The Wendish Research Exchange

053.000 Kilian to Gumlich, [Weigersdorf Archive, CHI, Serbin Collection], 19 Oct 1858

mersiowsky - 5-10-2015 at 08:37 PM

Wendish Settlement, Cunningham's P. O.
County of Bastrop, Texas
the 19th of October 1858 [1]

To Pastor Gumlich, Reverend Father, Weigersdorf.

Beloved Brother!

Herewith you will receive a documented report about the division which took place in my local main congregation. The inventory of that part of the faithfully abiding congregation as it is recorded in the appendix of the second document [2] did not change as of the above date, even though a few families are vacillating and therefore are unreliable.

Be very careful in making my letters public. Otherwise I will stop my correspondence; with this, 1) a letter came here in which it stated that the Brothers Schelnick from Dürrbach and Oelsa also deserted me. About this, they are enraged, since they belong to my staunchest members of this congregation. How could such error originate? We think that the similar sounding name in the separatists, "Schönig from Baruth" could have brought about this error. Thereafter, 2) from what one hears, the accusation has been made against me that I wrote lies to Germany, because Johann Urban from Rakel has received a letter, of which I know nothing further. In which, because of my last letter to you, the presupposition dominates as if my separatists have converted to the Methodists. However, I could not have written that because at the time I wrote to you they attended the divine services of the Methodists and associated with them as if they wanted to join them, but did not officially do so. Unfortunately, I do not know with what words I misled you of this separatist action because I do not have a draft of my letter. But soon after mailing my letter to you the people quit associating with the Methodists in the aforesaid manner. Thus the Methodists still do not have any Wends except for Noack from Gröditz and his wife, the former widow Teschke, from Weicha.

What then became of the faction that withdrew? First of all, they turned to Professor Walther in St. Louis via letter, to report, as I heard it, their consummated separation with accusations against me and to obtain advice. Thus it became a matter for the leaders of my synod. As this was naturally done furtively, I could not abstain from contacting Prof. Walther to report about the happened separation as it can be read in the third document. It was indeed, from my point of view, no captatio benevolentiae [an attempt to get goodwill], that in my letter to Prof. Walther also a statement, scarcely pleasant in St. Louis, about the chiliasm was included. Nevertheless, the brethren in St. Louis prejudiced against me but much more stood up for me, what I praise as special guidance of God. Not until last week did Johann Urban receive a reply from Prof. Walther in St. Louis, the word for word text of which I naturally did not find out. According to hearsay the [expert] opinion of the brethren in the north was in no way favorably inclined toward the hastily executed separation.

Since the seceded party, whose heart is Johann Urban from Rakel, had to wait so long for a reply from St. Louis, they, in their fervor, became impatient and indignant. For that reason the hot-headed people engaged a pastor of the so-called Lutheran Texas Synod, Rev. Lieb from Round Top (20 English miles from here), to preach and to receive Holy Communion from him. After they already had previously established a separatist cemetery when the wife of the separatist Hantschke (Prochneschko) from Baruth died; also they themselves performed a baptism, even though we explained to them that they could use our common cemetery for their burials and I would not refuse to perform baptisms whenever requested, should the eventuality of one or the other arise. They, however, would be refused Holy Communion for the time. On the 9th of October (Saturday) Pastor Lieb, personally known by me and friends with me, came to my house with the separatist, Jacob Moerbe from Neudorf near Guttau, and said that he was summoned here by the already mentioned persons to find out what was going on between us. He wanted to befriend these people so that they would not go over to the Methodists. I answered: "It is a matter of an unresolved congregational quarrel; I stand accused by the seceded party at my superiors in St. Louis; my case is pending at the synodical judiciary; therefore, as an accused, I could not tell him what to do or not to do. We need to wait for an answer from St. Louis." Then Jacob Moerbe retorted: Why I stated at the congregational meeting that the secessionists were excluded from our communion? I answered: "Because they are irreconcilable and after the receipt of the congregational letter they no longer wanted to negotiate with us, which the letter explicitly requested, which is also required by Christian duty." Where-upon Pastor Lieb referred to Matt. 5:23-24 and decided not yet to give them Holy Communion on the 10th of October, the day it was scheduled. On the 10th of October (Sunday), another attempt at reconciliation was arranged. I did not object if he addressed the separatists and admonished them to make peace. The attempted reconciliation was held that afternoon. Our side was represented by the Church Council, namely, Johann Dube, Carl Lehmann, Andreas Lowke, Matthes Wukasch, Carl Teinert and George Schelnik. The separatists were represented by Johann Urban from Rakel, August Polnik from Weigersdorf and Matthes Schmidt (the former Hunter-Schmidt) from Reichwalde. The latter asked what we really wanted from them; they did not want to return to me. They did not want me as father confessor. There is freedom in America. They accused me that in my sermons there was too much gospel, too little law in its severity. I said, I did not have any other manner of preaching and could not understand their accusation. To this Urban said my sermons had no power. Already the last time in Weigersdorf my sermons had no power. If I would mend my ways, which would soon become evident, he would come back to me. I then asked if it was true that they were of the opinion that it did not matter much to which church one belongs as long as repentance and faith were preached. Johann Urban embraced this statement as his own and pointed to Martin Boos (a). I asked, "Would you also run to the Catholic Church, just like you did the Methodists, when a man like Martin Boos makes an appearance?" Urban retorted: "Yes, that I would do." Then one of our side said: "So you want to become `united’ (b)." Urban: "Let us indeed be `united.`" During this meeting there were sharp attacks against one another. However, since these attacks did nothing to resolve the matter, but only led to more agitation, the meeting was adjourned.

