STLTODAY — C.F.W. Walther turns 200 today, and this is why you should know who he is

Excellent article on St Louis Today about Walther’s 200th birthday:


Many American Lutheran Christians will be marking the 200th birthday of one C. F. W. Walther today. Outside of those circles, very few will even know his name. But there are more than a few reasons why St. Louisans shouldn’t forget him.

Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther was born on October 25, 1811 in Saxony, Germany. After studying theology at the University of Leipzig, he became a pastor in the town of Bräunsdorf, Saxony, and quickly became disenchanted with what he saw as coercive political entanglement with religion. Hence, he involved himself with other religious leaders and followers who coalesced into an immigrant movement to America.

They landed at the port of New Orleans in 1839, where a small group stayed and remain even today a vital part of the culture of the city. Most of the group landed in St. Louis, with another portion establishing farming settlements further south along the Mississippi River in eastern Perry county, Missouri.

Read more here.

More information can be found on Cyberbrethren.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


STLTODAY — C.F.W. Walther turns 200 today, and this is why you should know who he is — 7 Comments

  1. So, if Luther is our Moses then Walther would be like a judge of Israel but more than that~ a prophet as well, and he also represents a kind of mythical “Golden Age” like what is attributed to King David.

  2. An excellent biography of Walther was written by August R.
    Suelflow. It is entitled, “Servant Of The Word” The Life and
    Ministry of C.F.W. Walther. This book is available from CPH.

    As a student at Leipzig University he encountered the
    rationalism of his professors. They rejected everything
    in the Bible that was not reasonable. When he had to
    take one semester off due to ill health, Walther went
    home and read Luther’s Works in his father’s library.
    This marked his theological transformation and he was
    never the same again.

  3. Suelflow’s biography of Walther has some problems in the book’s sections dealing with the 1838-39 period for Walther and the Missouri Saxons. These concerns include:

    A. Misleading statements that leave out an important detail stuck elsewhere within in the book, usually in a separate, unrelated section,
    B. Misleading statements based a quote taken out of context from a given reference, and
    C. Misleading statements referencing a source, but contradicting the information provided in that same source.

    These and other concerns are discussed in a three-part “Review of Walther Bio, Part I” in the January 2001 Wittenberg Archives (Click on Next, in either View Message or By Author, to go to the other two parts.)

  4. Good article, although I gotta love the brief criticism of his views on slavery… Gotta love putting those 21st century views upon the 19th… (revisionist history stinks)

    Funny no such condemnations of the institution are found in Scripture, only encouragements for people in various vocations within the institution of slavery. Can you be a Christian and be a slave – yes. Can you be a Christian and own slaves – yes.

    But nonetheless, good article on a wonderful man used by God to do great things for His Church.

  5. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #4

    I understand that Walther only opposed the many early social-gospel promoters who misrepresented Scripture on this issue because of his absolute reverence for the truth of God’s Word and pure doctrine. This is to our great good and any slights he bears on account of it are a genuine cross borne by that saint.

    But I think you go an unnecessary step beyond this. It’s clear that forced migration, splitting families, being adjudged ‘not a full human’, and involuntary and harsh servitude that’s not a legitimate consequence for breaking a valid law are evil. (What law did the African slaves break to result in such punishment in North America?) There are a lot of evil things that you should not do that are not explicitly condemned in Scripture. And Israel’s slavery was hardly a reward for faithfulness and good behavior, was it? (not to imply any correlation here — only to say it’s clear that it was not a desirable condition).

    And heterodoxy and liberalism aside, it’s hardly a coincidence that Christendom led the way in getting rid of slavery in the modern era, first in Great Britain, then in the US.

    So I am concerned that you may have made a gratuitous statement that might be an unnecessary barrier to outsiders who somehow might be otherwise attracted to the (Lutheran) truth.

  6. In an article, “Was American Slavery a Sinful Institution?” (CHIQ, 72(4) Winter, 1999, 231-250), Rev. John E. Helmke presents translations of four letters from Adolph Carl Preus and Jakob Aall Ottesen of the Norwegian Synod and C.F.W. Walther, written between December 30, 1868, and January 9, 1869, concerning the institution of slavery.

    The Norwegian Synod Lutherans had been discussing whether the institution of slavery or just the abuses were sinful. Preus believed the institution of slavery was sinful; Ottesen leaned more toward the view that only the abuses were sinful. They wrote C.F.W. Walther to ask for his opinion.

  7. @Carl Vehse #6

    It’s interesting that they were still discussing that issue in the US in 1868 and 1869.

    I’m curious as to modern examples of slavery that do not involve abuse of a human.

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