clergyman and one layman) for every fifteen hundred communicants or
larger fraction thereof. ISTo one not a voting member in some congre-
gation within a Conference shall be elected delegate. These delegates,
together with the members of the Synodical Council, the officers of
the Synod, the members of the Theological Faculty, the President of
Augustana College and Theological Seminary, a delegate from each
of the boards of directors of the different departments of activity
under the direct control of the Synod and which are duly incorporated,
and a delegate from each of the boards of directors of the Conference
institutions of learning shall constitute the voting members of the
Synod in session. In case of changes in officials the receding officers
retain the right to vote until the adjournment of the meeting. Two-
thirds majority of the elected delegates shall be present to make the
In these vigorous strokes of the pen the Synod emerges from what-
ever may have been uncertain in the polity of years past. The mutual
relations between the pastor and the congregation, their relation to
the Synod and the Conference, the relation of the respective Confer-
ences to each other and to the Synod, and the position of the institu-
tions of learning is hereby firmly established, giving marked promi-
nence to the ministerial office of the Church.
Diverging views have with us, as elsewhere, been held on the min-
isterial office, and it has been claimed that former Constitutions had
not given due prominence to the ministry. The unappreciative stage
reached its Canossa when one of the founders of the Synod could not
retain his seat in the Synodical meeting because he, for the time
being, and that too from overwork, was without a pastorate, and when
an attempt was made to relegate pastors without pastorates to the
category of "honorary members", thus excluding them from the Synod
and the Church of Christ, unless they formally, like perfect strangers
and laymen, joined some local church within the realm, leaving to
them as a heritage from their ordination and as a reward of their
strenuous labor in the vineyard the empty title of - - "pastor", but
otherwise practically putting them under the ban.
Considered in this light this "new" Constitution is to all intents
a repetition, clothed in dignified language, of the famous declaration :
"JSTach Canossa gehen wir nicht" (To Canossa we go not). Guarding
62 THE AUGTSTANA SYNOD
on the one side against hierarchism and on the other against sep-
aratistic arbitrariness, the Synod, consisting of an equal number of
clerical and lay delegates with equal rights, assumes the power of
governing the Church, thereby preventing disorganizing legislation.
It also establishes that synodical form of church government is in
full harmony with the principles of polity set forth in the Lutheran
Scope and Purpose.
The purpose of this Synod is to ward and promote the Evangelical
Lutheran Church. To this end it shall have the power :
To have in charge, control and direct, the general mission work
Home as well as Foreign ;
To maintain and regulate the common educational institution
The Augustana College and Theological Seminary;
To regulate in general the educational work within the Synod;
To adopt, improve and enjoin the uniform use of liturgical and
other books for the public services and for the instruction in Chris-
To see to it that edifying and orthodox religious papers and books
are published ;
To arrange for theological discussions, and to preach the word of God ;
To examine, improve and adopt proposed amendments to Congrega-
tional and Conference Constitutions;
To entertain and pass upon questions referred by the Conferences
to it, as also cases of appeal from parties dissatisfied with decisions
by the Conferences, such appeals to be made in writing and in com-
pliance with the Constitution of the Conference, and
To appoint delegates to other Synods and to the General Council.
It will readily be seen that each and every clause opens up avenues
towards almost unlimited possibilities and opportunities. In calling
into view at the outstart the entire "Evangelical Lutheran Church"
the Synod not only renews its allegiance to the "Mother of Prot-
estants," but it also officially pledges its hearty sympathy with and
its co-operation in furthering the kingdom of Christ in all lands.
If the field of the Lutheran Church be "the world", the Augustana
Synod desires to be in the midst of it, sowing the good seed until the
"end of the world", when the "reapers" shall put an end to all human
efforts in time.
ITS POLITY 63
The S'ynod does not in its Inner or Home Mission confine itself
to its "kinsmen according to flesh", but through its Americanizing
and Americanized members it extends a helping hand, in common
with other Synods, towards other citizens in the land of adoption who
know not the Lord who "standeth in the midst of them", or through
negligence or indifference of "riotous living'' have "wasted their sub-
In the foreign field the Synod is represented in India and in China.