The un-reconciled and irreconcilable separatists had Pastor Lieb come again and before noon last Saturday, the 16th of October, he preached and gave them Holy Communion. With that, on the 16th of October our separatists went over to the so-called Lutheran, but really "united" (unierte), Texas Synod.

What the position of the Texas Synod is I now have to show by documents. The Texas Synod is a branch of the so-called Lutheran General Synod to which in the north numerous synods belong. So that the General Synod is correctly identified, I am sending the September issue of "Lehre und Wehre" which contains information about it. And what relationship the Texas Synod has to the General Synod is found in document [5], a letter from Pastor Ebinger in Brenham, who belongs to the Texas Synod, with whom I corresponded in order to take provisional steps to form a future association of Lutherans in Texas. It is painful for me to be here all alone.

Since I am sending you all these documents and information confidentially I kindly beg you, dear Brother, not to make my letter to Prof. Walther public verbatim because that would go against discretion, especially since the brethren in St. Louis also subscribe to the "Liegnitzer Kirchenblatt" and because this correspondence is still pending. For the same reason the article about chiliasm is not for the public. The 5th document and the report of our eventual discussions with Pastor Lieb and the separatists you may only impart to intimate friends. It is precarious to conduct word of mouth discussions from memory. Here and there a small error may creep in, which could be hyped up by the hostile party, to which all kinds of things are written again from Europe. Consider all these ad acta [shelve all these], for a history of the local Lutheran congregation can be written later when certain dangers will be over. In the midst of a war all possible precautions are necessary.

Now another kind request. Presumably many letters from our opponents will now probably arrive in your region which will in many ways discredit me. Collect all these possible reproaches and attacks scattered over various letters and send them to me after some time. Then to this possible defamation of character my faithfully abiding congregation as such may answer in a letter. This letter will deliver a new, indeed, interesting document.

Do not be cast-down about this, dear Brother, that such strange things are happening to me. If the Ev. Lutheran Church in Texas shall take root then such conflicts have to come. Otherwise one will go to sleep. My congregation is already getting more alive. The palm grows under stress. Our conflict now turns away from the Methodists to the United (unierte) Church in America.

I also ask you, with my cordial greetings, to inform the venerable church executive staff about our whole situation and especially my perception of chiliasm. I intend to establish renewed closer relations with the Lutheran Church in Prussia and you are to be the intermediary, since, on the one hand, you are near to the men of the venerable church executive staff, as well as, on the other hand, to my friends in Saxony. What I actually want to do, if it is God's will, is draft a special letter about this as soon as I find the time and leisure.

