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Monday, January 29, 2018

Notice to CPH and CHI (Concordia Publishing / Concordia Historical Institute)

      The following is a formal notice addressed especially to Concordia Publishing House, but also to Concordia Historical Institute.  My intention is to publish on this blog (for free) the following previously translated (into English) historical works on the old (German) Missouri Synod.  These translations have been completed long ago but have, for whatever reason, been withheld long enough (far too long) from wide availability to Lutherans of America.  There is no good reason why these were not published long ago, for they breathe a spirit of true historical theology, true Church History.  At times these old authors have been severely questioned by historians and theologians of the LC-MS. That is certainly not a good reason. These works are:
 It is my intention to not only provide free digital access to these works, but also:
  1. the full German text in a polished format (perhaps keyed to the English translation),
  2. an historical background of each item and in some cases of the translators,
  3. hyperlinks to their references, original pages in German, and some of their terms.  
I will show where the LC-MS has questioned the value of these histories and the judgments rendered in them by their authors.  Then these objections and criticisms will be refuted. There are a few notable exceptions to these objections from the LC-MS and I will note these as well.

      If however Concordia Publishing has, in good faith, the full intention of bringing any (or all) of these works to "ink on paper" soon, I will at least delay my publications.  And if they are convincing enough, I will reverse my plans.  I would be happy to furnish to CPH/CHI, at no charge, my work of hundreds of hours of extracting, proofing, and polishing what I have of these works for digital publication.
      So even though CPH may have some idea of exercising a legal claim of copyright, I will claim they have forfeited that right by their negligence lasting many decades.  In some cases, I would suggest the negligence extends beyond a century.
      There are precedents for my action as I have already published in 2015 Pastor Donald E. Heck's translation of Walther's sermons Year of Grace [fixed link].  And last year the complete Epistle Sermons of C.F.W. Walther translated by Pastor Heck were published on my blog.  So they will know I am serious about my intentions.  Although CPH has previously exercised their right of copyright against me, they have not (so far) taken any action against me on these two major sermon books of Walther/Heck.

     There are yet great histories remaining to be translated, as far as I know:
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      When do I plan to start releasing these free digital productions?  In the next few months or so…  You, Concordia Publishing or Concordia Historical Institute, have a little time yet to contact me.  After that, these works will no longer cry out to be published, they will be freely available to the world.
      Oh, what treasures I have found!… "more treasures than I knew existed in the training of my youth"!  I cannot stand to see them hidden any longer. (Neither would Prof. Fred Kramer)  The Lutheran Church in America (and the world) cries out for them... indeed, this blog is viewed regularly from around the world.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Copernicanism- 1993 LCMS; and a true Bible teacher? Part 2 (for “Josh”)

      This concludes from Part 1, republishing the most extensive essay on Copernicanism in the recent history of  the LC-MS.
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      While studying Dr. Patrick T. Ferry's essay in detail, it occurred to me that I actually had read it in the 1990s, but was so distressed by it, that I blotted it out of my mind.  I was then returning to my Christian faith, a faith in the Bible, reading Luther, etc.  But here was a great scholar who seemed to be using his great knowledge to confuse what Martin Luther actually taught. Then in 2001, I ran across C.F.W. Walther's very short, very bold statement about Copernicus and Copernicanism, and I was "hooked".  I knew “the sun stood still” (as Joshua commanded Joshua 10:13) and so an unbelieving world was at war with the Bible. But how could I stand against a world of theological scholars?

      Author Ferry makes no mention of the later teachers of the Lutheran Church, and others, who taught against Copernicanism:
Some might say that my list is unfair to Dr. Ferry because he only focused on one aspect of this topic: Luther’s (and the “University of Wittenberg”) actual response to the new learning and his influence on learning in general.  To that I would ask them if they think Ferry intended to remain neutral in his presentation as to whether Copernicanism was objective truth or not? Does anyone, after reading Ferry's essay, really think that Dr. Ferry believes that Copernicanism is not true?... that the reality is that the Sun moves about the Earth?
      One way that one might summarize Ferry's essay would be its use of the words (conjunctions) "however", "but", "nevertheless", "contrary to", and "yet".  These are the connecting words from his (grudging?) admission of Luther's and Melanchthon's Scriptural rejection of Copernicanism.  I recall now from 20+ years ago how every one of those conjunctions was like an arrow directed at my weak faith that wanted to believe the Bible – like my young LC-MS correspondent "Josh" does.
“... shaping an intellectual milleu” (Ferry, p. 266)
… or Christians?
      Make no mistake, author Ferry wants to be taken not on scientific grounds, but theological grounds. He wrote for a theological journal. He now heads a “Lutheran” university. But he voices no Scriptural grounds to reject Copernicanism … like Luther and Melanchthon do – Lutheran teachers who never explicitly renounced their Scriptural grounds.

