30/143 - The Rev. Henry L. Lieske (1911-2002)
|Scope and Content
The research files assembled and described by retired Lutheran
pastor, Henry L. Lieske, document the conflict between moderate
and conservative members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
(LC-MS) which resulted in schism in 1976. Folder and item-level
notations provided by Pastor Lieske express the views of one moderate
pastor who watched the conflict unfold from within the Missouri
Synod. The papers reveal the extent of the moral and theological
crisis provoked by the actions of conservative synod leader, Jacob
A.O. Preus (b. 1920), who served as president of the LC-MS from
1969 to 1980. (A chronology of key events in the conflict appears
as an appendix to this finding aid.) Disagreement over issues of
theology, biblical interpretation, missions, and church administration
ultimately led to the departure of one hundred and seven moderate
churches to form the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches
(AELC). The largest collections of records relating to the controversy
are held by the Archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America in Chicago and by the Concordia Historical Institute in
St. Louis, Missouri.
The collection is arranged into three Subgroups: I. Historical
Files: Development of the Moderate Movement in the Lutheran Church-Missouri
Synod; II. Responses to the Crisis; and III. Files of Individual
Pastors. Within subgroups, files are organized into records series
which are arranged in the order established by the donor in 1980.
Lieske’s descriptive and interpretive notes are maintained
within original folders.
The moderate movement in the Missouri Synod traces its origins
to a “Statement” signed in Chicago in 1945 by 44 pastors
who took a moderate stand on doctrinal and church governance issues.
Copies of the document are included in Series 2, Background and
Development of the Moderate Movement, and in Series 3, under the
heading, “Greater Chicago Area.” The “Greater
Chicago Area” lot was received by donor Henry L. Lieske from
Pastor Henry C. Duwe, who served for many years as pastor of Grace
Lutheran Church in Evanston, Illinois, and, from 1938-42, as Pastor
of Grace Lutheran Church in Oberlin, Ohio. Duwe’s files contain
important and scarce documentation of the September 1945 “free
Lutheran Conference” in Chicago, including conference papers
by W. Arndt, R.R. Caemmerer, O.P. Kretzmann, and O.A. Geisemann;
mailings by the Continuation Committee to the signers of the Chicago
Statement; materials relating to Theodore Graebner, one of the
signers of the Statement; and files documenting conservative objection
to various moderate positions, such as fellowship between the American
Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Additional background to the moderate movement is provided by
copies of various documents or “exhibits,” selected by the
donor as evidence of a moderate tradition within the Missouri Synod.
These “exhibits,” housed in Series 2, include the Constitution
of the LC-MS and seminal articles by eminent Lutheran theologians
and church leaders. Henry Lieske provides a description of these
materials and an account of his own theological development in
his essay, “Background and Setting for The Moderate Movement
in the LC-MS.” Also present is an unpublished dissertation
by Leland Stevens, “The Americanization of the Missouri Synod” (1986),
and various writings of Seminex professor, the Rev. Erwin Lueker,
including “Development-Tension-Crisis: A Study of Interaction
of Event and Thought in the Missouri Synod, With Documents.” These
pieces provide valuable historical context for the conflict in
The role of synod leader Jacob A.O. Preus in setting forth the
conservative viewpoint and agenda is documented in Preus’ official
communiqués, reports, and news releases. Files housed in
Series 4 of Subgroup I document the charges of false doctrine and
malfeasance of administration brought against the seminary’s
president, Dr. John H. Tietjen (b. 1930), as a result of the inquiry
initiated by Preus. Materials include Preus’ “Blue
Book,” (the report on the faculty of Concordia Seminary),
transcripts of interviews between Tietjen and examining clergy,
reports by examiners Gerken (1975) and Nickels (1977), statements
and petitions of support for Tietjen issued by Concordia faculty
and students, and newspaper and periodical clippings. Official
correspondence, memoranda, and printed materials pertain to the
1974 establishment of the Concordia Seminary in Exile (Seminex)
by the Concordia faculty and students who supported Tietjen. Also
present are files relating to the parallel controversy over actions
taken by the LC-MS Board of Missions. For information regarding
the 1973 New Orleans convention of LC-MS, at which conservative
doctrinal statements on biblical interpretation were adopted, see
the files housed in Subgroup II, Series 1, Responses to the Crisis.
Proceedings of this convention and the subsequent convention in
St. Louis are recorded on four cassette tapes.