Finally, I would advise you, dear Brother, to subscribe to "Lehre und Wehre". Write to the editor of this monthly periodical at the following address: Rever. Prof. C. F. W. Walther, St. Louis, Missouri. On the other hand, I would gladly subscribe to your "Liegnitzer Kirchenblatt". Send the periodical to me quarterly for which I will send you American gold. My address is still: Rever. J. Kilian, Cunningham's P. O., Bastrop Co., Texas. Cordially greet my Brother Ehlers in Liegnitz and all brethren in your congregations, as well as, the dear brethren in Saxony, who ask about me. Nothing became of the post office which was to be established here. It will probably happen in time.

Also, cordial greetings to Dutschmann and his family. I would like to send some seeds again. But the letter is getting too thick. During the past summer there was quite a bit of malaria. However, I, together with my wife and 3 children, remained healthy. This year is the first good year we experienced here. The harvest is quite good. On account of that the people are more sociable and the discontented are creating factions. God is still in command and does all things well. I remain in Him,

Your Johann Kilian, P.

[1] Concordia Historical Institute's draft of this letter is dated 10-18-1858.
[2] See Document 2 (Aktenstück 2) attached. Note: most of this document is written in Wendish and only the German portion has been translated.
[3] See Document 3 (Aktenstück 3).
[4] Document 4 (Aktenstück 4).
[5] See Document 5 (Aktenstück 5).
(a) Martin Boos (1762-1825) was a Catholic priest, who preached a doctrine of salvation by faith resembling that of Luther, for which he was imprisoned several times and driven about.
(b) In Prussia "united" (Uniert) had reference to the union of the Lutheran and Reformed religions.


[Translator's note: Instead of appearing in person at a congregational meeting held in Serbin on the last day of Pentecost 1858, the separatists sent a letter, dated 5-25-1858, written in Wendish. This letter was copied by Pastor Kilian and the copy accompanied his letter, dated 5-26-1858, to Pastor G. A. Gumlich, Weigersdorf, as Document 1 (Aktenstück 1). This Wendish letter was translated into German by Gertrud Mahling, Bautzen, Germany. The original is in the Serbin Archives, Concordia Historical Institute, St. Louis.]

[Translation from the Wendish, issued by Gertrud Mahling. (Source: Parish Archives Weigersdorf, copy of [a letter] by Johann Kilian to Pastor Gumlich in Weigersdorf.)]

Document 1


Perception of Chiliasm

Since the Holy Scripture in many places undeniably points to a future glorious period, imminent for the Church of Christ on earth, therefore, to understand Chiliasm correctly and to bring it into apparent harmony with places in Scripture; seeing further that the doctrine of a final, revealed, outward victory of the church and the end of the world order was still church doctrine in the first centuries after Christ (see Guerike's church history, second edition, page 160) and that also later in all ages a magnitude of important church teachers declared themselves in favor of it; therefore, I feel compelled to herewith testify against the excommunication last year of Pastor Schieferdecker from the general German Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and other States, in case he did not favor the Jewish, but rather, the Biblical Chiliasm with the following statement:

1) I do not believe that a special thousand year kingdom is to be expected, but I believe that according to Revelation 20, those separated from the other dead, the beheaded, will reign with Christ a thousand years in the kingdom, which already came, constantly comes, and for which we pray that it will come. Not a new kingdom will come, but rather, a special emerging reign of beheaded saints with Christ in God's kingdom. That one speaks conventionally of a kingdom of thousand years I hold for the main error from which most of the misunderstanding prevails. I picture this reign of the mentioned saints with Christ as a mighty reformation of the church through which "the 3 bolts of hell, Turca, Papa and Apap" (See Bengel's Life of Burk, second edition, page 300) will be dismissed.

