Full Transcript for the Report of the Transactions of the Second Evangelical Lutheran Conference held in Zion’s Church, Sulivan County Tennessee, October 22, 1821
Compiled by: Joshua Mlynar, April 2011
REPORT OF THE TRANSACTIONS OF THE SECOND EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CONFERENCE: HELD IN ZIONS CHURCH, SULIVAN COUNTY.,TENNESSEE THE 22d OF OCTOBER, 1821 ALSO TWO LETTERS; AND THE OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION OF THE GENERAL SYNOD New Market, Va. Printed in S Henkel’s printing office, By Ambrose Henkel. 1821.
Of the second Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Tennessee and adjoining States, held in Zion’s church. Sulivan county, Tennessee, in the year of our Lord 1821. Saturday, October 20th. Preparations were made to celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the following day. A Sermon being delivered by David Henkel, in the German language, from Mark 16, v. 15, 16; Where- upon a woman was confirmed a member of the church. Sunday, 21st. A numerous congregation being assembled, the Rev. Adam Miller delivered a short, but yet, an excellent discourse, in the German language, from Matth. 22, v 14. A second discourse was delivered by David Henkel, in the English language, from Col. 2. V 14; and after that another discourse was preached by Philip Henkel, in the German language, from Luke 22, v. 15-20; whereupon the Lord’s Supper was administered, to more than 100 communicants. During this time a very attentive audience were present. Monday, 22d. The members of the Synod met. The following ministers & deputies were present: The Rev. Paul Henkel, from Shenandoah, Virginia,
----- ----- Adam Miller, of the place
----- ----- Philip Henkel, from Greene, Tennessee,
----- ----- David Henkel, from Lincoln, N. Carolina,
----- ----- Jacob Zink, from Greene County, T.
Deacon. George Esterly, from Greene county, T. Mr. Joseph Harr, from Sulivan county, Tennessee, An applicant for the ministry.
Mr. John Smith, }
- Daniel Lutz, Esq. } from Lincoln county, N.C.
- Ambrose Henkel, from Shenandoah county, Va.
- Peter Boger, from Cabarras county, N. Carolina
- Nicholas Uley )
- Martin Lintz )
- Jacob Leinbach )
- Frederick Shafer } from Green county, Teenn.
- Jacob Hoyle )
- Philip Esterly )
- Michael Brenner, from Severe county, Tenn.
- John Santer )
- Jacob Deck } from Sulivan county, Tenn.
- H. Hergelroth )
- Conrad Keicher, from Washington county, T.
The Synod was opened with singing and praying
I.The following letters were read, which were sent to our members:
1. A letter from the Rev. Jacob Larros, from the state of Ohio, in which he ingeniously vindicates the doctrine of holy Baptism, agreeable to the Augsburg Confession of faith. Supported by passages from the Holy Scriptures; and likewise a very rational and scriptural representation of Antichrist’s kingdom, and how the plan of the General-Synod is preparing the way for him. It was unanimously resolved, that this letter should be printed with the minutes, but as he is a member of another connexion, it was thought proper, to obtain his consent first --- But every minister may copy the same for his use. --- The Rev. Paul Henkel shall write to him.
2.A letter from the Rev. Antonius Weyer, member of the Rev. Evangelical Lutheran Synod of his opinion with respect to the General Synod system. Resolved, that his letter should be printed with our minutes.
3.) A letter from the Rev. Jacob Grieson, from Gui ford county, N. C. in which he manifests his regret, for having voted for the General Synod; for as much as he finds, that said plan doth not produce the effects he imagined it would. Further, that he had not understood it properly, before he gave his vote, otherwise he would not have voted as he did.
4.) A letter from the Rev. Henry A. Kurtz, from Kentucky. He states, that he had been a member of the Evang. Lutheran Synod of Pennsylvania: but that he sent his resignation to that body: and petitions us, that we might assist him in establishing a synod, after the plan of our’s, for the state of Kentucky. He further complains of the several innovations and impure motives which are reigning in some of the synods. It was resolved, that a copy of our minutes should be sent him. The synod also, wish him great success in his laudable undertaking; but at the same time regret, that they have it not in their power, to give him assistance; being as yet too few in number.
5.) A letter from Messrs. John Beck, Charles Greim, Henry Conrad, George Greim, David Conrad, Philip Hedrich and Jacob Conrad, elders and members of our church, of several congregations in Rowan county, N.C. in which they shew their steadfastness in our evangelical doctrines: - and petition for a minister who might serve them, as they are not satisfied with the one they now have Resolved, that they should receive an answer from us, and that the Rev. Davis Henkel shall visit them.
6.)A letter from the Rev. Daniel Moser, from Lincoln county, N.C. He regrets, that he had it not in his power to attend to our Conference, but hoped to attend at another time. He also states, that he cannot for the future, remain in connexion with the Synod of North Carolina, unless they get upon a better footing.
The following petitions were read: viz.
1.) Petition, from Rocky river congregation, Cabarras county, N.C. stating, that they heretofore were in connexion with the Rev. Storck, but because he is in connexion with the General Synod, they cannot with a good conscience continue in fellowship with him. They beg to be received into our connexion. They further desire, that another minister of our Synod might visit them, to assist the Rev. David Henkel, who now attends them
2.) Petition from Schoolhouse Church, and likewise another petition from Beaverdam, Lincoln county, N.C. requesting the Synod to send a minister to assist the Rev. David Henkel. Resolved, that the Rev. Adam Miller be appointed, to make a journey through North Carolina and Virginia, to visit the petitioners, and all other congregations belonging to our Synod: and to hand in the report of their situation at our next session.
Mr. A. Miller will commence his journey in next May, if God willing.
3.) Petition, from Philadelphia congregation, Lincoln county, N.C. signed by the elders. They request the Synod, to examine Mr. Jacob Casner, with respect to his qualifications, and in case they find them sufficient, to ordain him a Deacon. Said petition contains a certificate of Mr. Casner’s good character: Resolved, that Mr Casner be examined at our next session, and ordained a Deacon, in case he found qualified. – Agreeable to our constitution, the applicant must be examined at the meeting of the Synod; and as Mr. Casner was not present as this session, his examination is consequently postponed: yet, he is not prohibited from catechizing youth, until then.
This day being concluded with singing and prayer.
Tuesday, 23d. The Synod met, and commenced to transact business as the day before.
