A Statement (“Statement of the 44”)
In Nomine Jesu
We, the undersigned, as individuals, members of Synod, conscious of our responsibilities and duties before the Lord of the Church, herewith subscribe to the following statement:
We affirm our unswerving loyalty to the great evangelical heritage of historic Lutheranism. We believe in its message and mission for this crucial hour in the time of man.
We therefore deplore any and every tendency which would limit the power of our heritage, reduce it to narrow legalism, and confine it by manmade traditions.
We affirm our faith in the great Lutheran principle of the inerrancy, certainty, and all-sufficiency of Holy Writ.
We therefore deplore a tendency in our Synod to substitute human judgments, synodical resolutions, or other sources of authority for the supreme authority of Scripture.
We affirm our conviction that the Gospel must be given free course so that it may be preached in all its truth and power to all the nations of the earth.
We therefore deplore all man-made walls and barriers and all ecclesiastical traditions which would hinder the free course of the Gospel in the world.
We believe that the ultimate and basic motive for all our life and work must be love–love of God, love of the Word, love of the brethren, love of souls.
We affirm our conviction that the law of love must also find application to our relationship to other Lutheran bodies.
We therefore deplore a loveless attitude which is manifesting itself within Synod. This unscriptural attitude has been expressed in suspicions of brethren, in the impugning of motives, and in the condemnation of all who have expressed differing opinions concerning some of the problemsconfronting our Church today.
We affirm our conviction that sound exegetical procedure is the basis for sound Lutheran theology.
We therefore deplore the fact that Romans 16:17, 18 has been applied to all Christians who differ from us in certain points of doctrine. It is our conviction, based on sound exegetical and hermeneutical principles, that this text does not apply to the present situation in the Lutheran Church of America.
We furthermore deplore the misuse of First Thessalonians 5:22 in the translation “avoid every appearance of evil.” This text should be used only in its true meaning, “avoid evil in every form.”
We affirm the historic Lutheran position concerning the central importance of the una sancta and the local congregation. We believe that there should be a re-emphasis of the privileges and responsibilities of the local congregation also in the matter of determining questions of fellowship.
We therefore deplore the new and improper emphasis on the synodical organization as basic in our consideration of the problems of the Church. We believe that no organizational loyalty can take the place of loyalty to Christ and His Church.
We affirm our abiding faith in the historic Lutheran position concerning the centrality of the Atonement and the Gospel as the revelation of God’s redeeming love in Christ.
We therefore deplore any tendency which reduces the warmth and power of the Gospel to a set of intellectual propositions which are to be grasped solely by the mind of man.
We affirm our conviction that any two or more Christians may pray together to the Triune God in the name of Jesus Christ if the purpose for which they meet and pray is right according to the Word of God. This obviously includes meetings of groups called for the purpose of discussing doctrinal differences.
We therefore deplore the tendency to decide the question of prayer fellowship on any other basis beyond the clear words of Scripture.
We believe that the term “unionism” should be applied only to acts in which a clear and unmistakable denial of Scriptural truth or approval of error is involved.
We therefore deplore the tendency to apply this non-Biblical term to any and every contact between Christians of different denominations.
We affirm the historic Lutheran position that no Christian has a right to take offense at anything which God has commanded in His Holy Word. The plea of offense must not be made a cover for the irresponsible expression of prejudices, traditions, customs, and usages.
We affirm our conviction that in keeping with the historic Lutheran tradition and in harmony with the Synodical resolution adopted in 1938 regarding Church fellowship, such fellowship is possible without complete agreement in details of doctrine and practice which have never been considered divisive in the Lutheran Church.
We affirm our conviction that our Lord has richly, singularly, and undeservedly blessed our beloved Synod during the first century of its existence in America. We pledge the efforts of our hearts and hands to the building of Synod as the second century opens and new opportunities are given us by the Lord of the Church.
Soli Deo Gloria
In Witness Whereof, we, the undersigned, affix our signatures this seventh day of September in the year of our Lord 1945, at Chicago, Illinois.
ACKER, LAWRENCE HEMMETER, H. B.
AMLING, C. M. HILLMER, WM. H.
ARNDT, W. HOFFMANN, OSWALD
BARTELS, H. KRETZMANN, A. R.
BAUER, W. E. KRETZMANN, KARL
BEHNKE, C. A. KRETZMANN, O. P.
BERNTHAL, AUG. F. KUECHLE, GEO.
BOBZIN, AUG. F. KUMNICK, H. H.
BRETSCHER, PAUL KUNTZ, WERNER
BRUENING, WM. F. KURTH, ERWIN
BRUSTAT, A. W. LINDEMANN, FRED H.
CAEMMERER, RICHARD R. LINDEMANN, HERBERT
COATES, THOMAS LOOSE, F. W.
DEFFNER, L. H. MEYER, ADOLF F.
ENGELBRECHT, H. H. MILLER, PAUL F.
FRIEDRICH, E. J. POLACK, W. G.
GEISEMAN, O. A. SAUER, O. A.
GIESELER, C. A. SCHROEDEL, THEO. H.
GLABE, E. B. THEISS, O. H.
GRAEBNER, THEO. WEBER, EDMUND W.
HANSER, ARTHUR R. WENCHEL, J. FREDERIC
HEMMETER, BERNARD H. WIND, H. F.
(Ed. note: A Statement was later signed by 214 additional LCMS pastors.)