2) I believe that the kingdom of Christ on earth, also during the thousand year reign, in which the indicated saints with Christ in Revelation will remain a kingdom, because at that time the devil will no longer mislead the Jews; furthermore, because then there will also be accursed hundred-year sinners (Is. 65: 20) and because Gog and Magog, during the thousand years will represent only a subjected antithesis of the reign of Christ; that, nevertheless, the kingdom of Christ on earth is and remains a kingdom of the cross, the time of renewal in the presence of the Lord, since the restitution of all things of which God has spoken through the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3: 20 & 21) will not fail to materialize. The kingdom of God was a kingdom of the cross when the first Christians praised God, were received with joy and grace by all the people, and daily grew in numbers (Acts 2: 47), and when during the time of the Reformation and during other blessed times glorious movements permeated the people. Nowhere is it written that Christ came everywhere and for all time and merely to send the sword and that in the last days everywhere and only such people will exist as Paul describes them in 2 Tim. 3: 1-5. The experience of past centuries, stand in opposition to such claims, since joyous and sad times; how, in general, joy and suffering miraculously varied and still vary in the church.

3) I believe that not everywhere where it speaks of the return of Christ in the Holy Scripture can be understood as His last return. The Lord solemnly testifies before Caiaphas in Matt. 26: 64: "In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven" (NIV). And in Matt. 16: 27 & 28 it is written: "For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom" [NIV]. These did not live to see the last return of Christ. And what the return was that Jesus meant we see from the parallel in Luke 9: 27 and Mark 9: 1. The last reference reads as follows: "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power" [NIV]. From this one can say for certain that Luther's Reformation also was a glorious return of Christ. Then again, when there is danger in the church so that faith is hard to find (Luke 18: 8), and when the wise virgins together with the foolish slept, then the bridegroom came (Matt. 25: 5&6). Such time will not only be the time of His last return, but rather, at such time the Lord will also appear at an earlier time in order to overthrow sinful man by the breath of his mouth (2 Thess. 2: 8) and to establish in His Kingdom the thousand year reign for the future entry as revealed to the apostle John on Patmos. This was not yet known to the church, therefore it was revealed through John. I believe that since no visible return of Christ in the sense of Acts 1: 11 occurred, also no imminent future visible return will occur, only the last on judgment day.

4) I believe that judgment day will not be a solar day like our normal days here on earth, but rather, that all the dead will be placed immediately before the judgment on the last day, which is actually the final promulgation before the judgment which befalls everyone after death (Heb. 9: 27). With death, so to say, the process of judgment day begins; judgment day itself brings the decision, the revelation of the promulgated verdict. Luther stated in the sermon on the rich man in his church postil: "Hell (in which the rich man was) cannot be in this instance the real hell which will begin on judgment day. For the body of the rich man is without a doubt not in hell, but buried in the ground. It must be in a place where the soul can be and finds no rest; the same cannot be physical. That is why we regard that hell is the bad conscience, which is without faith and God's word, in which the soul is buried, reserved for the last day, when man with body and soul will be cast in the real physical hell." In connection with the approaching judgment after death on judgment day one can truly tell the people upon their death demonstratively: "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour in which the Son of man will come" Matt. 25:13 [NIV]. The return of the Lord on judgment day begins for everyone with his death. And the yearning of the faithful for judgment day is silenced by their deaths. But, child of man, you do not know when the Lord comes for you, also at the same time no one knows of the day and of the hour, when heaven and earth will pass away. Also the Son of Man did not know it in the state of His humiliation (Mark 13: 31&32). But He certainly knows it now since He was exalted to the right hand of God and later revealed many things to His dear disciple John, which would happen before the end of the world. Even though the Son of God, during the days here on earth, did not know the hour of the end of the world he prophesied many things which in time were fulfilled. He speaks in Matt. 24:15: "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations" [NIV]. And in Luke 21: 24: "Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" [NIV]. And Matt. 24: 6: "Such things must happen, but the end is still to come" [NIV]. How could the disciples of Jesus believe that judgment day could come any moment? To this Paul in 2 Thess. 2: 1 & 2 speaks expressly and solemnly against the view that the day of Christ had already come.

