And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many
shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end,
the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24:12-13)
First published in 1997 under the title:
The Laestadian Movement:
Disputes and Divisions 1861--1997
Revised and Updated Edition
children of Israel left Egypt with a “mixed multitude” among them (Exodus
12:38), and in the wilderness they were obstinate and rebellious, worshipping a
golden calf even before Moses descended from Mount Sinai with the law (Exodus
32). Then, in the promised land, they did not take counsel at the mouth of the
Lord but were fooled by the old clothing and moldy bread of the Gibeonites,
who, by their hypocrisy, gained a right to live among them as laborers (Joshua
9). After the first generation passed away, “there arose another generation
after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for
In the house of Abraham, the son of the bondwoman Hagar persecuted the son of the freewoman Sarah (Genesis 21). In the visible church, as in the household of Abraham, there are children of both the freewoman and the bondwoman (Galatians 4). The free children are known as believers, not workers, doers or servants, because they believe that through no merit of their own they have been granted an inheritance of eternal salvation as the due privilege of their status as heirs of God, which they have received freely by the tender mercies of God through the bitter suffering and death of his only begotten Son. This gives rise to envy and frustration among the children of the bondwoman, who never cease to assess and improve the quality of their service, which results only in persecution (John 16:2). They neither understand nor appreciate the focus of the others, who look not on themselves nor on their own miserable efforts but on the blood and righteousness of Christ, by which they are cleansed and justified through faith.
This untenable situation led, in the household of Abraham, to the expulsion of the bondwoman and her child (Genesis 21:10), and in the Church to schisms. Hagar’s descendants multiplied until they outnumbered by far the children of Sarah (Genesis 21:18). Likewise, the hypocrites and legalists grow in number until the children of grace remain but a remnant among those bearing the name of Christ (Romans 9:27).
As for the doctrine of the hypocrites and
legalists, it is described in the ninth chapter of Revelation. The key opens
the bottomless pit, and smoke rises, as the smoke of a great furnace, darkening
the sun and air and emitting locusts, which are given power, as the scorpions
of the earth have power. They have a king whose name is Abaddon or Apollyon,
which means a destroyer, and go about with stings in their tails, tormenting
those who lack the seal of God in their foreheads. The doctrine of the
hypocrites and legalists, which promises liberty and forgiveness, is actually
the doctrine of hell. It is not pure and transparent but muddled and dark,
obscuring the light of the gospel and preventing men from breathing life from
it. It gives birth, not to children of God, who are regenerated by the Word of
God, but to tormentors. Their king is not the Saviour, as they claim, but the
Destroyer, under whom they go about, after receiving power, not from above but
from hell, oppressing those who have sworn loyalty to them. The citizens of
this kingdom are not children of God, as they boast, but children of the devil
(John 8). They are not free, as are the children of God, but are a prey and
spoil and are bound by their captors, who torment them in their prison cells
The mood that prevailed upon the death of Pastor Lars Levi Laestadius in 1861 is described in a letter of his daughter Sofia:
The departure of the faithful
spiritual shepherd left a sincere longing and sorrow, not only among the
Christians and the awakened but also among the impenitent. Only then did their
consciences accuse them of having shut their ears to his heartfelt warnings.
Now they understood that a burning candle had been extinguished from their
midst and that there was no longer anyone to visit their homes in the evenings,
to hold prayers and seek the impenitent in their dark recesses with tender
exhortations of love. As a result of this
event, many people have been awakened to seriously consider the salvation of
their souls in this
The sermons of Laestadius, by which God effected the revival in Swedish Lapland, speak of baptized pagans, who are enemies of true Christianity, of self-righteous persons, whose faith is based on their own repentance, of grace thieves, who hypocritically, without penitence or repentance, claim grace for themselves, and of fallen Christians, whose hearts the devil has stolen through love of the world and lack of vigilance -- truly a mixed multitude. It is not surprising, therefore, that dissension soon appeared among the Christians.
By the latter half of the 1860s,
disagreements existed in the arctic region of
I have heard that the awakened are
divided one against another, and thus it seems that they intend to build many
kingdoms of Christ in Vadsø, but do not err: There is one sheepfold and one
shepherd; stay together and keep the unity of the Spirit; ask for forgiveness
and forgive one another. But the heretical ones will not humble themselves
though the congregation counsels them, and the Apostle commands to flee from
them. The teachers and confessors of cold jumping and holy flesh have come from
Raattamaa, fearing that some might be tempted to reject their faith on account of the “cold jumping,” writes in the same letter:
This is also dung from
Viheriä had arrived in
And I will be straightforward and say: Let that preacher Viheriä also preach, but let him not be raised to the highest degree, for signs of deceit have been found in him along the way, but we still consider other preachers better because they are more pure in doctrine and conduct.
In his 1882 autobiography, Erkki Välitalo, a believer of Kittilä, tells what happened after the revival reached his locality:
But the devil was also awake, trying to corrupt the work of the Lord by false doctrine. There came to the congregation a preacher who encouraged ‘cold jumping,’ as it has since been called. That is, people started jumping and rejoicing in a group, though hearts were cold and hard, so as to become fervent. The late Matti Laakso was the first to oppose this offensive activity, and others also zealously opposed it. Men also came here from Muonio to end this disturbance, and Maria Parkajoki, in particular, vehemently preached against it, and so this sad period of cold jumping did not last long.
Välitalo mentions neither the name of the
preacher of “cold jumping” nor when this activity occurred. It may be
significant, however, that Viheriä, originally of
Differing views of confession of sin have
been a persistent cause of dissension. According to Part 5 of Luther’s Small
Catechism: “Confession [Finnish: rippi] consists of two parts; the one is,
that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution from the
confessor as of God Himself, in no wise doubting, but firmly believing that our
sins are thus forgiven before God in heaven.” This doctrine is based on the
words of Christ himself, who breathed on his disciples and said, “Receive ye
the Holy Ghost. Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and
whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 20:22,23). However, at
the beginning of the revival, absolution was not proclaimed, even to those who
confessed their sins publicly. Six years passed before Raattamaa and some
others began using the keys of the
Many eventually began to view confession as equivalent to justification. For example, Pastor Oskari Jussila writes in a 1929 book:
Jesus gave the keys of the
Such extremists cannot adequately explain passages in the Bible such as Acts 10:44, where the Holy Ghost fell on those in the house of Cornelius as they heard the preaching of Peter. They also have trouble understanding how the revival could have even started without the keys. Some imagine, without any historical basis, that Laestadius was converted by absolution proclaimed by the Lapp woman Lapin Maija in 1844. Others seek indications of use of the keys before they were used by Raattamaa. Researcher Aulis Zidbäck, finding no solution, draws the simplistic conclusion:
Much needless suffering and mutual accusation has been caused in Laestadianism by the failure to fully understand, in regard to the two great doctrinal fathers of the revival movement, that it was not a question of differing gifts of grace but of two different views of Christianity and paths of salvation, tension between which, due to the nature of the matter, could only lead in time to an inevitable breakup of the movement.
However, Raattamaa specifies that it was he -- not Laestadius -- who failed to understand the doctrine of the keys. He writes in an 1881 autobiography:
The spiritual movement had spread for six years already before I really understood the freedom. Since then, I and some brothers and sisters have put the keys of the kingdom of heaven into use, by which troubled souls began to be freed and prisoners of unbelief began to lose their chains, and they rejoiced in spirit.
If Raattamaa views 1845 as the beginning of the revival, when the Lapp woman who was the first to experience grace jumped for joy, the time frame given here agrees with an 1891 letter to America in which he mentions that “the keys of the kingdom of heaven have indeed been in use over 40 years already in Swedish Lapland.” According to tradition, Raattamaa discovered the keys by reading Luther’s sermons, but there is no reason to assume that Laestadius did not understand the doctrine of the keys, even if he was hesitant to use them. In 1849, Laestadius became entangled in a debate with some of his Pajala parishioners who did not approve of his refusal to grant absolution to a young woman who had committed fornication, and he was formally reprimanded for this in 1851. In his writings of that time, the issue of the proper use of the keys is quite prominent, and it is only reasonable to assume that he would also discuss the issue with his assistant Raattamaa. Laestadius believed that it was against the Bible, Luther’s doctrine and church rules to absolve impenitent persons and admit them to church privileges. This is obviously the background, for example, for a sermon given on the nineteenth Sunday after Trinity, even if the year is unknown, in which Laestadius says:
But ecclesiastical punishment has in these days become hypocrisy and occurs only because of custom, for now a whore or thief is given forgiveness of sins even if no element of penitence or intention of repentance is detected in them.
In the same sermon, Laestadius says, on the basis of Matthew 9:1-8:
It is written in the Holy Bible that the just shall live by his faith, and one with living faith can live and die in the assurance that the Son of Man has power to forgive sins, not only by the preaching office but by every person who has himself experienced grace. This is an unshakable truth, whether the pharisees believe it or not.
According to tradition, at the first “big
services,” which were held in Ylitornio (Alkkula),
On one side, it was preached that only the unbelievers had to repent, and not the believers, but then other preachers explained that it was not sufficient to have confessed one’s sins and to have received forgiveness for them only once, but the believer should always recall his old sins as well, always confess them, always lay them before God and men.
Pastor Väinö Havas writes accordingly in 1935:
Many of us have had to go to speak of the same sin even three times to the father confessor. First it was a bit too embellished; then we were too coarse, and even our third confession didn’t turn out to our liking. At least the penitence seemed too shallow.
All confessionists (rippiläiset), as those who espouse the doctrine of compulsory confession are called, do not demand repetitive confession of the same sins, but they all believe that sins are forgiven only when confessed. Theologian and historian Uuras Saarnivaara writes, for example, in 1947:
The accusations of a believer’s conscience are from the devil only in the event that sins of which he has already repented and for which he has been forgiven trouble his conscience and try to make him despair. It is not necessary to confess the same sins more than once if done honestly. But a believer may have pangs of conscience over sins of which he has not repented, and then the voice is that of the Holy Spirit, to which he is to be obedient.
A 1965 sermon of confessionist preacher Janne Marttiini -- as published in English -- is even more explicit:
Dead faith comes when we have sins upon our conscience that we have not put away. When we do not put them away, but we try to believe without putting them away. The Lord Jesus will knock for a time on your heart’s door. But if a person does not heed this, the Holy Spirit will depart, even though He has once been there.
Pastor Paul Heideman also writes (before his ordination) in a 1910 letter, in which he criticizes self-righteous persons:
Regardless of how smooth and white they may be outwardly, within there is decay, unconfessed sins.
In a 1924 article, Preacher Heikki Jussila (Oskari’s father) defends compulsory confession against its critics, saying:
And the voice of the Holy Spirit, which teaches in the conscience and by the Word of God to confess sins, is blasphemed by saying it is the voice of the devil. When the devil has caused sin to be committed, he would be divided against himself if he were to demand that it be confessed.
Such views of the Holy Spirit are, of course, in conflict with the scriptural doctrine of justification and purification of the sinner’s conscience by faith alone (Romans 5:1, Acts 15:9, Hebrews 9:14). Laestadius explains the role of the Comforter (John 16:7-11) as follows:
We hear in today’s gospel that the Holy Spirit does not rebuke the disciples of Jesus, but the Holy Spirit is their Comforter and guides them into all truth.
Laestadius also says, in sharp contrast with Heikki Jussila, in regard to the devil of self-righteousness (II Corinthians 11:14):
But the devil of self-righteousness is so serious that he will not at all urge one to commit sin but urges the awakened to repent. The devil of self-righteousness is so holy that he demands a pure heart before he will allow the awakened access to Jesus.
In a 1925 article, Iisakki Ylinenpää of Övertorneå claims that at the 1875 “big services,” Raattamaa “opposed” public confession. The demanding of public confession (julkirippi) is, in fact, the doctrine for which some say Takkinen was rebuked. By the 1870s, public enumeration of sins was no longer demanded as strongly as in the time of Laestadius. An 1873 letter, signed by Pietari Hanhivaara (also known as Hanhi-Pieti), his brother Fredrik Paksuniemi (also known as Hanhi-Feetu) and Karl Heikel, contains the following comments:
We have heard with sorrow that a disagreement has emerged among you over the matter of confession. The public enumeration of all individual sins before the congregation was a custom in some places at the beginning of this Christianity, but since then it has been realized that this is not commanded in the Holy Bible and is neither profitable nor necessary for liberty of conscience or the advancement of Christianity. It is not mentioned in regard to people who came to John the Baptist in the wilderness that they there enumerated separate sins but only that they confessed their sins (generally) and were baptized with the baptism of repentance [Mark 1:5]. Neither are the words of the Apostle in I Cor. 14:25 to be understood in such a way that all practices of sin should be proclaimed there (in the assembly). Nor is it appropriate to take John 3:21 as a defense of public confession, for sins are by no means “wrought in God,” but a believing person lives in God and does all his deeds in God (which he does in faith). Therefore, he does not need to fear or hide his works -- he is a child of light. . . . The confession of sin is necessary for the purification of the heart, as is the opening of a vessel in order to wash it, but purity does not come by opening or confessing but by the blood of the Son of God claimed by faith (Acts 15:9, I John 1:7).
Raattamaa’s writings do not confirm that he “opposed” public confession. He writes, for example, in an 1876 letter:
But let those who come in from the world’s crowd declare their deeds at least in a veiled manner so that the devil would not be able to get a grip on the awakened and rend them by the power of secular law.
Raattamaa’s views are also stated in an 1878 letter of preacher Abram (Aapo) Tapani:
And as for your question about confession and enumeration of sin, elder Raattamaa answered that public confession of sin does not have to be broader than secular law permits. Neither is sin paid for or removed by the sword of secular law punishing the body. Nor do we consider it correct that anyone would be saved only by confession of sin, even if he were to confess all his sins to every person. Neither is confession of sin that which purifies the heart and conscience, but it is the innocent and bloody merit and righteousness of Jesus, received by faith, that purifies the heart and conscience from all mortifying works to serve the living God.
The emphasis on confession led many to believe that God works only through the oral word and that forgiveness is given only through individual absolution. This view became known as the “three-cubit God” (kolmen kyynärän Jumala) doctrine, meaning that God is only three cubits tall, that is, as tall as a man. In his autobiography, Välitalo writes:
But since 1869, it began to be preached in our congregation that the Holy Spirit works only through the preached word. My brother Olli, together with the pastor and others, opposed this doctrine, but I held to those who were considered pillars and believed that they were right. However, when schoolteacher Raattamaa visited here, he explained and spoke of the effects of the Holy Spirit through the word that is read and preached and through the sacraments, and he applied the doctrine of the Bible and the experiences of the awakened. Then I understood this error too, but I didn’t ask for forgiveness at that time yet, for I waited for the others to become sinners. But this dispute lasted many years yet in our congregation, until Raattamaa firmly demanded that the expression that ‘the Holy Spirit does not work through the written word’ be eliminated. Since then, it hasn’t been taught publicly.
In his article, Ylinenpää claims that in a
sermon given in Övertorneå about two years after the 1875 “big services,”
Raattamaa accused Hanhi-Pieti of bringing the “three-cubit God” doctrine to the
He then presented many passages from the Bible by which he clearly showed how God works through both the read and preached word and by his Spirit himself, for God’s greatness is unsearchable. He also said that confession of sins cannot be set as a foundation, that the preaching of faith is to be held of higher value than the preaching of confession of sins and that a single Christian, even a woman, is sufficient as a father confessor.
Ylinenpää’s story seems to be contradicted by a July 23, 1945 letter of Pastor Eliel A. Auno to Oiva Virkkala, according to which Hanhivaara told Auno that he had promised Raattamaa at the 1875 “big services” that he would cease teaching that only the preached word is effective. Whatever the case, at least Välitalo’s account of Raattamaa’s visit to Kittilä is confirmed in an 1878 letter of Raattamaa, which says:
I have just come from Kittilä, and
we were gathered together with all the teachers in the Kittilä parsonage, where
the expression that the Holy Spirit does not work by means of the written word
outside the congregation, as some have been saying, was eliminated from the
teaching. They were satisfied when I said that the sphere of God’s wisdom
cannot be measured by us. Indeed, he led the wise men from the east to
In an 1880 letter to Per Olof Grape, Pastor
of Övertorneå, Princess Eugénie of
In his reply, Grape wrote in regard to confession:
It is true that some Laestadians have carried the doctrine of confession to a harmful extreme. It is also true that some have wanted to underrate the effects of the written word. Likewise, some have had a very muddled concept of the significance of private prayer, but a strong opposition has been raised against these misconceptions within the ‘Laestadian camp’ itself.
In regard to liikutuksia, Grape wrote:
And I have often seen how awakened souls have been so filled with joy, having grasped free grace, that they have burst into shouts of joy, clapped their hands and jumped for joy. I do not at all feel that these outward liikutuksia are essential signs of true Christian life or that they are of any special worth. It is indeed possible to be a true child of grace even without such liikutuksia, and most Laestadians do not have them and are nevertheless considered true Christians as long as they have the signs that the Holy Bible ascribes to the children of God.
The involvement of the Princess was viewed adversely by many. It is said that Juhani Raattamaa’s outspoken older brother Pekka (not to be confused with Juhani’s son Pekka, who is also known as Petteri and Pietari) told Pastor Johannes Kerfstedt, who visited Lapland as a representative of the Princess in 1883, “Convey greetings to the Princess and tell her that up here we have enough Christianity for home use but that there is a shortage of flour.” Even if this account is true, at least the claim that the representative sent Pekka a sack of flour has an apocryphal ring.
Johan Lantto of
This Nikkari-Tuomas had been sent by Pastor Grape, as the latter had promised to Princess Eugénie. In Tärendö, landowner Juntti received these new preachers, and services were held in his large home. At first, some old Christians in Tärendö were inclined to criticize somewhat the proclamation of this fenceless and borderless gospel, as it was called, to all the impenitent and unawakened as well as to Christians -- not to mention that unprecedented racket of singing that came with this new movement. Young people joined the group in droves, and spiritual songs were sung from Siionin laulukirja [Songbook of Zion]. Johan Raattamaa did not consider this kind of furious song-Christianity correct but preached firmly against it and said that this Christianity did not begin with the shouting of songs or the hollering of hymns, but it was born again in great travail, tears and groans in the dismal wilderness of Swedish Lapland.
A 1974 history written by a committee of the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church of America claims that as a result of Grape’s correspondence with Princess Eugénie, Nikkari-Tuomas and others traveled up the Tornio River valley, opening the doors of “fleshly freedom” with the theme that “one should not preach of finery to the youth, they become timid. One should not preach to the aged of covetousness, it offends them.” As a result, “soon the voice of sorrow over sin and the sound of rejoicing over the forgiveness of sin began to disappear.”
Joonas Purnu of Gällivare (Gellivaara),
The spiritual authorities would like to have this spiritual movement led into the lap of the state church so that the pastors who are obedient to the faith could finally say, Yes, they have corrected the heresy of Laestadius in order to receive honor for it!
Others focused on the beneficial aspects of the Princess’ involvement, such as the building of a mission school for Lapp children in Lannavaara, which the believers were allowed to use for their annual “big services.” When the Princess died in 1889, Raattamaa referred to her as “a beloved mother, who is now, as we believe, in a higher palace than the royal palace -- there, where the Lord of Lords and King of Kings is.”
According to the record of an 1876
Heikki Jussila notes in his 1948 history
that the inspector “testified that the Kittilä believers had adhered better to
our church’s confession than any other believers examined in other parishes and
expressed the hope that those in Kittilä would work toward correcting the
In 1885, Karl Heikel, P. O. Grape and other ordained pastors agreed at a meeting in Ii, Finland, that the “the work of the Holy Spirit and even a disciple’s mind and living faith are found outside the so-called Laestadian movement.” It was also agreed that “the written Word of God is able not only to awaken its reader but also to lead to participation in the grace of God in Jesus Christ.” Such views have been rejected by other Laestadians as being contradictory to Romans 10:17 and other parts of Scripture. At the 1908 Ylivieska “big services,” for example, in reply to a question received in a letter from preacher Leonard Typpö as to “whether the written and preached Word of God are of equal effect,” the participants answered, “Would Jesus have counseled and commanded his disciples in vain to preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins to all creatures at a time when the books of the Old and New Testament were already available for reading if reading alone effects faith?” Also: “The scribes and pharisees have never been killed for reading the Bible, but only the witnesses and preachers of Jesus, who have diligently read and spoken about the Bible, for their preaching of the atonement of Jesus, of which the Bible testifies, has effected conversion and repentance, but this is precisely what the world has never been able to tolerate.”
The stress on the oral word led some to conclude that the Bible is without life or power, only ink and paper, a dead letter that will burn as will any combustible material. Early writers such as J. A. Englund, often attributed such views to the Laestadian movement as a whole. In response to such accusations, Karl Heikel writes with undue optimism in an 1881 article:
The presentation of the Holy Scriptures as a dead letter can perhaps be considered a heresy that has been successfully overcome even among those who once held this view. Such a doctrine has never been approved by persons in this movement who have had somewhat more insight into spiritual matters.
A thorough rebuttal of the doctrine is found in a 1919 article of preacher Matti Suo, who writes:
In the understanding of some, the word of the Bible is a dead letter and it comes alive only when persons who have received the Holy Spirit explain it. For if the word of the Bible were living, they would have received life by reading it. But since they have not received peace or life from it by reading, they have drawn the conclusion that it is a dead letter. And even Paul says, ‘The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life’ (II Cor. 3:6). But if the word of the Bible were a dead letter, how then could there be a power to kill in it, as the words say, ‘The letter killeth’? It does not say that the letter is dead but that in the letter itself there is that killing power. . . . Thus, the law has the power to awaken a person sleeping in his sin into conviction, even as the Apostle says, ‘For by the law is the knowledge of sin’ (Rom. 3:20). So the law is by no means a dead letter, for that which is dead has no power to effect anything, but it is said of the law that ‘the strength of sin is the law’ (I Cor. 15:56). And since the law side of the word of the Bible is not a dead letter, by no means can the gospel side be a dead letter either. The Apostle calls the gospel the power of God (Rom. 1:16), and God’s power is by no means dead. Thus, the written word of the Bible, both read and preached, is the true, holy and living Word of God. ‘For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword’ (Heb. 4:12).
In spite of such arguments, the Bible is still viewed as a dead letter by many who call themselves Laestadians.
In an 1880 article, Karl Heikel noted that in a primer published the same year in Calumet, Michigan, entitled Amerikan Suomalainen Aapinen, Christ’s descent into hell in the Second Article of the Apostles’ Creed was placed in parentheses and rewritten to read, “astui Gethsemanessa alas helvettiin” (descended in Gethsemane into hell). Heikel also noted a unique reading in the Third Article, in which Christ’s name was not capitalized: “yhden pyhän kristuksen seurakunnan” (one holy congregation of christ). He viewed the first change as an inappropriate addition to a time-honored historical document accepted by all Christian denominations. As for the second change, he suspected that it might simply be a typographical error for “yhden pyhän kristillisen seurakunnan” (one holy Christian congregation). However, creeds published subsequently by the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church of America retain both readings, except for variations in regard to the parentheses and the capitalization of Christ’s name.
The first change caused a broad debate over whether Christ actually descended into hell after his crucifixion. Heikel qualifies his own position as follows:
I have never yet heard of anyone
with an understanding of Christ’s descent into hell after his death that he
went there to suffer, but these words are always explained in reference to the
exaltation of Christ. As for the suffering of the pains of hell, I and the
American brethren understand that our Saviour has suffered this inexpressible
agony in Gethsemane and on the mount of
In the same 1880 article, Heikel claims that if the words “astui alas helvettiin” (descended into hell) had been changed to “astui alas tuonelaan” (descended into the underworld), no one would have been offended. It is surprising that Heikel, a Lutheran pastor, had never heard the doctrine that Christ, after his death on the cross, descended into hell to suffer for our sins. Johannes Aepinus, a sixteenth-century German theologian, is usually cited as the spokesman of the doctrine that Christ’s descent into hell was not the first phase of his exaltation but the last phase of his humiliation. Aepinus is clearly supported, however, by the writings of Luther, who, commenting on the words, “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death” (Acts 2:24), says:
Thus, I will remain meanwhile by these words of Peter until I am instructed better, so that I believe that Christ, above all others, has experienced not only death but also the pains of death or hell, that his flesh has indeed rested in hope but that his soul has tasted of hell, and this is what he says here: ‘Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.’
Some of the elders did not share Heikel’s
historical concerns. Erkki Antti wrote in an 1882 letter to
And I inform you of the opinions of
the Christians of the
wrote in an 1881 letter to
As for your question in regard to
the views of the people on the revision of the primer, all the enlightened
Christians are of the same opinion as myself.
And reading the American primer at our place, the old Christians of
Lapland, whose hearts have been touched by the suffering of Jesus in
Gethsemane, have said that the faith that they have in their hearts is that
Jesus suffered the pains of hell in
Raattamaa’s understanding of Christ’s descent into hell is by no means shared by all Laestadians. God, as the creator of all, is not subject to time or place (Revelation 13:8, John 3:13, II Peter 3:8). Even Laestadius says in a sermon:
Go now, all unbelievers, to weep and wail when Jesus has died. Go to complain that you have no refuge, neither in Heaven nor in the world. Turn your hope toward hell when you feel and see that Jesus is dead. Turn your hope toward hell and groan so heavily that a hole would appear in the roof. Perhaps these groans will be heard in hell, where the Crucified One is after his death. Perhaps death and hell will have to release him because the groans of the penitent, sorrowful and wailing ones cause unrest in hell.
By the mid-1890s, preachers such as Frans Silén of Kittilä, commonly known as Metsänhoitaja Silén (Forester Silén), were charging that people had fallen asleep and that a “new awakening” was necessary. These preachers felt that unregenerate people were trusting in absolution without demonstrating any fruits of faith. Hanhivaara, who became one of the most prominent of these Reawakenists (uusheränneet), has noted, for example, that “there weren’t many houses in which there was even a New Testament, and yet they were Christians.” Feeling that a Christian’s entire life should be one of penitence at the foot of Christ’s cross, some began demanding deeper contrition before proclaiming absolution. Juho Pyörre, a preacher who joined the Reawakening after visiting the “elders” in Kittilä, explains:
If, for example, a person with a puffed-up heart comes, as if to test whether forgiveness will be granted, I find myself faced with the question: Does God grant forgiveness to someone in that condition? And the answer seems to me to be: No, that person has to become humble.
