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Monday, September 26, 2016

Stoeckhardt – Defender of Inspiration; Copernicanism Part 24

      This continues from Part 23b, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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George Stoeckhardt
      In this series, I have normally included only those teachers who have specifically warned against Copernicanism.  However, because this topic is so closely tied to the subject of "verbal inspiration", I am including a short essay from another teacher of the old (German) Missouri Synod, George Stoeckhardt, who did not mention "Copernicanism", even when he defended against attacks on the truth of Joshua 10:13.  The following essay defends against a modernist German theologian, R.F. Grau, who is rather outspoken in his attacks against the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible.  One can read further about Grau in the 1886 Synodical Conference report.
      As I read the quotes of Prof. Grau, I could not help but see similarities to writings and comments made by a professor of today's Concordia Seminary, Jeffrey Kloha, currently the provost.  Anyone who thinks Kloha's position on Holy Scripture is harmless (such as Daniel Preus and Pres. Matthew Harrison), should read and digest... George Stöckhardt.
      I do not know if the publication which this came from is available anymore from Concordia Theological Seminary Bookstore (I bought it ~ 15-20 years ago), but one could call them to find out.  There are 3 other essays included in the full booklet.  I will extract some quotes following this presentation which is only 14 pages long. The full document may be viewed here.

Stoeckhardt defends against Grau's attacks on the Bible's teachings that touch on not only creation, but also "cosmological, astronomical, chronological concepts".  Grau specifically states:
 "The purpose of the Bible is not to give directions and set goals or to apply curbs, to decree on the basis of Joshua 10:13 that the earth and the sun should stand still." – Prof. Grau
By directly attacking Joshua 10:13, Grau also implies Copernicanism.  His attack takes several forms, such as this:
"I am also acquainted with a faith, ... legalistic ..., a faith which is of the opinion that all is lost if one page is torn out of Holy Scripture."
So for Grau, it is "legalistic" to hold to the inspiration of the whole Bible, to hold that "Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).  Stoeckhardt masterfully responds saying
...whoever frees himself from the restraints of the Word and criticizes and censures Scripture, his disposition and frankness are nothing but carnal arrogance, his zeal and piety basically nothing else but godlessness and enmity against God; his Christ is a creature of his own thoughts or a specter of the Devil.
Later Stoeckhardt makes the all important point of Scripture's demand on our faith:
And if now some of these things [on creation] can be demonstrated from nature and history, they are and remain, insofar as they are content of Holy Scripture, object of faith. For everything that God says in His Word is presented for us to believe.  Modern theologians have reached the point that they see in the simple faith of a Christian, who accepts in his heart everything that is written as the dear Word of God, nothing but sensual enchantment, as once the Pharisees exhibited.
      Stoeckhardt is one of the lost and forgotten great teachers of the old (German) Missouri Synod by today's LCMS.  Although Concordia Publishing still sells one of his books, yet Stoeckhardt wrote many wonderful books, books of exegetical studies of the books of the Bible, and also dogmatic works.  Books such as:
I have over 20 of Stoeckhardt's books in my library, books of English translations, purchased at the CTS-FW bookstore over 20 years ago.  They filled the bookstore with much good Christian writing then. But now hardly any remain listed on their website (only 1 today, but call them for perhaps a more complete listing.).
      Stöckhardt was highly revered among his students.  So why are his many books not competing with the multitude of Reformed commentaries on the Bible?  Could it be that the LCMS essentially buried him in their fall away from orthodoxy, their slipping away on the doctrine of Inspiration?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Wallace McLaughlin: true “Missourian”; Copernicanism Part 23b

      This continues from Part 23a, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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Rev. Wallace H. McLaughlin

      Concluding from the Part 23a, I want to present the broader picture of the perhaps the truest "Missourian" teacher of the latter half of the Twentieth Century -- Pastor/Professor/Dean Wallace McLaughlin.  You won't find much information online about him except where there are histories of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference that separated from the LCMS.  Before commenting further, I want to present the following biographical information.
      Pastor R.E. Wehrwein presented information on McLaughlin in his reprint of McLaughlin's A Sketch from the History of the Lutheran Church in America – C.F.W. Walther, available here from Anchor Tracts.  He included information from two sources: (1) the journal Orthodox Lutheran and (2) the LCR journal One Accord:

By H. D. Mensing
Orthodox Lutheran, Vol. 1, No. 3 (January 1952), p. 33
(Publication of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference)
      Wallace H. McLaughlin, of Scottish descent, was born in Philadelphia March 28, 1902. He was baptized and first brought up in the Presbyterian church. Due to his study of Holy Scripture [and] the Book of Concord and private instruction by a Lutheran pastor, he was received as a member of the Lutheran Church (ULCA) in 1918. He attended, in his youth, both Muhlenberg and Wagner colleges and Mount Airy Seminary, of the ULC. Ordained June 5, 1924, he was installed shortly thereafter as associate to the pastor of Transfiguration Church, Philadelphia.
      Further study, especially of Pieper's Dogmatik, convinced him that verbal inspiration is a clear scriptural doctrine. In consequence of a sermon on verbal inspiration, however, and an attempt to lead the congregation toward affiliation with the Missouri Synod, which was objected to by the senior pastor, [by] the officials of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, and [by] his church council, he resigned his pastorate. He then severed his connections with the ULC and became a member of the Missouri Synod. His adviser was Doctor Dau of Missouri.
      From 1928 to 1938 he served as one of Missouri's missionaries in China, chiefly as a professor at the seminary in Hankow. In 1939 he assisted in Negro mission work in Philadelphia. From 1940 until now he has been pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church (Mo. Synod), Pittsburgh. Intervening years were spent in post-graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania and at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, from which he received the degrees of Bachelor and Master of Sacred Theology. He served as a member of President J.W. Behnken's Committee of Ten in 1946 and 1947, when the work of this committee was abruptly terminated by the Presidium's "Agreement." He has also been a vice-president of the Confessional Lutheran Publicity Bureau and a contributing editor of the Confessional Lutheran.
      On Sept. 26, 1951, in obedience to God's Word, Rom.16:17; 1 Tim. 5:22b; Eph. 4:3, he withdrew from the Missouri Synod, after more than 25 years in this church body, to join in forming the OLC. He was unanimously elected president of this church body.
      In 1937 he married Mary Lavina T. Ahrens. He has two step-children and two children from this marital union.
      May God preserve us truly godly, gifted, and consecrated leaders like our brother "Mac," as he is affectionately called by many who dearly love him for his faithfulness to Christ, our Savior, and the full truth of His Word! [End of OL article]
      From the article on pp. 3-4 of the March 1976 issue of One Accord of the LCR, we add the following:
      "... Taught Dogmatics and Exegesis in Concordia Theological Seminary at Hankow, wrote his MST thesis during a furlough 1935-1936 on 'The Doctrine of Verbal Inspiration and Its Opponents' (Dr. Paul E. Kretzmann serving as consultant and approving professor) ....
      "Called to a professorship in the OLC seminary at Minneapolis in 1952, called to Good Shepherd Church in 1959, helped to train men for the ministry during his pastorate, inducted into office as dean and first professor of the Martin Luther Institute of Sacred Studies at Shepherd, Mich., on July 8, 1971, and served in that capacity until the Lord called him home."
      McLaughlin died on Feb. 9, 1976, having outlived by more than a decade P.E. Kretzmann, with whom he had been a close colleague not only in the OLC but also in the LCR, and at whose funeral he had officiated in 1965.
It has been 40 years since the passing of the dear Prof. Wallace McLaughlin.  How I wish that I had met him in person.  —  There is additional biographical information below in the "About the Author" section of the included book.
We All Believe In One True God
by Rev. Wallace H. McLaughlin
      I have been asked on occasion what books to buy for good Lutheran teaching in these last days.  Along with the available English translations of Luther, Walther, and Franz Pieper, I can safely say the purchase of We All Believe In One True God by Wallace McLaughlin will do nothing but build and strengthen the Christian faith.  It is quite inexpensive – currently only $10.50 postpaid from Anchor Books and Tracts, and the book includes a Scripture Index and Subject Index.  On page 32, McLaughlin quotes directly from Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics work. And a significant comment was made on page 83:
(N.B. The above presentation [chapters I – XII], especially the brief treatment of the distinction between Law and Gospel, has been in large part condensed and simplified from Dr. F. Pieper’s masterly presentation in his Christian Dogmatics. The remaining six chapters [XIII – XVIII] will lean heavily upon my translation of unpublished lectures delivered in the German language by the sainted Dr. Pieper in the fall semester of 1927-28, when I sat at his feet in his Dogmatics class).
This book is the direct result of the teaching of the Twentieth Century Luther  – Franz Pieper.  How fitting it is that the person to translate all of Pieper’s series “Dr. C.F.W. Walther as Theologian” should be… Wallace H. McLaughlin – not someone from the LC-MS.  Below I present the text of this book but without the Indexes, which are included in the printed book:

(This document may be open separately here.)

Born into Presbyterian church, became a Lutheran (ULCA) by the teaching of the Book of Concord, but by the teaching of the Twentieth Century Luther, McLaughlin became (and died)...
 a true "Missourian",
a true "Missourian" who defended against Copernicanism. —  I present another great defender of Inspiration, George Stoeckhardt, in the next Part 24.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

McLaughlin vs Copernicanism – Inviolability of Bible: true “Missourian”; Part 23a

      This continues from Part 22, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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Rev. Wallace H. McLaughlin
† 1976

      In a previous blog on Dr. Gerardus Bouw, I noted with surprise that he, a Baptist, had discovered a writing of a Lutheran pastor/teacher that had warned against Copernicanism in more recent times.  Since posting that blog, I have discovered where Bouw likely found that writing... online.  From Germany, Pastor Mr. Roland Sckerl, has published several faithful Lutheran writings online and has some ties in part with the Lutheran Churches of the Reformation or the LCR.  This federation grew out of the original Orthodox Lutheran Conference which was started by Rev. Wallace H. McLaughlin and others who separated from the hemorrhaging LCMS.  McLaughlin served as a great teacher of both groups.  Indeed, he wrote a book that in some ways is perhaps the best theological work since Franz Pieper died – We All Believe In One True God.
      Bouw's quote from McLaughlin left me wanting to read more from the dear McLaughlin's essay.  So my discovery leaves me with a joy that God preserved a true "Missourian" teacher after Pieper's passing.  And I want to republish the entire "reprint" of Sckerl's copy of the original essay below.  The essay itself is not very long, only about 9 pages.  It contains one of the best histories of exactly how the LCMS threw off its "Missourian" heritage.  It was by unionistic practice, compromising its foundational doctrines.  It gives a masterful teaching and defense of "verbal inspiration".  And one learns of the erring theologians: (1) George Calixtus, (2) J. Michael Reu of the old Iowa Synod, and (3) Hermann Sasse, the German theologian. (The full separate document may be viewed here.)