4.) Petition from three congregations, in Greece and Washington counties, T stating that they had unanimously agreed, not to receive any minister that is connected with the general Synod, nor to suffer such to preach to them; wherefore they request the Synod, to admonish all other congregations, belonging to our connexion to do the same. Resolved, that the Synod sanction their resolution in part, and advise the congregations, not to be connected with said general Synod; for as much, as the Synod have minutely examined the constitution of the general Synod: and can by no means believe nor see that it is agreeable to the doctrines of our church and the holy scriptures.
III. General transactions of the Synod
1.) Resolved, that the objections against the genera Synod be compiled and printed. Adam Miller, David Henkel, Conrad Keicher, Ambrose Henkel, Daniel Lutz, John Smith and Peter Boger constitute a committee for that purpose.
2.) Resolved, that a circular letter, be addressed to our brethren of Ohio to inform them of our intentions.
3.) On motion by the Rev. Adam Miller, it was resolved, that a Liturgy be formed according to the Augsburgh confession of faith and the Bible – that the Rev Paul Henkel be appointed, to compose the same for our connexion as soon as possible. The expenses for printing it shall be defrayed by our several treasuries. Between 2 and 300 copies shall be printed
4.) At the request of some of our brethren of North Carolina it was resolved, that there be annually, a Synod held in North Caroline, or in an adjoining state in the English language. The members of the German Tennessee Synod, may also help to compose this Synod. It shall be governed agreeable
to the same constitution, as that of the German Tennessee Synod [The language excepted.] Those who compose this Synod, may appoint the place and time of the first meeting, when and where they may deem it expedient.
5.) On motion made by the rev. Philip Henkel, it was resolved, that it shall be the duty of every minister and deacon, to register the names of all the baptized belonging to the church, and to admonish them to continue faithful in their baptismal covenant; and to urge them to attend to the catechizing-school This mostly respects young persons.
6.) On motion made, by Mr. Peter Boger, it was resolved, that a copy of the Augsburgh confessions of faith: likewise a copy of the minutes of the Synod shall be deposited in every church.
7.) A motion was made, by the Rev. David Henkel that no person shall be ordained a pastor of our church, unless he understood as much of the Greek language as would enable him to translate the New Testament. But no resolution respecting it was passed. It remains postponed until the next Synod, when it shall be taken into contemplation
8.) A petition being presented from St. Paul’s school, as St. James’ Church, Greene county, in which the petitioners request the Synod, to take into consideration: how the same shall be governed and encouraged. Resolved, that Conrad Keicher, Paul Henkel and Philip Esterly, be a committee to form a plan for that purpose, which shall be printed with the minutes. The committee reported, that the time was too short, to accomplish it; it therefore remains postponed until the meeting of the next Synod
9.) Resolved, that the next Synod shall be held 14 miles, south of Greene court-house, in the state of Tennessee, commencing on the third Sunday in October next.
10.) On petition, of 15 members from St. James’
Church, it was resolved, that nest Maunday Thursday be set apart, as a day of prayer and humiliation: to implore Almighty God, to have mercy upon his church, in these last perilous days.
11.) The Rev. Paul Henkel and Adam Miller were appointed, to examine Mr. Joseph Harr, and report to the Synod, which was done. Mr. Harr was this evening ordained a deacon, by the laying on of hands and prayer.
This Synod was dismissed with singing and prayer.
The above transactions, were unanimously approved by us, and in witness whereof we subscribe our names, this 23d day of October, 1821.
Peter C. Boger
REPORT OF THE MINISTERS:
Infants baptized – Adults. Slaves. Confirmed.
Adam Miller since 1819, 188 24 ---- 32
Philip Henkel since Jan. 1821, 119 10 --- 27
David Henkel since June, 1819, 444 56 69 156
Paul Henkel since 1820, 50 2 --- 20
George Esterly, Jacob Zink, no report. --- --- --- ---
(The following Letters are translated from the German.)
A letter from an Evangelical Lutheran Minster, to the Rev Paul Henkel, in New-Market, Virignia.
Canton, Stark county, Ohio, August 2d, 1821.
Much esteemed brother in the ministry:
With you I lament the deplorable situation of the church – for since the days of the Reformation, the church to my knowledge has not experienced such a dreadful blow, as she did by the pernicious plan proposals. I say the pernicious plan-proposals 1 for as much, as they have not had the effects, which was said they would; nevertheless, whoever desires to have a general Synod, to him we will freely grant the privilege. But as is respects ourselves, the Bible and Augsburgh confession of faith are sufficiently general. These shall have more influence upon us, than all the general Synods – and as far as I can learn, these are the sentiments, not only of our brethren in the ministry of the Ohio Synod, but also of our congregations. The Synod of Ohio as her last session, decided the question, with respect to the plan of the general Synod in such a manner, that I am in hopes, the brethren of Ohio, will continue in peace, to keep house, according to the ancient order.
With respect to the general union of all sects and parties, which have arisen in the Christian world, appears to me a vain undertaking; as Christ and his apostles have not forfeited any thing, with respect thereto. The prophet in the Old Testament, truly predicted: that there shall be but one shepherd and one flock, but this is applied to the Jews and Gentiles, whom Christ called into one church.
My well beloved brother in the ministry – as much as it is desired, and as much as your presence at our next session, would rejoice me; yet from the letter to me, I learn that your presence is more necessary at another place. I see the great burden un,der which you labour. May the lord enable you, to perform that whereto you are appointed.
A letter from the Rev. Jacob Larros, to the Rev. Paul Henkel
Eaton, Preble county, Ohio, August 2d, 1821.
Well beloved brother in Christ 1.
