng. Diet. Synod, 18t>7: 12.
— 228 -
When this question came up before the English District
Synod there arose a difiference of opinion as to the pro-
priety of taking action. The matter was referred to a com-
mittee who presented a majority and a minority report.
These reports approved the fundamental principles and the
constitution of the General Council, but the minority re-
port took the grounds that the synod was not prepared to
adopt the documents in question, for two reasons, namely,
respect for the judgment of the Joint Synod as set forth
at its last convention on this subject, as also their desire
for her peace and unity; and, that by appointing dele-
gates to the General Council, the synod would have dou-
ble representation at the next meeting of that body, a
thing to which it was not entitled."'^ The majority report
was taken up and the fundamental principles were
adopted without a dissenting voice. The constitution of
the General Council was adopted by a vote of 32 to 18.
The supporters of the report took part in the election of
the delegates to the General Council, without a protest.'""
It thus appears that the minority acquiesced in this action
and participated in the consummation of the English
District Synod's union with the General Council. The
synod had no thought then, nor the following year of sev-
ering its connection with the Joint Synod by this action.
To this action the Joint Synod took exception, not
on the ground of double representation, but that union with
the General Council was separation from the Joint Synod.
But notwithstanding this position of the Joint Synod, to
which the English District demurred and solemnly pro-
tested its regard, love and devotion to the Joint Synod,
«» Minutes of E. D. S., 1867: 12.
100 Minutes of E. D. S., 1869: 7.
— 229 —
it recognized the English District Synod as :i part of itself,
admitted its representatives without any question, until
after the Lima convention of 1869. The English District
claimed that it exercised its rights, granted by its own
and by the Joint Synod's constitution,"" when it united
with the General Council.'"" Other questions became in-
volved in the dispute and the controversy became quite
bitter. The Joint Synod was determined that the English
District Synod should not remain in the General Council,
while the English District Synod was equally determined
to maintain its union with that body, and let its relation
to the Joint Synod be determined later. It protested its
good will, love and support for that body, and against
the latter's misrepresentations of its action. It desired
peace and harmony, and did not apprehend a rupture
until after its convention of 1868.
The Joint Synod, as before stated, recognized the
English District Synod as an integral part of itself, after
its union with the General Council, received its members
and granted them all rights and privileges. It evidently
hoped to secure a reversal of its action. To secure this
end it was claimed by the English District Synod that
members of other districts were dismissed to it,"" and that
some of its own members were urged to inaugurate revo-
lutionary proceedings."' To protect itself against such
101 At the Reading convention the Joint Synod was counted,
not as one synod, but as five synods. This conceded the right of
each district synod to determine its own relation to the General
Council, irrespective of its relation to the Joint Synod.
102 Minutes of E. D. S., 18()S: 10.
103 There were four pastors, thus dismlBBed, present to be
received at the Lima convention.
104 There was a determined opposition to the movement for'
a new synod in Indiana on the part of the leaders of the Joint
- 230 -
contingencj'', President Worlej^ in his report to the synod
in 1869, recommended the adoption of a resolution requir-
ing all applicants for membership to give assurance that
they are in full accord and sympathy with the synod's
position. This resolution was offered, and immediately
adopted, by a small majority, before organization for the
ensuing year was effected.'"^ This provoked a bitter and
prolonged debate. The president of the Joint Synod was
present and asked to be heard, but was refused. There-
upon a vigorous protest was entered, signed by twelve
pastors and five lay delegates."*^ These withdrew from
the synod, and retiring to the court-house, organized a
rival synod under the same name and title, which body
the Joint Synod recognized as the legitimate English
Evangelical Lutheran District Synod of the Joint Synod.
This disruption and defection wrought such havoc in the
ranks of the Western Conference, some of whom were in
this movement,"" that the proposed convention, after the
adjournment of the synod, was either forgotten or ren-
dered impracticable. For a time the project of a new
synod was deferred.
But the purpose was not relinquished by its friends.
The English District Synod, after the defection and before
the final adjournment, reorganized the Western Conference
under the title the Indiana Conference. It held its first
session in Trinity church, Webster, Kosciusko county.
Synod. They persuaded several Indiana pastors to hold aloof,
and oppose the movement. Their plea was, "Wait until the
I^nglish District Synod has passed the crisis." Letter of Kev. J.
L. S. to Dr. Passavant, May 31, 1869.
105 Minutes of Withdrawing Party, p. 4.
106 Minutes of E. I). Synod, 1869: 24.
107 Revs. G. Weber, G. Schmogrow, A. Birch and W. J.
- 23J -
Indiana, October 26, 1869. At its second convention, held
in East Germantown, Indiana, May 13, 1870, the Rev.
E. S. Henkel, of the Union Synod, was present and re-
ceived as an advisory member. "In accepting the invi-
tation he stated that he had a special object in visiting
this conference, namely to try to effect a union between
the conference and the Union Synod." In its action on
this proposition the Indiana Conference decided "to make
an earnest effort to effect a union between the General
Council element in the state, which union shall be in ef-
fect a synod based upon the principles of faith and churcii
polity of the General Council," and in order to consum-
mate the work, elected a delegate to the next convention
of the Union Synod. It instructed this delegate that if
he found the Union Synod unqualifiedly accepting the
General Council's position, and a willingness to give the
conference a share in regulating the local arrangements
of said synod, steps should be taken by the conference
that its members unite with the Union Synod as soon as
practicable. The delegate, however, did not attend the
convention of the Union Synod, because in the meantime
other questions arose which deferred the contemplated
This action of the conference was referred to the
English District Synod at its convention at Goshen, In-
diana, August 4-9, 1S7(). It was approved and the con-
ference authorized "cordially to invite the ministers of
that state in sympathy with the General Council to meet
with it for the purpose of conferring with reference to a
union in the formation of a new synod in Indiana."
It will be observed that the English District Synod
in its action contemplated the formation of an entirely
new synod, while the Indiana Conference contemplated a
- 232 -
union with the Union Synod, provided it unreservedly ac-
cepted the General Council's position. The District Synod
distrusted the sincerity of the Union Synod, and was
therefore unwilling that its pastors should unite with it
until all possibility of unlutheran views and practices was
precluded. On the other hand the Union Synod disliked
the idea of its own dissolution as a means of effecting the
desired results. Some of its pastors, however, were tired
of the tyranny and vacillations of Rudisill, and were
ready to unite with the new body and leave the Union
Synod to its fate. Under these conditions and because
of personal and synodical interests, it required great cau-
tion, patience, tact, and diplomacy to direct the move-
ments so as to secure the desired object.
The second movement which now played an import-
ant part in the scheme originated with the executive com-
mittee of home missions of the General Council. When
it became evident that a rupture would occur in the En-
glish District Synod, the General Council determined to
occupy Indiana and secure the advantages presented in
that state. The foresight of Dr. Passavant'""* enabled him
to perceive that the field, if occupied, would in time be-
come of great advantage to the Council.
His plan was to preclude as far as possible the ab-
108 The Rev. Dr. Passavant was the leading spirit in the
executive committee of home missions, and it was he who planned
the work. Every matter that might arise to hinder the work in
Indiana was carefully gone over. The Tennessee type of Luth-
eranism, the secret society question, the General Synod's influ-
ence in the state, the vacancies, the new fields that were open,
and the man best fitted for the field missionary, all were carefully
weighed. The correspondence between the executive committee
and Kev. J. L. Stirewalt reveals these facts, and shows that the
work was carefully planned and skillfully executed.
- 233 -
sorption of the Union Synod by the General Synod, to
which Dr. Rudisill, notwithstanding his former bitterness
toward that body, and his hard sayings against it in his
"Expose," was now not only ready, but determined to
lead it. As seen in the preceding chapter, the General
Synod was courting the Union Synod, and making over-
tures to it to come that way. This was the only formida-
ble obstacle that stood in the way of the success of the
Council. The Joint Synod element in the state was not
acceptable to the Union Synod, so that the executive
committee had little or nothing to fear from that quarter.
The Indiana members of the English District Synod who
remained true to the Joint Synod were so small a minority,
and so undecided, that it required all the tact and influ-
ence of the Joint Synod to hold them in line. The real
question, therefore, resolved itself to this, can the General
Council secure for itself the pastors and congregations of
the Union Synod? The proposition was a delicate one,
and the most skillful diplomacy was necessary to solve it
to its own advantage.
Another matter was also to be kept in mind. The
English District Synod, after the rupture at Lima, could
not spare its Indiana men until its relation to the Joint
Synod was determined. That body was ready as early as
1868 to authorize its pastors and congregations in Indiana
to form a new synod, but after the Lima convention it
dared not weaken itself by dismissing them for that pur-
pose until the crisis had been passed. The first intention
was to organize a new synod in Indiana, and leave the
Union Synod to its fate, but the other question forced it
to hold the matter in abeyance for a year or more. This
explains the delay on the part of the Indiana Conference,
and the failure of its delegate to the Union Synod to
attend its convention in 1870. Meanwhile the sentiment
in the Union Synod favorable to the Council was develop-
ing, and the executive committee was quick to take ad-
In order to carry out its plans most effectually the
executive committee called the Rev. Julius L. Stirewalt
as the special agent of the General Council for Indiana.'"'
Among other duties he was instructed "to do all in his
power to promote the organization of a new synod in In-
diana in harmony with the General Council, and to organ-
ize new congregations, and supply vacancies." The ex-
ecutive committee planned the work, and he worked the
The selection of Rev. J. L. Stirewalt for this delicate
position was a wise, fortunate and happy choice. He
was brought up under the Tennessee type of Lutheranism,
and would therefore commend himself to the conservative
men of the Union Synod. He was a member of the En-
glish District Synod, and had the confidence of all the
General Council brethren in that body. He had never
been a member of any secret society, so that the Joint
Synod men could not cast that charge in the way. In
disposition he was most affable, and courteous in deport-
ment. As a preacher he was persuasive, and as a debater
there were few who cared to combat him. He won and
held the friendship and confidence of many wherever he
went, and he was oblivious to the criticisms and attacks
of his opponents.
No sooner did he receive his commission than he set
about the work. His methods were honorable and above
board. He met the objections of the Joint Synod and of
the General Synod to the Council's position frankly, and
109 The call is dated March 15, 1869.
— 235 -
replied to them without evasion. He placed the (»nicial
documents of the several bodies before the people and
the pastors, and encouraged them to examine them for
themselves. He was a sound Lutheran, and irenical in
spirit. His first work was to visit the vacant parishes in
Indiana, and supply them with preaching. He was in-
strumental in having General Council pastors placed in
several vacant parishes. Rev. M. J. Stirewalt was called
to the East Germantown charge. He had served 8alem,""
Augusta, St. Marks, Whitestown, and St. James, Mont-
gomery county, for some years while they were in connec-
tion with the Union Synod and prepared them for the new
synod.'" These he continued to supply until a General
Council pastor could be placed in charge, which was soon
effected by the calling of Rev. J. Wesner. The Mulberry
parish was also secured to the General Council. The
divided sentiment was overcome and the congregations
prepared for the new step. All doubtful points were
visited, and the General Council's literature diligently
circulated. The efforts of Rudisill and his followers,
Revs. D. Smith and A. Thompson, were successfully
checkmated in almost every case. On May 21, 1871, he
met a number of the Union Synod pastors at St. James'
church, Montgomery county, and had a conference with
them relative to the free conference soon to be held at
Whitestown, Indiana. The sentiment expressed by them
was that none of them cared to hold on to the old organiza-
tion."" The leaven was working and everything promised
well for the future. Rev. J. L. Stirewalt was faithful to
no Salem was independent.
111 Min. Union Synod, 'G6: 9; '(57: .3.
112 Those pastors were E. S. Henkel, Jacob Wesner, J. E.
Wesner, N. Booher, H. Fairchild.
— 236 -
his trust. Enfeebled by disease and frequently unable to
preach, he continued his work into which he was called,
until the task was completed, and then he entered into
his rest in Christ and in peace. "^
On the territory of the contemplated synod there was
also a man to whom much credit is due for the final suc-
cess of the movement. This was the Rev. M. J. Stirewalt.
He could not affiliate with the Union Synod, because of
its doctrinal position and lax practices, although for sev-
eral years he served congregations in connection with that
synod. He was brought up under the Tennessee Synod,
and this gave him an advantage with the congregations
that had suffered from the Destructionism heresy. He
was a member of the English District Sj'nod, and heartily
in sympathy with the General Council. He was to a
large degree the mediator between the Union Synod mem-
bers and the English District Synod. He cooperated
heartily with Rev. J. L. Stirewalt, aiding him in the vis-
itation of the churches, and supplementing his work with
an extensive correspondence. He enlisted the sympathy
and cooperation of several pastors of the Union Synod, in
the proposed new synod and aided in turning the senti-
ment of the congregations Councilward.
Within eighteen months after the Rev. J. L. Stire-
walt entered upon this delicate task, supported by the
executive committee and by the conservative Lutherans
upon the ground, the field was ready for a forward move-
ment. The Indiana Conference met August 9, 1870, in
Goshen, Indiana, and issued a call for a convention of
all the General Council element in Indiana, to meet in
Whitestown, Indiana, June 20, 1871. In response to this
113 He died June 16, 1872, aged 40 yrs., 2 mos. and 4 days.
— 237 —
call the following pastors were found to be present : Rev.
Samuel Wagenhals, of Fort Wayne, and a member of the
Pittsburg Synod; Revs. E. S. Henkel, Jacob Wesner, J.
Efrid Wesner, Nathan Booher, of the Union Synod ; Revs.
Isaac Hursh, J. Weber, Henry Fairchild, David M. Wise-
man and Miles J. Stirewalt, of the English Evangelical
Lutheran District Sjnod ; Rev. C. F. Sandstrom, of La
Faj^ette ; Reuben E. McDaniel, a student of theology, and
Delegate Joseph Etter. Organization was effected by
electing Rev. J. Weber, president, and Rev. M. J. Stire-
walt, secretary. The convention entered upon the work
before it. Various resolutions were offered in order to
bring out the sense of the conference, in reference to a
union in the formation of a new synod. After a full and
free discussion of the various plans presented upon whicli
a union in a new synod should be effected, the following
preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted :
''Whereas, in the judgment of this conference, the
time has come that an effort should be made to consoli-
date all Lutherans in the state of Indiana who confess
the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, be it therefore
''Resolved, that we, the members of this convention,
pledge ourselves to use every proper means in our power
to bring about such consolidation at as early a day as
"Resolved, that as a preliminary step to such organ-
ization, we adopt the fundamental principles of faith and
church polity as set forth in the constitution of the Gen-
eral Council of the Evangelical Lutheran church in North
"Resolved, that a committee of four ministers be ap-
pointed to prepare a constitution, and to correspond with
all Evangelical Lutheran ministers in Indiana known to
— 238 -
be in sympathy with the General Council, inviting them
to unite with us in a convention for the purpose of unit-
ing the Lutheran element in the state in sympthy with
the General Council into one synod.
''Resolved, that said committee be empowered to de-
termine the time and place of holding such convention,
and to issue a call for the same, if possible, within the
The committee was elected by ballot, and consisted
of Revs. Samuel Wagenhals, J. Weber, Jacob Wesner, and
J. Efrid Wesner, who in due time called a convention to
meet in Zion's Evangelical Lutheran church. East Ger-
mantown, Indiana, October 19, 1871. (Manuscript Min-
utes of the Free Conference.)
The convention met at the appointed time and place.
Three clerical representatives from the Union Synod,
Revs. J. Wesner, J. E. Wesner and Nathan Booher, and
a like number from the English District Synod, Revs.
Isaac Hursh, J. Weber, and M. J. Stirewalt, and four lay
delegates were present. The object of the convention
was stated to be the organization of "a synod in which
may be united, if possible, all Lutherans in the state of
Indiana who confess the Unaltered Augsburg Confession
and desire cooperation with the General Council." Or-
ganization was effected by the election of Rev. J. E. Wes-
ner president, and Rev. J. Wesner secretary. After three
days' deliberation a constitution was adopted, and by
resolution the convention organized the Indiana Synod of
the Evangelical Lutheran church. The officers elected
were Rev. J. E. Wesner, president, Rev. J. Wesner, sec-
retary, and Rev. M. J. Stirewalt, treasurer. The date
was Monday, the 23d day of October, A. D., 1871.
— 239 —
The person to whom the credit for this successful and
happy consummation is chielly due is the General Coun-
cil's home missionary in Indiana, the Rev. J. L. Stire-
walt. It was through his personal visits to the Union
Synod at St. George's church, Shelby county, Indiana,
in 1869, and at Newberry, Indiana, in 1870, that that
body was induced to accept the proposition to form a new
synod instead of attempting to absorb the General Coun-
cil element in the state. It was due to his clear and
forcible argument, and his candid explanation of the
General Council's fundamental principles at the conven-
tion of 1869, that led the Union Synod to adopt those
principles. At this convention he succeeded in staying
the efforts made by the representatives of the General
Synod to lead the Union Synod into that body. It was
he, when the wily Rudisill and his followers planned to
reverse a former action, that met their arguments man-
fully, and saved the synod to the General Council. It
was this defeat that induced Rudisill to withdraw from
the synod and let it take its course. When the Union
Synod finally left the question to its congregations with
which of the two general bodies it should unite Rev. J.
L. Stirewalt was diligent in visiting them and explained
to them the position and principles of the two bodies.