The bulk of this research collection consists of files documenting
the responses of moderate Lutheran pastors who remained within
the Missouri Synod throughout the conflict. Files contain monographs,
correspondence, writings, memoranda, brochures, mailings, and clippings
reflecting the views of pastors, district synods, congregations,
laymen, journalists, and religion writers. Well documented is the
formation and work of Evangelical Lutherans in Mission (ELIM),
a group established in the tumultuous aftermath of the 1973 New
Orleans convention. Materials include statements and reports adopted
at the first ELIM meeting, annotated by Henry L. Lieske. For minutes
of ELIM meetings (1974-76) and related materials, consult the files
of Omar Stuenkel and Alton F. Wedel, housed in Subgroup III. Those
moderates who felt they could no longer minister within Missouri
Synod broke with LC-MS in 1976 and formed the Association of Evangelical
Lutheran Churches (AELC) and five constituent synods. Files housed
in Series 3, Subgroup II document the formation of the AELC, its
founding convention, and the establishment of the AELC English
Synod out of the English District.
Conservative response to the moderate outcry is reflected in
publications, newsletters, conference reports, and official church
housed in Series 2 of Subgroup II. Individuals on the extreme right
include the editorial group at the conservative publication “Affirm” and
Walter A. Maier, Robert Preus, Edgar Rehwaldt, Martin Scharlemann,
E.C. Weber, and Waldo Werning. Files also document the views of
other current conservative members (1979-80) of the Missouri Synod
relating to fellowship, “unionism,” close communion,
inerrancy, the ordination of women, and the use of the Lutheran
Book of Worship. The issue of the certification of Seminex graduates
in LC-MS is highlighted by files (1973-88) pertaining to the ministerial
career of Pastor Douglas Wahlberg (b. 1950), housed in Subgroup
III, Series 2.
Information about the donor of these papers, Henry L. Lieske,
is housed in Series 1, Subgroup I, Donor Files. Included are autobiographical
materials on Lieske and correspondence from pastors expressing
interest in submitting material for inclusion in Lieske’s
collection. Lieske’s professional, largely incoming correspondence
(1948-83), including letters exchanged with Jacob A. Preus, is
housed in Subgroup II, Series 1.
Henry Lieske’s Research Collection on the Moderate Movement
in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is arranged into three subgroups:
I. Historical Files: Development of the Moderate Movement in the
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LC-MS); II. Responses to the Crisis
in the LC-MS; and III. Files of Individual Pastors. Subgroups I
and II are comprised of files received in the original 1980 accession,
together with those received in the subsequent seven shipments
(1988-90) which were interfiled in 1992. Subgroup III contains
files of individual pastors, received in the later shipments, which
were not interfiled. Subgroup IV consists of files received as
late accretions in 1997 and 1999.
Subgroup I. Historical Files: Development of the Moderate Movement
in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LC-MS), 1932-88, n.d., 1.8
Organized into four records series according to the arrangement
established by the donor: 1. Donor Files; 2. Special Files: Background
and Development of the Moderate Movement; 3. Special Files: Resolutions
of the Synodical Conventions; and 4. Special Files: Sources of
Conflict in LC-MS.
Series 1. Donor Files, 1932-c. 1988, 0.2 l.f.
Includes photocopies and originals of ms. typescripts, printed
materials, and H. Lieske’s incoming correspondence relating
to Lieske’s assembly of the present collection. Correspondence
is arranged alphabetically by name or organization. Files are
arranged alphabetically by type of material.
Series 2. Special Files: Background and Development of the Moderate
Movement, 1945-86, n.d., 0.6 l.f.
Originals and photocopies of ms. typescript drafts and correspondence,
monographs, periodicals, reports, leaflets, booklets, newspaper
clippings, various other printed materials, and an unpublished
dissertation with annotations. Arranged in the order received.
Series 3. Special Files: Resolutions of the Synodical Conventions,
1959-77, 0.2 l.f.
Originals and photocopies of portions of published convention
workbooks and proceedings, annotated by the donor. Chronologically
Series 4. Special Files: Sources of Conflict in LC-MS, 1947-80,
Official church correspondence, reports, and news releases; select
issues of religious periodicals; originals and copies of journal
and newspaper articles; and miscellany documenting the areas of
conflict within the LC-MS and the specific charges made against
John Tietjen. Many folders are individually described by the donor
in accompanying notes.
