Just a matter of days before the Altenburg Debate in 1841, John Tyler became the tenth President of the United States. He ascended from his position as Vice President after President William Henry Harrison died after serving only 32 days in office. The story goes that President Harrison got sick after speaking for nearly two hours at his inauguration while wearing no hat or coat on a cold and wet day. From the perspective of John Tyler, it was a very unexpected turn of events. He certainly was not anticipating becoming the President quite yet. However, ready or not, it was now his role.
I think a connection can be made between Tyler’s ascendancy to President and the rise to the presidency of the new Lutheran synod in 1847 by the young preacher who argued his points in Altenburg during the debate of 1841. Rev. C.F.W. Walther did not expect to be sent to Perry County in the spring of 1839 to confront Rev. Martin Stephan about his misdeeds. He did not expect to be a participant of the pivotal debate of 1841. I am guessing that in 1841, he did not anticipate becoming the first president of what became the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod just a few years later in 1847. I suppose that both of these gentlemen learned that sometimes leadership is thrust upon you.
I also find it interesting that the current president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is a Harrison…..Matthew Harrison. I would think that he would learn a lesson from history and keep his sermons short.