The Signs and Symbols of Eden Theological Seminary
This work was originally completed by the Worship Committee in 1982:
“We extend our gracious thanks to those who participated in the research on the Chapel Windows. We note especially:
Dr. Allen O. Miller, Professor Emeritus
We dedicate these writings to those who have come before, to those who maintain its confessional integrity in the present, and to those who are yet to come.”
Updates compiled by Eden Staff in 2020:
Wehrli Chapel- Trinity Windows
Given in memory of E.H. Schultz by his sons and daughter.
Designed by David Frye, Jr.
Christ, the World-made-flesh is depicted as holding the cross rather than being held by the cross. As its base, St. John the evangelist, scroll and pen in hand and looking up, bears witness to the Christian affirmation that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The Creator is represented symbolically by the hand. Through the divine Word (LOGOS) all things were made, sun, moon and stars, and all the creatures of earth, including man and woman. Though they are formed from the dust of the earth their kinship with their Creator is expressed by the upturned face.
The Holy Spirit is represented symbolically by a dove in swift motion, thereby suggesting the dynamic quality of his work. Its fruit is Christian love (AGAPE). Four characters – a minister proclaiming the Word, an Asiatic in prayer, and a Negroid man, and a Caucasian clasping hands in fellowship – are shown to illustrate several ways in which the Spirit’s power is at work in the world today.
Wood carving by Andreas Lang, father of Anton Lang, who played the part of Christ in Oberammergau Passion Play. Carved in Oberammergau and given by Mr. Garlichs, son of the pioneer fathers of the Synod.
The shields on the reredos are symbols of festival days and seasons of the church year. Left to right:
Scroll – Advent
Glastonbury Thorn, in blossom – Christmas
Star – Epiphany
Two Scourges Saltire – Lent
Palms – Palm Sunday
Latin Cross – Good Friday
Bursting Pomegranate – Easter
Descending Paraclete – Pentecost
The Representation of Christian Theology: Jerome, Melanchthon, and Schleiermacher
An attempt at understanding the meaning and significance of the so-named “Christian Theology” window in Eden Theological Seminary’s chapel depicting Jerome, Melanchthon, and Schleiermacher. (Note: In the Diamond Jubilee Souvenir for the “New Eden,” published in 1925, Carl Schneider refers to Jerome as the major personage, and notes the significance of the window to be that of Bible Study.)
Some time ago, Allen Miller defined theology in the Reformation heritage as “a theology of the Word of God in a dual sense: biblical, as the record of the Word of God; confessional as response to the Gospel of the Word of God.” Here, by one of Eden’s own, we see a tie-in for both Jerome and Melanchthon. Jerome represents the biblical scholar, if not par excellence, at least as a pioneer exhibiting a Protestant principle: translate the Scriptures into a vernacular of the people, which in his day was of course Latin. Also, he critically examined the Scriptures, recognizing importance of some books over others, distinguishing canonical from deuterocanonical or apocryphal.
Melanchthon as the author of Augsburg Confession represents the confessional side of Reformed theology. In the early part of this century, not only was the Evangelicals own confessional statement studied, but the Augsburg Confession was studied in Latin. In a picture of the “Old Eden” Seminary of the same period, Melanchthon is shown right along with Lither and Calvin. So, as Melanchthon figuratively bridges the gap in a photographic and theological way between Luther and Calvin, he perhaps best represents of all three the synthetic character of the Evangelical Synod, Eden, and the United Church of Christ.
But theology is not the only Word of God in its biblical and confessional senses. There is a sense in which theology is lived and experienced. For the Evangelical Church of the Prussian Union and its successors, the representative theologian in the sense is Frederich Schleiermacher. In him, the existential side of theology is prominent, as he describes the Christian faith in terms of being, doing, and feeling. Steeped in German Pietism, he maintained simultaneously the two roles of pastor and professor. There, therefore, embodied three ideals with the New Eden of the 1920;s affirmed as it struggled with its calling to provide the church with ministers committed to “intellectual rigor combined with a most simple piety.”
