Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quick Summaries of New Releases for April 2013


Quick Summaries are pithy paragraph-long reviews
of releases that cross our QBR desk. 

These are reviews for when you don't have all day 

to decide whether a resource is worth
your time, money, storage space, or trouble.


Dykas, Ellen, editor. Harvest USA. Sexual Sanity for Women: Healing from Sexual and Relational Brokenness. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2012. 199 Pages. $17.99. www.newgrowthpress.com (LHP)

+ Intended more for a guided group study than an individual reflecting on her own, Sexual Sanity for Women is a resource from Harvest USA for women struggling with sexual identity, co-dependency, and sexual sin. Wisdom from God's Word is the main focus, yet author Ellen Dykas shares common sense (that isn't always common) and some guidance from sociology and psychology. So many resources about sexual sin focus on men. Women struggle with sexual sin and temptation, too. I've learned over the years that "Boys are gross and girls are complicated." This is a necessary resource in our day and age. I can see this as a very helpful resource for a pastor or deaconness in ministry to women. Recommended!


Richards, Larry. The Full Armor of God: Defending Your Life from Satan's Schemes. Minneapolis: Chosen, 2012. 186 Pages. Paper. $12.99. www.chosenbooks.com (LHPN)

- Demons exist. Christ is stronger. He and has authority over demons and His Christians do, too, in His Name. This title is QBR's second experience with the writings of Larry Richards. We like his informed, yet conversational tone.  We reviewed a six-volume fiction series of his, unfavorably from the Lutheran confession of the Christian faith. The same theological differences between us remain with regard to demonology and angelology. In I am troubled by the teachings and practices of the Deliverance Movement (cf. 102, 137, et al) particularly this insight from David Powlison: "Although the practice of exorcism has enjoyed popularity at various times and places in church history, the use of exorcism as a means of accomplishing sanctification — or creating conditions for successful evangelism — is a recent innovation." Well said! While there is much to appreciate in how winsomely Richards teaches Ephesians 6, I cannot give this book our recommendation.


Cannings, Paul. Making Your Vision a Reality: Proven Steps to Develop and Implement Your Church Vision Plan. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2013. 170 Pages. Paper. $12.99. www.kregel.com (N)

- Author Paul Cannings makes an effort to put the church growth fad of "vision" into a Biblical context. Often, Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) is used to justify the practice: "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." Many fall into this trap. Lutherans have been quick to point out that "revelation" or "God's Word" is what "vision" refers to in the verse, the very opposite of a man-made vision. I am not opposed to common sense. Good parking, lighting, and being friendly could help every Christian congregation. I take issue with most theologies of worship, because the focus on the Christian's response rather than God's action in Christ and the delivery of Christ's Gifts. (cf. 62ff). I have a problem with an overemphasis on what we do as Christians to grow the Church. Consider the words of C. Peter Wagner: "I don't think there's anything intrinsically wrong with the church-growth principles we've developed, or the evangelistic techniques we're using. Yet somehow they don't seem to work." (Ken Sidey, "Church Growth Fine Tunes Its Formulas," Christianity Today, June 24, 1991, p. 47). God gives the growth when the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies us Christians by means of Word and Sacrament. There very well might be a book out there that can help my guide my congregation to plan for its current and future mission and ministry, but this is not it.


Rogers, Michael Allen. Foreword by Bryan Chapell. What Happens After I Die? Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 288 Pages. Paper. $15.99. www.crossway.org (LHP)

+ There are so many books we have so little time. What Happens After I Die? is one of the best on death, heaven, and the Last Things that I have read. This is the resource to buy and read to counter all of the "what heaven is really like" books that seem to have become a cottage industry among those who claim to have had near-death experiences. Personal, informed, comforting, and Biblical, Rogers' book is a great resource for pastors, Christians, and hospice ministry. He is a Calvinist, so I was intrigued by his Appendix reference to Calvin and Luther: "Calvin has had four centuries of sweet heavenly fellowship with his fellow-reformer Martin Luther (and we assume they solved their dispute over the Lord's Table moments after meeting at the feet of Jesus" ( parentheses original, 268). Theology is always solved quickest when we hold to what Jesus said rather than what we think He meant. Ultimately, whether we die, or are alive, Christians are "in Christ" (201). Highly Recomended.

