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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wernher von Braun, space program, modern scientists (Copernicanism? Christianity?); Part 15

      This continues from Part 14, 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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      Now I move back to our present day.  One of the questions that racked my scientific mind as I grappled against Copernicanism: that the successes of the Space Program proved that geocentricity was problematic.  But in one of Gerardus Bouw’s books, he makes the point that all the equations of the space program are identical whether geocentric or heliocentric.  This is inadvertently somewhat confirmed when one discovers in Encyclopedia Britannica that the formulas to predict eclipses are based on a fixed earth (“For this purpose it is convenient first to consider Earth as fixed”). —
      But what about the Space Program's most famous scientist/proponent – the German-American Wernher von Braun?  As I learned more of him, there came some sadness, and a surprise.
Wernher von Braun
"Father of Rocket Science"

      Wernher von Braun is held up by some in the Reformed camp as a great scientist who was also a Christian -- ICR, AnswersInGenesis, Creation Moments.  However, as one reads of his life, he left his Lutheran upbringing as "he converted to Evangelical Christianity" (Wikipedia).  More problematic for those who claim him for the teaching of "creationism" are his own words as recorded in the book The Voice of Dr. Wernher von Braun: An Anthology.  The following quote is taken from a speech delivered to Belmont Abbey College, Nov. 22, 1971 (p. 169):
"I am quite confident that the great majority of Church leaders know in their hearts that this united front can best be presented by a common faith of all Christians in the basic teachings of Jesus Christ. But it means learning to live with the findings of Copernicus, of Galileo, of Darwin."
So the "creationism" camp would do well to reconsider their claim in light of this statement by von Braun.  Von Braun is also quoted with the following from the same speech (pages 168-169):
     Some people seem to have serious difficulties tying together certain Biblical passages with the reality of science, such as the story of creation given by Genesis, of the account of Joshua’s poetic appeal for the Sun to stand still while the Israelites avenged themselves over their enemies. The interpretation of Biblical passages has been the subject of argument between wiser men than myself for centuries. My own views on the delicate topic are that it helps to bridge the gap between the Bible and modern scientific thought if we remember that the Bible deals with man as well as God, and most of the people of whom the Bible speaks suffered from the same human frailties that we experience today.
     In my opinion, (and let me emphasize here that I fully respect and honor different views) insistence on an inflexible type of religion, holding to a literal interpretation of every word of the Bible as ultimate truth will tragically delay reconciling some of the Biblical references to scientific interpretations. But I believe, with all my heart, that religion, like science, is evolutionary, growing and changing in the light of further revelations by God. While the Bible is the best preserved account that we have of the revelations of God’s nature and love, we should recognize that particularly the early books, such as Genesis, were not written by scientific observers and witnesses, but by scribes who recorded ancient shepherd songs and tales because of their allegorical beauty.
And later he says:
Understanding the nature of the creation provides a substantive basis for the faith by which we attempt to know the nature of the Creator. 
Glenn Branch
This last statement is indicative of others made by von Braun that contain an element that is hard to swallow by evolutionists – it uses the words creation and Creator.  Glenn Branch, a speaker and blogger for the NCSE (National Center for Science Education) posted a blog "Not Exactly Rocket Science" where he seemed to struggle to find clear evidence of von Braun's teaching on the subject of creation, turning to what others said and finally quoted of von Braun.  He could have saved himself some time and just read the above book and found plenty of evidence of Braun's "fence-straddling".

So we see that von Braun's position on the Bible largely follows what modern theology teaches -- that the Joshua account is "poetic", the Bible is from human authors not always divinely inspired, and that "a literal interpretation of every word of the Bible as ultimate truth will tragically delay reconciling some of the Biblical references to scientific interpretations".
      Werner von Braun is largely an enigma to the world, straddling the fence in many ways.  I will leave this account of von Braun with a picture of his gravestone (Find-A-Grave), which most certainly is not advertised by NASA or the NCSE:
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Psalm 19:1
To see a Bible verse on the gravestone of any well-known scientist of our age was a shock to me. —

      But in reading of dozens of modern day well-known scientists, one despairs of finding almost any that claim Christianity;[He who is not for me is against me. Luke 11:23] ... with the possible exceptions of Werner HeisenbergOwen GingrichJohn Polkinghorne, and... Wernher von Braun.   Of these, I have not found any who would defend against Copernicanism and for the Bible.  Again, reading of the well-known scientists of the twentieth century up to our time is largely an exercise in reading of self-avowed atheists/agnostics or Jews, not withstanding names such as the "Trinity Test" or the "God particle".  Can the field of "science" be so utterly barren of faith?

