Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, Missionary to America

October 7 – Henry Melchior Muhlenberg (1711-1787) –

A prominent American Lutheran pioneer pastor, church planter, organizer, administrator, liturgist and chronicler. Sent by Halle Pietists in 1742 to counter Moravian incursions among German Lutherans in Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg succeeded in quickening and galvanizing Lutheran self-consciousness and uniting communities into a synod by codifying religious practices during his 45 years of service.

As an ardent pietist, Muhlenberg insisted on a personal conversion experience, faithful Christian living, diligent study of the Scriptures, and the regular use of the two sacraments. He stressed the necessity of the preacher’s own conversion. Because of his pietist leanings and the close connection he maintained with Halle, pietism had a dominant influence among early Lutherans during the Colonial and Early National periods.