Miller, Thomas A., M.D. Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? A Surgeon-Scientist Examines the Evidence. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 176 Pages. Paper. $16.99. www.crossway.org (LHP)


+ Also commended to you for your education and edification is another Crossway title by Dr. Thomas Miller. The short answer to the title's question is, "Yes." It is relatively common for lawyers (cf. 116ff) to write books on apologetics (sometimes after beginning a project to "refute" Christianity). I loved reading this apologetic written by an M.D. Readers will appreciate the diagrams (e.g., 74) and the author's helpful clarification that "hand" in the ancient world also included the wrist (74). This book is not merely clinical or medical. The author presents the death and Resurrection of Christ for the reader's own forgiveness, life, and salvation (147ff, passim).



More information about each of these titles
may be found on each respective publisher's website. 

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.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

FW: The Parable of the Seamstress




Feed: The High Mid Life
Posted on: Monday, April 29, 2013 12:42 PM
Author: noreply@blogger.com (Pastor Fiene)
Subject: The Parable of the Seamstress


Once upon a time, Hazel sewed her family's clothes.  She lived in an era when there were no department stores or major clothing labels.  And Hazel's family couldn't afford the services of the nearest tailor, so Hazel sewed because that's what was necessary to survive.  And because it was necessary to survive, Hazel taught this skill to her daughter Sarah.  


When Sarah grew up and had her own family, she found that this skill was no longer a necessity.  For a reasonable cost, and with the aid of a department store or a catalog, she could contract someone else to do the hard work of measuring and cutting and stitching.  But even though she didn't need to sew anymore, Sarah still pulled out the Singer from time to time.  She'd sit down with her daughter Kimberly in her lap and make a garment or two around Christmas.  Sarah did this because the feel of the thread on her fingertips and the vibrations of the sewing machine on her palms reminded her of her mother, and she wanted to give some of those memories to her child.


But Kimberly couldn't even tell you how to thread a needle anymore.  Her grandmother sewed out of necessity.  Her mother sewed out of nostalgia.  But Kimberly doesn't sew at all because, without necessity, nostalgia rarely makes it to the second generation.


The Christian faith is necessary.  You are dead without it and nothing in this world can replace the salvation that Jesus gives to those who hear and believe His Word.  But when your pastor doesn't see you for months at a time, when you let every conflict bump the Divine Service off your Sunday schedule, when you never talk theology with your children, you teach them that the Word of God is nothing more than a trinket we pull out of the closet whenever we want to taste the sweetness of our familial heritage.  And when you teach that to your children, your children will not grow up to be Christians.  They will not believe anymore than Kimberly sews.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

FW: Attempts to find Concord (not compromise) in Texas!




Feed: Steadfast Lutherans
Posted on: Friday, April 26, 2013 8:00 AM
Author: Pastor Joshua Scheer
Subject: Attempts to find Concord (not compromise) in Texas!


Worshiping the LORD with a self-chosen form taken from culture.

Worshiping the LORD with a self-chosen form taken from culture.

Last week I had the great joy of attending the 3rd Annual Free Conference of the ACELC.  The theme this year was on worship, and in the group's earnest desire to restore unity and concord within Lutheranism they attempted to do something great – a grassroots effort to gather all sides to the table to discuss the disputed points of theology under the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions.  This of course being a grassroots effort means that it is not troubled by bylaws, resolutions, candidacies, longstanding personality feuds, or politics for that matter.

What I heard was a number of pastors give presentations from various positions on worship.  I heard one of the finest presentations I have ever heard when Pr. Richard Stuckwisch spoke on high church liturgical worship.  His entire presentation was so seasoned with Scripture, Confessions, and especially Small Catechism language that it sounded like Revelation does to someone well versed in the Old Testament prophets.  It was remarkable.  I also heard a great presentation on the "concordist" position by Pr. Bryan Wolfmueller.  All of the presentations can be read here.