Subgroup II. Responses to the Crisis in the
LC-MS, 1948-89, n.d., 7.0 l.f.
Organized into four records series according to groupings established
by the donor: 1. Responses of Moderates; 2. Responses of Conservatives
and Conservative Publications; 3. Files Relating to the Formation
of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC) and
its Synods; and 4. Published Accounts of the Crisis.
Series 1. Responses of Moderates, 1948-88, n.d., 5.4 l.f.
Originals and copies of official correspondence received and
sent by various pastors and church organizations, periodical articles,
single issues of religious periodicals and bulletins, convention
publications, reports, and slides and cassette tapes. Materials
are alphabetically arranged by name or title. Many folders are
individually described by the donor.
Series 2. Responses of Conservatives and Conservative Publications,
1961-89, 0.8 l.f.
Includes originals and photocopies of official church mailings
and personal correspondence among pastors, select issues of and
individual articles from religious periodicals, newsletters, conference
reports, and pamphlets. Arranged alphabetically by topic, title,
or type of material.
Series 3. Files Relating to the Formation
of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC) and
its Synods, 1975-80,
Official church correspondence and news releases, published convention
proceedings, select issues of periodicals, copies of ms. typescript
reports and addresses, and pamphlets and church bulletins. Arranged
alphabetically by name of organization and there under in the order
established by the donor.
Series 4. Published Accounts of the Crisis, 1975, 1977, 1979,
Five hardcover and two paperbound monographs, arranged alphabetically
Subgroup III. Files of Individual Pastors, 1969-88, 2.4
Includes files which, due to their bulk or content, were not
integrated with Subgroups I and II. Organized into three records
arranged by pastor: 1. Files of Omar Stuenkel; 2. Files of Douglas
Wahlberg; and 3. Files of Alton Wedel.
Series 1. Files of Omar Stuenkel, 1969-76, 0.8 l.f.
Originally materials from “Supplementary Shipment #1,” received
in 1988 and described in the donor’s correspondence of
January 19, 1988. Contains files assembled by the Rev. Stuenkel
to the Lutheran Church in Mission (LCM) and the Evangelical
Lutherans in Mission (ELIM). Includes incoming and outgoing
chronologically arranged; ms. drafts and printed copies of
minutes of ELIM meetings; special reports from Seminex (1974)
Jacob Preus (1976); select issues of periodicals; newsletters;
and clippings. Arranged alphabetically by type of material.
Series 2. Files of Douglas Wahlberg, 1973-88, 1.2 l.f.
Originally materials from “Shipment #7,” received in
1990 and described and inventoried by the donor in an attachment
housed in Box 4, Biographical Materials. Files include photocopies
of transcripts of interviews (1973) between John Tietjen and various
clergy; originals and photocopies of official church correspondence;
clippings; various printed materials; and miscellany relating to
Wahlberg’s ministry. Arranged in the order established
by the donor.
Series 3. Files of Alton Wedel, 1973-75, 0.4 l.f.
Originally materials from “Shipment #3,” received in
1988. The bulk of this shipment was interfiled in Subgroups I and
II, following the donor’s recommendations. The remainder
is filed here and consists of clippings, reports, and miscellany
relating to the crisis in LC-MS. Arranged alphabetically by
IV. Additional Materials Received, 1992-93, 1995, 1997, 1999, 0.2
Consists of five (5) folders that were received as late accretions
to the collection in 1997 and 1999. Includes correspondence
and an article relating to the controversy surrounding Rev. Orval
participation in a wedding service with a clergyman of The
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in an ELCA church in
South Dakota on
August 10, 1996. Other materials include newsletters (i.e.,
Jesus First, Grace Alive, and Voices/Visions), 1999, clippings
the Fifty-Eighth Convention of the Lutheran Church-Missouri
Synod, 1992, correspondence relating to the Jehovah Evangelical
Church, 1993, 1995, and correspondence between Henry Lieske
and Daniel Prues (Concordia Historical Institute), 1999.
The research files of Henry Lieske were donated to the Oberlin
College Archives by the Rev. Lieske. The bulk of the collection
arrived in 1980, with later shipments occurring in 1988, 1990,
1997, and 1999. Materials were also received from Rev. Dr. Michael
Meranda, Jehovah Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minnesota,
The Rev. Henry L. Lieske Papers are currently "On Deposit" at
the Archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Elk
Grove Village, Illinois.