      I want to again publish the quote that Dr. Gerardus Bouw used from the end of McLaughlin's essay, but this time I will include the whole paragraph:
     There is doubtless no attribute of Scripture more disregarded and sinned against, also in neo-Missourian circles, than its inviolability. The average Missourian will not lightly say that Scripture errs in a certain point, but he will say that a Scriptural dictum is just "a detail of doctrine" which is of no particular importance, or that only "a question of terminology" is involved, or that it is "all a matter of interpretation", or that it "need not be divisive". That Scripture infallibly interprets itself, and that Scripture's own interpretation must be accepted unmodified by any extraneous notions imported into Scripture from "science" or experience, is a principle that has been largely overlooked in modern Missouri even by the staunchest "conservatives". Dr. Pieper in an ever-memorable and classically definitive sentence of his "Christliche Dogmatik" (I, p.577)[English ed. pgs. 472-473] lays down the principle: "[It is unworthy of a Christian to interpret Scripture, which he knows to be God's own Word, according to human opinions (hypotheses), and that includes the Copernican cosmic system, or to have others thus to interpret Scripture to him.]". It is well said that Rev. F. E. Pasche's "Bible und Astronomie" offers "proof that not a single one of about sixty verses, in which the earth is said to stand still, and the sun and all stars are said to move, may be interpreted in such a way as if really the reverse were the case". Such "interpretation" is not exegesis but eisegesis. It brings into Scripture a world-view which no one has ever found in Scripture and according to this alien importation reverses the plain meaning of what Scripture actually says. The plea that "Scripture accommodates itself to human concepts”, that is, rightly understood, that it speaks in intelligible language, is not valid when such concepts are supposed to be inherently erroneous. Scripture never accommodates itself to erroneous human concepts. Moses could have made the "Copernican" world-view intelligible to the people of the sixteenth century B.C. as readily as Copernicus made it intelligible to the people of the sixteenth century A.D., if only this world-view had been true to fact. The proper scope of the Scripture is not to teach history, geography, natural science, but is given in John 5:39; 2 Tim. 3:15 ff; 1 John 1:4 etc. When Scripture, however, incidentally touches upon these matters it is still inviolable truth (John 10:35), and to "interpret” the pronouncements of Scripture even on these matters in accordance with supposed knowledge derived from sources outside the Scriptures (human hypotheses) is to dishonor the divine and self-interpreting Word. We of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference, operating, as we do, without benefit of "the human element" or "human factor" in Scripture, will, by God's grace, not be equipped to get out of Scripture any other meaning than that which the Holy Ghost put into it.
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Note to Dr. Gerardus Bouw:
You should purchase Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics vol. 1, and read the whole book.  McLaughlin started out as a Presbyterian, but saw the truth of the Lutheran Church which grounds itself solely in the Word of God... and became a Lutheran, perhaps the greatest Lutheran teacher of the last half of the 20th Century!  Haven't even you discovered his greatness?... the greatness of the Lutheran Church?
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      This essay presents a striking contrast between Rev. McLaughlin and the Preus brothers, J.A.O. Preus and Robert Preus.  All of these are thought to have upheld old Missouri's teaching on the Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture.  But while McLaughlin separated from the LCMS for its abandonment of an inviolable Bible, the Preus brothers... joined the LCMS.  Now which of the three do you think upheld this doctrine the best?
      I'm not done with the dear Pastor McLaughlin.  In the next Part 23b, I will present biographical information and also republish his great book.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Carl Gottlob Hofmann - warning on Copernicanism; Part 22

      This continues from Part 21, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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Carl Gottlob Hofmann
      I have listed elsewhere several references where C.F.W. Walther battled against Copernicanism.  But I have recently re-discovered another one that is a bit surprising.  In 1868 Walther was defending against the errors of the old Iowa Synod, a forerunner of today's ELCA.  As he addressed "fundamental" and "non-fundamental" articles of doctrine, he quoted a Lutheran theologian of the 1700s, Carl Gottlob Hofmann († 1774):
"The article pertaining to the Copernican system likewise is not a fundamental one, but it can easily happen that a person denying the movement of the sun around the earth adds as his conclusion that the writers of the Old Testament were altogether uncultured and ignorant people (admodum rudes). In this way, the infallibility of the holy writers and thereby the teaching of the divine inspiration of Holy Scripture are attacked. (Theol. Thet. Praecogn., ch. 11, § 26, p. 112)"
Walther goes on to discuss the over-arching importance of Hofmann's last point – the infallibility and inspiration of Holy Scripture... even above adherence to the non-fundamental "article pertaining to the Copernican system".   Walther would not sever fellowship except where the erring party did not manifest "the attitude of willingness to submit unconditionally to the whole Word of God and not to teach anything that opposes the foundation of Christian faith."
      I have not seen in any other writing (not even in Pastor F.E. Pasche's) a reference to C.G. Hofmann as being in a list of orthodox Lutheran theologians who specifically warn against Copernicanism, so I want to give him honor on this blog post.

Where may one find Walther's essay that includes his quotation of C.G. Hofmann?  In the recent CPH "Walther's Works" book Church Fellowship, in the essay "The False Arguments for the Modern Theory of Open Questions" of 1868.  This quote may be found on page 103.  Walther's whole essay is worth the price of this book.
Hmmm, that's interesting... a recent CPH book testifies against what the LCMS/CTCR teaches in the same year – 2015. —
Again, I intend to return to Pastor Pasche in Part 19b.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Synodical Conf 1886– Divinity of Scripture: Docetism or Pipe organ?; on Sasse; Copernicanism Part 21

      This continues from Part 20, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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Dedicated to the honor of the old Synodical Conference.
[2016-09-11 - added note in red at bottom]
      Today, August 11, marks the 130th anniversary of the Synodical Conference meeting in Detroit Michigan, August 11-16, 1886.  A doctrinal report was delivered at that meeting and published in the German language in its Proceedings, pages 5-71 (SCR 1886).  That essay has never been translated into English, as far as I know, and so a reader took up my challenge in an earlier blog post:
“Will some faithful Lutheran translate this full essay today?  It would be a treasure of inestimable value to the Church.” 
The translator who took up this challenge is... Andrew Boomhower.

