Evangelical Pietism and Biblical Criticism: The Story of Karl Emil Otto

Written by Lowell H. Zuck

The evangelical roots of the United Church of Christ represent a unionistpietist liberal approach to Christianity. Among most nineteenthcentury immigrants on the Midwestern frontier, German Evangelicals stood in stark contrast to the doctrinal rigorism that was popular among Missouri Lutherans, Christian Reformed, and, to a lesser extent, Presbyterian, Congregational, Baptist, and Methodist revivalists.(1)

German Evangelicals in Missouri, Illinois, and other Midwestern states traced their roots unofficially to the Prussian Union Church, founded in 1817. On arrival in the United States, in 1840, they organized themselves into a church association (Evangelische Kirchenverein des Westens), making use of German confessions from both Lutheran and Reformed traditions. They also displayed a pietistic ability to pray, sing, form congregations, and train ministers, following the ecumenically open but conservative LutheranReformed tradition. They started a church journal (the Friedensbote)and reshaped a new catechism (Evangelical Catechism). But the most important institution for developing a new German Evangelical consciousness in America was a seminary, begun in 1850 at Marthasville, Missouri, and later moved to Webster Groves and renamed Eden Theological Seminary.(2)

The fourth president of this Evangelical seminary served from 1872 to 1879. His name was Karl Emil Otto (1837—1916).(3) The story of this immigrant clergyman, who was educated at the German university of Halle, illustrates how an immigrant church, loyal to German traditions, was able to maintain faith commitments in the face of rationalist intellectualism. It is a story of the struggle between the latest German critical biblical scholarship and a healthy religious pietism on the American frontier. Although Otto created a controversy involving parochial immigrant concerns, his life reveals the basically liberal characteristics of American German Evangelicals: a group that was unwilling to stay safely within narrow confessional limits, or to be restricted by fashionable theology and traditional institutionalism.


In 1845 Philip Schaff, who had come to the German Reformed Seminary at Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and who was also rooted in the same Prussian Union Church as Karl Emil Otto, had been unsuccessfully tried for heresy. He was accused of teaching a view of the Reformation that was too Catholic for his American Reformed audience.(4) The romantic German Mediating theology behind Schaff’s teachings was also important to Otto. Karl Emil Otto, however, was more deeply involved with German historical critical scholarship than Schaff had been.

Karl Emil Otto was one of the first biblical scholars using German methods to be tried for heresy. Although he was unfavorably judged by the Evangelical Synod in 1880, the judgment did not permanently alienate Otto from the German Evangelical community. His story shows that German Evangelicals had a greater tolerance for German biblical scholarship than any other nonUnitarian American denomination at the time. The only groups in America that advocated more radical doctrines than Otto’s were the Free Religious Association, formed out of Unitarianism in 1867, and the Society for Ethical Culture, begun in 1876 by Felix Adler as a reaction to narrow Judaism.(5)

Among liberal Protestants in the 1870s, conservatism dominated. Only the Congregationalists and Baptists, with their loose form of government, allowed liberal theology access to seminaries. Prof. Crawford H. Toy was forced to resign from the Southern Baptist Seminary at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1879 when his views seemed to impugn the plenary inspiration of scripture. The Alabama Baptist wrote: “The fortunes of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ are not dependent upon German born vagaries.”(6) Toy had studied in Germany.

Andover Seminary clung to its Calvinistic creed until the 1890s. In 1891, Prof. Egbert G. Smyth, who had studied in Berlin and Halle in 1863, was able to have the Massachusetts Supreme Court overrule attempts to remove him for heresy from Andover in 1886.(7) Egbert’s brother, Newman Smyth, who had also studied in Germany, was denied an Andover appointment in 1881 because of his opposition to eternal punishment.

In 1893 the celebrated Presbyterian heresy trial of Charles A. Briggs (Union Seminary) took place, resulting in his dismissal by the General Assembly.(8) A. C. McGiffert, a Marburg Ph.D. and Union colleague of Briggs, resigned from the Presbyterian ministry in 1900 to become a Congregationalist. H. Preserved Smith of Lane Seminary was dismissed from the Presbyterian ministry in 1892. All three had studied in Germany. Fundamentalism continued its hold over Presbyterians for another quarter century.

