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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Geocentrism & Copernicus - more on Walther's teaching

[August 20, 2015 - added reference to
For reference, see my previous post on Geocentrism and the teachings of the Missouri Synod.  I have since found where Walther spoke even more directly on the Copernican System.  It was in his convention essay for the Eastern District, 1868. It is found in the book Essays For The Church – C.F.W. Walther, Volume I, 1857-1877 (CPH, 1992), pages 185-186.  This was taken from the 1868 Eastern District Convention essay, see here for download of original.  During a presentation on the Primary and Secondary Fundamental Articles of Faith and Nonfundamental Articles, a question was raised about the Copernican System and the Bible verses Joshua 10:12-14 where the sun revolves around the earth.  To this Walther answered:

This is a part, not an article of the doctrinal structure. Now, if someone cannot see that Holy Scripture wants to teach this here and in other passages, he can indeed still be a believing Christian. However, one who believes that the author of the Book of Joshua meant to write about the sun’s orbit but was himself in error in this matter, he makes the foundation of all doctrinal theology, Scripture itself, uncertain and therefore attacks the foundation. But one who thinks that Joshua is speaking optically, as the Copenicans also do when they say, “The sun is rising,” “The sun is setting"- one cannot condemn him.
In this connection the question was again raised whether it can be admitted that the Bible speaks optically.
Answer:
This teaching, whether the sun revolves around the earth or the earth around the sun, is not an article of faith, but at most only an object of faith, a part of the doctrinal structure of Holy Scripture. [But] because such (optical) language is unworthy of God, in that He would then be using a human way of speaking that contains an error, one must regard such a person as being in error but not as a heretic. But on the other hand it is also certain that such a person is setting up a dangerous hermeneutical principle, in that, you see, this statement is not only given to Joshua to say, but is also used by the author of this [book of] Scripture in the same way in verse 13—a principle whose consequences make the Bible unreliable for him....
An awful lot of today's Christians are "making the Bible unreliable" by believing anything other than what the Bible actually says.
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July 7, 2012 Addendum:
I must thank Matthew L. Becker, Associate Professor of Theology at Valparaiso University, for highlighting the unbelief of even a teacher of "theology" at a "Lutheran" university.  He says it best for today's modernism in his blog of December 23, 2010 where he says:
While I had my doubts about Pieper's view of the Bible, the world, and theology already in seminary (who wouldn't, given that he doubted the verity of the Copernican Theory and thought that Einstein's theories of relativity would eventually vindicate a geo-centric biblical cosmology?!)
Yes, Professor Becker, there are a lot of people who have doubts about the Bible because of so-called "science" that refutes it.  But Jesus answers you directly:
It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! Luke 17:1
And Becker is wrong on another point – Pieper did not doubt the verity of the Copernican Theory, he knew it was wrong where it taught that the earth was not the primary planet in the universe.  Why?  Because he believed God at His Word, the Bible.

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