View All Photos

Louis Muderspach

Photo courtesy of the Historic Archive of Seventh-day Adventists (HASDA) in Denmark.

Muderspach, Louis (1877–1959)

By Sven Hagen Jensen

×

Sven Hagen Jensen, M.Div. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA) has worked for the church for over 50 years as a pastor, editor, departmental director, and church administrator in Denmark, Nigeria and the Middle East. Jensen enjoys reading, writing, nature and gardening. He is married to Ingelis and has two adult children and four grandchildren.

First Published: November 27, 2021

Louis Muderspach served the Seventh-day Adventist church as pastor-evangelist, teacher, school principal, editor, writer, and administrator. He helped form and grow the Adventist work in the Nordic countries as well as among the Scandinavians in North America. Evangelism was always high on his agenda along with his interest in education and the youth. Also, temperance and health ministry were close to his heart. His books found their way into many homes. He started early in his ministry and was faithful and loyal to the end.

Early Years

Louis Christian Hans Juhler Muderspach was born on October 6, 1877, in Nyborg, Denmark.1 He grew up in Copenhagen with five siblings2 and received his secondary school certificate from De forenede Kirkeskoler (The United Church Schools).3 4 In 1890 he attended J. F. Hansens’ evangelistic meetings together with his parents.5 His parents were baptized that same year, and Louis followed two years later in 1892, when he was 15.6 The following year he went to Norway and worked in the printing shop and as editorial assistant for Tidernes Tegn (Signs of the Times) in Kristiania (Oslo),7 and then as a teacher at the church school in Hadseløya, North Norway after which he moved back to Kristiania as editor of Tidernes Tegn.8 In Norway he met his wife, Hakonna Hansen (1875-1951),9 whom he married in 1898.10 Further studies followed at Filadelfiaskolen in Copenhagen and at Union College, Nebraska, U.S.A.11

Back in Denmark Muderspach became principal for the mission schools at the manor house Høgsholt in Sindal (1904-1906) and Frydenstrand in Frederikshavn, and Villa Skodsborg near Copenhagen (1906-1909).12 He had a flair for working with young people, which also showed later in his career. After participating in major evangelistic meetings in Aalborg he was ordained in 1907.13 From 1907-1909 he was vice-president, secretary, and youth director in the Denmark Conference in addition to his responsibility as principal.14 He was the first youth director in the Scandinavian countries.15

Abroad and At Home

In 1910 Muderspach was called to Finland to pioneer the Adventist work as president of the newly formed Finland Conference. He was the only ordained minister in the Adventist church in Finland. As he did not speak the Finnish language and had to work with an interpreter, but his leadership skills were put to good use. He continued as president until 1914 when he was elected as president for the Swedish / Central Swedish Conference (1914-1917).16 From 1917-1920 he was back in Denmark as the secretary of the East Denmark Conference as well as principal for the mission school in Skodsborg and Nærum.17

From 1920 to 1923 Muderspach worked among the Scandinavians in the United States as Bible teacher at Hutchinson College, Minnesota, and as pastor for the Danish-Norwegian church in Chicago.18 In 1923 he returned to Denmark, this time as departmental director in the Scandinavian Union Conference,19 where youth and family played a major role in his ministry. “In the youth work he left deep traces. He organized the first youth convention in the Nordic countries at Onsrud in 1925 and was leader for the Scandinavians at the European Youth Convention in Chemnitz, Germany, in 1928.”20

In the years between the two world wars Muderspach held important leadership positions at conference and union levels. From 1928-1931 he was president of the Danish Conference, and from 1931-1939 president for the newly organized West Nordic Union Conference comprising Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands.21

They were challenging times. Public evangelism and literature ministry were the main avenues of soulwinning and going well. Many churches had been organized and needed supervision and leadership. The institutions were growing and demanded more time and effort from administration. In the 1930s the worldwide depression hit and made it difficult for any Christian denomination and mission society to expand and grow. Budgets for mission were cut, and mission stations were closed. Muderspach in an article to the church “Avancér over hele Linien!” (Advance Across the Board) encouraged workers and members of the union not to take account of the difficulties, but to join the rest of the world church in moving forward to finish the work.22 Most of the churches in the union were meeting in rented halls, clinics, and homes. Muderspach’s administration set in motion plans to build and purchase more suitable places for worship and church life and initiated the collection of necessary funds.23

Later Years

From 1939-1944 Muderspach worked as chaplain for Skodsborg Badesanatorium, and then from 1944-1947 as editor at Dansk Bogforlag, the publishing house in Copenhagen.24 The church in Denmark had heard about Bible correspondence schools being started in other parts of the world with success in reaching people with the Advent message. The Danish Bible Correspondence School was founded on December 1, 1946, and Muderspach was elected the first principal. The school opened in Copenhagen on February 1, 1947, under the name Det 20. Århundredes Bibelbrevskole (The Twentieth Century Bible Correspondence School).25 Pastor Muderspach immediately called the membership to support the new initiative with their prayers and by distributing advertising flyers.26 By the end of the year, about 200,000 flyers had been distributed and 1226 students enrolled. After one year his son, F. H. Muderspach, took over as principal,27 and Louis Muderspach, at the age of 71, retired from a life with major responsibilities.

