(Definite Platform, Doctrinal and Disciplinarian, for Evangelical Lutheran District Synods; Constructed in Accordance with the Principles of the General Synod). Document born of American Lutheranism; pub. anonymously September 1855; S. S. Schmucker* was instrumental in drawing it up. It included an American Recension of the Augsburg Confession. Its chief object was to obviate the influence of confessional Lutheranism. The Definite Platform charges the AC with error in approval of the ceremonies of the mass, private confession and absolution, denial of the divine obligation of the Christian Sabbath, baptismal regeneration, the real presence of the body and blood of the Savior in the Eucharist. The descent into hell is omitted from the Creed. The Athanasian Creed is not included. The other Luth. symbols are rejected because of their length and alleged errors.
Though drafted by leaders of the General* Synod, the Definite Platform was adopted by only 3 district syns.: the Wittenberg Syn. of the Ev. Luth. Ch. of Ohio, the Olive Branch Syn. of the Ev. Luth. Ch. of the State of Indiana, and the Eng. Luth. Syn. of Ohio (later known as the E Ohio Syn.). The other constituent syns. either refused to adopt the document or rejected it altogether. The Gen. Syn. as such, therefore, cannot be held responsible for the Definite Platform. The authors and supporters of the document had mistaken a half-developed tendency for a final result.
Definite Platform, Doctrinal and Disciplinarian, for Evangelical Lutheran District Synods; Constructed in Accordance with the Principles of the General Synod, 2d ed. (Philadelphia, 1856); E. L. Lueker, Walther and the Free Lutheran Conferences of 18561859, CTM, XV (1944), 529563; V. Ferm, The Crisis in American Lutheran Theology (New York, 1927); C. Mauelshagen, American Lutheranism Surrenders to Forces of Conservatism (Athens, Georgia, 1936).
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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