Otto Hintze, former missionary, professor, mission exec, dies

The Rev. Dr. Otto C. Hintze Jr. browses artifacts with family, including his granddaughter, Ellie Hintze (left), during the Oct. 5, 2014, opening of Concordia Historical Institute's "Bringing Christ to the Highlands" exhibit. (LCMS/Erik M. Lunsford)

The Rev. Dr. Otto C. Hintze Jr. browses artifacts with family, including his granddaughter, Ellie Hintze (left), during the Oct. 5, 2014, opening of Concordia Historical Institute’s “Bringing Christ to the Highlands” exhibit. (LCMS/Erik M. Lunsford)

The Rev. Dr. Otto C. Hintze Jr. — a former LCMS missionary, seminary professor and mission executive — died March 20 at his home in St. Louis. He was 92.

A funeral service was held March 23 at Ascension Lutheran Church in St. Louis.

In his book, From Ghosts to God in Enga Land: Planting His Church Among the Enga People of Central Papua New Guinea, the Rev. Dr. Otto C. Hintze Jr. tells the story of his 17 years as a missionary.

In his book, From Ghosts to God in Enga Land: Planting His Church Among the Enga People of Central Papua New Guinea, the Rev. Dr. Otto C. Hintze Jr. tells the story of his 17 years as an LCMS missionary.

Hintze spent his whole ministry in mission-related positions, beginning after his graduation from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 1948 when he and the Rev. Dr. Willard Burce accepted calls to serve as the Synod’s first missionaries to Papua New Guinea. In an effort to bring the Gospel to the Enga people — who had no written language — he and Burce learned the Enga language, put it into writing and translated Scriptures and works of Martin Luther into Enga.

Hintze tells the story of his 17 years as a missionary in Papua New Guinea in his book, From Ghosts to God in Enga Land: Planting His Church Among the Enga People of Central Papua New Guinea, released last fall. (Read a related Reporter Online story, “New book chronicles early mission in Papua New Guinea.”)

Of mission service, Hintze said, “God chooses very ordinary people who have strong faith in Jesus to be missionaries. God blesses whatever is done in love — even mistakes — to enable people to listen and have faith, created by the Holy Spirit, in their hearts. Even in dangerous circumstances, God’s angels protect and provide what is needed.”

After returning to the United States, Hintze served 10 years as a professor of missions at Concordia Theological Seminary, then in Springfield, Ill., and another 12 years as an executive with the Synod’s former Board for Mission Services in St. Louis. In 1988 he became minister of Inreach/Outreach at Ascension Lutheran Church, and in 1999 began serving as chaplain at the LCMS International Center. He retired in 2007.

The Rev. Dr. Ron Rall, who also was a missionary to Papua New Guinea and knew Hintze well, told Reporter that leaders of the Gutnius (Good News) Lutheran Church there held a memorial service for Hintze at the congregation he founded: Sukurea (which means “resurrection” in Enga) Lutheran Church in Yaramanda, where Hintze and his family lived.

The Rev. Dr. Otto C. Hintze Jr. teaches Enga evangelists as part of his early mission work in Papua New Guinea. Hintze served as a missionary there from 1948 to 1965. (Courtesy of Otto Hintze)

The Rev. Dr. Otto C. Hintze Jr. teaches Enga evangelists as part of his early mission work in Papua New Guinea. Hintze served as a missionary there from 1948 to 1965. (Courtesy of Otto Hintze)

Many leaders of the Gutnius Lutheran Church (GLC) paid tribute to Hintze at the March 24 service there — which drew some 3,000 people — and “during the [March 27] Easter services, every congregation in the GLC paid some form of tribute to Otto’s passing,” according to the Rev. Ezekiel Peter, the church body’s general secretary.

Hintze is credited with bringing peace to two Papua New Guinea tribes after decades of feuding, and after that, “church planting erupted and the Gospel spread like bushfire,” Peter wrote in a Facebook post.

Rall said Hintze was known as “the father of the mission” in Papua New Guinea because “he brought the Gospel” to that country. “There are maybe 70,000 Christians in the Good News Lutheran Church, and probably most of them know of Otto Hintze — they know his name and respect his name,” Rall said. In fact, he noted, “there are lots of children in that area of Papua New Guinea called Otto,” after Hintze.