In 1904 a Methodist, Borden P Bowne, was examined and acquitted of heresy at Boston University. And in 1906 Prof. Algernon S. Crapsey was deposed by the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York for not being creedally traditional.(9)
In retrospect, it is remarkable that a heresy trial regarding biblical criticism took place in 1880 at a remote German Evangelical Seminary in Missouri. This incident shows the sensitivity of the German Evangelicals to the latest scholarship and their capacity to handle controversy.


Karl Emil Otto was born on January 7, 1837, in Mansfeld, Saxony, at the foot of the Harz Mountains.(10) His father, Karl Friedrich Otto, was headmaster of the school at Mansfeld where Martin Luther received his education. Soon after young Otto was confirmed at age fourteen, his father died. An older brother, who had already become a pastor, took charge of Otto’s studies, preparing him for high school. For nearly six years Otto concentrated on ancient languages at the Saxon territorial Pforta school, where scholars spoke Latin in middle and upper classes. With the help of his brother, Otto enrolled in the University of Halle and studied there from 1857 to 1860.

At Halle, Otto studied with the notable Mediating theologians: August Tholuck in systematics, Julius “Sin” Mueller in biblical theology, and Hermann Hupfeld, in philology. Hupfeld’s critical and philologically accurate method of studying Near Eastern languages was especially influential in forming young Otto’s approach to biblical exegesis.(11) It is interesting to note that Prof. Heinrich Heppe, who prepared the way for the Wilhelm Herrmann—Rudolf Bultmann liberal tradition at the University of Marburg, had also studied (at Marburg) with Professors Mueller and Hupfeld.(12)

After Karl Emil Otto completed theology study and passed his first examination, he spent some years as a private tutor in a pastor’s family and taught Latin to gifted students at the famous Francke Orphan’s Institute at Halle. With his final examination Otto appeared to have a bright future as a theologian and pastor in Germany.


In September 1864, however, Otto attended the Altenburg Kirchentag assembly. There he heard addresses by two American pastors from the Lutheran Wisconsin Synod and the Evangelical Synod in Missouri. Both spoke of the desperate need for welltrained theologians to minister to German immigrants on the American frontier. On the spot, Otto decided that he would go to America, if he could find a way. Before long he received a fiveyear appointment to the Wisconsin Synod from the Berlin Missionary Society. He was sent to the Wisconsin Synod with the assurance that he could have a permanent position in Germany, if he should decide to return. In February 1865 Otto was ordained to the Evangelical ministry at Magdeburg, Germany.

Karl Emil Otto arrived in Milwaukee on April 29, 1865, where he was kindly received by Pastor Muehlhaeuser of the Wisconsin Synod. He was assigned to two Lutheran and one Reformed rural congregations in Dodge County, Wisconsin. In spite of primitive frontier conditions, Otto endeared himself to his people. He found, however, that the Wisconsin Synod, with its increasingly strenuous Lutheran confessionalism, was in conflict with his commitment to Evangelical unionism and a critical approach to scripture.

In a short time Otto became acquainted with the milder Evangelical Synod. The notable Evangelical traveling preacher Louis von Ragué persuaded him to travel to St. Louis in late 1865 to visit Pastor Louis Nollau, founder of the Evangelical Kirchenverein.(13) Nollau appreciated Otto’s abilities and viewpoint and told him of a vacancy at St. Paul’s Evangelical Church in Columbia, Illinois (across the river from St. Louis). Resigning from the Wisconsin Synod in 1866, Otto spent the next four years at Columbia, Illinois. He became an Evangelical minister in 1867 and married a relative from Germany, Amelia Otto, in the same year. They had seven children.


By 1870 Otto’s scholarship and pastoral gifts were well known, and he was called to a professorship at the Marthasville, Missouri, Evangelical Seminary. Otto had barely arrived at Marthasville in July when he learned of the sudden death of the school’s fortysevenyearold president, Andreas Irion.(14) When Irion’s successor, Johann Bank, resigned in 1873, after little more than a year, because of ill health, Karl Emil Otto, at age thirtyeight, became president of the institution.

