(North inserted 1876). 1. This body owed its existence to the 1866 disruption of The Ev. Luth. Gen. Syn. of the US of N. Am. (see General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States of America, The). In the face of the rising tide of confessionalism (see United States, Lutheran Theology in the, 59) the Gen. Syn. had received into membership the Melanchthon* Synod 1859 and the Franckean* Synod 1864. The delegates of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania protested the admission of the Franckean Syn., withdrew from the sessions of the Gen. Syn., and founded the Philadelphia Sem. in opposition to lax confessionalism at the Gettysburg Sem. (see also Ministry, Education of, X MN; United Lutheran Church in America, The, Synods of, 22).
2. At the 1866 conv. the Gen. Syn. refused to seat the Pennsylvania Ministerium delegates, whereupon the Ministerium severed its connection with the Gen. Syn. and a few weeks later issued a fraternal* address. In response, a conv. was held at Reading, Pennsylvania, December 1214, 1866, with delegates present from 5 groups hitherto mems., of the Gen. Syn.: Ministerium of New York, Eng. Syn. of Ohio, Ministerium of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Syn., and Minnesota* Syn. (see also United Lutheran Church in America, The, Synods of, 15, 22, 24), and from the Joint Syn. of Ohio (see Ohio and Other States, The Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of, 45), Eng. Dist. Syn. of Ohio (see United Lutheran Church in America, The, Synods of, 19), Syn. of Wisconsin (see Wisconsin Synod), Michigan* Syn., Iowa Syn. (see Iowa and Other States, Evangelical Lutheran Synod of, 45), Ev. Luth Syn. of Can. (see Canada, B 7; United Lutheran Church in America, The, Synods of, 1), Norw. Syn. (see Evangelical Lutheran Church, The, 8), and Missouri Syn. (see Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, The). At this convention C. Porterfield Krauth's* Fundamental* Principles of Faith and Church Polity were unanimously adopted. Of the 13 groups represented by delegates at the 1866 conv., 11 were represented at the organization meeting at Fort Wayne, Indiana, November 2026, 1867: Ministerium of Pennsylvania, Ministerium of New York, Pittsburgh Syn., Eng. Syn. of Ohio, Syn. of Wisconsin, Eng. Dist. Syn. of Ohio, Michigan Syn., Minnesota Syn., Syn. of Can., Iowa Syn., and the Joint Syn. of Ohio. Of these, the Iowa Syn. and the Joint Syn. of Ohio did not enter into voting membership of the Gen. Council (see Four Points). The Norw. Syn. and the Missouri Syn. had withdrawn from the movement. The Ev. Luth. Syn. of Illinois and Other [Adjacent] States (see Illinois, Evangelical Lutheran Synod of, b), organized 1867, also joined the Gen. Council 1867.
3. The Syn. of Wisconsin left the Gen. Council 1869 because of disagreement regarding the Four Points. The Swed. Augustana Syn. (see Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, 10) joined the Gen. Council 1870. The Minnesota Syn. and the Illinois Syn. left the Gen. Council 1871 and helped form the Synodical* Conference 1872. The Michigan Syn. left the Gen. Council 1887 because of disagreement regarding the Four Points. Most of the Texas Syn., admitted 1868, withdrew 1894 and joined the Iowa Syn. as a dist. 1896; the minority ultimately became part of the ULC (see United Lutheran Church in America, The, Synods of, 28). By 1872 the Eng. Syn. of Ohio had disbanded.
Following syns. also joined the Gen. Council: Indiana Syn. of the Ev. Luth. Ch. 1872 (see also Indiana Synod [II]); Holston Syn. 1874 (requested approval to withdraw 1884 to help form The United* Syn. of the Ev. Luth. Ch. in the South; see also United Lutheran Church in America, The, Synods of, 29); Eng. Ev. Luth. Syn. of the Northwest 1893 (see also United Lutheran Church in America, The, Synods of, 17); Man. Syn. 1897 (see also Canada, B 14); Pacific Syn. 1901 (see also United Lutheran Church in America, The, Synods of, 20); New York and New Eng. Syn. 1903 (see also United Lutheran Church in America, The, Synods of, 15); Nova Scotia Syn. 1903 (see also United Lutheran Church in America, The, Synods of, 18); Cen. Can. Syn. 1909 (see also Canada, B 4).
