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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Who wrote the history of Downfall of LCMS? ...outsider Edward C. Fendt

In the previous posts (Part 1 and Part 2) of the Timeline of the Downfall of the LCMS, a major source of information came from Prof. Edward C. Fendt.  Who was he?  He was not a member of the LCMS.  He was not a member of either of the sisters synods in the Synodical Conference -- Wisconsin Synod (WELS) or the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS).  Well then, who was Edward C. Fendt?

Edward C. Fendt wrote a book entitled The Struggle for Lutheran Unity and Consolidation in the U.S.A. from the Late 1930’s to the Early 1970’s.  This book was published in 1980 by Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis.

Dr. Edward C. Fendt was a Professor of Systematic Theology at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio from 1936 until 1979.  Quoting from the Introduction of his book:
     From 1947 until his last illness, he was at the center of the effort to unify the Lutheran Church, serving on every one of the fellowship, inter-synodical, or inter-Lutheran committees. He knew intimately the leading Lutheran churchmen of his day. He was unswerving in his dedication to total Lutheran unity.  (my underlining)
     Despite the inflexible and reactionary--as he saw it--path of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in recent years, he never lost faith in that church, in its essential soundness. He never surrendered his fervent hope that a way could be found to preserve the ALC-Missouri fellowship and to bring Missouri into the mainstream of American Lutheranism. The last years of his life brought sadness, but not bitterness, that Missouri was turning away from its historic values. He would never have agreed to any sort of merger that excluded Missouri; he preferred to wait and trust in the Holy Spirit.
Edward C. Fendt was from the old Ohio Synod which later merged into the American Lutheran Conference (ALC).

Edward C. Fendt (unfortunately!) appears to be the best observer of Missouri, even perhaps it's best "judge", since the new (English) Missouri Synod was in a spiraling downfall in it's teaching of the truth.  How could this be?

How could Edward C. Fendt, who held to doctrines that questioned the basic Gospel (or Objective Justification), know best the changing LCMS?
Who knows better about the young girl who loses her virtue than the man who has taken it? (Ezekiel 23, Hosea 1:2)

Edward C. Fendt was what I would call the "ultimate unionist". His solution to all the problems in the Christian Church was to unify... no matter the doctrinal differences.

What was the most striking report that Dr. Fendt had of the Missouri Synod?  ... see my next post.

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