A personal question for Dr. Ferry:
Did your father-in-law, Dr. John W. Saleska, also teach in his Concordia Bible Institute (and at CTS) as you do in this essay (p. 265), that 
“Contrary to the assumption that Luther and Melanchthon obstructed the spread of Copernicanism, each played a role in its eventual dissemination.”
... and so Martin Luther "shaped an intellectual milleu" that allowed not just a Copernican Theory, but Copernicanism?  Did Dr. Saleska make your essay required reading for his Concordia Bible Institute?  I wonder that he was not comfortable with your essay on Copernicanism judging by his firm stand for a "young earth" creation here. (Hmmm... does CUW also always teach the objective truth of creation in its science classes?)

      I will never forget the picture that Dr. Ferry shares of Dr. Saleska's highly marked and aged KJV Bible  (“the version used in heaven”!) as long as I live.  What a shock – to see an LC-MS teacher with such an obvious reverence for Holy Scripture!  Would that his son-in-law take up that Bible and run with it as his father-in-law did!

Wasn't Dr. John W. Saleska 
a “Biblicist”?
Wasn't he what A. D. White called an
ancient believing text-worshiper”?

Saleska's motto was “Christ in Every Word” (Concordia Bible Institute).  Does that include even in Joshua 10:13 – "and the sun stood still"? ... or not?

To “Josh”:
      I don't know if you are still following this blog, but I wonder that you may have been a graduate of CUW.  You came to me privately about 2 years ago and related, as I reported about you 2 years ago, that you …
“…were a member in the LC-MS, not long out of higher education, accepted the Copernican system, but considered yourself to be truly following Christian doctrine, was well aware of Luther’s position supporting geocentricity and the old Missouri’s anti-Copernicanism stand.  You had been taught in the LC-MS that it could be taught from Scripture that Scripture does not literally teach geocentrism.”
I then quoted you directly in my concluding blog and revealed further that you came to me and you asked me for counsel:
“Do you have any advice for me while I sort out these issues?”
I tell you now that whether or not you are a graduate of CUW, I suspect that the counsel of Dr. Saleska is as good as mine even if he may be weak in specifics on “Science and Religion”. I cannot boast of a Bible like his Bible, and he points to the Holy Bible as Truth, i.e. “Christ in every Word” (“I am the Truth…”, “Thy Word is Truth” – John 14:6, John 17:17).
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      I want to conclude this blog with a tribute to the joy I found in learning of Dr. Ferry's father-in-law Dr. John Saleska and his Bible teaching:
Rev. Dr. John W. Saleska
A teacher of universal grace.
† September 13, 2017
If I had thought Dr. Saleska was the heart of the LC-MS, I might not have left the LCMS the 2nd time.  Buthis son-in-law's essay was no help for my struggling, weak faith in the 1990's. No, that took the teaching of Luther, Walther, and Franz Pieper to ground my faith 100% in the Bible.  I look forward to rejoicing with Saleska in the hereafter -- and seeing his heavenly smile in person.  Take a good look at the above picture, and see why he has the smile of a Christian on the right side.  That is a perfect picture of what everyone wants today…"mental health".

Monday, January 15, 2018

Copernicanism- 1993 LCMS (Patrick Ferry- 25 years ago); Part 1

Rev. Dr. Patrick T. Ferry
Concordia Univ.–Wisconsin
[2018-01-16: Comments have come in below with pertinent added documentation]
      At the risk of over covering the issue of Copernicanism, I am addressing it once more.  This was occasioned by recently coming across an essay in Concordia Theological Quarterly, October 1993, that may be the greatest attempt by any teacher in the LC-MS to put the matter of "Copernicanism" to rest. This is the ONLY essay in CTS-FW Media under the labels "Astronomy-History" and "Copernicus, Nicolas, 1473-1543". The author was unfamiliar to me, but a little research quickly turned up that Patrick T. Ferry is now Rev. Dr. Patrick T. Ferry, President of Concordia University–Wisconsin since 1997. So Dr. Ferry can be considered a theological scholar for today, with a M.Div. from CTS-FW and a PhD in European History.
      One of the major benefits of using the following reproduction of Dr. Ferry's extensive essay is the addition of reciprocal hyperlinks to all footnotes for effortless navigation. The reader will notice that I have inserted many of my own comments in red text.  This is only because Ferry is quite a master scholar for today.  He knows many facts about the Reformation, he can translate from the old theological languages, he has an understanding of modern philosophy, he has read much from modern theology, etc.  But because he sets out essentially with the notion that Copernicanism is objective truth (since "science" has "proved" it so), so he must, as a "Lutheran scholar", try to accommodate "Wittenberg" with today's "Science".  And so, because this notion flies directly in the face of Holy Scripture, Ferry must be forcefully refuted.
      There is additional material covered by Dr. Ferry that was not covered in my blog series for "Josh". An example is Melanchthon's own writings specific to "Copernicanism", p. 279.  This was a case where Ferry's scholarly ability was actually helpful, even if he immediately works to accommodate Melanchthon's own testimony, as he does Luther's.
      It took me perhaps 20+ years to totally forget about this essay.  How happy I am to have completely refuted it even without directly addressing it in my Copernicanism blog series.  And so now, with a firmer faith and the immense help of Internet resources (Google Books, Google Translate, etc.) I can return to Ferry's essay in full confidence of not only the truth of Holy Scripture, but also in the knowledge that the true Evangelical Lutheran Church always held to the a priori truth of the Bible, even where the Bible clearly taught natural science incidentally.
[2018-01-30: added links to pages of B.A. Gerrish essay “Reformation and the Rise of Science” in footnotes; 2018-01-29: added links to pages of Werner Elert’s The Structure of Lutheranism book noted in footnotes, 3 places]