      The Saviour said
Matthew 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The modern-day scientists who claim Christianity are not the ones to be followed in their weakness, as our Saviour's words warn us.  Indeed, my faith is so weak that I look only to those who
  • give the Bible its full authority... as the very Word of God, 
  • don't accommodate the Bible to "science",
  • are proponents of what Andrew Dickson White called "an ancient belief based upon text-worship ...  in that branch of Protestantism which claims special enlightenment."
Who are these that we should follow their "enlightenment", i.e. the Bible? -- see my masthead!
And can you believe it?... I still have a "love" for true science through all of this.  —  In the next Part 16a, I go back to the old (German) Missouri Synod in 1898 as it grappled with...  Copernicanism.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Knak and Pieper — remembered; Copernicanism Part 14

      This continues from Part 13d, 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. NOTE of April 25: Added Braun book excerpt, see note in red below.
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      As I continue my blog series, I am reminded that Dr. Franz Pieper highlighted the Lisco-Knak Affair of 1868 and how it illustrated divisions among men.  At the heart of this "Affair" was Pastor Gustav Knak, of which we have heard in several previous blog posts.  But now I want to publicize just how much Pieper himself was acquainted with not only this "Affair", but also Pastor Knak.  This information comes from a source I had overlooked previously – the essay series "Memories of Dr. Franz Pieper" (Erinnerungen an Dr. Franz Pieper. PDF file here) published in Der Lutheraner by Ludwig Fürbringer after Pieper's death.  I had previously extracted "Dr. Franz Pieper's Last Words for the Missouri Synod before he died" in a blog post, but there was much more that Fürbringer wrote about that I had yet not translated.
Pastor Gustav Knak

      So a search for "Knak" among my holdings turned up a surprising reference to the much ridiculed Knak and I want to highlight it as a preface to further information on him.  This reference does not ridicule him and it ties into the background of the "Twentieth Century Luther", Dr. Franz Pieper.
Dr. Franz Pieper
      In Fürbringer's memories, Pieper had spoken of Knak.  Below I present another translated extract from these memories (page 251):
Translation by BackToLuther; hyperlinks and highlighting are mine:

"The personal details of his [Pieper's] life are known for the most part and so can be easily woven together into completeness because of these memories; because as he himself was one humble, not rushing into the foreground, a man averse to all pomp and all praise of men, so his life has been outwardly calm and quiet, and only his outstanding talent and drive and the power of his open Christian personality pushed him to the forefront.  His birthplace was in Germany, and his parents were simple people, August Pieper and Berta Pieper, nee Lohff.   I never heard much about them from their son, but that he particularly held his mother, who survived his father, in high esteem; because when she walked blessedly home at a great age, he told me that although he was a man of mature age, he went forward as one orphaned by the loss of his mother.  His parents lived in Karwitz, Pomerania, and there he was born on June 27, 1852.  This area was significant in church history, where in the last century [1800s] a spiritual awakening took place after the sad period of rationalism.  Pieper had noticed himself the effects of this awakening yet in his early years and afterwards the well-known Berlin Mission Director Wangemann has described it in his Prussian church history [Sieben Bücher preussischer Kirchengeschichte, or Seven Books on Prussian Church History, see this section “Die Erweckungen im Pommerlande.” (or Awakening in Pomerania), Knak on pgs 100-105]  and his work Geistliches Regen und Ringen am Ostseestrande [or Spiritual Rain and Struggles on the Baltic Shore.]  This probably explains why Dr. Pieper in the first years of his St. Louis activity read with pleasure to his students sections of Wangemann's biography of the well-known Pastor Gustav Knak [Gustav Knak, ein Prediger der Gerechtigkeit die vor Gott gilt] and discussed it with them.  Before Knak became well-known, he was pastor in Pomerania and closely connected with Pastor Görcke [Hermann Moritz Görcke] and other living witnesses of the local Lutheran church.  After this, he was transferred to Berlin and then became well-known through his activity for the Berlin Mission, through his hymn, "Let me go, let me go, that I may Jesus see".  And through his manly confession of the divine inspiration and inerrancy of Scriptures, he became well known throughout the world in scientific things.  Prompted by Pieper’s reports, I have just of late acquired Knak’s biography and read it with great interest and benefit."  — Ludwig Fürbringer

So we see that Franz Pieper's mention of the "Lisco-Knak Affair of 1868" in his Christliche Dogmatik book was not a casual remark but it came rather from his deep knowledge and experience  with all the people and history of this "Affair".  Pieper had grown up in Pomerania, the area where Knak had been a pastor.  And the "Affair" was known throughout the world, even when Fürbringer's memories were written in 1931.  Indeed, Pieper read Knak's biography to his students as a model to them!  So... I want to make this same biography available to the world, even if it is only available in the German language.  It is not available in Google Books or elsewhere digitally that I can find.  So I have extracted the text of the entire book and present it below:

==>> A full scan of this book is available for download as a PDF file here (34 MB).  The Google Doc text file is available here.
      As mentioned in the "Memories" excerpt above, Pastor Knak was a well-known hymnist, (see also here) and involved in missions.  He defended against the horrible rationalism sweeping over Germany.  But I could not leave this post without recounting more of the "ridicule of Knak", something that Fürbringer seemed to avoid. Wangemann recounts the sordid details in his book, pages 385-409.  This was partially translated in Fritz Braun's / J.H. Tonn's book:
     "To the public mockery was such added in private letters and telegrams. The letters carried by express messengers, were frequently addressed to the practical sun pusher, and head sun pusher, master, pastor and soul-brother Knak. They contained greetings from Galileo and Copernicus and requests for 'please stop the sun' because one wanted to be together a little longer for wedding, requests for change of weather, ...
     Yet this movement continued and grasped even more serious circles. The president of the city council, Mr. Kochmann called a meeting of notable representatives of the city council and science in order to consult what steps would have to be taken against the general stupifying due to the statements of Knak made at the Friedrich-Werner-Synode which had so openly shown this terrible danger looming. The cream of Berlin’s intelligence came together.... 119 famous names, among them professors, city counselors, and private counselors, agreed to accept a resolution the top paragraph of which stated: 'The Holy Scripture, the book of religious life, is not relevant to the laws of natural science. The earth is revolving around the sun!'...
     And how did Knak himself go through this difficult time when he was often forsaken by his friends and heaped with reproaches and given up by his enemies to a purgatory and mocked and blasphemed and ridiculed? I have admired him that he did not retort when as a Christian he carried his heavy cross. When he was scolded he prayed for his enemies and was not even mad at his friends. The strongest remark to his enemies was a telegram which he sent to a mocker which only contained the words of Galatians 6:7, 8. [Be not deceived; God is not mocked...]"
Added April 25 -- I have decided to publish the complete excerpt from Braun's book below:

