Monday, November 30, 2009

Resources Received

Roberts, Bob. Forewords by Alan Hirsch and Ed Stetzer. The Multiplying Church: The New Math for Starting New Churches. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008. 192 Pages. Cloth. $19.99. (LHP)

Sire, James W. The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, Fifth Edition. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009. 293 Pages. Paper. $22.00. (LHP)

Lectionary Summaries Courtesy of the LCMS Commission on Worship

These Lectionary Summaries are designed to be included in Sunday bulletins for worshippers to read prior to the service. As such, they provide a thematic summary of the readings for each Sunday and festival, as well as a description of how the readings fit into the particular season of the Church Year, where appropriate.

These summaries are provided free of charge and may be edited as needed for local use. They will normally be posted two to four weeks in advance.

Click here for the Three-Year series C Lectionary summaries.

Click here for the One-Year series Lectionary summaries.

A Blessed Advent to Our QBR Readers!

Our reviews beginning with this post will constitute the beginning of QBR Volume 4, Issue 1.

(Previous posts will be considered Volume 4, Issue 0)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

LHP Review: On Those Lutherans

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

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

There are dozens of Lutheran church bodies in America, but only a handful get any attention, let alone are household names even in most Lutheran households. After the landmark unbiblical decisions voted upon at the August Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, these two resources from Northwestern Publishing House couldn't be more timely.

First, we'll consider Positively Lutheran, a modern restatement of Christian faith and practice from a Lutheran perspective.

"This small book helps you answer the question, 'What does your Lutheran church believe?' In simple language, it explains what Lutheran Christians believe - our faith, worship, and mission - Jesus Christ, our only Savior. It's a book to pass along to others so they can learn what it means to believe and live as a Lutheran Christian - living in the love of Christ. The author has organized the material according to the outline provided by the early Christian fish symbol IXTHUS (Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior).

"Buy 10 or more and get 25% off!

"A free 5-lesson Bible study (PDF/RTF) to accompany Positively Lutheran is available at" (publisher's website).
The Christian fish symbol is practically ubiquitous on the back of Christian automobiles. In addition to being "a simple statement of what Lutherans believe," this booklet serves to fill those often misunderstood chrome fish with meaning for those who drive around with them on their cars.
Beginning with page 16, the book begins making a transition to part two. When Christians encountered error, they confessed the Biblical truth using creeds which drew truth and language from Scripture itself. Occasionally, new words were invented as shorthand for solid Bible concepts. Lutheran Christians found in the creeds a pattern they followed in their Lutheran Confessions.
Part Two of the booklet affirms the ancient Christian faith. Reformation concepts are explained in fresh language that should be accessible for both new Lutherans and those new to Christianity as a whole. Jesus is indeed at the center of Christianity (21). We live lives abiding in Him where He abides in us through Word and Sacrament. And by faith, we hold on to Him for dear life.
Order copies in bulk for your tract display, Christmas visitors, and for distribution through your congregation.

In a newly-updated Second Edition, John F. Brug faces his readers up to the constellation of confusing acronymns that make up the Lutheran Church Bodies in the United States, North America, and worldwide Lutheranism.
I confess that I was so engrossed in this book that I read it in one sitting. Does that make it a short story, or does that say something about how good this book is?
"An updated and expanded answer to the question: What are the differences among the Lutheran church bodies? In this new edition, John F. Brug describes what has been happening doctrinally in recent years in major Lutheran church bodies in the USA, as well as in the proliferating number of much smaller Lutheran groups around the world.

"This book is set up in four parts:

"Part One: WELS and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

"Part Two: WELS and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

"Part Three: WELS and Other Lutheran Church Bodies in the USA

"Part Four: WELS and Lutherans in other lands

"Followed by an Appendix--Where Are the Lutherans?" (publisher's website). Sample pages are available online.

ELCA or LCMS readers of this book may be best prepared to read the chapter on their own church body's relationship to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod by getting a feel for how the author frames the relationship and issues separating the WELS from other Lutheran groups. Start with Part Three, Part Four, and the Appendix. Then, once the author has earned your trust, read Part One on the WELS and the LCMS or Part Two on the WELS and the ELCA.
LCMS and WELS have common cause in their joint, legitimate critique of the ELCA. With regard to the current LCMS administration's proposals on revising the structure and governance of Missouri, pastors and laypeople (and convention delegates) would benefit in the reading of this book. Issues that tore apart the Synodical Conference nearly half a century ago continue to separate synods that once cooperated in the production of The Lutheran Hymnal. We can better understand our future as Lutheran Christians only after we comprehend and appreciate our past. 
The book is well-documented, but not swimming in footnotes. The tone is truthful, yet reader-friendly. The author has done his research in print where possible, quoting and digesting both official and semi-official documents, and showing evidence of extensive research online.
No fewer than forty-nine Lutheran church bodies can be found in the US. This essential reference will give you something to say about how your brand of Lutheranism measures up to Luther, the Scriptures, and the other groups here in America.  
This is a compact and affordable treasure trove of information. And it is a challenge for Lutherans to return to the teaching of Martin Luther, the Scriptures, and ultimately Christ Himself.   
Thank you to NPH for these two great contributions to Lutheran theology, history, and practice. 
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.