In this he took no advantage that was unfair. His pur-
pose was to develop among the churches a deeper Luth-
eran consciousness and a more churchly practice. So
forcilile were his arguments, so frank his manner, and so
deferential his attitude toward his opponents, that he sel-
dom failed to win the confidence, love and esteem of all
who heard him. It was with great joy therefore that he
saw the successful consummation of this work, and he
felt amply repaid for his labors. To him, perhaps more
— 240 —
than to any other man, does the Indiana (Chicago) Synod
owe its existence. The executive committee planned
wisely, but without his skillful execution the plans would
have failed. "We see very clearly," writes Dr. Passavant
June 10, 1869, "that God has directed us in the choice of
our missionary, to the praise of His Holy Name. It
seems really providential that we entered the Indiana
The doctrinal basis of the Indiana Synod was dis-
tinctively and unequivocally Lutheran. In view of the
movements that led to its formation, no other position
could be expected. "It confesses that the canonical
books of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of
God, given by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and are the
clear, only and sufficient rule of faith; that the three
general creeds, the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athan-
asian, exhibit the faith of the church universal, in accord-
ance with this rule ; that the Unaltered Augsburg Con-
fession is, in all its parts, in harmony with the rule of
faith, and is a correct exhibition of doctrine ; and that
the apology, the two catechisms of Luther, the Smalcald
articles, and the formula of Concord, are a faithful devel-
opment and defense of the doctrines of the Word of God,
and of the Augsburg Confession." It provided that all
questions concerning the faith and practice of the church,
and the administration of the sacraments, shall be decided
in accordance with this rule, and with these confessions.
The synod at its first convention devoted itself to the
home mission cause. Its territory was rich in Lutheran
material and in opportunities for establishing new congre-
gations. This legacy left to it by the Union Synod, while
not altogether desirable, was nevertheless entitled to solic-
itude and care. There were some twenty or more con-
— 241 —
gregations still in existence, some of them strong and
united, some weak and rent in factions, which required
shepherding. It was demonstrated in a few cases that
with the adverse influence of Rudisill removed, the dis-
sentient elements could be united and harmonized, and
churchly practices introduced.
The letters of Rev. J. L. Stirewalt show that the
Lutheran material was sufhcient in many places to form
respectable congregations. In most cases it was only
waiting to be gathered and shepherded. While he was
charged in his call to organize new congregations the
other duties of promoting the organization of a new synod
so taxed his feeble strength, and required so much of his
time, that this important work had to be deferred indefi-
nitely, and because of this delay, much of it was lost to
the Lutheran church.
It therefore fell to the lot of the newly organized
synod to enter the field and look after the material which
was waiting to be gathered and organized. In order to
secure the best results with their limitetl means, the
synod resolved upon the following: "1. That each of
our congregations be recommended to organize societies
in their connection for the purpose of raising funds for
missionary and educational purposes, and that they be
requested to turn over such funds to the synodical treas-
ury, to be applied to such mission and educational wants
as maybe presented to the synod. 2. That the president
shall assign to each minister of this synod a mission field.
3. That each minister shall visit, as often as necessary,
such mission field, and report its c-ondition to the presi-
dent. 4. That the president shall use his efforts to secure
pastors for such mission fields, and 5. That such mis-
sion fields be requested by the minister visiting them to
- 242 -
pay his traveling expenses." In his annual report the
next year the president called the synod's attention to
the missionary work, urging that it should make itself a
missionary synod, that occupying missionary grounds as
it did, the only hope of the Lutheran church in this state
for a glorious future lay in a faithful and zealous prosecu-
tion of her missionary work. The educational cause was
urged in the same connection, "for we can no more sus-
tain missions without men," says the president, "than
we can sustain them without money." In order to pros-
ecute this work intelligently and systematically that per-
manent results might follow, and in order to enter more
aggressively upon the work, the synod created the office
of superintendent of missions, whose duties were to sup-
ply vacant congregations, and to look after the mission
interests of the synod. The synod pledged him a salary
of $500 per year and his traveling expenses. He was
authorized to receive offerings from the congregations and
missions visited by him, which were to be credited to the
synod. Rev. M. J. Stirewalt was elected as the first in-
cumbent of this office. Pastor Stirewalt also was the
home missionary for Indiana under the appointment of
the executive committee of the General Council. He en-
tered zealously upon the duties of his office. At the time
of his election there were eight vacancies in the sj^nod,
and followed by two more shortly after. Most of these
he supplied at intervals during the year, or made ar-
rangements with other pastors to have them supplied. He
sought with a good degree of success to encourage and
preserve existing vacant congregations and wherever
practicable, he assisted them in obtaining pastors. Four
of the vacant pastorates were thus provided for. He also
sought, as opportunity offered, to encourage the widely
scattered members of our household of faith to steadfast-
ness, and to attempt new enterprises in the interests of
our beloved Zion. During the first year of his oHice lie
made 40 visits to congregations, preached 117 times, cate-
chised 27 times, baptized 23, confirmed 2S, and held five
communions. He collected from points visited $541.65,
and his traveling expenses were $139.45. At its conven-
tion in 1873 the Synod adopted the "Plan of Action for
Missionary Work" recommended by the General Council.
Pastor Stirewalt was elected missionary president, as pro-
vided for by said plan, and also as superintendent of
During the year following this convention, the mis-
sionary president of the synod labored quite zealously,
and the work prospered. He authorized several pastors
to make missionary tours, in order to supply vacancies
and missions, as the field was so extensive that the mis-
sionary president could not attend to all the calls in per-
son. Several vacancies were supplied with pastors
through his efforts. Many of the vacant congregations
were in a dying condition, some of them entirely disor-
ganized, while others, feeling themselves neglected, had
lost much of their zeal and church love. Into most of
these, by the blessings of God, the labors of the general
missionary and others infused new life, fresh love and
earnest zeal. During the year he preached 10(j times,
catechised frequently, baptized 16, confirmed 2, held 5
communions, organized one congregation, and assisted at
the dedication of one church. During the year he col-
lected $34.S.70, and his traveling expenses were $191.05.
Then followed, an interim of nearly two years that the
synod did not have a traveling missionary, but left the
work chiefly to the missionary president, who could de-
— 244 —
vote only a part of his time to it. Yet under these con-
ditions the work to a degree prospered. The sj'nod's
interest in the mission cause did not diminish, but it was
unable to secure a suitable person who would accept the
call to the place. After October 1875, the synod did not
elect a general missionary, but left the missionary president
to discharge the duties of that office. In March 1876, Rev.
J. E. Wesner devoted the whole of his time to this work,
until the next meeting of the synod. He visited the va-
cancies, supplied the missions, and thus kept alive the
interest in the work. From November 7, 1876, Rev. R.
E. McDaniel labored in the capacity of general mission-
ary until May 7, 1877. During the six months of his
office he held 66 services, visited 81 families, baptized 8,
held two communions, received into membership 28,
officiated at three funerals, and traveled 1,918 miles.
Collected $119.28, expenses, $62.87. He reported the
outlook favorable. In 1877 he was elected missionary
president, and gave personal attention to the field. He
reported great desolation in the bounds of the synod,
with no available remedy at command. The children of
the church cried for bread, and went elsewhere to find it.
From 1879, onward, the missionary president was usually
so situated that his own parish required all his time, and
he could not give any time to personal inspection and
oversight. He exercised a kind of superintendence over
the missions, and presented recommendations to the
mission committee for their action.
The synod, during this period, did excellent mission-
ary work. Several mission charges were formed, which
subsequently became respectable and prosperous parishes.
In some places where funds were appropriated no fruits
were produced. The St. Paul's church, Olney, 111., was
— 245 -
for a while a mission of the synod, hut left irregularly
and united with the Central Illinois Synod. Mt. .Solo-
mon's church, Corydon, Indiana, received assistance for
several years and flourished. The First English P^van-
gelical Lutheran church of Decatur, Illinois, was organ-
ized October 24, 1882, and the next year was received by
the synod and placed on its list of missions. It grew
steadily in strength and influence, and was subsequently
transferred to the Board of English Home Missions of the
In 1884 Rev. Jesse Dunn began work at Syracuse
and Nappanee, Indiana, in connection with his charge
at Benton. The outlook was auspicious, and aid was ex-
tended for several years, and in due time the field became
a self-supporting parish. In 1888 two new missions were
assumed and in part supported by the synod — St. Paul's,
Frankfort, and Zion's, Portland, Indiana. The former
had existed for some years and was a part of the Mul-
berry parish. Its interests demanded the entire time of a
pastor, and it was therefore detached from that parish and
became a mission of the synod. It called the Rev. D. L.
Reese, and grew steadily in strength and influence, and
in the course of several years became self-sustaining.
Zion's, Portland, Indiana, was organized by Rev. M.