Another prominent preacher who joined the Reawakening was Mikko Saarenpää of Jalasjärvi, the composer of the well-known song “Täältä halajaa mun sieluni” (From here my soul is yearning), which was published in 1886 -- before the Reawakening. This song describes Saarenpää’s conversion, which occurred in about 1875, after he returned home from the army, not long after the revival had reached Jalasjärvi. Verses 8 to 13, literally translated, read:
Naked, a wretch, I lay in deep wounds, in sorrow and severe pain -- in the pit of death. My conscience pressed me unto death, hell frightened me, which God’s holy law confirmed as correct. But I heard a sweet voice from God’s children: ‘Don’t doubt, poor one, but be secure. Your sins are forgiven in the name of Jesus, and your transgressions are paid in holy blood.’ From this I gained peace for my conscience and sweet repose, for which I sing eternal thanks to the Father. So I made an eternal covenant to ever follow the Bridegroom, and of his grace I even received the Holy Spirit as an earnest.
Saarenpää began preaching, but on an 1880
Mikko Saarenpää was the one to whom God particularly revealed that his Christianity and that of the other preachers was not in agreement with the Word of God. Therefore, he left for Kittilä, and there he made contact with Christians from the time of Laestadius. Now he received the light that his spirit had craved. On this trip he received a new spirit.
In a published letter that was written in June 1899, about five years after his “reawakening,” Saarenpää reviewed his past in the new “light” that he had received:
When I returned home [from the army], I found that during my absence this doctrine of Christianity had come to our area, and my mother and older brother had joined it. Of course, they also talked to me about repentance. I couldn’t greatly resist their words because my conscience indeed said that in this condition my journey would end in hell. After a short time, I too tried to join Christianity. I confessed my sins and asked for absolution, which I received, but neither the Lord’s death nor love could move my heart and circumcise it, and for this reason the love of sin remained in my heart. A little nip and other such things remained permissible, and they toppled me again into the same slough in which I had lived before. I tried to ask for forgiveness again, but I didn’t receive any power to repent. Then I lived quite a wild life for about a year. I sinned and I condemned myself. I decided to try yet again to really start repenting. I asked for forgiveness once again, and so I started traveling 18 years ago. I don’t recall how much power I grasped, but my heart started thirsting for internal change from that time on, and I felt repelled by the teaching that absolution from sin is the same as justification and so forth. The saltless preaching of grace, which I myself also preached, still kept me in a lax spiritual condition, though I was able to avoid the deeds of the flesh. But then, five years ago, I became quite distressed in my conscience. As I viewed my spiritual condition alongside the Word of God, it always fell as a heavy load on my conscience that I and the others will perish and that we have gone astray from the path that the former travelers have followed to Heaven. The more I read the Holy Scriptures and the sermons of Pastor Laestadius, the more I became distressed in my conscience in regard to my soul. Then I decided to go in the fall to Kittilä, and so I went. I will never forget this visit. There, God’s Word was fervently and orally read and studied, and the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross and that great work of redemption were preached so sharply that my heart was crushed more keenly than ever before. Heavenly purification, which I had craved for myself so often, flowed into my soul from the wounds of Jesus.
Saarenpää presented his case for the Reawakening in a letter to Raattamaa, written in July 1898:
Laestadius sought a path for the
Word of God into people’s hearts, not into their reason, and he also found it,
and for this reason his sermons effected in them a change of heart and mind, or
true rebirth, without which no one will enter the
In 1899, the Reawakenists established their own magazine, Kolkuttaja, which marks their separation from the other Laestadians, who became known as the Conservatives (vanhoilliset).
The Reawakenists share the view of most nominal Christians that in Christ only the ceremonial law, not the moral law, is abolished. According to this doctrine, the moral law, from which the curse has been removed, remains as a rule of life and conduct for justified persons. Saarenpää writes, for example in 1900, in regard to Apostle Paul:
His writings show that when he speaks of the law, he does not always mean the law of the Ten Commandments, which Christ did not come to remove but to fulfill, as he himself says, ‘Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law’ [Matthew 5:18]. What the apostles, in their epistles to the Christians, write in regard to sanctification, as to how they should conduct themselves, is, in content, consistent with the Ten Commandments. However, Paul, in his writings, often refers to the ceremonial church law, which was imposed until the time of reformation (Hebrews 9:8-10) but ended in Christ.
Saarenpää nowhere proves his point that Paul distinguishes between a “ceremonial” and “moral” law. Not understanding the Bible, he has fallen into the grand error of both Protestant and Catholic theologians. When Paul says in Romans 8:2 that believers are free from the law of sin and death, he is by no means speaking only of ceremonial aspects of the law, to which the Gentiles have never even been subject. In fact, throughout the epistle, he views the law from a moral perspective, saying, for example, in chapter 7, verse 7, “For I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” It is, therefore, quite clear here and throughout the Bible that the whole ministration of death, in all its aspects, whether moral or ceremonial, is abolished in and by Christ (II Corinthians 3:7-13, Hebrews 7:18), who fulfilled the strict demands of the law for every fallen sinner and then nailed it to his cross (Colossians 2:14).
The Reawakenists state their position on the
law in no uncertain terms in a 1924 article in their monthly Huutavan Ääni, written as a response in
a debate initiated by an article of Heikki Jussila that had been published
earlier the same year in
For man’s salvation, the Holy Spirit needs the law to awaken him and to mortify the old man, and the gospel to apply grace by faith in Christ. Also, in the sanctification of a Christian, the Holy Spirit uses grace as nourishment and God’s commandments (I Thess. 4:2) as a guide, as the apostles teach in all their epistles. But in these commandments there is no condemnation for Christians. Christ removed the enmity (Eph. 2:15).
This doctrine, which is anathema to most Laestadians, is found in the Lutheran Confessions. The Formula of Concord (Section VI) teaches that the law has three uses: 1. To maintain external discipline among men; 2. To bring men to a knowledge of sin; 3. As a rule of life for the daily walk of the believer.
The Reawakenists have also found the third use of the law in an 1855 sermon of Laestadius:
Christians are not offended by John’s preaching of the law, for they feel that the word of the law is necessary, not only for the impenitent but for the Christians as well, for the awakening of the conscience and consciousness of sin and also as a guideline in daily life.
Not surprisingly, the following editorial note appears in the English-language postil containing a translation of this sermon, published by the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church of America:
In the Evening sermon, 1855, on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, in the Postilla, will be found written, ‘the law for Christians in daily life.’ We are not able to believe that such words were written by Laestadius, even though they may appear in the manuscript, particularly when we are not able to find any words in the writings of Laestadius or Raattamaa that contain such an understanding, and therefore it is not proper to use such words in the Christianity.
Despite this assertion, we find, in an 1853 letter of Laestadius to the King of Sweden, another mention of the law as a guideline for the Christian. Defending the Christians in their struggle with the enemies of the revival, he writes that the “readers,” as Christians were referred to at that time, demand, among other things, “that a Christian refrain from all willful sins and lead a holy life, that the law be preached for awakening to the impenitent and as a guideline for the life of the Christian who has experienced grace, that the gospel also be preached to penitent and contrite sinners, etc.”
The Reawakenists have also found a passage in a sermon of Luther, given on the third Sunday in Advent, in which, after discussing the law, as being necessary for the ungodly, he adds:
In addition to this, the Ten Commandments must also be retained in the Church for the sake of those who are already holy and Christians, in order that they may know what is a truly godly life and what are good works which they are to do, and now since they are turned unto God, justified by faith in Christ, and God’s children, that they may also begin to live in obedience towards God.
These words are found in the version of the sermon copied by Veit Dietrich but are missing from the version copied by Georg Roerer, who is reputed to have been an objective scribe, who refrained from adding his own thoughts to the sermons he heard. Whatever the case, Reawakenists have not been any more successful than Lutheran theologians in establishing a Scriptural basis for the third use of the law. Raattamaa, responding to charges of antinomianism long before the Reawakening, writes in 1877:
Finally, we will also note, since voices have been heard that the followers of Laestadius have changed the doctrine after his death, that neither is this charge true. For all that is taught today is the same doctrine that was preached in the time of Laestadius, even if, in their church sermons, Luther and Laestadius have placed the law of Moses as a guideline for Christian congregations that live after the flesh so that God’s justice, by the chastisement of the law, would drive them to Christ to receive by faith the forgiveness of sins in the name and blood of Jesus and also the righteousness of Christ, which is a pure wedding garment before the glorious face of God, and power, by the Spirit, to mortify the deeds of the flesh. For such righteous ones the law is not established, Paul says. But we are not, therefore, without law. We have the law of Christ, which says that we should love one another. Christ’s love demands that all ungodly conduct be rejected. Also, by faith on the Lord Christ, a holy life is constructed. Thus, the law has been our schoolmaster unto Christ, but after faith came, we are no longer under that teacher.
The Reawakenists, who were a minority in
most places, gained the upper hand in Karelia,
Some felt themselves shaken by a strange force, some so powerfully that, without anyone touching them, they were thrown from a sitting position to their hands and knees. Others rolled on the ground, beat their chest and confessed their sins. It appeared to some as though living beings had come from within them. Some saw vivid images of how their sins had lacerated the Son of God and made him bloody and felt those same sins tearing their bodies, and they had to bring them into the light by shouting.
Lindström writes that “at first, the ignorance prevailed that all who are born again must see visions.” Some, he says, believed that those who felt that the visions occurred within themselves had Jesus in their hearts but that those who felt that the visions occurred outside themselves did not yet have Jesus in their hearts. He also tells that whereas previously there was only outward knowledge in many, now that “living feelings” had come, another one-sidedness tended to appear -- “that of remaining entirely under the guidance of internal feelings and also of believing that when a person has the Holy Spirit and is a child of God all that he says and does is of God.” Lindström then explains:
After a long struggle, they finally realized that knowledge without feelings of salvation is dead and again that feelings alone, without the light of God’s Word, cannot lead a person on the path of salvation. For there are also false feelings, which the Bible shows and corrects and which a man cannot conceive of as false without this counselor. Also, even if the Holy Spirit and living faith are received, there is much ignorance, lack of understanding and deficiency.
In his 1945 history, Reawakenist apologist
Oiva Virkkala tells how Lindström became involved in the Narva movement. He
says that Lindström and Saarenpää had a discussion in
Lindström remarked to Saarenpää
that the Reawakening would ‘change into pietism’ [körttiläisyys], become dark
and end unless one begins preaching the gospel. To this, Saarenpää said that he
has also thought so but that he fears dead faith, ‘Erkki Antti’s faith,’ a
light faith based on a broad gospel. Then, when the Narva movement came to
Outsiders often compare the Narva movement to the Kautokeino movement, which was also characterized by revelation and ecstaticism. Many saw in the Narva movement no more than an attempt to recover through “cold jumping” the good feelings that had been lost in the Reawakening. It has been said that, in the manner of the Kautokeino fanatics, the Narva adherents (narvalaiset) placed “inner light” above the written word. Väinö Havas alleges, for example, in his 1927 history that Katri of Narva said, “Write down what I say. It will become a new Bible.”
Saarenpää observes, in a March 3, 1904
letter, that in
In response to an invitation from the
Reawakenists, a “reconciliation meeting” was held in
As for how this awakening emerged, there was real reason for it, for the doctrine of justification tended to become so one-sided that sanctification was omitted. Upon closer examination, it was found that no sanctification appeared in either doctrine or life. Studying the matter of salvation more closely in the light of
the Word of God, it became apparent that God does not justify a person in the condition that he was in before. It began to be noticed that the matter of Christianity had grown dim, that with many it was only on the surface, and when a real awakening came, many became alarmed and had to cry to God for help.
The main rebuttal was made by Kalle Heliste, who said:
The first alien voice in our locality was the incessant phrase, ‘We’re sleeping.’ The next alien voice was the term, ‘new awakening.’ Then they took the next step and said, ‘Everyone is sleeping; everyone has to rise up.’ Then, children, they took another step and said, ‘God’s law has to be fulfilled.’ Then they said, ‘A person has to be a murderer of the Saviour until death.’ The suffering of Christ was made into another law, and not only so, but it was also said that ‘a person has to drink of the cup of the wrath of God, and if you have drunk once, you have to drink again.’ Then they said, ‘A person has to be a spiritual publican until death.’ Then they said, ‘Man has to remain in the [strait] gate until death.’ Then: ‘The Bible is not to be explained.’ Then: ‘The gospel spoils the work of God’ and ‘the gospel is slop [plaiskua].’ Then: ‘The forgiveness of sins is an exaggeration and is not within the covers of the Bible.’ Then: ‘It would be better for them to shout about a dog’s blood than about Christ’s blood.’ Then: ‘It would be better if they said they had been cleansed in the dragon’s blood than in Christ’s blood.’ Then: ‘There is only one law.’ Then: ‘One should not preach about the resurrection. It causes a light and lax Christianity.’ It was said of the preaching of Christ’s resurrection, ‘There they hover over the resurrection field.’ Of the effects of the grace of God, it was said that they are nervous symptoms, laxness, slackness, etc.
Antti Halttu said:
Hanhivaara mentioned that a man is not justified in the condition that he was in before, though the Bible says that God justifies a person in an ungodly state.
In self-defense, I will say that I have never preached the kind of doctrine that a man is justified by works, for even at 15 years of age I understood that a man is justified by faith, but the path of sanctification begins in justification.
The Reawakenists denied that Heliste’s charges were true of the Reawakening as a whole. Hanhivaara, knowing that the minutes would be published, tried -- unsuccessfully -- to have them reviewed. He said:
For example, the statement that Christ’s blood is no more than a dog’s blood horrifies me. It can’t be the statement of anyone other than some atheist perhaps, and it seems awful that the awakened are accused of it. It is so terrible that it defiles everything.
Heliste stuck to his charges, saying:
I could even point out the person who has told me, ‘It would be better for you to speak of a dog’s blood than of Christ’s blood.’ I have also been told, ‘It would be better for you to say that you are washed in the dragon’s blood than in Christ’s blood’ and ‘the forgiveness of sins is from the deepest hell.’
Hanhivaara said of the charges:
Some are true, such as the statement that ‘it is not considered necessary to explain the Bible but only to read the Bible.’ I have tried to impress on minds how important it is to read the books of the Bible, particularly the books of the New Testament. The Apostle has sent his epistles to the congregations, and they are to be read precisely as they are. I have endeavored to adhere to this and to explain less. I do not say that the Bible may not also be explained by one who has the ability to do so, but I am not so wise that I could explain it.
I have heard elder Hanhivaara explain the Bible. Why then did the elder stop explaining when the Reawakening came? We see that the apostles explained the Bible and that on the road to Emmaus, Christ explained all the Scriptures that were written of him. So explaining the Bible is not wrong, but the expounder must have the same Spirit in which it is written, for the Bible is a book written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
During the meeting, Halttu asked Saarenpää whether he had ever considered the Conservatives “thieves of grace and the serpent’s seed,” to which Saarenpää replied that he did not remember. Halttu then asked more specifically whether he would admit to writing a letter in which he referred to the Conservatives as the serpent’s seed. Saarenpää replied, “I do not remember what I have written.” Halttu then read a portion of an October 27, 1904 letter to P. Kainulainen and others in Joensuu in which Saarenpää describes an incident that occurred in Viipuri:
Hermanni [Karjalainen] asked for
forgiveness that he has spread the lies of the
After much discussion in regard to other matters, Saarenpää’s memory suddenly improved. He said:
We are accused of lacking forgiveness, but what is to be said of the method of bringing up the offense caused by the letter that I wrote to Joensuu, which was just read and for which I have asked forgiveness in the past and requested that the letter be burned? A promise was made to bury the matter, but now it appears that this has not happened after all, because the letter is still here. (Halttu said aloud, ‘I didn’t know that!’) In this procedure too, there is reason for repentance.
Conservative preacher Heikki Hooli, adopting a surprisingly moderate stance, said that the Reawakenists had calmed down so much that there was no longer much difference between the groups and that he would be “worse than a devil” to keep himself separate from them. He also said:
I would like to note, in regard to
this new awakening, that it was indeed quite necessary. Before it began,
dissension had already existed among the speakers for at least a decade. The
elders of the
A. Tikkanen, the sole representative of the Firstborn, a group that will be discussed later, called for unity with the Christians of Lapland, saying:
Before the Reawakening, the preaching of repentance was omitted, and finery, love of the world, and other sins became permissible. Many thought that it isn’t fitting to preach repentance but only the gospel. Therefore, a new awakening was necessary, but it was guided amiss. There should not have been a new order of grace.
The Reawakenists remained on the defensive and even confessed some of their faults. Hanhivaara said, for example, “There have indeed been weakness and lack of love in me, for which I beg for forgiveness from my heart and pray God that in the future he would increasingly pour the Spirit of grace and love into my heart.” However, when Halttu asked whether the Reawakenists would admit doctrinal errors, Hanhivaara replied:
As for doctrine, I do not feel that any change has occurred in it through the Reawakening. I have remained in the doctrine in which I have obtained salvation and will remain in it until death. I have often erred in words, and, indeed, there would have been reason to have more love, but I do not feel that I am guilty in respect to doctrine.
Later in the year, at the 1911 “big
services” in Kokkola, Hooli repented of the position he had taken in the
I am compelled by my conscience to
say, in regard to some points in the statements I made at the so-called
reconciliation meeting in
According to the minutes, “with moved hearts, the brothers and sisters granted forgiveness.”
Renewed efforts at reconciliation,
initiated by the Reawakenists, resulted in poorly attended meetings in
Haapajärvi in 1922 and in
In 1905 and 1906, a debate occurred among the Reawakenists in regard to the permissibility of consuming blood. The issue is summed up in an editorial comment in the Conservative monthly Armonsanoma, published by Pastor Laitinen, which continued to carry articles written by Reawakenists. Laitinen writes:
Due to the weak consciences of Jewish Christians, whose ceremonial law forbade the consumption of blood, the apostles also preserved it for Christians, even though no food in itself is unclean and all eaters of meat consume some blood with it. But the main point in this issue, which ‘does not involve justification by faith,’ is that these matters not be viewed as a reason for judging or despising others.
Problems of a more serious nature emerged
for the Reawakenists in the 1920s, when the preacher Aatu Heiskanen adopted the
doctrine of rebaptism and began to acquire support for his views. According to
Väinö Havas, at their “big services” in Kittilä in 1925, the Reawakenists had
to “fervently defend the doctrine of infant baptism and the
The Reawakenist mouthpiece Kolkuttaja ceased to exist in 1918 and was replaced the following year by Huutavan Ääni. Internal dissension with regard to cooperation with the state church in mission activity led an internal opposition group led by Einari Peura to reestablish Kolkuttaja in 1939, but with the abatement of dissension during the Winter War, both papers were replaced in 1941 by a single mouthpiece, Vartijan Ääni, with Peura as its editor. The group also terminated the “Suomen lähetysseuran laestadiolainen haaraosasto” (The Laestadian Branch of the Finnish Missionary Society), which had served as a central organization for the the Reawakenists since 1908.
In 1947, Saarnivaara still noted two trends within the Reawakening. He writes:
Nowadays, the differences, particularly between Conservatism and the newer branch of the Reawakening, are relatively small, for the latter has grown closer to Conservatism’s view of Christianity. Within the Reawakening there is, however, still an older branch, which is close to the original manner of thinking.
As will be seen, however, the reason for this rapprochement of views is to be sought as much in changes in Conservatism as in developments in the Reawakening. In 1952, in any case, the internal friction finally led to a split in the ranks of the Reawakening. The following year, Mikko Torvinen replaced Peura as editor of Vartijan Ääni. Peura, who is said to have been influenced by Pentecostalism, then established his own magazine, Kolkuttaja, in 1954, from which his supporters became known as the Kolkuttaja Group, which was said to be the more radical of the two groups. Peura himself served as editor for only a short time in 1955, the year of his death.
Thus two Reawakenist organizations are included in researcher Pekka Raittila’s 1967 list of Laestadian groups: the more moderate “Suomen lestadiolaisten lähetysyhdistysten keskusliitto” (Finnish Central Association of Laestadian Missionary Associations), with its mouthpiece Vartijan Ääni, and “Suomen laestadiolainen lähetysliitto” (Finnish Laestadian Missionary Union) -- the Kolkuttaja Group. It is said that Peura initially intended to have his group, the Kolkuttaja Group, support the missionary activity of the state church, but this idea was vetoed by his second-in-command, Jaakko Miettunen.
Einari Peura’s followers, known also as “peuralaiset,” suffered another schism in 1960. One side was led by Eskil Peura, a brother of Einari, and the other by Heikki Kontio. Eskil Peura’s group is now extinct, but Kontio’s followers, known as “kontiolaiset,” are said to still exist -- without preachers -- in Sodankylä, Pyhäjoki, and Noormarkku, where services are held in homes. Kolkuttaja ceased publication in 1976. Many Kolkuttaja Group supporters returned to the more moderate group, which is said to be divided into three “currents.” The first of these is the most conservative of the three and uses the old translation of the Bible. The second is noted for being favorable to the state church and all its activities. The third “neo-pietistical” entity feels an attraction to Pentecostalism and is involved in non-Lutheran religious activity. The number of supporters is steadily dwindling, but the group still publishes its own periodical -- Lähettäjä.
Reawakenist missionaries have been active
in other countries, particularly
Leonard Typpö, summing up the Conservative position in a 1904 book, claims that the Reawakenists “mixed the gospel with the law, trying to achieve a sinless congregation, but everything went otherwise.” He explains:
The Lord’s Apostle Paul writes in
Philippians 3:1: ‘Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to
you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.’ It is a treacherous
trap of the old serpent, by which he ensnares people for himself, when he
presents the old gospel, preached from the beginning, as so powerless and
ineffective that one has to start changing it and preaching differently and
writing differently. It is alleged that the preaching of faith is lax and soft,
that people have fallen into slumber and sin, and so it isn’t appropriate to
preach faith at this time, but now works and sanctification have to be preached
so that people would awaken to better vigilance and a more earnest struggle.
Here another manner of preaching and writing appears, by which consciences are
led astray from the word of faith and the merit of Jesus into works and the
law. Thus, birth is given to mere slaves and children of the bondwoman, who
mock and persecute those born of the promise. Preaching and writing are always
to occur in one manner, as Jesus commanded, ‘Repentance and remission of sins
are to be preached in my name among all nations, beginning at
The Firstborn Group is characterized by asceticism, compulsory confession and subservience to its leadership in Swedish Lapland, specifically Gällivare. Under its first leader, Joonas Purnu, the group separated from the other Laestadians in Europe in 1900, but its roots go back nearly a quarter of a century, to the arrival of preacher Johan Takkinen in America in 1877 as a mediator in disputes that existed at that time.
Dissension appeared in
It is clear that your heart may have first been offended, my dear brother, with [Jaakko] Rovainen, because he demanded conviction and confession of the fact that when you first arrived in America you wrote to us too boastfully of your external circumstances, saying, for example, that you wouldn’t trade your advantages for the best land in Matarengi, although it was reported here that even at that time you were in great poverty.
It is difficult to determine to what degree
doctrinal issues really existed. J. A. Englund mentions in his history that a
dispute had emerged in
Some feared the preaching of the resurrected Christ and of his victory, presuming that it would result in a Christianity of the brain or knowledge, and so they left it as a matter of secondary importance and considered it more important instead to study the suffering of Christ. Others, however, feared the preaching of the Crucified One in the light presented by the prophet here, thinking that it would lead to legalism, and for this reason they only wanted to view the victory of Christ in the triumphant field of the resurrection.
The elders in
The elders now decided to send Takkinen to
But along the coast, I was saddened by workers and supporters of the truth because they do not have the strength to care for the wall of the vineyard and bear Christ’s yoke, and they are governed by freedom. Only grace is to be preached, not self-denial or brotherly rebuke, for that is legalism, let alone finery -- that is to dull your sword in the sand.
On June 26, 1877, before Takkinen’s arrival
in Calumet, Raattamaa wrote to Mathilda Fogman, who served the elders as an
informal secretary, in regard to certain letters that had arrived from
Caleb Wuollet has also written a long letter to me in which he mentions that you have slandered Barberg and Korteniemi and even says in his letter that there were also bad women in the Old Testament, such as Jezebel. Today I have also heard what Salomon Korteniemi has written. He is of the same opinion as before and demands repentance of you and us because we are strengthening the hands of Rovainen. Caleb also says that you are strengthening Rovainen’s dirty hands, but I believe that even today Rovainen’s hands are as pure and clean as those of Caleb and Korteniemi.
Raattamaa wrote to Fogman again on July 7, 1877, saying, “I and Parka-Heikki are demanding that Caleb and the others ask for forgiveness for what they have written about you” and telling her that Korteniemi, who was from Alkkula, needed to ask for forgiveness from the Christians there for his old sins. Raattamaa then adds: “In his letter, Caleb seeks the names of Salomon Korteniemi’s sins. Brother Huhtasaari can name them if the things that we have been told are true.” At the end of his letter, Raattamaa expresses fear that Korteniemi and his friends will form a wild-reindeer herd (“mettä tokka”) because “Korteniemi has already written to Abram Tapani that they have their own wash basin and Holy Spirit, that they don’t need to fetch them from Europe, etc. and rejects our letters, saying that they don’t need contentious letters such as these.”
Takkinen arrived in
It was not long before David Castrén of
For broader reading and studying of the Bible make the life of faith mere history in the intellect, and so the internal power of faith disappears and becomes ‘dead faith,’ and the power of grace and the Spirit come to naught, and the justified soul is hurled into a fallen state, etc.!
Upon publication of this article, the newspaper abruptly commented, “The editors of Sven Tuuva feel this is enough already, without continuation.” A few days later, in a letter to the editor, a reader recalled the love and unity of a few years past and wrote that “thorns had been sown” in people’s hearts by persons motivated by “a spirit of envy” but that “the first preachers sent from Europe removed the thorns and testified by the Bible that the Christianity in America was correct.” After a period of peace, “the serpent’s seed soon began to sprout again,” according to the same writer, who adds:
These baneful persons, who dress in
the garb of humility, sent out lies in their circular letters and with their
poisonous tongues in order to win over the hearts of the Europeans and get the
fine preacher Takkinen to come here. This man Takkinen thought that, by means
of the book of Revelation, he could write Korteniemi off as a bad angel, and by
his doctrinal prowess, he removed him from office, which was, after all, the
wholehearted pursuit of these sheepskin-devils. Then Takkinen began to preach a
new awakening, the only text of which that could be found was
In the fall of 1878, Takkinen, after a trip
to Lapland, took Korteniemi’s place as pastor of the
But now when other believers
started to come from
In 1891, Henrik Koller of
Thus, about a decade ago, these malcontents tore themselves away from the majority of the congregation even outwardly, for internally they had already separated into that ‘evangelical’ kingdom and their own faction, away from the kingdom of the ‘law,’ as they called Takkinen’s instructional leadership and the majority of the congregation, for they could not endure the teaching of anyone under whom they would have to blend into obedience.
