Summer 2011 CONCORDIA JOURNAL sneek peak

The Summer 2011 Concordia Journal celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of C. F. W. Walther (1811-1887).

Walther’s ministry was a prolific one. He founded the church body now known as The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, as well as this Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He edited several periodicals and wrote unceasingly, including a still influential, classic volume on law and gospel. He served as president of the LCMS (two different times), and was a longtime professor and president of Concordia Seminary, all the while serving parishes as pastor. It’s exhausting just trying to sum it up in one paragraph.

This issue of Concordia Journal sums up his life by providing resources for people to continue to explore Walther’s life, theology, and ministry, and its relevance for contemporary contexts and situations. Is there such a thing as “Walther studies”? As the excerpt below from Tom Egger exemplifies, there are still plenty of good reasons to study Walther:

At Walther’s death, the Lutheran Observer praised him:

“The work Walther accomplished in these forty-seven years [in America] has had a long range and lasting effect. In the history of our country, not one solitary man was like him for the cause of Christ. Whether we speak of the Missouri Synod, or of the Fort Wayne College, of Concordia Seminary, of the great Publishing House, of literature in our church body, or of many church workers who were sent out by Walther to preach the gospel, the name and influence of this divinely gifted man cannot go unmentioned. Whoever attempts to write the life of Dr. Walther, writes the history of the Missouri Synod with the same strokes of the pen….”

Without question, Walther’s legacy reaches down to the present. Yet many of the physical markers of Walther’s life have vanished. The site of his family’s first Saint Louis home (1841–50) today houses the footings and piers of an Interstate overpass, as does the site of Trinity congregation’s first church building. From 1850–70 the Walthers resided in the first floor of the seminary on South Jefferson. This was demolished in 1882, and a new seminary edifice was constructed on the same site. Even this grand second seminary, dedicated in 1883 and the jewel of Walther’s later years, is all but gone today. The large home on Texas Ave. which Walther and Emilie occupied in 1870 and where they lived out their years was razed in 1906.

Alongside the log cabin seminary in Perry County, the 1865 Trinity church building in St. Louis, and his mausoleum in Concordia Cemetery, one of the vital physical remnants of Walther’s life is the collection of C.F.W. Walther literary artifacts at Concordia Historical Institute, located on the campus of the Saint Louis seminary. Archived there are page after page filled with Walther’s purposeful yet hasty (and sometimes nearly illegible) handwriting.

Articles, books, dissertations are waiting to be written within those pages.

One could even say Concordia Journal itself exists as a “vital physical remnant” of the innovative, exhaustive work of one man who this year would have turned 200.

To order individual issues or to subscribe to Concordia Journal, contact the editorial office at cj@csl.edu or 314-505-7117. Annual subscription rates are $15.00 USA, $20.00 Canada, $25.00 overseas. Concordia Journal is published quarterly by the faculty of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

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