There are no doubt other persons whose portraits would fit in a window whose theme is “Christian Theology.” There are Biblical scholars of whom we as Protestants more readily think than Jerome, theologians of the Reformation whose formulations are more forcefully proclaimed or remembered than Melanchthon, and systematicians who do not lend themselves and their formulations to the acceptance and corruption of culture so much as Schleiermacher. But these three were chosen. And they together reveal something of the character of the New Eden. Regardless of the three persons, they together represent the ongoing tradition of Eden: an Evangelical Ethos joined to a spirit of ecumenism and passion for the well-being of the world in the present cultural context.
The Representation of the Primacy of Faith: Abraham, Paul, and Martin Luther
The window in Eden’s Chapel which contained images of Abraham, the Apostle Paul, and Martin Luther serves to remind us of the primacy of faith in our religious heritage. As Christians, we are justified by faith as opposed to being justified by the law or our actions in accordance to the law.
It was faith that gave Abraham the strength to follow the Lord’s command and became a sojourner. It was also faith that brought Abraham to the altar with his son Isaac. Abraham’s faith was so strong that he was willing to sacrifice his child as a sign of this faithfulness. (Genesis 12 & Genesis 22).
In Paul, we find a life transformed by faith. A man educated in the Jewish faith and steeped in the traditions of Hebrew law, Paul was at one point in his life so bound to the law that he aggressively sought out and persecuted those who appeared to be against it. Yet Paul, in his experience on the road to Damascus, is transformed through faith, liberated from the bondage of the law and moved, again by faith, to become a propagator of the gospel, and apostle of Jesus Christ.
The Representation of the Law: Moses, Calvin, and Knox
To gaze upon the countenances of Moses, Calvin, and Knox that are captured in the stained class within the Eden Chapel, one is impressed more by the contrast than by the commonality between these three men. A Hebrew from the arid desert of the Sini; a learned teacher from the mountains and lakes of Geneva; and a fiery orator from the glens and heather of Scotland, and yet all three men are bound together by their calling as Reformers. The cry out to us today to remember our calling and identity as a people of the Reformation, and of the Reformation spirit, which is at the heart of our faith as a covenanted community.
Moses was called by God to lead the people of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, through the years of the wilderness, and to come to Mount Sinai where they would become the people of the covenant. They were called to cast aside their harlotry, and to forsake all other gods and idols, and the praise and worship the One God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Their covenant was with the God of liberation, who heard their cries and laments, and answered God’s chosen people by leading them from captivity to the land of promise. We know ourselves now as the people of the covenant, a covenant of grace between the Triune God and God’s children. A covenant in which death and resurrection of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The God we worship is the God of our liberation, and we are God’s children, bound together by God’s eternal covenant of Grace.
Calvin struggles with the question of what is the source and norm of identity and revelation for the community of faithful men and women who live in the covenant. Is our faith to be determined and directed from religious offices and personages and human traditions that differ from that which is present and revealed in the Word of God. Calvin calls us to return to the word of God as revealed in the Scriptures as the course and norm of identity as the people of the covenant. We cannot be misled by doctrines of faddism, policies of relevancy, or dogmas of trend that lead us astray from that which is revealed in the Word of God. The Scriptures are out identity which calls and commissions us through the power of the Holy Spirit to be about the transformation of the World for the sake of Jesus Christ. The covenanted community cannot separate itself from the world, but struggles under the conditions of history for the continued mission of God begun by Jesus Christ.
Knox’s life epitomizes the life of a person who is engaged in the struggle for the transformation of the world through Jesus Christ. Knox continually fought against the Kings and Queens of England who desired to impose their will upon the community of faith, and to make the Church subservient to the State. Knox however saw the Church as the conscious and critique of the State, and ever and again, confronting the rulers of the world that God desire justice and righteousness for God’s children. Knox’s entire life was a struggle, as he continually called and covenanted community to remember the God of Liberation, and be a member of the covenanted community is not the going campaign for the transformation of the world. This ever-present tension and fight, Knox knew all too well, but it did not discourage him, but strengthened his vision and determination.
To gaze upon the window is to remember ourselves as children of the covenant. A covenant that is revealed in the Word of God, and a covenant that calls us to participate and struggle within this world for the transformation of the world for the sake of Jesus Christ.