Liturgy Review: The Church Year for Children

Curtis, Heath. Ordering Our Days in His Peace: An Introduction to the Christian Church Year. St. Louis: Concordia, 2009.  47 Pages. Cloth. $8.99. (L)

Continuing a trilogy begun by Scot Kinnamon in Worshiping with Angels and Archangels, (a trilogy yet to be concluded in Pam Nielsen's forthcoming book Behold the Lamb,) author Heath Curtis introduces his young readers to the Christian Church Year in Ordering our Days in His Peace.

"Present the life and work of Jesus and the Church through the times of the Church Year with Ordering Our Days in His Peace.

"The Church Year not only orders our days, it teaches us the fundamental narratives of salvation's story. Through simple language, striking artwork, Biblical and liturgical text, Ordering Our Days walks the reader through the three main sections of the church year: the Time of Christmas, the Time of Easter, and the Time of the Church. Each part of the Church Year has something new to offer and a new piece of the story to tell.

"A bulk quantity discount is available for this product. If purchasing 15 or more copies, the price is only $7.00 per book. Use order code 223103DAY to receive special pricing" (publisher's website).

Lutheran Christians love to do things "decently and in order." This new offering from CPH is an excellent companion to Lutheran Service Book, a great tool for parents, pastors, and Christian educators in teaching the next generation how Christians follow Jesus all year long.

The art on page 7 immediately reminded me of Concordia's new Church Year calendars. Order a set of five for your congregation.

The book finds its three-fold structure in the three "Times" of the Church Year, the Time of Christmas, including Advent, the Christmas Season, and the Epiphany Season, The Time of Easter, including Lent and the Easter Season through Ascension and Pentecost, and The Time of the Church, often called Sundays after Pentecost or Sundays after Trinity.

The colors and art in the book are striking and vibrant. Arthur Kirchhoff once again provides the illustrations. Edward Q. Luhmann provides striking calligraphy. Children respond well to color. And so do grown-ups! The traditional colors of the Church Year are a great way to teach children about Jesus, both who He is and what He has done. Blue and Violet communicate His royalty. Black, Red, Violet, and crimson denote suffering, pain, and martyrdom. White and gold tell the story of His holiness and victorious resurrection. Green calls to mind our growth in Him and His Word, ways, and will.

References to Christian hymns, canticles, and liturgy permeate the book. One will hear of the means of grace delivering the gifts of Christ's Good Friday cross and empty Easter tomb. This is a great Lutheran Christian book on the Church Year. It is intentionally an introduction, leading older readers to more comprehensive books on Liturgy, the Church Year, and perhaps service as a sacristan or on the altar guild.

Commemorations are mentioned during each part of the Church Year, special days when Christians thank the Lord for those who have died in Christ. On a saint's "heavenly birthday" (43) we can thank the Lord for His gifts and faithfulness to that individual, as well as learn how they followed Christ in faith and imitate them according to the vocations we hold in common with them.

A brief two page glossary concludes the volume.

The book is rich in Christian symbolism paving the way for its forthcoming companion book next March. I can't wait to see the final book in this trilogy. Ordering Our Days in His Peace from Concordia Publishing House would make a great gift this Christmas for a young person in your life.

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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Resources Received: Coming

Thanks to Katherine Poll for bringing this to our attention.
Have you ever wanted to be able to take a snapshot of your computer screen, something like the old "print screen" IBM key promised but never delivered?

Visit to try a new software offering from Digeus software called SnapIt Screen Capture.

More on our experience with the software soon.