Under Otto’s leadership a new educational spirit was introduced. Irion had powerfully represented the practical and old orthodox spirit of the mission houses, whereas Otto, less comfortably for the synod, taught the critical theology of the German universities. Irion had been a missioninstitute Pietist, teaching theology as a deepgoing mystic; Otto was a critical theologian. Irion represented Wuerttemberg pietism, combining childlike religious feeling with a speculative spirit; Otto, on the contrary, was a North German, a believing Christian but less pietistic. Through his schooling he had been trained in historicalcritical research, leading to positive results. Otto’s strength lay in exegesis. He taught dogmatics, but it was not his main field. His greatest love was Old and, especially, New Testament exegesis.(15)

In 1873 the seminary and denomination started a new journal, the Theologische Zeitschrift. Already in March of that year Otto published the first of three installments on “The Exegesis of Romans 5:12—19.” His intention was to acquaint members of the synod with what he was teaching. The articles were well received, and Otto was chosen editor in 1877.

Otto’s difficulties did not come from his students. He possessed outstanding teaching abilities that aroused enthusiasm. The students had not previously heard such deepgoing exegesis. Irion had presented the deep thought contents of biblical concepts; but Otto controlled Greek as if it were his basic language. He was able to contribute not only philological enlightenment, but also what his contemporaries called “the nutritious bread of living scriptural thought.”(16) Moreover, Otto led his students into developing their own abilities to think and become earnest researchers themselves, thus reaching the highest goal of a teacher.

In 1879 Otto’s popularity with students resulted in a student strike against the other seminary professor, K. J. Zimmermann, who appeared inadequate by comparison. As a result, Zimmermann resigned and Otto gave up the presidency but remained as professor. Twentytwo of the twentysix strikers later returned. Louis E. Haeberle became president, showing tact and firmness until his retirement in 1902.

Meanwhile the students began telling their home pastors about the theological viewpoint of their favorite professor. Many pastors were startled. The old beliefs were no longer being taught at the seminary. The leader of the opposition was retired seminary president Johann Bank. Bank and his friends wrote a formal letter to the seminary board demanding that Otto’s teachings be investigated. They referred to Otto’s 187374 articles and questioned whether his views on sin as the wages of death, original sin, and atonement and justification were biblical.

The board was not convinced. Early in 1880 it passed a resolution of confidence in Otto, asking him to continue teaching. It examined his dogmatics notes regarding the meaning of Christ’s death and atonement, the death of humanity, the miracles of Christ, and the sacrifice of Isaac and found no problems.

In two resolutions the board fully supported Otto:

(1) The Seminary Board has convinced itself that the doubts raised about Professor Otto’s teaching have no basis in fact, and that therefore his further continuance at the seminary must be desired by the Board.
(2) That Professor Otto shall be requested to forget what has happened and on the basis of strengthened confidence to continue his work with good cheer and courage.(17)


However, when four articles on the temptation story in Genesis 3 appeared in the Theologische Zeitschrift from May to August 1880, it became necessary to consider Otto’s case at the fall synodical General Conference. Otto had not hesitated to have the articles published, even while he was being examined by the seminary board. He felt no need to seek the approval of any higher authority than his conscience.

Otto’s symbolical method of scripture interpretation created a sensation among Evangelicals. At the September General Conference of the synod, the committee appointed to investigate his work declared that he had deviated from the synodical doctrinal position and demanded that he promise in the future to maintain true doctrine. Otto defended himself with dignity. He affirmed the basic confessions of the church and accepted the unconditional authority of scripture, but he insisted that a teacher be allowed latitude in interpretation. He questioned the competence of the synod to decide such matters.

