John Wohlrabe

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Sacred Theology (STM)


Historical Theology

First Advisor

William Schmelder

Scripture References in this Resource

1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Peter 3:8; 1 Peter 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Timothy 6:3-4; 2 John 9:10; 2 Timothy 2:17-21; Acts 20:20; Deuteronomy 12:32; Ephesians 4:3; 13; Jeremiah 23:28; John 17:11; 20-23; John 8:31-32; Matthew 5:19; Matthew 7:15; Philippians 1:27; Revelation 2:14; Romans 12:6; 16; Romans 15:5; Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10


The purpose of this paper is to examine the unity attempts of the 4 German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States (hereafter referred to as the Missouri Synod) during the presidency of Frederick Pfotenhauer (1911-1935). This period of the Missouri Synod's history has been chosen because it was during these years that American Lutheranism, as a whole, began to consolidate through mergers, amalgamations, and various federations. The synodical alignments and boundaries that exist today in American Lutheranism found much of their early formation during this period of time. In analyzing the Missouri Synod's attitude and involvement in Lutheran unity from 1911 to 1935, this paper will focus specifically on the leadership role of President Pfotenhauer. The President is the chief executive officer of the Synod who exercises supervision over the doctrine which is taught therein, the administration of other; synodical officials, and the execution of synodical resolutions. Because the synodical President is elected by a convention of the Synod, his attitude and leadership, generally reflect the attitude and intent of the synodical members. This paper will consider whether or not Pfotenhauer, as president of the Missouri Synod, was consistent in applying the Lutheran principles of unity to Missouri Synod's unity attempts.

This analysis will limit itself only to the Missouri Synod's unity attempts with other American Lutherans. The Synod was involved with Lutheran churches in other parts of the world. However, an analysis of this kind is beyond the scope of this paper.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.