J. Stirewalt in 1888. It was received into synodioal con-
nection the next year, and aid furnished it. It made
progress in the face of many obstacles, and with the mis-
sions at Frankfort and Decatur, Illinois, was transferred
to the Board of English Home Missions of the (Jeneral
Council, December 1, 1892. This action was taken upon
the recommendation of the General Council, in order that
all missions of the several synods might l)e under the
management of the Board. But tin- other synods of the
- 246 -
Council declined to transfer their missions, and the In-
diana Synod, after paying over to the board all its mission
funds, for several years resumed sjmodical missionary ac-
tivity. Its field was rich in material and vast in oppor-
tunities. Its growth as a synod depended upon the mis-
sion work. The General Council's Board did not feel
prepared to prosecute the work in the synod's territory,
as its importance demanded, and the synod therefore felt
itself called to prosecute its own mission work to the full-
est extent of its ability. It expressed itself ready, how-
ever, to turn all its mission interests over to the Board,
whenever the other synods would do the same.
In 1893 Rev. J. F. Booher, on his own responsibility,
canvassed Elwood, Indiana, and organized a congrega-
tion. It asked assistance from the synod, but it was un-
able to grant as much as was desired, owing to its relations
to the Board of English Home Missions. Rev. Mr.
Booher, however, continued his labors with success. A
lot was purchased and a church erected. Money for this
purpose was contributed by friends of the cause. In 1894
the mission applied for membership in the synod, pro-
vided an appropriation of $200 was made for its support.
This proposition the synod could not accept, but it assured
the mission that all would be done for it that lay within
its power. This action displeased the mission, and it
sought membership and assistance from the Olive Branch
Synod, which received it into synodical connection, and
granted the desired aid.
In 1893 the General Council's Board of Home Mis-
sions organized a congregation in Anderson, Indiana, and
called Rev. W. J. Finck, of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, as
the missionary. The congregation was received into the
synod in September of the same year. About tlie same
— 247 —
time work was also begun by tlie board in Englewood,
Chicago, which resulted in tlie organization of St. John's
English Evangelical Lutheran church. It became a part
of the synod in 1895.
The synod took commendable interest in the edu-
cational work that is inseparably connected with the
church's progress. It felt the need of a thoroughly
equipped ministry, and the advantages of an intelligent
laity. In order to secure the former it rendered substantial
aid to young men who offered themselves as candidates
for the holy oflice, that they might prepare themselves in
approved institutions. The practices that obtained under
the Synod of Indiana, and the Union Sj'nod, while the
best the conditions then prevailing made possible, were
however very unsatisfactory, and the time had now come
when such training was inadequate to the demands. The
Synod therefore wisely required, whenever possible, that
its candidates secure a collegiate and seminary training.
Until 1891 it had but few candidates who could take such
a course, but after that year, it has had beneficiaries on
its roll continuously. In its earlier years it aided young
men, who, when their course was completed remained in
the east. This had a discouraging effect, as these men
were sorely needed in its own, but less inviting fields.
In order to retain its candidates, it permitted a number
to pursue their studies privately and ordained them to the
office of the ministry as soon as it was satisfied with their
acquirements and (jualifications.
The needs of a collegiate and theological institution
were long felt l)y the churches in this territory, and long
before the civil war, steps were taken by the congregations
and the Synod of Indiana, looking towards such an under-
taking. But the time had not yet come, nor were the
- 248 -
churches able to establish such an institution. But the
hope never was abandoned. When the project of estab-
lishing a theological seminary in Chicago by the General
Council was made public, the churches in Indiana hailed
it with joy. The synod took a deep interest in the move-
ment, as it promised a solution of the perplexing question
that confronted it, namely the planting of missions, and
manning them. It also promised ministers who were
trained for the work, workmen that need not be ashamed,
rightly dividing the Word of truth. As early as 1869 the
General Council contemplated the opening of such a
seminary in Chicago, and took action relative to it each
In 1872 the General Council gave tangible form to
the institution by electing a board of directors, consisting
of twenty-four members. Of these the Revs. Samuel
Wagenhals and John H. Hunton, and Messers. H. J.
Rudisill, Geo. H. Dieckmann and Andrew Drischel were
of the Indiana Synod. Rev. E. Jacobs was elected English
professor in the institution, and a constitution for its
government was adopted. Everything promised favorably
for the early opening of the seminary. But unforeseen
obstacles arose which compelled the council to defer the
opening of the institution. In 1876 the delegation of the
Indiana Synod to the General Council reported on this
matter as follows : "Nobody in connection with the General
Council has a deeper interest in the ultimate success of
such an institution than our synod. Occupying as we do,
the most westerly position of the English synods of the
council, charged with the cultivation of a field that would
tax a body of three times our number, dependent entirely
upon removals from other synods to supply vacancies in
our established parishes, and utterly at a loss for men to
FIRST ENGLISH LUTHERAN CHURCH
N. Main and Williams St., Decatur, 111.
CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRINITY
LaSalle Ave. and Elm St., Chicago, III.
— 249 —
develop our extensive mission fields, what can our future
be but one of failure if we have no definite and constant
source from which to draw our supplies for the ministry?
Some of us have long doubted the wisdom of a theo-
logical seminary at Chicago, unless the men and means
could be had to establish, at the very outstart. a school of
high order. Experience and a minuter knowledge of the
needs of our church in the west, have induced us to recede
from this opinion. Great is the harvest to which the cities
of our territory invite us, but not so abundant as the fruit
which faithful labor might gather in our towns, villages
and country districts, where little bands of Lutherans iiave
cast their lot. Another generation, and they nmst be lost
to our church if not cared for. From this fact we cannot
turn away. For the work of gathering these, our scattered
brethren, into congregations there is needed, not so much
the man of great abilities or of polished education, as the
pious, humble, practical man, who, with average talent,
has been trained to expound the word of God in accord-
ance with sound theology. For the training of such a
ministry, a seminary fully equipped and endowed, is not
requisite. Rather your delegates are persuaded that the
General Council has now at its disposal all that is needed
for the beginning of such a school, and though its origin
be but as a grain of mustard seed, such is the soil in which
its roots shall fasten, that it will in time develop into one
of the greatest of its kind. Your delegates would, there-
fore, respectfully suggest that the synod duly consider this
grave question upon the immediate and right solution of
which depends in great measure the cultivation of our vast
mission field.""* In regard to this suggestion the synod
114 In the light of subsequent history, this was ahnost pro-
- 250 -
resolved, "That in its opinion, the wants of our church in
the west demand the early establishing of a theological
seminary in Chicago, Illinois, as contemplated by the
General Council, and that this synod earnestly recommend
to the General Council the immediate opening of said
seminary for the preparation of young men for the mission
work." The next year the proposed seminary was again
earnestly discussed and the synod "desired again to bring
before the General Council the matter of the Chicago
Theological Seminary, hoping that something will be done
as soon as possible." In 1880 the president in his report
to the synod recommended the. reagitation of the estab-
lishment of a theological seminary in the west, and the
synods action thereon was as follows: "Admitting the
necessity of a theological seminary in the west,_. yet in
consequence of our inability to contribute anything worth
while towards that project, and the unwillingness of the
General Council to favor the opening of such an institution
at this time in Chicago, we deem it inadvisable to press
the matter." In the spring of 1891 it was announced
that the Chicago seminary would be opened on October
1st of that year. In bringing the matter to the attention
of the synod, president C. Koerner says: "We should as
a sj^nod, not only hail the coming event with gladness,
and earnestly hope that this new school of the prophets,
Avill, in the providence of God, be instrumental in supply-
ing the waste places of the west with suitable men ; but
also pray and labor in its behalf, so that not a few of the
godly young men in our churches may find their way
within its walls." This language the synod endorsed as
the expression of its sentiment, and when the institution
was opened, Mr. Joseph Allen Leas of Benton, Indiana,
was one of the students present, since which time the
- 251 --
synod has had continuously a representative in that insti-
tution. In 1S94 Mr. Merrill E. Boulton of Goshen, Indi-
ana, entered the institution. The same year Mr. Leas was
ordained, and the synod hegan to reap the fruits of the
Besides the need of a theological seminary for the
training of candidates, the synod was also deeply conscious
of the need of a literary institution in which the youth of
the church might receive a good education under positive
Christian influence. The tendency of the secular schools
has been to lead away from the church and from the faith
of the fathers. Many of her brightest sons, some of whom
in their youth had the ministry in view, were not only
lost to the church, but alienated from the faith through
the materialistic influence of the secular schools. Some
entered institutions of other denominations and were in-
duced to cast their lot with them, instead of entering the
service of the Lutheran church. The synod always felt
that the only way in which to avoid this materialistic
spirit and unchurchly tendency lay in the establishment
of an institution, liberal in its offers, broad in its curri-
culum, and positively Christian in its spirit and atmos-
phere, in which the youth of the church and all others
who desire to avail themselves of the opportunities might
receive instruction and training. The need was sorely
felt, but the necessary means for its realization were not
at hand. As in the question of the theological seminary,
the synod had to wait until Providence indicated the
time, prepared the agent, and opened the way.