Dr. Wangemann
Lutherans in Africa
Knak's biographer is well-known in the history of German missions to Africa, Dr. Hermann Theodor Wangemann, later to head the Berlin Mission Society.  Their activities in South Africa reminds me of a present day Lutheran missionary's efforts -- Pastor James May of Lutherans In Africa, a Lutheran mission that is bearing fruit.  I think Franz Pieper would read the account of Pastor James May to his students today...  — Modern commentators will largely ridicule such efforts to bring the Gospel to foreign lands, for example in a recent book by Kirsten Rüther of the University of Vienna.  But Pastor James May, as far as I have seen, is another truly Lutheran missionary, and so he will surely draw similar attacks.
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      And so it is that Pastor Gustav Knak was not forgotten in Pieper's day, neither is he forgotten today...  neither is Franz Pieper forgotten!  They have received their crown of glory!  May Knak's public confession of "Yes, I believe the Holy Scripture!" ring out today!
      In the next Part 15, I move back to our present day.  I recall in my anxious moments wondering about our space program... and what about its most famous proponent -- the German-American Wernher von Braun?  As I learned more of him, there came some sadness, and some surprises...  In some ways he is an embarrassment to NASA and NCSE.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bouw on: more recent geocentrists- any Lutherans? Part 13d

      This continues from Part 13c-3, 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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      I want to highlight some of the more recent individuals that Dr. Bouw reports as defending against Copernicanism.  This was a help to me as I struggled against the so-called science of Copernicanism that wants to say that it has the objective truth.

Dr. James Hanson, (1933- )
James Hanson

      Like Dr. Bouw, Dr. Hanson is a first rate scientist, surprisingly so.  With experience at several universities and organizations, including NASA, his book, The Bible and Geocentricity (which I also purchased at Tycho Brahe Shop), is authoritative in modern science issues.  But I was distressed to learn that although Dr. Hanson grew up in a Lutheran home (page 575): he is now a Baptist like Dr. Bouw.   Why would he leave the Lutheran faith??...  I am still looking through various writings to discover this...  I wonder that because his heritage is Norwegian, his family's church body was a forerunner (Norwegian Synod) of what is now the ELCA, a liberal branch of Lutheranism which is the result of a merger of several bodies including the former (large) Norwegian Synod, as opposed to the split-off "little" Norwegian Synod which now calls itself the ELS.  It could be that as he returned to the Christian faith, that he was disillusioned by the ELCA's lack of reverence for Holy Scripture and found certain Baptists were better at this.  If Dr. Hanson reads this, he should know that the Lutheran Church is the Church of the Bible, notwithstanding those who call themselves "Lutheran" and teach otherwise.  No, the Lutheran Confessions bow to the Holy Scriptures, and so true Lutherans stand on the Bible, just as Martin Luther did.

Walter Lang, (1913-2004)
Walter Lang in 1991

      Now we come to a person of interest for me as a Lutheran... the story of an LCMS pastor – Pastor Walter Lang.  Here finally among Dr. Bouw's acquaintances is a Lutheran.  But what is the history of Walter Lang?... who was from a Lutheran synod, a synod that had long since given up defending against Copernicanism after Pastor F.E. Pasche was gone?
      The sub-section that Dr. Bouw gives to Pastor Lang is almost completely taken from the online obituary on the geocentricity website: In Memoriam – WALTER H. J. LANG – 1913-2004.  It is a sad read for me as it shows the LCMS during its downward free-fall from its glorious heritage.  It shows a single pastor attempting to go against the flood of liberalism and accommodation in what used to be the "Missouri Synod" but was no longer "Missouri".  (Lang's son Philip reported that his father "saw young college students who were faithful Christians get totally led astray by the evolutionary teachings of their professors".) – But it also shows Pastor Lang's lax manner in working with the Reformed (mostly Baptists) without pointing out their errors of doctrine... the errors that Prof. Franz Pieper had so diligently set down in his Christian Dogmatics books.  Pieper demonstrates that these errors are rationally based and gives the Scripture proofs.  Also sad was Dr. Bouw's report that Lang, although a "creationist", did not accept the geocentric viewpoint initially: 
By the mid-eighties, Walter ... embraced the geocentric universe as scriptural.  Because of how he saw his role as promoter of creationism, he never made an issue of it.  Nevertheless, he carried copies of Geocentricity on his book table. 
How is this sad?  Because although Lang had finally "embraced the geocentric universe", yet "he never made an issue of it"... all the while making an issue of "creationism evangelism".  And here is where this becomes weak -- because if one accepts and promotes the creation account based on the Bible, why now is the Bible's account against Copernicanism not as worthy as "creationism"?  Isn't it the same Bible that speaks on both accounts?  Here is where Dr. Bouw gives his judgement on the so-called "creationism" movement, on Lang whose dream was "to unite the various creationist groups"... here is where Bouw adds:
For the love of money makes sure that Walter's dream stays dead. (!)
Bouw knew first hand that many so-called "creationists" threatened to withdraw support (monetary and otherwise) if "geocentricity" was brought on-board with "creationism".  This situation was clearly demonstrated by Dr. Danny Faulkner.  There is a lot more that could be said about the history of Pastor Lang and his movements... but I prefer to focus on the heritage of the true Missouri Synod, as it was founded by C.F.W. Walther and continued until Franz Pieper's death.
      There are several other notable people covered by Dr. Bouw:
These are all of the Reformed camp... no more Lutherans.
      This ends my review of Dr. Bouw's book but I will occasionally refer to it later.  Now I want to return to the situation where it was Lutherans who held the battle against Copernicanism and for the Bible.  And so in the next Part 14 I go back to Pastor Gustav Knak and find another who honored him... Franz Pieper.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Bouw on: Pasche…, LCMS, WELS, ELS, McLaughlin; Copernicanism Part 13c-3