Koller goes on to say that when Peter Strolberg joined this group, which became known as the Hallites (haalilaiset) after they began meeting in a hall that was built in 1885, “they came up with the doctrine of believing ‘as pure,’ that a person who believes is entirely pure and not sinful, and if he does not believe this, he is still under the law.” Koller adds in a footnote: “Salomon Korteniemi is said to have taught even in his time that in a Christian the soul does not sin but only the body, although the Lord says, ‘The soul that sinneth, it shall die’ (Ezekiel 18:4).”
According to the Bible, a believer is simultaneously sinful (I John 1:10) and pure (I John 3:6), for the new man, which receives birth from the Word of God, is created in holiness while the flesh remains unregenerate and impure (Ephesians 4:22-24). However, Pollari asserts in his 1920 history that some of the Hallites held the doctrine that their flesh was holy, many of whom were also rebaptized.
After the separation of the Hallites,
dissension continued in the church because of Takkinen’s strong-arm tactics and
his demand for strict obedience to the elders in
Since I am the firstborn among many brethren, I also greet all the Christians of Pajala and Juhonpieti with the warning that we should endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit so that the bonds of love would not break.
In other writings, Raattamaa uses the term
“firstborn” to refer to the elders generally, as, for example, in a June 13,
1889 letter to his son Pekka, who had moved to
I will also answer your question as to where the firstborn are: They have been born again in our time in travail in Swedish Lapland, and this flock, in living faith, has sent preachers to Norway, Finland, Sweden and America, though preachers have been sent first from Lapland to Muonio and the Pajala congregation, which the good shepherd Jesus has brought into one sheepfold, even into the congregation of the firstborn, which are written in heaven.
In an 1891 letter, in which Raattamaa again defines “the congregation of the firstborn of our time” as being “first born in travail in Swedish Lapland,” he adds that “it is in accordance with the Holy Bible to heed the congregation of the firstborn as widely as the revival has spread, which is the pillar and ground of the truth, where Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone.” Erkki Antti also writes in an 1877 letter:
But do you understand that the congregation of the firstborn are those who have first become Christians and then have remained in the doctrine in which the Spirit and life have been received and that those who separate from this flock are no longer part of the congregation but a wild-reindeer herd and lost sheep, for the Chief Shepherd has said that there is to be one sheepfold and one shepherd, and that is the congregation?
The Scriptural passage in question is: “But
ye are come unto
A reconciliation was effected in Calumet in
1885 during a visit of
After awhile he condemned the emissary of the congregation of the firstborn, Johan Takkinen, as a heretic, and he compared the firstborn, that is, the first preachers of this movement of Christianity, to Cain, Ishmael and Esau, saying that these were also firstborn and telling how dangerous it is to be obedient to them.
Takkinen was finally replaced as pastor by Johan Roanpää in an annual church election in 1888. Takkinen’s supporters contested the election -- unsuccessfully -- in court. Takkinen’s side claimed that, among other irregularities, non-members, including Hallites, had been allowed to vote. Raattamaa’s reaction to Takkinen’s removal is given in his June 13, l889 letter to his son Pekka (Pietari):
In many letters, I have asked you
to avoid contentious disputes. I am still surprised that you argue against
Takkinen, regarding whom you have written to me previously that he has shown
you fatherly love both materially and spiritually. Your late mother said that
many preachers have visited here from
The raising of the issue of the election in the secular courts was particularly offensive to many. In fact, the unconditional support that Takkinen had received from the elders, particularly Erkki Antti, waned as a result. Erkki Antti writes in an 1889 letter:
Is that, moreover, the fruit of peace and love that a Christian goes to court with Christians before the world’s judges in regard to the pastorate and church? I, however, feel indeed that someone better than me would be appropriate for this precious office. And if the Christians were to say that I am not suitable this time, I would give the position to another. Since the Christians wanted it so, why didn’t brother Takkinen let Roanpää fill the position for a year, without going to court?
In an 1890 letter, Erkki Antti writes:
I have not written to Takkinen’s party recently, but now I have decided to write nothing but gospel. Since they have so little for others, they probably have very little for themselves, for a person gives what he has. Even a generous person cannot give what he does not have.
The elders continued to demand
reconciliation. Raattamaa and a large number of preachers, who were gathered in
Lannavaara in 1890, signed a joint letter to
In the summer of 1890, Arthur Leopold
Heideman, an ordained pastor, arrived in
On March 1, 1891, the
While Takkinen and Matoniemi were in
Lapland, two letters arrived from
Some here in Calumet do not seem to be striving to unite, which is confirmed by the [new] church building, but we have effected a reconciliation with brother Kalle [Daniels] and some others and have decided to hold a general meeting here in America, to which the preachers would be invited, to investigate the origin of the dispute, and we presented this idea to Takkinen, some of us together with some of those who currently love him, but he rose against it, saying that there is no judge to decide matters, and he intends to fetch judges from there in Europe.
Takkinen’s supporters wrote on November 10, 1891:
Beloved brother Takkinen has
received a commission to
A December 14, 1891 letter of Raattamaa to
We also want to participate in this reconciliation. We ask forgiveness from the brothers with whom we have been disputing and, in the name and blood of Jesus, we forgive them from the heart.
In 1897, at the annual “big services” in
Lannavaara, which is in Vittangi Parish in
A differing account of the meeting is given by Viktor Appelqvist, a defender of Purnu. In a letter to Edquist, he claims that Lundberg asked the elders, including Purnu, whether Laitinen had been born again and received affirmative answers. Then Lundberg said that Purnu had preached against Laitinen the previous winter in Svappavaara and that witnesses were present. However, despite efforts, he could not produce them, was at a loss as to what to do next, and, turning to Purnu, said: “I consider Joonas a precious elder. Now you speak!” Appelqvist claims that during this incident, Raattamaa, realizing that Lundberg was behaving imprudently, left the room, sighing, “Oh, my, the honor of these pastors!”
According to an anonymous account of the
same meeting, which has been found among Erkki Antti’s papers in the
Brother Kuoksu is a poor fisherman if he salts good and rotten fish in the same crock. Peter did not testify forgiveness to Simon the sorcerer but said, ‘thou hast neither part nor lot in this word, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God’ [Acts 8:21]. We must correctly divide the Word of God, proclaiming to the penitent, grace and the forgiveness of sins, but to the impenitent, God’s judgment and punishment until they repent.
Strangely, these comments did not evoke a broader debate, though Raattamaa is said to be the first preacher to have proclaimed the forgiveness of sins seiniä myöten -- from behind a table in the Sakko home in Kitkiöjoki in the winter of 1853-54. Also, according to Johansson’s 1892 history, “Sins are occasionally forgiven ‘seiniä myöten’ at services, and the one absolved ‘is supposed to scrupulously believe all his sins forgiven.’ ” Such a doctrine is, of course, anathema to Reawakenists such as Aatto Salo, who writes in 1918:
The proclamation of the forgiveness of sins in later Laestadianism by extremists, without consideration of spiritual condition, seiniä myöten, is far from the point of view of Laestadius.
Juuso Runtti, in the 1923 sermon cited previously, presents his own view of the matter:
The Lord says, ‘To the poor the gospel is preached’ [Luke 7:22]. But Peter says that it is to be preached to all creatures [Acts 2:39]. Here we are faced with two differing Bible passages. However, by studying the Bible, we can draw the conclusion from them that the gospel is to be preached to all but that it is acceptable only to the poor, to those who are out of provisions and are being swallowed up by a gaping bottomless pit that has inescapably opened before them.
Pollari is evidently defending the practice of proclaiming absolution seiniä myöten when he writes:
We do not preach the forgiveness of sins to the holy or sinless, neither generally nor individually, but to sinners we are obligated to declare the forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus, and whoever believes is justified by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God has set forth to be a mercy seat through faith in his blood.
The Firstborn claim that at the 1897
Vittangi services Raattamaa ceded his authority to Joonas Purnu. In a 1901
letter to editor Johan Kieri in
And as Raattamaa said even the last time in Vittangi, while laying his hands on Joonas Purnu, ‘Now we are leaving this entire government and office with you, for you are the one we have found faithful to take care of and show concern for all the congregations so that the Lord’s flock would remain united, as I have done together with the congregation of the firstborn.’
The letters in Kieri’s book Aikakautemme Vanhinten Kirjoituksia, from which this passage is quoted, have been revised to some extent by Kieri, a strong supporter of Purnu and Takkinen. There is no evidence, however, to support the oft-repeated charge that Raattamaa’s second wife Karoliina did not accurately write that which the aged preacher dictated. Comparisons of the letters in Kieri’s book with the originals and other copies prove that the changes were made after they had been sent. These changes involve mainly the word “firstborn,” which, as historian Olaus Brännström claims, has been systematically inserted in places deemed appropriate, as for example, before the word “congregation.” However, as Raittila has pointed out, many of the discrepancies noted by Brännström are the result of changes made by opponents of the Firstborn. This is evidently the case in the previously quoted July 15, 1872 letter of Raattamaa, as published by the Conservatives in 1907, in which Raattamaa, instead of being the “firstborn among many brethren” is the “elder among many brethren.”
There is a degree of unreliability in all published material. A glaring example is a two-volume book published in 1884 by Laitinen under the title Valituita kristittyin kirjeitä (Selected Christian Letters). Karl Heikel comments on these volumes in a November 14, 1884 letter to Grape:
It is unfortunate that some of the ‘selected Christian letters’ are completely changed. There are also errors: One that bears my signature is Olli Välitalo’s -- an excellent letter otherwise.
Historians, who are often dependent on published material, point out, perhaps too optimistically, that most editors will not radically distort the words of living writers, who might object to inaccurate publication of their writings.
Even if the 1901 letter quoted above is genuine -- and there is no evidence that it is not -- this does not mean that Raattamaa is quoted correctly in it or, much less, that his actual words, whatever they were, are to be interpreted in the papistical manner of the Firstborn. Saarnivaara seems to agree, however, with the Firstborn account of Raattamaa’s ceding of power to Purnu. He claims that Jalmar Kyrö of Elo, Michigan, but originally from Korpilompolo, Sweden, told him that he heard Iisakki Ohtana and Nikkari-Tuomas, say, after returning from the Lannavaara services, that Raattamaa had specifically blessed Joonas Purnu to be the leader of the “firstborn congregation” because he himself was too old.
According to Firstborn writer Lauri Koistinen, Raattamaa’s blessing meant that Purnu could never fall away:
In 1897, Raattamaa turned his position over to Joonas Purnu by a public laying on of hands in the presence of the congregation in Lannavaara. This act was not based on any human invention, but the Holy Spirit was present. God’s Spirit has never erred in such laying on of hands, but the one who has received the blessing by this means has remained faithful in this calling to the very end.
Raattamaa’s death in 1899 facilitated the
formation of a separate group of Firstborn. This group is also known as Western
Laestadians and “gellivaaralaiset” as distinguished from the
In Edquist’s history there is an account of an attempt at reconciliation that took place when certain Conservative preachers arrived in Gällivare in 1901. When Firstborn preachers, hearing of their presence, also arrived, meetings were held, where Appelqvist gave a sermon, the first part of which is identical with the July 25, 1897 letter of Purnu quoted previously. Appelqvist thus, repeating by heart this letter of Purnu, who was also present, urged the listeners to remain in the doctrine from which they have received life and the Spirit and not to be offended by the congregation of the firstborn. He reminded them of how, in the time of the apostles and Luther, the ordained pastors opposed Christianity and noted how few of them, even today, have a desire, together with the lay preachers, to build the congregation of the Lord, to remain in unity of spirit with it and to be reproached for the name of Jesus. Therefore, confidence should not be placed in them or in “any congregation other than the one that we have entered through the bloody door, which, according to the Apostle’s statement, is the mother of us all.” Noting that the camp of the saints was surrounded by Gog and Magog, Appelqvist said of Nikkari-Tuomas, whose name means “Thomas the carpenter”:
As long as Raattamaa was alive, he planed and hammered, and so Raattamaa never knew him. But now that Raattamaa has died, he is growing so old and trembles so much that he cannot work as a carpenter, and so he has become a preacher.
While saying these words, Appelqvist allegedly imitated Tuomas’ voice and manner of trembling and then turned to Mikko Pääkkölä, a partner of Tuomas, with the question: “Who is the firstborn?” When Pääkkölä replied, “Christ,” Appelqvist continued:
When asked who the firstborn is,
they reply in a querulous tone that it is Christ. We know, of course, that
Christ was the first firstborn, that he gave the keys of the
According to Edquist, when Pääkkölä did not answer, Appelqvist presented the same question to Tuomas, who began to explain at length that Abel was the firstborn in his time, mentioning other Old Testament types of Christ, but Appelqvist interrupted him, saying,
We are simple folk and do not understand learned explanations. If you have no better reply, keep your mouth shut!
Edquist then describes a disorderly debate that ensued over whether Johan Sirkanmaa had written a letter containing accusations against Purnu. Someone shouted, “Brothers and sisters, believe in Joonas Purnu!” Joonas, hearing this in another room, where he had been drinking coffee, stuck his head in through the door, saying, “Believe in God!” Pastor Olof Bergqvist then rose with an open Bible and read, in an earnest tone, the words of Christ in Luke 11:32: “Behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” These words, according to Edquist, had a dampening effect because “many no doubt believed that Christ had spoken specifically about Joonas Purnu.” When the commotion resumed, Meri-Pietari (also known as Peder Fjeldal) shouted:
For 40 years, I traveled and
preached with Raattamaa, but as for these Finnish fellows, Nikkari-Tuomas,
Sirkanmaa and Pääkkölä, I never caught sight of them. I don’t know where they
were, whether they were underground or in
The Firstborn, strong proponents of the view that preachers should remain in their assigned areas, apparently felt that their rivals had no business preaching on their turf. Appelqvist, in a 1916 letter to Edquist, in which he discusses this meeting, which the Firstborn refer to as the “robber synod” (ryöväri synoodi), seems to confirm, if nothing else, at least that he followed the line of questioning described above in regard to apostolic succession:
For my text, I took the eighth chapter of Romans. During the explanation, I presented a question to Pääkkölä, but when he did not reply, Nikkari-Tuomas offered to do so. The assertion that I asked Tuomas to be quiet is just as much a lie as everything else. I think I have received the kind of upbringing from my parents, in addition to what I have learned from Christianity, that I do not ask an old man to be silent. 
After Purnu’s death in 1902, the Firstborn leadership is said to have become “collective” in nature. As for Appelqvist, historian Dagmar Sivertsen writes that his unsuitability as a leader became so evident by 1915-1916 that he was “expelled” from the group. However, even if Appelqvist was eclipsed by Viktor Björkman, Frans Parakka and others, he remained a member of the group and continued to sign letters with them until at least 1928, about 10 years before his death.
The Firstborn are known in
This lesson causes us to try and test ourselves that we wouldn’t begin to form our own opinions, but rather place our understandings, no matter how right they seem to us, before the right judges: Christians having the Holy Spirit. This lowliness, humility and obedience to the rule of the congregation is the secret of strength. We must place our trust in God and His congregation that has the Holy Spirit. Man can err but the Holy Spirit does not err.
At about the turn of the century, the
1965, a schism occurred among the Firstborn in
By 1976, the minority had acquired support
in other countries -- in
Sten Johansson became so
enthusiastic about the success of our congregation in
By 1977, the power struggle within the
minority left Älvgren and Koistinen with only one supporter in
In 1979, Sten Johansson’s followers, known
as “steeniläiset,” suffered another schism. Melvin and Ralph Niska -- sons of
Arthur Niska -- divided into two camps
In a February 28, 1907 letter, a large
number of Conservative preachers, meeting in Lannavaara, wrote to
Neither at the last meeting in Vittangi nor anywhere else has the late Raattamaa given rule over the congregation into the custody of Joonas Purnu or any other preacher, though there were indeed many preachers in whom the late Raattamaa had even more confidence than in Joonas Purnu. Neither firstborn status nor age appears to make anyone infallible, but the devil tempted even the Son of God, and thus he tempts young and old Christians; and let him who thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall, for God resisteth the proud but he giveth his grace unto the humble.
The letter goes on to say that “it was not the congregation” that chose men such as David, Solomon, John the Baptist, Luther, Laestadius and Raattamaa, but “it was all done by the Lord Sabaoth, when he selected these men while still in their mother’s womb for this work and, from their childhood, without their knowledge or that of the congregation, trained them and gave them the Spirit and gifts.”
Typpö, in his 1904 book, sums up the Conservative view of the Firstborn:
When the devil saw that this new [Reawakenist] doctrine did not succeed very well to his honor, he inflated new soldiers for himself in Swedish Lapland in an old Christian’s guise. They have now come boasting of their firstborn status, their infallibility, in the manner of the pope. Thus, the devil, in the form of an angel of light, took the old ship, intending to send the children of God sailing to destruction in it, since he didn’t succeed with his new vessel. Oh, dear friends, be not deceived by divers and strange winds of doctrine. Always hold fast, in childlike faith, to the rock of salvation that stands forever, which is Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, the true Firstborn among many brethren, by whose bloody merit each of us is blessed with the same inheritance.
In 1893, during a visit of Joonas Purnu and
Jöns Mäntyvaara as emissaries of the elders, the reconciliation was formalized
In 1899, Matoniemi moved to
In an attempt at reconciliation, all the
groups were invited to a conference in
At the 1908 meeting, it was decided to hold
a similar meeting the following year in New York Mills,
The Christians explained there that the law is not established for the righteous. But a terrible fight erupted when those heretics rose to fight with postils and formulas of concord to show that the law belongs to the Christian. The man chosen to write the minutes told how the meeting ended. He showed the width of a span with his hand, saying that he did not get any more than a span written before the meeting became as rowdy as an American tavern.
Saarnivaara, however, claims that the third
use of the law was not even an issue in
According to the minutes of the 1911 meeting, held again in Calumet, preacher Johan Mursu noted that many people were absent, that “the decisions of the original Calumet meeting had not produced the desired results,” and that several preachers, such as Arthur Heideman, William Lahtinen, William Alajoki, Pekka Raattamaa, Matti Tauriainen and Jacob Vuollet, were maligning the annual meetings, which had been initiated by “Ojala’s party,” and he proposed that they not be held for a couple of years until “better men” reinitiate them. According to the minutes, Pollari “confirmed” Mursu’s words. He recalled the reconciliations of the previous meetings and how all who were now criticizing the meetings had rejoiced over them but reminded the assembly of the dispute at the New York Mills meeting. He recommended -- to no avail -- that the meetings not be held until the participants were in one doctrine. The congregations that still participate in these annual events are referred to not only as Little Firstborn but also as Conventionists (isoseuralaiset). Since 1928, they have also been called Federationists (kirkkokuntalaiset) because they established a church federation in that year, known at that time as the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church of America and today as the Apostolic Lutheran Church of America.
Kalle Ojala, who was not allowed to preach
in Heideman’s church in
Pastor Evert Määttälä, a Conventionist, writes in his book Jeesuksen Askeleille (Into the Footsteps of Jesus), published in 1923:
The law, correctly followed, is indeed good (I Tim. 1:8) and should be a guide of life for all mortal men, including believers (Deut. 5:32-33, 8:6, 10:12, 10:22, Josh. 1:7, 23:6, Ezek. 20:19, Ps. 1:1).
the book, Määttälä also quotes passages from the Formula of Concord in defense of his doctrine. Heikki Jussila, a
strong opponent of the third use of the law, was visiting
The decision on the third use of
the law was made at the meeting of the apostles in agreement with the
congregation (Acts 15:22), and it was sent in writing to the congregations in
According to Saarnivaara, Määttälä quoted the Formula of Concord because there were, among the Apostolic-Lutherans, “extreme-evangelicals,” who “rejected all teaching of God’s commandments and rebukes to believers.” Määttälä defends himself with similar words in a 1932 article. However, neither Saarnivaara nor Määttälä explain how the establishment of the law as a rule of life for believers is a proper method of dealing with extremism of any kind. In his article, Määttälä discusses a particularly offensive portion of the Formula of Concord, which he had quoted from the Lutheran Confessions (Book of Concord) in support of his position:
This was the rock of offense, the
quoting of which made teacher Jussila say that it leads to the footsteps of
Moses, as though Moses were on the path to hell. And the late Juhani Rautio,
the apostle of the
Määttälä’s signature is found with those of a large number of other Conventionist preachers on the following statement issued on June 15, 1933:
We preachers of the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church, gathered at Virginia, Minnesota, in conjunction with the convention, in which our brothers from Finland, Antti Krekula and Ville Kaikkonen, are also present, in discussing differences in the understanding of doctrine, have come to the conclusion that we do not approve nor support, neither do we follow the Reawakenist doctrine of the law as a guideline for the righteous; neither do we approve of the liberty that we have in Christ becoming an occasion to the flesh. It must not serve us as a cloak of evil. Neither do we approve nor do we desire to confess any congregation of firstborn other than the one that has begun with Abel and still exists, in which Jesus is the firstborn among many brethren. And we hope for the great blessing of God so that the matters that have caused disagreements and dissension in Christianity thus far could be corrected by asking for forgiveness and granting forgiveness, and thus we could remain united by the bond of peace in one spirit.
However, the critics of the Conventionists were not persuaded that Määttälä and his friends were sincere in their disavowals of the third use of the law, and rightly so, for with the help of the Federation, Määttälä continued to sell his book. An English edition is even being disseminated today, along with other literature teaching the third use of the law, by Reawakenist elements in the Federation.
In 1947, Saarnivaara described a
“legalistic” faction in the West (
Thus, the Apostle writes here to the believing children of God and says: ‘He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but also of the whole world. And hereby do we know that we know Him if we keep His commandments.’ But what does the Apostle mean and what does he refer to? Does he mean the law of Ten Commandments, or does he mean the law of the ordinances, or does he mean the communal law? (Some brethren answered that the Apostle was referring to and meaning the law of the Ten Commandments.) That is also my understanding, as also we read in the Revelation, where Jesus says of all them that keep God’s commandments -- that they have access to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Sacarisen thus blatantly disregards Apostle John’s own explanation of what he means by God’s commandments: “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (I John 3:23).
Saarnivaara interprets the meaning of “commandments” in John’s epistles no less legalistically. He writes in his 1947 English-language history:
This law of Christ, and all the teachings, reproofs, corrections and instruction contained in the New Testament, contain all the main points of the Ten Commandments and even more, but it does not pronounce a curse and a condemnation upon all those who do not observe all things written in it, as the law of Moses does. The Christian is willing to obey all the commandments of God, for love of God is that we keep His commandments (I John 5:3). But because of the corruption which is still in the Christian, he is able to keep them only in part, and he may believe that according to His promise, God will not impute his remaining sins and weaknesses to him for guilt and condemnation, but will forgive them and account him righteous and a fulfiller of the law for Christ’s sake.
Saarnivaara also falls here into another error of nominal Christians, that of assuming that man is able to keep the law in part. This assumption is, of course, contradictory to the fundamental doctrine of total depravity, which is made so clear in Holy Scripture (Genesis 6:5, Romans 7:14,18,19) that it is hard to imagine that it could be denied.
When Arthur Heideman died in 1928, he was
succeeded as pastor by his son Paul. In 1929, the Conventionists in
The Conventionists eventually appealed to
Antti Pietilä, a prominent non-Laestadian professor in
The matter was taken up again at the 1934
“big services” in
We hope and pray that the beloved
Father would give these brothers, Juntunen, Krekula and Kaikkonen, the grace to
repent from their violation against love and their support of mixed fellowship,
but unless this occurs, these brothers will, in spite of all the counsels of
love that they have received, rend themselves from the love of the Christians.
We also regret that certain beloved brothers have started to enthusiastically
and even zealously support the mentioned travelers to
At the meeting, “an appeal was also made to their consciences as to whether the preservation of unity of the Spirit and the mutual bond of peace of God’s children were not more precious to them than their own opinions and whether there was not reason for them to humble themselves to repentance from the sin of disobedience against the general love of the Christians, but these brothers, in spite of heartfelt exhortations, did not submit to repentance but rigidly remained in their own opinion.”
The expelled preachers, supported by Pauli
Rantala, Sakari Ainali, Heikki Hooli, Janne Marttiini and others, gained a
foothold mainly in the
There is tension in the Federation not only
between Reawakenists and so-called evangelicals but also between lay preachers
and graduates (“seminarians”) of the Inter-Lutheran Theological Seminary
(“Saarnivaara’s school”), now located in Hancock, Michigan. Numerous local
schisms have occurred. In Ironwood, Michigan, for example, one such schism led
to the Reawakenist elements remaining in the Federation and the other side
establishing its own church, the Good Shepherd Community - Apostolic Lutheran
Church, with Seminary graduate Norman Kangas as pastor. The charismatic
movement has penetrated the Federation in the form of an internal entity known
as Christian Outreach, which is active in Battleground,
The Finnish Central Association of the
Associations of Peace (Suomen rauhanyhdistysten keskusyhdistys) was established
Our spiritual mother is the
The SRK gained the support of Paul Heideman
and his friends in
The humility of children is the acceptance of all things from the hand of God, who in the fellowship of His kingdom cares for His own. The humility of a child of God is total acceptance of the voice of His Spirit, which speaks through the mouths of the previously believing. ‘He that heareth thee, heareth me.’ The true humility of a child is realized obedience to the voice of the congregation, the kingdom, and ‘Mother’ of us all. ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God among men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them and be their God’ Rev. 21:3. This is why Paul calls the kingdom, the congregation, ‘the ground and pillar of truth.’ The Spirit of God, which dwells in the kingdom, the communion of saints, the holy congregation, is an unerring, infallible Teacher; for Jesus says: ‘It shall lead you unto all truth.’
The doctrinal methods used by the SRK to
consolidate its power within Conservatism were legalistic use of the apostolic
“counsels and teachings,” compulsory confession and accusations of carnality.
