C. F. W. Walther and education in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Mary Elizabeth Hilgendorf, Marquette University

Abstract

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod maintains and operates over 2100 schools representing one of the largest Protestant systems of church-related schools in the United States. An extremely influential leader in the founding of the LCMS system of schools was C. F. W. Walther, the first president of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. When the Missouri Synod was founded in 1847, Walther advocated that every congregation would establish a parish school. He defined the purpose of the LCMS educational system to promote and protect theology as the foremost branch of knowledge. Under Walther's leadership, the Missouri Synod implemented a unique system and structure for its elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges, and seminaries. Walther's contributions to nineteenth-century LCMS education have had a lasting effect on modern education in the Missouri Synod. This study analyzes the significance of education in the context of Walther's theological and philosophical beliefs and examines how he proposed and implemented these beliefs in the LCMS educational system. More specifically, the study involves investigating the background of Walther and the historical events surrounding his life; the theological and philosophical principles which were the basis for Walther's educational thought; the organizational structure for LCMS education which Walther promoted; Walther's ideas on curriculum, instruction, and the role of Lutheran teachers; and the implications that Walther's contributions have for modern LCMS education. This investigation uses historical and analytical research techniques in which the patterns of development of Walther's life and the events and circumstances surrounding them are historically traced and explained. An in-depth analysis of Walther's writings, especially his letters, essays, and sermons, is made in order to identify and explain Walther's central theological and philosophical principles which were the basis for his educational thought. Within the scope of this methodology, the collection, analysis, synthesis, and interpretation of the data have led to a determination of the implications that Walther's contributions have for modern LCMS educational practices.

Recommended Citation

Mary Elizabeth Hilgendorf, "C. F. W. Walther and education in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod" (January 1, 1997). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI9823979.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9823979

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