      This continues from Part 13c-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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      From Bouw's coverage of Pastor Knak, I move on to another one who may be familiar to the reader from past blog posts, and Bouw reports some striking things that I had not known.

Pastor Frederick Emil Pasche (1872-1954)
      Pastor Pasche's name was also listed in Robert Schadewald's collection – he figured prominently in published works against Copernicanism and he was clearly... Lutheran – old (German) Missouri Synod Lutheran.  Dr. Gerardus Bouw gives some background of Pasche as a pastor for 45 years, and as an author.  He then lists Pasche's three publications defending against Copernicanism, and presents two translated quotes from his Bibel und Astronomie book.  From the title page:
Proof that not a single one of the approximately sixty passages making reference to the standing still of the earth and the movement of the sun and all the stars can be given an expository reading implying that the opposite could possibly be true.
These quotes show just how strongly Pasche wrote against Copernicanism.  And indeed I plan to devote another full blog post later to expand much more on Bouw's introducion of Pasche. —
      But what came as a surprise to me was that Dr. Bouw had located a quote from Rev. Wallace H. McLaughlin (WHM), one of the pastors who left the LCMS and formed the Othodox Lutheran Conference with Prof. Paul Kretzmann.  This quote concerned Pasche (pgs. 373-374):
It is well said that Rev. F. E. Pasche’s Bibel 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; II Timothy 3:15 vf; I 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. (McLaughlin, Rev. Wallace H., 1952. “Inspiration, Inerrancy, and Inviolability of Holy Scripture,” an essay presented at the Second Annual Convention of the Orthodox Lutheran Conference, August 1952.)
Dr. Bouw found a voice in Lutheranism in the mid-1900s who perhaps best echoed the voice of Prof. Franz Pieper... in 1952 – Rev. Wallace McLaughlin.  It proves that the Lutheran Church is the Church of the Bible!  (A year later McLaughlin began translating Pieper's series on Dr. C.F.W. Walther as Theologian).  Now Dr. Bouw, a Baptist, rightly judges the situation in the LCMS of today saying:
It is difficult to find much information about the Rev. Pasche on the Internet. There is no biographical sketch of him that shows up in any search engine. It is as if the man never existed. It is not surprising that his work is suppressed by modern Lutherans given their present apostate position.
This last judgement by Dr. Bouw reminded me of what Robert Schadewald said:
As the 20th century progressed, however, the LCMS became more urban and sophisticated, and geocentricity largely faded from view.
But the surprises weren't over!  In a footnote, Dr. Bouw gave his information on the history of the original "Orthodox Lutheran Conference", then mentions the WELS and probably the ELS (pg 374):
The Orthodox Lutheran Conference split from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod on September 26, 1951. As such, the OLC no longer exists. Small separatist associations of Swedish and Norwegian Lutherans and the Wisconsin Synod still adhere to geocentricity and consider heliocentrism an abomination.
I wonder how Dr. Bouw came across his information on the "small... Norwegian Lutherans and the Wisconsin Synod"?  And where have either the WELS or ELS (or any of the other smaller separated groups) since the days of the old Synodical Conference specifically defended against Copernicanism?... Checking the Wisconsin Synod's Essay File, I find only 1 reference – in Astronomy – in 1979 by Martin Sponholz, now retired from Martin Luther College.  This essay is interesting but still is small evidence for Bouw to say that "the Wisconsin Synod still adheres to geocentricity and considers heliocentrism an abomination".  If someone can produce further evidence, I would like to see it! [Note added April 18: I am especially skeptical since one of its better known teachers, John P. Meyer, taught the earth may be more than 10,000 years old instead of the Bible's roughly 6,000 years old. See this blog post for reference.] —
      I was somewhat disappointed in Bouw's coverage of Pastor Pasche as he seemed somewhat brief and dismissive of Pasche's science.  Certainly Bouw has more training in science, but what I have been able to read of Pasche, I found him quite knowledgeable in many areas, including the history of science.  And so I will be devoting a future blog post entirely to him.
      Some names that are missing in Bouw's book, but are on Robert Schadewald's list, and on my blog:
  • C.F.W. Walther, father of the old Missouri Synod, greatest defender against Copernicanism and the truth of the Bible since... Martin Luther.
  • J.C.W. Lindemann – Andrew Dickson White also gives him prominence.
  • Franz Pieper – longest serving president of Concordia Seminary, until 1931
There is at least one more name Bouw missed as mentioned above, Dr. Alexander Frantz of Germany.  I will introduce him later. —  From this list of past Lutheran defenders, I move on to Bouw's listing of more recent defenders against... Copernicanism, in Part 13d.
C.A.T. Selle