Today, the SRK, having suppressed and expelled evangelical and other critical
elements, enjoys the support of the majority of Laestadians in
The work of God, the Holy Spirit, in the world takes place through the congregation. Christ, the head of the congregation, does not take a single step further than does his congregation, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
In his 1956 history, SRK supporter Kullervo Hulkko paints a rather negative picture of certain preachers:
At the turn of the century, preachers who tried to effect powerful ‘liikutuksia’ by sermons that appealed to the emotions began circulating again. Thus the fire of ‘cold jumping’ burst into full flame. Preachers Risto Veteläinen and Herman Ahola fanned this false flame in Kuusamo Parish, as did Olli Alatalo in Taivalkoski and Pudasjärvi. The testimony has been given of these men that for years they circulated as preachers with unclean consciences. Their concept of Christianity was the typical ‘carnal liberty’ doctrine, as has been reported in Kuusamo and Pudasjärvi.
It is difficult to assess the validity of all these charges, made by an author who tends to classify all liikutuksia as “cold jumping.” Hulkko’s comments on the “sign of grace,” which marked the beginning of the revival in 1845, when a Lapp woman jumped for joy, reveals his prejudice against liikutuksia:
But precisely because the message of the revival movement led to a severe psychic turning point in the life of those carried away by the movement, the revival could not, any more than any other of our ecclesiastical revival movements, entirely avoid visions, revelations, speaking in tongues, trance preaching or other so-called ecstatic phenomena [hurmosilmiöt], among which the ‘sign of grace’ now under consideration also belongs in a sense.
The issue of “carnality” among the preachers
was taken up at the 1916 “big services” in
Now many fear false spirituality and self-righteousness, but alongside this, they grant a foothold to carnality and make little use of the words of counsel and teaching, which we need because we are not at all holier than the former travelers on the path of life. Such persons have gone into a false doctrine and have rent the congregation of God.
Juho Heilala asked, “What is to be thought of the spiritual condition of preachers who repeatedly fall into carnality and carnal conduct but always repent to a different father confessor?” Heilala explained:
Carnal liberty can lie close alongside Christian freedom. If a preacher has fallen and first tells the matter to one father confessor and then falls again but tells it to a different father confessor, this is a way of sparing the flesh, for it would hurt the flesh if one always went to the same father confessor. But here the words of the Bible are disregarded: ‘He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin [I Peter 4:1].’
Juuso Runtti said:
The disease of carnality appears in two forms: First, speakers speak evil of others, which is due to self-admiration. And I think that one reason for this is that not very many are able to regard praise as dangerous as it is. From these heights of vain glory, the path often begins into carnal liberty. The righteous indeed falls, but he also rises, and I do not believe that he repeatedly falls into the same slough. But if this happens with trust in the forgiveness of sins, then the gospel is made a gospel of the flesh. Then one begins to believe too much in the forgiveness of sins -- as precious and valuable a gift as it is. For if penitence, repentance and faith in the gospel have indeed occurred in the heart, it gives power to abandon and cease from sin. It does not entirely free the Christian from sin, but it makes him a soldier and one who keeps his body under subjection. I do not say this out of disdain for absolution from sin but so that it would not be made into a savior.
Runtti added later:
At times during these last 45 years, one has gone entirely to an extreme in the gospel, but when it was noticed that this wouldn’t succeed long, one started to ‘sharpen’ the Word of God, and so one arrived at another extreme. I readily turn to the brothers present here with the wish that they would take the Word of the Lord in entirety. But I have been told, ‘The consciences of Christians do not bear all the writings of the Bible.’ But if we must once appear before the judgment seat of God, we should indeed become so familiar with the Word of the Lord that we could bear it. I have noticed a kind of ‘competitive gospel,’ that when someone preaches well, I don’t want to be worse. But, in any case, I would hope that we discard all ‘fashionable gospels’ and that our only question would be what God speaks and to cease from our own words with holy reverence. . . . I remember when some spread the doctrine of public confession. When they cleared up from this, they noticed in their minds that they had gone under the law, and then they put away all words of counsel and reproof -- now grace and the forgiveness of sins were to be preached. Then, when the Reawakening came, all those, our most evangelical people, were in the forefront condemning the Christians and turning their hope toward hell. I think I have noticed that this fear of the law has made many sensitive, so that they cannot preach about anything other than false doctrine. So now let’s not cease preaching the gospel to sinners on account of these faults, but neither must we be afraid of preaching the truth.
At the end of the meeting, Runtti proposed the following resolution, which was approved:
The preachers, gathered in the name of Jesus, have unanimously decided that all preachers who live and walk in works of the flesh -- insofar as such has become evident -- should cease preaching, and the Missionary Committee is authorized to present rebukes on behalf of this discussion meeting with the warning that if they do not desist and agree to improve they will be declared publicly.
A second resolution was also approved:
Preachers not recognized as preachers, who have not been invited by common consent and whom no one has sent, should be prevented from traveling as preachers of Christianity.
Runtti’s statements, not surprisingly, were assailed after the meeting. Adolf Suoraniemi wrote in a 1917 letter:
Now I ask you, Brother: What is the difference between the gospel and the truth if the gospel isn’t the truth? But with this trick, this fine trick of self-righteousness, they claim to be trying to set a barrier to carnality. But here they go now from ‘one extreme to another.’ For if the gospel isn’t the truth, there isn’t any other truth that would make a sinner righteous and thus saved, for ‘ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’ [John 8:32]. Also: ‘Ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation’ [Ephesians 1:13]. And whoever abandons the gospel also abandons the truth, and whoever preaches the gospel according to the scripture, also preaches the truth, not a lie. The Reawakenists called the law the word of truth. Now those who have never really become clear about the Reawakening heresy call the words of counsel and instruction the word of truth, but whoever rightly understands the truth of the gospel and preaches it correctly also preaches the words of counsel and instruction, and reproof as well, and does not avoid them, but he doesn’t make of this another power and savior, as in this case, even if it isn’t their purpose, but what happens is that the gospel and truth are divided when they start watching that a person doesn’t become too lax and thus a follower of sin. But the words of counsel and instruction haven’t given anyone power, but only wholesome grace, the truth of the gospel, claimed by faith, has given power to become a child of God. This has given power to follow the will of God, and this has taught one to deny all ungodly conduct and to live virtuously and righteously in this world.
In a 1962 interview in
Let’s look at the children of God who lived during the period between the Old Testament and New Testament, as, for example, the Virgin Mary. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, she preaches of the mercy of God toward those who fear him (Luke 1:46-56). But then Zacharias says, ‘that we might serve him without fear’ (Luke 1:74). How is this to be understood correctly? The child of God also feels a kind of fear that is to be removed by preaching so that, as Zacharias says, we might serve him without fear.
Pauli Rantala commented:
I don’t have the understanding that righteous souls should be in this fear: ‘Am I acceptable to the Father?’ For such is a wrong fear that comes from doubts, but I mean a fear that comes from God’s love, which would never again grieve the mind of the Heavenly Father in any way, for such a child’s fear only leads the child closer to the heart of the Father.
Leonard Typpö, quoting Hebrews 12:28, agreed with Rantala, saying that he had the “same understanding of the fear of the Lord.” A quotation from Luther, used by Typpö, was approved as a final statement:
Servile fear comes from the law and its curse, but childlike fear comes from the gospel and its comfort.
In a 1917 article, Matti Suo presented an imaginary dialogue, in which a “certain brother” says:
But at the same time that we were made free from that condemning law, we entered the law of Christ, which was now left for us to follow. In it, the Holy Spirit with love is a teacher, urging us to reject all ungodly conduct. Then the child of God promised, ‘Now I no longer want to grieve the heart of my lover with willful sins and transgressions, but I want to show obedience to his holy will.’ And this is precisely what it is to journey in the correct fear of God, which is effected not by the servile fear that flows from the law but by the eternal love of Jesus.
Another imaginary “brother,” who was at first opposed to the “fear of God,” now sees the light. He says:
If that is then to be understood as the fear of God, when a Christian struggles as a victor over sin and as a mortifier of the old man through faith, and as long as there isn’t any secret treachery of the devil hidden under it, this is indeed entirely correct, and I don’t have anything against it. For a Christian must always be in warfare here on earth, as the Lord’s servant Job has also said [Job 7:1, Finnish Bible]. And, indeed, this old portion always has to be mortified and subjugated so that it doesn’t bear fruit to death. If sin still besets us and slows our pace on the path of life, we always have to lay it aside and endeavor to struggle in steps of repentance, believing our sins forgiven in the blood of Jesus.
In his 1917 letter, Suoraniemi replies:
But now fear, love and obedience
are jumbled together, and so fearlessness [pelkäämättömyys], the nature of the
mercy of God, entirely disappears. And fear is explained as ‘childlike’ fear, a
fear of ‘love’ and a fear of ‘obedience,’ of which the whole dead Christian world
also preaches and still doesn’t know what fear and fearlessness are, that is,
they don’t understand the righteousness of God. And one has in places started
to oppose carnality with this word of fear. But now it has happened here in
Kuusamo that those who are in the so-called childlike fear and have been in
disagreement from the beginning with the Kingdom of God, fearing that the
teaching is too lenient, have now become the most zealous defenders of Herman
Ahola. Therefore, as has occurred here, when a man goes astray in one thing, he
goes astray in another, and so they finally end up as sheep without a shepherd.
Thus, the complaint of the Lord through the Prophet suits them: ‘This people
draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have
removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the
precept of men’ (Isaiah 29:13). . . . Last fall in Kemijärvi, when I visited
there, the enlightened children of God marveled that this childlike fear,
which, before the Reawakening, was a matter of contention with those who were
in the forefront headed into the Reawakening, had remained in the
The concept of “fearlessness” was finally
classified as a “false doctrine” in a statement of a 1931 meeting of preachers
The doctrine of fearlessness toward God indeed reared its head among us to some extent in times past, but it was rejected as a false doctrine, and the brothers who found themselves in it have repented of their error.
Saarnivaara writes, in regard to the beloved Minnesota preacher William Lahtinen, who died with his wife on the Titanic in 1912, that when he was in Finland in 1911-12, he criticized Juuso Runtti, Juhani Rautio, Pauli Rantala and others as being “teachers of the law.” According to Saarnivaara, “he explained that teaching the words of instruction, counsel and reproof to Christians was to bind them to the law.”
Pastor Vilho Kivioja of Kalajoki writes in a February 6, 1936 letter, “Here in 1917, at the time of the Easter services, [August] Back and Heikki Jussila were on the same side, and [Leonard] Typpö and [Juuso] Runtti were arguing against them, precisely over the matters of the minutes of the meeting of the previous year, and the same matters are at issue now.” Saarnivaara also writes, in regard to the same era, that in Rovaniemi there was a group that considered Leonard Typpö, Juuso Runtti, Juhani Rautio, Pauli Rantala and Matti Suo correct, and another group that was on the side of Juho Kanniainen, August Back and Heikki Jussila. When Typpö or his friends preached, their group sat in front, and when Kanniainen or his friends preached, the other group sat in front. Typpö and his friends, according to Saarnivaara, were called “little Reawakenists” because they proclaimed the Word of God more fully, “not just the gospel but also the words of counsel and reproof for Christians.” Saarnivaara alleges in regard to Jussila, a member of the other -- “evangelical” -- group, that he was viewed for awhile as having been contaminated with the “three-cubit God” doctrine and also with Sandbergism (samperilaisuus), named after Heikki Sandberg of Kemi, who is also known as “viisas Sandberg” (wise Sandberg).
Sandberg’s doctrine is described in Virkkala’s history:
Although he preached of ‘circumcision of the heart,’ the work of atonement and sanctification in the manner of the Reawakenists, he was of the opinion that the way in which the Reawakenists presented the sufferings of Jesus and daily penitence led to a heavy spirit of bondage. As for himself, he wanted to speak more boldly about believing freely.
According to Virkkala, after Sandberg’s death in 1908, his followers, at least in Teuva and Kemi, joined the Reawakening. Saarnivaara alleges that Heikki Jussila was urged to repent of Sandbergism at the 1910 Helsinki “big services” and that he finally did so, albeit privately, at the 1913 services in Kajaani.
In 1929, a
meeting of preachers was held in
Since heavy charges have been made at this meeting against preacher Toivo Korpela in regard to matters over which Korpela’s conscience does not appear to be convicted, the meeting views it necessary to firmly forbid Korpela from appearing as a preacher for the time being, until the Christianity of his community views his condition as such that he can be allowed to preach. Even in the event that Korpela is allowed to travel as a preacher, the meeting is of the view that he needs an older and tested preacher as his companion.
In spite of the ban against him, Korpela
continued to preach in Sattajärvi, Kiruna and other localities in
In the summer of 1932, Korpela’s case was discussed at the “big services” in Iisalmi, where the following resolution was passed:
Inasmuch as Toivo Korpela, who has traveled in northern Finland and northern Sweden without being sent by God’s congregation, has spread deceitful accusations that the preachers and the Board of the Finnish Central Association of the Associations of Peace have been motivated only by envy in banning him from making preaching trips, the general conference of Christians gathered in Iisalmi, having once again thoroughly studied the matter, resolves that since Korpela has been detected to be a liar and disobedient and slanderous of Christians, the congregation of God will continue to concur in the decisions made in regard to him, Korpela, by the meeting of preachers in Oulu and the Swedish brethren in Lannavaara.
In early 1934, while Korpela was in Finland, it was “revealed” to Sigurd Siikavaara and Arthur Niemi, who had begun to preach to Korpela’s followers in Sweden, that the abomination of desolation of Daniel, which they identified with the revised version of the Finnish Bible, had been set up on January 1, 1934. They calculated, therefore, on the basis of Daniel 12:12, that there would be 1,335 days to judgment day, which would occur on July 24, 1937.
The new corrupt Bible, strangely enough,
has been accepted to some extent by Laestadians. It is used, for example, in a
1935 address of Väinö Havas to a meeting of pastors in
Since the old translation of the Bible is dear to the great majority of Christians, and we have become accustomed to it from childhood, and since there are a number of very weak points in the new translation, it is to be wished that all preachers of Christianity -- insofar as is possible -- would read their texts at services from the old translation and would also use it in writings in Siionin Lähetyslehti.
A committee was also established in Kajaani to examine the proposed new Bible. The members, which included Väinö Havas, who had repented from the Reawakening in 1929, examined it and presented a list of criticisms in a booklet published in 1933. Strangely, the booklet admits that the research in it is based on a comparison of the new translation with editions of the original texts prepared by Bible critics -- Rudolf Kittel’s Hebrew Old Testament and Eberhard Nestle’s Greek New Testament. Thus the list overlooks many changes in the new translation, to which the committee should have objected, such as the omission of the Trinity in I John 5:7.
The Federationists are much more supportive of Bible revision than are other groups. Saarnivaara actually writes, in regard to I John 5:7, that it is an unwarranted addition to the original text:
This addition is indeed in accordance with the teachings of the Bible, but it (the so-called comma Johanneum) is not part of the original text of I John.
Surprisingly, Saarnivaara uses Revelation 22:19 -- which is normally used by opponents of textual revision -- to justify the omission:
Since according to this verse of Revelation, nothing is to be added that is not there, those who prepared the Bible translation have been obligated to eliminate from it the passages that are not in the oldest manuscripts and thus, judging from everything, were not in the original New Testament.
Since the 1642 and 1776 versions of the Finnish Bible were published, the Finnish language has not changed nearly as much as has the English language since 1611, when the King James Version appeared. Yet, curiously, it is often claimed that even the 1776 version is difficult to understand. The spelling of the 1776 version was updated in the last century, leading some, like Pastor Ossi Ylipekkala, to conclude that a new translation was made then. In a 1992 article, Ylipekkala justifies the then eagerly awaited newest Finnish Bible (which was published the same year):
It is rather difficult to understand the language of the 1642 translation. Neither is the newer translation published in 1776 easy. Perhaps we understand somewhat the so-called old translation, which appeared in the last century and is still used rather widely at services for the reading of the text. If the text is in old Gothic, many hardly understand it at all.
As for the SRK, its attitude toward the
corrupt 1992 version appears to have been decided, to a great extent, by the
rendering of Luke 17:21. Previous
corrupt versions read: “Jumalan valtakunta on sisällisesti teissä” (The
Another matter that was “revealed” to
Siikavaara and Niemi early in 1934 was that the ark mentioned in Revelation
11:19 would come from heaven to fetch the faithful to
In reply to your question as to whether I still believe in the coming of that ark, I believe most assuredly. I believe even with my whole heart that this ark will come at the time appointed by God to fetch his own out of this vale of woe and sorrow. How could I doubt one place (Rev. 11:19) in God’s Word more than another?
The Korpela movement was characterized by
much ecstatic singing and jumping. In March 1935, one of several new prophets
began to jump up and down, clap his hands and cry out, “The whore of
Soon large crowds assembled to watch the
commotion. The Swedish authorities, who were also keeping their eye on the
group, could not resist becoming involved. Initially they felt they had no
legal basis for interfering in religious affairs, but finally they decided to
intervene, citing concern over public safety and the welfare of the children.
Fear was expressed of a possible repetition of the infamous Kautokeino tragedy
of 1852, when fanatical Lapps attacked and murdered a constable and shopkeeper
By mid-1936, Siikavaara is said to have begun teaching that he was Christ, or at least that he “represented” Christ. It was not long, however, before the religious enthusiasm died down and the movement deteriorated into a kind of social club, with dancing, card playing and drinking. However, the sensational stories that appeared in the press about wild orgies are probably exaggerations. Siikavaara was taken in for more interrogations in April 1939 because of the rumor that minors were involved in sexual activities. At that time, he was found to be intoxicated and was diagnosed as an alcoholic. He was also declared exempt from penal action because of insanity. In light of these facts, it is difficult to know whether there is any truth to his own admission to having engaged in sexual intercourse, from the summer of 1937 to the spring of 1939, with 30 women other than his wife. He remained in a mental institution until his release in 1950. The Korpela movement is evidently now extinct even if it was rumored that some diehards were still alive as late as 1970.
It has been alleged that even in
There is, of course, no reason for millennialists to assume that in the visions in the book of Revelation, which is, for the most part, symbolic, the times mentioned are not also symbolic. The thousand years of Revelation 20:2 are generally viewed by Laestadians as the “time of grace.” However, millennialism is held even by Saarnivaara, who believes, as do other millennialists, in the doctrine of two separate resurrections, which is based on a misunderstanding of Revelation 20:6. Most Laestadians reject this doctrine as well. John Lumijärvi writes, for example, in a 1920 article, on the basis of Colossians 2:13, 3:1 and Ephesians 2:1-6, “The first resurrection takes place in man in the new birth. There he is translated from death into life and from sin into righteousness.”
A revival occurred in the Kalajoki area from 1934 to 1936 as the result of the sermons of Juho Ansamaa of Haapavesi, who had a gift of revealing Christ from the Old Testament and an understanding of the gospel that was free of human works and compulsory confession. Kullervo Hulkko has written the only history of this revival, but, unfortunately, his work is unreliable. Even his chronology is, to a great extent, inaccurate. He writes, for example, that Ansamaa began preaching in Kalajoki as early as the spring of 1934 and that three “consultations” were held in regard to him by the spring of 1935. However, this does not agree at all with the recollection of Uuno and Martta Himanka and other Ansamaa supporters. These “ansamaalaiset” have told this author that they do not recall any visits of Ansamaa in Kalajoki before the fall of 1934. Furthermore, no open criticism of Ansamaa appeared until the winter of 1934-35, and no reason existed for any “consultations” at all in 1934. Even Vilho Kivioja, the pastor of Kalajoki, who was the first to openly turn against Ansamaa, writes in a November 11, 1936 letter to Havas, in which he tries to prove that Ansamaa’s doctrine constitutes a heresy:
If I have to repent of anything, it can only be, according to my conscience, that I defended the mentioned heresy at the beginning, as you noticed at the time, around Christmas Eve of 1934.
Ansamaa’s supporters recall that Havas, preaching with Ansamaa in late 1934, said only that he was deeply satisfied to see that the “air had cleared” since the recent dispute with the Little Firstborn, which had marred the mood of the local “big services” earlier in the year.
Dissatisfaction with Ansamaa became evident only after Kivioja, during one of Ansamaa’s sermons, was heard whispering into the ear of one Einari Isopahkala, “Nyt meni rippi pilalle!” (“Now confession is ruined!”) Although Ansamaa, despite opposition, was invited to speak with Matti Pylkäs and Antti Kananen at the Easter services in Kalajoki in 1935, he was not asked to preach on Saturday, the first day of the services. That evening, a supporter of Ansamaa stood up, saying with tears, “Tomorrow, Ansamaa will preach first in the morning and in the evening.” The following day, Ansamaa’s sermons caused strong liikutuksia among the listeners. Again on Monday, when the services continued at a nearby school, Ansamaa was not invited and remained with certain others at Aukusti Myllymäki’s house. Before the services had ended, Myllymäki, a supporter of Ansamaa, showed up at the school, where he invited the preachers to his house. When Kivioja, Kananen and Pylkäs arrived, Myllymäki, who wanted matters clarified, rose up and, pointing at Ansamaa, said, “Here now is that guilty brother. Straighten him out now.” At first, no one could come up with any specific accusations, but finally Pylkäs, evidently implying that Ansamaa was too lazy to fetch firewood, uttered, “You burned that dividing wall in your house!” Ansamaa replied, “Was that at the time you taught yourself to preach with a mirror in the sauna?” When someone remarked that this answer was from the flesh, Ansamaa answered, “Mitä lihasta lähtee, se lihaan vastaa,” which can perhaps be freely translated: “A carnal accusation calls for a carnal response.” Hulkko writes, in regard to this confrontation:
Some preachers, especially Matti Pylkäs and Antti Kananen, who visited during Easter 1935, presented very strong accusations against Ansamaa and said that he had not been called as a preacher to any communities at all other than Kalajoki. It was even boldly asserted as an accusation that Ansamaa had proven himself an idler.
Ansamaa continued to be accepted as a preacher to some extent. Kivioja writes in the previously mentioned February 6, 1936 letter:
What is most regretful is that Jussila and Vepsäläinen were here during the first half of August, blessing Ansamaa’s activity in Kalajoki, even if Arvid Tikkala and others said that they had listened ‘with a tired ear’ to Ansamaa’s sermons, which are generally good in the presence of other speakers.
Kivioja adds in the same context, evidently referring to events connected with the 1935 local “big services,” that Ansamaa had asked for forgiveness for “weak words” and that he, Kivioja, had also asked publicly for absolution, after which the cry went out: “The pastor has repented of the false doctrine!”
By the end of 1935, Ansamaa’s supporters
were increasingly estranged, holding services almost exclusively in homes,
rather than in the meetinghouse. They tell how Heikki Jussila and Otto
Raudasoja were preaching on one occasion at Heikki Heikkilä’s home with Ansamaa
when men, under orders from
In late March 1936, a “reconciliation meeting,” chaired by Kauno Kemppainen, the SRK secretary, was held in Kalajoki, but it ended in squabbling and mutual accusations. Kemppainen wore three pairs of eyeglasses at the meeting, prompting one participant to remark, “Even three pairs of eyeglasses didn’t help.” Both sides now looked to Havas, who was to arrive in Kalajoki later in the spring. Havas, however, had already taken sides, as is made clear in a March 10, 1936 letter, which has been published in Hulkko’s history:
I have shunned Ansamaa’s influence from the beginning, but last winter, when he seemed to humble himself and preached correctly, at least in my presence, I hoped that everything would calm down. The good reports from there in Kalajoki last spring increased this confidence of mine. However, there must indeed be some basic fault in Ansamaa that the grace of God has not been able to correct because the poor fruits that you mention in your letter continue to appear. The man must be living in secret sins and with a polluted conscience after all. This understanding is supported by what I heard from Heikki Saari when we met on a train this winter. Saari said that he had ascertained that Ansamaa lives in sin and with an impure conscience. He said that he had confronted Ansamaa in regard to these bad points but with little success. This statement of Saari is very significant, in my opinion, because our brother Heikki has tried to understand Ansamaa to the last and to build love.
Unaware of these views, Ansamaa’s supporters were greatly disappointed when Havas arrived in Kalajoki and, in a high-minded tone, joined Kivioja in heaping criticism on Ansamaa at the infamous meeting in the Hietala parsonage known as the “Hietala night meeting” (Hietalan yökokous), which was held on about May 1, 1936. As for specific accusations, Ansamaa’s supporters recall only that Ansamaa was accused of having spoken approvingly of finery for young people in a sermon, but Hulkko claims to know that he was accused of having condoned fornication -- a patently ridiculous accusation.
Among the numerous accusations against Ansamaa and his supporters in Hulkko’s history is the following:
The conversation between a supporter of Ansamaa and a Christian peasant of the Kalajoki valley was particularly alarming. Ansamaa’s supporter asked the peasant, ‘If a thousand times a day you commit adultery and also murder, can you profess yourself to be a child of God?’ The peasant replied, ‘Even once is enough to prevent me from professing that.’ To this, the Ansamaa supporter retorted, ‘So, it’s the confession doctrine then!’ Then the other remarked, ‘Whom can you call an unbeliever if even such a one can still profess himself to be a child of God?’
Hulkko seems to be unaware that the doctrine he is assailing is that of Luther and Laestadius. Quoting an August 1, 1521 letter of Luther to Melanchthon, Laestadius says, in a sermon delivered on the Second Day of Rogation in 1856:
The pope’s priests say, ‘This Luther’s preaching of faith is the speech of one possessed and an abomination of false doctrine, when he says that sin cannot separate us from the Saviour; even if we had committed adultery and murder a thousand times a day, yet we must believe. Is this doctrine of Luther a true doctrine?’ In the ears of the papists, it sounds as though the devil himself had risen up from hell to proclaim such an abomination of false doctrine, but whoever correctly understands these words of Luther must know it to be true gospel. For a person who is truly awakened surely knows that he has committed adultery and murder, if not a thousand times, at least seven times a day. Nevertheless, he must believe that he is a Christian and a child of God.
Kivioja, writing in his February 6, 1936 letter in the same vein as Hulkko, says that a neighbor had heard Martti Myllymäki, a supporter of Ansamaa, preach as follows:
You can believe from behind the dunghill and even from within it; those obstacles to faith do not exist anywhere but in the teaching of the devil.
