Did you know LCMS Black Ministry was established more than 140 years ago? As Black History Month ends, take time to read the history of this ministry and the many ways the church serves among people of African American descent and other ethnic cultures: https://t.co/BdfabKc4Ck.— Concordia Seminary (@ConcordiaSem) February 28, 2023
This Black History Month, we highlight the LCMS Black Clergy Caucus of which our own Rev. Micah Glenn serves as secretary. “The confidence from my brothers in Christ to serve as secretary is humbling. I follow in the footsteps of many faithful men.” Photos: Rev. Meredith Jackson pic.twitter.com/zxRNrVYJWC— Concordia Seminary (@ConcordiaSem) February 24, 2023
The institution is first and foremost an institution, not a church, and the bureaucracy works to preserve itself, not the body of Christ.— Franz Lux (@FranzLuxx) February 28, 2023
You thought just because the lcms is a “church” that politics would be different?
True Lutherans should not put their trust in these princes. Work in your own sphere to preserve and expand the true church and connect with other frens— Franz Lux (@FranzLuxx) February 28, 2023
This is getting interesting.
In light of President Matthew Harrison’s recent article on the “un-Christian teachings” of the “alt-right,” I have been inspired to do some research into the history of the LCMS and its shifting positions on race, particularly between the 1940s and 1970s which is when fighting something called “racism” which had previously been dismissed as Social Gospel activism in LCMS became a “sin.”
“When Schulze continued to assist his young, well-educated parishioners in their attempts to gain admission to the educational institutions of the LCMS, not only were his efforts often rebuffed, but in 1938 they evoked a resolution from the LCMS Board of Directors reaffirming President Behnken’s previously stated position that the Synod’s secondary and higher educational institutions should remain segregated. The resolution noted the existence of separate black institutions in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Selma, Alabama (78).
Several months after this, Schulze presented his views at the LCMS Western District Pastoral Conference and received a mixed response from faculty members of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, who were in attendance. He then determined to write a book on the subject. When the manuscript for My Neighbor of Another Color was rejected by Concordia Publishing House, he arranged for private publication—borrowing funds from parishioners. Prof. Alfred Rehwinkel, who had offered enthusiastic support at the pastoral conference, gave his personal imprimatur by writing a supportive introduction.
Galchutt notes that the book created moderate interest. The Christian Century gave it a brief review, and H. Richard Niebuhr commented privately that the issues raised by Schulze were not unique to Lutherans but typical of Protestantism. The leading LCMS popular magazine, The Lutheran Witness,intentionally ignored it. The Mission Board of the Synodical Conference, charged with supervising Schulze and black congregations, selectively circulated an internal negative critique written by Prof. John Theodore Mueller of the St. Louis Seminary. The black pastors and educators at the black institutions in North Carolina and Alabama were not given access to the review. The underlying major premise of Mueller’s lengthy response was that society operated with clear racial boundaries and that it was not the church’s mission or obligation to change them. To do so would run the risk of becoming involved in the Social Gospel and destroying the historic, clear Lutheran focus on the pure Gospel. Schulze’s subsequent efforts to discuss the critique personally with Mueller were twice rebuffed. In fairness to Mueller, Galchutt notes that he later retracted his critique and conceded that Schulze was correct. My Neighbor of Another Color soon required a second printing and Schulze emerged as the leading LCMS voice on racial issues (80–90). …
The year 1947 was pivotal for the LCMS in many respects. In this year, the LCMS determined that black congregations, previously governed by the Mission Board of the Synodical Conference, could now be admitted into the geographic districts of the LCMS. …”
As we saw yesterday, John Behnken was the segregationist president of LCMS between 1935 and 1962 and Andrew Schulze was the young White pastor of a black Lutheran congregation in St. Louis who spearheaded the integration of the LCMS in the late 1940s and who lobbied for its “Pronouncement on Race Relations” in 1956. In his memoirs, Schulze recalled how “in the dry and thirsty land of the thirties and early forties, my loneliness was seldom if ever spelled out. Those who at that time were speaking against racism in the world and ignorance in the church toward racism were indeed following a lonely path, and ‘a cup of cold water’ offered by some friend was like the ‘balm of Gilead.’”
