Started by Jeremy Loesch, May 07, 2012, 06:14:42 AM
Quote from: Jeremy Loesch on May 07, 2012, 06:14:42 AMAnd how come the Norwegians and Swedes don't get along?
Quote from: Jeremy Loesch on May 07, 2012, 06:14:42 AMHi friends, I have an historical question I thought some of you could answer pertaining to Norwegian Lutherans.Some background: At my grandmother's memorial service I received a box that she had set aside. Inside the box were letters that I had written to her, pictures my kids had drawn for her, my grandfather's cheerleading letter from Concordia-River Forest, and a bunch of books. One of the books was Cammerer's "Preaching for the Church" that my grandfather had used to teach homiletics. It includes his notes, a few papers. Pretty special. There was also a copy of James Adams' "Preus of Missouri". This book deals with the Lutheran Civil War and is somewhat biographical about Jack Preus. It is very interesting.There are lots of references to the "Little Norwegians" and the "Big Norwegians". Who are these groups, where did they come from, and where are they now? And the book states that Jack Preus was ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Is the Evangelical Lutheran Church the forerunner of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod? And how come the Norwegians and Swedes don't get along? If you have any answers or stories to pass along, I'd be interested in reading. Thanks.Jeremy
Quote from: Charles_Austin on May 07, 2012, 08:33:59 AMMany of the Norwegian immigrants to this country in the 19th Century were fleeing the "state church," and what they saw as the oppression of its bishops. Some were Haugeaners who had actually been imprisoned for preaching without being ordained. When the Swedes came, they brought their bishops and the structure of the Church of Sweden with them. They did not see such things as bishops, a high view of the ordained ministry, the the liturgy as oppressive. So the Norwegian-based church bodies in this country grew up in a slightly different ambiance than the Swedish churches.
Quote from: James_Gale on May 07, 2012, 10:29:30 AMThe Norwegians' biggest ecclesiastical battles were not with the Swedes (there were very few of those), but with one another. Consider, for example, the very nasty litigation over control of Augsburg College.
Quote from: BrotherBoris on May 07, 2012, 09:11:04 AMRegarding the Norwegian views of Swedes, here is what I picked up living in a Norwegian community in Minnesota:First of all, I never saw any outward hostility or anger toward the Swedes. They were simply viewed as other people of Scandinavian descent. The only criticism I have heard about them was that they were not confessional Lutheran enough and they wanted to Americanize faster than the Norwegians did. Supposedly this lead to the Swedes adopting more Methodist style hymns and revival tunes than the Norwegians were comfortable with. The general description I heard of Lutheranism among Swedish Americans was that they took the hard edges off of Lutheranism and made it more appealing to the general public. From the Norwegian perspective, this was viewed as selling out to the American culture. The Swedes did not require a subscription to the entire Book of Concord like the Norwegians did. The Swedes did not militantly defend close communion like the Norwegians did. The Swedes did not seem to be interested in the doctrine of predestination very much (which was a HUGE issue for the Norwegians years ago.) Overall, I think the Norwegians viewed the Swedes as too progressive.
Quote from: BrotherBoris on May 07, 2012, 11:34:00 AMJames Gale writes: As a "Swedish Lutheran" (with no Swedish blood, by the way) who has lived in Minnesota, I am fascinated by the spin about the Swedes that you picked up among Norwegians (who are much more numerous but were historically very divided among themselves). Augustana did give preference to Augustana over the rest of the Confessions. However, it did embrace the rest of the "Symbols" as "pure and Scriptural." Augustana viewed its membership in the General Council as clear evidence of its Confessional commitment, a commitment that it did not find in all of the Norwegian churches (or in some other other "Lutheran" bodies). Indeed, the "me-and-my-Bible-alone," prairie piety of some of the Norwegians looked "non-Confessional" to the Swedes. The Swedes thought that they were the ones protecting the Confessions from the pietistic practices of some Norwegians. And the Swedes most assuredly didn't go for "Methodist" or "Baptist" hymns. If anything, Augustana went in a more high-church direction than most of the Norwegians. As for communion, the Swedes most assuredly observed the Galesburg Rule. I don't know what created the sense that Norwegians were more committed to "close(d)" communion than were the Swedes.In short, I don't doubt that you are sharing what you heard from Norwegians about the Swedes. But it doesn't really comport with the history of Augustana. James: Thanks for your response!It is very interesting to hear things from the Swedish Lutheran perspective. I try to remain neutral and fair to both sides. My roots were in German Lutheranism, so I don't have anything invested emotionally with the Norwegians. (I simply lived among them for a number of years and attended an ELS college and church). I highly doubt everything they told me about the Swedes was either fair or accurate. I am familiar with the old Augustana Synod and the old Augustana Synod Hymnal of 1925. That particular hymnal preserves the old Olavus Petri rite of the Swedish Mass in English translation. Its a really nice service, and liturgically it is very rich, both textually and musically. I think its kind of a shame that it hasn't been preserved somewhere in American Lutheranism. I really liked the evangelical catholic flavor to it and much of the music that was used with it.I can see why Swedes might think of Norwegian Lutheranism as "me and my Bible alone prairie Lutheranism". There is, especially among the more pietistic Norwegians a great sense of austerity and plainness. For what its worth, I had locals in Mankato, Minnesota tell me that their perception was that the Swedes were, on the whole, wealthier and more urbane than the "Norskies" (as they called themselves.) There was a perception that the Swedes and many of the old Augustana Synod churches were where the Lutherans who had "arrived" financially attended. The Norwegians perceived themselves as more rustic, more rural and less wealthy than the Swedes. I don't know if any of this is actually true. I do know that Norwegian humor is very self-deprecating and that the Norwegians are the only ethnic group I have ever known that actually enjoys telling ethnic jokes about themselves. One joke they used to tell me in Mankato was that whenever someone moved from Sweden to Norway, the IQs of both nations went up. Take care.