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Sunday, June 19, 2016

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

[2017-02-10: See added note at bottom]
      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. [NOTE: See added note at bottom ***] 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.
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      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.

[2017-02-10: I have discovered that in 1913, Prof. Th. Engelder defended against Copernicanism in a serialized essay in Lehre und Wehre.  Search for "Kopernikanismus" in Google Books here – pp. 70 and 220 are indicated]