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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Fick 14: Last days; Trowel, sword, staff laid down; Gone home

      This continues from Part 13 (Table of Contents in Part 1), publishing an English translation of C.F.W. Walther's biography of Pastor C.J. Hermann Fick. —
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     It is sad for me to end this narrative by Walther, for it has brought me close to both him and “our unforgettable Fick”.  It was also sad for Walther that he could not be with Fick in his last days on this Earth.  But it was a Christian sadness, a sadness couched in the hope of eternal rest with all the saints.
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This translation by BackToLuther (BTL), taken from Der Lutheraner, Vol. 42, Nos. 14 (July 15, 1886) to 18 (September 15, 1886). All underlining is emphasis from original. All highlighting by BTL. — This portion:– vol. 42, #18, p. 138-139.
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In Memory of Our Unforgettable Fick.
(by C.F.W. Walther; Part 14, concluding from Part 13)

So now we have arrived at the last time of the life and work of our unforgettable Fick. The Boston air had not weakened him, but it wonderfully fortified, indeed, rejuvenated him. But the Lord quickly and unexpectedly, in the eventide of this true servant, took from his hands

●  the trowel of the faithful worker,
●  the sword of the faithful fighter and
●  the shepherd's staff of the faithful shepherd,

and brought him to eternal rest, the eternal celebration of victory, to eternal refreshment before his face, taken from the suffering and quarreling Church, but joined with the triumphant Church of all the crowned.
Unfortunately, we can not report on his last days and hours on the basis of our own views. So here we just repeat what Pastor König Sr. of New York in the Boston Lutheran Gazette [Lutherischen Anzeiger] of May 15, 1885 reports of this time:
He writes: “It was his ardent wish that he would die in his office. To lie fallow, to stand idle in the market as an invalid, was a terrible thought to him. The Lord has also fulfilled this wish of his faithful servant. On Sunday, Jubilate (April 26), he confirmed, preached in East Boston in the afternoon, and performed three baptisms. When he came home, he spoke what he was not otherwise in a habit to do: ‘Now I want to finish work’. The evening was there for him: it had been his last job. On Monday he complained of chest pain; pneumonia became more severe, and on Thursday morning [April 30, 1885] the Lord called his servant home. Let us look at his end! Until shortly before his death, he was in clear consciousness, happily ready to go home. To his wife’s question: “What should we say to the congregation?” he replied:
That they should remain faithful to Jesus.” Then he began to fantasize, and in the last hour, to the amazement of his followers, spoke alternately and repeatedly in Hebrew, Greek, and English:

‘Jesus alone!’ and then: ‘Jesus my righteousness!’ From this he fell asleep gently and quietly; a blissful smile of peace hovered for hours on the face of the faint-hearted. On Sunday afternoon the funeral ceremony took place. After Pastor Biewend had read the 23rd Psalm in the funeral home and had spoken a prayer, the undersigned in the overfull church gave the memorial speech on the basis of the word: 'Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’ (Matthew 25:23). Pastor Koren (from the Norwegian sister congregation) *) spoke
*) Pastor Koren jun. in Boston, in his first message, writes of the blessed death of the deceased for Der Lutheraner: “I only knew the splendid man for a year, but he was already like a father to me.” [Der Lutheraner, vol 41, May 15, 1885, p. 78 , col. 2; text here]

then some poignant words in English. At the graveside Pastor Biewend read the beautiful last poem of the deceased: ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth’ etc. (See Der Lutheraner No. 8, April 15, 1885.) [Text file here; editable]  and consecrated the corpse of the dear one.” So far, Pastor König.
But we ourselves know of no other words to close here than those with which we concluded the “Provisional Death Notice” in the Der Lutheraner of May 15, 1885: “With him,
● our Lutheran Church in this time of general decline loses one of its most loyal sons and its most lovely singers,
●  our Synod loses one of the most beautiful ornaments of its Ministry,
●  true Christians lose one of their most amiable models,
● his friends, of whom this writer counts himself, lose a Jonathan, to whom they all will certainly beckon with David: ‘I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.’ (2 Samuel 1:26)
The triumphant Church of the Elect, however, undoubtedly wins for it
a new star, which will shine like the glory of heaven forever and ever. (Dan 12:3)”
All we need to add here is that our Fick does not need a monument set by friends; he, the man with a humble heart of pure gold, without wanting it, by God's grace has set himself a monument with his writings that will receive his blessed memory, at least in the orthodox Church of America, up to what we hope will certainly be near the End of the Days.
Lord Jesus, “stay with us; for it will be evening, and the day has been spent.” Our soul must die of the death of that righteous one, and our end shall be like That End. Hallelujah! Amen!    W.
- - - - - - - - - - -  The End; ●  Part 15 - Epilogue: Fick's Last Poem  - - - - - - - - - - - -

