the part of the other delegates also, and they seemed to approve
highly of the motion. Eev. Esbjorn was appointed solicitor to gather
funds and to awaken general interest in the cause among the Scandi-
In this enterprise he succeeded so well that
at the meeting of the Synod in 1857 it was considered advisable to
proceed at once to elect the incumbent of the new theological chair.
The Scandinavians were to have the right of nomination, and the
Synod was to ratify that nomination by a formal vote. This was
accordingly done, and Eev. Esbjorn, nominated at a Conference
meeting in Eockford, was unanimously elected. He entered upon his
duties at the institution in the fall of 1858. In the meantime he
continued to travel around and solicit contributions to the fund.
32 THE A UG US TA NA S YNOD
A few young men, Norwegians and Swedes, availed themselves of
the opportunity and were instructed by Prof. Esbjorn in the two
languages and in the theological branches. But before long it ap-
peared that the Board of Directors did not -look with entire favor
on the marked influence which Esbjorn was exerting on the students
under his charge. They were careful, however, not to express their
disfavor openly and directly, as that would have been too evident a
breach of good faith. Instead he was loaded down with a number
of extraneous subjects which seriously hampered and hindered him
in the work he was supposed to do. The Scandinavian members of
the Synod entered a complaint and received assurance that the matter
would receive immediate and due attention. But instead of bringing
promised relief the situation was made still more impossible by pro-
hibiting Esbjorn and his students from holding communion service
in their own language. In consequence of all this, and because he
saw that he could not discharge his original commission as Scandi-
navian professor of theology, Esbjorn resigned his position and re-
moved to Chicago. All the Scandinavian students excepting two left
the institution at the same time. These events occurred in the month
of April, 1860.
Quite naturally this step occasioned considerable commotion among
the other members of the Synod. They looked upon it as "revolu-
tion", even as "rebellion", and condemned it in the severest terms as
"unconstitutional" and "un-Christian." The "Scandinavian Professor-
Fund" had been entrusted to the Board. But these Directors had
taken the liberty of using a part of it to pay off old debts of the
institution. Now they attempted to keep what remained "to defray
the expenses incurred on account of the Scandinavian students."
According to the report of the treasurer of the University the fund
amounted to $1,382.40. After considerable difficulty the Scandi-
navians succeeded in securing about one half.
Meanwhile the Scandinavians of the Synod held a general Con-
ference in the Swedish Lutheran church of Chicago, April 23 28,
1860, to consider what ought to be done. The most influential among
the "Americans" also appeared at this meeting, partly to bring accusa-
tions against Prof. Esbjorn, partly to justify themselves in this
matter, but also to oppose the separation of the Scandinavians from
the Synod which they had good reasons to fear would be a main
Hessel Valley, Pa., (1854). New Sweden, Iowa, (1860). Kijoxville, 111., (1855).
Early church architecture in the Synod.
34 THE AUGUSTAS A SYNOD
issue. Prof. Esbjb'rn made a detailed report of what had taken place
at Springfield, stated his reasons for resigning his position at the
institution, and appealed to the Conference to decide whether he had
acted justly or not. After listening almost an entire day to the
accusations and calumniations of the visitors against Esbjorn and
their lame vindication of themselves the Conference passed a formal
vote of thanks to E. and unanimously expressed its approval of the
step he had taken. Without further delay it then proceeded to take
up the question of withdrawing from the Synod. After mature
deliberation it was unanimously decided to withdraw and organize an
independent Synod with a seminary of its own.
This important step marks the beginning of a new era in the
history of the Scandinavian Lutherans of America. Meanwhile the
period of discipline had been a most wholesome one. They had
gained valuable experience in the organization and government of a
Free Church. They had avoided the evils of a clannish separation
from other nationalities and kept in touch with the general develop-
ment. Above all they had tested and learned the value of a strong
doctrinal foundation. Their faith by having to be defended had
become stronger and more precious to their hearts, both as individuals
and congregations. And now they rejoiced before the Lord in the
prospect of being able to begin anew without being hindered by such
Lutheran confessors as seemed to take pride in rejecting everything
that distinguishes the Lutheran Church from other denominations.
