Prominent Lutheran Theologian Celebrated With Gold Medal

C.F.W. Walther is being celebrated by the International Association of Reformation Coins and Victor Huster, with a limited edition medal celebrating the 200th anniversary of his birth.

C.F.W Walther, the first president of the Lutheran Church, was one of the most influential Lutheran theologians in North America. He lived from 1811 to 1887 and is best known for his contributions to properly understanding the two major motifs of the Christian scriptures, which are the Law and the Gospel.

The face of the medal reads a quote from his book, “The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel.” He was commemorated by the Lutheran Church on its Calendar of Saints on May 7.

The back of the medal connects Walther’s Christian teachings with Martin Luther. The quotes are from Lutheran confessional documents and St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Walther’s year of birth, 1811 is hidden in the legend around Walther’s portrait. Both Luther and Walther’s birth and death dates are included, in Roman numerals, on each side of the portraits.

The medals are made of tombac, a golden-covered copper-zinc alloy. They are about 1.3 inches in diameter and weigh about one ounce. The medals are also individually numbered out of an edition of 100 and placed in special gift boxes. A certificate of authenticity and a detailed explanation of the design are included with each medal. They will cost $49.

Walther was a pastor’s son, born in modern-day Germany. He became acquainted with the teachings of Martin Luther while he was sick with a nearly-fatal lung disease. He became was convinced that Luther’s theology clearly taught the doctrines of the Holy Scripture.

Walther was ordained as a minister in 1837 and later became one of the earliest and most respected Lutheran pastors in America.

Walther and a group of Saxonian immigrants came to America in 1838 to pursue freedom to practice religious beliefs. They arrived in New Orleans in 1839 and later settled in St. Louis, Miss.

Walther served as minister in modern-day Perry County, Miss. until 1841 when he took over as minister of Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis. He fathered six children with his wife Emilie Buenger.

During his time in the Lutheran Church, Walther held prominent positions such as: president of Concord Seminary in St. Louis in 1838; president of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. in 1861; and he is founder of the St. Lutheran Bible Society. He wrote many theological books, including his most known piece, “The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel.”