A direct link to the above Google document is available here. Uncommented version here.
[2018-01-29: added links to pages of Werner Elert’s The Structure of Lutheranism book noted in footnotes, 3 places]

      I was amazed that I had not discovered this essay in my year-long research of this topic.  This is the only essay that I could find that addressed this "hot button" topic in any meaningful way in the LC-MS. I was also amazed that my blog series not only answered most of Ferry’s points, but went beyond it on the real issue of what is objective truth, something that Ferry only implies. This essay clearly intends that the reader consider Copernicanism or "heliocentrism" to be objective truth. Now Dr. Ferry may admit that he is in agreement with me that the Lutheran Church allowed theoretical science that was objectively impossible.  But then again, he is in today’s Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, a synod that has for many decades, without interruption by a so-called Walkout in 1974spearheaded the effort to accommodate the Bible to “Science” on this issue of Copernicanism.
      My comments grew to be too much for one blog post, so I am splitting it up into 2-parts.  In the next Part 2, I comment further on Dr. Ferry, but also on someone I discovered who was very close to him, but one who is actually an antidote to his essay.

("Josh" -- are you still listening?)

[2018-01-16: Comments have come in below with pertinent added documentation]

● ● ● ● ● ●    [2018-03-26: Added full text of above document into a "Read more »" section below]  ● ● ● ● ●

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Pres. Harrison confesses truth of 6-day Creation (“natural days”) (Corrected)

[2018-01-26: see correction below, beginning in red, to amend this post]
      What a joy for me this day, to run across President Matthew Harrison's Jan. 3, 2018 blog (Archived) that not only confirms and confesses the Biblical 6-day Creation teaching, but even more, that he upholds the truth of Holy Scripture as a basis for his faith.  Even as he left a little room for equivocation ("in my view"), God knows the tears of joy that filled my eyes.  How much different is this joy than my warning blog post of 1 year ago where I had to tell Harrison that his LC-MS was on the wrong path, that the right path was the "old paths", back to the truth of Holy Scripture, just as his predecessor Walther followed, and Franz Delitzsch commended in Walther but faltered on himself.
      Also, what a joy to read that one of my current followers on this blog added their commendation to Harrison's blog post.  There is no greater joy for me than to see both of these.
      As I read through the blog post quickly, it was immediately apparent, also by his heartfelt, humble prayer to God at the end, that Harrison is responding to recent publications and responses.  I also kept thinking that Harrison read my blog from November last year and in other places and is confirming my plea to the LC-MS.  But I must tell him that my prayer is that he did not read my blog, but that others within his LC-MS have woke him up to the reality of deadly, poisonous heterodoxy among the teachers of the LC-MS.

==>> Note to Ken Ham: Your mission to re-establish the truth of the 6-day Creation doctrine among Christians, also your recent mission to establish the clarity of Holy Scripture, is just an echo of what the Lutheran Church has taught from its beginning.

      May God bless Harrison's forthright confession of the Truth to His Glory!  May God answer Harrison's prayer of "God help us"!  I must tell him that God cannot help but answer that prayer!  I would suggest that he should amend his ending to add Luther's ending: Amen.
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      And so it is that I must answer Harrison's plea to be "kind to those who struggle with the issue".  Most certainly Luther was patient with those weak in faith, but to the teachers of the faith who erred, Luther was not "kind" but reproved them.  That was his Christian kindness.  Unfortunately there is much left to reprove in today's LC-MS.
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2018-01-26: Others are being more discerning than I was on Harrison's recent pronouncement on this teaching of "6-day creation" and saying he avoided better language that would more clearly refute the erring teachers of the LC-MS -- particularly the use of "24-hour days". Given Harrison's past evasions of error, I bow to their judgments -- 
     Specifically Jack Cascione also rightfully points out the "most offensive part of his (Harrison's) statement": 
“Because I believe the Gospel, I recognize the words of my shepherd, Jesus, in Holy Scripture.”  
Cascione then masterfully exposes the fallacy in this statement: 
“The testimony of the Holy Spirit in every word of Scripture is why we believe the Bible, not by extension because I believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Tim. 3:16 KJV)”
I can only add to Cascione's statement that his point is solidly backed up by not only C.F.W. Walther, but the 1886 Synodical Conference essay which said: 
The New Theologians cry, “No, Christ is the foundation of the Faith, not Scripture!” However, with that, they completely contradict Eph. 2, [Eph. 2:20] “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.”  … It really does sound nice when they say, “No! Christ is the foundation of the Christian Faith!” But this is nothing more than a superb illusion.
     And now surprisingly Norm Fisher has added his voice to those truly confessionally minded.  Both of these convincing refutations have been published in the January 15, 2018 issue of Christian News. I would invite readers to remain vigilant on this specific topic.