5) I believe that all the dead will rise but that the Bible does not teach a universal resurrection of the dead on judgment day in the sense that all the dead will rise at the same time. When Jesus died the tombs opened and the bodies of many holy people, who had died, went from the tombs after His resurrection, and went into the holy city and appeared to many ([Matt. 27: 52&53). Christ says in John 5: 25: "I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live" [NIV]. The connection with the reference in John 5: 26-29 indicates that here it does not only have to do with a spiritual resurrection, since the reference to the miracle in Matt. 27: 52&53 is the best explanation. This miracle does not mean "the first resurrection", because the resurrection that took place at that time was only local. Why then cannot still before the end of the world an universal resurrection of the beheaded take place for a witness to Jesus and the sake of the word of God, etc., as revealed to us in Rev. of John 20: 4? And can not the time of this first resurrection belong to the last state in which all who are in the graves hear His voice and come forth? (John 5: 28 29)

6) I believe that the wrath of God finally came over the Jews as Paul says in 1 Thess. 2: 16 and which Dr. Luther has correctly translated. For the Greek idiom does not mean in New Testament language "until the end", but rather, “finally, at last", as stated in Luke 18: 5, where the same is translated by Luther "in the end" and where no other translation is possible than, "finally, at last, in the end". When the various previously announced and former wrathful reprimands against the Jews finally came, these people, of whom a few are elected at all times, finally still await a great, gracious visitation of God to which Paul points in Rom. 11, after he spoke of the election from Israel. This chapter includes an evident increase. When the second part is solemnly introduced in the chapter from verse 23 on, actually nothing more is stated as what is explained in the first part of the chapter so that such repetition or tautology would be incomprehensible from the apostle Paul. The many references in Holy Scripture [need] not be mentioned, which promise the people of Israel a final, great, gracious visitation of God.

Johann Kilian, P.
Cunningham's P. O.
Bastrop Co., Texas

[Translator's note: A copy of Document 3 (Aktenstück 3) was enclosed in the letter, dated 10-19-1858, from Pastor Kilian to Pastor Gotthold Albert Gumlich in Weigersdorf, Prussia.]

Wendische Ansiedlung, Cunningham's P. O. County of Bastrop, Texas
den 19ten October 1858.

An Herrn Pastor Gumlich, Hochehrwürden, Weigersdorf

Geliebter Bruder!

Du empfängst hiermit einen aktenmäßigen Bericht über die Trennung, welche in meiner hiesigen Hauptgemeine sich ereignet hat. Der Bestand des treugebliebenen Theils der Gemeine, wie derselbe als Anhang zum 2ten Aktenstück verzeichnet ist, hat sich bis zum obigen Datum nicht geändert, obwohl etliche wenige Familien schwanken und daher unzuverlässig sind.

Mit der öffentlichen Bekanntmachung meiner Briefe aber sey vorsichtig. Sonnst breche ich die Correspondenz ab. Damit 1) ist ein Brief hieher gekommen, in welchem steht, daß auch die Brüder Schelnik aus Dürrbach u. Ölsa von mir abgefallen seyen. Darüber sind diese, da sie zu meinen treusten Gemeindegliedern gehören, aufgebracht. Wie konnte ein solcher Irrthum entstehen? Wir denken, daß der ähnlich klingende Name "Schönig aus Baruth" der Name eines der Separatisten, den Irrthum veranlaßt haben mag. Sodann 2) wird dem Vernehmen nach mir der Vorwurf gemacht, ich hätte Lügen nach Deutschland geschrieben Denn Johann Urban aus Rakel hat einen mir nicht weiter bekannt gewordenen Brief erhalten, worin auf Grund meines an Dich gelangten letzten Schreibens die Voraussetzung herrschen soll, als seyen meine Separatisten zu den Methodisten übergetreten. Allein das kann ich nicht geschrieben haben, weil sie damals, als ich an Dich schrieb, nur in die Gottesdienste der Methodisten liefen und mit ihnen so verkehrten als wollten sie zu ihnen übertreten, aber doch nicht förmlich zu ihnen übergetreten waren. Ich weiß leider nicht mehr, mit welchen Worten ich Dir von dieser separatistischen Bewegung Meldung gethan habe, denn ich habe kein Concept meines Schreibens. Aber bald nach dem Abgange meines an Dich gerichteten Schreibens haben die Leute aufgehört mit den Methodisten in der gedachten Weise zu verkehren. Also haben die Methodisten immer noch keinen Wenden mehr, als bloß den Noack aus Gröditz und dessen Frau, die frühere Witwe Teschke aus Weicha.