      Some notes regarding this translation:  (1) the translator used the modern city name of Tartu for the older city name of Dorpat.  Other translations that referred to theologians of this city typically have used the older name of Dorpat;  (2) One of the errors of Germany's theologians relates to what Franz Pieper countered in paragraph 2 of his Brief Statement: "The rule of faith is not the man-made so-called “totality of Scripture” (“Ganzes der Schrift”).";  (3) The translator noted that various passages were more difficult to render than others.  One example of this is:
"Woerterinspiration" ==>> "inspiration of the words"; "Worteinspiration." ==>> "inspiration of the wording"
Elsewhere in the text, when this distinction is not being made, I rendered "Wortinspiration" as "verbal inspiration."
(4) My translation of an excerpt used in an earlier blog post was somewhat incorrect.  It regards a reference to "Luther's school".  I assumed the essay was in some way quoting Luther but it was rather paraphrasing the erring teachers. Although my translation is technically incorrect, yet it did not do violence to the intended meaning.  One should compare the passages:
  • Mine: Thus Christians also make it this way, if they let themselves be led into a false school and not in Luther's school.  He says: That one can not so highly credit the Bible as that it can let the sun go down; it speaks in simplicity, as it has then presented the matter.
  • Boomhower's: This is also what the Christians are doing when they can be led into a false school and not into Luther’s. They [erring teachers] say, “one cannot give the Bible much credit for letting the Sun move: they spoke naively in the way the matter was visualized back then.”
      The quality of Boomhower's translation reflects the translator's knowledge of languages in general and it is fortunate to have this kind of quality instead of mine.  Not many people today are translating works of the old Missouri Synod or the Synodical Conference.  The translator has chosen well, a jewel in the crown the Lutheran Church of America.  And, indeed, it specifically addresses the "hot topics" of... Copernicanism, astronomy, geology, etc.
      The text is fully hyperlinked -- footnotes and almost all the works of the referenced German theologians.  Most of these outside works are even linked to the original page numbers in Google Books and elsewhere.

      I want to repeat my preface given in the German language document (also here):
Although the speaker is identified as Prof. A.L. Gräbner of the Wisconsin Synod, yet just  the presence of C.F.W. Walther gives this essay a very close tie to Walther.  Some sections give quotes directly from Walther's Baieri Compendium book. No essay was ever delivered in Walther’s presence that contains any doctrinal issue against the Bible or the Lutheran Confessions.  And indeed I believe that a large amount of text of this report was actually delivered by Walther in a “discussion” setting of questions and answers  – i.e. page 37, last paragraph  –  “Auf die Frage… wurde geantwortet:”  – – >>  To the question....  was answered:.
==>>  I attribute this essay largely to Walther’s authority, but it remains official doctrine of the old Synodical Conference.
      Now I present an original translation of the 1886 Synodical Conference Doctrinal Proceedings of 1886 —  by Mr. Andrew Boomhower:
Theses on the Divinity of Holy Scripture
Speaker: Prof. A.L. Gräbner (Wisconsin Synod)
with C.F.W. Walther in attendance (Missouri Synod)

(translated from the original German by Andrew Boomhower)

A downloadable paginated PDF version (54 pages) of this essay is available here:

     Franz Pieper referred to this doctrinal essay at least 2 times in his Christian Dogmatics textbooks: Volume 1: page 93, footnote 131; page 272, footnote 84.  On page 271-272, Pieper states:

Of the more widely known theologians in Germany it is only Philippi who in the last years of his life returned to the Scripture doctrine of in­spiration.84
84 … A complete presentation and review of the doctrine of inspiration held by modern theologians is found in the 11th report of the Synodical Conference, 1886.