But the scope is widening in other directions. The Synod, in the
wording of the Constitution, regulates not only the principal Institu-
tion of learning in Eock Island, the property of the entire Synod, but
it regulates also all other educational interests within its territory.
This responsibility naturally covers the creation and maintenance of
new Colleges and Academies, not to forget the parochial schools. It
imposes the duty upon the Synod to control the courses of studies and
their quality, the character of the teachers and professors, the trend
of the books used, as the President of the Synod at its last meeting
very properly emphasized all to the end that the minds of the
young be not poisoned by the narcotics of the "profane babblings and
oppositions of the knowledge, falsely so called", thus forestalling the
calamity of "making spoil of them through philosophy and vain
deceit, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
This "regulating" the Synod performed indirectly, almost perfunc-
torily, through its hitherto orthodox and zealous Boards and the
Boards of the Conferences, which in their turn presumably relied upon
their corps of professors. But this question of educating the young
men and women is so serious in its character, involving, as it does, such
momentous possibilities one way or the other, that heeding the letter
of the law might prove beneficial in more than one direction. "An
ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure'' in ever so many
instances. ' The character of the theological instruction imparted in
the Seminary may be ascertained through the Colloquium held with
candidates for the ministry, but the results of the College education
are not so easily determined. As a matter of fact neither the Synod
nor the Conferences have so far realized the full import of the pro-
vision in the Constitution: "To regulate in general the educational
work within the S'ynod" (I allmanhet reglera undervisningsvasendet
inom synoden), and consequently there is a lack of harmony in
64 THE AUGUSTANA SYNOD
method as well as courses, not mentioning the establishment of Colleges
and Academies at will to the extent of almost flooding certain local-
ities with such institutions, thereby creating a rivalry not productive
of good will, nor the raising of educational standards. The enactment
that the congregations and the Conferences live up to the Synod's
Constitution and its decisions certainly gives the Synod the right to
be heard, being a corrective of detrimental enterprises.
The provision concerning the publication of books, papers, etc., has
seemingly been better understood and enforced.
The Mission Board.
In this connection the Mission Board might advantageously be
brought into view. The enactments concerning the same are that
the Synod shall, in order to effectually prosecute its missionary work,
at every regular meeting appoint a Mission Board, consisting of the
President and the Vice President of the Synod, four ministers and
four laymen. It is also provided that only such persons be elected to
this Board as reside near each other, in order that its meetings may be
frequent and inexpensive. In case of vacancy the Board completes
itself. The President is ex officio its chairman. Its duties are the
calling and sending of missionaries to fields that do not come under
the care of the Conferences; to decide upon the salaries and the duties
of the missionaries; to awaken and maintain a missionary spirit
in the congregations through articles in the church papers and
through reports on conditions of the field; to make a complete report
to the S'ynod of its doings, its receipts and disbursements; in general
to execute all decisions concerning Home and Foreign missions.
At each annual convention the Synod fixes the amount needed for
carrying on the general mission work, and the contributions are dis-
tributed between the Conferences.
Qualifications and Duties of Officers.
All the officers of the Synod, excepting the Treasurer (who may
be a layman), must be clergymen, and are to be elected for a term of
two years, a majority of votes cast being necessary for election. They
are to serve until their successors have been elected.
The qualifications to be taken into consideration, particularly with
reference to the President, are piety, steadfastness in the Evangelical
Lutheran doctrines, learning and good judgment. His duties and
First, Jamestown, N. Y., (1893). Ebenezer, Chicago, 111., (1904).
Recent church architecture in the Synod.
