Monday, July 14, 2008

1958 An Open Letter to the Protest Committee (E. Reim)

As the WELS Protest Committee in their Letter to the Protesting Brethren shared the view of Carl Lawrenz who said that the Saginaw (1955), Watertown (1956), and New Ulm (1957) judgments of Romans 16:17-18 on the LC-MS were all held in abeyance, there were some of the protesting brethren who did not agree.

Professor Lawrenz made the case that the Saginaw resolutions were not clear and that the Synod needed more evidence before they could now AVOID. The Protest Committee also said that a synod has the right to interpret its resolutions through subsequent conventions, therefore Professor Lawrenz's interpretation of the events was now rapidly becoming the 'official interpretation' for the WELS.

Edmund Reim (former professor and president of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary) was one such protesting brother and he wrote an open letter to the synod. In this letter he criticizes Lawrenz's point by point. He makes the case that everybody at the 1955 convention was on the same page when it came to Romans 16:17-18 and marking and avoiding.

Quotes of note:
"... the real issue is not whether Synod has been consistent in its course, or whether the interpretation that is offered 'makes sense', but rather whether the course that has been followed is right, whether it is true to scripture."

"... if the evidence was not yet all in, how could they [Floor Committee No. 2, 1955] formulate a verdict so sert as that of the Preamble - to say nothing of it publicly? How could they even arrive at a verdict?"

"May I venture to suggest that your Protest Committee was a bit hasty in adopting Prof. Lawrenz's interpretation? It is after all an interpretation which is not borne out by a careful examination of the record."

"Is the record of the many years of patient dealing with Missouri to be so lightly set aside?"

"In 1956 our Synod faced an anomolous situation, finding itself in a sort of no-man's-land of its own creation, caught by the consequences of the failure at Saginaw to match its words with action."

October 29, 1958, An Open Letter to the Protest Committee, by Edmund Reim