I imagine, you and I shall have our eyes closed, before that dreadful storm be over, which is expected. But what a
Blessed thing it would be, if all Christians could be prepared to meet it. The best way to be prepared, is to adhere to the doctrines, which are divine; and to adopt no other sense, than such as the inspired penmen had, who wrote by the direction of heaven. With respect to the doctrine of holy Baptism – alas! the world of the learned, as well as the unlearned, are confused; for as much as they have no love for the doctrines of faith: but rather are according to their own minds. John 8. 44. I am sorry to learn from the little book of the minutes of the conference: that deviations from a fundamental article of faith have taken place, which appears to me a serious matter. It is possible, that our brethren in the ministry, understand holy Baptism, to be water only – and not also the gifts of salvation: justification, the Holy Spirit, regeneration and newness of life? Who doth not plainly see form the following passages: that the gifts of salvation and water are connected. Acts 2, 38 – In this passage St. Peter connects the remission of sins, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost, with water in Baptism. John 3, 5 – In this passage, Christ connects regeneration with water. St. Paul – Titus 3, 5, calls Baptism “the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” and saith we are saved therby. Eph 5, 26 – he connects sanctification, with the washing of water by the word. According to the 6th chapt. To the Rom. – he requires of those that are baptized, (in consequence of their being baptised in Christ’s name into his death) to die unto sin, and to walk in newness of life; for as much, as all the gifts of salvation, which Christ hath obtained by his painful sufferings, death and glorious resurrection, are imputed in Baptism through mere mercy, without the least merit of works. Through this mercy, power and ability are bestowed to grow in grace, and to follow alter holiness: provided the baptismal covenant of grace remains connected in life, with the word of God. Eph 5, 26, John 15, 4. I can well remember that in my childhood, these gifts of salvation were imputed to me. Had I connected my baptismal grace, with the obedience to God’s word, I might with the increasing of my understanding, have owned to myself, the tokens of a state of grace and regeneration from the holy Scriptures, on the most of pages. But alas! alas! the breaking of the covenant was my backsliding – for this forlorn state, I erred many years, and sought with anxiety, for the above tokens – but it was in vain to me, in this covenant breaking state, to consider myself regenerated – until I sought according to the order of salvation, believing and repenting, and renewing my baptismal covenant This did not depend on flesh and blood, no: on the majority of votes – but on the faithful promises of God Can I impute these blessed tokens of a state of grace and regeneration to myself then it is verily no new grace invented by man; but that grace, which was promised and found again in Baptism. The imaginary grace has also its tokens;
Perhaps from the head, clouds or a majority of confused votes; but not from the Bible. This my well beloved bother, is my unreigned testimony of Baptism and regeneration. If it meets your approbation, you will rejoice – I also rejoice in it; because it is divine.
When I reflec ton 18 or 20 years back – when many of the Germans were awakened to behold their salvation – when we cheerfully, laboured in the gospel to prepare them, that they might be men in Christ, to preserve the religion of the Bible – I then could already discover the ostentation of many. In the great revival of some of the English churches, some of their novices, in admonishing the people in popular assemblies, frequently acted too audacious and arbitrary, to the disadvantage of elder ministers, as they pretend to understand the work of conversion better – not being restricted to order by their superiors. Since that time imperious audacity, and tyranny, have increased much, so that the fruits thereof appear in public Synods. Such are the fruits of libertinism! What do our brethren in the ministry think? Do they intend, through love to the Millenium, to prepare the way already, for all Christians to become one flock? But O! they are much mistaken. They probably, will not be those instruments. Other winds shall blow, before this shall be effected; so that the whole world will revolt and be struck with consternation. O! that our well beloved brethren, might recognise he predictions of the holy Scripture, with respect to the Anti-christian kingdom, which is now in its non-existent state; but soon shall take a change, and appear on the most exalted stage. If they did, they would bethink themselves. It is said of him (Antichrist) that, power was given unto him, to make war with the saints and to overcome them. – and they that dwell upon earth worshipped him. A universal connexion he will have to accomplish his design. He will not, nor he can not accomplish this in harmony with the holy Scriptures – but only by a majority. O! how it will grieve our brethren, when they by their well-meaning plan effect a general connexion – and then must see that they only have been the forerunners, to prepare the way for Antichrist – to ascend his throne, and grasp his imperial secptre. O Lord our God, preserve our churches, and brethren in the ministry, against this temptation. Aman.
I remain with esteem, your humble and sincere friend. JACOB LARROS.
OBJECTIONS of the committee against the CONSTITUTION of the GENERAL SYNOD.
We the committee, consisting of Adam Miller, David Henkel, Conrad Keicher, Ambrose Henkel, Daniel Lutz, John Smith and Peter C. Boger, being appointed by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Tennessee, for the purpose of compiling the objections against the constitution of the General Synod, intend to proceed conscientiously, according to the best of our knowledge. We shall translate and review the principal and most important articles and sections of the constitution of the General Synod – That which is printed with the smaller type, are the articles & sections of said constitution; but that with the larger, our objections against it.
CONSTITUTION of the Evangelical Lutheran General Synod in the United States of America –
“Whereas Jesus Christ, the great head of his church, hath not given her any particular prescriptions how church government should be regulated, she therefore enjoys the privilege in all her departments to make such regulations as appear best, agreeable to situation and circumstances. In confidence therefore, to God our father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the divine world – for the exercise of brotherly love, for the furtherance of christian harmony, for the preservation of the unity of the spirit in the bonds of peace – we the deputies of the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Pennsylvania and adjacent states, the German and English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of North Carolina and ad-
jacant states, the Evangelical Lutheran Ministry of New-York and adjacent states and territories, and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Maryland, Virginia &c. have for ourselves and our successors, in their place adopted the following constitution:”
Can it possibly be true, that Christ has given his church no particular prescriptions how church government should be regulated? Has he left it to a majority of votes, to do as they please in this respect? We readily admit: the church enjoys the privilege to introduce some innocent customs, such as holy-days, days of humiliation and prayer, and such like things, which may edify: provided always, that such be not imposed upon any person, contrary to his will or conscience, and that such be not ordered contrary to the doctrines and regulations of Christ and his apostles. But such local and temporary regulations do by no means comprise the whole government of the church, in all her departments: they comprise only the least and most insignificant part thereof. What is to be understood by the departments of the church? The departments of the church must be several stations in the church; such as the ministry, church-council, the congregation, &c. the same as the members compose one body. I Cor. 12. 12-31. Temporary and local regulations, which Christ did not prescribe, can be none of the departments or branches of the church: because the church consists of all believers and saints in the world, and the several stations they fill, are her departments. If the constitution had said: that Christ had given no prescriptions, for the establishment of a general synod, nor particular ones for the regulation of some things, not essential to the church, we should not allege and objections, But instead of this, it saith: Christ has not given any particular prescriptions, how church-government should be regulated; that the church therefore enjoys the liberty in all her departments, to make such