[2016-10-26: I discovered another defender against Copernicanism among the founders of the old (German) Missouri Synod -- Pastor C.A.T. Selle.  He published a synopsis and review of Dr. Carl Schöpffer's books in the Evangelisch-Lutherisches Schulblatt in 1870.]

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bouw: past geocentrists- any Lutherans? (Knak) Copernicanism Part 13c-2

      This continues from Part 13c-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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      From Bouw's coverage of Dr. Carl Schöpffer, I move on to one who should be familiar to the reader from past blog posts:

Pastor Gustav Knak (1806-1878)
      Bouw's source of information on Knak comes from
Space and the Universe
Fritz Braun / J.H. Tonn

  • Fritz Braun, a German scientist who first in 1949 wrote a book against Copernicanism and proposed a possible scientific theory in its place – see John Byl's explanation of Braun's theory here.  The only library in America holding a copy of this book is... Univ. of Wisconsin (always vigilant against "pseudo-science").  But I was able to purchase a used copy and may publish portions of it later.  Braun included a 10-page chapter on Pastor Knak at the end of his book (see this later blog post).  He received his information on Knak from a book by

Bouw's report captures the essence of Pastor Knak's experience after he made his famous confession:
"Not twenty-four hours had passed since Knak’s statement ["I only believe the world view of Holy Scripture"], when his name, like a fire, went through all public papers. This simple confession by a simple pastor of his belief in the Biblical worldview was the nonplus ultra [‘not further beyond’] of provocation, insanity, and pastoral pride, considered as the highest danger for the education of the people. Knak was called a reverse or backward Luther, a drummer who alarmed the whole scientific world.  ... Berlin itself was a city of highest intelligence, but now other highly educated cities around the world gave it the mocking nickname Knakopolis. Instead of “Oh nonsense,” literary sections of newspapers substituted “Oh, Knak!” For months Knak became the butt of comic satire. ...  Public mockery followed Knak everywhere. ..."
Bouw continues on with more sordid details of what Pastor Knak suffered.  One senses that Dr. Bouw knows first hand the "ridicule of Knak" (my term). — I decided to obtain a copy of Wangemann's biography of Knak (German text) and will devote a full blog post to it later because... also Franz Pieper loved it.

      In the next Part 13c-3, I review Dr. Bouw's report of Pastor F.E. Pasche... of the old (German) Missouri Synod.

Bouw: past geocentrists- any Lutherans? (Schöpffer) Copernicanism Part 13c-1

      This continues from Part 13b, 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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      Continuing with Dr. Gerardus Bouw's book, Geocentricity: Christianity in the Woodshed, I next want to review some persons in his listing of "geocentrists".    He distinguishes 2 groups: 1.  those from the 1800s and up to 1950 in Chapter 25; and 2.  modern geocentrists after 1950 to the present in Chapter 38.  This blog sub-series (13c-1, 13c-2, 13c-3) focuses on some in his early group from the 1800s to the early 1900s.  This first one is one that should be better known today.