One honorable mention should be given to Pr. David Langewisch who presented on Contemporary Worship.  I applaud his desire to come and present and interact with the other pastors of more "traditional" worship.  One of the principle things taught to me in seminary by Dr. Masaki was the idea of starting points in theology.  He preferred us to always start with Christ, whether you were talking about the Sacraments, the Office of the Ministry, the End Times, or whatever.  Pr. Langewish started with "freedom".  With such a starting point it did not take a special revelation to see where the presentation would go.  Although he did have a more "moderated" contemporary position, his theological underpinnings started at the wrong point.  Diversity was a good thing for him and he argued for a very "lowest common denominator" (as I would call it) form of uniformity.  But again, the starting point was all wrong.  For an awesome example of a proper starting point for any theological discussion see Pr. Stuckwisch's paper.

Freedom in Lutheran theology (our very name reflects the freedom given in the Gospel) is not what some folks would like to make it.  In a manner which would make the Corinthians blush, many Americans use freedom to embrace selfish forms and snub the nose at the neighbor (I did it my way! Tolerate me!).  This selfishness is usually masked with some evangelistic motivation for pious veneer.  This is license, not freedom.  And in the end, this embrace of a self-declared freedom is actually slavery to self and the selfish whims and fads of the Old Adam and his sensual desires and needs.  This slavery is to be shackled to the ever changing culture which according to our Lord's words about the end of all things will be getting worse and worse.  As one father in the faith taught me, a church which marries the culture of its day will soon find itself a widow (wasn't the Church supposed to be the bride of Christ?).

The conference had a couple free conversation sessions, one designed to find where we agree, and one to bring out the points of disagreement.  Of particular note I found a point made by Pr. Wolfmueller to be very remarkable – that contemporary worship by its nature is impossible to pin down and is not be able to be handed down.  The moment that it begins to be handed down is the moment it is no longer fitting with the theology and reasonings of Contemporary Worship.  It is anti-catholic (that is anti-universal) by its very nature (going against what the creeds confess about the church).

LiturgicalAbuseIn the end, concord could not be found among all of the speakers – a sad statement of just how far apart we have sought and been allowed to drift apart.  Lovelessness and its love-child of innovation are killing us.  But still, it can be said that this was an honest attempt to find concord at the grassroots, free of the trappings so commonly found in a political environment, especially in an election year.  Congratulations to the ACELC for making such a valiant effort.  This conference accomplished more in two days that any other effort in recent memory.

My question for those who advocate contemporary practices – what is so deficient in Lutheran Service Book?  What in it makes it unable to be used?  In the end I believe there is nothing in LSB that makes it unusable by the practitioners of Contemporary Worship, but the dividing point is found in the theology of those practitioners.  Their theological foundations will not accept such a loving book designed to serve the Church.  Their theological foundations will not strive for uniformity or humbly accept that which has been given to them from our fathers (including our fathers in the Scriptures).  Instead they will seek to redefine uniformity to mean diversity and in the end leave nothing but generational chaos and poor souls who never know what to expect when visiting a "Lutheran" church.  Papers like that of Pr. Wolfmueller, Pr. Sawyer, Pr. Poppe, and Pr. Stuckwisch give me hope for the future of concord under the Scriptures and Confessions for the Evangelical Lutheran Church wherever she is found.


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FW: The Chief Article: Justification by faith alone


Read on…


Feed: Steadfast Lutherans
Posted on: Friday, April 26, 2013 7:01 AM
Author: Pastor Donavon Riley
Subject: The Chief Article: Justification by faith alone


Reference Texts: CA IV and Apology IV



solafidetopThe fourth article of the Augustana is the chief article. The hub of the wheel and the epicenter of all controversies in the Church. But, talking about justification is like talking about sex — fun, but not nearly as good as doing it.