regulations as appear best, according to situation and circumstances. Agreeable to this statement, there is nothing to govern the General Synod, but their own majority; they acknowledge no other criterion of church-government. Christ agreeable to this, would be excluded from the government of his church: if he has left no particular prescriptions how she should be regulated: he must have developed this important measure on the majority of votes! But, blessed be God: our blessed Saviour has not left his church in this destitute manner. Some necessary rules he has prescribed himself; and others by his apostles: when after his luminous ascension to his father, he anointed them with extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost; hence whatsoever they have written, is the same as his own declarations. Christ is real God, as well as man; he must therefore, be an omniscient king, enthroned at his father’s right hand; in a single moment all things are present to his view; all possible circumstances with which his church is encompassed, in every age and clime to eternity, he foresees; his infinite wisdom prescribed every thing necessary, to govern and comfort his people. He is not like the kings of this world, who stand in need of a multitude of counselors, to secure their safety. The following passages, are the prescriptions of Christ and his apostles, how to regulate the church in all departments: Christ saith, Matth 18, 15. “Moreover, if they brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee, one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witness every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” Christ in this passage, in a particular manner prescribes a rule, how to treat
An offending brother. In this case the church has not the liberty, to act according to her pleasure, agreeable to situation and circumstances: as for instance, a wealthy and popular brother, being guilty of trespasses would be screened, in order to avoid his displeasure, and the loss of his ample stipends; whereas the poor one, would be rebuked. – This would be acting agreeable to circumstances; but not according to the rule of Christ. Matth. 6, he prescribes a rule, how his church shall be governed, in giving of alms, in fasting and praying. 1 Cor. 11, 4 15, St. Paul prescribes sufficient rules with respect to public worship. 1 Tim 3, 1-13, he describes the grades of ministers: Bishops & Deacons, with their requisite qualifications. 1 Tim. 5, 19, he gives instructions how to receive an accusation against an elder. Verse 20, he commands to rebuke those openly, who sin. And verse 22, that hands should not suddenly be laid on any man. 2 Tim. 2, 3-6, he shews, that ministers should not be entangled with the things of this world. 1 Cor. 5, 1-13, he directs the church, how to treat fornicators, covetous, extortioners, &c. Gal. 6, how to treat a brother that is overtaken in a fault. 2Thess. 3,6. Tit. 1, 5-8. Acts 20,28. 1Tim.3,2-6 Tit.1,9. 1Pet. 5,2,3. The duty of teachers may be seen. – See Cor. 9, 14. Gal. 6,6, 7. 1Tim. 5, 17, 18. 1Thess. 5, 12, 13. Heb.13, 17. how hearers should treat their teachers is prescribed. – The duties of husbands, wives, parents, children, masters and servants are all defined. 1Pet. 3, 7 Col. 3, 19. Eph. 5,22 and chap. 6. From these and many more passages, that might be quoted, it is evident that Christ and his inspired apostles, have given the church sufficient prescriptions of her government, in all her various branches. They are general rules, and yet applicable in every particular case, that may occur: so that they are also particular prescriptions. But that the constitution of the General Synod saith, that Christ has not left such
Particular prescriptions, appears a strange, unwarranted and arbitrary assertion. Is it possible, that any person can imagine, that a majority of votes in our days can prescribe better rules and regulations, than those prescribed by Christ and his apostles? This constitution further saith: “By the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the divine word.” How is it possible, that they can consistently say: that the Holy Spirit, in the divine word, hath taught or guided them to establish a General Synod; when at the same time they declare: that Christ has not given any particular prescriptions how church government should be regulated? Has he given no particular prescriptions in this respect; then surely he has no where in his word commanded or sanctioned this constitution of the General Synod. – How then could they have been guided by the Holy Spirit, in the divine world to form it, provided, the divine word, as they affirm, is silent with respect to such things? Can it be supposed: that the Holy Spirit, in a miraculous manner taught them, without the word? Doth the Holy Spirit, now, teach any person without the word? If this were the case, there would be no need for the word; because every one might be taught by the Spirit without it. It further saith: “For the exercise of brotherly “love, for the furtherance of christian harmony, for “the preservation of the unity of the spirit in the bonds “of peace.” – We sincerely wish, it might be considered, that the attempts of the establishment of this General Synod, has not produced any brotherly love, nor harmony, nor peace; but on the contrary: divisions, contentions and confusion* This establish-
* Note. That this institution of General Synods, promotes unity in spirit, is contrary to constant experience. The Presbyterians, Methodists and other churches are governed by General Synods:
ment is nothing but self-invented rules and traditions of men – and such as love christian liberty, cannot suffer themselves to be brought into bondage; hence the confusion. O! ye watchmen of Zion, pity and spare the flock!
and have many human values and regulations; but yet, from time to time many disputes and factions have arisen among them: so that they are split into many sects and parties The Lutheran church never heretofore was governed by a General Synod; yet, she never was divided until this novel system was introduced. She produced man able, learned and pious ministers. When sometimes a few immortal ministers imposed themselves, on the congregations, they were abhorred by the pious, & the people getting sufficiently acquainted with their fruits, had reason enough to abandon them, without the interposition of a General Synod. The first Lutheran ministers emigrated from Germany and Sweden where they also were ordained. Some settled in Pennsylvania, and others in the southern states. Being few in number, no particular synods were formed, for many years; yet they were united. The Augsburg confession of faith, containing the principal doctrines of the holy Scriptures, was their standard of union. It was unalterable; they had no novel system, produced by a majority of votes, to expect. Congregations being vacant, and candidates ready for holy orders, to supply their vacancies, one or more neighbouring ministers were requested to examine and ordain them. But when, at length the congregations increased in number, and their needs grew more pressing: the few ministers in Pennsylvania, with their congregations, mutually agreed, to assemble oncein a year; not to prescribe human laws and self-invented traditions to the church;
“The body founded on this constitution, is denominated: The Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of America.”