We have heard back from the publisher of this software. Unfortunately, it won't install on the brand-new laptop I'm using right now. I can't recommend it until it at least works for me!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

LHP Review: War on Islamic Terrorism Edition

Webster, Alexander F. C. and Darrell Cole. The Virtue of War: Reclaiming the Classic Christian Traditions East and West The Christian Answer to the Peace Movement. Salisbury, MA: Regina Orthodox Press, 2004. 252 Pages. Paper. $19.95. (LHP)

Trifkovic, Serge. Defeating Jihad: How the War on Terror May Yet Be Won, in Spite of Ourselves. Salisbury, MA: Regina Orthodox Press, 2006. 335 Pages. Paper. $22.95.
Our TV screens have been filled with commentary. Was the Ft. Hood shooter a so-called "nut" or was he an terrorist rooted in radicalized Islam? The War on Terror rages on and blood has been spilled on our one of our own. 
Much of the traditional media has been reluctant to call the Ft. Hood massacre "terrorism" (,2933,574290,00.html).
Enter two timely books for your consideration published by Regina Orthodox Press.

In brief, author Serge Trifkovic is not politically correct. And as long-time readers of QBR know, that can be a very, very good thing. He calls for a victory in the war against jihad. And he actually believes it could be won.
The book shows its age, calling for an ethnic division of Iraq (304) similar to the proposals of some politicians before the military surge implemented amid much controversy, but leading to great success. Some may criticize the author for calling for an end to the openended decade-long policy of America being the world's policeman (262).
To summarize, the author holds that the greatest opponents to victory are not the terrorists themselves, but some within American society and western civilization that are inexplicably anti-West. To defeat jihad, the author calls for us and decision-makers to know our enemy, for America to dis-engage in the Middle East in appropriate ways, and to defend the homeland (using effective, but in ways that are not politically correct).
Pastors and Lutheran laypeople would benefit from this book in order to better understand the threat. We can pray for the conversion of Muslims to Christianity, especially those who have legally emigrated to the United States.
"A phenomenon initially based on local groups that have acquired global reach is morphing into a global network. Bin Laden's network may have been damaged but he could never have dreamed that the world, many years after 9-11, would be so favorable to his objectives.

"A new strategy is needed. The victory will come not be conquering Mecca for America but by disengaging America from Mecca.
- define and understand the enemy
- survey the defenses
- have a grand strategy

"Our strategy must entail denying potential terrorists a foothold inside the United States. And we must regain our moral, spiritual, and civilizational roots" (publisher's website).

Are not these goals compatible with the "peaceable and quiet life" we Christians so often pray for?

War, while regrettable, bloody, and tragic can be virtuous as a corporate manifestation of "self defense." While Gene Edward Veith's Christianity in Age of Terrorism may be a stronger and more timeless book overall, Webster and Cole's The Virtue of War has the benefit of demonstrating the theology behind just war (in the West) and justifiable war (in the East).
Traditional criterial for a Just War are put forth (51ff) and our own Martin Luther is quoted briefly but favorably (151-154).
I would love to have a further discussion with the authors about a denial of self-defense (67, Luther would disagree), prayers to St. George (79), and a confusing page on penance (215) that seems to deny Jesus' forgiveness covering all of our unrighteousness (1 John 8-9).
Christians are often aware that God says, "Vengeance is Mine" in Romans 12. Those same Christians are often unaware that the Lord's avengers in time "bear the sword" as His representatives until the Last Judgement (Romans 13).
"The way of life in the West is currently under assault, and Western Civilization hangs in the balance. Christians need to reclaim the great moral teachings on war and peace from the contemporary revisionists who would have Christians believe it is necessary to choose a “lesser evil” for a good cause or as a way of being “responsible” citizens of a nation-state.

"Professors Webster and Cole explore in detail the great moral teachings found in Holy Scripture, the ancient and Byzantine Church Fathers, canon law, manuals of penance, lives of the saints, liturgical texts, visual icons, the medieval Scholastics, the great Reformers, and even among modern theologians and literary authors. They present a powerful, genuinely ecumenical, meticulously documented, incontrovertible case on behalf of the moral teachings known to Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Christians as the just or justifiable war traditions. This book provides a firm biblical, theological, and historical foundation for that confidence and is an incontrovertible answer to the “Christian” peace movement" (publisher's website).

This Veterans' Day, thank a veteran for his or her service to our country. Thank the family of a fallen solider for their sacrifice. Pray for peace in the name of the Prince of Peace. And pray for our leaders, our troops, those they serve, and for the salvation in Christ of all involved.

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.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Resources Received

Brooks, Brian, James L. Pinson, Jean Gaddy Wilson. Working With Words: A Handbook for Media Writers and Editors (Seventh Edition). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2010. 392 Pages. Spiral. $46.95, estimated price. (N)

Pastor Weedon Keeps it Pithy...

Two Thoughts on the Worship Wars

1. It is NOT about instrumentation for the music, but about whether one may dispense with the Church's historic ordering of the Divine Service, replacing that ordering with the ordering used by the Pentecostal Church.