Dr. Carl Schöpffer (or Schoepffer) (before 1830 - after 1881)
      Dr. Bouw states that he was "...most likely the greatest geocentrist of the nineteenth century". (pg. 360)  He then presents the impressive scientific writings of Schöpffer with his analysis.  As early as 1854, Schöpffer published in Berlin several editions of a lecture Die Erde steht fest. –  Here it can be noted that the only library in America that holds a copy of any of these is in ... Cornell University!... the university that Andrew Dickson White built!... to restore religion! – Bouw later informs us that J. Watts de Peyster, a Brigadier-General during the Civil War, had Schöpffer's lecture translated into English: The Earth Stands Fast.
      Bouw credits August Tischner in his book The Fixed Idea of Astronomical Theory. (pgs 33 ff.) with an impressive array of famous German scientists who at least had doubts, or an outright rejection, of the Copernican theory, starting with Alexander von Humboldt.  Although Bouw admits that Schöpffer is the likely source for this list, I believe there is no doubt that Schöpffer is to be credited for this, not Tischner.  The list is so impressive, that I am devoting an entire later blog post to these famous scientists and Dr. Schöpffer.
      On page 362, Dr. Bouw announces Schöpffer’s final work on the subject:
The most influential of Dr. Schöpffer’s works was written in 1869. It constitutes the foundation of almost every geocentric work published from then to 1950. It was entitled Die Widersprüche in der Astronomie and it was published in Berlin. The full title loosely translates as, “The contradictions in astronomy originating from the acceptance of the Copernican system are vanquished.”
The praise Bouw gives Schöpffer's work is high indeed!  And the book's title sounds a lot like that of Prof. Lindemann's work.
      It is interesting to note that Bouw reports the following about  Schöpffer:
  • "One might expect that Schöpffer would be suppressed by the scientists of his day, but Schöpffer’s work was renowned." (page 362) 
  • "We find then in Schöpffer a geocentrist respected in his time" (page 363) 
He gives an example of Madame Blavatsky with a quote.  However, when one reads Schöpffer’s own words in his final work, quite the opposite was the case among his fellow scientists.  It is understandable that Bouw would miss this as there is no known English translation.  In Schöpffer's own words, in his Widersprüche book, he said:
I was attacked everywhere and nowhere was I permitted to defend myself. Then broke out the dispute known to you between Pastor Knak and Preacher Lisco in Berlin.  Soon I got letters from various sides, my name was again mentioned in the newspapers...
We see that Schöpffer also received the "ridicule of Knak".  I wonder that Schöpffer’s work was what needled the Copernican scientists into feverishly attempting to refute him... which Bouw marvelously describes in detail. (Note: for a preview, one may see the edited text of this book here, then use Google Chrome/Translate.)
     Dr. Bouw has made a good beginning in describing Dr. Carl Schöpffer.  I also believe there is more to be said, more analysis of his scientific qualifications, more about his life. In an upcoming blog post, I will reveal much more from Schöpffer's own book, about the man. – There was a book written in 1874 to praise Schöpffer (Doctor Schöpffer, der grosse Reformator der Astronomie) but the only copy on WorldCat is in Europe and seems unavailable to me.  How I would like to know even more of this man! – Dare I say that Dr. Gerardus Bouw is the "Schöpffer" for the twentieth century?  ... or that Schöpffer was the "Gerardus Bouw" of the nineteenth century!  And who will be the next scientist, for the twenty-first century, to defend against Copernicanism... and for the Bible?

In the next Part 13c-2, I review Bouw's coverage of the famous Pastor Knak...

Monday, April 11, 2016

Gerardus Bouw– Scriptural stand, some aberrations; Part 13b

      This continues from Part 13a, 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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      In the previous Part 13a, I concentrated more on the scientific aspects of Dr. Bouw's writings.  As one reads his materials, one immediately finds that he credits his science view today on his conversion to Christianity, and in many respects uses his new found reverence for Holy Scripture to judge against erring teachers, particularly humanists.  In going through his book he says several praiseworthy things, one might say even very Lutheran things:

+ Preface i: The Reformation of the sixteenth century was a time when men chose to subject the traditions of churches and men to the norms of Scripture. God’s words were to overrule men’s. The Reformation set men free through the truth of Scripture and set men at liberty, the liberty that can only be found under grace. (Preface, i)
+ “Today, unfortunately, the authority of the Holy Bible is almost nonexistent even among those who call themselves Bible believers. … The defeat of the Bible’s authority in the realm of science played a large role in the defeat of the Bible’s authority in all other matters of faith and practice; and the beginning of that defeat, the first victory of the humanists, was the defeat of what seemed like a minor doctrine of Scripture, the doctrine of geocentricity.” Pg 254
+ Luther never did honor any of the humanists’ requests for support of their “reform” movements, although some other Reformers, most notably Melanchthon and Calvin, were not as wise as Luther in their dealings with the humanists. (!) pg. 272
+ It is not out of character for Calvin to have spoken so because he was generally quite impressed by science and well accustomed to accommodating the Bible to science if there was any apparent disagreement between the two fields. Pg. 285
+ Thus it came to pass, as stated in the chapter quote, that the God-centered outlook of the Reformation was replaced by the man-centered (anthropocentric) outlook of this day. With the focus of science shifting from God and his creation, man soon forgot the warning of Leonard Euler, one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, who wrote to a German princess about Scripture and math that: our researches into the phenomena of the visible world...we [are subject to] weaknesses and inconsistencies so humiliating...[that] a Revelation [Scripture] was absolutely necessary to us; and we ought to avail ourselves of it, with the most powerful veneration.  pg. 326
+ Truth is, I am not of the Reformed mindset, so I take Scripture's warning against philosophy more seriously... pg 577

In general Bouw speaks well of Luther and the Reformation – most pleasant to read from a non-Lutheran.  Surprisingly he is critical of Calvin in this regard.  And the last quote by the great mathematician Euler was a pleasant surprise!  But more than this, the online “credal statement” of the Assn. for Biblical Astronomy reads quite good from a Christian standpoint:
“ man is righteous and so all are in need of salvation, which is the free gift of God, given by the grace of God, and not to be obtained through any merit or works of our own. We affirm that salvation is available only through faith in the shed blood and finished work of our risen LORD and saviour, Jesus Christ.”