In order to be ready to avail itself of any opportunity
that might open to the synod, it appointed a committee
in ISO?, which was continued for several years. This
committee was charged to receive and investigate thor-
- 252 -
oughl}' any proposition for the establishment of such an
institution. Two propositions were submitted to it. The
one was from Mrs. E. L. Dieckmann, of Vandalia, Illi-
nois, who tendered her residence property in that city for
such a purpose. The offer was declined for various rea-
sons, the chief one being the location, not being central.
The other was a proposition from the Lima Educational
Association, to transfer to the Chicago Synod and the
Evangelical Lutheran District Synod of Ohio, jointly,
Lima college. This proposition was carefully considered,
but owing to the heavy liabilities of the institution, which
the synods would have to assume, it also was declined.
No further propositions were received, and the committee
was finally discharged.
But the educational interests were not lost sight of.
In 1900 Rev. P. C. Wike became the pastor of the Col-
burn parish. He at once agitated the matter of Christian
education among his people, and met with a hearty re-
sponse. Under his leadership and direction they resolved
to open and maintain a parish school. A building was
secured and a teacher employed, and the work was begun
in an humble way. The thoroughness of the instruction,
and the positive Christian character of the institution,
commended it to all, even those who were not members of
the church, and won for it patrons, friends and supporters.
The school prospered in its humble sphere, and promised
greater usefulness if its sphere could be enlarged and the
support increased. In 1903 the management tendered
the school to the synod. A board of trustees was elected,
with instructions to accept the institution, operate and
maintain it, but without any pecuniary responsibility to
the synod. This board is self-perpetuating, and has be-
come incorporated. Its charter privileges are liberal,
- 253 -
making ample provisions for the future enlargement of its
scope of instruction. Under the management of this
board the school has grown to the grade of an academj'.
In 1905 it was removed to Mulberry, Indiana, where it
now owns twenty acres of ground. A landscape architect
has surveyed the grounds, designated the location of
buildings, driveways, walks, shade trees, and athletic
grounds. In 1906 a four-story building, including base-
ment, was erected at a cost of $20,000, and dedicated on
Sunday, February 10, 1907. "The aim of the board of
directors in establishing this institution is to make it a
distinctively Christian school. The moral and spiritual
training of its students is given equal attention with the
intellectual training, hence the Bible holds a central place
in the course of study. Christian conduct is' urged in the
life of its students, and persistent neglect of Bible study,
and unchristian conduct will not be tolerated." The doc-
trinal basis of the Academy is distinctively Lutheran, and
true to the church it represents, yet it is by no means
narrow nor exclusive to students of other denominations.
The catalogue for the scholastic year 190(5-7 shows a
faculty of five instructors and forty-four pupils. From
present indications a bright future is before this institu-
tion, and that it will in due time grow into a full-Hedged
The synod always maintained the most cordial rela-
tions with the other synods of the General Council.
When it was organized the territory designed for it was
the state of Indiana. In 1.S67 the Synod of Illinois and
adjacent states was organized, and became a part of the
General Coun(ul. But before the Indiana Synod was or-
ganized that l)ody withdrew from the Council, thus having
Illinois as open territory for General Council Knglish
— 254 —
Lutheranism. St. James' congregation, Vandalia, 111.,
was a member of the Illinois Synod, but being a mission
of the General Council, it was held by the Council when
that synod went into Missouri, and became a part of the
synod in 1873. St. Mark's congregation, Nokomis, Illi-
nois, was received in 1872. The Gila pastorate in 1871,
and the Claremont pastorate, consisting of St. James'
and St. Paul's congregations, were received in 1874. By
this turn of affairs the whole state of Illinois became
practically a part of the synod's terrritory. Its eastern
boundary was fixed as the Ohio-Indiana state line, but its
western boundary was left undefined.
At the time of its organization there were two En-
glish General Council congregations in Chicago in connec-
tion with an eastern synod, and subsequently others were
organized. And as the object in organizing the synod
was to unite all the General Council element in these
regions in one new synod, this synod contended that
these congregations and their pastors should of right be-
come affiliated with it. Efforts were made privately to
induce these congregations to come into the synod, and
with some degree of success."^ It bore the anomalous
condition patiently until 1892, when President Jesse Dunn
called the synod's attention to the matter. The commit-
tee on the president's report took a positive stand in the
following action : " Whereas, the constitution of the Gen-
eral Council gives to the district synods the right to de-
fine their respective boundaries, requesting them to be as
nearly geographical as possible, and
''Whereas, it has always been regarded by common
consent, and it was the tacit understanding at the time
115 Rev. C. Koerner came in 1885, Rev. F. C. C. Kaehler,
of the organization of the Indiana Synod, that its territory
shall at least include the states of Indiana and Illinois,
" Whereas, the English Evangelical Lutheran churches
and their pastors, connected with the General Council, in
these states are not all in organic union with the Indiana
''Resolved, 1. That it is the sense and conviction of
this synod that all General Council English congregations
and their pastors in these states, connected with eastern
synods, are in the bounds of the Indiana Synod, and
ought to be in connection with it.
"2. That it is contrary to the letter and spirit of the
constitution of the General Council, and of our conception
of fraternal cooperation, for pastors and congregations
thereof, located in these states, to hold their niemhership
in eastern synods.
"3. That such a state of affairs, and synodical rela-
tion is at variance with the best interests and welfare of
our Lutheran Zion in these states, having a discouraging
effect upon our already weak body.
"4. That we earnestly request those congregations
and pastors within the bounds of this synod, connected
with the General Council, to unite with this synod at
their earliest opportunity.
"5. That if this unnatural relation and injurious at-
titude is continued we shall enter our solemn protest be-
fore their synods and the General Council, and demand
that our rights and claims as a synod be no longer ig-
This action secured the desired results, and in tiie
course of a few years every congregation and pastor re-
no Minutes 1892: 10.
— 256 -
ferred to united with the synod. Not until twenty-five
years after the inauguration of the movement which re-
sulted in the organization of the synod, was its real object
The experience of the synod with some of the General
Synod bodies was not always as pleasant as might be
desired. Its rights and claims over congregations, which
in a fit of ill-humor or under the influence of designing
men, irregularly severed their relation with it, were en-
tirely ignored in not a few cases, when those congrega-
tions applied for reception into those synods. The first
congregation to withdraw from the synod was St. George's,
Shelby county, Indiana, in 1873. It pursued a disorderly
course toward the synod. It was entreated to reconsider
its action and resume its former relation, and admonished
that if it had any grievance to lay it before the synod.
But these admonitions were disregarded and it attached
itself to the Olive Branch Synod. In 1876 the St. Paul's
congregation, Olney, Illinois, through the influence of a
certain man who united with it, decided to withdraw from
the synod and unite with the Central Illinois Synod. It
notified the president of the synod of its action, and asked
for dismission. The president had no authority to dis-
miss a congregation, and requested it to wait until the
next convention, when the matter would come up regu-
larly before that body. But the congregation would not
wait, and sent a commission to the Central Illinois Synod
to ask connection with that body. It was received with-
out regard to the claims of the Indiana Synod. In 1877
the St. Paul's congregation, Shelby county, Indiana, was
regularly dismissed. The Trinity congregation, Lancas-
ter, Wabash county, Illinois, withdrew in 1878 through
the influence of a pastor not in sympathy with the Indiana
- 257 -
Synod. In 1883 the Trinity Lutheran church, Goshen,
Indiana, called a Joint .Synod pastor, and severed its
connection irregularly. It did not even ask for a dis-
missal. It 1886 St, Mark's church, Nokomis, Illinois,
called a General Synod pastor and severed its connection
with the synod. In October, 1889, the First English
Lutheran church of Goshen decided to withdraw, but
through prompt action on the part of the president, was
induced to reconsider its action and remain. Several
other congregations made ineffectual efforts to withdraw,
but the movements were arrested before the object was
attained. In every case of these withdrawals the congre-
gations had called pastors not in sympathy with the synod.
The twenty-fifth anniversary of the synod's organi-
zation was appropriately celebrated on Thursday evening,
September 24, 1S96, in the Evangelical Lutheran church
of the Holy Trinity, Chicago, Illinois. The celebration
was opened with the use of the Vesper service, after
which appropriate addresses were delivered on the follow-
ing subjects: "The Pioneer Work and Pre-existing Con-
ditions," by Rev. M. L. Wagner; "The Organization of
the Indiana (Chicago) Synod," by Rev. J. Wesner; "The
Missionary Operations of the Synod," by Rev. M. J.
Stirewalt, D. D. ; and "The Future Outlook of the Synod,"
by Rev. S. Wagenhals, D. D. The addresses were listened
to with rapt interest by a large congregation.
For a number of years there was considerable dissat-
isfaction with the name of the synod. Its operations had
extended bejond the bounds of Indiana, so that the old
name, the Indiana Synod, no longer properly designated
its sphere of operations. It therefore, at its twenty-tifth
convention, resolved to change its name to the Chicago
Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran church.