66 THE AUGUSTAN A SYNOD
To ordain candidates for the ministry;
To make a report, at the beginning of each ordinary meeting, of the
condition of the Synod, and at extra meetings of the conditions that
brought them about;
To make a report, at the beginning of each regular meeting, of the
Synod and the kingdom of God;
To take part in all deliberations, and to cast his vote; the opinion
he entertains, in case of a tie vote, being decisive;
To appoint all committees not otherwise provided for by the Synod ;
To guide and counsel the ministers in their pastoral duties, and, if
need be, to exhort them to fidelity and a holy life;
To devote his attention to affairs ecclesiastical, religious and moral,
within the Synod, not neglecting to give timely warning against
things that lead astray;
To see to it in general that enactments by the Synod are lived
To attend, if possible, the meetings of the Conferences and assist
them in their deliberations and in their work, and
To exercise a general supervision over the Synod.
With the power invested in the President follows great responsi-
bility, public and private, and the Constitution provides that he, in
case he be reputed erring in doctrine or life, be subjected to inquiry
before the Synodical Council, convened by the Vice President, and,
in case of conviction, be suspended from his office until the next
synodical meeting whose decision is final.
Qualifications of Ministers.
These are practically the same as set forth in the Congregational
Constitution, providing, however, that ministers from other than
Lutheran bodies, as well as those from other Lutheran synods, shall
subscribe to the Doctrinal Articles of the Synod (identical with that
of the Congregations), adding that they must possess necessary educa-
tion and other requisites for the office, also that those from non-
Lutheran communions be re-ordained, stress being laid upon non-
membership in secret or other irreligious fraternities.
Conditions for Ordination.
Canditates for ordination must hold a regular call from some con-
gregation or pastorate or from the Mission Board of the Synod or
m ITS POLITY 67
a Conference; be well founded in the doctrines of the Lutheran
Church, and to have led a life that bespeaks a living faith and true
piety; hold a certificate of having acquired an education required by
the Synod, a two-thirds majority vote of the ministerium, i e., the
ministers present at the meeting, being required for admission.
As to studies, it may be remarked, the requirements are a complete
College and Seminary course (the latter being three years).
The Synod has, however, found it advisable, on account of insuf-
ficient supply of ministers, in extraordinary cases to make exceptions
to this rule, and has ordained elderly, experienced, able and practical
men who have been recommended by a Conference or the Synod's
Mission Board and have held certificates from the Theological Faculty
concerning needful equipments for the holy ministry.
Discipline of Ministers.
The Synodical Constitution reaffirms the right of the Church to
take the preliminary steps in disciplining the pastor, which may, in-
deed, result in severing him from his pastorate. Should the offense,
however, be of such a nature as to involve suspension or deposition
from the ministerial office, the matter must be referred to the Confer-
ence. Should the accused minister have his field outside the Confer-
ence, his case is to be brought before the President of the Synod; and
in all cases the accused may appeal to the Synod as the highest
tribunal, have his witnesses heard, etc., but he cannot employ a lawyer.
Two-thirds majority is required for suspension, deposition or sever-
ance of his connection with the Conference or the Synod.
Lay preaching is not expressly mentioned in the present Constitu-
tion, but it has its own interesting history in the development of the
Synod. This history might be expressed in the one word
Necessity. The Synod was imbued with the spirit of compassion that
was in Jesus when he beheld the multitudes without shepherds and
"appointed seventy others and sent them two and two before his face
into every city and place, whither he himself was about to come"
(Luke 10: 1). The harvest indeed was great, but the laborers were
few. The dangers besetting an uncritical and uneducated lay preach-
ing without systematic training were fresh in the minds of those
pioneers, and they stepped very cautiously, as is gleaned from the
original Constitution of 1860. This document authorizes the use of
68 THE AUGUSTANA SYNOD
licensed lay preachers or, as they were named, catechists, with the
right to preach, catechise, hold devotional meetings and privately en-
courage a godly life. The licerfse was to be issued by the President
to worthy persons, especially theological students, for a certain lim-
ited period. This catechist was to be given a congregation under
supervision of a pastor, or serve as traveling preacher in fields with-
out pastoral care ("sjiilavard"). It was his duty to keep a diary of
the work performed, and at each annual meeting of the Synod he
must deliver a sermon written by himself. In case of unavoidable
absence he was to send his diary, his sermon and his excuse to the
In conceding the right to the Conferences to retain the institution
and in allowing the congregations to employ students from our S'emi-
nary and our Colleges during their vacation, the present Constitution
practically ratifies the original enactments to employ pious, orthodox
and gifted laymen, giving preference to theological students, in vacant
congregations or as assistants to pastors, or on the mission field.
