Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Krauth, Charles Philip

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KRAUTH, Charles Philip, clergyman, b. in Montgomery county, Pa., 7 May, 1797; d. in Gettysburg, Pa., 30 May, 1867. At the age of eighteen he began the study of medicine, but abandoned it for theology, and in 1819 the ministerium of Pennsylvania licensed him to preach. After holding a pastorate at Martinsburg and Shepherdstown, Va., he was called in 1827 to Philadelphia, Pa., to take charge of the recently organized English congregation. In 1833 he was elected professor of biblical and oriental literature in the theological seminary at Gettysburg, Pa., and the following year he was unanimously elected president of Pennsylvania college, at the same place. In 1850 he resigned his post as president of the college, in order to devote his time exclusively to duties in the theological seminary, where he continued to labor until his death. He was given the degree of D. D. by the University of Pennsylvania in 1837. Dr. Krauth edited the “Evangelical Review” from 1850 till 1861, and, besides articles in its pages, published various discourses, including his inaugural address as president of Pennsylvania college (Gettysburg, Pa., 1834), and “Discourse on the Life and Character of Henry Clay” (1852). He was co-editor of the general synod's hymn-book (1828), and edited the “Lutheran Sunday-School Hymn-Book” (Philadelphia, 1843). —

Appletons' Krauth Charles Philip - Charles Porterfield.jpg
Appletons' Krauth Charles Philip - Charles Porterfield signature.png

His eldest son, Charles Porterfield, clergyman, b. in Martinsburg, Va., 17 March, 1823; d. in Philadelphia, Pa., 2 Jan., 1883, was graduated at Pennsylvania college, Gettysburg, in 1839, and at the theological seminary at the same place, and entered the Lutheran ministry in 1841. He was pastor successively of Lutheran congregations at Baltimore, Md., in 1841-7; Shepherdstown, Va., in 1847-'8; Winchester, Va., in 1848-55; Pittsburg, Pa., in 1855-'9; of St. Mark's, Philadelphia, in 1859-'61; and later of other congregations in the same city. He was editor of the “Lutheran and Missionary” in Philadelphia in 1861-'7; professor of systematic theology in the Lutheran theological seminary, Philadelphia, in 1864-'83; of mental and moral science in the University of Pennsylvania in 1868-'83; vice-provost of the same institution in 1873-'83; and after the retirement of Provost Stillé declined to be his successor. The honorary degree of D. D. was conferred on him by Pennsylvania college, Gettysburg, in 1856, and that of LL. D. by the same institution in 1874. In 1852-'3, on account of his wife's illness, he visited with her the Danish West Indies, and for three months of that time preached in the Dutch Reformed church at St. Thomas. He subsequently published a sketch of this visit under the title “A Winter and Spring in the Danish West Indies.” In 1880 he went to Europe to visit the scenes of the life and labors of Luther, in order to complete a life of the great reformer, for which he had made extensive preparations; but his death prevented its completion. Dr. Krauth was by universal consent the most accomplished scholar and theologian of the Lutheran church in America. He was an active member of the Old Testament company of the American Bible revision committee, and its chairman. Dr. Philip Schaff said of him: “Our country has produced few men who united in their persons so many excellences which distinguish the scholar, the theologian, the exegete, the debater, and the leader of his brethren, as did our accomplished associate. His learning did not smother his genius, nor did his philosophical attainments impair the simplicity of his faith.” When, in 1864, the ministerium of Pennsylvania determined to establish the theological seminary at Philadelphia, he was unanimously chosen one of the professors. His system of theology, as he gave it in outline to his classes, is a marvel of scientific arrangement. In the controversy in the Lutheran church, which resulted in the division in 1866 and in the establishment of the general council in 1867, he was the acknowledged leader. He wrote the “Fundamental Principles of Faith and Church Polity,” to which the council has ever since adhered; he prepared, very largely, the constitution of the general council, and the constitution for congregations, and at his death was engaged in the preparation of a constitution for synods. His extensive researches in liturgies qualified him to take an active part in the preparation of the church-book at present in use in the general council churches, and the principles underlying the order of worship, adopted in 1865, have been made the basis of a common order of worship for all English-speaking Lutherans in the United States. Dr. Krauth's publications number more than one hundred. His greatest work is entitled “The Conservative Reformation and its Theology” (Philadelphia. 1872). His other writings include “Tholuck's Commentary on the Gospel of John,” translated (1859); “Christian Liberty in Relation to the Usages of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Maintained and Defended” (1860); “Fleming's Vocabulary of Philosophy,” edited, with introduction and additions (1860; 2d ed., enlarged, New York, 1877); “The Augsburg Confession,” translated, with historical introduction, notes, and index (Philadelphia, 1868); “Infant Baptism and Infant Salvation in the Calvinistic System,” a review of Dr. Hodge's “Systematic Theology” (1874); “Ulrici's Review of Strauss” (1874); “Berkeley's Principles, Prolegomena, Notes of Ueberweg, and Original Annotations” (1874); and “Chronicle of the Augsburg Confession” (1878). Dr. Krauth also wrote poems, translated hymns from the Latin and German, and was a frequent contributor to religious periodicals. A memoir of him is now (1887) in preparation by his son-in-law, Rev. Adolph Spaeth, D. D.