This body indeed, may call itself Evang. Lutheran & yet not be such. The constitution does nowhere say, that the Augsburg confession of faith or Luther’s
But to examine and ordain ministers, and to reprove the immortal and such as had departed from sound doctrines, and to devise means to promulgate the gospel. Such a meeting is called a Synod. Sometime near the year 1790, another one was formed in New York – in 1803, one in the state of North Carolina – in 1818, one in the state of Ohio – in 1820, one in Tennessee – in this same year, some of the ministers, who had belonged to that of Pennsylvania, formed one for the states of Maryland, Virginia &c. Each of these Synods, before the general constitution was formed, were independent, and not amenable to any superior tribunal, except that of Christ. Differences in local and temporary regulations, the format on of new synods &c. were not considered as divisions of the church; their standard of unity was for more noble and exalted; the pure scriptural doctrines of the Augsburg confession of faith, was their meridian sun, they viewed with united eyes; and any thing less, such as local and temporary regulations never influenced their minds, even to think of divisions. The church proceeded peaceably, until the unhappy and fatal period of 1819, arrived, when a meeting was called in Baltimore, consisting of some of the Synod of Pennsylvania, & an individual from North Carolina, for the purpose of devising a plan, for the establishment of the General Synod. Said plan was printed and circulated. But the Rev. Leist, Steck Scheid, Kammers
catechism or the Bible, shall be the foundation of doctrine and discipline of the General Synod. It is well known that they always have been the standard of the Lutheran church. Why does the con-
and Andrew Henkel, ministers of the state of Ohio, published eight objections against it – these together with the objections of some others, were printed in the German language. In addition, a publication was issued in the English language, on the same subject: entitled, “Carolina Herald of Liberty.” In the year 1820, another meeting was held in Hagerstown, when and where the constitution was formed, against which the present objections are made From what I can learn: the Synod of Pennsylvania, a part of North Carolina and Maryland compose the General Synod; and all ministers connected with either of those synods are under the jurisdiction of the General Synod, and partakers of the same cause. I am not able to ascertain with certainty, whether the Synod of New-York have adopted this constitution; it is certain, some of their members were present when it was formed – but I am credibly informed by a friend who was present at their last meeting, in last October, that no deputies appeared from New-York, nor that they transmitted any excuse for not appearing. The Synods of Ohio, Tennessee and a part of North Carolina reject the constitution of the General Synod. There are also individual ministers in Virginia and Kentucky who had belonged to the Synod of Pennsylvania, that are opposed to the General Synod. The German Reformed church, who heretofore were governed without a General Synod; have also lately adopted the government of a General Synod.
Clerk of the Committee
situation not once name them? It is truly said by some: that every person knows this, without any further mention, that they have always been the standard church. True indeed! But who assures us, that they are to be the standard of the General Synod? There is not a single clause to bind the General Synod to act in conformity to them. The General Synod, has unlimited power by this constitution, to promote and doctrine, to establish any new creed or institute and discipline they please; for there is no Augsburg confession of faith, no Luther’s catechism, nor Bible to restrict them. If they see cause, they may establish the principles of deism or any other, that may seem most lucrative and popular. No doubt many are ready to say: surely, so many pious and learned men would not aim at such horid things, even if there is no provision made in the constitution. But, it is not reasonable, that the christian church, should repose her confidence in man, or to make flesh her refuge. If we are to trust to the piety, learning and good motives of men, we need no constitution at all, we may adopt the principles of monarchial despotism, and be ruled without a law, agreeable to the pleasure of tyrants. Had the framers of this constitution, been zealous advocates for the Lutheran doctrine, they would have been careful to insert a clause, to compel the General Synod, always to act according to our standard books. It is an easy thing to prove that some of the founders of this General Synod have openly denied some of the important doctrines of the Augsburg confession of faith and Luther’s catechism.
“This body consists of deputies from the different Evangelical Synodical and Ministerial Connexions in the United States, who connect themselves therewith, and who have been properly recognised as members, according to the following relation: A connexion which counts six minister; sends one deputy; that of fourteen, send two; twentyfive, there, forty, four;
Sixty, five; and that which counts eightysix, or more, send six deputies from the order of ordained ministers; and likewise as many lay deputies.
All deputies agreeable to this relation, appearing in the General Synod, have equal rights and votes as members of the body: except in that case, which shall afterwards herein be reserved. It is left to the option of every synodical and ministerial connexion, how to appoint their deputies – Every connexion defrays the traveling expenses of its deputies, until the General Synod shall have an own treasury, out of which they may be defrayed.”
This may consist of deputies, from the different evangelical connexions. It is not said of the several Evang. Lutheran connexions. If this body may consist of the different connexions; then it is evident, that it may be composed of all denominations: such as, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, &c. These all denominate themselves Evangelical; and are even recgonised as such by some who call themselves Lutherans. Thus it is manifest that all denominations, who call themselves Evangelical, may have seats and votes in this body; for as much as there is nothing to prohibit them from it. These taken together are many times more numerous than the Lutherans; hence they could easily destroy the Lutheran church under her own name. in asmuch, as they are generally opposed to Luther’s doctrines. What is the benefit of Luther’s name, when his doctrines are extirpated? Does the General Synod intend to extirpate the Lutheran doctrine, in allowing deputies form other connexions to have votes? Or, do they intend to entice other denominations to take part with them, and then proselyte them to their own side?
“The transactions of the General Synod are as follows: viz. SECT I. They examine the minutes of the different particular Synods and Ministries, in order to acquaint themselves with the situation of the church. Each particular Synod shall therefore, communicate as many copies of the minutes of their transactions to the General Synod, as there are members constituting the same.
SECT. 11. With respect to all proposed manuscripts and books for the public use in churches, the General Synod shall act as a joint committee of the particular Synods and Ministries, in the following manner:
1. They examine all the manuscripts and books, proposed by the particular Synods or Ministries, for the use of the church: such as catechism, liturgies, compilation of hymns, or confession of faith, and impart their well considered advice and admonition. No Synod not Ministry in connexion with this General Synod shall therefore not publish any new book of the afore said description for public use, without having first handed a complete copy thereof to the General Synod: and have received their sentiments, or admonitions, or advice.”