By a vote of 47 to 9, however, the General Conference declared its lack of confidence in Otto. It also added a “Neological Paragraph” to the synodical Constitution, stating: “We must decidedly repudiate any neological [new] method of teaching and explanation of the scriptures, and insist firmly that in our seminary the Christian doctrine is presented in the manner of the positive believing direction, as it is done in the Evangelical Church of Germany.”(18)

Otto had no alternative but to resign his professorship, as well as his membership in the synod. He became pastor of a nonsynodical Evangelical Church in Darmstadt, Illinois, where he served until 1887. By 1885, however, Otto renewed his affiliation with the Evangelical Synod with no malice. Already in 1883 the St. Louis Evangelical publishing house issued Otto’s 268page Bibelstudien fuer die gebildete Gemeinde (Exposition of Romans for Educated Congregational Members). It included a twentyninepage appendix exegeting the Genesis 3 temptation passage.(19) In 1887 Mennonites from Kansas invited Otto to teach in their preparatory school at Halstead, Kansas. But after only a year, Otto accepted the pastorate of an Evangelical church at Eyota, Minnesota, serving from 1888 to 1890.


In 1890 Otto accepted a call to become professor of ancient languages and history at Elmhurst College, Illinois. For fourteen years thereafter he prepared students to enter the Marthasville Seminary from Elmhurst. Samuel D. Press, later president of Eden Seminary, noted with pride that his immigrant father, Gottlob Press, had studied under Otto in 1874 and “stood by Otto after his dismissal, remaining loyal to him to the end.” In turn, Sam Press studied under Otto at Elmhurst, saying of him:

The only truly academically trained member of the Elmhurst faculty at that time was Prof. Emil Otto, an outstanding scholar, a man of unimpeachable character. . The mainstay of the curriculum at Elmhurst for me were the four years of Latin and the three years of Greek with Prof. Otto. His excellent lectures were too advanced for most of his students.(20)

Otto’s teaching at Elmhurst included deepgoing lectures on world history and German literature. In 1898 he published a story for young people about an American lad who was kidnapped in Connecticut during the American Revolution, an unusual theme for a German immigrant theologian!(21) He also published a fictional history from ancient times, The Bride from Damascus, set in the Greek Orthodox Church of A.D. 633.(22) In 1897 he produced a 137page
Germanlanguage history of the life of George Washington, noting both Washington’s success as a military commander and leader and his willingness to give up power and go back to civilian life. This may have reflected Otto’s own renunciations as a theologian.(23)

Otto retired from teaching in 1904. For the rest of his life he struggled with defective hearing and the illnesses and deaths of his wife and eldest son. He returned to Columbia, Illinois, where he died in 1916 at the age of nearly eighty. Those twelve years as emeritus professor were active years, filled with preaching chores and regular writing for the Theologische Zeitschrift. The announcement of his death in that journal was followed by one of his own articles, “The Meaning of the Old Testament for Christian Preaching,” written shortly before his death. The previous issue contained two Otto articles on “American Idealism” and an exegesis of Colossians 1:24.(24)

At the funeral Eden Seminary president William Becker used the text, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things” (Rev. 21:7, King James Version). Otto had overcome what he called his “catastrophe.” Carl E. Schneider, Evangelical historian, wrote later: “In calmer moments it became apparent that the action [of the synod’s excommunicating Otto] had been too hasty. Otto was vindicated not only by posterity but by many of his contemporaries, and never again was the question of confessional orthodoxy made the issue of serious discussion by any General Conference.(25)


Otto’s exegesis approached Paul critically. He believed that a great assignment had been given to proclaim the gospel, “to pave the way for a Christian unity of the faith between those who are influenced and those who are not influenced by the socalled modern view of the world.” Paul needed to be brought nearer to the Christian church by a manner of interpretation that would “explain Paul purely out of himself, uninfluenced by the authority of doctrinal tradition.”28
Otto discussed the origins of sin and its consequences by examining Paul and the dogmatic traditions. In exegeting Romans, Otto wrote with Protestant fervor:

If we now compare verse 3:22 “Through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe,” with 1:17, “Through faith for faith,” and combine these, then we have Paul’s trilogy: Out of faith (God’s faith), through faith (Christ’s faith), to faith (the new mankind’s faith), and the doxology concerning the depths of the richness, the wisdom, and the knowledge of God (11:33), which doxology refers to the perfection of the work of redemption; then we have essentially a substantiation of our interpretation.27