Was ist nun aus der abgetretenen Partei geworden? Sie hat sich zuerst an den Professor Walther nach St. Louis brieflich gewendet, um, so viel ich vernommen, mit Anklagen gegen mich ihre vollzogene Separation anzuzeigen und sich Raths zu erholen. So wurde die Sache bei den Häuptern meiner Synode anhängig. Als dies natürlich auch nur hinterbracht wurde, so konnte ich nicht unterlassen, den Prof. Walther von der geschehenen Separation so Bericht zu erstatten, wie im 3ten Aktenstück zu lesen ist. Es war allerdings meinerseits keine captatio benevolentiæ, daß in meinem Briefe an Prof. Walther auch eine in St. Louis schwerlich angenehme Aussprache über den Chiliasmus enthalten war. Dennoch haben sich die Brüder in St, Louis dadurch nicht gegen mich einnehmen lassen, sondern mich vielmehr in Schutz genommen, was ich als besondere Führung Gottes preise. Erst in vergangener Woche hat Johann Urban eine Antwort vom Prof. Walther aus St. Louis erhalten, deren wörtlichen Inhalt ich natürlich nicht erfahren habe. Dem Vernehmen nach aber ist das darin gegebene Gutachten der Brüder im Norden der so rasch ausgeführten Separation keinesweges günstig.

Weil aber die abgetretene Partei, deren Seele Johann Urban aus Rakel ist, auf die Antwort aus St. Louis so lange warten mußten, so wurde sie in ihrem Eifer ungeduldig und ungehalten. Darum ließen diese hitzigen Leute einen Geistlichen der sogenannten lutherischen Texas Synode, den Pastor Lieb aus Roundtop (20 engl. Meilen von hier) kommen, Predigt und heil. Abendmahl von ihm zu empfangen, nachdem sie bereits, als die Frau des Separatisten Hantschke (Prochneschko) aus Baruth starb, einen eignen Separatisten Gottesacker eingerichtet, auch eine Taufe selber vollzogen hatten, obwohl unsererseits erklärt war, daß ihnen Begräbnisse auf unserm allgemeinen Kirchhof und Taufen von mir nicht versagt werden sollten, wenn sie bei vorkommenden Fällen das eine oder das andere verlangten, daß ihnen aber das heil. Abendmahl vor der Hand verweigert seyn sollte. Am 9ten October (Sonnabends) erschien der mir sonnst persönlich bekannte und befreundete Pastor Lieb mit dem Separatisten Jacob Mörbe aus Neudorf b. Guttau in meinem Hause und sagte, er sey von den bewußten Leuten hergefordert worden und komme zu fragen, wie wir eigentlich zu einander stehen. Er wolle sich der Leute annehmen, damit sie nur nicht zu den Methodisten übertreten möchten. Ich antwortete: Es sey hier eine unverglichene Gemeindestreitigkeit, ich sey von der abgetretenen Partei bei meiner vorgesetzten Behörde in St. Louis verklagt, meine Sache sey also beim Kirchengericht anhängig, ich könne ihm als Verklagter nicht sagen, was er zu thun oder zu lassen habe. Es sey die Antwort aus St. Louis abzuwarten. Darauf versetzte Jacob Mörbe: Warum ich in der Gemeindeversammlung erklärt hätte, daß die Abgetretenen von unserm Abendmahl ausgeschlossen seyn? Ich antwortete: Weil sie unversöhnlich seyen und nach dem Empfang des Gemeindeschreibens gar nicht mehr mit uns verhandeln wollten, was doch das Schreiben ausdrücklich verlange, wie es auch christliche Pflicht sey. Worauf Pastor Lieb noch auf Matth. 5, 23-24 hinwies und beschloß, das heil. Abendmahl ihnen am 10ten October, auf welchen Tag es sonst bestellt war, noch nicht zu geben. Es sollte am 10ten October (Sonntags) noch ein Sühneversuch vorgenommen werden. Ich ließ es aber geschehen, daß er eine Ansprache an die Separirten hielt und sie zum Frieden ermahnte. Den Nachmittag fand der Sühneversuch statt. Von unserer Seite war der Gemeinderath dazu berufen, nehmlich Johann Dube, Carl Lehmann, Andreas Lowke, Matthes Wukasch, Carl Teinert und George Schelnick. Von Seiten der Separatisten erschienen Johann Urban aus Rakel, August Polnik aus Weigersdorf und Matthes Schmidt (der alte Hunter-Schmidt) aus Reichwalde. Letztere fragten, was wir eigentlich noch von ihnen wollten, sie wollten ja nicht wieder zu mir, sie wollten mich nicht zum Beichtvater haben. Es sei Freiheit in Amerika. Sie warfen mir vor, in meinen Predigten herrsche zu viel Evangelium, zu wenig Gesetz in seiner Schärfe. Ich sagte, ich hätte doch keine andere Predigtweise angenommen und verstünde ihren Vorwurf nicht. Darauf erwiderte Urban: Meine Predigten hätten keine Kraft. Schon die letzte Zeit in Weigersdorf hätten meine Predigten keine Kraft gehabt. Wenn ich mich bekehren würde, wovon schon zu hören seyn würde, so würde er wieder zu mir kommen. Ich fragte sodann, ob es wahr sey, daß sie der Meinung seyen, es komme nicht groß darauf an, welcher Kirche man angehöre, wenn nur Buße und Glaube gepredigt werde. Johann Urban machte den Satz zu dem seinigen und wies auf Martin Boos hin. Ich fragte: Würden Sie also auch in die katholische Kirche laufen, wie Sie zu den Methodisten gelaufen sind, wenn ein Mann, wie Martin Boos, da aufträte? Urban versetzte: Ja, das würde er thun. Dann sagte unsererseits einer: So wollt ihr nun unirt werden. Dann Urban: Mögen wir doch unirt seyn. In dieser Unterhaltung haben wir einander gegenseitig scharf angegriffen. Weil aber diese Angriffe nichts weiter zur Sache thaten, als daß sie immer mehr aufregten, so ward die Sitzung aufgehoben.