Hence no individual Synod, can neither publish nor introduce books for public use of churches, without previously receiving the advice and admonition of the General Synod. Such books, as compilation of hymns and liturgies, mostly contain the forms and ceremonies of public worship. Now if no person shall enjoy the liberty to introduce such books, without previously getting the advice of the General Synod; then the power is already arrogated, that no ceremonies shall be used in the church, without their advice and consent. The 7th article of our church saith: “It is not necessary for the true unity of the church, that uniform ceremonies are established by men should be observed.” Why shall individual societies be robbed of the liberty to introduce such books as suit them best, when our confession of faith grants every person liberty in this case? Why are measures taken to rob people of their christian liberty? The plea that is urged: is, that every person has liberty to write books: he shall only ask the General Synod for advice, before he publishes them. Why shall any person ask for advice, if he still has the liberty to comply with such advice or to reject it? It must be a natural consequence, that such advice must be obeyed; otherwise advising would be a useless thing. Shall no person introduce books of the adore-said description, without having first received the
Advice of the General Synod; then there is already compulsion in this case; for men are compelled to ask advice, and obey it, if advising shall answer any purpose. Every minister might with equal propriety be bound, not to preach a sermon, without first presenting a copy thereof to the General Synod, and receive their well considered advice and admonition; for any man, that would publish a book with erroneous doctrines would also preach such. A man who preaches erroneous doctrines may be censured and suspended, tor heresy; if he publishes such in books, the church has the same authority to censure him; so that there is no need to compel men to ask for advice before they publish them. One thing more is here to be considered. It is said: “the General Synod shall examine all the manuscripts and books for the public use of churches, such as catechisms, hymns, liturgies or confession of faith.” An opportunity is here given to introduce a new confession of faith. This appears a conclusive proof, that the General Synod, do not intend to be governed by the Augsburg confessions of faith. Perhaps this may be one of the reasons, why they have nowhere promised in the constitution, that Luther’s catechism, the Augsburg confession of faith, nor the Bible should be the guide of the body. They wish to have power to form a new confession; perhaps more popular, and suited to the new fangled opinions of this present age of infidelity. Were not the men, such as Luther, Melanchton, &c. who formed the Augsburg confession of faith, as a testimony against popery and other heresies, godly and enlightened men, and whose instrumentality we owe our light of the gospel? Will any of the voteries of the General Synod, presume to say, that this confession is erroneous, heretical and
Wicked? Can they form a better one? If they answer in the affirmative, they are no Lutherans, as they call themselves. If they answer in the negative; why then have they not positively specified in the constitution that such should remain the standard of the church? Why have they given an opportunity to introduce a new confession. It is known, that all Lutheran ministers, when they are ordained, are solemnly pledged as by an oath, to maintain the doctrine of the Augsburg confession of faith. But when there is an opportunity given, to propose and introduce other confessions, perhaps the very reverse; what shall become of all the oaths made at the time of ordination?
2. “If the General Synod deem it expedient, they may propose to the particular Synods and Ministries new books as aforesaid for general or particular public use. Every proposal of the kind, the particular Synods and Ministries shall also observe; and in case any of them should not approve of such proposal, it is hoped the reasons will be sent to the next General Synod, that they may be inserted in the minutes of the General Synod.”
Indeed privilege is granted to the particular Synods, in case they should not approve of the proposals for introducing books, to send their objections to the next General Synod. But nevertheless, there is no promise made, that such reasons or objections should be received or adopted; they shall only be inserted in the minutes of the General Synod. What purpose can this answer? Is it to expose such Synods to public ridicule, when nothing more is promised, than barely to insert their reasons or objections in the general minutes?
3. “To no General Synod can the power be given, everywhere to prescribe uniform ceremonies, to introduce alterations, in things respecting faith, or in things which respect the manner of publishing the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God and foundation of our faith, which might oppress the conscience of the brethren in Christ.”
No power needs or can be given to this General Synod to prescribe uniform ceremonies – they have
Already grasped it, when they suffer no book, for public worship which contains ceremonies, to be introduced, without their advice and approbation!! Alteration in things of faith may not be made: yet they may be omitted, without a breach of this clause. To alter a thing, and to omit a thing, is not the same.
SECT. III. “If for the future, 25 ministers living in one circuit, of whom at least fifteen must be ordained, apply to the General Synod for permission to form a particular Ministry for themselves: and in case the Synod or Ministry to which they before belonged, allege no well grounded reasons against the attempt, after being formally notified. then the General Synod shall have authority to grant the application. And if in a whole state, no particular Synod or Ministry is existing, and if six ordained ministers live in it and make application, then the General Synod shall grant the establishment of such a new Synod or Ministry in the state. But until the grant or permission of the General Synod, in such cases, is formally imparted, no deputies from a newly established synodical body shall enjoy a seat or vote in the General Synod.”
In this section provision is made, that more Synods may be formed of those already existing The Synod of Pennsylvania being the most numerous, no doubt will know how to form themselves into more synods, in order to get more votes in the general Synod, that they may sway their regal sceptre over every other Synod! Further, if no Synod shall be considered lawful, so that their deputies cannot enjoy seats and votes in the General Synod, unless such be established by the formal grant and permission of the General Synod; then surely there is no Synod in America lawful, nor ought any according to this enjoy seats and votes in the General Synod. The Synods who now compose the General Synod, and arrogate to themselves the power of giving formal grants and permissions to form Synods, themselves had no formal grants from a General Synod, to become Synods. How were the formed? – By formal permission from a General Synod? No, A General Synod
Never heretofore governed the Lutheran Church in America. From Europe they could not get such; because the church there did not derive her existence from a General Synod. Luther was excommunicated by the church of Rome – yet as an individual he performed ordinations; from him and a few of his associates, the church under the auspices of heaven, derived her existence. The ordinations of most ministers in Pennsylvania and the Carolinas, were derived from individuals; and they formed themselves into Synods by mutual consent. Now these very men, who have no formal permission, for the bodies they compose; arrogate to themselves authority of giving formal grants and prohibiting ministers from forming Synods, without petitioning them for liberty! This pretended power at present is nothing but an arbitrary usurpation They cannot get this authority legally, from no protestant community; for none of them derived their existence from the majority who called themselves the universal church. This is a prerogative for which the pope and the Romish church contend.
SCET. IV. – In this section, the constitution points out how uniformly in the grades of the ministry is to be preserved. This not being very interesting nothing more needs to be said on this head.
SECT. V. “The German Synod shall not be viewed as a peculiar tribunal of appeals; yet in the following cases they may interfere:
1. They may, when complaints with respect to doctrine and church-discipline are tabled by whole Synods, or congregations, or individual ministers, impart their sentiments or advice. Nevertheless, the General Synod shall take good care not to burden the consciences of ministers with human traditions, and not to afflict any person with respect to difference in opinion.”