The Representation of the Prophetic Word: Zwingli, Isaiah, and Rausenbusch
The Prophetic Word revitalizes and reinterprets the faith community’s foundational witness and confession. It is the new Rod about the revealed and revealing Lord. The prophet calls persons of faith to their center in the Torah of Israel and in the witness of the New Testament community of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah, the son of Amos, brought to word of judgement to Judah and Jerusalem. Through the prophet, the people heard the Lord’s requirement of faithfulness, righteousness, and justice. Isaiah witnessed to the continuing and abiding love of the Lord of Israel. He heralded deliverance from Assyria; and his successors, in the Isaianic tradition, proclaimed and Exodus from Babylon and continued hope for salvation. From Isaiah, Israel hears the joy and responsibility of faithfulness.
Ulrich Zwingli sought the reformation of the church and civil government. He reasserted the authority of Scripture in the faith community’s life. Gospel to the Church and contemporary society. Eden Theological Seminary, through its Evangelical and Reformed roots, is historically linked with the Swiss reformer.
Walter Rausenbusch challenged the individualism of the Church and called for the renewed social and communal responsibility. He asserted the Church’s corporate responsibility to live in the justice and righteousness, to liberate those oppressed and exploited by society’s evils, and to work towards the realization that the Kingdom of God on earth.
This window states the commitment of Eden Theological Seminary to the foundations of the Christian faith and to the responsibility of enabling persons of vision to reaffirm the revealed Truth and prophetic spirit in all times.
The Representation of Activities of the Church: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederich Bodelschwingh, and Louis Nallau
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., drawing inspiration from both his Christian faith and the peaceful teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King led a nonviolent movement in the late 1950’s and ‘60s to achieve legal equality for African-Americans in the United States. While others were advocating for freedom by “any means necessary,” including violence, Martin Luther King, Jr. used the power of words and acts of nonviolent resistance, such as protests, grassroots organizing, and civil disobedience to achieve seemingly-impossible goals. He went on to lead similar campaigns against poverty and international conflict, always maintaining fidelity to his principles that men and women everywhere, regardless of color or creed, are equal members of the human family.
Frederich von Bodelschwingh was born in Germany in 1831. He was the song of a distinguished Prussian statesman. A pastor at the age of 27 and having served three years as an army chaplain, beginning in 1872, Bodelschwingh devoted his life at Bielefeld to social improvements. Under his exertions, the following places were founded: the Bethel House for epileptics, the Serepta Deaconesses’ House, Nazareth House for training male nurses, and Workmen’s Home, and missionary seminary for candidates in theology.
Louis Nollau, in 1837, accepted a call from Germany to go to America as a missionary to the American Indians in Oregon. Making his way to St. Charles, Missouri, the remainder of his trip was thwarted three times when his missionary friend successively became ill and finally died. Sympathetic to friendliness of the German immigrants, in 1838, Nollau became pastor of a newly organized German Evangelical congregation in Gravois settlement, about 12 miles from St. Louis. Sensing the strain among isolated congregations, on October 15, 1840, he invited a number of pastors to his home stating, “Out purpose is that as pastors of the same Church (Evangelical Union) we should learn to know each other better and strive in common to further the welfare of the Evangelical church in this country.” In the time which would follow, Nollau would spend some time as a missionary in Africa, only to be disappointed and return as a pastor to St. Peter’s Church is St. Louis. His strengths for ministry and hence his importance for Eden Seminary lay not in his preaching, but in the field of Christian benevolence. In the spirit of faith of the Gospel, he founded first the Samaritan Hospital (now an old folks’ home) and later the Evangelical Orphanage near St. Louis. He was indeed an outer missionary but did not resist the locational tendencies of inner mission work. As deserving a position in Eden’s chapel, these three men exist as monuments in their unbound faithfulness to God and to their great love for all human persons.