So the future pastors of the old (German) Missouri Synod being trained in America under Prof. Franz Pieper were directed to this essay to get updated on the history of the doctrine of Inspiration. For the first time this essay is now available in the English language. – Unfortunately modern theologians continue their destructive work today, just as in 1886 and in 1931, Pieper's final year. But today, it seems the struggle for the Divinity of Holy Scripture is within the LCMS itself. No longer can the world look to today's St. Louis (or Fort Wayne) for the "orthodox" teaching on Inspiration. One is better served by the true teachers of the Lutheran Church. And this essay is a watering hole for those feeling parched when attempting to find faithful writings.
      There are many quotes that I could extract from this essay, but I will highlight the following extended one from pages 10-11 concerning modern theologians:
These theologians are like the enthusiasts, who cry, “the Spirit! The Spirit must teach us the truth!” Likewise, the New Theologians cry, “No, Christ is the foundation of the Faith, not Scripture!” However, with that, they completely contradict Eph. 2, [Eph. 2:20] “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,” that is, upon the witness, upon the writings of the Apostles and Prophets. To this, they come right back and say, “he who teaches this misleads the youth; that is a foundation of sand. Oh, the evil Foe is very serious about robbing us of the foundation of our faith.” It really does sound nice when they say, “No! Christ is the foundation of the Christian Faith!” But this is nothing more than a superb illusion. ... 
Illusion indeed! That is "docetism" – a word meaning to seem, or an apparition, or a phantom. This term is normally used by true Christian teaching (i.e. the Nicene Creed) to combat errorists. The false teachers attempted to use this same terminology against orthodox teaching. — Herman Sasse also used this false charge against the true teaching, as Robert Preus pointed out. President Matthew Harrison even admits (Letters to Lutheran Pastors, Vol. 1. p. lxxxiv) that Sasse was wrong, his attack was "disturbing", and he "never was comfortable with the Missouri Synod's doctrine on this matter nor with the doctrine of the orthodox fathers. In fact, he remained negatively concerned regarding the Missouri Synod on the doctrina de scriptura up to his last days." (Harrison then goes on to say he believes the readers of Sasse's letters are "in for a treat", and wants them all "growing in certainty of the Gospel"... all this while even he found Sasse's attacks "disturbing".) Prof. Jeffrey Kloha quoted (I believe with approval, page 363 here) Sasse's understanding of inerrancy with his words "This inerrancy, however, does not obviously exclude certain human limitations". (Is it any wonder that Sasse espoused Copernicanism in the 1967 CPH book Accents in Luther's Theology: Essays in Commemoration of the 450th Anniversary of the Reformation, page 84, – just as today's LCMS/CTCR is doing for the 500th Anniversary?) — But the Synodical Conference-1886 responds to this charge: "This warning against Docetism is a warning against a bogey." And I will turn this misuse of terminology around and use it against these errorists, just like the Synodical Conference did -- for it is "a superb illusion" where their "Christ is the foundation"... a Christ without the Scriptures. But how did Christ teach about Himself on the road to Emmaus to the two travelers?
Luke 24:27 – Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
There can be NO separation of Christ from the Holy Scriptures for they are Divinely Inspired! John 1:1,14.
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==>> To "Josh"
Read how the old Synodical Conference put the Sola Scriptura in practice.  Read about the pipe organ analogy (pg 49, search "pipe" and "organ") and the ridiculousness of saying that a tune is inspired but the notes are not.  Even Andrew Boomhower, the translator, was impressed with this wonderful metaphor.
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[Note 2016-09-11: see also Pieper's article on Walther's teaching of Inspiraition here; also Manteufel's translation of Walther's lectures of 1885-1886 on Inspiration here.]

     In the next blog post, I am hopeful to return to Pastor Pasche with Part 19b...

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Luther & Walther: on science & religion; Copernicanism Part 20

      This continues from Part 19a a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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      This blog post is interrupting my sub-series (Parts 19x) on Pastor F.E. Pasche to insert a quote from Walther and Luther on this subject of "science and religion".  This comes from one of C.F.W. Walther's Forewords for the journal Lehre und Wehre (LuW), volume 21, 1875 pp. 1-13, 33-42, 65-80.  An English translation was included in the 1981 CPH book Selected Writings of C.F.W. Walther - Editorials from "Lehre Und Wehre". pp. 122-142.  This specific quote comes from Walther's defense of the charge made against the old (German) Missouri Synod that it had contempt for "Wissenshaft", the German word variously translated as science, learning, or scholarship.  This quote is on page 33 of LuW, or page 130 of the translated CPH book (Google translation of text here):

In the first place, we confess that no matter how much we think of learning [Wissenschaft, science/scholarship], we do not rank it above the truth of Scripture, nor even as its equal, but immeasurably below it. Hence we indeed say frankly and openly with Luther:

It is better for learning to be destroyed rather than religion, if learning refuses to be a servant and desires to tread Christ under foot” (Letter to Amsdorf, 28 June, 1534; St. Louis Edition, XXIb, 1911-1912, [No. 2067]; not in any published English translation; Google translated text here.).

A single little passage of Scripture means incomparably more to us and is an immeasurably greater treasure for us than all the wisdom of this world.

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      Now the scoffers will continue to mock this position of the old (German) Missouri Synod as a "contempt of science or scholarship"... just as in 1875.  Unfortunately today's LCMS is hardly "Missourian" as Walther and Pieper are practically sneered at.  This is in spite of the fact that CPH still sells their book.  Could it be that the LCMS teachers have rather joined those scoffers?  But Christians, so far as they are Christian, will recognize in these quotes true Christian counsel.  —  I plan to go back to my sub-series on Pastor Pasche soon, which will be Part 19b.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Pastor F. E. Pasche: Prof. J. Schaller's testimony; Copernicanism Part 19a

      This continues from Part 18g-2 a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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Pastor F. E. Pasche
(younger years)

      After completing the blog series on Dr. Carl Schöpffer's last great book against Copernicanism, I want to return again to America, to the spiritual heartland, to Missouri.  And this time I want to reveal more of the pastor that has only been briefly covered in several previous blogs – Pastor Frederick Emil Pasche (1872-1954).  Both Robert Schadewald and Dr. Gerardus Bouw give him some coverage as a prominent proponent against Copernicanism.  
      I have used information from Pasche's books in previous blogs:
  1. Walther's sermon which spoke of the Sun's orbit around the Earth
  2. 1886 Synodical Conference essay against Copernicanism
  3. Lehre und Wehre essay by "W.M." in 1898
  4. Der Lutheraner article in 1878 (by Pastor Köstering)
Robert Schadewald reports the following of Pasche:
Perhaps the most prolific LCMS geocentrist was Frederick E. Pasche (1872–1954).  Pastor Pasche wrote two substantial geocentric books in German—Christliche Weltanschauung.  Kosmogonie und Astronomie (Christian Worldview: Cosmogony and Astronomy) in 1904 and Bibel und Astronomie (Bible and Astronomy) in 1906.  In 1915, Pasche published a 49-page pamphlet entitled Fifty Reasons: Copernicus or the Bible
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      To begin my sub-series on Pasche, I want to start out backwards by publishing the Foreword to the last of his publications -- Fifty Reasons: Copernicus or the Bible from 1915.  Why?  Because it shows that Pasche was not unknown in the Synodical Conference in the early Twentieth Century.  And this essay applies to all of Pasche's writings against Copernicanism. 
      The Foreword was written by a notable professor of the old Wisconsin Synod (WELS) Prof. John Schaller, of whom we have heard good things earlier.  It appears to me that Schaller may have been the only teacher in the Synodical Conference, besides Franz Pieper, who actually had anything published against Copernicanism in the 20th century.  As that century proceeded, it is notable that there were progressively fewer publications defending against Copernicanism, except of course by Rev. Wallace McLaughlin.  Because of its forthrightness and importance, I am taking the liberty of publishing this Foreword to the world.  Thankfully, it was written in English and so required no translation work on my part (all highlighting is mine):