A venia concionandi is to be given to them.
It is expressly enjoined that they perform their duties faithfully,
preach and instruct in accordance with the Confessions of the Church,
obey their superiors, attend the mission meetings of the District (each
Conference being divided into so many "Mission Districts"), and, if
necessary, the Conference meetings, report in writing to the President
of the Conference previous to the annual meeting, keep the Church
Records in vacant congregations, report their arrival to and removal
from the place to the President of the Conference, in the latter
instance giving a complete report of their work. They are not author-
ised to perform ministerial acts (with the exception of funerals) or
to organize congregations, nor to act as chairmen in the Church
Councils, at congregational meetings or at the election of pastors.
In this connection it may be stated that quite a number of the first
pastors have served as catechists.
The Synodical Council.
This Council shall consist of the President and Vice President of
the Synod, the Conference Presidents and a lay delegate from each
Conference. The President of the Synod is ex officio its Pracscs.
The duties of the Council are to convene at the call of the President;
to prepare the business to come up before the synodical meeting; to
ITS POLITY 69
take up and decide, in behalf of the Synod, matters entrusted to it
by the Synod and such other matters as are not in conflict with the
From this it will be gleaned that this Council is quite a repre-
sentative body and in some functions occupying the position of a
Consistory. It certainly is, initiatively at least, the maker of church
history, inasmuch as it plans the proceedings of the synodical meet-
ing, receives reports and passes upon them and upon all other papers
and documents to be laid before the Synod, formulates the resolutions
to be considered and adopted by the meeting. It furthermore passes
upon the calls and the certificates of the candidates for the ministry
and recommends them for colloquium, and often nominates members
on important committees and delegations. It may also be powerfully
influential in uniting the different and at times antagonizing interests
within congregations and Conferences.
The names of the Conferences are not given in the Constitution,
neither are the states belonging to each of them designated therein.
The plan was, however, to name them after the stats having a majority
of Swedes. Thus they came to be named the Minnesota, the Illinois,
the New York, the Iowa, the Kansas, the Nebraska, the Columbia,
and California Conferences.
The Constitution enacts, that a Conference shall consist of all the
clergymen and congregations within its limits, regularly connected
with the Synod, and they shall be represented at Conference meetings
by such delegates as the Constitution of the Conference determines.
No person shall have the right to vote as a delegate who is not a
voting member of the congregation lie represents. The business of
the Conferences shall be to ward the interests of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church within their territories. They shall receive congre-
gations into the Conference and the Synod, see to it that the "Con-
stitution for the Evangelical Lutheran Congregations in North
America," approved by the Chicago and Mississippi Conferences,
March 18 23, 1857, at Andover in 1870, and revised at other
synodical meetings, be accepted by all the congregations already
belonging to or desiring to be connected with the Conference and the
Synod; to decide all matters referred to them by congregations or
parts thereof, or by church councils, when they are brought before
New Britain, Conn., (1906).
Great Falls, Mont., (1907).
Bethel, Chicago, 111., (1909).
Taylors Falls, Minn., (1903).
Recent church architecture in the Synod.
IIS POLJTY 71
the Conference in a legal way; to examine into and decide upon all
complaints preferred against ministers serving congregations within
the Conference; to further missions, Christian schools and institu-
tions of mercy, also to take measures productive of true faith and
living piety; have theological discussions and preach the Word of God.