It is interesting that Hulkko claims that the written question “Is sin an obstacle to faith?” was presented to the 1938 SRK annual meeting in Kajaani. He also says, “In the reply, it was said that the whole Holy Bible testifies that this is how the matter is.” Hulkko admits that the words are not in the minutes, but if his account is true, it only confirms that two mutually contradictory doctrines were being taught simultaneously by Ansamaa’s opponents -- that sin is to be believed forgiven and that sin is a hindrance to believing.
After being disappointed by Havas, Ansamaa’s friends awaited, as their last hope for support, the “big services” to be held in Rovaniemi in July 1936. There, a discussion was held, in which Ansamaa and Kivioja personally participated. Afterwards, a July 9, 1936 note, signed by Kalle Lohi, Väinö Havas and Juho Kanniainen, was sent to Kalajoki. The relevant portion reads as follows:
The meeting of preachers unanimously notes that in Kalajoki, even prior to the latest revival, there has been a precious flock of the Lord, which has desired to stand in grace against all heresies. It is also viewed that the revival that began at the services held by brother Ansamaa was a work of grace effected by God, to which, however, much human and sinful zeal was later intermingled even against those children of God and preachers of the Word of God who have opposed false spirituality. The meeting of preachers is also of the opinion that there is reason, in faith and repentance, to reject as sin the mutual accusations of false doctrine of justification and to reconcile the mutual lack of love around the bloody sacrificial altar, that henceforth all the children of God of Kalajoki should invite preachers in common consultation and that brother Ansamaa, who has humbled himself to repentance from his weaknesses and faults here at our meeting, should not, at least for the time being, travel alone on preaching trips but together with other brother preachers. It was hoped that brother Vilho Kivioja would abandon editorship of [the magazine] Zions Missionstidning and the hypocrisy that he has shown in his attitude toward the [Little Firstborn] heresy.
Kivioja’s view of the Rovaniemi discussion is given in his November 11, 1936 letter to Havas:
In Rovaniemi, the preachers -- including yourself -- kept returning again and again to this theme: ‘Here there are only these two persons in opposition to each other, Kivioja and Ansamaa.’ The truth is this: In opposition to each other here are Laestadianism and Hedbergianism.
Ansamaa’s friends have told this author that they first heard the erroneous report that in Rovaniemi his doctrine had been approved and Kivioja’s rejected, and so when Ansamaa preached in Kalajoki, they were surprised to hear him stressing confession in the manner of the confessionists. Eventually, Ansamaa repented openly, saying he had “gathered a flock for himself,” and most of his supporters followed suit, also repenting publicly. Again, at services held in December 1936, Ansamaa confessed that he had purposely disparaged other speakers, had overly exalted himself and had been prompted by the Old Adam in his preaching. He urged his supporters to repent after his example, but most of them had repented previously, and the others remained faithful to the old doctrine, saying, “Although Ansamaa goes, we won’t follow.” According to Hulkko, at the end of January of the following year, 31 persons were excommunicated. A couple of years later, Ansamaa again repented publicly and urged others to do the same, saying, “I have committed the sin of whoredom, not with the opposite sex but in myself.” In a 1948 letter, Ansamaa wrote:
Through this faith, God attached me to the obedience of cleansing of the spirit, so that confession has also become as holy and precious as faith. For it is impossible to separate faith and confession from each other, as impossible as it is to separate fire and heat from each other. But if we believe through confession, faith is dead, and if we believe without confession, faith is dead.
At the 1939 “big services” in Kemi, a resolution was passed against preachers identified with the “heresy of carnal liberty.” Four charges were included in it:
1. At this time, this damning spirit appears primarily in self-exaltation. A preacher tries to be something special and wants to get a kind of alleged gospel sweetness into his sermon for which scriptural expressions no longer suffice. As a consequence, many weak brothers and sisters excessively admire and praise such a preacher as being better than has ever been heard before. Many troubled strugglers, however, are saddened, and thus a seed of discord is sown. . . .
2. This false spirit manifests itself in evasion of the counsels and rebukes of the gospel. In regard to the stern points in the epistles of the apostles, it is said, ‘The children of God should not be alarmed with them!’. . . .
3. There appears in the heresy of carnal liberty a notable spirit of disputation against confession. The teaching may even be formally correct, but there is, in practice, a struggle against confession of sin and other such fruits of faith and repentance. A child of God who uses confession easily receives from these babblers the name of confessionist. . . .
4. At services and in behavior elsewhere, this heresy causes inappropriate light-mindedness, boisterousness and even impurity as well as a mocking and malevolent attitude toward those who desire, even in weakness, to conduct themselves in doctrine and life in a manner worthy of the gospel.
The resolution states that this “false doctrine and spirit has appeared in many localities but specifically in Kalajoki” and that “the children of God have been grieved by the fact that in addition to Juho Ansamaa, even a couple of old preachers, A. G. Naatus and Oskari Raasakka, have, by their conduct, supported the heresy in question, and repentance is expected of them too for their injurious activity in this matter.” Ansamaa was no longer invited to preach, though he was occasionally seen at services, a lonely and dejected figure. Oskari Raasakka was pressured into repentance by Saari. Martti Myllymäki joined the Little Firstborn and later the Pentecostal movement, where, it is said, he wasn’t happy either. Kivioja, as expected, ended up among the Little Firstborn.
Hulkko writes that after the 1939 Kemi
meeting, “the air, which had been musty for a long time already in localities
such as Viipuri, Tervola and Karunki, cleared up, and the Ansamaa movement,
which had managed to run like wildfire through the Conservative Christianity of
the Kalajoki valley, continued to subside.” In the late 1930s, pressure
was also applied against Erkki Simppala (also known as Erkki Vuokila), a
preacher in the Tervola and Karunki area, who was accused of being in “carnal
liberty.” According to a local tradition, as recounted to this author by Jouko
Murama of Keuruu, Simppala was formally rebuked by Pastor Alfred Virkkula (son
of Viktor Virkkula) at a meeting held at the house of Aarne Kivilompolo in
Karunki in the summer of 1939, and at some point he submitted to repentance.
Like Ansamaa, he may, of course, have repented repeatedly. When this author
asked certain individuals about it, Ida Karhu of
The man sat up, still drowsy, and the other sleepers awoke after him. We greeted him with God’s greetings and said that we are American believers. I explained that we wanted information on a certain older religious group. The name Simppala was also mentioned. He explained that his name is Vuokila, not Simppala, and that the Simppala movement has never even existed. He now began to explain his past in detail, thinking apparently that we had come to accuse him of old matters. He said that even in his youth, when he was made a preacher, a certain neighbor woman had become envious because her own sons did not have as good a reputation as he, and so she started accusing Vuokila of being in carnal liberty. Vuokila now claimed that he has always been zealous in laying aside sin. A certain woman, who had been sleeping on another bench along the same wall, now supported him, saying that she has known Vuokila for ages and can confirm that he has always been zealous in purifying his conscience. I now asked Vuokila why he repented if the accusations were false. He explained, in response, that at the ‘big services’ in Raahe, preacher Heikki Saari had demanded repentance of him. Vuokila had replied that he cannot do such a thing and had added, ‘If I were to repent of the doctrine, I would become a Reawakenist.’ Saari answered, ‘You do not need to repent of the doctrine, only of a fault of the spirit.’ Saari appealed here to Paul’s words: ‘Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit’ (II Cor. 7:1). ‘Then I repented,’ Vuokila now admitted, adding the words, ‘as did Paul.’ His throat quivered as he said this.
By the time of this conversation, the few individuals still known as “simppalalaiset” had joined the Clericalists, a group that will be discussed later.
When Juho Kosonen began preaching in
Elina Kurki of Kellokoski, a friend of
Kosonen, told this author in about 1970 that Kosonen had run into trouble for
approaching Paul Heideman in Viipuri, apparently after a sermon given by
Heideman. Kosonen asked Heideman whether repentance shouldn’t also be preached
to unbelievers. According to this unverified story, Kosonen was not necessarily
criticizing Heideman, but the manner in which Kosonen approached such an
important figure was viewed as inappropriate. In any case, the specific charges
made against Kosonen at that time remain unknown, and no action was taken
against him in
When I asked my father, Taavetti Pelkonen, in what way Kosonen was wrong, he recalled that the same kind of legal spirit was in Kosonen as in the Reawakening. Matti Pylkäs once told me that, while on a trip with Kosonen, he asked, ‘Oh, when will the dear Heavenly Father manage to cut those horns with which you are now always butting the weak lambs of the Lord Jesus?’ but he remained without an answer.
Kosonen supporters Eino and Hilkka Summa of
Elina Kurki recalls that Kosonen still preached at the local “big services” in Saarenpää in 1935 but that he did not receive an invitation to preach at the 1936 services. He attended the services anyway, and there, when asked unexpectedly to preach with Arvid Tikkala, refused to do so. Kivioja’s letters confirm that by 1936, Kosonen was viewed as being in the same “heresy” as John Pollari, whose doctrine will be discussed later. In his February 6, 1936 letter, for example, Kivoja interrupts a tirade against Ansamaa to say that “Kosonen in Viipuri may also be in the Pollarite heresy.” Also, in a March 15, 1937 letter, writing in defense of the Little Firstborn, he says:
I am of the opinion that now
In a 1971 article, Toini Hyvärinen (nee Teittinen) of Viipuri, who was first a Reawakenist, then a friend of Kosonen, then an SRK supporter, and then a supporter of the Clericalists, before returning to the SRK, writes of her experiences as a friend of Kosonen. She is the writer of the well-known song “On syntini anteeksi suuret” (My sins oh so great are forgiven), which was published in 1935, while she was still a supporter of Kosonen. In her article, she tells of the experiences she had about three years after her conversion from the Reawakening (which occurred in about 1933):
I grew from the praise I received, and God’s grace became cheap to me, as did the love of the children of God. I had landed into the midst of the so-called ‘Kosonenism,’ for a brief time entirely away from the services of the children of God, my heart void of mutual love, which is the most important sign of a child of God, just repeating ‘believe, believe.’ Spiritual blindness had so overtaken me that I did not even know I was blind.
She then tells how Arvo Pellikka of
I still recall how, from his heart and in anxiety over my spiritual condition, he tried to show me by the Word of God that I did not have the same spirit of faith as the other children of God, nor love, in spite of my strong faith.
Later in the summer, Lounasheimo, her “former teacher,” who had repented from the Reawakening at about the same time as she had, met her on the street, saying sternly:
Don’t you see, dear child, the dangerous spiritual condition into which you have lapsed -- into a state void of love for the other children of God and into a faith of the skull. Understand now, dear child! Love is the greatest of all -- faith and even hope will remain behind, but love is eternal, and you have rejected it. Come quickly to services and repent for having despised the precious children of God!
She describes her reaction to these admonitions:
The sword of the Word found its
mark -- God pressured me into obedience and gave me a godly sorrow and power to
beg, in an entirely faulty state, for forgiveness in
Regina Laitinen, for whom Kosonen, as she admits in a 1962 article, was the Gamaliel at whose feet she was raised spiritually, was another who turned against him. She writes:
Kosonen separated himself entirely from the rest of the congregation with only a small group of friends around him. To them he taught -- even if not entirely word for word, he made it sufficiently clear -- that when once repentance has been done, it is sufficient. In grace there is room to always believe boldly. When we lamented our poorness and our doubts, he didn’t care for that, but with a scornful smile he used such a frank illustration that it isn’t appropriate to quote it in this article. Here I would ask: For whom are this and many other parts of the Bible written: ‘Lay aside every weight and sin which always besets us and slows us down’ [Hebrews 12:1, Finnish version]? So it always besets. And Luther urges us to journey in daily penitence and repentance. This is the view of the Bible and Luther on the walk of the child of God. The children of God have endeavored and will continue to endeavor to journey as travelers who lay aside sin and gather the blood of Jesus.
Laitinen also tells how she finally repented during a visit to Viipuri by preachers Valde Suomalainen and Lauri Koukkari:
That evening is etched in my memory as though it were a beautiful painting. The room was so full of children of God that Suomalainen could only stand by the table and there speak the words of God. I stood in the doorway and felt like such an orphan. There I thought: I have lost much when my conscience is without peace and I cannot rejoice in my salvation as those others. Are these God’s free children of Grace those whom I have criticized and watched over for their faults? A heavenly longing and craving grew in my soul, and I didn’t really notice when I started to lament: ‘Beloved children of God, I alone have had such strong eyeglasses that I have watched for your faults and exalted myself as better than others. Now it seems that grace no longer belongs to me because I have touched the apple of God’s eye.’ But no criticism or accusation was heard. No one asked whether I was now really penitent over my actions, but the gospel of boundless and infinite forgiveness echoed over me. I was allowed to press my tormented soul into the bloody wounds of Jesus and believe even such a heavy transgression as this forgiven. . . . At that time, God enlightened the precious nature of his kingdom to my soul so that often I have had to wonder about my own case, that even I can be in this kingdom of grace. Here we are well cared for with the words of counsel, reproof and exhortation, and just as each of us is, we can believe our sins forgiven in the name and blood of Jesus.
Laitinen claims that “the Heavenly Father snatched Kosonen like a firebrand out of the fire.” She explains that Lounasheimo had told her that he had visited Kosonen in his final illness -- in the fall of 1937 -- with only Kosonen’s wife present. At first, Kosonen, “repented of Lounasheimo’s sins” -- that is, he criticized Lounasheimo -- but “under the strong hand of God, the Holy Spirit burned the dross from their hearts.” Finally, with Lounasheimo on his knees, “an accounting was made of one’s own affairs.” Laitinen presumes that Kosonen’s “heresy” was included in his confession on this occasion but asserts that he repented in no uncertain terms somewhat later:
A few days after this visit, [Rieti] Honkavuori and Jussi Suikkari came at the same time, without knowledge of each other -- thus led by God -- to visit Kosonen. When they opened the door, Kosonen’s first question was, ‘Does grace still belong to one like me?’ At that time, repentance from the heresy was also done in clear words.
The allegation of Kosonen’s recantation has been used as a tool to pressure Kosonen’s friends into submission to the SRK doctrine. There is, of course, no reason to assume, even if Kosonen asked for absolution on his deathbed, that he recanted his doctrine and faith. The story, as flimsy as it is, has succeeded, nevertheless, in troubling his friends, at least to some extent. Elina Kurki told this author in about 1970 that she believed that the story was based on false assumptions and spread by Kosonen’s wife, whose faith was basically Reawakenist. Kurki added that a few years previously, while under pressure to repent of Kosonenism, she had seen a vision of Kosonen at God’s right hand. Since then, Kurki had not been troubled over the matter.
There is in the SRK archives a document that purports to be a May 6, 1962 interview of Suikkari by SRK researcher Samuli Pentikäinen. In this interview, Suikkari appears to confirm Laitinen’s story of Kosonen’s deathbed repentance. Suikkari adds, however, that Kosonen repented a day or two before his death in the presence of not only Honkavuori and Suikkari but of none other than Daniel Airas, Kosonen’s loyal friend and brother in faith, who sat red-faced and sullen at the foot of the bed, speaking to neither the visitors nor to Kosonen. This statement is, of course, devastating to Suikkari’s credibility, for if Airas had indeed witnessed such a recantation, the event could not have been doubted by Kosonen’s friends, who would have had to say, in the manner of Ansamaa’s supporters, “Although Kosonen goes, we won’t follow.”
In the late 1950s, it became apparent that L. P. Tapaninen and other ordained ministers held views that differed from those of the lay preachers. For example, the ordained ministers were criticized by the lay preachers for their cooperation with the state church in foreign mission work. The main issue related, however, to baptism. The pastors, influenced by the state church and the Lutheran Confessions, felt that it was wrong to state flatly that unbaptized infants are in a state of grace. They quoted the Ninth Article of the Augsburg Confession: “It is taught among us that baptism is necessary and that grace is offered through it. Children too, should be baptized, for in baptism they are committed to God and become acceptable to him.” Their opponents referred to Christ’s words: “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14) and to the words of David, who says of his child, who had died before the eighth day, that is, before he was circumcised, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (II Samuel 12:23). The pastors would not state flatly that infants who die unbaptized are damned, asserting only that their fate is unknown. They claimed that the doctrine that unbaptized infants are saved is a new doctrine despite the fact that even Laestadius writes:
But since a child already has saving faith before baptism, of which the Saviour himself gives us a reliable assurance [Mark 9:42], the scriptural passages that deal with the child’s faith in the Saviour should also be recited either during or before the baptismal act.
The pastors define the basis of their doctrine in a 1960 document, which states:
This Christianity, in which God, in his grace, under the preaching of the gospel, has given to us the Spirit and life, has endeavored until now to consciously base itself, as far as doctrine is concerned, on that foundation which, based on the written Word of God, has been given us in the Confessions of our church. Attempts have indeed been made from time to time to crush this foundation over the years, but so far they have always been decisively repelled.
The pastors took an inconsistent position, admitting that the Confessions are subject to criticism in the light of the Bible while reacting vehemently to the slightest criticism of them. Their reverence for Lutheran doctrine sometimes surpassed that which they had for the Bible. In a 1962 defense of their doctrine, they write:
Now we are asked whether we are prepared to gratefully preserve the gift that we have in the Lutheran creed, even in the event that it may force us to revise our own views. Around us there are innumerable religious groups that have, as a common principle, a desire to base their doctrine exclusively on the Bible but have found entirely different and mutually conflicting truths in the Bible.
Kullervo Hulkko, though a pastor himself, became a prominent spokesman for the SRK but did not base his position entirely on the Bible any more than did the dissenting pastors. He writes in a 1965 book in defense of the SRK position, in which he explains that Laestadianism inherited its view of baptism from Pietism and Moravianism:
The view of baptism of Laestadius and his disciples, according to documents that have been preserved, is clearly pietistic. Some inconsistency is indeed detectable, but this is not really surprising. Even the baptismal theology of the New Testament is, in a way, inconsistent.
pastors and their supporters, known as Clericalists (pappislaiset), were
systematically expelled in 1960. The names used by the new group that they
formed are “Laestadius-seura” (Laestadius Society) and
“Vanhoillislestadiolaisten pappien veljespiiri” (
The Clericalists tend to oppose the tradition that absolution is valid only when proclaimed by one who has received the Holy Spirit. Those who maintain this tradition cannot support it from the Holy Scriptures, nor can they ever be certain that the absolution they receive is valid, for the spiritual condition of the person who proclaims it is subject to undetected change at any time. This tradition, which is also that of the papists, is contrary to the doctrine of Martin Luther. According to Luther, absolution is unconditional. It is not based on man’s piety or worthiness, neither the father confessor’s nor the recipient’s, but on the Word of God, on which a sinner may safely rely. A contrary position is taken by preacher Ananias Brune, for example, who describes his experiences in the Norwegian state church at the end of the nineteenth century:
Pastor Gjølme was for a time in the habit of asking us, when we wanted to register for communion, ‘Do you believe the forgiveness of sins from my mouth as from God’s mouth?’ Whoever did not reply affirmatively could not go to the altar. He was especially strict with me. It was a Maundy Thursday eve. On Good Friday, I was to travel out to the fishing villages as a telegraph operator and had a great desire to go to Communion before leaving. I had to sit for hours then in the pastor’s office and watch ungodly and unconverted people being registered without any questions. I said that I believe my sins forgiven in the name and blood of Jesus and that whoever has the Holy Spirit has the power to forgive sins. The pastor’s intention was to force me to approve him as a living Christian. Finally, I said that I believe, by the grace of God, my sins forgiven, and so I can also believe it when the pastor says it. This answer was approved, but I had to go to fetch a man to be a witness that I said it.
The SRK position is stated in a 1956 article entitled “Who Has the Power to Forgive Sins?” In this article, Eino Rimpiläinen writes in regard to absolution:
It is no wonder if an awakened soul, in particular, finds himself wondering, ‘From whom will I take it?’ And he finally goes to fetch it where it does not exist. For can anything be obtained from one who does not have anything? By no means! The giver must have, for otherwise he cannot give to another.
SRK defender Antti Kananen even separates the office of the Holy Spirit from the Word of God. He writes in a 1964 article:
The keys have not been given to the individual but to the congregation, as Jesus points out in many places in the Bible. But every child of God has the forgiveness of sin in the name and atoning blood of Jesus, for it is the office of the Spirit, not the Word. The preaching of reconciliation cannot be proclaimed by a person who has not been born of God or come through the door into the house of God.
Kananen’s doctrine, which separates the Spirit from the Word, is clearly refuted by Christ’s own words in many places, such as: “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Also: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13).
Forced to leave Karelia, which was ceded to
the Soviet Union after World War II, many Kosonenians (kososlaiset) settled in
In late 1961, Airas told Niilo Mäki that God does not erase the names of the elect from the book of life regardless of the sins they may commit. Later, he was asked by Pentti Pelkonen, “Does God appoint some to hell and others to Heaven?” Airas answered affirmatively. However, in early 1962, after being admonished by Pelkonen and Mäki, he repented of this answer, which was viewed as Calvinistic, and explained the eighth chapter of Romans in a manner acceptable to the congregation. Some of those who had been offended by his words asked for forgiveness for aggravating matters with their accusations, but Mäki felt that Airas had made an insincere repentance by explaining correctly the point that he and Pelkonen had accused him of teaching incorrectly. At another meeting, Airas again repented, saying that even he had not really believed what he had said initially regarding the point in question. However, absolution was withheld until he would admit that he had not had the Holy Spirit for the last thirty years. When Airas uttered a sound (“hmmm”) that was taken to indicate assent, Pelkonen proclaimed absolution.
Airas now began avoiding the congregation’s
social events, which made Pelkonen conclude that Airas was headed back into
Kosonenism. When Airas was offended, Pelkonen and Mäki viewed this as a
demonstration of lack of love for them and called Saari to
When the congregation met, Mäki and Pelkonen did not discuss their own conditions after all. Mäki detailed all the events connected with Airas and condemned them as products of a false doctrine and spirit. He said that Airas’ repentances had been made in regard to the fruits, not the main matter. During this long explanation, Airas interjected repeatedly that he had already repented and been forgiven for the faults being mentioned. After Pelkonen had spoken in the same vein as Mäki, Airas was given a turn to speak. He asked whether Mäki and Pelkonen had ever repented of their support of Yrjö Liusvaara, the leader of the Helsinki Clericalists. Receiving an affirmative answer, he asked whether it was correct to accuse someone for faults that have been forgiven, explaining that his accusers had thrown Christ’s church law into the wastebasket. He said that Kosonen’s doctrine and faith are correct, that he had differed with him even to the point of disputing on matters in which, in his opinion, Kosonen was at fault but that these faults are common to us all. Saari then criticized Airas’ initial repentance from Kosonenism, which had taken place about a year before, saying that Airas was now defending something of which he had repented, adding that he himself had never defended error from which he had received the grace to repent. Saari also blamed Airas and the late Kalle Liljeberg for the loss of the student hostel (ylioppilaskoti) to the Clericalists. Airas said that there have always been differences on Bible passages, even among preachers, but that previously those who understood differently were not accused of false doctrine. As examples of such issues, he mentioned the presence of the Holy Spirit in the disciples before Pentecost and the question of whether David lost the Holy Spirit. Saari then described David’s sins as so ugly and gross that the Holy Spirit could not live in such a person. He explained that David had prayed that God would create in him a new spirit, regarding which he then prayed that it not be taken away (Psalms 51:10,11). To Airas’ question as to whether he thinks that the Holy Spirit will leave if someone happens to “tilt a liquor bottle,” Saari replied that it will.
After the meeting, Airas sought forgiveness,
but a precondition was set that he would first have to deny his former faith
and confess that he had never even been born into the
Eino Vaherjoki was then called from
In the frantic drive to eliminate Kosonenism, even some who did not consider themselves such were forced to repent. For example, Heikki Ruikka of Muhos writes in Päivämies in 1964:
The issue of the so-called Kosonenism and my involvement in it, which was taken up at the Joensuu meeting of preachers and elders, came as a great surprise to me, and so I couldn’t even immediately recall all the points involved in the matter though I understood that repentance from Kosonenism was expected of me. I couldn’t directly repent because, in my opinion, I have never approved of false doctrine. Therefore, my repentance turned out as clumsy as it did. . . . Now I indeed recall that in some ‘discussions’ I found myself defending Kosonenians because I have considered them believers. I haven’t understood this matter previously as I do now since they have been confronted. And since I have thus found myself implicated in Kosonenism, I ask forgiveness for it from God’s congregation.
By early 1965, the names of those who were
“disobedient to the
Over the years, minor groups also emerged
Finally, in 1977, under the leadership of Paavo
Sillanpää, a large number of disgruntled and expelled individuals, known as
“sillanpääläiset,” accusing the SRK of self-righteousness and legalism, formed
their own association, the Suomen Vanhoillislestadiolainen Rauhanyhdistys
(Finnish Conservative Laestadian Association of Peace). The “näppäläiset” and “töröläläiset” (a
One winter, in the mid-1870s, Olli Koskamo
of Kittilä preached in Vadsø while local preachers Kalle Huru (also known by
the surname Neljäskunta) and Jaakko Björnström were on a trip to
In Vadsø there was on one side a good deal of legalism in some of the Christians, and on the other side there were those who wanted to use Christ’s liberty as an occasion to the flesh, for carnal liberty. With patience and forbearance, with instruction, admonition and exhortation, such situations are eventually corrected. When Koskamo came and found things much different from what he had seen in his travels with Raattamaa, he acted as the great and powerful man who would straighten everything out at once in his own way. The legalists were the ones who were mainly affected, and they, of course, took the defensive, and a conflict arose. The simple and childlike Christians also had to distance themselves from his conduct. When Huru and Björnström returned, to their great sorrow they found the congregation in conflict and confusion. Most held fast to the old, but some had attached themselves to the new light that they thought had come.
Before the end of the decade, Paulus Palovaara
To the surprise and dismay of Huru’s
supporters, Koskamo and Palovaara received the full support of the elders. The
same year, Erkki Antti, in a stern letter to
And I will also ask you, Kalle Neljäskunta, Where did you, dear brother, get that spiritual authority, though you aren’t known to me by face or by heart -- even if you are from the Tornio valley -- and you do not agree with men like Olli Koskamo and Helander, Paulus and others, who have received the pure gospel through the laying on of hands of the elders?