The Synod of Northern Illinois continued to look askance at these
Scandinavian Lutheran congregations. Their church papers branded
them as revolutionists, formalists, semi-Catholics, et cetera. But at
the same time there were many Lutheran churches in the eastern
states that justified their procedure and defended them. And this
step proved to be a forerunner of the remarkable revolution which
took place later on in the Lutheran Church of the East, as we hav
reason to believe, to her great benefit. Shortly after the separation
the Synod of Northern Illinois ordained a student that had been
found unworthy by the Scandinavians and sent him out to range
among the Scandinavian congregations. He met with poor success
and soon returned to Sweden. Later on the same Synod ordained
several other Scandinavian students who had embraced the American
new-Lutheranism and sent them out to proselytize. One of these, a
Dane, succeeded in causing dissension in the church at Galesburg,
and several of the members withdrew and organized a "new-Lutheran"
congregation. But on the whole these proselyters accomplished very
little among our people.
"The Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod" was
organized in a Norwegian Lutheran church on Jefferson Prairie, near
Clinton, Wisconsin, June 5, 1860. The name "Augustana" is the
Latin term for the Augsburg Confession. It was proposed by Dr.
Norelius as a suitable name for the new Synod which wished faith-
fully to abide by this glorious confession to its whole extent. At
this time the Synod consisted of 49 congregations, of which 36 were
Swedish with 3,747 communicants, 17 pastors and 21 churches; and
13 were Norwegian with 1,220 communicants, 8 pastors and 8
churches. At this meeting 8 candidates for the ministry were or-
dained, so that the whole number of ministers was 33. The license
system in vogue up to this time was abolished, and the Synod ordained
its candidates immediately upon their theological examination and
before they were sent out to their respective charges.
Norw. Luth. church, Clinton, Wis., where the Augustana Synod was organized.
36 THE AUGUSTANA SYNOD
The business transacted at this meeting was: the organization of
the Synod and the adopting of a constitution; the founding of a
theological seminary; supplying vacant congregations with pastors;
and the examination and ordination of candidates for the ministry.
Kev. Hasselquist was elected president. That which weighed most
heavily upon the heart of the Synod was the establishing of a sem-
inary, because only by this means was it possible to supply the
clamoring congregations with pastors. It was therefore decided at
once to establish such an institution, and Prof. Esbjorn was elected
as its instructor. For the present it was decided to locate the sem-
inary at Chicago, where the First church offered its basement for the
The Board of Directors elected at this meeting were commissioned
to send out solicitors to gather funds in the eastern states and in
Sweden and Norway for the new institution. In accordance with
this decision the Board sent Eev. 0. C. T. Andren as its authorized
agent to Sweden and Norway. He was instructed to petition the
king for permission to receive collections in all the churches of these
countries. Rev. Andren left for Sweden in the fall of 1860 and
succeeded so well in his errand, that the king granted not only one
but two collections to be received two years in succession. The zeal
and perseverance which he showed in getting this contribution and
his success in overcoming the obstacles placed in his way can never
be sufficiently appreciated. Besides he was tireless in making ad-
dresses and writing articles for the papers that the collections might
be as large as possible. Professor Esbjorn joined him during the
summer of 1862 and helped materially to increase the contributions.
The whole sum raised in S'weden amounted to over 40,000 crowns,
or $10,846.45. Eev. Andren also succeeded in getting a considerable
number of books for the library. The king, Carl XV, donated over
5,000 volumes that had belonged to the library of his father. All
this was a great and valuable help in our time of need, for which
we are under lasting obligation to the old mother Church. This
evidence of sympathy with us occasioned deep gratitude and joy in
the entire Synod. But the sense of loss was also great when the two
men who had been the means of bringing about this happy result
decided to remain in their native country.
Our institution of learning was legally incorporated in 1863 under
ITS HISTOR Y
REV. E. NORELIUS, D. D., R. N. O.,
REV. L. A. JOHNSTON, D. D.,
REV. JOHN G. DAHLBERG, A. M., . REV. CARL J. BENGSTON,
Officers of the Synod, 1910.