      Along with his ‘unforgettable’ Fick, there was another man, his ‘opponent’ in the Altenburg Debate Adolph Marbach, whom Walther ached to be with in his ‘last hours’, (see ltr from Zurich transl. by C.S. Meyer, p. 649): “Already on the day before my return, on Wednesday the 6th of June (1860), my closest friend in my old fatherland fell asleep quietly as a confessor of Christ, the only Hope of his soul.”
      Dear God! How honored I am to have brought Walther’s glorious account and counsel from the life of “Our Unforgettable Fick”.  And so it then happened that this ending should occur on the eve of the greatest Christian festival of all – Easter, for I would erect another monument to “Our Fick” as I publish his last poem in translation – in the Epilogue to this series, the last Part 15.
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[In the following “Read more »” section is my English translation of the full notice of Hermann Fick's passing in Der Lutheraner.  Translation by BackToLuther from Der Lutheraner, vol 41, May 15, 1885, p. 78 , col. 2.]

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Fick 13: Boston; against Papacy; No God?; Catechism History

      This continues from Part 12 (Table of Contents in Part 1), publishing an English translation of C.F.W. Walther's biography of Pastor C.J. Hermann Fick. —
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      Now Fick is again called to a big city, this time Boston.  Walther makes a terse comment about this city and its “European affairs”.  With its Puritan - Episcopal - Methodist base, it surely was a struggle for the orthodox Lutheran, Pastor Fick.  Walther elsewhere made a comment against the waywardness of Eastern districts: “Why are many congregations in the eastern section of the United States no longer free?”. –  Also in this portion, Walther reviews several more masterpieces by Fick on the Papacy, atheism, and Luther's Small Catechism. —  We now join our Fick as he makes his last move, to the Eastern district, to Boston...
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This translation by BackToLuther (BTL), taken from Der Lutheraner, Vol. 42, Nos. 14 (July 15, 1886) to 18 (September 15, 1886). All underlining is emphasis from original. All highlighting by BTL. — This portion:– vol. 42, #18, p. 138.
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In Memory of Our Unforgettable Fick.
(by C.F.W. Walther; Part 13, cont'd from Part 12)

However, by God's gracious will, Collinsville should not be the last stop in the life and work of our Fick. In the year 1872 he received an urgent call to Boston in the state of Massachusetts. To be sure, at first the climate of this more northern state caused him to resist the acceptance of the call for the sake of the constitution of his body, which was inclined to catarrh; but the importance of the city, with its European character, overcame his misgivings, so that finally, trusting to the guidance of God, he confidently followed in the name of God. He was solemnly introduced to this new post on November 10, 1872. The task presented to him was not an easy one. The European affairs of Boston, which were mixed up with New England, and which, of course, in some respects also asserted themselves in his congregation, caused him no little difficulties and worries. It was especially the sad school conditions there that weighed on his mind, as he complained to us on the occasion of the meeting of the Synodical Conference in Cleveland, Ohio., in August of 1884. Nevertheless, as far as we are aware, his official activity in Boston was a richly blessed one, and in spite of all the seriousness with which [page 138, col. 2] affected Fick there, the relationship between him and his congregation was a relationship of deepest love and full trust.

In spite of all the official work imposed on him by his congregation of about 600 souls, he still found time to serve the church in general with his pen. Already in 1873 came the excellent writing: “Secret of Wickedness in the Roman Papacy” [WorldCat; German text], in which he sets forth, after an important introduction in a first part “Secret of Wickedness” from the doctrines and in a second part in the works of the Papacy, namely in his terrible abominations. Both parts together comprise 38 and 250 pages in small octavo. The motto of this work is the words of Luther: “All other heretics are heretics only in certain parts; but this man (the Pope) is the only and true antichrist who is against the whole Christ.” (Luther's Works [W1], Vol. IX, 1014) [StL vol. 9, 1475 §13; AE LW 30, p. 287 - “Lectures on 1 John”, chpt 4:3 – see this blog.] The book is based on the most reliable sources and appended with a precise indication of these sources. The same has become widely used, and the second edition of the same has just been published.