David Livingstone, originally pictured in the center of the window, represented with passionate dignity the theme: “Activities of the Church”. A world-renown explorer and missionary in Africa, David Livingstone is flanked to his left (our right) by Louis Nollau, the Father of the German Evangelical Society of the West, and to his right by Frederich von Bodelschwingh, a German pastor wholly committed to “Inner Mission”. The image of David Livingstone showed him (a white man) with his hand resting on the head of a young black child. The image suggested the patronizing colonialism of early missionaries. In the early 2000’s Livingstone’s picture was replaced with an image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Representation of Christian Life: Reinhold Niebuhr, St. John the Evangelist, and H. Richard Niebuhr
This set of windows centers upon St. John the Evangelist. It reminds us to not only of the incarnation of God’s Word in the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus, but of the continuation of that calling in the church as, at once, the Body of Christ and the Community of the Holy Spirit.
The likeness of two Eden Seminary graduates, heirs of the Evangelical Synod tradition of the Church, who have contributed profoundly to the understand and praxis of the Christian life, flank the original Apostle in this window. They are the Niebuhr brothers, Reinhold and Helmut Richard Niebuhr. Sons of Pastor Gustav Niebuhr, they were graduated from Eden Seminary in 1913 and 1915, respectively, each of them claiming as mentor and model, their teacher and later President of Eden Seminary, Dr. Samuel D. Press. Together they have dominated the thought of American Christian Ethics for four decades.
Reinhold Niebuhr served until 1928 as pastor of Bethel Church in Detroit, Michigan, developing a Christian congregation in the context of the early struggle against racism and for the rights of labor in the auto industry. From 1928 until his death in 1971, he was the professor of Christian Ethics at Union Seminary in New York City, emeritus from 1960. Reine was a political theologian, deeply involved in the Christian struggle for social justice, mating an evangelical Lutheran piety with the social demands of the Gospel and with a Marxian analysis of capitalist society (cf. Moral Man and Immoral Society). His Gifford Lectures, The Nature and Destiny of Man is a classic in Christian anthropology and eschatology.
Richard Niebuhr served on the faculty of Eden Seminary from 1919 to 1931 with breaks for doctorate at Yale for two years as the president of Elmhurst College. From 1931 to his death in 1962, he was the professor of Christian Ethics at Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut. In Dr. Niebuhr’s study of Christ and Culture, he mated a Calvinist Reformation theology with the disciples of sociology and philosophy to set for the Church the continuing task of doing theology that is at once relevant to and prophetically critical of the culture in which it lives. His paradigm for decision-making in Christian Ethics cuts between legalism and situation ethics. It is an ethic of The Responsible Self, set in the context of the two dimensions of the Great Commandment.
The Representation of God’s Self-Disclosure: Jesus, Dove, and Bible
This window, before the addition to the chapel, was the last window on this side of the chancel. Jesus and Moses were then the final windows, representing the Old and New Covenant. In the original six windows in the chapel, each of the central figures is holding a book or a quill. Jesus is no exception to this pattern, as he is also depicted holding a book. It is uncommon to see Jesus portrayed with a book, but perhaps this is appropriate in a seminary chapel!
The descending dove is commonly associated with the Holy Spirit. The open Bible with the candle happens also to be the emblem of Elmhurst College, originally the German “Pro Seminary” school for Eden. The Elmhurst emblem also carries the Latin words: In lumino tuo, vide luminibus…In thy light, we see light. (For students, this emblem means “burning the midnight oil!”)
The emphasis in the window is on the revelation of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit and the Word. Both are important sources for our understanding of the person between them here – Jesus Christ.
Now pictured in the windows is Anna Astroth and Daniel Wynn
Anna Asthroth was the first female professor at Eden, joining the faculty in 1946.
Daniel Webster Wynn was a clergyman, educator, administrator, and author, who taught and served as chaplain at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. Wynn oversaw matters related to a number of historically Black colleges while Associate Director of the Division of Higher Education and Ministry within the United Methodist Church and was active in efforts to end segregation within that body and elsewhere.
