The Dresden Debate


Two weeks from today, we will celebrate the 175th anniversary of the beginning of what came to be known as the Altenburg Debate.  This debate is now recognized in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod as a very significant event in its history.

In the present climate where we are in the midst of a Presidential campaign, we may not even want to hear about another debate.  However, this historic event was a very consequential one.  Prior to the debate, the new settlement in Perry County, which had recently experienced the ouster of their charismatic leader in disgrace, was in turmoil.  After the debate, there was a renewal of the people’s spirit.

The debate actually took place over two days, April 15 and April 20, 1841.  The two main participants in the debate were Adolph Marbach, a lawyer, and Rev. C.F.W. Walther.  As you see in the title of this blog, an argument can be made that the debate should be called the Dresden Debate.  This is because the debate took place in the Log Cabin College which at that time was still located east of Altenburg in the area then known as Dresden.  Later the College was moved twice before it ended up in its present location near our museum as you see in the above photo.  By the time people realized the historic significance of this event and gave it a name, the settlement of Dresden had been included in the Altenburg area.  Thus the name, Altenburg Debate.  When we get to the actual dates of the debate, we will blog about some of the other details of this event.

You have two weeks to prepare for this special occasion.  How will you celebrate?  Will your church do anything to recognize this event?  Here in Altenburg, on that weekend the church will be having a special Mission Sunday and will host Dr. Daniel Harmelink, director of Concordia Historical Institute, as our speaker.  It should be a very festive occasion.


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