The reasons for the change of name from the Indiana
Synod to the Chicago Synod were various and need not
be enumerated here. They were regarded on the part of
all concerned as of sufficient weight to warrant the
change, and the result has proven the wisdom of the step.
With the change of name also came the adoption of a
new constitution. This instrument provides for all the
things which twenty-five years of synodical experience
deemed necessary. The opening of the Chicago Seminary
in 1891 inspired the synod with a larger hope, and prom-
ised a solution of the perplexing problems which hereto-
fore had confronted it. It therefore took a broad outlook
for the future, and planned its work accordingly, and
since which time it has worked the plan with gratifying
success. It prayed the Lord of the harvest to send labor-
ers into the field, and it wrought as it praj'ed, and He
made it the agent for answering the prayer.
In the same year that the name of the synod was
changed it reorganized its mission work. During twenty-
five years of experience it acquired information by which
it proposed to profit. It enlarged the mission committee
to consist of five clerical and four lay members, and pro-
vided that it should meet not less than three times each
year and thoroughly canvass the mission situation and
interests. It was charged to prosecute the work with
vigor. To do this its powers were enlarged to a degree
commensurate with its duties. It reported annually to
the synod, submitted its plans for the future, its judgment
as to the best methods of procedure, and its recommen-
dations as to the appropriations for the respective missions.
In these the synod generally concurred and approved the
committee's plans. It therefore entered heartily, enthu-
siastically and aggressively upon its work. It appealed to
- 259 -
the constituency of the Bynod for support, placed before
them reports of the gratifying fruits of its labors, which
aroused their interest and won their confidence. Its pol-
icy was that each mission should have the entire tinie of
the missionary; that if a student was placed in charge of
a mission it was with the view of it becoming his future
field of pastoral activity. Students were thus encouraged
to create for themselves fields of labor, instead of waiting
for a vacancy to occur in an old and well established par-
ish. This was the policy, and faithfully adhered to, so
far as the existing conditions would permit. The semi-
nary authorities also co-operated with the mission com-
mittee, through the students' help fund of that institution.
By this means points within supporting distance from
Chicago were cared for during eight months of the year,
and by the mission committee during the other four months.
The fruits of this plan and effort were very gratifying.
In 1896 one mission, St. Peter's, Chicago, was organized,
St. Mark's was organized, and two old and almost
dead congregations were resuscitated, namely, Union,
Boone county, Indiana, and St. John's, of Ovid, Indiana.
This was largely due to the aggressive missionary policy
of the synod. In 1897, Hope P^vangelical Lutheran con-
gregation of Chrisman, Indiana, was received into the
synod, but was subsequently transferred to another synod,
in order to receive more regular service. The same year
Wicker Park, and St. Mark's, Chicago, were received,
largely due to the infiuence of the seminary authorities
and the mission committee, while the Hicksville parish,
consisting of two congregations, which had become alien-
ated from the District Synod of Ohio, some years before,
was, through the influence of Kev. Luther Hogshead, a
seminary man, induced to unite with the synod.
— 260 —
The year 1897 witnessed the organization of St.
Matthew's, Chicago, and the erection and dedication of
its house of worship. Work was also begun in Alexan-
dria, Indiana, under the direction of the committee. St.
James', Chicago, was also organized in this year by sem-
inary students. In 1899 Rev. A. J. Reichart, pastor of
the Mulberry parish, began work in Lafayette, Indiana,
which was approved and subsequently supported by the
committee. Rev. A. C. Anda, pastor at Goshen, Indiana,
began operations at South Bend, Indiana, which developed
rapidly, while Zion's, Walnut Ridge, Allen county, Indi-
ana, was resuscitated by the pastor of the Hicksville par-
ish, and received into the synod.
The closing year of the century witnessed the organ-
ization of Zion's, Lafayette, Indiana, January 6th; Holy
Trinity, South Bend, Indiana, January 9th ; St. Luke's,
Chicago, June 1st ; and the Church of Our Blessed Savior,
Alexandria, Indiana, June 3d. In 1901 St. John's,
Nappanee, and the First English Evangelical Lutheran
church of Mishawaka, Indiana, were founded. The year
1903 was ushered in by the organization of Holy Trinity,
Elgin, Illinois. St. Paul's, Detroit, Michigan, organized
some time before, was received into synodical connection,
and the Church of the Atonement, Chicago, was or-
ganized (June.) The next year the Church of the
Epiphany and St. Paul's, Richland county, Illinois, were
received. The year 1905 witnessed the founding of
four new congregations, the Church of the Redeemer,
Aurora, Illinois, and one of the same name in Austin, a
suburb of Chicago, one at Wheeler, Illinois, and Christ
Church, Detroit, Michigan. Work was also begun at
Ely's school house, near Lafayette, Indiana, which has a
promising outlook. In 1907 there were admitted to synod
- 261 -
two congregations, the Church of the Reformation, Buck-
ley, Ilhnois, and the Church of the Ascension, Chicago
Heights, Illinois, and in lOOS Grace Evangelical Lutheran
church of Woodstock, Illinois, was admitted.
In addition to the efforts which culminated in the
above tangible results, work was begun at a number of
points which were full of promise, but which, after a fair
trial, were relinquished because no fruits were apparent.
\\'hen the fruits appeared in due season, the work wa.'<
pushed vigorously. The results from 1.S96 to 15)06, a
period of ten years, were twenty-two congregations organ-
ized, three resuscitated, and five established congregations
received into synodical connection. The present (1906)
statistical summary of the mission committee's report is
as follows: Number of souls in connection with the mis-
sions 1S73, communicants, 729, pupils in Sunday schools,
1,458, These missions have a property value of $.").^,600,
had an income during the year of $11,089.90, and con-
tributed to benevolent objects, $42."). 56. The amount
appropriated by the synod for their support for the synod-
ical year of 1906-1907 is $2,400.
The synod also reorganized its sy.stem of beneticiary
education. Its plan is to conserve its funds contributed
for this purpose, and to aid, not support, the candidates
applying for assistance. The financial assistance rendered
them is considered a loan, without interest, not a gift,
which is to be repaid either in cash, or by service ren-
dered in the capacity of a missionary. Since 1S96 eight
young men have been assisted in preparing for the min-
Recruits for the ranks of the ministry during the first
quarter of a century were few, only ten candidates being
ordained during that period. The reason for this was
- 262 -
chiefly the lack of an institution of learning. There were
gifted young men in the synod who desired to enter the
ministry, but the proper educational facilities were lack-
ing. Some entered institutions of other denominations,
and were lost to the Lutheran church. Some became
discouraged and abandoned the purpose. Some entered
institutions in the east, and when their course was com-
pleted, remained in the service of the church in that sec-
tion. The majority of the candidates that were ordained
during this period of twenty-five years, pursued their
studies privately under the supervision and direction of
some pastor. While they felt the lack of classical and
theological training, they however became zealous, faith-
ful and efficient pastors. The following are those or-
dained during the first twenty-five years :
Rev. Wm. Rein, June 19, 1874, at a special convention.
Rev. John G. M. Hursh, September 27, 1874.
Rev. John M. G. Sappenfield, September 27, 1874.
Rev. Jesse Dunn, June 8, 1884.
Rev. Martin L. Wagner, June 8, 1884.
Rev. David L. Reese, June 16, 1889.
Rev. J. A. Boord, June 1, 1890.
Rev. Mosheim S. Waters, June 1, 1890.
Rev. A. L. Boleik, September 27, 1891.
Rev. J. A. Leas, September 28, 1894.
After the Chicago Seminary was opened the candi-
dates were more numerous. After 1897 there were ordi-
nations either ad-interim, or at the synodical conventions,
each year. They are as follows :
Rev. Austin D. Crile, April 29, 1897, ad-interim.
Rev. Luther Hogshead, April 29, 1897, ad-interim.
Rev. William Hall, April 29, 1897, ad-interim.
Rev. George P. Kabele, B. D., April 28, 1898, ad-interim.
Rev. Loran 0. Pearch, April 28, 1898, ad-interim.
Rev. Zenan M. Corbe, May 29, 1899.
Rev. Harry B. Reed, May 29, 1899.
Rev. Alonzo H. Arbaugh, July 23, l.s9<J, ad-interiiu.
Rev, Paul W. H, Frederick January 7, 1900, ad-interini.
Rev. George F. Dittmar, June 2, 1901.
Rev. William Eckert, June 2, 1901.
Rev. M. E. Haberland, June 2, 1901.
Rev. Henry K. Lantz, June 2, 1901.
Rev. William II. Shepfer, June 2, 1901.
Rev. Joel R. E. Hunt, June 2, 1901.
Rev. John V. Sappenlield, June 8, 1!>02.
Rev. Solomon D. Myers, June 8, 1902.
Rev. William J. Seiberling, June 8, 1902.