Prof. John Schaller
Wisconsin Synod
The author of this booklet has risked a tilt with Science. That is a venturesome undertaking in these days of ours where Science reigns supreme, a veritable goddess before whom millions of faithful worshipers bow their heads in childlike trust. Science has become the masterword to conjure with because it claims to have laid down a firm foundation for a Weltanschauung which happily eliminates all those troublous concepts of sin and guilt, of eternity and a responsibility to an almighty God. Whoever dares to touch this beloved and admired idol with an unfriendly hand, with the nefarious purpose of exhibiting its brazen worthlessness, must expect to be caught up in the vortex of a crushing whirlwind of fanatical vituperation. For Science with its highpriests and devotees is intolerant to the last degree.
But let it be remembered that our author is at odds only with Science; he has no quarrel with science which is content with a lowercase initial. Just plain science is a valuable aid to man since it diligently assembles knowable facts and marshals them into some logical order for purposes of study and application. Its domain is that of observation, and it rests content with recording what it actually sees and hears. It goes no farther beyond the individual perceptions than to express in general, abstract terms a summary of known facts announcing the so-called “laws” which may be deduced from observed occurrences. Plain science is continuously reaching forward into the region of the unknown, seeking to increase the actual store of human knowledge; but as it never pretends to know what is unknown, so does it never attempt to overstep the boundaries which are set between that which is knowable and that which is naturally unknowable. Briefly, just plain science is real knowledge, not fancy.
But Science, the fetish of the modern world, reincarnation of the ancient idol Philosophy, scorns the boundaries which will forever mark the limit of plain science. From some bare foothold in fact, Science vaults into the saddle of that spirited steed Imagination and sets out to uncover the veiled mysteries of the universe. This adventure would be more promising if the steed were of pure pedigree. But no highpriest of Science could ever command the services of an undefiled imagination; the steed is alway a sideling jade, variously afflicted with pantheism, materialism, evolutionism, atheism, or a combination of these ailments. Thus every foray is doomed to failure at the outset. This fact, though sufficiently vexatious in all conscience, would not necessarily discredit those attempts at reaching the unattainable, if it were generally understood that the fanciful flights of Science were meant for pastime only. But it is an unfortunate habit of Science to proclaim as facts the alleged discoveries made in the trackless realms of fancy. Oh yes, Science will always tell us that this and that is an hypothesis; but Scientists and their unthinking followers, quickly losing sight of the difference between the finest hypothesis and the most insignificant fact, will just as surely insist, after a little while, that what entered the world as a guess becomes a fact by many repetitions. To mention but one instance. The hypothesis of evolutionism, having been adopted by Scientists generally, is not only used as a fact, but insisted upon as such, though to this day no investigator has been able to observe a single case of actual evolution. Hence plain science is compelled to record habitual untruthfulness as one of the deplorable characteristics of Science.
While plain science is not, and never can become, dangerous to a Christian believer, Science has been determinedly at work to overthrow the foundations of faith, and has succeeded in deceiving thousands to their eternal detriment. An accomplishment of which Science is especially proud is the successful destruction of faith in the Scriptures as the real revelation of God. Disguised as astronomy and geology, Science has demonstrated triumphantly that the very first chapters of the Bible contain nothing but myths, which are of no greater historical value than the cosmogony of any pagan people. This was the inevitable result of scientific speculation. No mind imbued with the errors of pantheism, deism, or monism, could by any possibility reconstruct the history of creation along the lines laid down in the record of which God is the author. It matters not that all the real facts of astronomy and geology agree very well with the Mosaic presentation and the point of view prevailing in the whole Bible; since Science has decreed that these facts shall be utilized for deductions based upon other points of view, and has declared its deductions to be facts, thousands of deluded sinners have been led to discard as antiquated the entire revelation of God in the Bible, including the Savior and His salvation.
Thus, since Science (not plain science, mind you!) is at war with the fundamental doctrines of Christian faith, it follows that all true Christians must be at war with Science. They cannot sit complacently by while the vain imaginings of the princes of this world are offered as true answers to the most vital questions with which every human being is concerned. It is in this spirit that our author makes his attack upon Science. Sure of his foothold in the inerrant Word of God, he, in particular, aims to show up the fatal weakness of the vaunted deductions of Astronomy (not astronomy, please!). The reader may not agree with the writer in every argument. He may, for instance, admit the possibility that the statements of Scripture referring to the sun as a moving body, were not meant to say that the sun does really move (though such an admission is much like playing with fire!). But he will surely agree that the writer has successfully arraigned Science for untruthfulness in allowing the impression to prevail that its astronomical hypotheses have attained the dignity of facts, whereas they can never be established as such. If it is too much to hope that this brief treatise will actually bring back some erring hearts to certain faith in the Bible, it will surely be welcomed as a fearless witness of the truth by those who, though certain of their footing in Holy Scripture, are yet conscious of the unholy power of Science to corrupt the heart of a believer.
Wauwatosa, Wis., March 27, 1915.
J. Schaller.
      It was most refreshing for me to again run across this writing from the dear Prof. Schaller.  May God bless it to His glory!
      I will comment more on Pasche's booklet 50 Reasons later.  But first I want to cover his earlier books that were published in the German language... in Part 19b.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Frantz: mud, wolf, fish on stilts, cuckoo's egg- Copernicanism Part 18g-2

