John W.O. Brenner, "A Six-Foot Ramrod of Lutheran Conservatism": The Right Man for the Right Time for the Wisconsin Synod Among Intersynodical Relations
Fellowship issues have always been hard topics to address in a country that likes to compromise. This thesis examines the events that led up to the LCMS/WELS split and how President John W. O. Brenner dealt with those events during his presidency. It will focus on certain topics in which LCMS/WELS bumped heads throughout those years which lead to the break such as chaplaincy, scouting, fellowship, and relationship with the ALC. This paper looks at the positives and negatives of how President Brenner reacted toward those situations by reading and interviewing contemporaries. The main situations addressed are Wisconsin’s Synod conventions where President Brenner spoke to the delegates in his President’s Report. At those conventions, President Brenner also spoke though the Standing Committee on Matters of Church Union of which he chaired. This paper demonstrates that President Brenner was the right man at the right time for the Wisconsin Synod. The purpose of this paper is to help pastors in the future recognize the doctrinal dissolution in other synods (or in their own congregations), to reinforce their firm stance on the Word, and to deal with them in a loving and patient manner. All this will be done by looking at President Brenner as an example.