Thursday, October 13, 2022

President Pfotenhauer's Address to the 1917 Convention of The Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States in Milwaukee

Rev. Johann Friedrich Pfotenhauer was the fifth president of the Missouri Synod and the last one who was born in Germany. He served as president from 1911-1935. 

Below is his address to the 1917 Synodical Convention. The convention was held June 20-29 in Milwaukee. You can find the Proceedings of the 1917 Convention here. Pfotenhauer's address was given in German, but the English translation is given below. 

Though given a little over a hundred years ago, the address is incredibly timely for our current situation--pestilence, wars and rumors of wars, the anniversary of the Reformation, the temptations of unionism and laxity. 

Pfotenhauer understood the dangers surrounding the Synod and directed the Christian men who were at the convention to cling to the treasure of the Gospel which they had received from the mercies of Christ.

Alas, it cannot be denied that in some respects we are not as our fathers were, that there has been a let-up in confessional definiteness and earnestness, in the love to God’s Word, in indoctrination, in the thorough instruction of the youth in the Catechism, and in the life of godliness. Oh, that we, as a synod might remain faithful and hold fast that which we have! Against us are the devil, the world, and our own evil flesh, as also the history of the Church, which shows that the Gospel did not continue in any one place for more than a few generations. For us are the mercy and grace of God, through which He, without our merit or worthiness, desires to retain among us the treasures of the Reformation.

It is certainly worth reading in full:


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