Lutheran Church.Lutheranism is a system of doctrine and church government established in the 16th century by Martin Luther and his associates, who made an effort to maintain and continue the historical development of Christian life, aiming only to purify the church by reforming abuses rather than the founding of any new church or organization. Wittenburg was the center of the movement, which rapidly spread among all classes but Luther restrained all radical measures and was conservative in his preaching. The early ceremonies of the church were very similar to those of the Roman Catholic, and the direction of ecclesiastical affairs was in the hands of the civil rulers.
Nearly all the Protestants of Germany became and still are Lutherans; the established churches of Denmark, Sweden and Norway are Lutheran in belief; most of the people of Finland and about one-fourth of the population of Switzerland profess this faith. Lutheran organizations have been founded in other European countries and in all lands where the Lutherans have migrated.
Lutheranism was introduced into America by the early Dutch emigrants from Holland, who located on Manhattan island about 1623. They were followed by the Swedish Lutherans who settled in Delaware about 1637. Early in the 18th century the Germans began to come. Unlike the Puritans the Lutherans had no religious motive back of their emigration. For some years the Lutherans in America were without pastors, one of the first being Jonas Minuit, who came in 1628. The first church was built and the first school opened in 1633. Minuit was followed by a number of educated pastors from Halle under whom the church prospered and gained wide influence in the colonies. The first Lutheran synod was held in 1735, but was not a synod in the sense in which the word is used today, being merely a conference of pastors and representatives of the congregations.
One of the earliest synods was formed in Pennsylvania in 1748; New York followed in 1786; Carolina in 1803, and Ohio in 1818. In 1820 the general synod was formed for the purpose of uniting all Lutheran organizations. The question of slavery caused a division in the church and the southern synods withdrew, forming the United synod of the South. In 1910 there were twenty-four synods in the United States.
The Lutherans were among the first of the religious organizations to become established in Kansas. A church was organized in Jefferson county in 1857 under the leadership of J. B. McAfee, and a building was erected the same year. The Leavenworth church was organized in 1861, the first services being held by Bishop Dubs and a Mr. Miller. The same year another Lutheran church was established at Leavenworth by Michael Meier, who was the first minister. In 1866 a Lutheran church was started at Atchison by C. F. Liebe, a home missionary of the Evangelical Lutheran synod of Missouri, and the first pastor was a Mr. Menge, who was installed in April, 1867. In Douglas county a church was organized at Lawrence in March, 1867, by a minister named Morris, with 19 members. The Swedes of Shawnee county organized at Topeka in 1868, and the German Lutherans organized there in 1874. J. C. Young established the English Lutheran church at Salina in 1868, and two years later the Swedish Lutherans became established under the leadership of a Mr. Dahlsten. One of the earliest and largest Lutheran colonies in the state was established at Lindsborg, McPherson county, in 1868. The next year the Swedish Lutheran Church of Bethany was organized there by Prof. O. Olsson, the first superintendent of schools of McPherson county. The Free Mount Lutheran church was organized there by A. W. Dahisten in 1869; the New Gotland Lutheran church in 1872, and four years later a church building was erected by this organization. In 1880 the Elmsborg Lutheran church was established at Lindsborg and from these beginnings the Lindsborg colony has become one of the strongest centers of Lutheranism in Kansas. A Lutheran college has been established there under the general supervision of the church, to fit the youth of the church for the ministry as well as for other walks of life. (See Bethany College.)
In 1878 the Lutheran church in Kansas had 58 organizations, 33 church edifices, and a membership of 4,560. By 1886 the organizations had increased to 95 and the total membership to 11,651. During the five years following the number of organizations doubled but the membership of the church increased only about 3,000, due to the start of churches in new parts of the country where the population was scant. In 1906 the Lutheran bodies in the state ranked sixth in number of all denominations, with an aggregate membership of 28,642, making it one of the leading religious bodies.Pages 193-195 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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