Die unversöhnten und unversöhnlichen Separatisten haben darauf den Pastor Lieb noch einmal kommen lassen und er hat ihnen letzten Sonnabend, den 16ten October, Vormittags gepredigt und das heil. Abendmahl ausgetheilt. Damit sind unsere Separatisten am 16ten October zur sogenannten lutherischen, im Grunde aber unirten Texas Synode übergetreten.

Was es mit der Texas Synode für eine Bewandniß hat, habe ich nun durch Aktenstücke zu zeigen. Die Texas Synode ist ein Zweig der sogenannten lutherischen General Synode, zu welcher im Norden zahlreiche Synoden gehören. Damit die General Synode richtig erkannt werde, schicke ich das Septemberheft, der "Lehre und Wehre", wo Auskunft darüber zu finden ist. Und in welchem Verhältniß die Texas Synode zur General Synode steht, darüber belehrt Aktenstück 5, ein Brief des zur Texas Synode gehörigen Pastors Ebinger bei Brenham, mit dem ich correspondirte, um zu einer künftigen Verbindung der Lutheraner in Texas vorläufige Schritte zu thun. Denn es, thut mir weh, daß ich hier so gar allein stehe.

Indem ich aber alle diese Aktenstücke und Nachrichten Dir vertrauensvoll übersende, ersuche ich Dich, lieber Bruder, herzlich, meinen Brief an Prof. Walther ja nicht wörtlich zu veröffentlichen, weil das gegen die Discretion streiten würde, zumal da die Brüder in St. Louis das Liegnitzer Kirchenblatt mithalten und weil diese Correspondenz noch im Zuge ist. Aus gleichem Grunde ist auch der Aufsatz über den Chiliasmus nicht für die Öffentlichkeit. Auch das 5te Aktenstück und den Bericht über unsere schließlichen Verhandlungen mit dem Pastor Lieb und den Separatisten darfst Du nur vertrauten Freunden mittheilen. Es ist mißlich, mündliche Verhandlungen aus dem Gedächtniß zu referieren. Es kann da oder dort ein kleiner Irrthum unterlaufen, der von der feindlichen Partei, welcher aus Europa alles Mögliche wieder geschrieben wird, hoch aufgemotzt werden könnte. Lege aber dieses alles ad acta für eine Geschichte, der hiesigen lutherischen Gemeine, welche später geschrieben werden kann, wenn gewisse Gefahren vorüber seyn werden. Mitten im Krieg thut alle mögliche Vorsicht Noth.