The General Synod shall not burden the consci-
ences of ministers with human traditions: yet at the same time the very institution of the General Synod is nothing but human laws and traditions, nowhere commanded by Christ nor his apostles. That this is so, the framers of this constitution in the introduction thereof, themselves affirm. The say: “Christ has given his church no particular prescriptions how church-government shall be regulated.” Has he not given any prescriptions in this case, then surely he has not commanded the establishment of such a General Synod, hence it can be noting but human tradition. In the name of common sense, how can this be consistent? “The General Synod shall take great care not to burden the consciences of ministers with human laws or traditions,” when at the same time, agreeable to their own consessions, the very establishment of the General Synod is nothing but human law and tradition!! How vehemently our
Note. The unity of the Lutheran church doth not consist in any external forms or ceremonies, or government established by men. It is independent of any general head except Christ. The seventh article of the Ausgburg confession of faith, points out the true nature of her unity. It saith: “For it is sufficient for the true unity of the christian church, that the preaching be pure, according to the true understanding of the gospel, and the sacraments administered according to divine Scripture: and it is not necessary for the true unity of the christian church, that the same ceremonies, as established by men should be observed; as St. Paul saith, Eph. 4. “One body, one spirit, as ye all are called to the same hope of your calling, one lord one Faith, one Baptism.” One of the reasons, why the Reformers inserted this article into their confession, was no doubt to rebut the cavils of the papists. The doctrine of the papists in this respect is: that the christian church must have a general external union, obey one visible head, which is the pope and his cardinals, and a seperation from them is a criminal schism. Their church being over all the world, governed by the same visible head, generally uniform in ceremonies and other external regulations; and always able to punish many whom she views as heretics; she therefore having such an ascendency over her members, denominates herself, the only true catholic church in the world. The papists,
Saviour upbraided the Pharisees for their human laws and traditions they imposed upon the common people. By means of human laws and traditions popery was established – Why are preparations made now again, to introduce that horrid beast? How careful individual Synods should be, not to impose human traditions upon the church; but remember that they do not assemble for the purpose of making laws for the church, but only to devise means to execute those already made by Christ.
further argue: that the protestant church, cannot be the true church of Christ, because they are divided in forms, in ceremonies, seperated into many independent bodies, and accountable to no general external tribunal – so that they cannot punish hereticks with any degree of power: and as the church is but one body united in every member, the protestant cannot be the church. But this article of our confession sufficiently answers this plea of the papists. It is the same as if it had said: the church of Christ is but one united body, consisting of innumerable members; but what unites them? All believers believe in one invisible Lord, by whom they are governed, for his is their king: they are anointed by the same Holy Ghost, for he is their comforter and guide. This is an invisible, god-like union, not discerned by the carnal eye, nor doth it imitate the unity of the kingdoms of this world: Christ is its polar star, the Bible its charter, ministers who proclaim sweet words of peace, it heralds, Baptism and the Lord’s supper the seal, bond token, and security. This union is independent of all human ceremonies, traditions, general synods, or anything of the kind, and has existed ever since the promulgation of the gospel, in all realms and climes. It was a stumbling-block to the Jews; because they could not even make the law of Moses subservient thereunto, much less their self-invented traditions. A union which consists of human laws, ceremonies and discipline, may be termed a political union – a union peculiar to civil government of this world. Now, even were it the case, that all who call themselves christians would be united in this manner, it would by no means prove their spiritual unity: for many may conform to one external rule and yet be divided in heart, for they are not all Israelites, that are of Israel. It is evident, because the General Synod is but the invention of men, that they make much more necessary to christian unity, than the pure preaching of the gospel and the proper administration of the sacraments, commanded by Christ. Thus, this establishment of the General Synod, must be contrary to the seventh
Further, it is said: “that no person shall be afflicted with respect to difference in opinion.” What an opportunity is here given, to introduce all manner of false doctrine! If no person is to be afflicted in respect to difference in opinion, then no person can be
article of our confession of faith. True christianity is thereby blended with human laws and policy – the true lineaments of popery. The following passages, prove it to be a criminal conduct in christians to submit to legal bondage, or to be subject to the rudiments of the world: Col 2, 16, 17. “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of any hold day, or of the new moon, or of sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” V 20-22. “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world are ye subject to ordinances, (touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using,) after the commandments and doctrines of men.” If no man is to judge christians in respect to meat and drink or of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days – who then has a right to judge them, in respect to forming books for the public use in churches, or in respect of performing ordinations? The General Synod have arrogated this right of judging and oppressing christians in these respects! These are prerogatives they claim, contrary to the doctrines of the apostle. If christians, who are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, are not to be subject to ordinances, nor to the doctrines and commandments of men: how can the General Synod, reasonably expect, for christians to be subject to their human ordinance: their constitution – and bow to the scepter of their majority? St. Paul exhorts Titus chap 1. n. 14, “Not give heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.” What is the whole system of the General Synod, but the commandments of men? Christ rebukes the Pharisees for their doctrines and commandments of men, and saith: “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind.” Matth. 15, 13, 14 Is the General Synod a plant, which has been planted by the heavenly father? No. It was planted by a majority of votes. Can it reasonably be required of christians, to foster a plant which God did not plant? It is too lamentable a fact that among the most denominations, human laws, discipline and ceremonies, are made the rallying point of unity!
Clerk of the Committee
Excommunicated for propagating any false or wicked doctrine. One might deny the holy Trinity, and encourage any system of infidelity and, yet agreeable to this constitution, no one could be rebuked nor suspended. One might plead this article is defence: and say, the General Synod have no right to oppress me for my different opinion!
2. “If parties are divided with respect to doctrines and church-discipline and in a brotherly manner refer the case, wherein the division originated, to the General Synod; then they shall minutely examine the case, and agreeable to their knowledge of right, of equity, of brotherly love and truth declare their sentiments.”
3. “If differences between Synods and Synods are referred, then at the decision, the votes shall be taken according to Synods: but the Synods referring have no votes.”
In the beginning of this section, it is said, that the General Synod is not to be viewed as a tribunal of appeals; yet in these clauses appeals are received and finally decided! What an inconsistency!
SECT. VI. “The General Synod may devise plans, for general institutions, for seminaries of learning and missionaries, and likewise institutions for the support of minister’s widows and orphans and poor ministers, and by the help of God to promote the accomplishment thereof.”
SECT. VII. “The General Synod, may also for the purpose of executing their designs create an own treasury.”
