Jenson, Robert W. Lutheran Slogans: Use and Abuse. Delhi, NY: ALPB Books, 2011. 80 Pages. Paper. $6.00. www.alpb.org (LHPN)
Braaten, Carl E., Editor. No Other Name: Salvation Through Christ Alone. Delhi, NY: American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, 2012. 139 Pages. Paper. $14.00. http://www.alpb.org/noothername.html (LHP)
The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau has long produced books for consideration and use by all Lutherans in America. Here are some of their latest releases for your consideration.
Lutheran Slogans: Use and Abuse is by Robert W. Jenson.
The author's point is well-taken. Good theologians, especially good Lutheran theologians, define their terms. Jenson is to be commended for drawing our attention to the lack of clarity of our discourse while using common Lutheran terms "in-house" and especially as we make reference to our Lutheran "slogans" in ecumenical discussions.
The title of the next volume should sound familiar to two other recent ALPB releases: The Lake Louise Commission: The Sacred Family.
Of the three "Commissions," this one is the best one to date. There is a reference to JEDP (81), but this is in the context of showing how Luther explains the Bible better!
Pastors, laity, and congregations of the ELCA, ELCC, NALC, and LCMC would do well to read and discuss this and the previous Commissions in an effort to retain traditional Christian morality, historic Christian doctrine, and confessional and Biblical Lutheranism in North America.
Our third book for consideration is the unique A Little Book Of Canons: Eucharistic Prayers for Times and Seasons by Rod L. Ronneberg, STS.
The Canon of a Mass is a Eucharistic Prayer. Like Dr. Luther, I am wary of them, and my concern is that our "work" of prayer is not confused with the Lord's work in the Verba, Jesus' Words of Institution in the Lord's Supper.
My congregation made the transition from The Lutheran Hymnal to Lutheran Service Book in 2006. They didn't get to see a Eucharistic Prayer in regular use until we introduced Divine Service, Setting One a few years ago. I am satisfied with it and do use it on occasion because it properly and clearly distinguishes prayer from consecration.
Rod Ronneberg is very creative in providing for the wider church (including mainline Methodists, Presbyterians, the UCC, et al) a book of canons that remove the most objectionable and idolatrous parts of what Dr. Luther termed "a cesspool."
Will I use them? Likely, no. It wouldn't be the best pastoral care for my congregation, circuit, or district. I'm still disappointed that Lutheran Service Book didn't follow the lead of Hymnal Supplement 98 and used "And with your spirit" instead of "And also with you."
Have you heard the one about Lutherans at a Star Wars movie?
Every time someone on the screen says, "The Force be with you, " the Lutherans respond..
The last book for our consideration in this review is a collection of the addresses from the second NALC/Lutheran Core theological conference, No Other Name: Salvation through Christ Alone, Edited with an Introduction by Carl E. Braaten and a Preface by Bishop John Bradosky
LCMS observers and other Lutherans watching the theological work of Lutheran CORE and NALC do have reason to rejoice. True, I disagree with much in Wilson's presentation, yet I praise the Lord for the theological education opportunities for further worldwide spread of confessional Lutheranism. And, Lutherans do have a lot to offer the Church catholic (89). It was helpful to hear Reformed and Anglican voices arguing for orthodoxy.
Yes, it is likely that in the future there will be noticeable shift in American Lutheranism, particularly with regard to affiliation with a national Lutheran body. True, some LCMS congregations, pastors, laity, and former leaders may be more comfortable in a NALC, LCMC, or new so-called "moderate" group than in the LCMS as it is or an LCMS as a part of a decades-in-the-future reconstituted Synodical Conference. Yes, there is anger that LCMS and ELCA are ending some joint ministries. The ELCA already has ecumenical partner churches that are more amenable to their theological approach and changing practice. The LCMS is also wrestling with what it means to faithfully and responsibly cooperate in externals with other Lutherans and other Christians. The future makes the past seem less complicated.
Finally, we recommend that you visit the ALPB site for more information about their MARTIN LUTHER MEDAL COUNTDOWN PROJECT.
We look forward to other new relases from ALPB.
The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Yellowstone Circuit Visitor (LCMS Wyoming District), a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.