But Otto’s lengthy discussion of the doctrine of the atonement bordered on heresy:

Because God cannot forgive sins without a vicarious death, therefore he himself had to finally furnish the perfect offering, which was to bear vicariously the suffering of punishment for all mankind. That God did by presenting Christ as the atonement offering. . . . One can tell at once by this “orthodox” interpretation, that it is not derived from exegesis, but from dogmatics. One would hardly have found this explanation in these two verses (Rom. 3:2526), if one had not had beforehand this interpretation. And where did one get it? Not from the Bible, but from Scholasticism. . . , The theory of the atonement goes back in the first place to Anselm’s attempt to construe the revealed content of the re
vealed truth about faith by the means available to human reason. This background should serve warning not to identify the outcome of this theory immediately with revealed truth itself.(28)

Even more sensational than his work on Paul were Otto’s articles on the study of the Genesis temptation story (Genesis 3). He reviewed different types of exegesis (allegorical, literal, dogmatical, and theosophical), showing reasons for rejecting them all. His was a symbolic interpretation: “The tree of life is not actually a fruit tree; the tree of knowledge is not actually a tree; then too no serpent actually appeared. The appearance of the serpent symbolizes the fact that just that made itself felt which is symbolized by this picture.” Otto argued that the serpent was a natural being, created by God as every other creature. It was not a creature of Satan. There was no trace that the serpent had its cunning from anywhere else except from God. “The serpent symbolizes the power that resides in nature and entices to evil. This power is not yet morally bad in itself.” It is a power that dare not gain influence over humanity, if we do not want to become morally bad.(29) Otto supported a feminist interpretation of the fall: “The fact that the serpent approaches the woman first is generally associated with the greater lack of selfcontrol and the greater temptability of the woman. But actually it rather points to the connection of the sinful fall with the sex relationship only to the extent that the sex discretion occurs earlier with the woman than with the man.”(30)

Otto’s basic point was that the story of the fall points to sin as grave disobedience to God. The tree, the serpent, and the conversations are merely a shell. Otto was concerned with practical teaching, recognizing two ways to grasp offered truths, either in the form of abstract truth or in the form of a graphic story. He did not believe that they needed to contend against each other as if they were enemies. Those who cannot yet free themselves from the story form to grasp the moral truths should stay with this form so that they will not lose the content of the same. But those who have the duty to impart religious truth to their times and companions should get clear in their minds concerning this truth.(31)

Nor did Otto pit science and faith against each other as enemies:

The Scriptures should not be interpreted according to the demands of the natural sciences, but according to the Scriptures themselves. Exegesis must simply seek to find that which the Scripture passage intends to say. If it should happen that the passage should represent conceptions which are impossible to reconcile with scientific findings, then there will still be time to decide in favor of which side of the respective collision one might choose to stand.(32)


The synodical case against Otto rejected his statement that he was not asking for recognition of a “liberal interpretation,” but of the “neological” (modern) method of exegeting scripture. Such an argument, however, was in keeping with the confessional stance of the Evangelical Synod. Its 1848 confessional statement affirms the Scriptures as the Word of God and as the sole and infallible rule of faith and life, and accepts the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures as given in the symbolic books of the Lutheran and the Reformed Church, the most important being the Augsburg Confession, Luther’s and the Heidelberg Catechism, in so far as they agree. But where they disagree, we adhere strictly to the passages of Holy Scriptures bearing on the subject, and avail ourselves of the liberty of conscience prevailing in the Evangelical Church.(33)

The confessional statement revealed the unionist confessional spirit of the Evangelicals, which allowed choice between Lutheran and Reformed confessions, while at the same time affirming the priority of scripture and appealing to individual conscience on points of disagreement. Although it could be criticized as contradictory, the paragraph nicely combined liberal individualism with conservative scriptural authority. Highly trained scholars leaned toward autonomy of conscience, while ordinary pastors and church members, grounded in conservative pietistic views, favored traditional scriptural authority.

