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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.

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