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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...
The following document may be directly accessed here.

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