Hintze “had a strong faith and a real commitment to the work of the church” in Papua New Guinea, added Rall. “He had a lot of different roles, always with mission, and that was his life’s passion. And I think that’s how he would want to be remembered.”

Survivors include Hintze’s wife, Jeannelle, to whom he was married for 67 years, five children — Kathryn (Peter) Prange, the Rev. David (Charlotte) Hintze, Margaret (Edmund) Frank, Charles (Helga) Hintze and Kenneth (Jodie) Hintze — 19 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. A sixth child, Nathan, preceded Hintze in death.

Memorials may be made to the LCMS Veterans of the Cross program.

Posted March 21, 2016 / Updated March 22 and March 30, 2016

,

Reporter Online is the Web version of Reporter, the official newspaper of
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Content is prepared by LCMS Communications.

8 Responses to Otto Hintze, former missionary, professor, mission exec, dies

  1. Jim Martin March 21, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    What an inspiration Dr Hintze was for me!

  2. Rev. Michael Mueller March 21, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    Uncle Otto, as we called him growing up, always visited our home when we lived in Glendale, MO and he would come back to report and raise funds. I have vivid and dear memories–and some small sea shells on a cardboard backing that he gave to me as a reminder of the mission in New Guinea.

    He was an inspiration to me to desire to become a pastor in the LCMS. I initially applied to St. Louis sem in 1973 when the walkout occurred. I was besieged with materials from both sides and decided to postpone my sem experience. At age 50, God remembered and sent me to sem. Today I serve an LCMS congregation in Lancaster, CA.

    What a God we serve!

  3. Don Strohmeyer March 21, 2016 at 9:06 pm #

    One of my favorite ministers. I knew him several years and he always that smile that lite a room. He will be missed and welcomed in Heaven.

  4. Joelle Neider March 22, 2016 at 9:33 am #

    Otto and Jill Hintze extended great hospitality and kindness to me and my family during our time in St. Louis while my husband was at seminary, and I had the opportunity to get to know them and their life stories. On hearing their stories then, I recognized the great faith they had to go forward as missionaries in New Guinea. On reading this article today, I see how many lives they changed from taking that step of faith. Thank you Lord, for the extraordinary things that you did through the life of Otto Hintze!

  5. betty mau March 23, 2016 at 6:44 am #

    she came to my village and my grade father welcome her !! first my Grade father thought that them were God and he wait outside and he saw them went to toilet after 20minutes my grad father went there to check their toilet and he pickup the toilet and he eat it !! its very funny during these days

  6. betty mau March 23, 2016 at 6:47 am #

    i am looking for Bill karlneck and all Karlneck family !! First Lutheran in Wabag Enga Province PNG..Mark Karlnec and them…

  7. Elia MacNell Andrew April 6, 2016 at 5:59 am #

    I am sorry to hear his passing.He was in Enga and he and his wife and family took care of my daddy whose father Andrew who was an evangelist that was a brother to Hintze. He came for His last visit to Enga and then to Lae when dad and the family went to visit him and His wife at Martin Luther Seminary. That was the last time we met and shared their memories about dad and their children, especially Kathryn,David,Margaret and Charles when they were kids at Yaramanda,Enga Province. Both of them are like grandparents to us the children here in Lae,PNG. We send our sincere condolence to the family and pray that God will take care of you all and may Doctor Hintze Rest In Peace.

  8. Rev. James Walburg June 4, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

    Professor Hintze had a great influence on me while I was a student at Concordia Seminary, Springfield 1971-1975. At that time Prof Hintze was starting evangelism training in area congregations. My wife and I volunteered to be a part of this venture and were blessed by his training and example. His enthusiasm for evangelism had a lasting impact on my 40 years of ministry in serving four Calls, three of which were mission congregations. I know he influenced many other students in the same way. His legacy lives on in the lives of those he taught and trained. May God bless his memory and the seeds he planted in the lives of so many.

LCMS News & Information