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Walther, Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm

(October 25, 1811–May 7, 1887). 1. Brother of O. H. Walther*; prominent Luth. theol.; b. Langenchursdorf near Waldenburg, Saxony, Ger.; his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were Luth. pastors; educ. Leipzig, where rationalism ruled; influenced for Christianity by a group of earnest students, the F. W. Barthel* family, and M. Stephan* Sr.

2. Left the university ca. 6 mo. 1831–32 because of ill health; read M. Luther during illness; grad. Leipzig 1833; private tutor 1834; ordained Bräunsdorf, near Penig, Saxony, 1837.

3. Walther emigrated to the US 1839 with other Saxons (see Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, The, II); pastor Dresden, Perry Co., Missouri; helped found log-cabin “coll.” (see Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, The, II 4).

4. For subsequent events, including organization of the Mo. Syn., see Altenburg Debate; Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, The, II 2 to III 2; Ministry, Education of, X E. Walther promoted Bible-centered educ. and growth on all levels.

5. Walther and F. C. D. Wyneken* went to Ger. 1851 to discuss doctrinal differences with J. K. W. Löhe*; returned 1852 without reaching unity. See also Church and Ministry, Walther's Theses on.

On Walther's connection with CPH see Publication Houses, Lutheran.

In 1854 the Mo. Syn. authorized pub. of a theol. journal ed. by Walther; he ed. Lehre und Wehre 1855–60, coed. 1861–64; see also Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, The, V 2. Walther gave first impetus toward calling free* Luth. conferences beginning 1856, took part in the 1866 Buffalo* Colloquy and a colloquy with representatives of the Iowa Syn. November 13–18, 1867, Milwaukee, on “open* questions,” millennialism,* antichrist,* and the meaning of confessional subscription. He helped form the Synodical* Conference.

6. Walther gave direction to those who formed The Eng. Ev. Luth. Syn. of Missouri* and Other States. In 1878 Capital U., Columbus, Ohio (see Universities in the United States, Lutheran, 1), a school of the Ohio Syn., which was in doctrinal agreement with the Mo. Syn., conferred on him the unearned, yet gratefully bestowed title of DD (which he had refused for doctrinal reasons 1855 when an honorary doctorate was offered by the U. of Göttingen). From the early 1870s much of his time was taken up by the predestinarian controversy (see Predestinarian Controversy, 2), which erupted in the open 1880.

7. Walther followed M. Luther in emphasizing justification by faith (see Luther, Martin, 6). In his doctrine of the ch., Walther distinguished ch. and structure.

8. Though criticized at times for his polemics, Walther is often described as the most prominent Luth. theol. of the US.

9. Pres. Mo. Syn. 1847–50, 1864–78.

10. In addition to works mentioned or referred to above: Walther issued an amplified ed. of J. W. Baier's* Compendium theologiae positivae; ed. Der Lutheraner. Other works include Americanisch-Lutherische Pastoraltheologie; Casual-Predigten und-Reden; Communismus und Socialismus; Die Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche die wahre sichtbare Kirche Gottes auf Erden; Festklänge; Gnadenjahr; Der Gnadenwahlslehrstreit; Licht des Lebens; Lutherische Brosamen; Die rechte Gestalt einer vom Staate unabhängigen Evangelisch-Lutherischen Ortsgemeinde; Die rechte Unterscheidung von Gesetz und Evangelium; Die Stimme unserer Kirche in der Frage von Kirche und Amt; Tanz und Theaterbesuch; Thesen über den Wucher.

See also Altar Fellowship; Weimarische Bibelwerk, Das.

M. Günther, Dr. C. F. W. Walther: Lebensbild (St. Louis, 1890); C. L. Janzow, Life of Rev. Prof. C. F. W. Walther, DD (Pittsburgh, 1899); D. H. Steffens, Doctor Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther (Philadelphia, 1917); W. G. Polack, The Story of C. F. W. Walther (St. Louis, 1935); W. Dallmann, W. H. T. Dau, Th. Engelder (ed.), Walther and the Church (St. Louis, 1938); Briefe von C. F. W. Walther … an seine Freunde, Synodalgenossen und Familienglieder, ed. L. Fuerbringer, 2 vols. (St. Louis, 1915–16); J. L. Gruber, Erinnerungen an Prolessor C. F. W. Walther und seine Zeit (Burlington, Iowa, [1930]); L. W. Spitz, The Life of Dr. C. F. W. Walther (St. Louis, 1961); Letters of C. F. W. Walther: A Selection, tr. and ed. C. S. Meyer (Philadelphia, 1969); Walther Sesquicentennial No. of the CTM (October 1961).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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