38 THE AUGUSTAN A SYNOD
the name "Augustana College and Seminary." The same year it
was moved to Paxton, Illinois. The Illinois Central E. E. Co. had
offered as inducement a certain commission on each acre of land sold
by the Board within a certain radius around Paxton and a low price
on the land that the institution might need for its own use. The
citizens of the little town had also promised a considerable bonus
toward the erection of buildings. There was also reason to believe
that a large number of countrymen would settle in the immediate
neighborhood. The railroad company redeemed its pledges, but not
so the Paxton people. Neither did the expected number of Swedes
settle in the vicinity. For the latter reasons, and because Paxton
was situated too much apart from the s}oiodical center, it was decided
to remove the institution to Eock Island, which took place in 1875.
In Professor Esbjorn's stead Eev. Hasselquist was elected as pro-
fessor of theology and entered upon his duties as such in the fall
of 1863. The same year Eev. W. Kopp, a very able man, was called
to instruct in the English language, but owing to illness he had to
resign after two years and died in 1868. The Norwegian element of
the Synod had considerable trouble in getting a man to serve its
interests as instructor at the seminary. After repeated disappoint-
ments they secured Eev. Wenaas from Norway in 1868, who proved
to be a most suitable man for the position. The same year Eevs.
S. L. Harkey and A. E. Cervin were called as instructors in the
English branches and in mathematics and the classical languages
respectively. The students numbered at this time about 40. Most
of them received free tuition and board. In 1870, by mutual agree-
ment, the Norwegians withdrew and founded an institution of their
own at Marshall, Wis. In 1863 the Minnesota Conference established
a school near Carver, Minn. It was intended and served as a feeder
to the common seminary. It was called the Ansgar's Academy (now
Gustavus Adolphus College). Eev. A. Jackson was its sole teacher
for a number of years. But all this belongs properly to another
article in this album.
That the Synod has had to fight its- way through many a battle is
evident. It has frequently come in contact with other church
denominations; also with other Lutheran synods having different
views in matters of doctrine and -constitution. And this has some-
times meant differences and contention. Especially has this been
ITS HISTORY 39
true of its relations with "the Norwegian Lutheran Church of
America." This Synod was severely orthodox and did not wish to
know of any development of doctrine. It had petrified in the forms
of the 17th century. Besides, it defended slavery in spite of the
emancipation and the issue of the Civil war. The Augustana Synod
on the contrary, says Dr. Norelius, "at the same time that it abides
faithfully by the confessions of the Ev. Luth. Church, demands as
its goal that this confession shall be the confession of a living faith
and by no means only a dead letter; it insists on Christian church
discipline ; it also believes that there is such a thing as a true develop-
ment of doctrine, that is, that the eternal truth, though always the
same as to its content, can be developed and understood ever more
clearly and fully."
Within the Augustana Synod no important differences of opinion
have occurred either in regard to doctrine or church polity. Owing
to differences of language and nationality which made it difficult to
work together in entire harmony the Norwegians withdrew in 1870
and organized "The Norwegian-Danish Augustana Synod." The
same year the Swedish Augustana Synod united with The General
Council, organized in 1867.
This latter connection has not been without beneficial results to our
Synod. The men of 1870 entertained large hopes from this connection
for the future, and many of them have been realized. At present
the attachment appears to be only moderately strong, except for our
mutual interests in the common mission-field in India, We are, how-
ever, at one in the faith, and for the sake of the unity of our Lutheran
Church in America our relation to the Council of 40 years' standing
in perfect amity should not be permitted to suffer. There is enough
estrangement between the several camps as it is.
The subsequent history of the Augustana Synod enters very largely
into the history of its Missionary Enterprises, its Educational Institu-
tions, its Institutions of Mercy, and its Publishing Interests. But as
this album contains a separate article covering this part of the work,
\ve must not transgress. The Language Question and Our Church
Polity are also treated separately. There is therefore comparatively
little to add in this article.
Outside of these special fields "great events" have been relatively
few. Before mentioning these we call to mind the names of the
Rev. G. A. Brandelle, D. D., Kansas. Rev. Jos. A. Anderson, A. M., Iowa. Rev. C. E. Frisk, Columbia.