A Lutheran pastor's job description then, as public preachers is simple, to not just talk about justification, but preach it so that this Word of God that is "for you" in Christ defeats the final enemy of humankind and all creation by raising the dead.

[Now if you've ever tried that at home, you know it is harder than it sounds. Most of us shy away and try to do other things that seem more manageable (like having an uplifting church council meeting, or making your church a welcoming place for church shoppers). But I want you to at least know where the dynamite is and perhaps you'll decide to use it now and then.

The Augsburg Confession, Article IV was powerful enough to disturb the Roman Confutators, who rejected the article on the basis that it did not provide any place for human merit before God. But the Reformers had not even led with their strongest suit in this article.]

The first thing out of your mouth when you are raising the dead by the forgiveness of sins is Jesus Christ and him crucified. You will see Luther do this in the Smalcald Articles: "Here is the first and chief article: That Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, 'was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification" [Rom. 4:25], and he alone is, "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29); and, "the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all" [Isa. 53:6]…" (SA II. 1-2, 301).  This is upsetting to whatever plan or system you come with because it means, "I am not as free as I supposed, and Christ is more free than I supposed." Both of these are terrors to commonsense. It means my death is real and Christ alone holds the key to my resurrection, but here is my pickle: he is the very one I just finished murdering. Now what?

To think in terms of justification by faith alone is a logic that begins at the cross and thinks outward from it, it does not begin by thinking about the nature of God, the power of created beings and the imaginary fall into sin. God is at work in Christ. Christ is the subject of the verbs of the Gospel and we are perfectly passive. That is, dead in ourselves coram deo, before God.

This is what CA IV means right in the middle of the article when it says: "justified as a gift on account of Christ through faith" (Latin) and "for Christ's sake through faith." (German). You've had your time, now God is going to do what a God does: work all-in-all.

The second thing out of your mouth when justifying is the announcement of the absolute end of human power: thinking, feeling, willing, you name it. It is absolute and total, final and ultimate and marks a great and permanent end. For your hearers this means, "human beings cannot be justified before God by their own powers, merits or works" (Latin) and "we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God…" (German).  CANNOT. End. Fin. Over. Terminated. This is what we mean by justification being an eschatological word.  It is also what we mean by death. If you say to me, "But I'm still alive and kicking, what do you mean?" I say, "Dead Man Walking," "Bag of Worms playing the part of…" [Like the Soap Opera's who occasionally break in with an announcer, "The part of Donavon Riley is being played today by a bag of wormy maggots."] The gavel has already come down. Do you not hear it?

This is exactly how Paul reasons when he says, "…otherwise Christ died for no purpose." (Gal 2:21).  If I'm still alive and kicking, Christ dying is just a bit excessive, don't you think, at least premature?

[That is why I tell people who disclaim justification by faith alone as one unsavory metaphor among many found in the Bible that there are always two roots from which our language for justification come, one is the experience of courtrooms where a defendant stands before a tribunal and is judged as right or wrong, punishable or free, and another experience of a cemetery where we put someone in the ground and wonder if they'll ever get out of there again. Watch what happens to an elderly couple parted by the tomb.]

The third thing out of your mouth is the absolution. That is, "On account of Christ I declare the entire forgiveness of all your sins." This word makes faith where there was none, and so raises the dead. [As Luther remarks in the SC, "...where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation"].

With this logic of the cross we have an entirely different playing field for theology. In the article of justification Lutherans finally broke through to God's own eschatological distinction between the law and the Gospel. Better yet, a free and resurrected Christ broke through to raise the dead in the earthly announcement by a preacher out forgiving sins, and it worked! Sins were actually forgiven on earth as in heaven, the unjust are justified, the dead are raised by Christ through the preacher's words.

Here is where Melanchthon's Apology is so powerful. He discovered, to his horror, that the collapse of negotiations at Augsburg was a hermeneutical matter between Lutherans and Roman Catholics, hermeneutics meaning not how a scholar interprets the Bible, but how God interprets us, and these are simply not on the same page.