Rev. Paul W. Roth, June 14, 1903.
Rev. Paul J. Gerberding,.June 14, 1903.
Rev. L. P. Pence, June 14, 1903.
Rev. Elmer D. S. Boyer, January 19, 1904, ad-interim.
Rev. John Knauer, June 5, 1904.
Rev. Lloyd W. Steckel, June 5, 1904.
Rev. L. J. Baker, June 2.5, 1905.
Rev. Andrew M. Sappenlield, June 17, 190G.
Rev. C. A. Dennig, June 2, 1907.
Rev. Henry M. Thompson, June 2, 1907.
Rev, F. E. Stough, June 2, 1907.
Rev. Martin L. Stirewalt, June 2, 1907.
Rev. H. J. Behrens, June 21, 1908.
During the first twentj'-five years of its history tin-
synod ordained ten candidates to the ministry, an avera^t'
of one candidate every two and one-half years. From
1897 to 1907, a period of ten years, it ordained thirty-one
candidates, an average of one candidate every four
The following ministers were members of this synod
during the time indicated :
Rev. Isaac Hureh, 1871—1874; 1880-March 1, 1897. 177
years, 11 months, 22 days.
Rev. J. Weber, 1871-1872.
Rev. M. J. Stirewalt, D. D., 1871-Februnry 22, lOaS. t H7
years, 9 months, 14 days.
Rev. J. E. Wesner, 1871-1879.
Rev. Jacob Wesner, 1871—1881 ; 1895—1902.
Rev. Nathan Booher, 1871— April 23, 1880. t 56 years, 2
months, 24 days.
Rev. Eusebius S. Henkel, 1871— December 17, 1874. t 63
years, 4 months, 21 days.
Rev. Eli Myers, 1871— February 29, 1876. t 57 years.
Rev. JohnH. Hunton, 1872—1874.
Rev. Samuel Wagenhals, D. D., 1872-
Rev. Henry Fairchild, 1873-June 4, 1891. t 72 years, 4
months, 6 days.
Rev. J. M. Long, 1873—1876.
Rev. Andrew V. House, 1873—
Rev. G. Schmogrow, 1873—1875.
Rev. J. J. Kuntz, 1873—1881.
Rev. James M. Harkey, 1874— October 11, 1875. t 56 years,
9 months, 8 days.
Rev. William Rein, 1874—1876; 1886—1889.
Rev. .John M. G. Sappenfield, 1874-January 24, 1904. t
65 years, 5 months, 2 days.
Rev. John G. M. Hursh, 1874—1887.
Rev. N. Aldrich, 1875—1879.
Rev. D. M. Henkel, 1876—1882.
Rev. George Harter, 1876—1887.
Rev. W. C. L. Lauer, 1876—1881.
Rev. Reuben E. McDaniel, 1877—1890.
Rev. Amon E. Gift, 1879— May 16, 1900. t 50 years, 11
months, 7 days.
Rev. L. M. C. Weicksel, 1879-1887.
Rev. John Good, 1882— June 25, 1902. t 79 years.
Rev. James C. Barb, 1883—1895.
Rev. M. L. Wagner, 1884—1904.
R&v. Jesse Dunn, 1884—1897; 1904—1905; 1909—
Rev. A. W. Walter, 1884-1885; 1893—1896.
Rev. Charles Koerner, 1885—1902.
Rev. Franz C. C. Kaehler, 1886— September 5, 1894. t 48
years, 7 months, 26 days.
Rev. John D. Roth, 1886—1889.
Rev. John F. Booher, 1889—1895.
Rev. David L. Reese, 1889—
Rev. J. A. Boord, 1890-1891.
Rev. Mosheim S. Waters, 1890— 1.S93.
Rev. A. L. Boleik, 1891—1893; 1903—1906.
Rev. J. N. Stirewalt, 1892—1893.
Rev. William J. Finck, 1893— 190(i.
Rev. C. K. Druniheller, 1892-1893.
Rev. W. R. Swickard, 1893—1897.
Rev. W. A. Sadtler, Ph. D., 1S93— 1901.
Rev. Joseph Allen Leas, 1894—189(5.
Rev. G. D. Gross, 1895—1899.
Rev. R. L. Bame, 1895-1896.
Rev. H. L. McMurray, 1896-1898.
Rev. R. F. Weidner, D. D., LL. I)., 1896—
Rev. George H. Gerberding, D. D., 1896—
Rev. Albert T. Clay, Ph. I)., 1896—1901.
Rev. Frank C. Oberly, 1896—1899.
Rev. Isaiah Whitman, 1896—
Rev. William Evans, 1897—1901.
Rev. Austin D. Crile, 1897.
Rev. Wm. Hall, 1897—1898; 1908—
Rev. Luther Hogshead, 1897—1906.
Rev. S. P. Fryberger, 1897— 1»KX).
Rev. Loran O. Pearch, 1898—1901.
Rev. George P. Kabele, B. D., 1898-1904.
Rev. Herman A. W. Yung, 1898—1900.
Rev. A. C. Anda, 1898.
Rev. Clement L. V. Dozer, 1898—1904.
Rev. Albert J. Keichart, 1899—1901.
Rev. Harry B. Keed, 1899.
Rev.Zenan M. Corbe, 1899.
Rev. Polycarp C. Wike, 1900—1908.
Rev. Alonzo H. Arbaugh, 1900.
Rev. Paul W. H. Frederick, 1900-1903.
Rev. Hiram Peters, 1). D., 1901.
Rev. George F. Dittmar, 1901 — 1908.
Rev. William Eckert, 1901 — 1905.
Rev. M. E. llaberland. 1901.
Rev. Joel H. K. Hunt, 1901.
Rev. Henry K. Lantz, 1901—1903.
Rev. William H. Shepfer, 1901—1902.
Hev. William L. Hunton, Ph. D., 1902-1900.
- 266 -
Rev. Solomon D. Myers, 1902.
Rev. William J. Seiberling, 1902.
Rev. John V. Sappenfield, 1902.
Rev. M. E. Boulton, 1903—1906.
Rev. J. C. Dietz, 1903—1906.
Rev. J. A. Miller, 1903—1908.
Rev. Paul W. Roth, 1903.
Rev. Paul J. Gerberding, 1903.
Rev. L. P. Pence, 1003—1906.
Rev. Herbert M. Martens, 1904—1906.
Rev. Theodore Weiskotten, 1904.
Rev. Elmer D. S. Boyer, 1904.
Rev. Lloyd W. Steckel, 1904—1909.
Rev. John Knauer, 1904.
Rev. William Brenner, 1905—1906.
Rev. H. J. Matthias, 1905.
Rev. WilUam C. Miller, 1905—1908.
Rev. L. J. Baker, .1905— 1906.
Rev. Charles R. Dunlap, 1906—1907.
Rev. Edward P. Conrad, 1906.
Rev. Roger C. Kaufman, 1906.
Rev. Andrew M. Sappenfield, 1906—1908.
Rev. Curtis G. Stacy, 1906—1907.
Rev. John H. Wannemacher, 1906—1908.
Rev. V. J. Becker, 1907—1908.
Rev. N. Mattheis, 1907—1908.
Rev. Chas. L. Warstler, 1907.
Rev. C. A. Dennig, 1907.
Rev. H. N. Thompson, 1907.
Rev. F. E. Stough, 1907.
Rev. M. L. Stirewalt, 1907.
Rev. Wm. Hall, 1908.
Rev. Luther J. Smith, 1908.
Rev. F. C. Longaker, 1908.
Rev. E. H. Copenhaver, 1908.
Rev. H. J. Behrens, 1908.
There have been in connection with the synod to this
date, October, 1908, 108 ministers. Of these eleven died,
namely, Nathan Booher, E. S. Henkel, Eli Myers, J. M.
Harkey, Henry Fairchild, Frank C. C. Kaehler, Isaac
Hursh, A. E. Gift, John Good, M. J, Stirewalt and J. M.
The following congregations aro, or have been, con-
nected with the synod :
St. Mark's, Whitestown, Boone county, Indiana.
St. James', Montgomery county, Indiana.
Phanuel, Fountain county, Indiana.
Emmanuel, Fountain county, Indiana.
Philadelphia, Parke county, Indiana.
Fairhaven, Clinton county, Indiana.
t St. Paul's, Shelby county, Indiana.
t St. George's, Shelby county, Indiana.
* St. John's, Rush county, Indiana.
Union, Boone county, Indiana.
* St. Luke's, Boone county, Indiana.
* St. John's, Monroe county, Indiana.
* St. Paul's, Monroe county, Indiana.
St. Peter's, Newberry, Greene county, Indiana.
* Zion's, Daviess county, Indiana.
* Union, Daviess county, Indiana.
Mt. Zion, Knox county, Indiana.
Mt. Solomon, Harrison county, Indiana.
t Trinity, Goshen, Elkhart county, Indiana.
St. Paul's, Benton, Elkhart county, Indiana.
