Koester, Robert J. A Lutheran Looks at Eastern Orthodoxy. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2012. 147 Pages. Paper. (pdf review copy provided) $14.50. http://online.nph.net/p-10381-a-lutheran-looks-at-eastern-orthodoxy.aspx (LHP)
Our friends at Northwestern Publishing House have two new offerings that are worth your time and room in your book budget.
Having carefully covered Episcopalians, The Assemblies of God, Baptists, and Methodists, the latest in this faithful series covers Eastern Orthodoxy. Since the Eastern Church is so different from the Western, the author recommends visiting Eastern Orthodox congregations yourself. That is not always and everywhere possible, so Robert Koester introduces the doctrine and practice of Orthodoxy (contra Biblical Lutheranism) with his account of a visit to one of eight congregations in Wisconsin. While attending the National LCMS worship conference years ago at Kenosha, we did a "steeple chase" to a few of those noted in this volume.
The beauty of the liturgy and the perceived strength of the hierarchy draw some Evangelicals and Lutherans (including pastors) into Eastern Orthodoxy. I pray Koester's book will help serve as an antidote to those contemplating the switch as they confront the weaknesses in Orthodoxy's proclamation of the Gospel of Christ Jesus crucified and Risen.
Recent world events have given Christians renewed cause to pray for Christians undergoing persecution in the Middle East and elsewhere. A Lutheran Looks at Eastern Orthodoxy will help readers better understand these ancient groups of Christians, how and why schisms happened with the west, and about the theological, linguistic, and national differences within Eastern Orthdoxy.
The Impact Series is a long-running set of books by NPH that are uniquely helpful for all Lutherans.
As he did in The Theology of the Cross, another Impact Series book, Daniel Deutschlander applies his personal, practical, and readable writing style to the Lutheran approach to theology and practice in general.
There are "seeming contradictions" in Scripture and in theology. That term is appropriate because they only seem contradictory until you understand both (or all parts of a topic) in their proper context. The author uses the illustration, so favored by Dr. Luther, of ditches along the side of a road. Luther warned us to learn to avoid both ditches as we try to save those drunk peasants walking (and hopefully not driving) down the road.
And whatever you do, watch out for Dame Reason. Just sayin'.
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.