Rev. F. N. Swanberg, Nebraska. Rev. J. A. Krantz, D. D., Minnesota. Rev. F. A. Linder, Illinois.
Rev. Philip Andreen, D. D., California. Rev. F. Jacobson, Ph. D., New York.
Presidents of the Conferences, 1910.
ITS HISTORY 41
venerated and influential men who have served the Synod as its
presidents: Dr. T. N. Hasselquist, 1860 1870; Eev. Jonas Swensson,
1870 to his death in 1873 ; Dr. E. Norelius, 18741881 ; Dr. Erland
Caflsson, 18811888; Dr. S. P. A. Lindahl, 18881891; Dr. P.
J. Sward, 18911899; and again, Dr. Norelius, from 1899 to the
After years of deliberation and discussion a new Constitution was
adopted in 1879. This Constitution made our Conferences practically
district-synods. Much of the authority as well as the duties of the
president of the Synod was placed in the hands of the Conference
presidents. The meetings of the Synod took on more the nature of
general conventions of the Conferences. Direct representation of the
congregations was, however, continued until 1894, since which time
there has been limited representation, the delegates being elected by
the Conferences two delegates for each 1500 members.
In 1883 the Synod celebrated the 400th anniversary of Luther's
birth. Elaborate programs were rendered in various parts of the
Synod, doing much to awaken and revive Lutheran faith and love
for the Church that bears his name.
In 1885 we commemorated the 25th anniversary of the founding
of the Synod. Again in 1893 the Synod observed the 300th anni-
versary of "Uppsala mote". This signally important event was cele-
brated throughout our Synod in a very impressive manner. Dr. K.
H. G. von Scheele, bishop of Visby, was the honored guest of the
occasion as representative of the mother-church in Sweden and took
an active part in our festivities, bringing a cordial greeting from the
king and giving eloquent testimony of a common faith. These events
contributed not a little to strengthening the ties of affection with
the church and land of our fathers over the sea.
The smaller events have been more numerous. These, of course,
can not be enumerated. Many of them are not recorded. But they
arc the events that have determined the course of our development
and have been the bricks and mortar in our rapidly growing synodical
New congregations have been organized, in ever widening circles,
until to-day our territory extends from ocean to ocean and from the
forests of Canada to the Gulf. Our three original Conferences have
multiplied to eight, comprising 65 districts and 1,092 congregations.
The Augustana Synod 4
THE AUGUST AN A SYNOD
The total number of minis-
ters is 611 ; members 254,645 5
value of property $8,077,862.
(Statistics of 1908.)
In the local congregations
the work has been carried on
as at the present time. The
children born to us have been
received by Holy Baptism in-
to the communion of Christ
and his Church. Other ac-
cessions have come to us
mainly from Sweden. The
Christian training of the
children has been cared for
in the Sunday-school, paro-
chial school and the confirma-
tion class. Too largely, how-
ever, these means have been
permitted to supplant the training that should have been supplied in
the home and by the regular services of the church, and the results
are not all that might be desired.
The young people have been organized into Luther Leagues, Bible
Classes and Mission Societies and are doing a noble work. The im-
portance of caring for and interesting our young people is being
recognized especially of late years.
Ladies' Aid Societies are also making important contributions to
the spiritual and financial returns of our work, and the women of
our congregations are eminently deserving a special word of recogni-
tion for their tireless loyalty, interest and sacrifice. The men con-
tinue to share the burdens in this labor of love as far as time, oppor-
tunity and means will permit, and are content to "shoulder the heavy
end of the log without formal acknowledgment," though the im-
portance of their part should not be, and is not, forgotten. At times
we may be too much inclined to take it for granted.
As a Synod we continue to be surrounded by numerous denomina-
tions, and it is impossible to escape their influence altogether, even
REV. P. J. SWARD, D. D., K. N. O. (18451901)
President of Synod, 1891 1899.
ITS HISTORY 43
where it may be desirable. In doctrine we have remained anchored
to the Word of God by the strong chain of our "Symbols" or common
confessions. This has also been the tap-root of our existence and the
secret of our growth and present strength. This is also the hope
of our future. To become lax and indifferent in this regard would
mean weakness, disease, and death.