Zion's, E. Germantown, Wayne county, Indiana.
Salem, New .\ugu6ta, Marion county, Indiana.
Holy Trinity, Ft. Wayne, Allen county, Indiana.
t St. Mark's, Nokomis, Montgomery county, Illinois.
Zion's, Colburn, Tippecanoe county, Indiana.
Mt. Zion's (St. John's), Ovid, Madison county, Indiana.
St. Jacob's, Millville, Henry county, Indiana.
Union, Gila, Jasper county, Illinois.
St. Paul's, Tiosa, Fulton county, Indiana.
St. John's, Bruce Lake, Fulton county, Indiana.
St. James', Vandalia, Fayette county, Illinoin.
St. James', Claremont, Kichland county, Illinois.
* St. Paul's, Olney, Kichland county, Illinois.
* Mt. Zion's, Martinsville, Clarke county, Illinois.
— 268 —
* St. Peter's, Osgood, Ripley county, Indiana.
* St. Stephens', Ashland township, Morgan county, Indiana.
t Trinity, Lancaster, Wabash county, Illinois.
* Mt. Zion's, Morgan county, Indiana.
First English, Goshen, Elkhart county, Indiana.
St. John's, Middletown, Henry county, Indiana.
First English, Decatur, Macon county, Illinois.
t St. John's, Spring Valley, McPherson county, Kansas.
* St. Mark's, near Muncie, Delaware county, Indiana.
St. Paul's, Syracuse, Kosciusko county, Indiana.
St. Paul's, Frankfort, Clinton county, Indiana.
t Zion's, Portland, Jay county, Indiana.
Emmanuel, near Nappanee, Kosciusko county, Indiana.
Bethel, Petit, Tippecanoe county, Indiana.
St. John's, Chicago, Cook county, Illinois.
St. John's, Anderson, Madison county, Indiana.
* St. Paul's, Eden, Hancock county, Indiana.
* St. John's, Hagerstown, Henry county, Indiana.
* North Union, Montgomery county, Indiana.
St. Peter's, Chicago, Cook county, Illinois.
Wicker Park, Chicago, Cook county, Illinois.
St. Mark's, Chicago, Cook county, Illinois.
St. Matthew's, Chicago, Cook county, Illinois.
St. James', Chicago, Cook county, Illinois.
St. Luke's, Chicago, Cook county, Illinois.
Epiphany, Chicago, Cook county, Illinois.
Atonement, Chicago, Cook county, Illinois.
Redeemer, Chicago (Austin), Cook county, Illinois.
Holy Trinity, Elgin, Kane county, Illinois.
Redeemer, Aurora, Kane county, Illinois.
Holy Trinity South Bend, St. Joseph county, Indiana.
First English, Mishawaka, St. Joseph county, Indiana.
t Hope, Crisman, Porter county, Indiana.
Holy Trinity, La Fayette, Tippecanoe county, Indiana.
St. John's, Nappanee, Kosciusko county, Indiana.
Our Saviour, Alexandria, Madison county, Indiana.
Zion's, Walnut Ridge, Allen county, Indiana.
Note.— Those marked * have, so far as the writer has been able to learn,
become extinct. Those marked t left the synod.
- 269 -
St. John's, Hicksville, Defiance county, Ohio.
Lost Creek, near Hicksville, Defiance county, Ohio.
St. Paul's, Detroit, Michigan.
Christ's, Detroit, Michigan.
St. Paul's, West Liberty, Richland county, Illinois.
Reformation, Buckley, Illinois.
Ascension, Chicago Heights, Illinois.
Grace, Woodstock, Illinois.
The financial showing of the synod is commenda-
ble. The reports upon which our figures are based
are very incomplete. The amounts actually contril)uted
for the several objects enumerated are in excess of the
figures here given; especially is this true of the general
expense credits, and of the contributions of the Sunday
schools. The expenditures were as follows: For local
congregational expenses, from 1871 to 1896, inclusive,
$235,999.19; from 1897 to 1906, inclusive, $310,116.66,
a total of $546,1 15.8.5. Contributions by the Sunday
schools from 1871 to 1896, inclusive, $6,353.98; from
1897 to 1906, inclusive, $27,812.99, total, $34,116.S7.
Contributed for home missions 1871 to 1S96, $2,414.32;
from 1897 to 1906, $14,454.96, total, $16,.S69.28. For
foreign missions 1871 to 1896, $870.98; from 1897 to
1906, $2,503.70, total, $3,374.68. For all other objects,
including educational institutions, orphan work, church
extension, local benevolence, and current expenses, from
1871 to 1896, $11,846.27; from 1897 to 1906, $37,167.23.
total, $43,013.50, making a grand total of $257.4S4.74
from 1871 to 1896, and $336,872.93 from 1896 to 1906,
and a grand total for the thirty-live years of the synod's
The numerical growth of the synod is indicated by
the following statistics: In 1871 it had 8 pastors, 23 con-
gregations and about 800 communicant members, and I
— 270 —
Sunday schools. In 1896 it had 23 pastors, 37 congrega-
tions with 3,576 communicant members, 31 Sunday
schools, with 343 teachers and 2,871 pupils. In 1872 the
infant baptisms were 65, and accessions 36. In 1896 the
infant baptisms were 159, and accessions 349. In 1906
the infant baptisms were 320 and accessions 689, and the
number of pastors 39, congregations 57, with 5,783 com-
municant members, 48 Sunday schools, with 608 teach-
ers, and 5,169 pupils. The total number of infant bap-
tisms reported is 5,687; of accessions 10,607.
— 27J —
i'ummary of tl)C JJarnrliial iScpnrta.
3 = T.
1874, llji38i 1921
183 162' 16
1875 l(i4()2Ulli:i74 237 21
lS7(iUr4u| 1973! 190 139191145
187711-) 39 2070
118 170,13! <n)|ii05
1878 15 45 2104
13s 217 17' 135
1 879' l(i 2511711
issii i:;-2(; 1954
1!-M 14 2s 2106
18S2 12 2.s,l!l01
18S3 13 2t)2074
18S4 l(i 31 2156
iss:, k; 31 225*^ W;4'304
l^-<i i:i;;'j-4i:) l:;s308
iss; 11 ;;:; J,-,!),; i:;i) 379
62 316 14
224348 19 174i2015
131,217 19 172,1880
54i 11775 02
75 56 j 626 48
3128!l5334024 177 2040
800 40 1 13506 02
103 85 1 S50 00
3413244 147 oCli :;n -j-.-r, -54^
43 20857 00
3428 14s 2111 -J'J ■■■■\: 1524
3576 159 :;r.i :;i -l- JsTi
(10 179S0 07
40331152 2;;- :;5 4 rj :;.>:•
•J'.i 17459 s4
:;•; icfJOS 20
121 7511057 09
3879'119 274 44 41m;:Ms
111 1!»797 56
12s 27 1474 21
4002 200 37:i 39 464 ::5iil
■.''J :f2051 13
214 49 1047 18
40M3 161 433 31» 4:;9 3^1)1
1 J 25231 77
2ti3 33 2092 28
1902 33!4S'4237 2.I:;.-.17:;:; 112:;(;i4
24 1 5
li", 35137 97
201 31 4077 91
I903|3(i':.3 4t;<;:i2rj(iii 11 im 1259
212 11 2695 32
1904;37 53.-.i;;n'j:ii s(i- 1-j :,t;-j 4r,ii4
50 3HS33 14
33s s7 3406 3U
19(l5;i^ 57 5 1:;:, :; 11 s:,;i 49 5S(; 4227
;■:■: ::; 3566 44
1906 3!i 57 5>:; :;-jii (;S9 4M 6lis 516',)
S3 42416 74
l.M ■:,;-s73 62
1907 4(» 5> 5'.iNl 364 725 49 616 5366
iu^ i-.,466» 09
3712 14199143 78
349 90 5510 12
PARSONAGE OF WICKER PARK CHURCH
I 3 S
^ n a
C/3 S U u
U - ^
PARISH HOUSE ST.iLUKE'S LUTHERAN.CHURCH
PARSONAGE ST. LUKE'S LUTHERAN CHURCH
REV. J. M. SAPPENFIELD
REV. PAUL HENKEL AND WIFE ELIZABETH
REV. ANDREW HENKEL, REV. M. T. STIREWALT, D. D.
ST. JAMES' CHURCH
ZION'S LUTHERAN CHURCH
East Germantown, Indiana
ST. JACOB'S CHURCH
East Germantown Parish
ST. JOHN'S LUTHERAN CHURCH
TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH
MT. SOLOMON LUTHERAN CHURCH
On page 217, lines 10 ami 11 from bottom should read :
Rev. M. M. Groves, 1868. License expired October 28, 1868.
Rev. R. E. McDaniel, 1870. License expired August 10, 1870.
MT. SOLOMON LUTHERAN CHURCH
^>K As Ai