      This continues from Part 18g-1 a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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      This concludes a 2-part blog publishing my translation of Dr. Alexander Frantz's Foreword to Schöpffer's last great book against Copernicanism:
Translation by BackToLuther. Highlightinghyperlinks, text in square [ ] brackets are mine.

by Dr. Alexander Frantz
to The Contradictions in Astronomy by Carl Schöpffer, pages IX - XVI
(conclusion from Part 18g-1)

What is not reasonable, what is non-conceptual and thoughtless, will also not be true and real; and the public should be grateful to our author that he has uncovered in part the contradictions of astronomy – in its development, in its proofs and allegations; indeed, we have no hesitation to assure the reader that this contingent [of astronomers] can abundantly multiply their unreasonable claims, if one feels the history of science by its inductive pulse, as it is narrated to us by [William] Whewell (Philosophy of Inductive Sciences, translated into German from English by J.J. von Littrow).  This historical work has been published with the symbol: λαμπάδια εχοντες [page X] διαδώσουσιν αλλήλοις.  The inductive sciences or their masters may share at least with each other their candles; but no reasonable person should be beguiled to believe that his reason becomes reasonable by these λαμπάδια [candles]. It belongs to a different light, one light, the light and life (John 1:4).   It belongs in fact to a higher light in the sense to realize that natural light is not only natural light, but also natural light; otherwise nobody vouches for whether what is praised as light is not just an extinguished torch or, so to speak, pitch (or bad luck) instead of the torch. Unfortunate it is that in the history of the astronomy, epoch-making luminaries really faced such a thing which is raised by its adherents to the heavens where it does not belong at all, and is not yet discovered up to today, what also our author did not forget to suggest.
But if one now recommends this writing to all those who must have a very obvious interest to see disposed the Edomite defiance which pretends to entrench the education of the present with the ramparts of an unthinking, as also without evidence, atomistic natural science — will they finally convince themselves that Astronomy does not deserve the faith which she presumes?  Will they finally cease to accept the wolf in the herd as a lamb, or as a falsely denounced friend?  Will they learn to be afraid to reconcile the world view of Holy Scripture, which is just opposite of the Copernican astronomy, with a worldview that emerges like a mirage from a false science, or rather to reveal it to the latter?  One might well ask more and greater questions; but in view of the portrayal which the author sketches on pages 15-16 in his writing, all questions are silenced.  We instead want to wait to see whether this writing does not for many, those who are doubtful and timid, strengthen their courage to fight when he sees the gaps in the ramparts; and if it will not awaken some of those who are indifferent to the old watchword: “Prepare yourselves, you Christian people!”  [page XI]
There will not be missing mockers for this book, as not all do not regard the words of the Psalm as a poetic gimmick, but as a full reality and truth: “His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it.” [Psalm 19: 6]  It would be a real shame if this desire of the whole earth should not go out as a bridegroom from his chamber, if they should not look forward like a strong man to run [Psalm 19:5], but would sit still like an Olympic idol.  And yet the Word stands fast, that the reproach of Christ is to hold greater riches than the treasures of Egypt [Heb. 11:26], …… Or is one to praise an education that has been so blind and drunk in the enjoyment of its supposed glory, that it no longer likes to recognize the mud, full of errors and lies, that flows in its stream?   And with it they want to water the souls for everlasting life?!
But is it not all too daring when a layman raises objections against a science like astronomy, which is supported by so many famous and celebrated names, and their far-reaching influence has so firmly established it that everyone gives it the honor of being a queen of the sciences?  Here it must be said that it is a contradiction to apply an illegitimate reign to this falsely famous queen.  It is quite odd enough to appoint astronomy to this royal dignity; — and if they let the commandment go out now from their usurped throne: "Bow, down, man, before the terrible spectacle of immense space and the innumerable bodies floating therein; let it shatter your thinking and your form will be so puny, that you become an atom born from the conditions of mud, or [page XII] (as spoke Mästlin, Kepler’s teacher) “a mere point, a speck, or still smaller something if one can say generally still something;” — in such a way we only hear in it the speaking of an illegitimate despot against whom one must call every man to pull himself together, to claim his divine right, and, after the counsel of St. Martin [Luther], to be distinguished from this higher but dumb nature by the superiority of His Word, and to tear himself away from the soul-murderous obligation to measure his life and nature with the eyes of the body.  
And so we then recommend this writing, which incidentally also recommends itself well to all those who are not yet taken in too much by blind faith in the astronomical humbug.  The occasion of the recent controversy over astronomy [Lisco-Knak Affair if 1868] has given quite complimentary testimonies of what confidence they hold in the fundamental Copernican dogma, without tact or tactics  –  it is as a giant who can make a faith in the Holy Scriptures, proven seven times in fire, flee the field of battle, or can eat it for breakfast.  One can also understand the indignation, when by a good firm confession, this giant is dispatched as a school boy, and when the indignant, who have sent this giant on ahead into battle, are even unable in their eagerness to show whether this gigantic figure stands on its own ankles, or whether it is only a tiny weever fish standing on stilts as tall as a tree.  Or could they maintain the strength of this giant with something other, as with a crackling fire in junipers and with agitations, this: on the best way to enforce the extremely important and necessary law, that without a rigorous exam in orthodox astronomy, no more may a candidate of theology climb a pulpit and no more may a pastor sit on the school board in the colleges?  — However in the whole of natural science is there hardly any other dogma than the fundamental Copernican dogma, which teaches the exact  opposite of what the senses perceive daily, so taken to measure the credibility of natural science [page XIII] with the credibility of Holy Scripture, which simply holds to what the senses see  –  consider the spectacle seen in the sky as an object – so that the meaning should be taught, and this purpose cannot be achieved with objects that before only deceive the senses.  For this reason, one should not so easily accept as a contradiction of a sensory deception claiming astronomy, as those who seem to think that it does not depend so much on whether one holds that the sun, or that the earth moves, if only the miracle is not denied; however, there is yet much importance to know whether the Holy Scriptures, although they are not a compendium of science, when their guidance and education refers to the natural world, refers to the sense of appearence or to reality.  It is not proper for the Holy Ghost to make his instruction on objects, only to be corrected by the spirit of man, which must be freed from their false, deceptive appearances.  For example, when the prophet Isaiah cries: "Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number” (Isaiah 40:26); so a contortioner of nature could argue: What we see there must first be corrected; because what we see in the heights, deceives by a merely apparent motion, and thus the heavenly bodies are not those to which a free movement is essential, and thus it is at least plausible whether the whole army is brought about by another power.  On the other hand, it must be protested in the strongest terms against the zealous chatter that the Bible-believing theology, by invoking the Holy Scriptures, oppose the advancement in all human sciences, particularly natural science.  They say today, as before, that even astronomers and mathematicians declared: we reject the Copernican dogma, “because it contradicts the Holy Scriptures and visual inspection,” so not only the Holy Scriptures, but also inspection, so important for all empirical knowledge, [page XIV] has to be against itself.  And if now the Copernican system is directed immediately at first by the greatest astronomer of his time [Gauss!], and this astronomer himself has not given one respected and truly tested plan up to this day: how they may attack us and cry against us, we wanted to rely on the Holy Scriptures to defend the scientific research, as we seek not only to carry out research, but also to investigate with seriousness and prudence, as German Science deserves, and not merely to proceed with unsubstantiated claims and fraudulent theories, so that the truth might be known by science to the glory of God. Nature will probably still be the same, on the whole, as in the days of the prophets and apostles; why should not the same “observation” of her be won when it is looked at only not with fleshly eyes of the mind, but with the anointed eyes of the spirit.  Thus research is not adjusted by the appeal to the Holy Scriptures, but provoked for a higher reason and for a worthier purpose, and only the spirit of research and science be released from the immobilizing chains of pride and self-glorification, as it is therein exhausted to a fatal malnutrion (marasmus) and progresses to barrenness, while no fertility drug (Atocium  – ἀτόκιον, means resist barrenness. [Ed.  – may be in error as sources say opposite meaning.]) helps and when it is cooked together in all kitchens of moral indignation and passionate agitations.
What has then the Copernican astronomy, after she has demonstrated the apparent motion of the sun, and the apparent standstill of the earth as a mere illusion and deception; what has she taught for positive evidence and testimony, that she reports to us truth and reality?   What gives her the right to judge on the movement of heavenly stars, if it has not previously ordered the relevant matter of the earth and brought it into perfection?  What have a Kepler, Galileo, and Newton contributed to the inductive epochs, [page XV] to verify the actual so-called philosophical problem of Copernicus by direct observation?  Who made the immediate observation that the Sun, against all appearances, really stands still, and the Earth, against all perception, struggles in a double movement?  One has built around the philosophical stone of Copernicus with scaffolding, and from this scaffolding has measured the stone, has calculated, has viewed with telescopes,  made conjectures, devised hypotheses, and praised much as a miracle, what a delicious gem they had crammed into this scaffolding; but no one can say whether it is a gem or a cuckoo's egg. — One has exercised all art of mathematics, but none has made it doubtful that one can only deduce the possible, but never doubtful the real with mathematics.  Man has made observations abstracted theories, which should explain the observation, but tell in fact nothing, because the observation is to confirm the theory, and is thus interpreted and prepared, as it is useful for the theory.  One has introduced the mechanism as an abstract science into astronomy without at the very least checking whether one deals then really in the heavens with mechanics and mechanical laws.  In the end, of the whole universe, nothing is left but the idea of ​​a dead machine with gears that is set in motion by gravitation.  For the rest is all gear works and gravitation.  Heaven is nothing special, the stars are nothing special, their movement is nothing special, the earth is nothing special, man is nothing, his life, his thinking, is nothing; — and what has God to do in this all agreed world?  What is there of the confession of the triune God in it? — It is almost reachable, as atheism is used with this astronomy, and has its support in her.  And yet, — against this atheistic Queen, that is these idols of human science, it presses the charge, “that she lies”: this should be a crime against the present culture and education, and against  [page XVI] the magnificent peacock tail of natural science that opens up in it? — So we at least do not want the explanation for this science and this education to be that it is guilty, that it is pagan — and worse than pagan.
God protect us in grace before this new darkness, and bless this work to honor His Name!
Written Dom. Cantate 1869.
Dr. A. Frantz.
      I spent considerable time and effort translating Dr. Frantz's Foreword.  I would not have given him all this blog space if he had not thrilled me with his wonderful defense, nay, offense! against... Copernicanism.  As Dr. Frantz says, Copernicanism attempts to eat Christianity "for breakfast".  So with him I say
Prepare yourselves, you Christian people!,  and
God protect us in grace before this new darkness, and bless this work to honor His Name!  Amen!
      In the next Part 19a, I move back to America.  I want to present more on the old Missouri Synod pastor who carried the defense against Copernicanism further to our time than any other... Pastor Pasche.