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Monday, February 20, 2017

Pastoral 2017: criticism or honor for Drickamer? #2

      This continues from Part 1 in a series of blog posts related to the new 2017 Concordia Publishing House edition of Walther's Pastoral Theology. See Part 1 for Table of Contents.
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       There is an elitism in the LCMS today associated with the 2017 edition. No one – not Harrison, not editor David Loy, not translator Christian Tiews, not any of the CPH endorsers – no one in the book itself ever directly mentions or praises the prior 1995 abridged translation made by Dr. John M. Drickamer († 1999?).  Translator Tiews condescendingly speaks of it as “highly abridged and only covers one third of Walther’s original book”.  My chart shows that Drickamer’s edition included practically all of the core teachings of Walther.  All of Walther's 50 sections are included, more or less, and in the exact same order that Walther presents them. (Note to President Harrison: I heartily thanked God for the 1995 edition when it came out!... even as I thank Him for this 2017 edition.)  If all these people are so glad for their full translation, then why is there no honor for the one who gave us at least the abridged (not supplemented) version over 20 years ago?  Was it not important to have the essentials that Drickamer brought to the world two decades ago? (It was a life-line for me.) Oh, I too strongly desired that Drickamer had provided the full content of Walther's book, but he did not have the resources of Concordia Publishing House with the help of its editors!  No, he had to find someone else and went to Pastor Herman Otten’s publishing house (Lutheran News / Christian News) which does not have those resources, but at least Otten took this project on. More on this below. —
So I will give the honor to Dr. John Drickamer that should have been given to him in the 2017 edition!  Drickamer was a scholar in the German language – I believe a first rate scholar.  He hosted an online German language lesson series (Drueckhammer's Deutsch Academie) for “those who wished to read the Lutheran Confessions in their original language (clergy and laity)” on the website – now apparently defunct. This website reported that Drickhamer had a “Th.D. in Ecclesiastical History” and was “a past professor of both theology and the German Language”.   I even wonder that he may have been more qualified as a translator than Rev. Christian Tiews.  Shame on Harrison and Pless for not acknowledging this fruitful work of Dr. Drickhamer!  And because of this, I think those truly interested in Walther’s “Pastoral Theology” will still be interested in purchasing Drickamer’s book to compare translations, and still have an abridged version, or for those wanting a quicker read or even a cheaper copy (currently only $9 + shipping).

Comments on Prof. Pless’s Facebook page per CN Feb. 13, 2017 p. 9:
Steven Anderson: “I have the Drickamer/CN edition.  That will have to suffice.”  –
Lincoln Winter: “I know that Drickamer leaves out a lot.  But is the translation significantly inferior to the new one?  Tight budget these days means there needs to be significant weakness to make me buy a second copy of a book I already have.  Anywhere we can see examples of some improvements?  Otherwise, I will have to stick with the ‘Can’t Won’t’ edition.” - Feb. 2 at 7:30 am;
Note to Lincoln Winter: My cross-reference table in Part 1 will help you to compare these editions for yourself.  Drickamer included at least the core information for ALL chapters of Walther’s work, in the order that Walther presented them.  You will see that contrary to the “one third” notion of some, Drickamer’s edition is more than this.  Although I disagree with Matthew Harrison’s “Can’t Won’t” opinion, yet I would say that whenever another sale comes up, you should purchase the full 2017 edition, for this work of Walther is so important, especially if you are considering the office of ministry.  If all you want is the basics of Walther’s teaching, or an “easy read”, then Drickamer’s edition can be used.

Now I present the following reprint of the author’s biography from page 301 of Drickamer/CN 1995 translation of Walther’s Pastoral Theology.  I was glad to see that Pastor Otten did the same thing on his February 13 issue of Christian News, page 8:
Dr. John M. Drickamer

      John M. Drickamer, a lifelong Lutheran, was raised in the suburbs of Cleveland,Ohio. He was educated at Lutheran parochial schools through the eighth grade. In 1971 he received the B.A. degree from Capital University, with majors in philosophy, history, and ancient languages. His seminary education was at Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois (now located at Fort Wayne, Indiana), from which he received the M. Div. degree in 1975. His vicarage was at Zion Lutheran Church, Chamberlain, South Dakota, in 1973 and 1974.  
      In 1978 Drickamer received the Th.D. degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, majoring in historical theology. From 1977 to 1980 he taught courses in theology and religious history at Concordia College, Ann Arbor, Michigan. From 1980 to 1986 he was pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Georgetown, Ontario, Canada, and also taught theology at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario. Since returning to the United States he has served churches in Illinois, Kansas and Oregon.
     Drickamer has published over nine hundred items, including books, poems, hymns, translations, scripts, sermons and short stories.
$8.99 + shipping