In December of 1885, Huru went with a delegation from Vadsø to meet with the elders in Swedish Lapland. The support of the elders for Koskamo and Palovaara then waned to some extent, and relations between the two men deteriorated. According to Brune, the same men who had denied Palovaara use of the meetinghouse now arranged to have him preach again so that he could castigate Koskamo. In the winter of 1886-87, Palovaara preached, therefore, almost daily in the meetinghouse for six weeks. During this period, he raged against others and magnified himself. One Sunday, however, Huru preached the gospel in the meetinghouse, and, as Brune writes, “hearts were comforted, and there was joy and gladness, and praise and thanks were offered to God.” According to Brune, Palovaara, who arrived late, was heard to say that six weeks of work were wasted because he had overslept. The listeners now had enough of Palovaara, and those who had previously denied him use of the building did so again.
In the fall of 1887, a reconciliation occurred. Huru and Koskamo asked for mutual forgiveness, as did their supporters. The reconciliation, which also included Palovaara, was reported to the elders, who were pleased and sent Abram Tapani and Aapo Hietanen to Vadsø, where they preached the following year. Brune tells what happened next:
In order to maintain peace, we agreed to sign a letter in which it was said, among other things, that the letters of ‘the firstborn elders’ are to be held in the same esteem as the rest of God’s Word, even placed alongside the Scriptures. This indeed was and is excessive, but in Acts 15 we see that the apostles also agree to a letter in which the eating of things strangled and blood is set alongside fornication. They did this in order to avoid a schism. We also wanted to do all we could to effect unity. Even if full unity was not achieved, now it was at least more tranquil.
In spite of these efforts, Palovaara began holding his own separate meetings in March of 1889, and Koskamo began doing the same in January of 1892, though the latter also preached subsequently in the meetinghouse as well. By this time, the split between Palovaara and Koskamo was also complete.
In 1894, Lapp preacher Antin Pieti arrived
on a preaching tour in
The elders now sent Johan Sirkanmaa, who arrived in Vadsø in February of 1895 with a letter from Raattamaa, Erkki Antti and Pastor Laitinen, highly recommending him and asking him to take Koskamo, Huru and others as partners. However, Koskamo and Huru were away, and Sirkanmaa preached without them once or twice in the meetinghouse in Vadsø. He preached in a humble spirit, but then Koskamo arrived and preached with him one evening, after which Koskamo returned to Tana, where he lived, taking Sirkanmaa with him. Sirkanmaa spent a week there with Koskamo, after which he was entirely changed and approved of Koskamo without listening at all to the others.
Brune also writes that Huru and many others understood the congregation of the firstborn, mentioned in Hebrews 12:23, to mean the Old Testament believers mentioned in chapter 11 of the same epistle, while Koskamo and Sirkanmaa took it to mean the congregation that had been born with travail in Swedish Lapland. When the issue was discussed in a committee of 12 men from each side, which had been established to examine the differences, “Huru humbled himself so far for the sake of peace as to ask for forgiveness.” According to Brune, “he was not actually asking for forgiveness for his understanding but only for having argued about it.”
Soon the men who had closed the
meetinghouse to Palovaara did so to Koskamo and Sirkanmaa as well, and Antin
Pieti, preaching again in
After Raattamaa’s death in 1899, Palovaara and his followers joined forces with the Firstborn, but Koskamo, who would not submit to the leadership in Gällivare, was rejected by them.
Huru died in 1905, the year Erik Johnsen of
Gradually, there appeared certain strange understandings with which we could not agree since we did not find them to agree with God’s Word. These understandings were then made into a dividing wall in Christianity. Those who do not understand thus are shut out. Their ugly statements about unbaptized infants and condemnation of infants who die without baptism were particularly offensive.
By about 1910, Johnsen’s supporters were separate from the other groups. According to Dagmar Sivertsen’s history, Johnsen has accused the other groups, including Brune’s, of teaching that confession “purifies” the heart. Sivertsen describes Johnsen’s view of confession, as expressed in his sermons:
He found that when ‘Peter preached in the house of Cornelius, he did not give these heathen any command to confess their sins, but when he preached of the forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus, the Holy Spirit came upon them.’ From this, Erik Johnsen concluded that the confession of sin is not to be set as a demand, because if it is set as a demand or if any significance is placed on confession for salvation, everything will become work-righteousness and self-righteousness.
Reawakenist preachers Juho Pyörre and Matti
Junttila arrived from
By the mid-1980s, these Laestadians were arguing over the the right to remarry after divorce and the age of the world. In 1987, the leadership decided that both opinions could coexist as long as the modern views were held only privately. However, a grass-roots rebellion ensued against this position, and by 1992, a split resulted in the emergence of two separate groups. The Fundamentalists (fundamentalistene or fundaene), led by Knut Evanger, take Moses’ account of creation literally and forbid the remarriage of divorced persons. The Liberals (liberale), under Andreas Esbensen, allow Moses’ days of creation to be interpreted as eras and permit remarriage by the innocent party in a divorce. The formal name used by the Fundamentalists is “Den luthersk-læstadianske menighet, Lyngen-retningen” (The Lutheran-Laestadian Congregation, Lyngen Group). The Liberals have retained the group’s original name, “Den luthersk-læstadianske menighet” (The Lutheran-Laestadian Congregation), and continue to publish Under Vandringen.
A number of small groups have split away from the Fundamentalists, claiming that the position on divorce has not been consistent. Remarried persons, according to them, should be told to divorce their current spouses and remarry their former ones. They also insist on women wearing scarves. One group in Kvænangen, which broke away from the Fundamentalists in 1998, is known as “De kvite engler” (The White Angels). This splinter group has also broken relations with the state church because of its ritualism and false doctrine. In Kåfjord there is another group that separated from the Fundamentalists, and in Ramfjord there are actually three or four groups as the result of an earlier local schism.
In 1910, a reconciliation of sorts occurred
between Koskamo and the supporters of Huru and Brune. Koskamo asked for
forgiveness and promised to maintain peace, and then joint services were held
in the two meetinghouses. Thus, in the winter of 1913-14, when Hjalmar Vanhala
arrived in Vadsø on a visit from
It was known that he had lived in open works of the flesh, and there was no true repentance. He would confess something to one and deny it to another, and he asked publicly for forgiveness only for weaknesses. In spite of everything, there were some who considered him the light and did not want to believe anything bad about him. We who wanted to walk in the truth had to dissociate ourselves from this. We had to part company with those who now received Vanhala.
Koskamo and Vanhala preached together for awhile but eventually, Brune says, they argued about the funds that they had collected. When they parted company, Koskamo found that he had lost most of his supporters, and now he and his followers had no trouble seeing Vanhala’s sins. Brune writes:
We, who for a time had tried to be together with them in the new meetinghouse, were now excluded for awhile from both buildings. In the new one, they approved of Vanhala, and we could not go along with this. In the old one, Erik Johnsen had such great power that he got us shut out from it.
When Vanhala, a strong opponent of the Firstborn, died in 1921, his followers in Vadsø, under Karl Sirkka, invited Firstborn elders Björkman and Parakka to preach, which they did the same year. Most of Vanhala’s followers then followed their new leader into the Firstborn group.
In view of the broad-minded approach that
Huru and Brune took in the disputes, even placing the Word of God on the same
level with the words of the elders, it is not surprising that Brune joined
forces with the Little Firstborn. His group is known as the Alta Group because
of its close association with the Laestadians in
In his 1920 history, Pollari mentions a new
dispute involving three ministers in
However, now among us ‘evangelicals,’ as we are called, a new dispute has emerged, which became evident at the convention in New York Mills, for three preachers took a position from which they accuse both sides. They do not approve the evangelical side, nor do they support the others in their convention affairs. But from this middle party, a totally legalist doctrine has developed, as did from the others, and they go about with the same accusations, trying to overthrow the gospel in the manner of the previous legalists, for they sharply condemn this gospel as carnal and say that it gives birth to carnal Christians.
Although Pollari does not mention the names of these men, there is a tradition among the Evangelicals that two of them were Kalle Daniels and Israel Hagel. Saarnivaara mentions these men in similar contexts, adding the name of Abel Johnson and sometimes that of Heikki Martinmäki and others.
Heideman, who was ordained in
Paul Heideman then made a trip to
On his return [to
Gust Latvala, an Evangelical, replied, in a
newspaper article, to the criticism of liikutuksia
that he heard during the services in
During these services, I heard criticism of liikutuksia, that the preachers incite joy or liikutuksia among the people and that this is not right. I have heard it said even previously that at services people tap their feet and jump in anger together with other blasphemous speech against the liikutuksia of the children of God. Here I will point out some places in the Bible in regard to these matters: Exodus 15:20; II Samuel 6:16,21; Job 38:7; Jeremiah 31:12,13,14; Psalm 47:1; Psalm 149; Matthew 5:12; Luke 19:37-40; Acts 2:3 and 3:8. The aforementioned passages speak of the praises of the children of God. Therefore, I urge you, if you read these lines, to also read the Holy Book so that the Bible would not remain just as a decoration for your home, on some shelf or table. And you, vain man, who are weighed in the balances and are found entirely wanting, you speak blasphemies against the liikutuksia of the Holy Spirit, and you who thus criticize, whether you are a listener or pastor, parson, vicar or bishop, will find your judgment in Hebrews 10:29.
When Jussila and Heideman returned to
The Evangelicals were accused of rejecting
confession and of having a spirit of carnality. In a March 21, 1921 letter,
written during his return to
It is not divine light when someone -- even an angel from Heaven (Gal. 1:8) -- brings something that is supposed to be brighter, which the congregation that has received the Holy Spirit lacks. The spirit of ‘new brightness’ has never stooped to wash the feet of the guilty after the example of our Lord and Master, for the lesson of foot washing is still as strange to the spirit of carnal self-exaltation as it was incomprehensible to Peter and the other disciples who were still uncircumcised in heart.
Similar accusations appeared in a 1927 article of Matti Suo in the Heidemanian mouthpiece Rauhan Tervehdys:
Do those who walk after the flesh really have a free conscience, as they boast? Far from it! For whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin (John 8:34). Even if the mouth is full of faith, yet the heart is empty and the conscience full of unrest, which they have to try to satisfy with that honey-sweet doctrine of carnal liberty, explaining that this rebuking by God in the conscience is the devil’s work, which one doesn’t have to be concerned with -- just believe up and down the dung heap without any concern for any counsels or warnings, though the conscience is afflicted with the wounds of death. That is, if it isn’t already entirely hardened in its fleshly mind.
At the end of the article, Suo makes it clear that he does not believe that faith, without confession, is sufficient for salvation. He writes in regard to the “old man”:
Therefore, he has to be dragged to the cross so that he can’t bear fruit unto death. However, if the devil has, in spite of this, inflicted wounds in the war, they won’t heal by watching over them, by hiding them, or by believing over them, but by rushing to the fountain and appearing on the stage just as you are, believing without doubt the forgiveness of sins in the precious blood of the Lamb.
One question that is often pondered is whether Paul Heideman was fully supported by his father. As Saarnivaara points out, Evangelicals sometimes quote what Arthur Heideman is reported to have said in regard to his wife and son: “Paul [Paavo] and Mamma have a new cap but I have the old one.” However, too much should not be deduced from the occasional terse remarks of a man who is said to have avoided arguments. Furthermore, not all Evangelicals interpret his remarks in the same light. For example, when this author asked preacher Antti Koskela for his opinion of Heideman in 1968, he replied that he had reliable information on the matter. He explained that he had been present on a certain occasion when Pekka Raattamaa was complaining about the situation in Calumet to the older Heideman, saying, for example, that “there was only clay earth there,” Heideman replied lamentingly, “Poor Peter, poor Peter” (Pekka parka, Pekka parka). Asked in 1968 to interpret these words, Koskela replied, “Previously Pekka was a precious brother in faith; now he was only poor Peter.”
Pollari, in a December 22, 1941 letter to Saarnivaara, defends himself and tells how the Evangelicals, who are also known as Pollarites, differ from the other groups:
But now I will tell where we differ from the Heidemanians, Federationists, Reawakenists and Old Firstborn: In all of them there appears compulsory confession, for I was of one opinion with [Arthur] Heideman many decades, and we struggled against legalism, and God effected awakenings at that time. Thus many dozens came into faith each winter when we were in the Copper Country, and the sounds of joy and rejoicing were heard from the tabernacles of the righteous. But then, when Pastor Jussila came, he and [Paul] Heideman brought a better doctrine, and all the legalists approved their doctrine, and we were condemned as heretics -- and when we did not submit to this, it caused the schism, which still exists. We are accused of being rejectors of confession and of having a doctrine of carnal liberty, and there are many other accusations that are not true, but we indeed accuse the others of having compulsory confession and of using the apostolic counsels to bind people to the law.
Pollari also writes in an April 2, 1942 letter to Saarnivaara:
I have never opposed scriptural confession but only compulsory confession. My understanding is that the devil accuses one with old sins and oppresses one with them, as Luther also understands. But all the Laestadian groups say that this is the Holy Spirit. Isn’t there a big difference when they demand obedience to the Holy Spirit even though they themselves are not obedient? For they say and do not and lay heavy burdens on people’s shoulders [Matthew 23:3,4]. They indeed shout that we oppose confession of sin and the asking of forgiveness and that we reject the teachings and counsels for believers, which is not true. A person is so slow to confess that it doesn’t need to be forbidden, but neither must it be demanded. If it is left free to each person, no dispute will occur.
Pollari asks in the same letter, “Why do the Heidemanians close the churches to us, although I am in the same doctrine as before, when we were together?” Saarnivaara agrees:
Pollari’s presentation is true from the standpoint of his group. Pollarism did not emerge in 1920-21 by the ‘concocting’ of a new doctrine. This doctrine of the ‘evangelical’ group was the original doctrine of Heidemanism. Finding itself separated, it just preserved the doctrine that Heideman had taught for a long time already with Pollari and his other friends.
Saarnivaara also admits that there are no real differences in the doctrine of justification of the groups opposed to the Evangelicals. He writes, for example:
The actual doctrine of salvation is the same in Firstbornism and Conservatism, for both belonged originally to the ‘firstborn congregation’ led by Raattamaa. In Firstbornism, however, confession [rippi], the confessing of sins to some Christian person and also before the congregation, is sometimes stressed more than in Conservatism.
In a November 8, 1945 letter to Saarnivaara, Evangelical preacher Matt Reed also writes of confession:
Preacher Pollari began to oppose confession in the form that some were demanding it, namely, that when sins that have been committed are enumerated, the conscience is purged. We do not oppose confession of sin itself (nor private confession either) but only the understanding that it is a purging of the conscience . . . , but the conscience is purged only by the blood of the Son of God claimed by faith, which cleanses from all sins. This, therefore, is the work of God, and let it alone be glorified, but when that work of confessing became more precious, there also came a demanding spirit, and with the demanding spirit a condemning spirit. Many have made confession to me (not that I would have demanded it but of free will, and I have granted forgiveness). We understand that the law contains an unconditional command and prohibition, and if we place confession of sin behind a command or prohibition, we are faced with legal spirituality. . . . I have spoken with some who understand confession of sin as repentance, but repentance is to cease from the former life, whether it was false worship of God or overt commission of sin, for both are the result of unbelief, and then, on this journey, to stand against the devil on both the right and left, armed in faith with the weapons of God.
By 1972, the Heidemanians, who are known
formally by the names Apostolic Lutheran Mission and First Apostolic Lutheran
Congregation, found themselves at odds with the SRK, which accused them of “carnal leniency” and expelled them from fellowship.
A minority in
In doctrine, in its main features, even among those who did the expelling, perhaps no particularly radical changes have occurred, but the spirit has acquired a tone based on legalistic zeal. And, of course, it is self-evident that the spirit of the law also effects legalistic change in doctrine. But as for those who have been expelled, they have the same doctrine and Spirit as before. Sin is considered sin, from which one endeavors to struggle to repentance, and the sins of the penitent are forgiven in the name and blood of Jesus.
Isaac Lamppa, a gifted and popular
Evangelical preacher, eventually adopted a doctrine that was similar, if not
identical, to that of the Heidemanians. A 1933 letter from a Heidemanian in northern
By 1934, it became evident that there was
another kind of trouble among the Evangelicals, for some were rejecting the
apostolic instructions regarding conduct, as had been charged by the legalists.
Pressure was first applied against Victor Mäki of
Hirelings are not appointed to chasten and teach the children of this house, for the children of this house are taught and chastened by the master of the house himself, and it would indeed be senseless if an earthly father, who has chastened us on rare days as he was minded, were to now appoint a stranger to whip his children. Neither does the father view it as fitting that the children chasten one another.
Koskela’s opponents eventually charged that he condoned sin, and his supporters charged, in turn, that Pollari’s group had adopted a legalist doctrine, and some even said that Pollari’s sermons gave birth to devils. In an April 2, 1942 letter to Saarnivaara, Pollari writes in regard to the negative view of Koskela’s followers with regard to the apostolic counsels and exhortations:
I agree that in our group a negative position has appeared in a few here and there, but we are in disagreement with them. There are some preachers who support them. Some of them use such blatant carnal liberty that everyone may live as he lists; as long as you believe, you will be saved. These indeed do not tolerate the counsels of the apostles but consider them law. These are those antinomians, who take the gospel as a cloak for evil. But from this you can see that we have a pure scriptural doctrine when such people appear. They appeared already in the time of the apostles and Luther. Nothing like this can appear in legalist Christianity. Luther says that if we cover the gospel because of the hypocrites, the poor will die of hunger.
This dispute began to cause division as early as 1934, but it took several years -- as much as a decade in some localities -- for the schism to be complete. Preachers who sided with Pollari were Sam Kovala, Arthur Romberg, Alex Pesonen Sr., Walter Isaacs (also known as Kuoppa-Valteri), Matt Reed, Gust Juola and others. Preachers on Koskela’s side included Johan Taivalmaa, Ivar Luoma, Kalle Luoma (a brother of Ivar) and Antti Leskinen. Songwriter Senja Efraimson and Elma K. Anderson, a well-known translator of songs, also supported Koskela.
In 1950, Arthur Romberg (son of Johan
My letter in Valvoja caused sermons to be given in which it is said that not a single soul will be saved, even if he confesses faith in Jesus, unless a shift occurs into our congregation before death, which is an understanding that I can by no means accept. . . . Outward affiliation, even with our congregation, does not justify. One has to be translated into that kingdom that is spiritual, which is not meat and drink but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
In the same letter, he mentions that he has a son who supports the Federationists but who has as a foundation of his faith only “Jesus Christ and what he has done.” Before his death in 1956, Romberg preached in the Federationist church in Hancock but was not fully accepted because of his past association with the Evangelicals.
In the early 1950s, Dr. A. Benhart (Ben) Salmela, a native of the Iron Range who was respected as a scholar in secular matters but with minimal understanding of the Bible, began delivering very simple but emotionally charged sermons, which, in contrast with Romberg’s, stressed the uniqueness and exclusiveness of the Evangelicals, known formally as Independent or Finnish Apostolic Lutherans. Some of Salmela’s sermons also discouraged Bible reading. In one sermon, for example, he added a sarcastic twist to Christ’s words in John 5:39:
For they use and study the Bible, but they read it to their own condemnation. If they would believe, then they would have eternal life. In many places it says: Search the scriptures, for in them ye think there is eternal life, but they are only they which testify of me.
In regard to explaining the Bible, Salmela took a position similar to that of the Reawakenists. He said in a 1954 sermon:
People always say this, that the Bible has to be explained. The Bible doesn’t have to be explained when you believe it. If you just believe by the power of God, the Bible is entirely clear. It doesn’t have to be explained.
The doctrine that it is “wrong” to study or explain the Bible now began to be heard among the Evangelicals, but the preachers continued to teach the old doctrine of justification for several years.
In 1962, a dispute erupted over whether a
church should be built in
The opposition, charging Reed with
legalism, now chose Aunes Salmela of
In late 1963, an attempt was made at
achieving a reconciliation. It was said that the congregation in Marengo,
In spite of Reed’s sermons on love and good works, his followers displayed deep resentment against their former brethren. The Aunesites were denied use of the churches over which the Reedites (riitinmattilaiset) gained control, even though the Aunesites shared the churches in which they were in the majority. Reed’s followers were also instructed not to greet the others with the greeting “Jumalan terve.” Such steps were taken even though the Evangelicals had taken issue with the Heidemanians for closing the churches to them and refusing to greet them. Sermons given by preachers who emerged later among the Reedites leave no doubt about the pelagianism that infects their doctrine of justification. A 1975 sermon of Otto Hietala is typical:
These two commandments were left us by Jesus Christ. He fulfilled all the other demands and commandments of God, but he left us two commandments: Believe on him, on Jesus Christ, and love one another.
By the early 1980s the number of preachers
in this group had grown considerably. No major doctrinal issues existed, but a
pruning was, in any case, necessary.
About half a dozen men were eventually eliminated as preachers, most of
whom accepted the decision graciously, but Elden Ollanketo of Marengo,
Signs of fanaticism appeared from the beginning among the Aunesites. David Salmela, a nephew of Aunes, stressed in his sermons that the Bible is only ink and paper and claimed that the unrecorded words of Christ are revealed by the Holy Spirit, which he identified with the new man. Melvin Hanka taught that one who is truly converted can never fall away, a doctrine not shared by all Aunesites. Hanka exposes the fanatical basis of his doctrine in a 1964 letter:
They that believe the Word of God
are comforted by it and their faith is strengthened, and they have this
assurance in their hearts that they please God. Because by believing we have received
the gift of the Holy Ghost, which reports to us all the things that Jesus has
done and said. By the Holy Spirit we have this assurance, for God comforts us
through it, ‘by the effectual working of his power,’ as Apostle Paul says. The
Eventually these preachers began stressing the Spirit over the Word to the extent that their doctrine began to resemble that of the Kautokeino faction. Thus, by the early 1970s, “Spirit, Spirit, Spirit” was almost all that was heard. It was claimed that the Spirit made them infallible and that anyone who dared oppose them blasphemed the Holy Ghost. Preacher Helmer Hanka, a brother of Melvin, asserted in a 1973 sermon that the teaching of children is “all in vain” because the word “deadeneth.” Therefore, his confirmation classes were devoted mainly to songs and liikutuksia. The infantile and often incoherent sermons of the Aunesites did not even relate much to the text, the main aspect of the services being the loud singing and powerful “rejoicing,” which were sufficient proof for the participants of the correctness of their doctrine.
By the late 1970s, it became evident that
there was dissatisfaction with this state of affairs, particularly with the ban
on teaching children. Finally, William Jouppi of Marengo, a strong advocate of
teaching, was invited to preach in
Despite Jouppi’s emphasis on teaching, his group is no better informed on basic Christian doctrine than are the others. His group has retained its disparagement of the Bible, even if it is more subdued than in the other two groups. An old catchword is still heard even in Jouppi’s group: “The world has the Word, but we have the Spirit.” All three groups have the same doctrine of justification, which is well documented in a 1982 sermon of Aunes Salmela in which he says -- in sharp contrast to Hietala’s words quoted above:
There are ten commandments, but there is one commandment which the Bible says -- that you must believe! There is one commandment you cannot get by -- you must believe!
The groups are divided mainly by their views on whether it is right to judge others. Jouppi’s group opposes all judging. The other two groups feel, however, that it is their right and duty to judge others, but Melvin Hanka feels that the Davidites have taken the doctrine of judging to an extreme, wanting to be “top-dog” judges. Although the Davidites have accused Melvin Hanka of trying to negotiate with the main group, two of their own preachers, Howard Ihme and Hugo Hanka (a brother of Melvin and Helmer), eventually defected to Jouppi’s group, where, surprisingly, they were allowed to preach again. By the 1990s, the two smaller groups had fossilized into insignificant cults. In the majority group, the zeal of the older preachers has subsided and the brief sermons of the younger preachers are void of any real substance.
Laestadius preached mainly law. Raattamaa, on the other hand, preached mostly gospel.
Both Laestadius and Raattamaa preached full law and full gospel.
Raattamaa’s second wife falsified his letters when he became old and blind.
Raattamaa’s second wife wrote in full accord with Raattamaa's intention.
When Raattamaa died, the spiritual government remained in Lannavaara, where August Lundberg was the elder.
Raattamaa disavowed the "light of the south," which shined from Lannavaara.
Raattamaa rebuked Joonas Purnu at the 1897 Lannavaara meeting. No laying on of hands occurred.
Raattamaa left the spiritual government to Joonas Purnu by a public laying on of hands in Lannavaara in 1897. Instead of rebukes, Joonas received the elder's blessing in the highest measure.
Joonas Purnu has had whores in the villages.
Joonas Purnu has not had whores anywhere.
The origin of the rules in regard to work areas, by which only specific preachers have been allowed to travel and preach, is evil.
The rules in regard to work areas, by which only specific preachers have been allowed to travel and preach are of the wisdom of God.
· The Holy Spirit does not tolerate any such rules.
· The Holy Spirit has revealed the need for these rules.
· These rules conflict with Christian love. All are to have permission to call any preacher at all to preach in their localities.
· These rules do not conflict with Christian love. Unfamiliar preachers may be called upon only via those preachers whose work area is in question.
· These rules hinder God's work among men.
· These restrictions prevent opportunists (Korpela and others) from corrupting God's congregation.
· Unfamiliar preachers draw more listeners together, and God's work advances better.
· Unfamiliar preachers do not know the Christian in heart, and, therefore, they can do damage even unintentionally.
The sermons of Laestadius are not suitable for our time. They are inappropriate for use at meetings.
The sermons of Laestadius are best suited for our time. It is essential that they be used at meetings.
Laestadius was just a human being. There are shortcomings and weaknesses in his sermons. It is not necessary to take all passages seriously.
Laestadius was the seventh angel (Rev. 10:7). Every word he preached after 1844 is by the Holy Spirit. Every word is God's Word and is to be taken seriously.
Setting an outward example is just self-righteousness. It is the fruit of bondage of the law.
Setting an outward example is part of sanctification. It is the fruit of living faith.
The songs of
Raattamaa called the songs of
Music belongs in the New Testament congregation.
The Son of God has left all
David's instruments on
Erkki Antti Antinpoika was a bright star to the end. He had much greater spiritual wisdom than Joonas Purnu, and he left, as a legacy, work areas that testify of doctrinal purity. Finally, he joined the heavenly light of Lannavaara.
Erkki Antti Antinpoika was a dim star in his old age. He never had as great wisdom as Joonas Purnu, and he left, as a legacy, work areas in which the fruit of full heresy flourishes. Finally, he joined the "light of the south" in Lannavaara.
