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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".

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