Daniel Webster Wynn was born on a farm near the small rural town of Wewoka, Oklahoma, on March 19, 1919. The oldest son of Phay Willie (1899-1951) and Mary H. (nee Carter) Wynn (1900-1967), Daniel Wynn was educated in local schools. At the age of 14, Wynn and his parents moved to El Reno, Oklahoma, where he completed high school, graduating in 1937. He attended Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma, where he received an A.B. degree in 1941. At Langston, Wynn was encouraged by John Jarvis Seabrook, the university chaplain, and others to enter the ministry, and following one year as an exchange student at Eden Theological Seminary in Missouri he was ordained in the Baptist Church in 1942. Wynn received a scholarship to attend the School of Religion at Howard University, and with the aid of outside employment as the Pastor at Vermont Junior Church in Washington, DC, he was able to earn his B.D. degree in 1944 and his M.A. degree in 1945.
On June 4, 1944, Wynn married Lillian Florine Robinson (b. 1922), the daughter of Rev. Golia Walter Robinson (b. 1891) and Annie Ruth (nee Banks) Robinson (b. 1898). The Wynn’s had two daughters, Marian Danita (b. 1950) and Patricia Ann (b. 1951).
Experiences while in Washington and in travelling back and forth to Oklahoma combined to foster in Wynn a hatred of segregation, but in his autobiography he termed himself “a moderate civil rights advocate of the NAACP type.” He joined the NAACP, and his first book, The NAACP Versus Negro Revolutionary Protest: A Comparative Study of the Effectiveness of Each Movement was published in 1955. The book was an outgrowth of his dissertation on the same subject, which he wrote for his Ph.D. degree from Boston University School of Theology, where he was a classmate of Martin Luther King Jr. His principle mentor at Boston University was Allen Knight Chalmers, who was a professor of Teaching and Applied Christianity, and from 1962 to 1972 was the Executive President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
During the late 1940s and early 1950s, Wynn held positions at Kentucky State College in Frankfort, Kentucky, and Bishop College in Dallas, Texas, including Acting Chaplain and Instructor at Kentucky State from 1945-1946, and instructor (1946-1947) and Dean of the School of Religion (1947-1953) at Bishop. He also served as Pastor of Shiloh Church in Medford, Massachusetts, and attended Harvard University for one semester, while on leave from Bishop College. Wynn served as Acting Chaplain and Professor of Philosophy at Tuskegee Institute in 1953-1954 and from1955 to 1965. There, he joined the fight for civil rights in Alabama and worked with Charles Goode Gomillion and the Tuskegee Civic Association, of which he became a life member. He also edited The Chapel Bulletin at Tuskegee. Wynn completed his Ph.D. at Boston University in 1954.
During the 1954-1955 academic year, Wynn served as Dean of Students at his alma mater, Langston University. In 1955, he published his first book, The NAACP Versus Negro Revolutionary Protest: A Comparative Study of the Effectiveness of Each Movement, which was based on his dissertation. Other books authored by Wynn included The Chaplain Speaks (1956), Moral Behavior and the Christian Ideal: An Explanation of Christian Ethics for the Layman in Our Time (1961), Timeless Issues (1967), and The Black Protest Movement (1974).
In 1957, Wynn left the Baptist denomination to become a Methodist. From 1965 to 1976, he was Associate Director, Division of Higher Education and Ministry, of the United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, with responsibility for the United Methodist Church-related predominately Black colleges: Bennett College (Greensboro, North Carolina), Bethune-Cookman College (Daytona Beach, Florida), Claflin College (Orangeburg, South Carolina), Clark College (Atlanta, Georgia), Dillard University (New Orleans, Louisiana), Huston-Tillotson College (Austin, Texas), Meharry Medical College (Nashville, Tennessee), Paine College (Augusta, Georgia), Philander Smith College (Little Rock, Arkansas), Rust College (Holly Springs, Mississippi), and Wiley College (Dallas, Texas). Soon after accepting his position with the Division, Wynn found that “I was in the midst of a racially segregated Division and there were no openings for additional blacks on the staff, executive, or administration levels” (Autobiography, p. 19). His reactions to this situation, his efforts to change it with his immediate supervisor, General Secretary of the Division, Byron F. Wicke, and his clash with Wicke were recorded in his autobiography. Throughout his years in the Division, until his resignation in 1976, Wynn tried to remedy the segregation he saw.
From 1976 to 1979, Wynn taught sociology at Rust College. Following this position, he served as Director of Program and Human Resource Development at Morristown College in Morristown, Tennessee. He received numerous awards and citations from the colleges he was associated with throughout his career. Wynn passed away in 1983.