2. It is NOT about rejection of new music; but about whether it is wise and loving to REPLACE the Church's historical musical heritage in toto with newer music rather than faithfully preserving that heritage and AUGMENTING it with music from our day.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Resources Received

Provance, Brett Scott. Pocket Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship. Downer's Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009. 136 Pages. Paper. $8.00. (L)

Mansfield, Ken. Between Wyomings: My God and an iPod on the Open Road. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009. 305 Pages. Paper. $14.99. (N)

Merkle, Benjamin. The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009. 256 Pages. Paper. $14.99. (N)

Mansfield, Stephen. The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009. 273 Pages. Cloth. $24.99. (N)

Horton, David, General Editor. The Portable Seminary: A Master's Level Overview in One Volume. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 2006. 784 Pages. Cloth. $34.99. (LHP)

D'Aubingne, J. H. Merle. History of the Reformation in the Sixteeth Century (Facsimile Edition). Powder Springs, GA: Powder Springs Press, 2008. 724 Pages. Cloth with pdf CD-Rom. $49.99, on sale for $29.99. (LHP)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hymnody Review: Paul Manz

Hyslop, Scott M. Forewords by Martin E. Marty and John Ferguson. The Journey Was Chosen: The Life and Work of Paul Manz. Fenton, MO: Morning Star Music Publishers, 2007. 246 Pages. Paper. $24.00. 1-800-647-2117. (LHP)

Manz, Paul. E'en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come (50th Anniversary Edition). Fenton, MO: Morning Star Music Publishers, 1987. Originally Published by Concordia, St. Louis, 1954. 8 Pages. SATB Choral score. $1.60. 1-800-647-2117. (H)

Dr. Paul Manz passed away on October 28, 2009.

Just the night before, our choir at Immanuel had been practicing one of the best motets of the 20th Century, Manz' own "E'en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come." The choir had been struggling with this moderately difficult piece for several weeks. As an encouragement to press on, I read to them the "official" story behind its composition in 1954 from the inside cover of the 50th Anniversary Edition.

I prefer the behind-the-scenes version found in the biography mentioned below. John, then three years old had a rare type of double pneumonia. His mother, Ruth, adapted Revelation 22 into a powerful verse and asked her husband to "do something with it." And so he did.

I first learned the TTBB arrangment at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. I love singing the masculine bass part and hearing the soaring "first line," either Tenor 1 or Soprano.

The challenge of the learning this piece is well worth the joy of singing it and the comfort of hearing how your part fits into the greater whole.

My only critique of the arrangment concerns the five flats in the key signature.

Appropriate for the end of the Church Year, Advent, or a Funeral, "E'en So" is available from Morningstar at an affordable $1.60 per copy.

Listen to this timeless anthem at It will take you less than 150 seconds and you will want to listen again and again.

There are few things in this life more powerful than sitting at the feet of a gifted teacher and mentor, especially if that person is a musician. I can identify with the lenses of awe and respect through which author Scott M. Hyslop sees Dr. Manz. It was my high school music teacher who talked me out of becoming a high school music teacher. I rather enjoy the companionship of two true Lutheran kantors on long roadtrips to conferences on Lutheran worship. This biography may not be as even-handed as future historians or musicians may desire.

That Dr. Manz was a gifted musician and composer is not in doubt. Even though some decades have passed, the wounds of Seminex and the 1970's still have not fully healed in the LCMS. I read with difficulty some critiques of my own Synod, some justified, others...not so much. I am confident that there is more than one side to that story. I have found there are countless sides.

Perhaps Paul Manz could have found other ways to share his musical gifts with greater Christendom, ways in concert with his pastors, congregations, and Synod. Others musicians can learn from his life story. I am certain that his music will long outlive the LCMS civil war to the joy and edification of Christians around the world for centuries to come.

I heartily recommend PART TWO and PART THREE. The background on Dr. Manz' choral and organ compositions was enlightening, because of the seeming ease with which Manz composed complex pieces and the simple elegance that emanates in their performance. One will find more in the journey through the music that what one sees (or hears) at first. Have you heard a "Paul Manz Kick?" (125). His impact on Lutheran and Christian music was significant.

The Appendices read much like a MorningStar Music catalog. That is not intended as a critique. Manz' work (previously published by CPH) was caught up in the politics of the theological controversy decades ago. That is unfortunate. It has now been assigned to Birnamwood Publications, a division of MorningStar. As a musician, I am pleased they are back in print.

A brief biography of Dr. Manz is posted 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.