Although Otto followed the confessional tradition of his predecessors, William Binner, Andreas Irion, and Adolph Baltzer, he did so with greater discernment, penetrating to more daring conclusions. Building on his excellent German theological training, Otto affirmed the authority of Holy Scripture without question. However, he also considered himself better qualified than many others to distinguish between favored interpretations of texts and their actual meanings. He insisted that the meaning “which according to my best knowledge is the meaning of Scripture constitutes for me the norm for my teaching.”(34)

The censure of Karl Emil Otto at the 1880 synodical conference centered on what constitutes Evangelical freedom. Maintaining that he espoused scientific, theological truth, Otto urged that the synod could accept his position without fear of drifting from doctrinal moorings. Indeed, the contrast between an orthodox and a more liberal position, which he admitted he held, was wholesome for the church. On the basis of the confessional paragraph, he demanded recognition and equal rights for both.

At the time the irenic spirit of the Evangelicals was overcome by fear of the dangers of “neology.” When the vote went against Otto, he was dismissed from the synod. More orthodox Evangelicals tried to prevent any other professors with his views from becoming seminary professors. Yet Otto was not repudiated as a person, or as a teacher, although he was never invited back to teach at the seminary.

“Americanization” was a crucial issue for nonEnglishspeaking believers, and the wave of the future for Evangelicals was on the side of Americanization. As early as 1874, when Otto was president at Marthasville, he had proposed that students who completed their work with honors at “Eden” should be sent to an Englishspeaking college or theological seminary for further work.(35) Conservatives responded that it would be far better for them to attend German universities. Yet Otto’s flexibility on language issues was consistent with his critical and forwardlooking theological views.

As the years went by, it was Otto’s approach to scriptural authority, learning, individual conscience, and willingness to allow missionarylike accommodation to American life that prevailed in the Evangelical Synod. By the time of Otto’s death in 1916, onetime student Samuel D. Press said of Otto that “not only his theology was Christocentric, but also his life.”

Press expressed the prevailing Evangelical spirit when he went on to say:

Professor Otto holds a distinctive place in our Synod. Through Otto’s intellectual talents, God presented our Church with one of his richest gifts. . . Otto was an untiring searcher for truth…. Completely unpartisan, Otto had the courage to present his theological positions freely and openly, without concern for personal consequences, . . . What a tragedy that our Church robbed itself of the services of such an outstanding theological servant! Nevertheless, this noble person continued to serve the Church faithfully until the end of his life.(36)

The littleknown heresy trial of Karl Emil Otto before the Evangelical Synod in 1880 presents a unique example of theological leadership and the struggle for denominational identity on the American scene. The small German Evangelical denomination made an initial mistake but went on to recover its identity and its ability to grow amid struggle. Karl Emil Otto and the Evangelical Synod show how sound biblical criticism and flexible churchly pietism learned to live together.