However, Muderspach continued to serve as secretary in Nordisk Filantropisk Selskab (Nordic Philanthropical Society) in Copenhagen from 1939-1952.28 In his later years he was leader of the Parents’ Correspondence School.29 His wife, Hakonna Hansen, died in 1951. In 1956 he married Jenny Jensen30 and settled down in Holbæk, where he served the local church. He died at Skodsborg Badesanatorium March 11, 1959.

Literature, Youth, and Health

Muderspach started his ministry in the printing shop and the interest for the printed word followed him his entire life. He was a prolific writer and among the founders of the Danish and Norwegian youth magazines.31 In addition to being editor in Denmark and Norway and writing numerous articles in Adventist papers, he published the following books: Et Hjem Samfundets Bedste Værn (A Home Society’s Best Protection, 1910), Bag Død og Grav (Behind Death and Grave, 1910), I Ly af Sundhedens Love (Under the Shelter of Laws of Health, 1919), Lys og Sandhed – 28 foredrag (Light and Truth – 28 lectures, 1927), Tidernes Vidnesbyrd (Testimony of the Times, 1927), and Slægternes Håb (The Hope of Ages).32

He was a man for the youth and the friend of children. “His interest in children and the youth was just as living when he, as a 70-year-old, lead the Parents’ Correspondence School, as when as a 30-year old became the first youth director in Scandinavia.”33

Health and temperance were also a great part of his life, and “both in writing and speech he has through the years agitated for it. He didn’t stop at agitating or guiding others in this area. No, he is himself a man of health.” He maintained a rigorous health program and at his 60th birthday could walk on his hands in the garden of his summer cottage in Nordsjælland.34

Heritage and Legacy

Muderspach’s greatest joy was that his children and grandchildren followed in his steps, kept the faith, and participated in promoting the three angels’ messages,35 some as missionaries in foreign countries, others by faithfully serving at home. His children were Hakon,36 37 Frithjof,38 Svanhild,39 Rosa,40 Finn,41 and Karl.42 At the time of his 80th birthday he had a grandson serving as a missionary in Sierra Leone, and a granddaughter serving as a nurse in Kenya.43 A Bible verse that Louis Muderspach often cited and that characterized his long and influential ministry was Psalm 60:12 “Through God we shall do valiantly.”44

Sources

“Adventist gennem 65 aar ser tilbage paa et bevæget liv” (Adventist through 65 years looks back at an eventful life). Holbæk Amts Tidende, October 1957.

Asholm, Gunnar D., “50 år med Korrespondanceskolen” (50 Years with the Correspondence School). Adventnyt, June 1997.

Biographical Sheet, “L. Mudersdpach 1877-1959.” the Historic Archive of Seventh-day Adventists in Denmark (HASDA).

Holst, Harry, “De forenede Kirkeskoler for 60 år siden” (The United Church Schools 60 Years Ago). Københavns Kirkeskolers Krønike (The Chronicles of the Church Schools in Copenhagen), 1941.

Holst, Mary, Oplysninger om L. Muderspach (Information About L. Muderspach). Undated information sheet kept at the Historic Archive of Seventh-day Adventists in Denmark (HASDA).

Lohne, Alf, “L. Muderspach fylder 80 år” (L. Muderspach Completes His 80 Years). Adventnyt, October 1957.

Muderspach, L., “Avancér over hele Linien” (Advance Across the Board). Missionsefterretninger, March 1935.

Muderspach, L., “Menighedens største time er kommet” (The Greastest Hour of the Church Has Come). Missionsefterretninger, No 1, 1947.

Olsen, Ingemann, “L. Muderspach in memoriam.” Adventnyt, April 1959.

Schantz, Hans Jørgen, I Troens Bakspejl (In the Rearview Mirror of Faith). Nærum: Dansk Bogforlag, 1998.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook, years 1908-1917, 1924-1940. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.

Notes

  1. Hans Jørgen Schantz, I Troens Bakspejl (In the Rearview Mirror of Faith), Nærum: Dansk Bogforlag, 1998, 67.

  2. Martha Maria, Rosalie Ida Bolette, Valborg Anna, Aleth, and Karen. E-mail to Sven H. Jensen from Elsebeth Muderspach Iversen, granddaughter, on February 1, 2022.

  3. “Adventist gennem 65 aar ser tilbage paa et bevæget liv” (Adventist Through 65 Years Looks Back at an Eventful Life), Holbæk Amts Tidende, October 1957.

