Monday, June 19, 2017

1959 Important Events Surrounding A Call for Decision

The outline below was taken from P.F. Nolting's letter to WELS President O.J. Naumann. In this letter, Nolting goes into great detail regarding the events surrounding the A Call for Decision memorial at the 1959 WELS convention in Saginaw, MI.

February 8, 1959
A Call for Decision was sent to the proper officials with 30 signers.
It was acknowledged as recieved.

May 1959 - General Synodic Committee meetings
No one bothered to inquire about the memorial or point out any error in it.

Conference of Presidents were not going to print the memorial in the book of reports available for the members of the GSC. This was averted by President Siegler.

August 1959 - Saginaw Convention

  • Wednesday, August 5 - A meeting was arranged between the signers and the Standing Union Committee with the Floor Committee sitting in.
    • Purpose seemed to be to convince the signers of A Call for Decision that there was no difference between our proposition and the "Lawrenz" proposition, hoping they would withdraw their memorial.
    • Result was to refer the memorial to the Floor Committee on Church Union.
  • Thursday, August 6
    • 1:00 pm - Signers met with Floor Committee on Church Union.
      • Signers were lectured by Chairman Nitz on the propriety of our obtaining additional signatures to the memorial.
      • Atmosphere was that the signers were being politely listened to but that their argumentation was not being heard or perceived.
      • They were unable to get the Floor Committee to understand the point of difference between the "Lawrenz" proposition and their position.
    • 2:15 pm
      • Signers were dismissed.
      • Committee resolved to recommend to the President that a special committee be appointed to consider the memorial.
  • Friday, August 7 - President Naumann appointed the Protest Committee to appoint a committee of five to sit in on our memorial.
    • The Protest Committee was the very group that was most directly involved in this whole matter to begin with.
    • They would be the people that chose the committee to sit in judgment of A Call for Decision.
  • Saturday, August 8 - Names of Committee #23 were announced.
  • Monday, August 10 - Committee #23 started their work.
    • 10:30 am
      • Chairman Franzmann said to the signers that his committee was not interested in the procedure used in distributing the memorial nor in the language used in it.
      • The signers were able to get the committee to see that there was a difference between their principle for terminating fellowship and the principle that the Synod was following in line with "The Report to the Protest Committee."
  • Tuesday, August 11
    • Evening
      • Report of Committee #23 was brought up for discussion for one hour. No action was taken.
      • President Naumann used his position in the chair to reject the proposal of Pastor Buenger that a temporary moratorium be declared in regard to the discussions with Missouri and that the same time and energy be used to heal the breech in our own midst.
  • Wednesday, August 12
    • Morning
      • Committee #23 came to the floor again.
      • President Naumann asked Second Vice President Krause to take the chair.
      • Professor Lawrenz was given 25-30 minutes to refute A Call for Decision.
      • First Vice President Habeck came in with a lengthy prepared written substitute motion. It was made and seconded. A motion for referral followed and debate was cut off.
      • The signers were not given an opportunity to rebutt Prof. Lawrenz.
    • Evening
      • Committee #23 came back to the floor with a completely changed report.
      • They abandoned their own report in favor of the substitute offered by President Habeck.
      • This second report did not refer to the statement of fact that there is a difference in principles between the Synod position and the signers position in the matter of terminating fellowship.
      • The committee asked the convention to disavow our "charges" on both counts with no attempt to prove from Scripture or history that they were wrong. The report finally called for the case to be studied.