Keating, Ray. Lionhearts (A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel). Manorville, NY: Keating Reports, 2017. 343 Pages. Paper. $16.97. www.pastorstephengrant.blogspot.com
The "Warrior Monk," Pastor Stephen Grant, is back in the latest volume of Ray Keating's series, Lionhearts.
My heart skipped a beat. Twice. Once was early in the book when Christians were the targets of terrorists in attacks that are all-too possible. The second time in was in the middle of the novel, when the target was political. My shock was real. Stories like this from the "not too-distant future" should help us all think about what is possible or even probable and how to defend against it. The characters in Lionhearts are people of action, whether ending a threat or helping people pick up the pieces of their lives and finding a new normal through good, faithful, and compassionate pastoral care.
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Monday, September 18, 2017
Thursday, August 3, 2017
Monday, July 24, 2017
Sunday, July 9, 2017
Keating, Ray. Wine Into Water (A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel). Manorville, NY: Keating Reports, 2016. 277 Pages. Paper. $16.99. www.pastorstephengrant.blogspot.com
Grant is back in the novel Wine into Water, the sixth thriller in this series. We were honored to have a quote from LBR on the cover of this title.
Unlike older episodic television and some novels of similar genres, Wine into Water advances the narrative of previous volumes, creating a new status quo by the end of the book, through character development, flashbacks, and ongoing pastoral care. This title is approachable for a first time Keating/Grant reader, yet more fulfilling for those of us who have been part of the whole journey. This title would generate enough interest in the new reader to go back and absorb the first five novels in the series.
In common with the author we reject apostolic succession as necessary and agree that there is much myth connected to its perpetuation, especially in the Anglican Communion (150ff, et al). Aposolic teaching is essential.
Diets were held at Speyer in 1526 and 1529, the latter essentially revoked the anti-Lutheran actions of the former. Charles V and Clement VII were at odds by 1529. The author's reference at the end harkens back to an earlier part in his argument (207) where he attempts to refute Piepkorn with regard to some assertions on ordination and episcopacy.
I was personally unaware of the mission endeavors of LCMS Pastor Henry Nau until I read this book. I had some familiarity with the mission work of the Synodical Conference in the American South and of LCMS work in India, but nearly all of John Nau's account of his father's life and ministry.
Controversy and disagreement within the LCMS is nothing new. Nau! reminded me of that. The "!" in the title of the book, originally printed in Clayton, MO in 1978 precedes the punctuation of the LCMS Ablaze! emphasis by decades.
I've met pastors and professors educated by and who have taught at the Nagercoil, India seminary (cf. 48). I commend the battlefield Communion announcements of Rev. Henry Nau (61ff). I was a seminary classmate of a son of Jonathan Ekong (124ff). I am aware of the dangers of colonialism and even the appearance of colonialism (227), desiring to have pastors native to a tribe, people, nation, or language be seminary trained so that they may reach their own folk with the Gospel of Christ.
I hold to the LCMS teaching and practice rejecting all unionism and syncretism (cf. 109, 160), I believe pure teaching and a passion for mission work and evangelism are compatible. I still need more clarity about Chapter Twenty-One's Genesis of mission work among Muslims. Mission work funding (direct/indirect) is still a controverted issue in our Synod. I am pleased that more LCMS missionaries are currently in the field, and that Lutheran missions have led to Lutheran congregations, laity, pastors, and church bodies.
I will respectfully disagree with some of the subject's strong personal opinions, like regarding the Divine Call (226) and one on marriage and polygamy (227).
Our congregation regularly hosts missionary pastors and their families so that they can build support and later return to tell of their ministry. Please prayerfully consider offering support for our current LCMS missionaries (https://www.lcms.org/missionarysupport#). You could even prepare to be an overseas missionary yourself.
The bottom line for me with regard to this biography is that the work of ministry is usually complicated and messy. We leave the comfort zone of the chancel and study to meet sinners where they are to share the law and Gospel of God. Our faithfulness is for the sake of a pure mission message because we love our Lord and the people He has sent us to serve and reach. This title is an inspiration to continue in faithful mission now!
Personally, I read a lot of biographies of Navy SEALS and theologians. I look forward to reading more biographies of LCMS missionaries.
We now consider another offering provided to us by Eerdmans, the latest by Robin A. Leaver.
What a treat this title is!
This reviewer personally appreciated the title mentioned in the publisher's website bio, a Lutheran Quarterly book, now apparently and unfortunately out of print. As of this writing, used copies on Amazon.com are going for $79 and up. In this title, Professor Leaver turns his attention to Luther's hymnody.
Not only does Leaver refute the old saw that Luther invented "contemporary worship" by pairing sacred text with "bar songs," (a misunderstanding of "bar form" (15) and a refusal to learn from Luther's bad experience with one reuse of a secular tune with a new text), Leaver lays the historical groundwork to prevent such misunderstandings in the first place. Meistersingers. Pre-Reformation vernacular song. Folk songs over beer (Chapter 2).
Jerome's commentaries on the Twelve are presented in this and a forthcoming volume in the order he wrote them, not in the order they are found in the Septuagint nor in that of the Hebrew Scriptures (xvi). Jerome's translation of Origen's Hexpla, or six-column version with the Hebrew, Hebrew transliterated in Greek, and four Greek translations, is simulated on page xix.
This is a commentary for the pastor, the scholar, and the classical Lutheran educator.
Consider a few examples of the commentary itself.
Commentary on 13:25b-27 shows a thorough understanding of the adulterous nature of idolatry:
I also appreciated the rebuke of 23:16-17 for the hearers and supporters of false teachers:
Finally, re-reading later sections on false prophets (e.g., Jeremiah 28) with the insight of Jerome really helped me prepare for Bible class on the Old Testament Reading for Proper 8A and our subsequent Bible class on Daniel 3-4 just this morning. The false prophet in question died months after the golden idol was dedicated.
Virtually everything in the IVP Academic collection of "Ancient Christian" volumes is worth having in a Lutheran pastor's library. Such volumes would be an heirloom for future generations. We would love to see Jerome's Twelve Prophets-Volume II.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Leaver, Robin A. The Whole Church Sings: Congregational Singing in Luther's Wittenberg. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017. 206 Pages. Paper. $22.00. http://www.eerdmans.com/Products/7375/the-whole-church-sings.aspx (UN)
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Baudler, Kristian. Martin Luther's Priesthood of All Believers: In an Age of Modern Myth. New York: Oxen Press, 2016. 352 Pages. Paper. $15.00. https://www.stlukesbayshore.org/ https://www.amazon.com/Martin-Luthers-PRIESTHOOD-ALL-BELIEVERS/dp/1537547372