Hermeneutics, after all, is to consider what are the conditions for the possibility of something, in this case of justification before God. That is, "…our opponents single out the law… and through the law they seek forgiveness of sins and justification." (Ap IV: 7, 121).

roseIf you single out the law and can think only according to it, justification is a minor matter of fulfilling the smallest possible requirement for God's mercy to go into effect according to the legal system. To put it most bluntly, if the law justifies, then at the very minimum the person must be alive to do it or get it.  The conditions for the possibility of being made right by God is that you are alive, and to be alive is most often reduced to a shard of free will remaining. This hard, stone wall is what Melanchthon crashed into [at Augsburg], and it was greater than a misunderstanding.

Reading Scripture and preaching when you are able to think only according to the law is like a monotone singer who knows only one note, but thinks he is Pavorotti.  Melanchthon says, they don't know what they are reading in Scripture. For, "Finally, it [the law] requires obedience to God in death."

Obedience while I am alive is hard enough, but when I'm dead? You expect me to obey the demands of the law without my second favorite organ, my free will? Of course what happens to Christ when you think only according to the law? "Thus they bury Christ so that people do not use him as a mediator and on account of him believe that they freely receive the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation." (Ap. IV: 18, 123).

Instead here is the Lutheran hermeneutic that was learned from thinking out from the cross: "All Scripture should be divided into these two main topics: the law and the promises." (Ap IV: 5, 121) Two words, not one. Justification by faith alone makes no sense to those who have singled out the law.

These two words are not a distinction on a page or two different books, but what Melanchthon calls "communicating." "In some places it communicates the law.  In other places it communicates the promise concerning Christ…" (Ap. IV: 121, 5) That is the relational language of what happens to you when Christ catches you, and it is also eschatological language that distinguishes what you cannot do (the old man in Adam) and what God can do (the new man in Christ).

You cannot overcome death. God can, but most importantly has. When you talk about justification you must distinguish law and the Gospel. When justifying you are killing and making alive.

[Herein lies the great secret of why preaching is so bad. Some preachers don't like to kill. Others don't like to make alive]

Because of this difference between the monotone, law-preaching, Johnny one-notes and the Lutheran way of hearing Scripture, the law and the promises, there is a struggle going on in CA Article IV. It has within it all the fighting words you could want between two ways of using similar words, one dominated by the law, and the other by Christ's. Immediately, we notice an amazing thing about the resourcefulness of monotone sinners. Persons can read Augustana IV as if it were just one more description of what we are to do to be saved. In that case they stare at it, as Luther liked to say, like a cow staring at a new gate. They wonder if faith can do all these things. If a gift doesn't need to be received before it is a gift if forgiveness of sins, declared, really does anything or changes us?

But what AC IV is about is what God is doing after your death. It is new, it is therefore Gospel, not law. But that means that preaching Christ and him crucified reveals both the depth of our problem (Was I really that bad off?), and then the depth of God's desire to overcome it (Would he really do that for me?). When you hear what God is up to with his enemies and opponents, it is breathtaking. He literally kills and then raises anew. God's word, "Scripture," as Paul put it in Galatians 3:22, "has imprisoned all things under the power of sin, so that what was promised [by] faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe." Everything we preach must be tuned to this middle "C." The means by which the old sinner is killed and the new saint raised.

The law is not God's final plan or way of making us right. In fact, the law wants nothing more than its own cessation, since what even the law wants, is for you to do the law without the law!

[Just like my Mother, who wants a phone call on her birthday, but doesn't want to have to remind me to call.]

Even law wants freedom from the law! But spiritual only, not incarnate, it can only curb, mirror, instruct, it cannot give you what it demands from you. So, even the good, pure and holy law is finally drawn into God's work of imprisoning all things under the power of sin, like a great black hole, sucking everything in.

Everything? Everything.

