Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia

Synodical Conference.

1. Fed. of Am. Luth. synods organized 1872 as Evangelisch-lutherische Synodal-Conferenz (Ev. Luth. Synodical Conf.) Proceedings call it Ev. Luth. Syn. Conf. of N. Am..

In 1856 the hope was expressed in Lehre und Wehre, II, 3–5, that the Luth. Ch. in Am. would be one, united by sincere and unqualified acceptance of Scripture and the Luth. Confessions, and all Luths. who were confessionally minded were invited to meet with that in view. This led to conferences 1856–59 (see Free Lutheran Conferences, 1).

Renewed confessional crisis in the 1860s (see United States, Lutheran Theology in the, 7; United States, Lutheranism in the, 8) and est. of the General* Council of the Ev. Luth. Ch. in (N.) Am. led to renewed interest in a confessional intersyn. body. See also Four Points. The more staunchly confessional syns. rallied around the Mo. Syn., which reached fellowship agreement with the Wisconsin* Syn. 1869, the Ohio Syn. 1868–72 (see Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, The, V 15), the Ev. Luth. Syn. of Illinois* 1872; agreement bet. the Mo. Syn. and the Minnesota* Syn. was reached, at the June 1872 Minnesota Syn. conv., after discussion bet. that syn. and Mo. Syn. representatives; fraternal relations had existed bet. the Mo. Syn. and the Norw. Syn. (see Evangelical Lutheran Church, The, 8–13) since 1857.

2. Preliminary meetings were held January 11–13, 1871, Chicago, Illinois, and November 14–16, 1871, Fort Wayne, Indiana Formal organization took place at a meeting held July 10–16, 1872, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Charter mems.; Mo. Syn., Ohio Syn., Wisconsin Syn., Norw. Syn., Illinois Syn., Minnesota Synod. Vice-pres. W. F. Lehmann*; secy. J. P. Beyer.* See also United States, Lutheran Theology in the, 11.

3. The recommendation adopted 1876 that the theol. schools of mem. syns. be combined into 1 school and that it and the teachers sem. come under Syn. Conf. supervision was frustrated by the predestinarian* controversy of the 1880s. State syns. were recommended 1876, to eliminate fragmentation and unite into 1 organization all congs. within a given State or territory, except for language divisions; accordingly, the Ev. Luth. Concordia* Syn. of Virginia, which joined the Syn. Conf. 1876, became the Conc. Dist. of the Ohio Syn. 1877 and the Illinois Syn. merged with the Illinois Dist. of the Mo. Syn. 1880. Disruption of the Syn. Conf. in the early 1880s prevented further moves in this direction.

4. As a result of the predestinarian* controversy the Ohio Syn. withdrew from the Syn. Conf. 1881, the Norw. Syn. 1883. Dissidents in the Ohio Syn. withdrew from this syn. and organized the Ev. Luth. Concordia* Syn. of Pennsylvania and Other States, which joined the Syn. Conf. 1882, disbanded and merged with the Mo. Syn. 1886. The Gen. Eng. (Ev.) Luth. Conf. of Missouri and Other States (see Missouri and Other States, The English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of) joined the Syn. Conf. 1890, became a Mo. Syn. dist. 1911. The Michigan* Syn. joined the Syn. Conf. 1892. The Ev. Luth. Dist. Syn. of Nebraska and Other States joined the Syn. Conf. 1906 (final approval 1910), became a dist. of the Ev. Luth. Joint Syn. of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Other States 1917 (see also Nebraska, German Evangelical Lutheran District Synod of). The Slovak Ev. Luth. Ch. (see Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches) joined the Syn. Conf. 1906 (final approval 1910).

5. The Syn. Conf. acknowledged the canonical writings of the OT and NT as God's Word and the 1580 Book of Concord as its confessional standard.

6. Purposes: external expression of the spiritual unity of mem. syns.; mutual strengthening in faith and confession; promotion of unity in doctrine and practice and elimination of actual or threatening disturbance thereof; united action for common aims; geog. delimitation of mem. syns. except for necessary language divisions; consolidation of all Luth. syns. in Am. into 1 orthodox Am. Luth. Ch..

7. The Syn. Conf. was only an advisory body in all matters in which it had not been given decisive power by all mem. syns. Negro miss. work in the US and Afr. was the only major activity of the Syn. Conf. (see also Africa, C 14; Alpha Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Freedmen in America; Missions, 10).

8. Charges against the Missouri Syn. of improper relations with other Luth. bodies and of growing doctrinal laxity led to withdrawal 1963 of the Wisconsin* Ev. Luth. Syn. and the Evangelical* Luth. Syn. from the Syn. Conf., which became inactive 1966. It was dissolved 1967.

9. Pres.: C. F. W. Walther* (Mo. Syn.) 1872–73; W. F. Lehmann* (Ohio Syn.) 1873–76, 1877–80; H. A. Preus* (Norw. Syn.) 1876–77; P. L. Larsen* (Norw. Syn.) 1880–82; J. Bading* (Wisconsin Syn.) 1882–1912; C. F. W. Gausewitz* (Wis. Syn.) 1912–27; L. E. Fuerbringer* (Mo. Syn.) 1927–44; E. B. Schlüter* (Wis. Syn.) 1944–50; G. C. Barth* (Mo. Syn.) 1950–52; W. A. Baepler* (Mo. Syn.) 1952–56; John Samuel Bradác (SELC) 1956–60; John Daniel of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (SELC) 1960–67. WDU

J. T. Mueller, A Brief History of the Origin, Development, and Work of the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, Prepared for Its Diamond Jubilee 1872–1947 (St. Louis, [1948]); W. D. Uhlig, “The Origin of the Synodical Conference,” unpub. STM thesis (Conc. Sem., St. Louis, Missouri, 1965).

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