Sources: Daniel Webster Wynn papers
Note Author: Gracia Hardacre
The Representation of the Spirit of Ecumenicity: Karl Otto, Andreas Irion, and Archbishop Nathan Soderblom
This selection of windows is very important for the Evangelical aspect of our tradition, for it portrays early attempts to instill a free, ecumenical spirit within the Christian Church, which is the same spirit we follow today in the United Church of Christ.
The first window represents Karl Emil Otto, professor at Marthasville Seminary (1872-1879). Having grown up in the Lutheran tradition, Otto was able to bring valuable experience and tradition to the Evangelical Church. More importantly, Otto vocalized the Union position of the Evangelical Church, interested in a unity of the Lutheran and Reformed aspects of Protestantism. Otto, as editor of the Theological Zeitschrift, promoted these views, and published exegetical commentaries, with new views on Romans and Genesis. After surviving one charge of heresy, he was eventually dismissed b the General Conference. Otto Kamphausen relates that Otto asked for complete liberty to interpret scripture, “…no other American denomination except the Unitarian would have tolerated (this position) from its professors.”
The third window represents Andreas Irion, professor of Marthasville Seminary from 1857-1870. Irion was responsible for writing a uniform liturgy for Evangelicals (1853), a general church prayer to create uniformity amongst Evangelicals (1855), a catechism supporting the Union position (1862), and promoting Der Friedensbote (the Messenger of Peace), whose title pages relates Ephesians 4:30 “Eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” Irion’s pietistic spirit is related by Kamphausen, “…He taught our members to think, while at the same time making aware that believing means living, not holding opinions.”
The central window represents Archbishop Nathan Soderblom: Advocate of Ecumenicity. As a student from Scandinavia and as a professor, Soderblom was affected by the American Student Christian movement with its missionary emphasis, and such people as John R. Mott and Dwight L. Moody. After attending several missionary conferences, Soderblom founded the Universal Christian Council of Life and Work. This, along with the First World Missions Conference (Edinburgh – 1910), are credited as being the parental movements for the World Council of Churches. Both before and after World War I, Soderblom was instrumental in founding several organizations and supporting ecumenical conferences, such as the World Alliance for Promoting International Friendship through the Church, the Church Peace Union (Constance, Germany, 1914 – the day World War I began), and the First Post-War Conference of Christians in Europe (The Hague, October 1919). His ecumenical spirit was instrumental in guiding Christians of various backgrounds to work together.
(Left to Right)
Southwest Window – Literature
West Center Window – Art
Northwest Window – Astronomy
Northeast Window – Revelation
East Center Window – Science
Southeast Window – Music
Alpha and Omega on the open Bible – “The Word of God is the beginning and the end.”
Left Side – Grace
Right Side – Knowledge – “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever,” Amen 2 Peter 3:18.
Star of Bethlehem
Chalice with host emerging – Signifies Lord’s Supper
Cross of Christ – Signifies supreme sacrifice
Northwest Door (1st photo)
“The Unseen things are the eternal things” – Taken from the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Southwest Door (2nd photo)
“The Unity of the Spirit” – from Ephesians 4:3. Giving diligence to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.
South Door – South Side (Left Side)
Symbols – Cross, Winged Lion, Winged Ox, Winged Eagle, The Four Evangelists –
Matthew – man – because he dwelt more upon the human side of Christ;
Mark – Lion – because he was called the “historian of the Resurrection” and revival of the lion’s cub symbolized the resurrection, also because he begins his gospel with the mission of the Baptist – “The voice of one dying in the wilderness,” the lion typifying the wilderness.
Luke – Ox – because it was the emblem of sacrifice, and Luke in his gospel, dwelt more specifically with the priesthood of Christ.
St. John – Eagle – because it was the emblem of the highest inspiration.
South Door – South Side (Right Side)
Symbol – Lamp of Knowledge
North Door – North Side (Left Side)
North Door – North Side (Right Side)
Open Book; Orim and Tamin; “Light and Truth”
In essentials – Unity
In non-essentials – Liberty
In all things – Charity