1. For Evangelical Synod history, see Carl E. Schneider, The German Church on the American Frontier (St. Louis: Eden Publishing House, 1939), and David Dunn, ed., A History of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (Philadelphia: The Christian Education Press, 1961).
2. Carl E. Schneider, History of the Theological Seminary of the Evangelical Church (St. Louis: Eden Publishing House, 1925), and Walter A. Brueggemann, Ethos and Ecumenism, An Ecumenical Blend: A History of Eden Theological Seminary, 19251975 (St. Louis: Eden Publishing House, 1975).
3. For Otto, see Schneider, German Church, p. 368, and Dunn, op. cit., pp. 22329.
4. For Schaff, James Hastings Nichols, Romanticism in American Theology: Nevin and Schaff at Mercersburg (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), and The Mercersburg Theology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966), and John B. Payne, “Philip Schaff: Christian Scholar, Historian and Ecumenist,” Historical Intelligencer 2 (1982):1723.
5. Winthrop S. Hudson, Religion in America (2d ed.; New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1981), p. 286, and William R. Hutchison, The Modernist Impulse in American Protestantism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), pp. 3140.
6. Kenneth K. Bailey, Southern White Protestantism in the Twentieth Century (New York: Harper & Row, 1964), p. 12, and Pope A. Duncan, “Crawford Howell Toy: Heresy at Louisville,” American Religious Heretics: Formal and Informal Trials, ed. George H. Shriver (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1966), pp. 5688.
7. Egbert C. Smyth, Progressive Orthodoxy (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1885); Newman Smyth, Dorner on the Future State (New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1883). See Daniel Day Williams, The Andover Liberals (New York: Octagon Books, 1970).
8. On Briggs, see Lefferts A. Loetscher, The Broadening Church: A Study of Theological Issues in the Presbyterian Church Since 1869 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1958), ch. 4, and H. Shelton Smith, Robert C. Handy, and Lefferts A. Loetscher, American Christianity, 18201960 (New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1963), pp. 27579.
9. Noted in Hudson, op. cit., p. 280. The Disciples of Christ expelled their first modernist minister, Robert C. Cave, in 1889. See Lester G. McAllister and William E. Tucker, Journey into Faith: A History of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1975), pp. 36364.
10. E. Otto obituary, Evangelical Herald (August 17, 1916), pp. 45, for a brief summary of his life.
11. For the influence of German Mediating theology on American theology and philosophy, see Bruce Kuklick, Churchmen and Philosophers: From Jonathan Edwards to John Dewey (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1985), pp. 12627; Ragnar Holte, Die Vermittlungstheologie (Uppsala: Almquist & Wiksells, 1965).
12. For Heppe, see Lowell H. Zuck, “Heinrich Heppe: A Melanchthonian Liberal in the NineteenthCentury German Reformed Church,” Church History 51(1982):41933.
13. Sketches of Ragué and Nollau in Lowell H. Zuck, NewChurch Starts: American Backgrounds of the United Church of Christ (St. Louis: United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, 1982), pp. 1214.
14. For Andreas Irion, see John W. Flucke, Evangelical Pioneers (St. Louis: Eden Publishing House, 1931), pp. 12740, and Schneider, German Church, pp. 31418, 41617.
15. Walter Merzdorf translated Otto’s 1873 Dogmatics (1967) in 149 typewritten pages from student notes. Copy in Eden Archives, Webster Groves, MO.
16. H. Kamphausen, Ceschichte des Religioesen Lebens in der Deutschen Evangelischen Synode von NordAmerika (St. Louis: Eden Publishing House, 1924), p. 160.
17. Quoted in ibid., p. 165.
18. Protokoll der GeneralConferenz (St. Louis, September 1880), p. 21.
19. Walter Merzdorf translated Otto’s Romans in 196465. Copy available in Eden Archives, typewritten, 414 pages.
20. From Samuel D. Press, typewritten Autobiographical Reflections, in Eden Archives. See William G. Chrystal, “Samuel D. Press: Teacher of the Niebuhrs,” Church History 53 (1984):50421.
21. Der Gestohlene Knabe: Eine Geschichte aus der Revolutionszeit (St. Louis: Eden Publishing House, 1898).
22. Die Braut von Damaskus (St. Louis: Eden Publishing House, 1895).
23. Das Leben George Washingtons (St. Louis: Eden Publishing House, 1897).
24. Magazin fuer Evang. Theologie und Kirche 18 (1916):32129, 329 39; 25163, 28797.
25. Carl E. Schneider, The Place of the Evangelical Synod in American Protestantism (St. Louis: Eden Publishing House, 1933), p. 25.
26. Otto, Romans, Merzdorf MSS, p. 4.
27. Ibid., pp. 100101.
28. Ibid., pp. 11415.
29. Ibid., pp. 395, 39798.
30. Ibid., p. 402.
31. Ibid., p. 414.
32. Ibid., p. 411.
33. Schneider, German Church, p. 409.
34. Quoted in Schneider, Place of the Evangelical Synod, p. 25.
35. Ibid.
36. Samuel D. Press, Otto obituary, The Keryx, October 1916, pp. 2627.

Lowell H. Zuck is Professor of Church History at Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.