Saturday, October 31, 2009

Resources Received: New and Notable!

Harrison, Matthew C. At Home in the House of My Fathers: Presidential Sermons, Essays, Letters, and Addresses from the Missouri  Synod's Great Era of Unity and Growth. Bridgeport, TX: Lutheran Legacy, 2009. 826 Pages. Cloth. $19.95. (Available from LOGIA, (LHP)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Resources Received

Baumgarten, Barbara Dee. Vestments for All Seasons. New York: Morehouse Publishing, 2002. 143 Pages. Paper. $19.00. (LHP)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

LHP Review: Star of Wonder

Larson, Rick. Produced by Stephen McEveety. The Star of Bethlehem: Unlock the Mystery of the World's Most Famous Star. Spokane, WA: MPower Pictures/Sound Enterprises, 2009. 65 Minutes. DVD Video. $12.95. (N)

"I was merely thinking God's thoughts after him. Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it benefits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God." These are the words of Johannes Kepler, astronomer and Lutheran Christian. This presentation about "the World's Most Famous Star" was, in part, inspired by Kepler's research hundreds of years ago. Kepler's work was "derailed," one could say, because of one wrong date. How can you find "The Star of Bethlehem" if you are looking in the sky at the wrong time? Josephus turns out to be the culprit. When did Herod the Great die? We have more accurate data today. And that makes all the difference in discovering when the Star appeared.

The Star of Bethlehem is a powerful and brief 65 minute film I intend to show to family, friends, and when legally possible, the congregation and school I serve. Presenter Rick Larson is winsome, engaging, and interesting. The graphics are incredibly good! I thank God that we have computer software like "Starry Night" to reproduce in minute detail the night sky from any time in history and from any place on the globe.

Much of the early content reminded me of Paul Maier's The First Christmas, now included in his one-volume "trilogy," In the Fullness of Time. Unfortunately, Maier, noted scholar that he is, is looking at the wrong time, too, according to Larson's data.
The presenter makes a good case for his thesis. After all, he is a lawyer.   :)   He is as respectful of Scripture (God's Word) as he is of goodscience and observations of creation (God's world). Larson presents unique and plausible explanations of information in Scripture that is in harmony with what he personally observed in the sky or recreated through the astronomy software that he purchased. He engages in a powerful apologetic for Biblical Christianity demonstrated in a proper use of the scientific method and grounded by faith in Christ.
Note three major dates given in the presentation:
September of 3 B.C.
June of 2 B.C.
December 25th of 2 B.C.
Who were the Wise Men of Matthew's Gospel account? What was the Star of Bethlehem? What are its nine characteristics according to Scripture?
I hate spoilers, so I won't share any more critical details. The heavens indeed declare the glory of God, and so does Rick Larson in the film The Star of Bethlehem. Watch it this Christmas season. Purchase extra copies to give away. Invite friends and family to watch it with you and then join you at worship of Christ the newborn King! 
The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.

Monday, October 26, 2009

LHP Review: The Gerhard Reboot

Gerhard, Johann. On the Nature of Theology and Scripture (Theological Commonplaces I) 2nd Edition. St. Louis: Concordia, 2009. 606 Pages. Cloth. $54.99. (LHP)

It is a brave thing to reboot. Windows users are often wary of the results. I thought I had problems with XP. Windows Vista 64-bit has been an even bigger headache. I wonder what joys Windows 7 will bring?

Star Trek had a major motion picture “reboot” last summer with mixed responses from fans.

Concordia Publishing House was wise and brave in their “reboot” of their series of Gerhard’s dogmatics, Theological Commonplaces. The original first volume was released under a different series editor. Readers and subscribers to the series noticed a significant “upgrade” when the second published volume appeared. Some reviewers (myself included) wrote that it would have been nice if the first volume had been published with the wealth of the appendices and supplemental resources of the second. Now it is here. (See QBR 3.1 for our positive review of the previous edition.)

CPH has given us the Second Edition of Theological Commonplaces I, presenting Johann Gerhard On the Nature of Theology as well as On the Nature of Scripture. The former serves as a preface to the whole series. The latter is the first locus.

