I have hope that Written in Stone will remind Lutheran and Reformed Christians that we still have a lot in common. Moralism is to be avoided. A proper distinction between Law and Gospel should be embraced. Perhaps Ryken's invitation will help Presbyterians (and others) read more Luther and perhaps do some more advanced study on Law and Gospel (http://www.cph.org/p-8987-law-and-gospel-how-to-read-and-apply-the-bible.aspx) and benefit pastoral care and teaching and preaching.
Concordia Publishing House has begun publication of an English translation of Albrecht Peters' five-volume Commentary on Luther's Catechisms. Volume one features the Ten Commandments.
In accordance with LCMS governing documents, and since Albrecht Peters made regular use of historical-critical methods of interpretation (10, 56, et al) a "Surgeon General's Warning box" appears on the copyright page (4). It reads:
This material is being released for study and discussion purposes, and the author is solely responsible for its contents. It has not been submitted to the process for doctrinal review stipulated in the Bylaws of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod and odes not necessarily reflect the theology of the Lutheran Confessions or the doctrinal position of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.Is the book worth it for the publisher to go ahead and publish and the reader to buy and read? Most certainly!
Consider our ongoing discussion about "graven images" with the Reformed, mentioned above. Peters explains the history behind this seeming "skip" over the text of R2/L1B. Consider Augustine and all of the iconoclastic controversies of Christian history (141ff). He lays out a convincing case for Christian teaching and practice.
I will grant Peters his insights and thank the Lord for them, but like CPH and the aforementioned LCMS Bylaw language, I will not share with those whom I teach his false JEDP musings (Deuteronomist, 141), nor a partition of prophetic books (Deutero-Isaiah, 145). What God has joined together, let not man separate!
Peters excels in organizing his thought and that of Luther. Chapters share a common structure:
- Wording of the Commandment, Interpretation, (and Arrangement in the Large Catechism)
- Characteristics of Luther's Interpretation
- Texts by Luther on the same topic
- Other helpful Bibliography
The German Edition of Commentary on Luther's Catechisms by Albrecht Peters has long been the gold standard of research on the catechetical texts of the great reformer. This translation makes the wealth of research available in English for both the researcher and the catechist. This is the first of five volumes.
Future volumes with address the Decalogue, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Sacraments, and Confession with the Table of Duties, Prayers, and the Marriage and Baptismal Booklets. (publisher's website)
These two books on the Ten Commandments were worth my time and they are well-worth your time and money, too.
The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.