Search This Blog

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How today's (English) LC-MS = Graebner Synod

[2018-04-19: see also this later post for quote in American Lutheran from Theo. Graebner, The Birth Certificate of today's LC-MS]
I am interrupting this series of Walther quotes to switch gears and expose the transformation of Missouri from old to new, from orthodox to heterodox... away from the Scriptural teaching of Walther and Pieper.
In previous posts (here and here), I have identified the new "Missouri Synod" as the "Graebner Synod" after it's founder, Prof. Theodore Graebner.  Some might fault me and say it was rather other people like  J.W. Behnken or those who staged the "walkout" of the St. Louis Seminary in 1974.  But the spearheading of the demise of the Missouri Synod happened before these people, for it was Theodore Graebner who had first gained a reputation as a "champion" of orthodoxy.  Faithful pastors, teachers, and laymen gravitated to him for guidance and comfort... as if Theodore Graebner was an equal of ... Franz Pieper!  As I stated in my original Internet posting,,:
There was no other man in the world who knew as much as Theodore Graebner about what was going on in the world. He was the editor of the Lutheran Witness, the main publication of the Missouri Synod to its members. And it was to Graebner that many in the Minority [later the ELS] wrote of suspicion with Preus/Torrisons’s explanation of Pieper/Dau/Graebner’s January 9 letter. 
Theodore Graebner was a prolific writer and communicator well before the death of Franz Pieper. In his earlier days he wrote many books, articles and letters seemingly battling unionism, prayer fellowship with heterodox, evolution, Boy Scouts intrusion into the church, lodges, Reformed tendencies, Pietism, Romanism, etc.  Much of his earlier works were in the German language. But in the later half of his life, he turned around on many of his conservative writings to support the issues he wrote against. And he wrote in English.  His turnabout has been well documented. Perhaps one of the better accounts is that of Prof. Mark E. Braun of the WELS in his book A Tale of Two Synods - Events That Led to the Split between Wisconsin and Missouri (TTS), Northwestern Publishing House, 2003. But also Mark Braun published an essay entitled Theodore Graebner: Bellweather of Changes in the Missouri Synod (TGBC) which documents many of the events and writings by and about Theodore Graebner. (email me if you would like the text of this paper for ease of searching as the original download is in rasterized PDF format.)

Theodore Graebner was a "giant" in the history of the Church in the 20th Century, albeit an infamous giant.  After all, he was the judge of Walther and Pieper on the Doctrine of Justification!  He was a translator of Luther's commentary on the book of Galatians, one of Luther's greatest works. Do a Google search on "Theodore Graebner" and so far (as of 3/3/2012), there are no major articles on him... no Wikipedia articles, no extensive biographies, only references to a few books that he published or translated. (Didn't O.P. Kretzmann say Graebner would be a legend? see TGBC pg 215) There is a very brief sketch of his life in the Lutheran Cyclopedia here.  ... except there is the major article by Prof. Mark Braun above of the Wisconsin Synod that rather documents his downfall.
  • Who did the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America turn to in the 1940s to appease the Church on it's teachings and practices?  Theodore Graebner. (see TTS pg 107)
  • Who did the founding fathers of the ELS turn to for comfort and brotherly counsel during the stressful beginnings of that faithful synod?  Theodore Graebner.  (Concordia Historical Institute contains many letters to not only Franz Pieper but also Theodore Graebner.)
  • Who did President Behnken turn to for guidance in clearing up "misunderstandings" between Missouri and the Norwegian Synod?  Theodore Graebner. (see my website
  • Who was chosen to write the book of the biography of Franz Pieper when he died?  Theodore Graebner.
  • And who was it that questioned the doctrine of Justification as taught by Walther and Pieper, Universal, Objective Justification?

Theodore Graebner, founder of the new English LC-MS, the "Graebner Synod"!

Why was Graebner not censured for his article in the American Lutheran magazine in 1939 that directly and publicly questioned Missouri's doctrine of Justification?  Why? Not only did Graebner repudiate Pieper when Pieper warned against the opponents (A.L.C.), but Graebner also repudiated Walther who warned against the Ohio and Iowa Synods' error on this most basic Christian doctrine. Why has virtually everyone overlooked this clear public departure of a St. Louis professor from the doctrine of the Grace of God proclaimed in the Gospel?  When I realized that Graebner not only reversed on issues of unionism and prayer fellowship, I scoured his older writings, the writings that others considered orthodox and conservative.  Nowhere did I find that Theodore Graebner taught or preached the doctrine of Universal, Objective Justification! This has been my test of orthodoxy since the Lord opened my eyes to His Gospel. Virtually all of Graebner's writings were written against something, warning against something.  But did he ever teach the unbounded Grace of God in Christ?  I have not seen it.
Then I will do it now in this blog... I, BackToLuther, will 
repudiate and censure Professor Theodore Graebner of the St. Louis Faculty

Even some of the so-called "conservatives" inside and outside the LC-MS were confused on the Doctrine of Justification. For example Pastor Paul Burgdorf, editor of the Confessional Lutheran periodical, attempted in an article in the September 19, 1983 issue of Christian News to censure the president J.A.O. Preus for his teaching of Objective Justification!  Burgdorf attempted to do this with Walther's teaching on the necessity of faith to receive the Gift.  But Burgdorf rather shows his weakness on the Doctrine of Justification because the necessity of faith, to believe and receive the Gospel, in no way mitigates the doctrine of the Universal, Objective Justification! Burgdorf quotes Walther against Walther!
I will warn all those who are either in today's LC-MS or in fellowship with them of the grave danger they are in because of this basic doctrine of Christianity!
And I will even go one step further on this.  In the current Wikipedia article on "Lutheranism", there are 21 references to the writings of A.L. Graebner (father of Theodore) on Lutheran doctrine. There are only 3 references to the writings of Franz Pieper.  I will not deny there are good teachings in the writings of Prof. A.L. Graebner. But dear reader, if you want to read the best book ever written on complete Christian, Lutheran doctrine, you will get Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics, and read the 3 volumes cover to cover.  Then read them again... and again!
Back To Luther... and the writings of the old German Missouri Synod!

(see this later post for quote in American Lutheran from Theo. Graebner, The Birth Certificate of today's LC-MS)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments only accepted when directly related to the post.