P. O. Grape promoted pure doctrine and was an orthodox Laestadian.
P. O. Grape fought against pure doctrine and was an orthodox pastor of dead faith.
Aatu Laitinen was born again and
remained in the original Laestadian doctrine until the end. He has left, as a
legacy, devotional books that are appropriate for use. Aatu Laitinen is
justifiably called “
Aatu Laitinen was born again but
soon fell from the state of grace. He opposed Raattamaa, and as a result, he
did penance and repentance from the Laestadian heresy before the Bishop of
Kuopio. His devotional books are inappropriate for use. Aatu Laitinen is not
justifiably called a Laestadian after his trip to
The old tradition is promoted by always concocting new lies.
The old tradition is promoted by constantly gathering crumbs from that first Christianity.
On March 11, 1897, the following lay preachers were gathered in Vittangi, at the Nikukka meetinghouse, explaining the Word of God: Johan Raattamaa, Erik Anders Andersson, Isak Poromaa, Per Persson Nutti and Joonas Purnu, all of whom had been selected as preachers already in the time of L. L. Laestadius. Certain new preachers were also gathered there: Samuel Erikson of Vettasjärvi, Isak Kuoksu and others. When Johan Raattamaa had given the first sermon, Schoolmaster August Lundberg, who had been selected by the congregation to present the following questions, said after an appropriate introduction: “Since strange news has been heard here, this congregation has asked me to publicly ask you, Elder Raattamaa, whether in your opinion Pastor Laitinen and Pastor Grape are true Christians.”
Johan Raattamaa’s answer: “Pastor Laitinen and Pastor Grape are definitely true Christians, who have come through the true door and are precious workers in God’s vineyard.”
Question: “Erik Anders Andersson, what is your understanding?”
Answer: “I was at the meeting where Pastor Grape started following Jesus, and I know that since then he has remained in the truth through precious struggle.”
Question: “Isak Poromaa, what is your understanding?”
Answer: “I am by all means of the same opinion as the aforementioned brothers.”
Question: “Antin Pieti has from the beginning been with Pastor Laestadius and has since then been a faithful worker. What is your understanding of this?”
Answer: “I have known Laitinen from the beginning, and I know that he has correctly undertaken the journey and that he is a precious brother in Christ and is surely acceptable as a preacher of God’s Word.”
Question: “Elder Joonas Purnu, what is your understanding of this?”
Answer: “I have definitely always considered Laitinen a precious brother and have defended him
everywhere, for a man who has undertaken the journey in this way will also surely be saved.”
Question: “Has Brother Laitinen changed since he came into the congregation of the firstborn?”
Antin Pieti replied in this regard that during severe persecution Laitinen did not dare rebuke the world as boldly as before but that since then he has repented of this and is now as much in the truth as before. All agreed with this, but Joonas Purnu added that he considered it inappropriate that Laitinen asked for forgiveness in Lannavaara, at the school dedication, for his fanaticism. A man as precious as Laitinen could not have had any fanaticism.
The questioner remarked in this regard that
Elder Raattamaa has in love rebuked Laitinen for a few rash words in writing,
and since he himself became convicted in conscience in regard to the truth of
the matter, he asked for forgiveness not only then but also afterward in Siionin Sanomat, which was not a fault
but an exceptionally praiseworthy matter, for it showed that he wants to remain
steadfast in the doctrine of the Bible and to be submissive to the older Christians.
He did not, in the manner of some others, conceal his errors and was, as Luther
Isak Kuoksu pointed out that it was a fault that Laitinen wrote that it is not permissible to preach the forgiveness of sins to all within the walls. To this the questioner remarked that Brother Kuoksu is a poor fisherman if he salts good and rotten fish in the same crock. Peter did not testify forgiveness to Simon the sorcerer but said, “Thou hast neither part nor lot in this word, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God” [Acts 8:21]. We must correctly divide the Word of God, proclaiming to the penitent, grace and the forgiveness of sins, but to the impenitent, God’s judgment and punishment until they repent. The expression “forgiveness of sins to all within the walls” is not found in the Bible. Neither is this expression found in Laestadius’ postil, nor is it found in his written sermons. In the house of Cornelius only penitent persons were present. Since no one uttered anything further in response, the questioner presented another question:
“Since this congregation has understood that Elder Joonas Purnu, in his sermon yesterday evening, referred to Laitinen in speaking of the Finnish lad who allegedly does not care at all about the congregation of the firstborn, was this your intention?”
Answer: “I could by no means have referred to such a precious man because from my heart I love Laitinen, and everywhere I urge people to consider him a precious man.”
Question: “Pastor Laestadius has urged people to attend church and to pray there. If the sermon is unacceptable, at least the minister reads the Word of God, and Elder Raattamaa has always diligently attended church whenever the opportunity has arisen. Is this so?”
All then testified this as true and also said unanimously that they thus teach and urge their listeners. All considered it precious that worship services are held and that people can gather in the house of God to pray. Here ended the questions, and the questioner reminded the listeners that here one has spoken before God and his congregation. In the fifth chapter of Acts we see in the case of Ananias how dangerous it is to lie to the Holy Ghost. Therefore, it would be best, if the brothers are deficient in some regard in these matters, anyone conscious of fault should here publicly confess and ask for forgiveness. Since Joonas Purnu replied that there is nothing of the sort, the discussion ended. Erik Anders Andersson explained the sixth chapter of Ephesians with great competence.
Dear Brother in the Lord,
The grace of God, the love of Jesus and the
fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you and us now and forever. Amen! I will
now write a few lines from love in reply to your letter, which I have
gratefully received, which I have also, dear Brother, also hoped for in my
thoughts many times. By grace, I have been in health in both body and soul,
and, together with you, I am believing my sinfulness forgiven in that name and
in that blood that flowed on
The trip down south was so long that I
really deteriorated physically, but it was a precious trip. Many became
Christians there, and there is also burning love among the Christians. And it
was also really due to the providence of God that I was conveyed to Haparanda
while that swarm of Finnish gnats came from Kittilä to Haparanda, heading
south, for since they themselves have not been able to believe to the point of
freedom, they think the Christians in the Tornio area are sleeping, the wise
with the foolish. So they hovered like a swarm of gnats on a summer evening
behind the window. They neither rose up to heaven nor fell to the earth. May
the dear Father have mercy on them too, who think they are teachers of babes
and instructors of the ignorant and that they have the form and knowledge of
the truth in the law [Romans 2:19-20], but, in spite of this, they themselves
do not understand the spiritual nature of the law. They themselves break the
law daily. Neither are they judged by the law, for they do not know the law.
There are also many voices in the world, as the Apostle noted already in his
time [I Corinthians 14:10]. Indeed, voices are heard today as well. “But if the
trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle” [I
Corinthians 14:8]? By no means do we intend, dear Brother, to become
whore-Christians, that is, to start living for Moses and at the same time for
Christ. It pays for him to obtain a pure virgin, for he alone has, after all,
purchased a pure virgin and has purified her with his precious blood. He is
worthy to obtain her in entirety, and we would even give a better one if we had
such, and this is, my beloved, our only consideration: that we would live in a
manner pleasing to our eternal Lover and love one another. Here is that new
commandment, which our King has given us. And if we could remain close to
Gethsemane and the hill of victory of
Be free, o flock purchased for freedom in
September 1, 1900
Dear Brother in the Lord, Nils Jönsson,
May grace, mercy and peace grow and be multiplied to you and to us now and forever. I have received a letter from you for which I thank you. I have also received many letters from there in the West this summer, even from trustworthy sources, but it is sad when the lads there scourge Pastor Grape and Pastor Laitinen, even as far as to America. Where have they received this spirit? At the time of the apostles, when a doctrinal issue emerged, they could not decide by themselves but had to go to the elders in Jerusalem although it was a journey of about 120 miles, and there the matter was decided, and to confirm it they even wrote a letter and sent two Christians. Dear lads, read the Bible better, and it is in accordance with the testimonies of the Bible that even this Christianity is constructed. And the youngsters in the West should recall what the late Elder Raattamaa said about Pastor Grape and Pastor Laitinen at the Nikukka meetinghouse in Vittangi when we had come from Lannavaara. Several Western lads were indeed there. Poor lads, be not overly bold in making decisions. Human souls are precious. Do not cast bone fragments into the corner, as you are in the habit of doing. Remember, after all, that you were in your father’s loins when the great war began between Michael and the dragon. You do not even recall as much as this, that others labored, and you are entered into their labors, into the trouble suffered by others [John 4:38].
Elder Joonas Purnu also testified at that time, and I confirmed even the place where Pastor [Grape] became a Christian, and the late Antin Pieti confirmed that Aatu Laitinen had become a Christian. Do you, poor lads, know how to view sin as sin? Otherwise, penitence will not come, and the sins of the penitent are forgiven, but for the impenitent there is no room for it, for they do not feel their need. We have spoken somewhat of these matters previously, or is the counsel of the elders no longer acceptable to you? But to all those who are conscious of their faults and incompetence, even I, the weak servant of our Lord Jesus, in accordance with his command and in his name and preciously shed blood, testify that the sins of penitent souls and believers are forgiven though they be as scarlet and as crimson. Let’s not be surprised even if we have to dwell here among lions and vipers, for the Lord of Glory has given himself into their company in order to redeem us from there. To him be the highest praise, thanks and honor, power and strength, in time and eternity. He always helps us, as he has done thus far.
I also tell you, dear brothers and sisters: Let us remain in the doctrine and Spirit where we received life and breath. We just have to let the muddled heads spin since the counsel of the elders is unacceptable to them, but we pray for them too, that all true hearts would remain secure, that all inflated spirits would be lowered and that timid spirits would be raised up by the power of the Lord.
And if the young call us older ones old fools, what does it matter? Let them first show clearly from the Bible where we have been delirious and then speak. Otherwise, it is human babble.
But now, my beloved, I convey heartfelt greetings from the Lord’s flock here to the Lord’s flock there, although unknown by face, but all the letters testify that there is a precious flock there too, as we already knew. But it is very sad to hear, in regard to the young, that the son is older than the father and the egg wiser than the hen. And I greet all my friends with love. I do not know many of you by face, but in your many letters there is the smell of honey and honey cake. And bear me too with a forgiving heart. Signed by one who loves you and is loved by you, an old and new brother, and a companion with you in grace and in the kingdom.
P.S. Two letters were written from there in Leipojärvi. I answered the first one, but the second one had an unfamiliar odor. I did not dare reply -- one person receives one understanding and another person another understanding -- to avoid aggravating the situation. Read the fifteenth chapter of Acts, and don’t jump the fence.
We have, however, this spiritual tabernacle, not made with hands, which came down from heaven, as a bride adorned for her husband. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” [Revelation: 21: 3]. A tabernacle -- that is, a house that has been built to be lived in, protected from storm and tempest and even from wild animals. It has walls and a roof so that the members of the family are safe and secure in it. And the occupants (or occupant) of that house are adorned as a bride for her bridegroom. You have undoubtedly seen a bride in her adornment. We hear that this bride has a garment washed in the blood of the Lamb [Revelation:14], for the Bridegroom has washed her with his own blood, clothed her with the garment of righteousness, covered her with his own salvation [Isaiah 61:10], and even given a new song into her mouth and a heart to to sing to the Lord [Revelation 14:3]. Hirelings are not appointed to chasten and teach the children of this house, for the children of this house are taught and chastened by the master of the house himself. And that would indeed be senseless if an earthly father, who has chastened us on rare days as he was minded [Hebrews 12:10, Finnish Bible], were to now appoint a stranger to whip his children. Neither does a father view it as fitting that the children chasten one another. Indeed, a father forbids, saying, “Do not fight!” The Heavenly Father is also like this. He knows how to chasten in due time and does not strike amiss, as Pekka R. has said. The child just has to endure it when the Father punishes, for he corrects every son whom he scourges..
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing. But if that servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken, the lord of that servant shall come when he looketh not for him and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” [Matthew 24:45-51]. Indeed, the Father does not think it good that his children are plagued with hunger and are chastened. We need food and good care if we want to make it home well. And a good year has come in heaven, and so there is no mention of lack in this house of the Father. Jesus says, “I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly” [John 10:10]. Indeed, soon he that shall come will come and will not tarry” [Hebrews 10:10], and his reward is with him, a crown of glory that fadeth not away [I Peter 5:4]. It is no mistake to say that things are going well. Praised be God and the Father of our Lord Jesus, who has cared for our affairs so well that he has opened life before us in time and eternity.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).
With these words of the Apostle, I approach you, my dear brother and faithful workman in the harvest field of the Lord. I indeed feel my great inadequacy and great ignorance in writing to you, but the love of Christ compels me to remind you that Jesus, “by his own blood, entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” [Hebrews 9:12]. Here is a new and living way for us poor children to approach the merciful and pacified Father! This foundation remains eternally and never becomes old. Let’s always build on this foundation in the unwavering hope of the gospel and in the faith of Jesus Christ. Let’s preach without fear, as Jesus has commanded, that is, in accordance with the scriptures, repentance and the forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:47). Here no distinctions have been made, that is, that it is only for them who call for it, but in all nations, both are to be preached: repentance together with the forgiveness of sins unconditionally. As Peter preached in the house of Cornelius, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).
By this forgiveness of sins through grace, God has effected a desire and zeal to struggle in faith of the heart after purity and peace of conscience. The sweet message of the gospel does not corrupt anyone but effects life in the inner man, and belief in it brings to the conscience the testimony of God’s Spirit and ignites a desire of love to follow the will of God. The heart’s desire is thus always to hear the gospel of peace, by which God always strengthens us in our most precious struggle of faith and supports, secures and establishes us. So the matter is again revealed as so true that it can be said from the heart, Praise to you, dear Father, that God is reconciled, and we have heard of this reconciliation in the preaching of reconciliation that he has ordained (II Corinthians 5:19). And thus God has purified us through faith by the blood of his only begotten Son. But as for those who do not believe the forgiveness of sins in the blood of Jesus, it is of no avail even if they confess their sins, although sins should be confessed, but they must be believed forgiven because of the bloody merit of Jesus and not because of confession. Luther says, “If you believe that only the former saints are saved and not yourself, great sinner that you are, such a faith is worthless, but you have to believe in regard to yourself.” What does it avail, after all, if you believe someone else will be saved and not yourself? Indeed, we can believe thus: that we are saved by grace through faith on the Lord Jesus [Ephesians 2:8]. “For he that cometh to God must believe” (Hebrews:11:6). And it is also written that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” [Romans 14:23]. And the Apostle also says, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).
So it is my understanding, my dear brother, as the Bible shows, that the law is not for the righteous. The law is not the teacher or rule of life of the conscience of a justified person, but the Holy Spirit is the one who will teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance and guide you into all truth [John 14:26 & 16:13]. My heart desires to know the gracious God and to soon be freed from this bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God! To the dear Father and to the Son, the Bloody Bridegroom, be praise and glory! Remain under the protection of God and his beloved Son! Cry from the sun, children of light, to the birds of heaven that fly under heaven: “Come to the supper of the great God!” [Revelation 19:17]. I ask that you bear even me in your intercessions before the throne of grace.
Signed by your brother in
Himanka, July 3, 1898
Boreman, Per. Læstadianismen.
Brännstrom, Olaus. Den laestadianska själavårdstraditionen i
Sverige under 1800-talet.
Brune, Ananias. Den levende kristendom i Vadsø. Den såkallte
læstadianska menighet i Vadsø. Norvegia Sacra XIV (1934).
Eggen, Øyvind. Troens bekjennere. Kontinuitet og endring i en læstadiansk menighet. Hovedoppgave i sosialantropologi. Tromsø: Institutt for sosialantropologi, 1998.
Edquist, Carl. Ropande röster i ödemarken.
Englund, J. A. “Lars Levi
Laestadius. En kyrklig tidsbild.” Teologisk
Tidskrift, 1874-1876. One-volume edition:
Havas, Väinö. Laestadiolaisuuden historia pääpiirteissään.
Havas, Väinö. Sovituksen
Heikel, Karl. Kertomus hengellisistä liikunnoista Lapissa
ja Pohjanmaalla viimeisinä kolmena-kymmenenä vuonna.
Heikel, Karl. Miten olen opettanut? Vastaus piispa G. Johanssonin “Laestadiolaisuus”-kirjaan. Heinola: 1893.
History of Living Christianity in
Hulkko, Kullervo. Ansamaalaisuus. Muuan lestadiolainen
hurmosliike. Suomen Kirkkohistoriallisen Seuran Vuosikirja 52-53
Hulkko, Kullervo. Armonmerkki alkulestadiolaisuudessa.
Suomen Kirkkohistoriallisen Seuran Vuosikirja 45-47 (1955-1957).
Hulkko, Kullervo. “Kaksi lestadiolaisessa herätysliikkeessä esiintynyttä harhakäsitystä.” Teologia ja Kirkko, No. 1, 1956, pp. 15-22.
Hulkko, Kullervo. Kukistumaton valtakunta.
Hulkko, Kullervo. Minä lähetän teidät.
Johansson, Gustaf. Laestadiolaisuus.
Johnsen, Erik, et al. Læstadianernes tro og lære. Norvegia
Sacra XIV (1934).
Juhonpieti, Erkki Antti. Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset. Suomen Kirkkohistoriallisen Seuran toimituksia 113. Loimaa: 1967.
Jussila, Heikki. Kutsujan armo laestadiolaisessa kristillisyydessä.
Jussila, Oskari. Jeesuksen Seurassa. Kolmannen vuosikerran evankeliumiteksteistä.
Kaivola, Eila. Mathilda Fogmanin asema ja merkitys lestadiolaisessa
herätysliikkeessä. Suomen Kirkkohistoriallisen Seuran Vuosikirja 45-47
Kieri, Johan. Aikakautemme Vanhinten Kirjoituksia.
Kivioja, Vilho, et al. Huomautuksia uudesta raamatun käännöksestä.
Koistinen, Lauri. Den andliga styrelsens skiften i den förstfödda laestadianska församlingen i Sveriges Lappmark. Pieksämäki: 1976. Finnish edition (expanded): Hengellisen hallituksen vaiheet ensinsyntyneessä laestadiolaisessa seurakunnassa Ruotsin Lapinmaalla. Pieksämäki: 1978.
Koistinen, Lauri, and Eero
Mäkelä. Vanhinten Kirja III.
Koistinen, Lauri, and Eero
Mäkelä. Vanhinten Kirja IV.
Kolsrud, Oluf. Til forstaaelse av læstadianismen. Et
brevskifte mellem prinsesse Eugénie og P. O. Grape, 1880. Norvegia Sacra XV
Kulla, Carl. The Streams of Life. Brush Prairie: 1984-85.
Laestadianism of the
Lantto, Johan. Juntin talo ja lestadialainen heräys Tärännössä. Tornedalica 16. Haparanda: 1973.
Lehtola, Jim and Nevala,
Peter. Excerpts from the History of
Living Christianity in
Leinonen, Hannes, et al. Totuuden kuuliaisuuteen. Pieksämäki: Vanhoillislestadiolaisten pappien veljespiiri, 1962.
Lundmark, Lennart. Protest och profetia. Korpela-rörelsen och
drömmen om tidens ände.
Marttiini, Janne. Armo ja totuus.
Määttälä, Evert. Jeesuksen Askeleille. Hancock: 1923. English edition: Into the Footsteps of Jesus. Brush Prairie: Streams of Life Publications, 1990.
Miettinen, Martti. Lestadiolainen heräysliike
Panula, K., and E. Reunamo. Vanhinten Kirja II. Aikakautemme vanhinten
Parakka, Frans, et al. Tositietoja laestadiolaisesta
herätysliikkeestä Ruotsissa ja Suomessa.
Paulaharju, Samuli. Kiveliöitten kansaa. Pohjois-Ruotsin
suomalaisseuduilta. Porvoo: 1937, 1961. Swedish edition: Ödebygdsfolk.
Paulaharju, Samuli. Ruijan Suomalaisia.
Pietilä, Lauri. Sota perintöosasta.
Pollari, John. Apostolis-Lutherilaisten hajaantumisen syyt
Raattamaa, Frans. Väckelser i svenska finnbygden. Något om
læstadianismen, Korpela-rörelsen och pingstväckelsen.
Raattamaa, Juhani. Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset.
Raittila, Pekka. Albert Heikelin ja J. Fr. Thauvónin
perheiden kirjeenvaihtoa 1800-luvulla. Suomen Kirkkohistoriallisen Seuran
Vuosikirja 52-53 (1962-63).
Raittila, Pekka. “Alkkulan kokous 1875.” Maitojyvä, 1964, pp. 11-16.
Raittila, Pekka. Ensimmäisen lestadiolaispolven suhde Lutheriin ja kirkon tunnustukseen. Forssa: 1966.
Raittila, Pekka. Esikoislestadiolaisuus Suomessa. Suomen Kirkkohistoriallisen Seuran Vuosikirja 1984. Loimaa: 1984, pp. 190-225.
Raittila, Pekka. Lestadiolaisuuden matrikkeli ja bibliografia.
Suomen Kirkkohistorialisen Seuran toimituksia 74.
Raittila, Pekka. Lestadiolaisuuden vanhimmista
kirjekokoelmista ja -julkaisuista. Oulun Historia Seuran julkaisuja,
Scripta historica II.
Raittila, Pekka. Lestadiolaisuus 1860-luvulla.
Raittila, Pekka. Lestadiolaisuus Pohjois-Amerikassa vuoteen
1885. Suomen Kirkkohistoriallinen Seuran toimituksia 121.
Raittila, Pekka. Ylitorniolta Cokatoon. Tornionlaakson
Saarnivaara, Uuras. Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia. Ironwood: 1947.
Saarnivaara, Uuras. The History of the Laestadian or Apostolic
Lutheran Movement in
Saarnivaara, Uuras. Mikä on totuus Amerikan laestadiolaisesta kristillisyydestä? Hancock: 1947.
Saarnivaara, Uuras. Onko Jumala todella sanonut?
Saarnivaara, Uuras. Vanhoillisuuden hajaantumisen historiaa
Amerikassa ja Suomessa.
Saarnivaara, Uuras. Voiko raamattuun luottaa? Suolahti: Herätysseura, 1982.
Salo, Aatto. Herätyksen ajoilta. Vähäisiä muistelmia.
Sivertsen, Dagmar. Læstadianismen i Norge.
Takala, Lauri. Evankelisen liikkeen ja laestadiolaisuuden
ensi kosketus Oulun seuduilla. Historiallinen Arkisto XLVII.
Takkinen, Johan. 100 kirjettä ajalta 1874-1892. Edited
by L. Koistinen and
Talonen, Jouko. Pohjois-Amerikan lestadiolaisuuden
osaryhmien kannatus ja toiminta.
Törölä, Walter. Coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
Typpö, Leonard. Armo ja Totuus. Ynnä Kristillisiä kirjeitä.
Typpö, Leonard. Kirjeitä virvoitukseksi köyhille
matkustajille elämän tiellä.
Virkkala, Oiva. Alkulähteille. Lestadiolaisen uudenheräyksen
synty ja luonne.
Westeson, Hjalmar. Ödemarksprofetens lärjungar.
August 31, 1861 letter of Sofia Niva in A. Laitinen, Muistosanoja Lapin kristillisyydestä (
See, for example, the sermon for Trinity Sunday in L. L. Laestadius, Uusi Postilla (
Terjeri is evidently an old spelling error for Färjäri and Värjäri, variant
names of Henrik Höglund. See P. Raittila, Lestadiolaisuuden
matrikkeli ja bibliografia (
March 16, 1868 letter in J. Raattamaa, Kirjeet
ja kirjoitukset (
 December 20, 1867 letter to I. Tiberg in E. A. Juhonpieti, Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset (Loimaa: 1979), p. 34.
 E. Välitalo, “Heräyksistä Lapissa. Elämäkertoja 5. Eerikki Juhonpoika Välitalo,” Kristillinen Kuukauslehti, No. 10, 1882, p. 157.
 Biographic data on Viheriä is from Lestadiolaisuuden matrikkeli ja bibliografia, p. 219.
Takala, Evankelisen liikkeen ja
laestadiolaisuuden ensi kosketus Oulun seudulla (
 July 15, 1872 letter to Erkki Antti and J. Vanhantalo in Raattamaa, Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset, p. 124.
O. Jussila, Jeesuksen Seurassa. Kolmannen
vuosikerran evankeliumiteksteistä (
A. Zidbäck, Pohjolan suurin
 J. Raattamaa, “Elämäkertoja II, Juhani Juhonpoika Raattamaa,” Kristillinen Kuukauslehti, No. 12, 1881, p. 180.
 November 14, 1891 letter to J. Takkinen et al. in Raattamaa, Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset, p. 390. Also see the October 11, 1881 letter to E. Törmälä, in which Raattamaa’s recollection of events is based on the same time frame.
 See, for example, L. L. Laestadius, Tidskriften Ens Ropandes Röst i Öknen (Pieksämäki: 1994), pp. 398-437.
L. L. Laestadius, Kirkko-Postilla (
 See, for example, P. Raittila, “Alkkulan kokous 1875,” Maitojyvä, 1964, p. 14.
H. Westeson, Ödemarksprofetens lärjungar (
V. Havas, Sovituksen
 U. Saarnivaara, Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia (Ironwood: 1947), p. 314.
J. Marttiini, The Scriptural Plan of
Salvation (sermon given at the 1965 fall services in
12, 1910 letter to Oskari Jussila in
 H. Jussila, “Salaiset häpeät,” Rauhan Tervehdys, Sept. 1924, p. 132.
 Sermon on fourth Sunday after Easter in Kirkko-Postilla, pp. 205, 206. Compare Isaiah 54:9 and Titus 1:13.
 Sermon on twentieth Sunday after Trinity in Uusi Postilla, p. 441.
I.Ylinenpää, “Muistelmia Ylitornion ensimäisistä suurista seuroista,” Siionin Lähetyslehti, Sept. 1925, p.132.
Ylinenpää, who was present at the 1875 Ylitornio services, mentions (p. 131) a
noteworthy incident that occurred on the second day of the services: After the
public reading of a sermon of Laestadius, Raattamaa preached a comforting
sermon that resulted in great liikutuksia.
Then, Israel Nattavaara of Gällivare started to shout over the sound of the liikutuksia, “stimulating them.” Albert
Heikel, then pastor of Ylitornio, could not bear the commotion, went to the
pulpit and shocked the listeners by shouting, “With such racket occurring in
church, all of
for example, H. Jussila, Kutsujan armo
laestadiolaisessa kristillisyydessä (
 May 5, 1873 letter to unidentified recipients in K. Heikel, Kertomus Hengellisistä Liikunnoista Lapissa ja Pohjanmaalla, viimeisinä kolmena-kymmenenä vuonna (Oulu: 1873), pp. 73, 74.