      Herman Otten exposes the duplicity of both Harrison and Pless (and today's LCMS) when he gives the “rest of the story” of the history of Drickamer's edition, CN 2017-02-13 p. 8:
“Drickamer suggested that CN ask the Schwan Foundation for the $10,000 CPH said it would pay Drickamer for his translation.  This foundation, according to Drickamer, had agreed to give CPH $10,000 for his work in producing the translation.  CN would then turn the $10,000 over to Drickamer.  When CN asked the Schwan Foundation for the $10,000 to publish Drickamer's translation of Walther's Pastoral, the foundation declined, claiming there was no real interest in Walther's work.  When CN became involved with the translation, the Schwan Foundation was no longer interested in it.  Years later the Schwan Foundation financed a Russian translation of Drickamer's translation by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation [search Language="Russian", Title="Pastoral Theology"; WorldCat here], since is was much easier to understand and helpful today than a translation of Walther's entire volume with all of its footnotes.  CN granted the Lutheran Heritage Foundation permission to publish Drickamer's translation in Russian without charge.”
According to Otten's report, it appears that Concordia Publishing House backed out of a commitment to pay Dr. John Drickamer $10,000 for his translation.  (Note to Concordia Publishing House: Is this true?) —  Otten then rightfully reprinted the glowing endorsements of Drickamer's edition by CHI director August Suelflow and CTS-FW President Robert Preus. (Aren't Harrison and Pless also condemning Robert Preus and August Suelflow?) —  Pastor Otten should reveal all the details he can gather on Drickamer showing all his publications and scholarly experience.  Otten should research and reveal all the details that he can scrounge up regarding the "unfortunate things" that happened to him as a result of his bold proclamation of the Word of God.
The old website reported the fate of Dr. Drickamer (from Wayback Machine, emphases mine):
“Due to Dr. Drickamer's experience of the unfortunate things that so often are done to those who boldly proclaim the Word of God as the Lutheran Confessions rightly set it forth, these lessons were forced to take a hiatus when Dr. Drickamer was no longer able to afford to stay electronically connected to us. Due to his untimely (to us; timely to his Lord and, thus, blessed to Dr. Drickamer) death, these lessons stopped completely.”
I emphasize 2 points from the above quote:
  1. "What were these "unfortunate things" that happened to Dr. Drickamer because of his bold proclamation of the “Word of God as the Lutheran Confessions rightly set it forth”? Could it have been reprisals against him from the LCMS? The website does not specify.  
  2. Note to Concordia Publishing House:  By this account, Dr. Drickamer was not a rich man… he could not afford to “stay electronically connected”.  Could that be because you squeezed him out of a promised payment of $10,000 for his 1995 edition? … and so he was forced to go elsewhere, eventually to Pastor Herman Otten and his Lutheran News publishing?  And could it be that Otten’s report of the Schwan Foundation’s comment, that
“...there was no real interest in Walther's work”
actually came from you, CPH?  Could it be that all this criticism of Drickamer’s edition is in reality a coverup for your (and today’s LCMS) shameful treatment of Dr. John Drickamer?  Could it be that all the cheerleading for the new 2017 edition and criticism of Dr. John Drickamer’s edition are in reality a duplicitous endeavor?
The Woman Who Cared
by Dr. John M. Drickamer

      Oh, and what are we reminded of?... that Dr. Drickamer was published also by Northwestern Publishing House.  He had 3 books published by them (no longer available from them, but see Amazon).  See the attached picture of one of those publications, the one that I have kept for over 20 years, and not discarded.  The proper thing for Northwestern to do now would be to defend Dr. Drickamer against these unwarranted attacks by today's LC-MS leaders.  