Nun eine andere herzliche Bitte. Es werden von unserer Gegenpartei jetzt vermuthlich viele Briefe in Eure Gegend angelangen, in denen man mich auf allerlei Weise verunglimpfen wird. Sammle Dir nun alle diese in den verschiedenen Briefen zerstreuten etwaigen Vorwürfe und Angriffspuncte und schicke sie mir nach einiger Zeit. Auf diese etwaigen üblen Nachreden mag dann meine treugebliebene Gemeine als solche in einem Schreiben antworten. Dieses Schreiben würde ein neues, gewiß interessantes Aktenstück abgeben.

Sey aber, lieber Bruder, nicht niedergeschlagen darüber, daß es mir so wunderlich geht. Soll die ev. lutherische Kirche in Texas einwurzeln, so müssen solche Kämpfe kommen. Sonst schläft man ein. Meine Gemeine wird schon lebendiger. Unter der Last wächset die Palme. Unser Streit wendet sich jetzt von den Methodisten hinweg gegen die unirte Kirche Amerikas.

Ich bitte noch, unsere ganze Lage und insbesondere mein Erkenntniß vom Chiliasmus dem hochw. Oberkirchencollegium mit herzlichen Grüßen mitzutheilen. Ich denke mit der lutherischen Kirche in Preußen von neuem in nähere Verbindung zu treten, und Du sollst der Mittelsmann seyn, da Du einestheils den Männer des hochw. Oberkirchencollegiums und anderntheils meinen Freuden in Sachsens nahe stehst. Was ich aber eigentlich will, davon soll eine besondere Zuschrift handeln, welche ich, so Gott will, abfassen werde, so bald ich mehr Muße gewinne.

Endlich würde ich Dir rathen, lieber Bruder, die "Lehre und Wehre" mitzuhalten. Schreibe nur an den Redacteur dieses Monatsblattes unter folgender Adresse: Rever. Prof. C. F. W. Walther, St. Louis, Missouri. Ich dagegen würde gern Euer Liegnitzer "Kirchenblatt" mithalten. Sendet mir das Blatt vierteljährig, wofür ich Amerikanisches Gold senden will. Meine Adresse ist immer noch: Rever. J. Kilian, Cunningham's P. O. Bastrop Co. Texas.

Grüße herzlich meinen Bruder Ehlers in Liegnitz und alle Brüder in Deinen Gemeinden, wie auch die lieben Brüder in Sachsen, die nach mir fragen. Aus der Post Office, welche hier errichtet werden sollte, ist noch nichts geworden. Es wird aber noch wohl mit der Zeit geschehen.

Herzliche Grüße noch an Dutschmann u. seine Familie. Ich würde wieder Sämereien senden. Aber der Brief wird zu dick. Im verwichenen Sommer haben hier Wechselfieber ziemlich stark geherrscht. Ich jedoch mit meiner Frau und meinen 3 Kindern bin gesund geblieben. Dieses Jahr ist das erste gute Jahr, das wir hier erlebt haben. Die Ernte ist ziemlich reichlich. Darum thauen die Leute auf und die Mißvergnügten machen Rotten. Doch sitzt der Herr noch im Regimente und führet alles wohl.

Ich verbleibe in Ihm
Dein Johann Kilian, P.

1. Concordia Historical Institute's draft of this letter is dated 10-18-1858.
2. This letter refers to four enclosures (Aktenstücke 2, 3, 4 & 5), which were enclosed in this letter.
3. Martin Boos (1762-1825) was a Catholic priest, who preached a doctrine of salvation by faith resembling that of Luther, for which he was imprisoned several times and driven about.
4. In Prussia "united" (Uniert) had reference to the union of the Lutheran and Reformed religions.


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