Born: March 17, 1828, Cum­ber­land Coun­ty, Penn­syl­van­ia.

Died: Jan­ua­ry 26, 1915, at home in Co­lum­bus, Ohio.

Buried: Green Lawn Ce­me­te­ry, Co­lum­bus, Ohio.



Matthias was the son of Mat­thi­as Loy and Chris­ti­na Rea­ver, and hus­band of Ma­ry Wil­ley of De­la­ware (mar­ried De­cem­ber 25, 1853).

After a bleak, po­ver­ty pinched boy­hood, he was ap­pren­ticed in 1847 to the print­ing firm of Baab and Hum­mel at Har­ris­burg.

He was treat­ed well by his mas­ters, read se­ver­al of the Eng­lish class­ics, learned the ru­di­ments of La­tin and Greek at the Har­ris­burg Aca­de­my, was con­firmed by Charles W. Schaef­fer, and be­gan to think of a min­is­ter­i­al ca­reer.

In 1847, Loy went west for his health, and at Cir­cle­ville, Ohio, was per­suad­ed by Rev­er­end J. Roof to be­come a ben­e­fi­ci­a­ry stu­dent in the se­mi­na­ry (lat­er part of Ca­pi­tal Uni­ver­si­ty) of the Joint Sy­nod of Ohio, at Co­lum­bus, where he had Chris­tian Spiel­mann and Wil­helm Leh­mann as his teach­ers.

He was strong­ly in­flu­enced by the writ­ings of C. F. W. Wal­ther and by se­ver­al friends among the cler­gy of the Mis­sou­ri Sy­nod. His on­ly pas­tor­ate was at De­la­ware, Ohio (1849–65).

Frail of bo­dy and oft­en ill, Loy had a strong mind and a great ca­pa­ci­ty for work. As pre­si­dent of the Joint Sy­nod (1860–78 and 1880–94), ed­it­or of the Lu­ther­an Stand­ard (1864–91), pro­fes­sor of theo­lo­gy at Ca­pi­tal Uni­ver­si­ty (1865–1902), and pre­si­dent of the uni­ver­si­ty (1881–90), he dom­in­at­ed the Sy­nod, which grew dur­ing his life­time in­to an or­ga­ni­za­tion of na­tion­al scope.

He was a zeal­ous stu­dent of the Lu­ther­an con­fes­sions but had lit­tle know­ledge of Bib­li­cal cri­ti­cism or ap­pre­ci­a­tion of its im­pli­ca­tions. He was a tru­cu­lent con­tro­ver­si­al­ist, ne­ver for­get­ting that the Church Vi­si­ble is al­so the Church Mil­it­ant, and ne­ver giv­ing his op­po­nents time to for­get it.

In 1867 he re­fused to let the Joint Sy­nod be­come a mem­ber of the Ge­ne­ral Coun­cil of the Ev­an­ge­li­cal Lu­ther­an Church in North Am­er­ica, and framed the ques­tions about the four points: chil­i­asm, al­tar fel­low­ship, pul­pit fel­low­ship, and sec­ret so­cie­ties—that af­flict­ed so sore­ly the spokes­man of the Ge­ne­ral Coun­cil.

In 1871, Loy car­ried the Joint Sy­nod in­to the Sy­no­di­cal Con­fer­ence. Ten years lat­er, he re­ject­ed Wal­ther’s doc­trine of pre­des­tin­a­tion, found­ed and ed­it­ed the Co­lum­bus Theo­lo­gic­al Ma­ga­zine (1881–88) to com­bat it, and with­drew the Joint Sy­nod from the Sy­no­di­cal Con­fer­ence.

Angina pec­tor­is forced Loy to re­tire in 1902, but for eight years more he con­tin­ued to write and take plea­sure in his gar­den, be­fore sof­ten­ing of the brain set in.


Loy wrote twen­ty pub­lished hymns. His oth­er works in­clude: