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Toledo Theses

(1867). In 1856 the Ev. Luth. Syn. of Iowa* and Other States adopted 7 theses binding its pastors to the Book* of Concord but distinguishing bet. essentials (theses and antithesis) and nonessentials (proof, elucidation, etc., called “Accidens”), and holding that the Confessions must be interpreted only historically, not dogmatically without regard to their hist. origin. This view was attacked by the Buffalo Syn. et al. Controversy regarding millennialism involved also the Mo. Syn. The Iowa Syn. suffered from resultant doubt. C. S. Fritschel (see Fritschel, 1) went to Ger. 1866 for opinions of recognized Luth. faculties and theologians on basis of Iowa Syn. publications. Opinions rendered included those of the faculty at Dorpat (Tartu) and of C. E. Luthardt,* G. C. A. v. Harless,* K. K. Munkel,* and H. E. F. Guericke.* The Dorpat faculty and Münkel recognized the need for distinguishing bet. essentials and nonessentials in the Confessions but criticized the way in which an 1858 Iowa Syn. essay spelled out the distinction. In 1867. at Toledo, Ohio, the Iowa Syn. adopted 9 theses in answer to the question, “What Is Necessary for Church Unity?” Summary of theses: The unity of the visible ch. consists in concordant preaching of the Gospel and administration of the sacraments. By the preaching of the Gospel is meant not only preaching from the pulpit but the pub. confession of the ch. This confession must hold all arts. of faith without error. The doctrine of the Gospel is the doctrine of justification by faith. Accordingly, ch. unity is fundamental but never absolute. Essential, or fundamental, doctrines are all those which the ch. has fixed in its Confessions. Doctrinal agreement does not apply to all unessential and incidental teachings in the Confessions, but only to all arts. of faith est. by the ch..

Kirchenblatt der evangelisch-lutherischen Synode von Iowa, I, No. 1 (January 1858), [pp. 1–2]; J. A. Deindörfer, Geschichte der Evangel.-Luth. Synode von Iowa und anderen Staaten (Chicago, 1897); Quellen und Dokumente zur Geshichte und Lehrstellung der ev.-luth. Synode von Iowa u. a. Staaten, comp. G. J. Fritschel (Chicago, n. d.)

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

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