Tell me that this does not prove, as Walther said, that "all Reformed sects… were first Lutheran".
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      But there are some problematic theological areas as I read through Dr. Bouw's book.  One could wish that he had more cognizance of the Papacy as the Antichrist (as Martin Luther identified).  He rather attributes most of Christianity's woes to "atheistic-humanistic view of science".  –  More problematic, but not surprising, he is weak on the doctrine of the Trinity.  Although Bouw claims above (pg 577) that he is "not of the Reformed mindset", Franz Pieper pointed out the scriptural teaching of the Trinity and its importance, and then proceeded to show how the Reformed sects (including Baptists) succumb to reason as they weaken on this central doctrine.  This weakness is exposed as Bouw attempts to judge (and justify) Isaac Newton's weakness (or denial) on the Trinity.  On pages 400-401, he says
Newton’s only departure from the Anabaptist-Baptist line may have been in the matter of the Trinity.  Newton could well have had some doctrinal problems with the Trinity in light of John 14:28 where Jesus said, “My Father is greater than I.”  If God is infinite and if the members of the Trinity are one (Scripture nowhere says they are equal, just that they are one), how can one of them say another is greater? The answer was not discovered until the 19th century when mathematician Georg Ferdinand Ludwig Phillip Cantor (1845-1918) demonstrated two infinities, a smaller infinity and a larger infinity.  He labeled them אo, called aleph-null, and אl, called aleph-one. The second is infinitely larger than the first, thus serving to explain Jesus’ claim that the Father is greater than he in John 14:28. 
With Bouw's attempt to use mathematics (!) to explain John 14:28, he jolts a Christian's senses... he uncharacteristically steps away from "Scripture explains Scripture"... and falters badly.  God, the Trinity, and Christ's self-imposed humiliation are not to be explained by man's reasoning, certainly not by mathematics.  And Cantor the mathematician, said to be "a devout Lutheran", is known to have suffered repeated bouts of depression over his misuse of mathematics to explain theological matters.  Bouw partially recovers with a welcome footnote:
Much of this is still beyond our understanding for even the brightest mathematical minds cannot agree on our two original infinities. Be careful not to make too much of this, dear reader.
I will have to correct Dr. Bouw on his footnote: "Be careful dear reader, do not make anything at all of this mathematical explanation of John 14:28!"  And I would further counsel Dr. Bouw that he should read Franz Pieper's whole section of the Doctrine of the Trinity, in particular his section on "Objections to the Unity of the Godhead", Christian Dogmatics, volume 1, page 392.  Pieper answers an objection to this doctrine:
Christ says expressly that the Father is greater than the Son (John 14:28-29).  Answer: Christ is here speaking of an inferiority to the Father which is to cease at His glorification and return to the Father; in other words, Christ is inferior only according to the human nature in the State of Humiliation.
Dr. Bouw: remember your quote of Leonard Euler above!  Remember your own saying (pg 577) that "I take Scripture's warning against philosophy more seriously".  Consider what the old Synodical Conference suggested as a prayer when one reaches a Bible passage where our reason rears its head and wants to take over our understanding in spiritual matters: "That should make you rather immediately suspicious and drive you to sigh: God forbid that I should condemn His Word by my reason."
      And Dr. Bouw: how can you, as a Baptist, deny the words of Scripture "baptism doth also now save us"?  What do those words of Scripture say? (1 Peter 3:21 KJV)  The Lutheran Church accepts those words just as they read, the Water and the Word.

To:  Dr. Bouw
      When I returned to my Christian faith, I attended both my earlier LCMS congregation and a conservative Baptist church with a friend.  I marveled at this Baptist church that seemed to hold to the Holy Scriptures so well, just as you and your Mantua Country Baptist Church do.  I would almost say they were better at holding to Scripture than my LCMS congregation -- they visibly carried their Bibles into church!  But it was at a Sunday evening Bible study meeting where a Baptist congregational member asked a question of the pastor that he could not quite understand the Bible verse 2 Peter 2:1, which essentially says "false prophets ... denying the Lord that bought them".  This passage clearly states the Lord Jesus even paid for the sins of the "false prophets".  But a week later the Baptist preacher forced Calvin's false "limited atonement" doctrine on this passage... and I had to stop attending, for it was my Lutheran teaching lately re-learned from C.F.W. Walther and Franz Pieper, that the Bible teaches first and foremost Universal, Objective Justification -- John 3:16.  Indeed, this is how Walther, Pieper, and... Martin Luther could properly distinguish between the Law and the Gospel... only when the pure Gospel is rightly understood.  You will find plenty of Scriptural support for this on my blog.
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      But lest Dr. Bouw think me too harsh against his theology, I will call him the “apostle to today’s scientists”, for the use of his deep understanding of modern science and his Christian faith to give aid to those who want to believe their Bible.  Would to God there were a true Lutheran scientist who would step into Dr. Bouw’s shoes and continue his work.  For Dr. Bouw is surely getting up in years (born 1945), and this scientific apologetic should continue, to defend against our modern world’s acceptance by Christians of Copernicanism.
      And so it is distressing that the one most known today for defending against Copernicanism, Dr. Gerardus Bouw, is not a Lutheran.  That was not always the case, as we have seen, for the most prominent defenders in past times were indeed Lutheran
      I will leave the subject of Dr. Bouw's theology for now.  But I want to publish some highlights of his history of geocentrists, where we find some points of interest and... some surprises, in Part 13c-1.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Gerardus Bouw PhD – science refutes Copernicanism, defends Geocentricity; Part 13a