We are now living in a time when:
●  in countless writings and daily newspapers, the word, “There is no God!” is treated as a truth no longer to be proved, but as a long-established truth;
●  in almost all the workplaces, retail shops, art galleries, public squares, and even many university lecture halls, does the word: “There is no god!” resound;
●  more and more people are making connections every day who have chosen the word, "There is no God!" for their slogan and for their shiboleth;
●  all men, wherever they go, wherever they stand, breathe in the fumes of the air made heavy, so to speak, with the denial of God:
but there are also many souls who, without being descended to cattle like most atheists, and without being filled with Satanic hostility to God, are sick of inhaling the hellish poison of atheism.

For the sake of such unfortunate souls, in the year 1876, our Fick issued a writing entitled, There Is A God. The Responsibility to Testify. [Google Books, WorldCat]  In this splendid 240-page work, the author has laid aside the weapon of ridicule, and in alternating form, now in narratives, now in stories, now in shorter or longer essays, are so clearly revealed the existence of a God in such a convincing manner and the counter-proofs against it in their wretchedness, that whoever does not want to deny his own reason, after reading this precious book and being healed of his unbelief, must exclaim: “Yes, yes, there is a God!

In 1882, Fick followed this larger work with a small work: “The Gentile Christmas. A Tale of Life in the Far West. Publishing House of Neitz and Jung in St. Louis, Mo.” [German title; no WorldCat! see 1882 Der Lutheraner (w/ review by W)., and Ev. Schulblatt;] The tendency of this lovely booklet is to show by an example that man can not convert himself, but that God for Christ's sake is willing and strong to save man from the deepest depth of his misery of sin, to bring to faith and to save forever.

The last major fruit of his tireless literary industriousness is Fick’s work published in 1881 under the title: Stories from the Church and the World about Dr. M. Luther's Small Catechism. For Church, [page 138, col. 3] School and Home Collected. [German title; Archive copy] This is first a collection of the Holy Scriptures, then each of the six major parts, and finally, for each of these, stories concerning them. There are 614 of these stories on 361 pages in Kleinoctav close printing. As much as there are similar collections, this one is not only not surpassed by any other in our low judgment, but also not equaled by anyone else. Not only is the selection of the immense material taken on the basis of clear, pure Lutheran knowledge, but also everything is described in the chaste and sober language of Lutheran simplicity.
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Lutheran Scholarship
      Walther stresses that Fick's book on the abominations of the Papacy uses “the most reliable sources” and is “appended with a precise indication of these sources”.  I was amazed too at Fick's scholarly work on the Lutheran Martyrs. Dr. Robert Kolb is noted as one of today's great scholars on Lutheranism and the Reformation.  But C.J. Hermann Fick was also a great scholar on these matters.  Walther testifies elsewhere that Fick writes as one of the greatest writers “in the spirit of Luther”, something I find sorely lacking in Kolb.  Kolb largely ignores (or refutes) the true Lutheran scholarship of the old (German) Missouri Synod. — No, today's LC-MS does not want the world to know just how much their “fathers” in the faith attacked the Papacy.

Lutheran Catechesis
      There is a movement by some in the LC-MS to use “catechesis” as the way to turn it back from its admitted heterodoxy.  There would hardly be any better book for this purpose than a translated English version of Fick's book of 614 stories on Luther's Small Catechism, a book Walther labeled as “not equaled by anyone else”.  I took the time to translate a portion of Walther's Foreword to this book:
“This collection is of particular value to Lutherans because it gives an example for every part of our small Lutheran catechism. Therefore for teachers who have the catechism in their school, and parents who have to promote it in their homes, the book cannot be recommended urgently enough. In the use of it, they will soon discover the good services they can get from these stories for a fair, vivid, practical, and urgent treatment of our “Children's Bible.” Imbued with a genuine Lutheran spirit and written in language understandable to children, these narratives can also be confidently given to the schoolchildren themselves and handed over to them for the purpose of reading through, that after completing each portion of the catechism they would recount the examples each story belongs to. But even adults will derive for themselves rich instruction and edification.”
In the following “Read more »” section, I have included the German text of the first several pages of Fick's book on the Small Catechism – The First and Second Commandments. I may add to this over time. — In the next concluding Part 14...