Leading men in the Gen. Council: G. H. Gerberding,* J. A. W. Haas,* H. E. Jacobs,* C. Porterfield Krauth,* G. F. Krotel,* W. J. Mann,* W. A. Passavant,* T. E. Schmauk,* B. M. Schmucker,* J. A. Seiss,* A. Spaeth,* C. A. Swensson.*
4. Doctrinal basis of the Gen. Council: the Unaltered Augsburg Confession in its original sense as throughout in conformity with the pure truth of which God's Word is the only rule; the other Luth. Confessions are, with the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, in the perfect harmony of one and the same scriptural faith (Const. of the Gen. Council of the Ev. Luth. Ch. in Am. Principles of Faith and Church Polity. Of Faith, VIII, IX). In relation to congs, the Gen. Council was a legislative body and considered conformity to its decisions a moral obligation. But despite its strictly Luth. confessional basis the Gen. Council never issued a declaration satisfactory to strict Luths. regarding the Four Points. According to the Akron-Galesburg Rule (see Galesburg Rule), non-Luths, may under certain circumstances be admitted to the Lord's Supper, and there were exceptions to the rule Lutheran pulpits for Lutheran ministers only. Its declaration on chiliasm (see Millennialism) left room for the finer kind, and, though its declaration on secret societies agreed with Luth. principles, its practice did not agree with its principles. The teachings of some leaders of the Gen. Council on ordination, the ministerial office, conversion, predestination, the inspiration of Scripture, evolution, etc., were not always in harmony with the Bible and the Luth. Confessions; yet the Gen. Council did not take such men to task.
5. Home miss. work of the Gen. Council was carried on throughout the US, esp. in the Northwest and Can., and reached even to Alaska. The theol. sem. of J. Paulsen* at Kropp, Ger., furnished many Ger. pastors (see Kropp Seminary).
6. The Gen Council conducted a miss. among the Telugus in India and, with the United* Syn. of the Ev. Luth. Ch. in the South, also in Japan. The Augustana Syn. had an indep. miss. in China; other Augustana Syn. for. miss. fields included Puerto Rico and Afr.
Sems. of the Gen. Council and its syns. included Mount Airy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Maywood (first at Lake View), Chicago, Illinois; Waterloo, Ont., Can.; Portland, Oregon (moved to Seattle, Washington); Rock Island, Illinois See also Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary; Ministry, Education of, X L, N, T.
Classical institutions of collegiate grade of the Gen. Council and its syns. included Muhlenberg, Allentown, Pennsylvania; Thiel, Greenville, Pennsylvania; Wagner, Rochester (moved to Staten Is.), New York; Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont.; Augustana, Rock Island, Illinois; Bethany, Lindsborg, Kansas; Gustavus Adolphus, St. Peter, Minnesota; Uppsala, E. Orange, New Jersey; Weidner Institute, Mulberry, Indiana; Ev. Luth. Coll., Saskatoon, Sask. See also Ministry, Education of, VIII A, B.
Within the Gen. Council there were many orphanages and other charitable institutions maintained either by dist. syns. or private assocs. Many of them owed their existence to the labors of W. A. Passavant.* The Gen. Council also conducted an immigrant and seamen's miss. (see Immigrant and Emigrant Missions; Seamen's Homes). J. D. Lankenau* est. the Mary J. Drexel Home in Philadelphia 1888.
7. At its conv. October 2429, 1917, the Gen. Council approved the plan to merge with the Gen. Syn. and the United Syn. of the Ev. Luth. Ch. in the South into The United* Luth. Ch. in Am. The merger was consummated November 1918, but the Swed. Augustana Syn. did not enter it. In 1917 the Gen. Council, including the Augustana Syn., numbered 14 syns., 1,680 pastors, 2,564 congs., and 524,259 conf. mems.
Die Synode von Pennsylvanien und die letzte Versammlung der General-Synode zu Fort Wayne, Indiana (Philadelphia, 1866); Proceedings of the Convention Held by Representatives from Various Evangelical Lutheran Synods in the United States and Canada Accepting the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, at Reading, Pennsylvania, December 12, 13, and 14, AD 1866 (Pittsburgh, 1867); Verhandlungen der Kirchenversammlung bestehend aus Delegaten verschiedener Evangelisch Lutherischen Synoden in den Vereinigten Staaten und Canada, welche sich zur Ungeänderten Augsburgischen Confession bekennen. Gehalten in Reading, Pennsylvania, vom 12. bis 14. December 1866 (Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1867); H. E. Jacobs, The General Council, The Distinctive Doctrines and Usages of the General Bodies of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States, 4th ed., rev. and enl. (Philadelphia, 1914), pp. 93126; A. Spaeth, The General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America, The Lutheran Church Review, IV (April 1885), 81126; S. E. Ochsenford, Documentary History of the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America (Philadelphia, 1912).
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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