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Historical Markings

Where Have We Been?

Where Are We Going?

” . . . Naturally, any study of the Synodical Conference heritage must begin with one man, C. F. W. Walther. We are all his children in one sense or the other. And though we shall have some criticisms to make later on, let it be understood clearly that we view Dr. Walther as one of the most outstanding gifts of our God in the 2,000 years since Christ. He must be counted with the men since St. Paul in a list of Augustine, Athanasius, and Martin Luther.

” . . . Walther’s greatness overshadowed everything else in Missouri. The other members of the faculty of St. Louis were insignificant by comparison in the eyes of the students. The graduates during these first 30 years or so were Waltherians, through and through. This created the unity in Missouri, the strong esprit de corps. There was a consistency in doctrine in every realm of practice and pastoral theology through the Synod. This strong, unified clergy imbued with Walther’s massive spirit stood ready to receive and welcome the mass of immigrants from Germany that flooded the country in the period from 1850 to 1900. This Walther army was not only a well-drilled Prussian army, it had great substance because Walther gave these men more than himself. He stressed above all objective justification, that God had proclaimed an Easter pardon for every sinner in the world. Therein lay Walther’s meaning, his strength, and his great success. Never before since apostolic days has such a host of faithful Gospel creatures arisen in one generation, establishing congregations from shore to shore. As other groups were assimilated by Missouri, they could not bring adverse influences, for the solid corps was too strong and large. If one joined Missouri, one became Missourian. That briefly is what we have inherited from Walther and the Missouri Synod. The entire concept of a confessional Lutheran church in a free society, uncompromising loyalty to Christ, an appreciation of the central truth of objective justification, the importance of Christian Day Schools, sound congregational life adapted to a democratic society, excellent organization, and a zeal for missions.”

–from the 1964 essay ‘A CENTURY OF JUDGMENT AND GRACE’ by Rev. W. Schaller Jr.