[Speaking of the law will finally involve a particula inclusiva, e.g. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God..." Or, "the world did not know him." This "everything" is preached absolutely, flat out, even concerning your very best works and virtues.  One can learn this idiom anywhere God is acting in Scripture. In Hannah's Song, God's kills and makes alive. In Isaiah, "Truly Thou art a God who hidest thyself." But nowhere with such explosive precision and massive destruction as Paul in Romans 3: "…all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written: 'There is no one who is righteous, not even one... All have turned aside... there is no one who shows kindness, there is not even one... open graves... vipers... feet swift to shed blood...' [and finally] no fear of God." Nada. Zero, Zilch. [Psalm 14, 53:5,140:10; Isa. 59, and Psalm 36—the stuff people know by heart!]

A sinner always wants to slip the knot, and you will have to hold it tight by saying, "I didn't write it, don't blame me." That is why you preach from Scripture, and not your own imagination.

[My Uncle Ken showed me how to set trap for mink, muskrat, ermine, and other critters, and to this day my first instinct when they are gnawing at their foot in an animal's panic is to let them go limping away].

To what end does God go about piling up everything under sin? And then revealing his law so as to seal the deal. Well, not to kill for the pleasure of it, but to make faith where there is none and never will be any. To create anew, in the almost unbelievable form of a promise given, freely, through public declaration [AC V].

Blood-drains-away-from-a--005Here we find the second bit of dynamite in the Reformers witness to the world regarding justification by faith alone. The particula exclusiva: "…for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we may be saved." (Acts 4) This is expressed in our doctrine of justification. God justifies a sinner by faith alone apart from works of the law, solus Christus, sola fide. The Father and the Holy Spirit each want to make so much of Jesus Christ that he really is all-in all, and at this throne every knew will bow.

Now if you are paying attention to these two absolute words of law and promise, and waiting for a "but," or "conditional," or a "now this is your part in the deal," it never comes.  Justification is a short word. It stops breathtakingly short of demanding anything from you. It is a declaration from on high of sins forgiven. We call this the actus forensis, the forensic decree, like a judge announcing a final verdict to a defendant, like Jesus going about and raising little girls from the dead. Like the preacher declaring, "Sinner, on account of Christ, I pronounce you just."

[I can hear the name calling already from our little Johnny one notes: "extrinsic," says Rome, "ineffective," and "insincere," say Pietists, "irresponsible" say the humanists, "cheap" say the Calvinists, and so of course we become from the perspective of the law, the "do-nothing's" and "know-nothings," and here I simply want to claim those names proudly.]

I do nothing for my justification because I know nothing but Christ and him crucified for my sake. I am a do-nothing, know-nothing, receive-everything kind of baptized sinner.

The Apostle Paul presupposed the Old Testament witness concerning righteousness, especially that God is faithful to promises, then sharpened his preaching according to the extraordinary Gospel he received, according to the distinction of law and the Gospel. That makes God's righteousness an entirely new and surprising matter. The Reformers noted the Gospel's sharpening in the particulae exclusivae. They are:
1. Under the law, "none is righteous, all have sinned."

2. "Apart from the law," the righteousness of God has been manifested.

3. "The one man Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:15) is righteousness.

4. "Through faith alone," apart from works of the law.

5. And the means by which faith comes: "How are they to hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14). 


Put together they read this way: Under the law, none is righteous. Apart from the law, and so through faith alone, only because of Christ, God rightly makes us right while in ourselves ungodly, that is, by faith alone. And how does faith come? Only by the Word and the Spirit, that is, by hearing. You need a preacher, and when you've got one what do you say? "How beautiful are the feet…" (Rom. 10:14-15) This is because, "God and the law are mutually exclusive in the matter of righteousness" (Eberhard Jungel, "Justification: The Heart of the Christian Faith.") This makes no sense to those who single out the law and think only according to it.

All of God's work (and so all of Scripture) is made up of these two "things," 
1.  …law, by which God is finally shutting up everything under sin,
2.  …and "promises" by which God makes faith in Christ alone.
If you simply look at justification as a form of law, you will say something like this: "Justification is fine as far as it goes, but what about merit? Faith is great, but what about love or works?"