One will note that this is a translation of the 1863 edition, rather than the 1864 source before. The reader is treated to a more clear Table of Contents, an Editor’s Preface explaining the “reboot” (xi), a wonderful new introduction (xiii ff), and several totally new additions.  The additions to this second edition include the two original Dedicatory Epistles (1ff), use of Greek and Hebrew, a very necessary glossary (489ff), a Name Index (492), the Scripture Index (506ff), and a mammoth Works Cited section (524ff).

These resources enhance a better more readable translation, as well as a better outline system for the text. The outline of the original edition frankly confused me. Seeing this makes the system abundantly clear.

I had the luxury of comparing the first and second editions side by side. As much as I loved having more Gerhard in English the first time, I’m even more pleased now.

In a time when theology and practice are divided in the minds of many even in our own beloved Synod, hearing Gerhard on what theology is and what it does could not be more timely. Please read this fourteen-page introduction to the topic. What have you to lose? Perhaps the LCMS could gain some clarity of mind and purpose of what is at stake in our task as a Church, as theologians and pastors and congregations who need to preserve pure teaching and also vigorously present that clear Gospel teaching to the world. (One may also better understand the significant changes in theology and practice in the Constitutional changes proposed by the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Synod Structure and Governance. Pastors, share a little Gerhard with the delegates elected to represent your circuit in Houston and the upcoming regional caucuses.)

As before, I particularly appreciated Gerhard’s presentation of the usefulness and weakness of the Apocrypha. Reading Gerhard will equip you to field questions about the many PBS/History Channel/Discovery Channel programs about the “banned books of the Bible.” If only the watchers of such programs were more familiar with the facts as Gerhard presents them, the great unwashed masses wouldn’t so gullibly accept such historical and theological atrocities as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. If the producers of such shows/books were better informed, perhaps their art forms, novels, documentaries, or films would be edifying for faith in Christ than working to destroy faith in Christ.

Benjamin T. G. Mayes has a tremendous project on his hands, no doubt a worthy work to which he will likely dedicate a couple decades of his life to complete. Making the monumental work of Johann Gerhard available to English-speaking Lutheranism is worth such a sacrifice of time dedication.

I love this “reboot.” Budget for it. Concordia has not yet released a third volume so they could bring you this new and improved edition of On the Nature of Theology and Scripture (Theological Commonplaces I). On Christ is forthcoming. I can't wait!

I doubt CPH has a “trade-in” policy or an automatic discount for previous purchasers, but your congregational library would no doubt benefit if you chose to give them your copy of the former edition when you purchase the second edition.

A pdf "Addendum" to the first edition is available for download at:

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Resources Received

Kleinig, John. Heaven Now Open: Lutheran Liturgical Theology. Roanoke, IL: Lutheran Catechetical Society, 2009. 4-DVD Set. $40.00 + $5.00 shipping. (LHP)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Resources Received

Grantville Gazette, Volume 25. Moore, OK: 1632, Inc., 2009. (N)

DeYoung, Kevin and Ted Kluck. Foreword by David F. Wells. Why We're Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be). Chicago: Moody, 2008. 256 Pages. Paper. $14.99. (LHP)

DeYoung, Kevin and Ted Kluck. Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion. Chicago: Moody, 2009. 234 Pages. Paper. $14.99. (LHP)

Jenkins, Philip. The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--and How It Died. New York: HarperOne/HarperCollins, 2008. 315 Pages. Paper. $15.99. (LHP)

Basden, Paul A., general editor. Engle, Paul E., series editor. Exploring the Worship Spectrum: 6 Views. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004. 269 Pages. Paper. $16.99. (LH)

Van Pelt, Miles V. and Gary D. Pratico. The Vocabulary Guide to Biblical Hebrew. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. 307 Pages. Paper. $16.99. (P)

Mounce, William D. A Graded Reader of Biblical Greek: Companion to Basics of Biblical Greeek and Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996. 206 Pages. Paper. $16.99. (P)

Van Pelt, Miles V. and Gary D. Pratico. Graded Reader of Biblical Hebrew: A Guide to Reading the Hebrew Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006. 237 Pages. Paper. $18.99. (P)

Monday, October 12, 2009

On Books

"Some books are to be tasted;
others swallowed;
and some to be chewed and digested."