The Conferences shall hold at least one meeting every year and
as many more as are decided upon. The officers are to be a President,
a Vice President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer, who shall serve for
the term they are elected.
The President of the Conference shall install ministers, consecrate
churches, hold visitations in congregations, report annually his official
doings and the condition of the congregations to the President of the
Synod, this report to be accompanied by complete statistical reports
and a copy of the minutes of the transactions of the Conference.
Each Conference has the power to adopt and alter its own Con-
stitution, but no provisions therein must be antagonistic to the
Synod's Constitution, and all changes must be approved by the Synod.
The General Institutions.
The Synod shall own and control the Augustana College and Theo-
logical Seminary, and, in a manner heretofore indicated, control
other institutions of learning; the Augustana Book Concern; the
Church Extension Society; the Belief Fund for ministers, and the
Deaconess Institute at Omaha, Nebraska.
Along with the development of the Synod into Conferences and
the founding of the varied synodical and Conference institutions
came the need of new Eules and Eegluations, all presumably in
harmony with the principal codes, only varying in minor details
as state laws may have required. Thus sprung into existence the
Constitutions of the Synod's eight Conferences with the rules for
the Mission Districts, the Constitutions of the Synod's Theological
Seminary and its nine Colleges, its thirty Benevolent Institutions,
its Publishing House in Bock Island, and of the Church Extension
Society. The history of each of these Constitutions would make
interesting study, as they all contain some traits of the Synod's polity,
but steps have only of late been taken to have them codified, and at
the present time several of these Constitutions have not yet been
translated into English.
THE AUGUSTANA SYNOD
From what has been said it may be gleaned, however, that the
Augustana Synod is a well organized body and that its polity is
reasonably defined. Voices have, indeed, been heard in favor of
episcopal government, but have so far not gathered sufficient strength
to cause a movement towards that goal. A polity that had strength
to create and during half a century to uphold a union comprising
the entire Union from sea to sea, is likely long to be a warning
against putting a piece of undressed cloth upon an old garment.
Patriotic men will think twice before they put new wine into old
wine-skins, thereby bursting the skins and spilling the wine. Pros
and cons might be brought to bear on past polity, but they will unite
in ratifying the experience that unity in faith, the pure preaching of
the Word of God and the S'criptural administration of the Sacra-
ments is the center of gravity in every Lutheran Church government.
Knowing this we may meet the future with hopeful assurance, inas-
"God is in Hie midst of her; slic shall not be moved; God shall help
her, and that right early."
MARTI x J. EXGLUND.
The Missionary Enterprises of trie
4-f\-trtf\ ^^-* 7 - f ^-v/-i
"True Christian Mission work is a work of life in two respects : it implies
life as its cause, and it imparts life. The Christian life of a congregation,
or a denomination, is measured by its missionary activities."
"What a privilege to he permitted to send out living voices to seek the
lost and erring from our common native land ! We owe it to them ; we
owe it to ourselves ; still more do we owe it to our Lord Jesus Christ, who
lias bought them and us with his own precious blood."
TUFVE NILSSON HASSELQUIST.
HE MEN of heroic faith, who fifty or more years ago volun-
teered to come to the wilds of the new world to seek for
the lost sheep of our mother church of Sweden, were in-
spired by the true missionary spirit. Our countrymen,
who made up the weak Swedish communities of that day, were by
circumstances prepared for the gospel message. The long, trying
voyage, the toilsome journey, disease and want made the immigrant
think less of earthly things. These experiences called to them : "What
shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?"
Hence our history begins as a history of missions.
Already at the organization of the Synod in the little Norwegian
church on Jefferson Prairie in 1860, this resolution was offered by
Rev. E. ISTorelius and unanimously carried by the Synod :
1) That a committee of three be appointed to have general charge
of the home mission work. As members of that committee were
elected: T. N". Hasselquist, 0. J. Hattlestad, and Ole Paulson.
2) That this committee be authorized to call a missionary, espe-
cially for Minnesota.