We cannot conceive the propriety of paying missionaries out of a general fund. How many pious ministers heretofore have preached the gospel in remote parts, without such provision. Men who are commissioned by Christ to preach the gospel, “take no thought, saying, what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed?” Matt. 6, 31-34. Their daily employment is to teach and admonish the people – for their support they depend on the faithful promise of our Lord who said: “all these things shall be added unto you.” Men who are sent of God, shall profit the people: the Lord therefore, who feeds the winged songsters, though they toil not, and arrays the lilies of the fields, stirreth
up the hearts of the people, and fills them with gratitude, so that they freely honour him with their substance in supporting his ministers: thus the promise of Christ shall evermore be verified. But hirelings and wolves do not believe this promise. They are either entangled with some temporal employment, to secure their support, or else must know what they are to have from a general fund, before they go forth to labour in the Lord’s vineyard. When men know, what they shall get from a general fund, before they preach: they have no need to exercise faith in the promise of Christ; for their trust is in the general fund! The country is already filled with such hired circuit-riders, whose trust for a support, is not in the promise of our Lord; because they first bargain with their superiors, or general synods what they are to have per month or year from the general fund. Was the mission of the primitive apostles conducted in this manner? Had Christ established a general treasury, out of which he had hired his apostles by the month or year? No. Is it not degrading for christians to depart so far from the paths of Christ and his apostles? Is it not enough that we have his promise? Genuine ministers, have no need of a general fund to support them; their mission is profitable to the people, whose hearts being moved by the Lord, will support their teachers – but such men, who are not called of God, do not profit the people; they therefore do not expect to be supported by the promise of Christ—hence they must look to the general treasury. What is better calculated, to induce hirelings, to enter into holy orders, than their sure wages, by a general fund? Why are minister’s widows and orphans, and poor ministers only, to be supported by a general fund, and not also other poor members of the church?. Are the families of ministers a nobler race, than other people, so that extraordinary provisions must be made for them, in preference of others? Would it not be
better, if every congregation had a fund of its own to support their needy at home? Each congregation are best acquainted with their own poor, and know who deserves help. Is it necessary, that the congregations should send their money several hundred miles from home, into the general fund, and that the poor should receive it from thence. – Pious ministers accustom their families to honest labour, so that they may know how to support themselves when they need it. Who supports the people’s widows and orphans? It is too lamentable a fact, that too many ministers, do not accustom their children to labour; but indulge them in their pride, vanity, indolence, and in the imitation of rich, proud and pompous people of the world. Behold! how many ministers with their wives in our time, surpassing humility – how grand their attire – how lotty their appearance – how great their association with the wealthy of this world – with what contempt do they view the poor – how numerous their waiters—and how little do they expose themselves to preach the gospel unto the poor! There is no similarity between them and Christ whose ministers they affect to be – for he was poor; he appeared lowly and in the form of a servant. Such vain, arrogant and indolent families, truly cannot support themselves in such style, after their father’s decease; a general treasury indeed might be considered necessary to support such in their vanity. The farmers and mechanics may labour hard to procure money, to fill this treasury: of which though, their widows and orphans in their straits could expect no assistance. Have we any nobility in America whom the people must bear upon their hands? What a constant tax is hereby imposed upon the congregations! How frequently the ministers of church-council must admonish the people, to cast their mites into the general fund, lest it should be exhausted. There would be no end to begging and expostulating with the people for mo-
ney. Howbeit, it is said; that no person is compelled to contribute towards the general fund. We grant it, in one sense, but not in another – for such as did not freely contribute, would be viewed with a contemptible eye, and frequently reproved as avaricious hardened wretches: so that at last they would find themselves obliged to contribute. Such widows and orphans, who by some misfortune are rendered unable to support themselves generally find benefactors, in addition to those means, civil government hath already provided.
SECT. VIII. This section shews, how the General Synod, shall endeavour to heal divisions, and to observe the opinions which are growing common, in order to promote a general union and harmony. – All that we can understand from this, is a desire to unite with all denominations.
We conclude, hoping that the friends of the General Synod will not view us as enemies; because we freely spend our opinion with respect to their designs. We would freely join in with them, if we could do it with a good conscience. Such a general connexion of all ministers, would certainly exalt the clerical state, in a temporal view, to a high degree above the people. Greater burdens might then be imposed upon them: and such of us are ministers, might thereby live more comfortable. Our widows and orphans might live with much ease: and our missionary services whilst we are alive would be amply remunerated. Being connected in this view, we could make the people more dependent: for, when the clergy unanimously agree in any matter, if ever so oppressive, the people must either yield obedience, or else be deprived of the sacred means. It would moreover, render us more popular; because the Gen-
eral Synod system, as it borders upon temporal grandure, finds many patrons who are wealthy, and it is much easier to swim with, than against the current. But this does not appear justifiable in our view The church of Christ in its very beginning, did not appear grand and powerful: nor had she any temporal wealth or authority. Her apostles were poor fishermen, supported by no general fund; and even her great head Jesus Christ, was poorer than the birdie and foxes, and was satisfied with the meanest fare; whilst he went about doing all the good he could. Neither Christ nor his apostles, exercised any temporal authority over the people, nor did they compel them to obey human laws and traditions. Wherever a connexion is found extremely numerous, wealthy, grand and exercising great authority like unto a civil government, we may conclude, it is not the church of Jesus. The scribes and pharisees were of this description; hence the kingdom of Christ could not thrive among them. We do not expect finally to prevent the establishment of the General Synod, by publishing our objections; because we believe, agreeable to the divine predictions, that the great falling away is approaching, so that Antichrist will set himself into the temple of God. 2 Thess. 2. We also believe that the establishment of General Synods are preparing the way for him. Antichrist will not, nor cannot get into power, without a general union, which is not effected by a divine harmony of godly doctrines; but by common temporal interests, and the power of a majority. Notwithstanding, we consider it out duty, to make the people attentive to those things, and to instruct such as are not willfully blind. But should we be deceived in our opinion, and clearly be convinced of it, we shall not be ashamed to recant. In vain people dream of the Millennium, before
crosses and tribulations, shall have visited the christian world by the rage of Antichrist. His kingdom is reared under a good garb; if this were not the case, no person would be deceived. Men who are notoriously immortal and vicious, cannot deceive; but they only who appear like innocent lambs. May God preserve all his people against every temptation, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.