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“American Lutheranism.”

Movement about the middle of the 19th c. aimed at accommodating Lutheranism to its Am. environment. A reaction to the surge of Luth. confessionalism in Ger. and Am., it was an attempt to provide for greater fusion of Am. Lutheranism with the Puritanic and Methodistic ethos of Am. It resulted in part from revivalistic and reform movements of first half of 19th c.

Beginnings can be traced to 1844, when the Maryland Syn. (see United Lutheran Church in America, The, Synods of, 11) resolved to prepare “Abstract of Doctrines and Practices of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Maryland.” B. Kurtz* was very influential in the preparation of the document; yet it was not accepted by the Maryland Syn. Then a resolution of the Gen. Syn. (see General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States of America, The) instructed a committee to formulate a “clear and concise view of the doctrines and practices of the American Lutheran Church.” S. S. Schmucker* was chm. of the com.; the report was rejected by the Gen. Syn. In 1853 the Pennsylvania Ministerium (see United Lutheran Church in America, The, Synods of, 22) was readmitted to the Gen. Syn., adding another confessional voice to this body. In 1855 the Definite* Synodical Platform appeared.

Besides Kurtz and Schmucker, S. Sprecher* was a chief advocate of this movement. Largely by his influence 3 small Luth. syns. adopted the Definite Synodical Platform. Kurtz was instrumental in organizing the Melanchthon Syn. (see United Lutheran Church in America, The, Synods of, 11). With few followers, the move toward compromise, unionism, and accommodation was defeated.

See also Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, The, V 13; United States, Lutheran Theology in the.

S. S. Schmucker, Elements of Popular Theology, 9th ed., enl. (Philadelphia, 1860); S. Sprecher, The Groundwork of a System of Evangelical Lutheran Theology (Philadelphia, 1879); V. T. A. Ferm, The Crisis in American Lutheran Theology (New York, 1927); C. Mauelshagen, American Lutheranism Surrenders to Forces of Conservatism (Athens, Georgia, 1936). CSM

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

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