   Oops!  There he is – Dr. Drickamer's book of translation of other works of Walther is still being sold by CPH!  Drickamer is the translator for their Print-On-Demand book Selected Writings of C.F.W. Walther - Walther on the Church. (Why now Print-On-Demand only?)  On the dust jacket of the original 1981 hardback edition, it says this of Dr. Drickamer: “John M. Drickamer, Th.D., a parish pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Georgetown, Ont., Canada, also served as a religion instructor at Concordia Lutheran College, Ann Arbor, Mich.”  And in the Translator's Preface, Drickamer wrote this: 

The translation in this volume makes use of Dr. Mueller's work. His translations have been exhaustively compared with the original German, and numerous revisions have been made.”
This comment clearly shows not only the scholarly translation capability of Dr. Drickamer, but also his scrupulous intent to keep the precise meaning of Walther where even Prof. J.T. Mueller may have strayed too far.  I even wonder that if Drickamer was not hampered by CPH's "space limitations" in 1981, that he could have given a full translation of Walther's Church and Ministry back then, better than Matthew Harrison's The Church and The Office of The Ministry of 2012!  —  Hmmm... aren't these LC-MS leaders who criticize Drickamer's translation work hurting one of Concordia Publishing's own books that is actively sold now?  It would seem so.
      Although I may not be the best judge of translation quality, I wonder that Christian Tiews and/or editor David Loy would not be so ready to harshly criticize and say that Drickamer's “translation is inadequate” as Prof. Pless does.  How about it Pastor Christian Tiews?... Prof. David Loy?... Prof. Benjamin Mayes?

But Thanks Be To God!... that this duplicitous behavior by today's LC-MS did not greatly hamper this edition.  To all those students of theology wondering whether they should purchase this edition if they already have the Drickamer edition –by all means they should make a concerted effort to do so.  All parents and supporters of students of theology should gift this book to their students!  Why?  Because it is the complete work of … C.F.W. Walther, and Thank God!...  that in spite of the very real hatred of Walther in today’s LC-MS, this edition has seen the light of day.  (Has anybody seen any endorsement by Profs. Herrmann or Kloha for this new 2017 edition?)
And if they continue to criticize Drickamer’s “abridgment”, then they are condemning themselves for Concordia Publishing House has for decades enforced "space limitations" on translation projects of Walther's works. In the 1981 edition of Selected Writings of C.F.W. Walther - Law and Gospel, p. 10, translator Bouman wrote:
“The current work represents a considerable abridgment and condensation of the original.  Many of Walther's extensive citations from Luther and other authors were either reduced to their essential point or deleted entirely.,  As a rule, ... much of Walther's running comment was condensed. These cuts in the material were dictated by the publisher's space limitations.”
The reader should not wait too many years to purchase this book because it will likely fall into disuse in today’s LC-MS – may God prevent it! – for even now CPH has discontinued the complete set of Pieper’s Christian Dogmatics, primarily because they have abandoned the index volume (or volume 4).  You can no longer purchase a new copy of this book as of 2016.  CTS-FW President Rast earlier promised that “At Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, there is no intention of 'doing away with' Pieper.” That may still be so (I hope), but new students will likely go without the Index. The index volume was a tremendous aid in searching out subject matter in “Walther’s Dogmatics”, i.e. Franz Pieper’s Christliche Dogmatik (Christian Dogmatics).

      All those who have had good experience with Dr. John Drickamer and/or his works should now come forth and point out just how good a scholar and Christian teacher he was.  How about it, Northwestern Publishing House (WELS), Lutheran Synod Book Co. (ELS),  Lutheran Heritage Foundation, etc, the pastors of the old CAT41 organization (Confess and Teach for Unity), etc. I know he was a good teacher for I benefited from his writings as I returned to the Christian faith.  And even though I rebuked Drickamer by letter for some weakness that he had in defending Universal, Objective Justification, his response gave me full assurance that he had not fallen away but was only a little confused in terminology.  How sad I was when I learned of his untimely passing... but also glad for his good confession of faith.  

      Thank God!... for Dr. John Drickamer and his translation of Walther's Pastoral Theology!  I hope Pastor Otten or Timothy Otten reveal even more details of the sorry treatment of Drickamer at the hands of the LC-MS.  And although I thank God for the 2017 CPH edition, I cannot do this with President Matthew Harrison!  (Note to Harrison: now publish Prof. Jeffrey Kloha's glowing endorsement of Walther's work!  You know, the same glowing endorsement that both you and he give to Hermann Sasse's works, here and here)
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      In the next Part 3, I discuss the works of Prof. J.H.C. Fritz, the first English language Pastoral Theology books published by CPH.

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