      This continues from Part 12, 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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Gerardus Bouw (2005)
PhD Astronomy
      I move from the theology of the fathers of the Synodical Conference to the present day scientists who defend against Copernicanism and for Geocentricity.  
      In several previous blog posts, the name of Gerardus Bouw kept popping up in relation to the science of Geocentricity.  Dr. Danny Faulkner says that Bouw
"...has a Ph.D. in astronomy from Case Western Reserve University, so he certainly is in a position to know and understand the issues and literature involved."
This is high praise for the credentials of Bouw, coming from one who also has a similar high degree yet refutes Geocentricity.  And Malcolm Bowden credited Bouw for much of the science presented in his YouTube videos on Geocentricity.  So I decided to purchase Dr. Bouw's latest book:
Geocentricity :
Christianity in the Woodshed

Gerardus D. Bouw

Geocentricity: Christianity in the Woodshed. Daystar Publishing, ©2013

Go ahead, try to find it available at Amazon or even to find one review on Amazon... there are none; or in a library anywhere (there is currently only 1 on WorldCat) .  One will note that there are other publications of Dr. Bouw on WorldCat, so are any other books of his in any libraries?  One finds that a previous book Geocentricity: the Biblical Cosmology is held by quite a number of libraries, many of which are Christian colleges.  But there is a curious appearance of one library in particular that shows up as a holder of many of of Dr. Bouw's works: University of Wisconsin - Madison!  Oh, they are the ones who hold that other collection about... "pseudo-science".  I see now why Wisconsin is so interested in Dr. Bouw.  Maybe they consider themselves the guardians against "pseudo-science"... like that of Martin Luther's Small Catechism?  [I wonder why Cornell University's library is so far behind on this... shouldn't they also be watching out against any "ancient" believing "text-worshipers", i.e. Christians?]
      So I purchased Dr. Bouw's book through the only means available, the website – in it's Tycho Brahe Shop.  The book:
  • is quite large, 799 pages! Yet it is only $35.50, shipping included, a good value.
  • has 40 chapters, 
  • 5 Appendices, 
  • copious reference notes, 
  • Scripture index, and
  • very complete General Index
Curiously, although there is a link on their website that indicates there is a Summary for each chapter, it rather only presents a few endorsements.  I would like to present the Chapter titles for anyone interested in purchasing the book:
Preface. Introduction; Importance of Geocentricity; The Bible and the Flat Earth; The Motions of the World; Motions of the Earth; The Biblical Firmament; The Sun To Rule by Day; Joshua's Long Day; Hezekiah's Sign; Christological Sun Passages; Sunrise and Sunset; The Throne;  Up and Down;  Alleged Heliocentric Verses;  Sweet Influences; Mazzaroth;  The Ordinances of Heaven;  He Hangeth the Earth Upon Nothing; Early Geocentric Models;  The Birth of Heliocentrism;  The Reformation and Heliocentrism;  The Early Copernicans;  Heliocentrism Takes Over;  The Restoration of Astronomy Project;  Geocentrists From 1650 to 1950;  Newton and Berkeley;  Force-Based Proofs of the Newtonians;  Proofs Based on Centrifugal Force;  Proofs Based on the Coriolis Force;  Introduction to Optical Proofs;  Aberration;  Aberration—Airy's Failure;  Aberration—The Gospel of Relativity;   Aberration—The Michelson-Morley Experiment;  Rotation;  Lesser Evidences;  The Axis of Evil;  Modern Geocentrists;  Geocentrists and Their Critics;  In the Woodshed

      One gets a good introduction to this book by watching Bowden's YouTube videos and reading all the available materials on the website  Although I had wanted to present some kind of summary of the science presented, I have despaired of doing so because of its massive content.  Perhaps one quote from an earlier edition Geocentricity – the Biblical Cosmology presents a fair summation, page 333:
The last misconception we shall look at now is the one which claims that the laws of physics should be different in a geocentric universe than in a heliocentric universe. Time and time again this has been shown to be false. Basically what this misconception claims is that phenomena such as the Foucault pendulum, the stationary satellite, the flight of ballistic missiles, indeed, the very equations on which the space program is based are all different in a geocentric universe. This is the very misconception which Ernst Mach tried to counter in the last century.
But the book itself goes into greater detail in the scientific aspects, especially starting with the chapter "The Early Copernicans".  Suffice to say, I found his science fascinating as I remember my physics courses in high school and university – truly a refresher course in this field of science.  But it is also quite an introduction to what is today called "theoretical physics".  Indeed, I would call this portion an antidote to many of the theories of today, including... Einstein's Relativity theories.  Could it be that he can explain why Franz Pieper mentioned that newspapers were in his day claiming "Einstein's relativity theory will take the life out of Copernicanism"?  (see a future blog post)
      I will be referring on occasion in future blog posts to Dr. Bouw's book.  And indeed, I am still digesting the science he covers.
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      But the early chapters of Dr. Bouw's book present a large section that is not yet about the matters of science, but of the testimony of Scripture.   And in later chapters, he also at times touches on matters of theology.  And what do we notice about Dr. Bouw?  He is not a Lutheran, but rather a Baptist (Mantua Country Baptist Church).  Christians are to judge for themselves regarding matters of theology and not assume that Dr. Bouw, with his extensive and impressive knowledge of science, is necessarily their superior in matters of Christian doctrine.  In the next Part 13b, we praise much of his theology and find other portions problematic.