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Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Who is that young fellow who has so much to say?"

As I was reading some of my old blog posts and reviewing some of the sources, I ran across the above question that Prof. Ludwig Fuerbringer overheard in the balcony of St. Paul's Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He recorded it in his book 80 Eventful years – Reminiscences of Ludwig Ernest Fuerbringer, CPH, 1944, on page 67 (HathiTrust copy for free reading).  The year was 1881 and there was a big synodical convention being held in Ft. Wayne.  Why was it big?  Because of a great controversy in the American Lutheran Church over the Doctrine of Election.  There was much interest in this convention... quite a buzz.  Fuerbringer records it thus:
... then followed that important general convention of our church body in 1881 in Fort Wayne, where I again saw Dr. Walther,
There were many "venerable men of the St. Louis faculty" at this convention.  But Fuerbringer highlighted particularly two other men along with Walther.  One of those two men was Prof. George Stoeckhardt who had left Germany to teach alongside Walther, the highly-regarded President.  But there was another man, the one that Fuerbringer singled out, a professor who may have almost stole the show if that were possible with Walther in attendance.  This man created a stir... Fuerbringer was impressed with him and overheard someone in the balcony comment about him:
I remember very well overhearing on the balcony of St.Paul's Church in Fort Wayne the remark of some one saying ...
Who is that young fellow who has so much to say in this important matter and says it so well?
Indeed!  Who is he?
  • Who was that new young man that joined the faculty of Concordia Seminary when he was only 26?
  • Who was that young professor that was given the assignment in 1878 for his very first article in Lehre und Wehre (pgs 371-372) to be the one to review Walther's "doctrinal" textbook, the Baier’s Compendium Theologiae Positivae?  ... while Walther was still living?
  • Who is he that guided the Missouri Synod for 43 years after Walther's death († 1887)?
  • Who is he that lived over 30 years into the Twentieth Century and continued to have much to say to the Church... and spoke so well?
  • Who is that young fellow...   that has so much to say ... in this important matter?

He is the "F.P." in the hundreds of articles and many books he wrote during his lifetime.

He is none other than The Twentieth Century Luther.
He is none other than The Second Walther

(1852 – 1931)
He will be the guide for the true Lutheran Church for our times... here and now 
(sorry President Harrison).

I'm sitting with that church member (spiritually) in Ft. Wayne, up there in the balcony, marveling at such a young man who can speak as the prophets, who can expound on the Doctrine of Election in such a comforting manner... like President Walther.  There he is...  dear God!  ... he is the future of the Missouri Synod!

In my next post, I discuss textbooks... by both Walthers.

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