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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.]