Monday, March 26, 2018

Fick 12: editor; Civil War solace; Monkey Religion (Evolution and Monkey Trial)

      This continues from Part 11 (Table of Contents in Part 1), publishing an English translation of C.F.W. Walther's biography of Pastor C.J. Hermann Fick. —
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      Fick now moves to a much smaller congregation (Collinsville, Ill.) for health reasons. The American Civil War breaks out, but you won't find a history of this War from Walther or Fick – only their counsel for Christians during this time of great distress.  Fick then enters a defense against a strange teaching that would surely never catch on... the notion of “evolution”, surely an idea that will have long been forgotten by now… our intelligent, modern world would never carry on with this ridiculous idea… would it? — We join our Fick en route back to America after convalescing in Germany.
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This translation by BackToLuther (BTL), taken from Der Lutheraner, Vol. 42, Nos. 14 (July 15, 1886) to 18 (September 15, 1886). All underlining is emphasis from original. All highlighting by BTL. — This portion:– vol. 42, #18, p. 137-138.
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In Memory of Our Unforgettable Fick.
(by C.F.W. Walther; Part 12, cont'd from Part 11)

On June 3, 1859, he began his return journey to America, where he arrived safely with his family on July 16 that year. He went first to Detroit to greet his congregation there; but both he and the congregation realized that the further care of a congregation as large as the Detroit one would soon destroy him. When, shortly thereafter, a call arrived for the much smaller congregation at Collinsville, Ill. (Madison Co.), about 12 miles from St. Louis, Mo., he gladly accepted it and entered his new office there on September 11, 1859.
Here he worked with rich blessings for 13 years, dearly loved and highly honored by his congregation of many experienced, knowledgeable Lutheran Christians. He was persuaded to take over the editorship of the Abendschule [“Evening School”; see also here], a newspaper compiled for Christians “for entertainment and instruction,” founded in 1854.  This was handled with all diligence and highest fidelity from August 15, 1860, a time for difficult work since at that time the Civil War broke out, until the year 1868. Because of this, it became obvious that his participation in our synodical journals during this period became less plentiful. But the tireless man also made some very valuable contributions to Der Lutheraner during this time. In 1864 in which was that dreadful time of [Civil] war emergency, was also the time that Fick issued a little book entitled:

[page 137, col. 3] “Lift Up Your Heads! Consolation and Arousing Songs for Christians in This Last Troubled Time.” [Google Books: Hebet eure Häupter auf!; see also DL vol 22, (Oct. 1, 1865), p. 17 reprint of a portion]  In Der Lutheraner of July 15, 1864, on this booklet containing 22 songs in 64 pages, we were able among other things to report: “It is true that the songs of our dear friend and brother, Pastor Fick, need no recommendation; for the readers of the Der Lutheraner; the former has already sung so many splendid songs to the latter that they expect nothing but delicacy from him. But we have to say that in the songs of the present collection our dear Fick has surpassed himself. They are a fulfillment of the Word of Christ: ‘He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’ (John 7:38); but they are also a proof that our dear Lutheran Church still rightly bears the name of the 'singing church' because it has never before preached the blessed Gospel to countless hearts, but has also sung it with sweet songs.
Of particular value to the present collection is the fact that the songs form a whole, all aiming to put Christians in the right mood in this ‘last troubled time’. And indeed these are for those who are now in danger of falling into spiritual sleep, to awaken them with the blaring of trumpets;  to refresh those who are now seized with fear and hesitation, through the sweet sounds of heavenly consolations, to rise above the miseries of that time [Civil War], and to fulfill them with the most blessed hope of the approaching perfect redemption.
“You, dear Christians, who carry your concern to be engulfed in the general flood of the ruin of these last days and to perish in it, and in which now comes many hours when the heart would also languish, ‘as in the summer there is drought’, to you therefore, we recommend the above-mentioned dear booklet: ‘Lift up your heads!’most urgently. You will find what you are looking for. Soon the poet will show you, in the light of the divine Word, the vanity of the world, and the horrors of the approaching judgment in a heart-moving and harrowing way. Then he will lead you to flower-filled, quiet places, where the fresh springs of comfort and [page 138, col. 1] hope, which are locked in the words on the rock, open to you, in which you can refresh yourselves.” — At this time, also here in the West of North America, there were those who absolutely wanted to be respected for holding that man was a cultured monkey, and especially sought out the inexperienced youth. Therefore Fick put out a pamphlet in 1872 under the following title:

The Monkey Religion. A Conversation Held in Arizona, Brought into Elegant Rhymes by a Man., Manville, Arizona. 1817”, [see here; no lending library] in which among others Darwin, Vogt and Büchner are introduced. In Der Lutheraner of July 1, 1872, we have announced the writing (comprising 40 pages in small octav) in the following words: “Until recently, people who had not completely lost their reason, conscience and religion, believed that the monkeys were animals.  They were amused by their strange grimaces and jumps, but otherwise they were put into a class with dogs, cats and pigs, and believed that as a human being they were infinitely sublime over the monkeys. —
However, now this should change. The monkey man Vogt [Affenvogt - a play on Karl Vogt’s name] has made the astonishing discovery that the monkeys are a very special animal, because people [“the Negro was related to the ape”] were descended from them.
And [Ludwig] Büchner happily agreed with him, claiming in his notorious book, Kraft und Stoff [‘Strength and Substance’]:  Man is nothing more than a highly organized animal. [Charles] Darwin also seeks to prove the same in a thick-bodied book, which appeared in the last years. There is now great jubilation among the god-deniers, who rejoice: if we are children of monkeys, then we are animals, like other livestock, and need as little religion as the dogs and cats. — The above-mentioned booklet [of Fick] contains a conversation by some honest Germans in which it is proved that the whole monkey religion of the monkey philosophers is nothing but dizziness, humbug, and nonsense, which is why no man who is still in possession of his sound reason could accept it. Since it is not lacking in ridiculous scenes, by which the foolishness of monkey children is exposed, so the whole is not only instructive, but also very funny to read.” [BTL: Unfortunately I was unable to obtain a copy of this book.]
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      Walther uses the name “Affenvogt” (or “monkey man Vogt”) for the German evolutionist Karl Vogt.  For all those Christians who would follow the Theory of Evolution, I would remind them that Karl Vogt specifically taught that the black man, “the Negro was related to the ape”. Also, quite by accident I ran across this same term “Affen-Vogt” in Walther's 1872 essay “On the Doctrine of Justification” - Part 12, where he names Mr. Vogt as perhaps one of the most atheistic scientists of his day, and yet Vogt too was redeemed by Christ.

      Long before the “Creationism” movements of the 20th century, long before the Scopes “Monkey Trial” and William Jennings Bryan's notoriety, long before the so-called Fundamentalists were started, before the “Princtonians” entered the battle, Walther and Hermann Fick and the old (German) Missouri Synod were giving a stronger defense against Evolution than any of these later movements, writing satire and ridiculing the absurd, blasphemous teaching.  Even Ken Ham's wonderful defense of Creation today is only weakly following what the true Lutheran Church has always taught and defended. In 1925, just after the Scopes “Monkey” Trial in Dayton, Tennessee had ended, Franz Pieper commented in Lehre und Wehre (p. 302, German), my emphasis in bold:
By no means is everything clear. Does not the Dayton Trial add to the realization that Christian children do not belong in the state schools at all! We can not turn state schools into Christian schools, we can twist and turn as we like.  F. P.
I went to public schools because there was no Lutheran school available in our area.  Neither did my parents consider "home-schooling". I had to be taught by a biology teacher (in a rural school!) about evolution as if it were the only truth.  By the 1940s and 1950s, LC-MS had so poisoned the world with its syncretistic equivocation on Christian doctrine, that there was no longer the emphasis among “Missouri Synod Lutherans” to have their own church schools for their children. Dear God! how I remember the distress of this.  O that that Lutheran parents would wake up to Franz Pieper's warnings to them, would to God! —  In the next Part 13
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Note: I have compiled all of Franz Pieper's German language comments on the Scopes "Monkey" Trial of 1925 (or “Dayton-Prozeß”) in the 1925 Lehre und Wehre and am publishing it below in the “Read more »” section. One may use Google Translate or another free translator for a most interesting read on one of the most famous court cases in the history of man.  
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