I learned this morning that Concordia Publishing initially refused to publish Schulze’s book My Neighbor of Another Color and it was deliberately ignored by The Lutheran Witness. Schulze’s efforts to integrate the LCMS before World War II were also rebuffed by the LCMS Board of Directors. In 1953, Schulze founded the Lutheran Human Relations Association (LHRAA) to publicly challenge the LCMS on racial issues.
Before World War II, the LCMS itself was segregated and had “Negro missions” in the South. Black Lutherans had their own separate congregations. White Lutherans had their own institutions. Mixing the two even at the administrative level was condemned as “social equality.” Interracial marriage was illegal in Missouri and all the other Southern states which had Jim Crow laws. Interracial adoption was also illegal in Missouri. At the time, even the most liberal activists in LCMS found miscegenation abhorrent. The LCMS itself upheld “white supremacy” by refusing to perform interracial marriages.
Why did it take so long for this huge shift to come about?
White liberals won World War II and soon found themselves locked in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. No one had ever heard of “racism” before World War II. It was all the liberal war propaganda against the Third Reich that mainstreamed the concept and associated “racism” with evil. There was a dramatic shift in White racial attitudes in the United States between 1938 and 1945. The Truman administration began to push for civil rights and integration in 1947 because fighting “racism” had become an identity issue for White liberals during World War II. “Racism” was also a problem for the State Department which was competing with the Soviet Union for influence in the Third World. In short, American liberals had won World War II and had triumphed over their foreign enemies and domestic opposition and it was during this unusual period of liberal consensus and hegemony in America that every institution in our society was remolded in their image including the LCMS. Racial integration rose to the top of the liberal agenda in the 1950s and the federal government was pushing for it and the LCMS simply bent the knee.
Why is this important? It is important because it shows that none of this has anything to do with the Bible or with Martin Luther or the founders of the Lutheran Church or LCMS or several centuries of Lutheran doctrine and practice from the Reformation until World War II. Instead, this is really all about the peculiar circumstances of the United States in the 1950s, the power struggle that went on inside the LCMS between liberals and conservatives between the 1940s and 1970s, the unusual media environment of the time and how progressive activists emerged victorious and injected the notion that “racism” is a “sin” in the LCMS. We are being retconned into believing that “racism” has always been a sin. It hasn’t. It was made up like sodomite marriage and “trans” and CRT and all the other progressive abominations that weak leadership inside the church – corrupted by the pressure to preserve their precious tax exempt status and afraid of attacks from liberal “journalists” – have allowed to be incorporated into doctrine.
It is not a new problem or even one peculiar to the LCMS. All of the other churches spout the same party line about “racism” for the same reasons. Many have taken it much further like ELCA with its ordained women and “trans” bishops and apologies for Martin Luther’s “antisemitism.” The Anglican Church has “gender-queer” priests and is now considering using “gender neutral” terms for God. In every case, this is merely Christian churches reflecting, blessing and sanctifying the latest cultural fads of our liberal ruling class, rewriting doctrine and retconning the past to hide what they have done.
Lutheranism IS NOT liberalism. Lutheranism has been corrupted by American liberalism and modernism though like all other branches of Christianity. Sadly, the desire of Lutheran elites to chase after comfort and respectability corrupted the church, as has happened time and again throughout history. Fortunately, the magnitude and scale of the disaster in the culture around us is now so obvious that the errors of previous generations are coming under renewed scrutiny. It is difficult to defend a status quo which has led to this.
UPDATE: As the tweets above illustrate, the LCMS really has no problem with racial identity politics and boasts about everything Black and spills tears over the likes of George Floyd. The problem is specifically White identity and that is because the past is now seen through the clouded prism of antiracism and multiculturalism, which didn’t enter the Missouri Synod until after World War II.
UPDATE: I’m currently reading John Behnken’s biography. It is sad reading this. In his life, he watched a single LCMS church in Houston blossom into dozens of congregations in the Houston metro area. Today, the reverse is true with an LCMS president who presides over a church in moral and demographic collapse that has been poisoned by liberalism and modernism. In contrast, Behnken was a proud Southerner who opposed integration who gave his commencement address on Robert E. Lee.
Supporting the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville from the “antiracist” demons who wanted to destroy it was another “alt-right” cause.