Sir Francis Bacon

Friday, October 9, 2009

Resources Received


Reagan, Ronald. Edited by Douglas Brinkley. The Reagan Diaries. New York: Harper Perennial, 2007. 767 Pages. Paper. $19.99. (N)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Resources Received

Reclaim Lutheran Hymnal for Church and Home: Introductory Edition. Minneapolis: Reclaim Resources, 2006. 128 Pages. Spiral. $10.00. (LH)

Reclaim Lutheran Hymnal for Church and Home: Provisional Hymn Booklet. Minneapolis: Reclaim Resources, 2009. 31 Hymns. Staple-bound. (H)

The Service with Holy Communion: Setting II Pew Edition. Minneapolis: Reclaim Resources, 2009. 16 Pages. Staple-bound. $2.75. (L)

The Service with Holy Communion: Setting II Leader Edition. Minneapolis: Reclaim Resources, 2009. 24 Pages. Spiral. $4.99. (L)

The Service with Holy Communion: Setting II Accompaniment Edition. Minneapolis: Reclaim Resources, 2009. 30 Pages. Staple-bound. $7.99. (L)

Olson, Oliver K. Introduction by Gracia Grindal. Mark Luther Johnson, Series Editor. Reclaiming the Lutheran Liturgical Heritage (Blue Papers One). Minneapolis: Reclaim Resources, 2007. 90 Pages. Paper. $14.00. (L)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Resources Received

Flint, Eric. Worlds: The Best of Eric Flint’s Short Fiction. Riverdale, NY: Baen, 2009. 559 Pages. Cloth. $25.00. (N)

Flint, Eric, editor. Grantville Gazette V: Sequels to 1632. Riverdale, NY: Baen, 2009. 456 Pages. Cloth $25.00. (N)

Walker, Lars. West Oversea: A Norse Saga of Mystery, Adventure and Faith. Ventura, CA: Noble Novels/Nordskog Publishing, 2009. 277 Pages. Paper. $12.95. (N)

Newcombe, Jerry. The Book that Made America: How the Bible Formed Our Nation. Ventura, CA: Nordskog Publishing, 2009. 277 Pages. Paper. $18.95. (N)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Resources Received

Wiker, Benjamin. 10 Books that Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn’t Help. Washington, DC: Regnery, 2008. 260 Pages. Cloth. $18.45. (N)

Wiker, Benjamin. The Darwin Myth: The Life and Lies of Charles Darwin. Washington, DC: Regnery, 2009. 196 Pages. Cloth. $18.45. (N)

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Thought...

Good writers recognize that not all ideas merit equal rank.

The McGraw-Hill Handbook of English, third Canadian Edition, published in 1979

Thanks, Andrew Kern!

Resources Received

Abbott, Jacob. Alexander the Great (Makers of History). Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2009. 196 Pages. Paper. $12.00. (N)

Wilson, Martha. Latin Primer Book II Teacher's Edition (Second Edition). Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 1993. 171 Pages. Spiral. $17.00. (LHP)

Scotto, Dominic T.O.R. The Table of the Lord. Petersham, MA: St. Bede's Publications, 2002. 74 Pages. Paper. $18.00. (LHP)

Rummel, Erika, translator. Scheming Papists and Lutheran Fools: Five Reformation Satires. New York: Fordham University Press, 1993. 122 Pages. Paper. $23.00. (LHP)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Resources Received

Michno, Dennis G. Illustrations by Richard E. Mayberry. Revisions for Third Edition by Christopher Webber. A Priest's Handbook: The Ceremonies of the Church (Third Edition). Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse, 1998. 299 Pages. Cloth. $35.00. (L)

Deutschlander, Daniel M. The Theology of the Cross: Reflections on His Cross and Ours (Impact Series). Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2008. 283 Pages. Paper. $17.99. (LHP)

Braun, John A. Positively Lutheran: A Simple Statement of What Lutherans Believe. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2009. 32 Pages. Staple-bound. $5.00. (LHP)

The Commission on Worship of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Christian Worship Supplement: Guitar Edition. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2008. 67 hymns. Three-hole punched sheets. $15.00. (H)

Brug, John F. WELS & Other Lutherans (Second Edition). Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2009. 279 Pages. Paper. $17.99. (LHP)