The Missouri Synod was organized at First Saint Paul’s church in Chicago in the spring of 1847.
Years later their Pastor wrote a letter.
A pastoral letter from the Rev. James G. Manz informs his parishioners that four Moslems recently attended the Sunday evening vesper service at First St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Three of the group also attended the Wednesday evening adult inquiry class. The two men were evidently born, trained, and educated in Mohammedan culture. The two women, however, were both converts to Islam -one was a former
Methodist and the other a former Lutheran (Missouri Synod). These people came to First St. Paul’s not to observe in an openminded manner, nor to engage in true dialog but to convert Christians to their faith, the pastor or any members they would be able to win. They were intelligent, ,well educated, informed, assertive, and bold in an almost unbearable manner. They were absolutely sure of their position. After the Sunday evening vespers they ex·pressed strong objections to the crucifix on the altar. They repeatedly claimed that they believe in Jesus Christ -yet they denied His deity and all vestiges of orthodox Christian and Biblical teaching concerning our Lord and Savior. Shukar Ilahi Husain, the leader of the group, said that he is the director of the U. S. Islamic missions in the midwestern states. These people are n0t in any way connected with the “Black Muslim” groups. In response to questioning, he also said he and his work are supported by a group within Islam with headquarters in West Pakistan. The telephone directory lists his office as “The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam – Mosque.” Husain claimed that since coming to Chicago he has gained approximately 30 converts in the area. He also maintained that these people were not “fringe Christians” but actual church members at the time of their conversion to Islam. Mr. Husain hopes that he will be able to establish a mosque here in Chicago. He estimates that at the present time there are roughly 1,000,000 Moslems in the United States. The Islamic group glories in the fact that
their fellow religionists are gaining far more than the Christians in Africa.
“This encounter was a unique, shaking, and sobering experience,” according to Pastor Manz. “In my years at First St. Paul’s I have counseled with a former Communist, and have met with “fellow-travelers,” Jews, Buddhists, “free-thinkers,” anti-clericals, etc. I never before, however, have I met with people of such militant, assertive, and hostile views towards Christ and Christians. These people are extremely anti-Christian. They are determined to win Christians away from the church to what they regard as the true faith. “There are several Buddhist congregations that are now fairly well established in the city of Chicago. One of them near here is in the heart of Old Town, just north and west of First St. Paul’s. Our people are going to be encountering non-Christians in greater numbers. “There is a warning in all of this. For years missionaries have been warning of the rising tide of the old non-Christian religions Islam, Buddhism, Shintoism, etc. Innercity pastors have seen the beginning of new anti-clerical, anti-Christian, and other hostile forces in our land. This experience has shown again that we Christians are going to have to be better informed, stronger in our faith in Christ, more knowledgeable in the Scriptures, and more fearless and clear in our confession. It may even be that the church is going to lose some ground and be stripped of some of its earthly prerogatives, powers, and wealth. Yet Christ will grant new spiritual strength!”
The letter was written in 1965