 August 29, 1876 letter to Isak Palohuornanen et al. in Raattamaa, Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset, p. 173.
June 1, 1878 letter to Kalle Henriksen et al. in
 Välitalo, pp. 157, 158.
Virkkala, Alkulähteille. Lestadiolaisen
uudenheräyksen synty ja luonne (
 February 6, 1878 letter to M. Fogman in Raattamaa, Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset, p. 197.
Princess Eugénie’s November 10, 1880 letter and Grape’s December 17, 1880 reply
in O. Kolsrud, Til forstaaelse av
Læstadianismen. Et brevskifte mellem prinsesse Eugénie og P. O. Grape, 1880
 Westeson, p. 76.
 J. Lantto, Juntin talo ja lestadialainen heräys Tärännössä (Haparanda: 1973), pp. 79, 80.
 History of Living Christianity in
July 25, 1897 letter to O. Matoniemi in J. Kieri, Aikakautemme Vanhinten Kirjoituksia (
 Sanomia Siionista, 1891, p. 85; cited in Zidbäck, p. 198.
G. Johansson, Laestadiolaisuus (
 K. Heikel, Miten olen opettanut (Heinola: 1893), p. 94.
 Kutsujan armo, pp. 126, 127.
 “Kolme kirjoitusta uskovaisilta papeilta Iin kokouksessa 1885,” Kristillinen Kuukauslehti, 1886, pp. 25, 27.
 “Kertomus uskovaisten kristittyin suuresta kokouksesta Ylivieskan seurahuoneessa lokakuun 4, 5, 6 ja 7 päivinä v. 1908,” Armonsanoma, Dec. 1908, p. 218.
J. A. Englund, Lars Levi Laestadius. En
kyrklig tidsbild (
 K. Heikel, “Några ord med anledning af biskop Landgrens artikel om læstadianismen och bigtläran,” Teologisk Tidskrift, 1881, p. 209.
M. Suo, “Onko raamatun
 K. Heikel, “Amerikan Suomalainen Aapinen,” Kristillinen Kuukauslehti, Nov. 1880, p. 166.
 M. Luther, Arbeiten über die ersten 22 Psalmen, in Dr. Martin Luthers Sämmtliche Schriften (St. Louis: 1895), Vol. IV, p. 991.
 January 11, 1882 letter in Juhonpieti, p. 92.
 April 12, 1881 letter to J. Takkinen in Raattamaa, Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset, pp. 236, 237.
 Sermon on third Sunday after Trinity in Kirkko-Postilla, p. 294.
 Pöytäkirja Lestadiolaisten ryhmien
sovintokokouksesta Oulussa Maalisk. 22-23 päivinä 1911 (
 Pöytäkirja Lestadiolaisten ryhmien sovintokokouksesta Oulussa Maalisk. 22-23 päivinä 1911, pp. 42, 43.
 For a free translation of this song, see No. 440 (My Weary Soul Longs Evermore) in the fourth edition (1993) of Hymns and Songs of Zion of the Apostolic Lutheran Church of America.
 F. Mäkivaara, “Hengellisten heräysten alkuajoilta Ahlaisten Pohjajoella,” Huutavan Ääni, No. 4, 1932, p. 54. According to Virkkala (p. 77), this trip occurred in 1895.
 “Kirje Jalasjärveltä,” Sanomia Siionista, 1900, pp. 45-47.
 “Kirje Jalasjärveltä,” Sanomia Siionista, 1898, pp. 185, 186.
 “Mikä on laki ja mikä Evankeliumi?” Sanomia Siionista, No. 9A, 1900, p. 175.
 In his 1535 Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, Luther proves conclusively from the Holy Scriptures that the whole law is abrogated in Christ. See, for example, his comments there on Gal. 2:19. The Reawakenists, however, have found a New Year’s Day sermon of Luther that appears to contradict this view and have republished relevant portions of it. See Lenker’s edition of Luther’s works, Vol. 7 (Luther’s Epistle Sermons, Vol. I), pp. 267-310, and the pamphlet The Law and Its Works and the True Seed of Abraham, A Sermon by Martin Luther.
 “Mooseksen peitettä heittämässä ja palkkavaimoa ulosajamassa,” Huutavan Ääni, May 1924, p. 78.
 Sermon on fourth Sunday in Advent in Uusi Postilla, p. 602.
L. L. Laestadius, The New Postilla (
 April 14, 1853 letter cited in M. Miettinen, Lestadiolainen heräysliike I (Mikkeli: 1942), p. 127. A similar statement is found in Ens Ropandes Röst, p. 390.
M. Luther, Dr. Martin Luther’s
 See Sermons of Martin Luther, The House Postils (Grand Rapids: 1996), Vol. I, Preface, p. 12. For Roerer’s version of the sermon, see pp. 59-68.
 Kirkko-Postilla, p. III of Raattamaa’s preface.
 K. T. Lindström, “Muutamia piirteitä Narvan heräyksestä,” Sanomia Siionista, July 1902, pp. 137-145.
 Virkkala, pp. 114, 115.
Havas, Laestadiolaisuuden historia
 Virkkala, p. 120.
 Virkkala, pp. 113-121.
Conservative, discussing the schism in a 1913 article, writes that if a person
who normally remained away from Reawakenist services were present, the question
would be asked, “Can this brother at all be believing since he has not been
seen in our group?” The leaders would then explain, “He is indeed believing,
but he has become intelligent by reading the Bible. In his skull he indeed has
a firm faith based on literal knowledge, but his heart is unbroken and
 The statements made at this meeting are cited from Pöytäkirja Lestadiolaisten ryhmien sovintokokouksesta Oulussa Maalisk. 22-23 päivinä 1911, pp. 18-81.
 Kertomus ja Pöytäkirja kristittyin isoista kokouksista Kokkolassa lokakuun 9, 10, 11 ja 12 päivinä v. 1911 (Kemi: 1911), p. 33.
 See January 7, 1925 letter of Kristiina Rouvinen from St. Petersburg in “Kirje Neuvosto-Venäjältä,” Siionin Lähetyslehti, Feb. 1925, p. 24.
 Armonsanoma, Mar. 1906, p. 57.
 Laestadiolaisuuden historia pääpiirteissään, pp. 193-195.
 Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia, p. 297.
 Lestadiolaisuuden matrikkeli ja bibliografia, p. 344.
 For more on the new factions that have emerged among the Reawakenists and other groups, see Toivo Kulpakko, “Lestadiolaisuuden yhdeksän suuntaa,” Vartija, No. 5-6, 1997, pp. 182-192, and Jouko Talonen, “Suomen Lestadiolaisuuden osaryhmät,” Perusta, No. 1, 2000.
 Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia, p. 296.
L. Typpö, Armo ja Totuus. Ynnä
Kristillisiä kirjeitä (
February 18, 1877 letter in P. Raittila, Ylitorniolta
 Englund, p. 159.
 Sermon in “Raamatun Kristus,” Rauhan Tervehdys, June 1927, p. 85.
Raattamaa, Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset,
January 23, 1877 letter to M. Fogman, p. 178, and October 25, 1877 letter to N.
P. Stark and J. Ruonavaara, p. 194. The specific reason for the repentances was
a “letter of reproof,” which the emissaries had sent from
 Letter written from Kittilä in July 1876 in “Saarnaaja Johan Takkisen lähetyskirja Raattamaa vanhimmalle,” Siionin Sanomat, No. 4, 1893, p. 60.
 Raattamaa, Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset, p. 181.
 Raattamaa, Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset, p. 182.
 Letter to K. Heikel et al. in P. Raittila, Lestadiolaisuus Pohjois-Amerikassa vuoteen 1885, p. 186.
D. Castren, “Muuan
 July 8, 1878 letter signed “Kynä” in Sven Tuuva, 12 July 1878.
hajaantumisen syyt Amerikassa (
 H. Koller, “Sananen selitykseksi,” Siionin Sanomat, 1891, pp. 185, 186.
 Apostolis-Lutherilaisten hajaantumisen syyt Amerikassa, p. 4.
 Letter to Erkki Antti et al. in Raattamaa, Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset, p. 125.
 Raattamaa, Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset, pp. 345, 346.
December 14, 1891 letter to
 December 15, 1877 letter to N. Stark in Juhonpieti, p. 75.
 Koller, p. 199.
Roanpää died in 1896 with Aapo Hietanen while on a trip to
 Koller, p. 199.
 July 15, 1889 letter to M. Pekkala in Juhonpieti, p. 209. Raattamaa also disapproved of the litigation. See his January 12, 1891 letter to Takkinen in Raattamaa, Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset, p. 369.
 August 29, 1890 letter to O. Koskamo et al. in Juhonpieti, p. 229.
 February 20, 1890 letter in Raattamaa, Kirjeet ja kirjoitukset, p. 361.
 Apostolis-Lutherilaisten hajaantumisen syyt Amerikassa, p. 6.
 The two letters are in Siionin Sanomat, 1892, pp. 79-82; cited in Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia, pp. 87-90.
 Letter in “Sovinto ja rauha Jeesuksessa,” Sanomia Siionista, Feb. 1892, p. 20.
C. Edquist, Ropande röster i ödemarken
 Edquist, pp. 65, 66. Lundberg, despite his high connections, was not ordained.
 S. Paulaharju, Kiveliöitten kansaa. Pohjois-Ruotsin suomalaisseuduilta (Porvoo & Helsinki: 1961), pp. 299. Paulaharju’s source is Hilta Parkajoki. The time of this event is determined by Miettinen in Lestadiolainen heräysliike I, pp. 262-264.
 Johansson, p. 253.
A. Salo, Herätyksen ajoilta. Vähäisiä
 “Raamatun Kristus,” p. 82.
 Apostolis-Lutherilaisten hajaantumisen syyt Amerikassa, p. 9.
December 10, 1901 letter from Israel Nattavaara et al. in J. Kieri, Aikakautemme Vanhinten Kirjoituksia (
O. Brännström, Den laestadianska
själavårdstraditionen i Sverige under 1800-talet (
P. Raittila, Lestadiolaisuuden
vanhimmista kirjekokoelmista ja -julkaisuista (
L. Typpö, Kirjeitä virvoitukseksi
köyhille matkustajille elämän tiellä (
Letter cited in P. Raittila, Albert
Heikelin ja J. Fr. Thauvónin perheiden kirjeenvaihtooa 1800-luvulla (
 Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia, postscript (lisäys) to page 118.
 L. Koistinen, Den andliga styrelsens skiften i den förstfödda laestadianska församlingen i Sveriges Lappmark (Pieksämaki: 1976), p. 78.
 See Sirkanmaa’s May 19, 1900 letter to O. Koskamo in L. Koistinen & E. Mäkelä, Vanhinten Kirja III (Lappeenranta: 1989), pp. 105-107.
 Edquist, pp. 50-69.
Raittila, Esikoislestadiolaisuus Suomessa
D. Sivertsen, Læstadianismen i Norge
 History of Living Christianity in
See correspondence published in K. Panula and E. Reunamo, Vanhinten Kirja II (
 L. Koistinen, Hengellisen hallituksen vaiheet ensinsyntyneessä laestadiolaisessa seurakunnassa Ruotsin Lapinmaalla (Pieksämäki: 1978), pp. 19, 29-33.
 Hengellisen hallituksen vaiheet ensinsyntyneessä laestadiolaissessa seurakunnassa Ruotsin Lapinmaaalla, pp. 125, 129-134. See Johansson’s negative comments on the history in the August 16, 1977 letter of Johansson et al. in L. Koistinen & E. Mäkelä, Vanhinten Kirja IV (Lappeenranta: 1990), p. 950.
 Vanhinten Kirja IV , p. 7.
 Vanhinten Kirja IV, p. 10. Their connections appear to be mainly in Federationist congregations in which they have preached in various states.
 Letter entitled “Lähetyskirje Ameriikkaan,” signed by J. Sirkanmaa et al. in Armonsanoma, May 1907, pp. 93, 94.
 Armo ja Totuus. Ynnä Kristillisiä kirjeitä, pp. 5, 6.
 An English translation of this letter is in C. Kulla, The Streams of Life (Brush Prairie: 1984-85), pp. 351, 352.
 Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia, pp. 120-122.
 History of Living Christianity in
 Pöytäkirja, tehty Amerikan Kristittyjen
kokouksessa Calumetissa, Michigan, Kesäkuun 15-16-17-18-19 p. v. 1908 (
 Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia, p. 145.
 Apostolis-Lutherilaisten hajaantumisen syyt Amerikassa, p. 7.
 Suuret seurat Oulussa v. 1934 (
 Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia, pp. 156-158, 188.
 Kertomus ja Pöytäkirja tehty Amerikan Kristittyjen kokouksessa Calumet, Mich., Kesäkuun 19-20-21-22-23 p. 1911, pp. 16, 17.
 Pöytäkirja Tehty Ap. Luth. Kristittyjen
yleisistä kokouksista Republicissa,
 Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia (from p. 95 of the minutes of the June 11-15, 1923 convention), p. 164.
 H. Jussila, “Jeesuksen askeleille,” Rauhan Tervehdys, Mar. 1924, p. 37.
 Kutsujan armo laestadiolaisessa kristillisyydessä, p. 175.
 Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia, p. 188.
Määttälä, “Sangen arkaluontoinen
 Pöytäkirja Amerikan Ap.-lut. kristittyjen 26:nnesta yleisistä kokouksista ja Apostolis-luterilaisen Kirkkokunnan 5:stä vuosikokouksesta kesäkuun 11, 12, 13, 14 ja 15 pnä 1933 Recreation Buildingin juhlasalissa, Virginiassa, Minnesota, p. 48.
 Jeesuksen Askeleille has been listed among the books offered for sale by the Federation. See, for example, Kristillinen Kuukauslehti, Aug. 1944, p. 128.
 Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia, postscript (lisäys) to page 273.
 December 3, 1961 sermon in Kulla, p. 362.
Saarnivaara, The History of the
Laestadian or Apostolic-Lutheran Movement in
 U. Saarnivaara, Vanhoillisuuden hajaantumisen historiaa Amerikassa ja Suomessa (Rovaniemi: 1950), pp. 14, 15.
Pietilä’s book on confession, Synnin hätä
ja Jumalan rauha, has been strongly recommended and disseminated by
confessionists such as Oskari Jussila in Siionin
Lähetyslehti, Feb. 1923 (p. 29), and Uuras Saarnivaara in his Tunnon levottomuudesta Jumalan rauhaan
(p. 3). Saarnivaara himself appears to have been a confessionist even before
becoming a Laestadian. He writes in a September 18, 1935 letter to Havas,
preserved in the
 Vanhoillisuuden hajaantumisen historiaa Amerikassa ja Suomessa, pp. 26-29.
 Suuret seurat Oulussa v. 1934, pp. 22-25.
 J. A. Tauriainen, “Mitä ennen kirjoitettu on,” Siionin Lähetyslehti, Nov. 1926, p. 163.
 P. Nevala, “The Humility of the Deceivers,” The Voice of
For confirmation of the SRK’s rejection of forgiveness in the Lord’s Supper,
see the SRK-AALC primer By Faith (
 Vanhoillisuuden hajaantumisen historiaa
Amerikassa ja Suomessa, pp. 47, 48. The
cited resolution was issued at the “
K. Hulkko, Minä lähetän teidät (
K. Hulkko, Armonmerkki
The statements of the preachers and the resolutions of the meeting are from Kertomus kristittyjen 10:istä yleisistä
seuroista Oulussa kesäk. 24-27 p:inä v:na 1916 (
June 17, 1917 letter to J. A. Tauriainen in
Record of interview in
 Statements at this meeting are from Kertomus ja pöytäkirja, tehty kristittyjen
suuressa kokouksessa Tornion ja Haaparannan kaupungeissa lokakuun 4:nä, 5:nä,
6:na ja 7:nä päivinä 1909 (
 M. Suo, "Keskusteluja," Siionin Lähetyslehti, Feb. 1917, pp. 39-41.
 “Eräitä törkeitä syytöksiä kristillisyyttämme vastaan Norjassa,” Siionin Lähetyslehti, Dec. 1931, p. 278.
 Vanhoillisuuden hajaantumisen historiaa Amerikassa ja Suomessa, p. 15
February 6, 1936 letter in
 Vanhoillisuuden hajaantumisen historiaa Amerikassa ja Suomessa, pp. 13-16
 Virkkala, p. 98.
 Vanhoillisuuden hajaantumisen historiaa Amerikassa ja Suomessa, p. 13.
 Minä lähetän teidät, pp. 153, 198.
 Minä lähetan teidät, p. 154.
F. Raattamaa, Väckelser i svenska finnbygden
 Suuret seurat Iisalmessa v. 1932 (
L. Lundmark, Protest och profetia (
 H. Leinonen et al., Totuuden kuuliaisuuteen (Pieksämäki: 1962), pp. 99-110.
Marttiini, Janne, Armo ja totuus (
 Suomen Rauhanyhdistysten Keskusyhdistyksen
vuosikokouksen Pöytakirja ja Kertomus sen yhteydessä pidetyistä isoista
seuroista Kajaanisssa kesäk. 30 ja heinäk. 1-2 päivinä 1930 (
V. Kivioja et al., Huomautuksia uudesta
raamatun käännöksestä (
 U. Saarnivaara, Voiko raamattuun luottaa? (Suolahti: 1982), p. 968.
U. Saarnivaara, Onko Jumala todella
 O. Ylipekkala, “Sanan kirkkaus,” Elämän Sana, No. 10, 1992, p. 201.
 Lundmark, p. 34.
 Letter written in the latter half of 1935 in K. Hulkko, “Piirteitä Länsipohjan Korpelalaishurmoksesta,” Suomen Heimo, 15 Nov. 1935, pp. 292, 293.
 Lundmark, p. 36,
 Lapin Kansa, 22 June 1935. An abridged version of this article, based on Dahlbäck’s letter in Nya Dagligt Allehanda, appeared the same day in Pohjolan Sanomat.
 Lundmark, pp. 46-64.
 Lundmark, pp. 62, 63.
 Voiko raamattuun luottaa? pp. 1007-1012.
 J. Lumijärvi, “Tuhatvuotinen valtakunta,” Kristillinen Kuukauslehti, Feb. 1920, p. 35.
K. Hulkko, Ansamaalaisuus, muuan
lestadiolainen hurmosliike (
 Ansamaalaisuus, muuan lestadiolainen hurmosliike, p. 271.
March 10, 1936 letter to
 Ansamaalaisuus, muuan lestadiolainen hurmosliike, p. 271.
 Ansamaalaisuus, muuan lestadiolainen hurmosliike, p. 275.
 Uusi Postilla, pp. 562, 563. For Luther’s letter, see Luther’s Works (American Edition), Vol. 48, pp. 277-282.
 Ansamaalaisuus, muuan lestadiolainen hurmosliike, p. 281.
 Ansamaalaisuus, muuan lestadiolainen hurmosliike, pp. 278, 279.
 Ansamaalaisuus, muuan lestadiolainen hurmosliike, p. 280. Hulkko strongly implies that the 31 excommunicated persons were all supporters of Ansamaa. Although this appears to be confirmed by local researcher Mikko Himanka, pastor of Lohtaja, who writes in a newspaper article that 31 supporters of Ansamaa were excommunicated (“Ansamaalaisuuden isän syntymästä 100 vuotta,” Keskipohjanmaa, 25 Sep. 93), the same writer, in a 1997 draft article for Vattulan kyläkirja (“Ansamaasta ja ansamaalaisuudesta”), states that the 31 excommunicated persons were supporters of Ansamaa and the Rauhan Sana Group.
 December 25, 1948 letter to Uuno Himanka. (Photocopy in author’s collection.)
 Suomen Rauhanyhdistysten Keskusyhdistyksen vuosikokous ja suuret seurat Kemissä 27-30.6.1939, pp. 20, 21.
 Ansamaalaisuus, muuan lestadiolainen hurmosliike, p. 282.
 From an unpublished October 16, 1972 report (in author’s collection), written by Hugo Hepokoski (author’s father), entitled Ensimmäinen Matka Tervolaan.
 T. Hyvärinen, “Armoa armonkin päälle,” Siionin Lähetyslehti, Nov. 1971, p. 232. Kurki tells the unverified story that Hyvärinen (Teittinen) and Hanna Rimpiläinen were afflicted in their consciences for “hugging” Lounasheimo at services and that Kosonen then “freed Teittinen from her doubts” (after which she wrote her song) and rebuked Lounasheimo, who was offended and soon began preaching the new SRK doctrine. Her song was published in Siionin Lähetyslehti, Jan. 1935, pp. 15, 16.
 R. Laitinen, “Omakohtaisia kokemuksia n.k. kososlaisuudesta,” Päivämies, 31 Oct. 1962, pp. 3, 4. Laitinen later modified her account of Kosonen’s repentance. In a 1992 interview by Mauri Kinnunen, she no longer presumed but stated unambiguously, “Lounasheimo told me that he visited Kosonen several times. Once there was a discussion of the matter of faith, and Kosonen then repented of the heresy.” She added later, “Honkavuori visited him, but it was to Lounasheimo that he repented. Lounasheimo told me this quite personally.” (From a transcript of a February 29, 1992 interview of Laitinen in Savonlinna in Mauri Kinnunen’s collection in Lappeenranta.)
 Totuuden kuuliaisuuteen, pp. 10-16.
 Tidskriften Ens Ropandes Röst i Öknen, p. 217.
 February 21, 1960 invitation to Liminka meeting in Totuuden kuuliaisuuteen, p. 120.
 Totuuden kuuliaisuuteen, p. 45.
K. Hulkko, Kukistumaton valtakunta (
 See, for example, The Keys in Luther’s Works (American Edition), Vol. 40, pp. 321-377.
A. Brune, Den levende kristendom i Vadsø.
Den såkallte læstadianska menighet i Vadsø. (
 E. Rimpiläinen, “Kenellä on syntien anteeksiantamuksen valta?” Rauhan Tervehdys, June 1956, p. 9.
 A. Kananen, “Taivaan valtakunnan avaimet,” Kointähti, 1964, p. 9; cited in Kukistumaton valtakunta, p. 38.
This account of events related to Airas from 1960 to early 1962 is consistent
with an undated document written by Eino Summa for the SRK in
 H. Ruikka, “Kososlaisuus,” Päivämies, 26 Aug. 1964.
 Lestadiolaisuuden matrikkeli ja bibliografia, p. 322.
lestadiolaisuuden osaryhmien kannatus ja toiminta (
Pietilä, Sota perintöosasta (
Brune mentions in a footnote (p. 55) that there is “some uncertainty” as to the
year of Koskamo’s visit: “Both 1874 and 1876 are mentioned,” Brune admits, “but
1876 cannot be right -- that winter, Parkajoki and Tapani were in Vadsö, and
Huru was not in Finland then; he was home.” The year 1876 is given for
Koskamo’s visit in
 Brune, pp. 55, 56.
 Brune, pp. 56-60.
 December 12, 1884 letter in Juhonpieti, pp. 129-131.
 Brune, pp. 61-63.
 Brune, pp. 64, 65.
 Brune, pp. 66, 67.
 For the complete text of this January 5, 1895 letter, see “Kirje Norjaan,” Sanomia Siionista, Feb. 1895, pp. 24-28.
 Brune, pp. 67, 68.
 Brune, pp. 68, 69. There is a dramatic description of services that were held during Sirkanmaa’s visit to Vadsö in 1895 in Ruijan Suomalaisia (pp. 496, 497), according to which, after Sirkanmaa and Huru had preached, Koskamo rose to “roar out” about man’s depravity and the need for a mediator, which evoked a great outburst of liikutuksia. The large assembly began to confess their sins to one another and to ask for forgiveness, and the mingled cries of contrition and rejoicing were so great that the sounds could not be distinguished. The scene of heavenly intoxication, according this account, based on a manuscript written by Koskamo-supporter Iisakki Tiberg, resembled that of the first Pentecost.
 Brune, pp. 69-71.
for example, E. Johnsen et al., Læstadianernes
tro og lære (
 Brune, p. 75.
 Sivertsen, pp. 361-363, 486.
 Sivertsen, p. 203.
 Lestadiolaisuuden matrikkeli ja bibliografia, pp. 322, 344.
 Ø. Eggen, Troens bekjennere. Kontinuitet og endring i en læstadiansk menighet (Tromsø: 1998), p. 127.
 Brune, pp. 76-77.
 Brune, pp. 78, 79.
 Brune, p. 80.
 Sions Blad, No. 10, 1948; cited in Sivertsen, p. 430.
 Apostolis-Lutherilaisten hajaantumisen syyt Amerikassa, p. 8.
 Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli
Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia, pp. 174, 175, 180, 209, 226. The History of the Laestadian or Apostolic-Lutheran Movement in
 Saarnivaara’s treatment of Itänen (Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia, pp. 207, 208) is typical of the prejudice and inaccuracy that mar his works. He claims that “Itänen supported socialism and was even sympathetic to communism, ordering their newspaper Toveri,” that he was not content with his own turns to preach but even “demanded the right to preach during [Bernhard] Färdig’s turns” and that “with his supporters, he separated and established a new congregation in 1920, which acquired a small church, the smallest of American Finns.” However, the truth is that gospel preachers are viciously labeled with various epithets by those who are jealous of their popularity (John 11:46-48). When Itänen preached, the church was filled with those who loved the gospel, but when Färdig’s turn came to preach his confessionism, the crowd dissipated. According to Itänen’s obituary in Lännen Suometar (2 Sept. 1938), he was not even in Berkeley in 1920, having moved to Astoria, Oregon, from Fort Bragg, California, 21 years before his death, that is, in about 1917, the same year the Evangelicals built their own church in Berkeley (according to a plaque in front of the building), from which they were later expelled by the Heidemanians.
 This incident is recounted from the legalist-confessionist standpoint in Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia, p. 167.
 Amerikan laestadiolaisuuden eli Apostolis-luterilaisuuden historia, pp. 168, 169.
 “Muistelmia seuroista Virginiassa,” Valvoja, 19 Mar. 1921. Latvala signed his article “Valvojan lukija.”
 O. Jussila, “Kirje Amerikan kristityille,” Siionin Lähetyslehti, May 1921, pp. 69, 70.