The spirit of our fathers, too, we have preserved as a rich and
cherished inheritance. Their influence still abides with us. And
we pray God to grant us more of their love for our spiritual mother,
our Lutheran Church; their strong sense of duty; their staunch faith
amid trials and temptations; their unwavering loyalty to the truth
tested by time and experience; their spirit of reverence for sacred
things, of devotion and prayer ! In our present concern about
doctrine let us not forget the practical application of that doctrine
to life. "Faith without works is dead" both as respects the individual
member and the Synod. We cannot help observing on the one hand
a certain self-satisfaction with creeds and ceremonies and statistical
returns, and on the other a certain "reformed" atmosphere, a "liberal-
ism," that is not always a sign of healthy and independent conviction,
but as often an indication of a loss of connection, lack of religious
interest, self-sufficiency and worldliness. We are in danger of ossi-
fication on the one hand and of neurosis on the other. Formalism
or cant, and laxity or irreligiousness are equally to be avoided. A
Christian spirit of love directed by the pure doctrine of our inherit-
ance is the truth to be jealously guarded and preserved.
But the Lord of his Church is our hope. We need neither fear
nor trust in men. He has already shown us that individuals are not
indispensable. Such have come, have made their contribution, and
have gone to their reward. They have been dear to us, and they have
put the stamp of their character upon our Synod. And we thank God
for the names recorded in our annals and for those only recorded above.
But God has made it apparent that our Synod is not built upon any
human being or beings. It is built upon the Bock of Ages. For the
same reason we need not fear what men may do. "If this counsel or
this work be of men, it will be ovei thrown; but if it is of God, ye
will not be able to overthrow it." We believe that God deals with
his Church as he deals with the nations. The waves of history rise
and fall; the winds and the currents vary; sometimes storms arise
44 THE AUGUST AN A SYNOD
and the sky is overcast. But through it all he keeps watch above
his own and guides his Church ever nearer to the destined goal.
As we look back upon the past, let us unite in grateful thanks for
the great gifts and blessings we have received at his hands, for his
unfailing patience and for his unvarying faithfulness toward us.
And as we look forward into the future, let us also unite in humble
prayer for his continued favor and guidance for the light and
strength and grace we need to further his cause among those entrusted
to our care !
It now devolves upon us, a new generation, to continue the work
of our predecessors with the same vigor and in the same spirit as
the}'. And in so far as we imitate their example, so eminently worthy
of our emulation, we may still look forward to similar results. The
same God and the same promises are ours. Our methods may vary
and our language may change. We may even find it necessary to
consider many a problem from a different point of view. But our
goal is one and the same the salvation of souls, the glory of the
Christ, and the coming of the Kingdom !
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,
how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?" "In all
these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us/'
C. J. Sb'DERGREN".
Prof. L. P. Esbjorn
Church Polity of the Augustana Synod.
I. Historical and Other Observations.
The Augustana Synod in Line.
OMPLAINTS suggestive of defects and shortcomings of our
system of church government have time and again been
made. But if it be characteristic of the Lutheran Church
throughout that her doctrinal development was matured
much sooner than her organization and polity, and that organization
has never been a distinguishing glory of Lutheranism, the same is
presumably true of the Augustana Synod also. Our pioneers might
have adopted either the Territorial or Collegiate systems of Germany,
or the Episcopal government of the Church of Sweden, or the Con-
gregational system of America, and still be in the line of succession.
Indeed, it is quite Lutheran to hold that "no specific form of govern-
ment and discipline for Christ's Church was prescribed by the Scrip-
tures," and in adopting, in the main, the principles of earlier organ-
izers our fathers placed themselves on solid ground.
Had the Church of Sweden taken hold of the emigration, things
might have shaped themselves quite differently, but perhaps not more
advantageously. As it was, Swedish Lutheranism was thrown on
its own inventive resources. But in spite of its declaration of inde-
pendence as to polity the Church of Sweden has awarded the Augus-
tana Synod the much coveted relation of "Daughter Church in
America," thereby ratifying anew the confessional principles that the