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Galesburg Rule.

1875 ruling at Galesburg, Illinois, of the General* Council of the Ev. Luth. Ch. in Am. regarding pulpit and altar fellowship. The words “fundamental errorists” in the 1868 “Pittsburgh* Declaration” were explained 1870 in answer to a question of the Minnesota Syn.: “In employing the terms 'fundamental errorists,' in the declarations made at Pittsburgh, it [the Council] understands, not those who are the victims of involuntary mistake, but those who wilfully, wickedly, and persistently desert, in whole or in part, the Christian faith, especially as embodied in the Confessions of the Church Catholic, in the purest form in which it now exists on earth, to wit: the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and thus overturn or destroy the Foundation in them confessed; and who hold, defend and extend these errors in the face of the admonitions of the Church, and to the leading away of men from the path of life.”

At Lancaster, Ohio, 1870, C. Porterfield Krauth* made a verbal statement on the meaning of the “Pittsburgh Declaration.” At Akron, Ohio, 1872, he was asked to put his explanation into writing. The result was the Akron Rule, adopted by the 1872 convention: “I. THE RULE is: Lutheran pulpits are for Lutheran ministers only. Lutheran altars are for Lutheran communicants only. II. The Exceptions to the rule belong to the sphere of privilege, not of right. III. The Determination of the exceptions is to be made in consonance with these principles by the conscientious judgment of pastors, as the cases arise.”

At Galesburg 1875 the Council declared: “The rule, which accords with the word of God and with the confessions of our Church, is: 'Lutheran pulpits for Lutheran ministers only—Lutheran altars for Lutheran communicants only.' ” The question, raised by the New York Ministerium, whether the 1875 Galesburg addition to the 1872 Akron Rule (viz., “which accords with the word of God and with the confessions of our Church”) did not practically annul points II and III of the Akron Rule regarding exceptions was answered by the Council at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1889: “Inasmuch as the General Council has never annulled, rescinded or reconsidered the declarations made at Akron, Ohio, in the year 1872, they still remain, in all their parts and provisions, the action and rule of the General Council.”

See also Concelebration.

S. E. Ochsenford, Documentary History of the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America (Philadelphia, 1912); J. Deindörfer, Geschichte der Evangel.-Luth. Synode von Iowa und anderen Staaten (Chicago, 1897).

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

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