Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia

Free Lutheran Conferences.

1. Series of confs. attended by pastors and laymen at Columbus, Ohio, October 1–7, 1856; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 29–November 4, 1857; Cleveland, Ohio, August 5–11, 1858; Fort Wayne, Indiana, July 14–20, 1859. Invitations to attend were extended to all who subscribed to the AC without reservation. The AC was discussed. The Ev. Luth. Synodical* Conf. was a fruit of the discussions.

2. The free Luth. confs. of 1903–06 tried to heal the rift in the Syn. Conf. caused by the predestinarian controversy of the 1880s (see Predestinarian Controversy, 2). Mems. of many Luth. bodies attended, but not as official representatives.

3. After a preliminary meeting of pastors in Beloit, Wisconsin, May 14, 1902, confs. were held at Watertown, Wisconsin, April 29–30, 1903; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 9–11, 1903; Detroit, Michigan, April 6–8, 1904; Fort Wayne, Indiana, August 8–10, 1905; Fort Wayne, Indiana, October 24–25, 1906. Participants included H. A. Allwardt,* G. J. Fritschel,* M. Fritschel,* A. L. Graebner,* A. Hönecke,* J. P. Köhler,* F. Pfotenhauer,* A. Pieper,* F. A. O. Pieper,* J. M. Reu,* F. A. Schmid(t),* F. W. Stellhorn,* G. Stoeckhardt.*

4. The Watertown meeting initiated a dialog, but the situation deteriorated from that point on, as mutual polemics and a deepening awareness of the extent of the rift took their toll.

5. Mo. Syn. (see Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, The) men held that God's election of some in Christ is in no way caused by their future faith. Ohio Syn. (see Ohio and Other States, The Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of) men taught election intuitu* fidei. But a deeper conflict became apparent already at the Milwaukee conference. Mo. Syn. men sought to operate with a specific, limited set of proof texts for election; mems. of the Ohio Syn. and of the Iowa Syn. (see Iowa and Other States, Evangelical Lutheran Synod of) took recourse to a broader use of Scripture on the basis of the “analogy* of faith.” This difference in approach was spelled out further at 2 committee meetings prior to the Detroit conf. Both sides agreed to understand election on the basis of FC XI. But after the Detroit conf. further polemics embittered both sides.

6. Toward the middle of the 20th c. local free Luth. confs. were initiated. In May 1949 the Mo. Syn. Coll. of Presidents called for free confs. involving all Luth. bodies in America. Free Luth. confs. were also held in Japan and at Bad* Boll, Ger., ca. the middle of the 20th c.

See also Diets, Lutheran, in America; England, C 17; Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, The, V 13; United Lutheran Church in America, The, I.

E. L. Lueker, “Walther and the Free Lutheran Conferences,” CTM, XV (August 1944), 529–563; W. G. Polack, “Lutheran Unity: The Present Status,” Lutheran Witness, LXVIII (June 14, 1949), 194–196.

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

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

Stay Connected! Join the LCMS Network:

Contact Us Online
(Staff Switchboard)
(Church Info Center)
1333 S Kirkwood Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63122-7226 | Directions


Featured Publication

The Lutheran Witness

LCMS Communications

Interpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.
Visit TLW Online