  4. Harry Holst, “De forenede Kirkeskoler for 60 år siden” (The United Church Schools 60 Years Ago), Københavns Kirkeskolers Krønike (The Chronicle of the Church Schools in Copenhagen), 1941, 63. De forenede Kirkeskoler laid in Nørregade 37 next to Folketeatret (The Peoples’ Theater) and existed from 1702-1940.

  5. Glove manufacturer Aleth Carl Jørgen Muderspach (1951-1919) & Laura Rosalie Bolette Juhler (1848-1928). They eventually moved to the United States, and both died in Brooklyn. E-mail to Sven H. Jensen from Elsebeth Muderspach Iversen, granddaughter, on February 1, 2022. Hans Jørgen Schantz, “Frithjof Hartvig Juhler Muderspach – Missionær par excellence,” Adventnyt, April 2000, 4.

  6. Mary Holst, granddaughter, Oplysninger om L. Muderspach (Information About L. Muderspach), Undated paper kept at HASDA Denmark. Accessed February 1, 2022.

  7. “Adventist gennem 65 aar ser tilbage paa et bevæget liv.”

  8. Mary Holst.

  9. According to his granddaughter, Elsebeth, Hakonna was a fantastic person. “He could not have achieved, what he did, without her by his side.” Mail to Sven H. Jensen from Elsebeth Muderspach Iversen on February 6, 2022.

  10. Hans Jørgen Schantz, 67.

  11. Biographical Sheet, “L. Muderspach (1977-1959),” HASDA Denmark.

  12. Hans Jørgen Schantz, 67.

  13. Mary Holst.

  14. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbooks, 1908-1910.

  15. Ingemann Olsen, “L. Muderspach in memoriam,” Adventnyt, April 1959, 13.

  16. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbooks, 1911-1917.

  17. Ibid., 1918-1920.

  18. Hans Jørgen Schantz, 67.

  19. Karl Abrahamsen, “L. Muderspach (1877-1959),” Evangeliets Sendebud (Jubilee edition), No 11, 1978, 18; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbooks, 1924-1928.

  20. Evangeliets Sendebud, 18

  21. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbooks, 1929-1940.

  22. L. Muderspach, “Avancér over hele Linien” (Advance Across the Board), Missionsefterretninger, March 1935, 1-3.

  23. Missionsefterretninger, March 1937, 2.

  24. Hans Jørgen Schantz, 67.

  25. Gunnar D. Asholm, ”50 år med Korrespondanceskolen” (50 Years with the Correspondence School), Adventnyt, June 1997 ,8-9.

  26. L. Muderspach, “Menighedens største time er kommet” (The Greatest Hour of the Church Has Come), Missionsefterretninger, No 1, 1947, 4-5.

  27. Gunnar D. Asholm, 8-9.

  28. Hans Jørgen Schantz, 67.

  29. Alf Lohne, “L. Muderspach fylder 80 år” (L. Muderspach Completes His 80 Years), Adventnyt, October 1957, 6.

  30. Hans Jørgen Schantz, 67.

  31. Ingemann Olsen, 13.

  32. Hans Jørgen Schantz, 68-70.

  33. Ingemann Olsen, 13.

  34. Alf Lohne, 6.

  35. Mary Holst.

  36. Hakon Louis Juhler Muderspach’s (1899-1985) service for the church included: teacher at Hutchinson Theological Seminary, departmental director in the Danish conferences and West Nordic Union Conference, president for East Denmark Conference, East Denmark Conference, and North Norway Conference, and principal for Vejlefjord High School. Service record kept at HASDA. Accessed February 2, 2022.

  37. The dates for all L. Muderspach’s children are provided by his granddaughter Elsebeth Muderspach Iversen in an e-mail to Sven H. Jensen on January 23, 2022.

  38. Frithjof Hatvig Juhler Muderspach (1900-1960) served as a missionary in East Africa for 32 years, before he died in a drowning accident.

  39. Svanhild Juhler Muderspach (1904-1961) was a nurse at Skodsborg Badesanatorium, Denmark.

  40. Rosa Juhler Muderspach (1908-1992) was a missionary in Ghana for 18 years and served also at the division office in St. Albans in the United Kingdom (e-mail message to the author from Elsebeth Muderspach Iversen on January 23, 2022.

  41. Finn Herald Juhler Muderspach (1910-1994) was a bath attendant at a hospital in Tennessee, U.S.A.

  42. Karl Aleth Juhler Muderspach (1912-1993) was a physiotherapist with his clinic in Charlottenlund, Denmark.

  43. Information from end notes 35, 37-40; “Adventist gennem 65 aar ser tilbage på et bevæget liv,” Holbæk Amts Tidende, October 1957.

  44. Mary Holst.

×

Jensen, Sven Hagen. "Muderspach, Louis (1877–1959)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. November 27, 2021. Accessed April 18, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DFS9.

Jensen, Sven Hagen. "Muderspach, Louis (1877–1959)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. November 27, 2021. Date of access April 18, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DFS9.

Jensen, Sven Hagen (2021, November 27). Muderspach, Louis (1877–1959). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved April 18, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DFS9.