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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Conclusion: Copernicanism, science… & Justification; Ginzburg's envy; Part 28

      This continues and concludes from Part 27, 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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To "Josh":
      I am amazed at how much time I have spent on this blog series... days, weeks, months.  And I have presented only a small fraction of the material that I would like to have published.  And during that time I have read through all these posts many times when even I needed to remind myself about these things.  —  How I would like to write more about Robert BoyleHenry OldenburgJames Clerk Maxwell (Wikipedia: "…he turned with simple faith to the Gospel of the Saviour"), Lise Meitner (p. 315-316: "I am of Jewish descent. I am not Jewish by belief"), etc.  How I would like to write how it was not Luther or the true Lutherans who fought true science, it was the Jesuits – as chronicled by Amir Alexander in his book Infinitesimal. —  How honored I am to have published Lindemann's essay in English, Pastor Knak's biography [added 2016-11-17], "Schöpffer's List" and the 1886 Synodical Conference Report translated by Andrew Boomhower!

      This series started with the directive by the LC-MS/CTCR "to reject the geocentric paradigm in favor of a heliocentric one".  But Concordia Publishing House also recently published a new version of Walther's Law & Gospel book which stated in one of the forewords the following under the heading "Rationalism (1700-1830 and to the present)", page lxx:
This method had been gaining ground since Copernicus published On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres in 1543. Rationalism calls into question the idea that the universe has a place for everything and that God has put everything in its place. … Using this worldview, any kind of religious teaching that goes beyond scientific observation cannot be known for certain and must be interpreted as a metaphor for the individual or the community. Creation, miracles, the resurrection of Christ, and the Last Day become hidden in doubt. Thus Rationalism runs contrary to Scripture (1 Corinthians 15).
Hmmm, it seems that the editor(s) who wrote this (Schaum?, Hellwege?, Manteufel?) should be meeting with his own CTCR committee and explain to them again what Rationalism is.  Or maybe they have already tried to get their LCMS to listen, but the LCMS "would not". (Luke 13:34)
      This subject is in the end not so much about Copernicanism as it is about the Inspiration, Infallibility, and Inerrancy of Holy Scripture.

To "Josh":
      Do you see that young boy, the young man there beside you?  It is me from 55 years ago, 50 years ago, 45 years ago... as I was turning away from and losing my Christian faith.  I recall driving down a stretch of road, in great distress, wondering why my church was not defending my faith in the Bible, a Bible that states that it is God's Word, a Bible that clearly states the Creation account, about Adam and Eve, that builds its whole doctrinal basis on these and yet my church, the LC-MS, was slipping away, allowing differing points of view to be heard.  And so it went... as it must, I thought of myself as not such a bad person... that God would not forget my goodness (I was a good boy, sometimes)...  and I was lost.  I no longer relied (believed) on a Saviour from my sin, I relied on my own works.

"Josh", I later returned again to my Christian faith as my blog has recounted elsewhere.  I returned to attend LC-MS church services with my father before he passed away of old age...  but there was still something not quite right...  I had to search it out because there still seemed to be some reason for doubt, but I found that Martin Luther spoke so forcefully of Christianity, a forcefulness that leaves one wondering "How can he be so certain?".  So God directed me to the readings from the father of the Missouri Synod, C.F.W. Walther... and oh! my faith was made whole for Walther was just like Luther... he was absolutely certain in his Christian faith, and he preached of certainty!  But from where came this certainty?  It came from a certain, inspired, infallible, inerrant, ... Bible.  But what does the Bible say, what does it teach?

And so I say to you "Josh", that I did not leave the LC-MS over the issue of Copernicanism, I left it over the Doctrine of Justification.  It is this doctrine that the Bible teaches above all others.  It is this doctrine that man cannot fathom by himself, 1 Cor. 2:9.  This verse explains why the Holy Scriptures are indispensable, and the Doctrine of Justification, or what Pieper hammers home ad nauseum, the vicarious satisfaction, is what the Bible's chief message is... what Luther brought to light again, what Walther brings again to our modern world.  It is this doctrine, a message of pure grace, that is the real reason why I left the LC-MS.  And for any persons among the members of the old Synodical Conference (including the LC-MS, WELS, and ELS) that think their church body has not faltered on the Doctrine of Justification, then I would ask them: “Why were none of the presenters at the 2015 Emmaus Conference on Objective Justification professors from any of their seminaries?  Why cannot any of the teachers of their future pastors defend 'Objective Justification'?” –  Is it because they aren't sure about it?… not sure about… the Gospel?
Виталий Лазаревич Гинзбург.jpg
“I envy believers”

      One of the most honest unbelieving scientists I found among all the dozens of scientists I read about was one that Jane Hawking mentioned in her book Travelling to Infinity, p. 127.  The Hawkings (Stephen and Jane) gave Vitaly Ginzburg, a well-known Russian physicist, a large dinner party in 1967 at Cambridge.  As I further researched this Nobel laureate in Wikipedia, I found this quote from him in the section on his Death (bolding is mine, ref. is here):
“In general, I envy believers. I am 90, and [am] being overcome by illnesses. For believers, it is easier to deal with them and with life's other hardships. But what can be done? I cannot believe in resurrection after death.”
Ginzburg is perhaps the best spokesman for unbelieving scientists.  Oh, but why would he envy believers?  Did he not even admit that believers can "deal with ... hardships", even with "death" (John 8:51)?  He speaks as to why unbelievers are so antagonistic to Christianity (John 8:37).  He would say elsewhere that "I was saved by the hydrogen bomb".  The saddest part is that his unbelief was absolutely unnecessary for he too had a Saviour, a Saviour for whom God so loved the world (John 3:16), a Reconciler for him also (2 Cor. 5:19), even if he would not believe.  Jesus tells us about the likes of these when he answered the Jews who would hold up their heritage of "our father Abraham" before God:
John 8:56 – Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
The only religion that "science" is fighting is Christianity, notwithstanding various attempts to group other "religions" with it.  For it is Christianity that is the only true religion.  And it is Christianity that they, the "science falsely so called" (1 Tim. 6:20), will fight until the Last Day.

Dear "Josh"!  I end this with the exchange we had by emails almost a year ago:
  • "Josh": "Do you have any advice for me while I sort out these issues?"
  • BTL: "You must maintain your reverence for Holy Scripture.  It is the life blood of our faith as Christians.  We have no other spiritual defense of our faith than Holy Scripture.  Deny Scripture ... and you will lose faith in Christ's vicarious satisfaction.
"Josh": I am living testimony of this.  May the Lord give you the strength to keep His Word and grow in it. God Grant It!  For Jesus sake!  Amen!
And the sun stood still… ” — Joshua 10:13
This ends my series on Copernicanism.