[Melancthon has a whole section of Apology IV that deals with the distinction of faith and love pp. 140-9)]

God's gifts (Baptism, Lord's Supper, Absolution) are fine, but what about accepting? Christ's cross is nice, but what am I going to do with it? I'm eventually meant for the resurrection, but what about the Christian life right now?

When justification is talked about in a classroom or preached from the pulpit, the offended first agree, and then proceed to undo do it. This is the typical Christian response to justification, and so the article pushes its opponents underground to become semi-Pelagians.

We, on the other hand, have to speak to such Johnny one-notes that promises are not just another law. To do that we are going to have to have three "elements," as Melanchthon calls them. (Ap IV: 53, 128)
concordia-cover1a) "The promise itself," the forgiveness of your sins.

b) The fact that the promise is free, by faith alone.

c) And, by the merits of Christ only. That is, we refuse to bury Christ anymore under a pile of religious manure.

[There is a hidden problem here that comes out in AC IV and will be the undoing of the Lutheran church time and again. You can find it in two words regarding "assents" to the promise (Ap IV: 50, 128), that can take on a life of its own and create an opposite anthropology to our pure doctrine of God's work in justifying. But the reason this word is erratic lies deeper, in that Christ merit's alone come to be described by Melanchthon more and more exclusively as "payment." This tends to make Christ inactive, bound to a moment in history at the cross, and leave open the question about how his one-time sacrifice is applied to individuals in the present. Though death as sacrifice is not incorrect to say, it carries within it a time bomb ready to go off that is found in its greatest practitioner, Anselm. That is, a sinner cannot save a sinner. The antidote for this in Lutheranism is always good old Luther and preaching that just lets Jesus run wild in our midst raising dead people, because that is what he likes to do.]

The doctrine of justification by faith alone is to get you to do the justification this way: "I declare unto you the entire forgiveness of all your sins for Jesus' sake."  

Now what just happened when I said this? Let me anticipate the questions:
1. "He just said, 'I declare unto you,' as if he were speaking directly to me and announcing something. But reason clearly shows this is not a church. I am a hearer, he is a speaker, here we talk about things, we are not doing church things." 
2.  Further, you say, "He couldn't have meant that, since it wasn't the appropriate time or place: he has no alb and stole."  
3.  And, "Who does he mean by this 'I,' who declares? After all, he is only teaching, he's not God. I suspected from the first his ego was large, but who knew?"  
4.  And who is this "you," he referred to. He doesn't know me. How could he know if I were a sinner? A lucky guess perhaps, or more likely haughty judgmentalism.
5.  Most of all, I didn't do anything. He caught me off guard. I wasn't in the mood. I had no time to make confession. Beside that, there was nothing I was asked to do. It felt like he treated me like a piece of meat, like an [passive] object!
6.  And did he say, "entire forgiveness," past, present and future? But I haven't even gotten around to some of my best sins, and as Augustine used to pray, "Lord, give me chastity, but not yet." (The Confessions, Book 8, chapter 11.)

7.  And he said, "on account of Christ," but that would mean the forgiveness came not because of me, but because of another, even Christ my Lord whom I betrayed? How does that transfer occur? Especially when I didn't feel anything. My heart wasn't warmed by it. I look at my hands and feet and they all look the same. Nothing has changed. Ah, perhaps he has a secret plan, perhaps it was said so that I might be roused to action in the future? But what if I show him to be a fool by running out and sinning just for spite? Doesn't that disprove his little theory?

This is the inner voice of a dying person before the sola fide. It is full of confusion and fear, precipitated by a very brief few words that are gratis, a free gift. "If, because of the one man's trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ."(Romans 5:17)

Why do the nations rage… (Psalm 2) They hate the Gospel!

So what is the Church's big cannon that she can turn on them? Its Jesus Christ alone, unbound! Free! Beyond the law, Death behind him! The very one who has come to get you while you were betraying him, and to raise the dead, we simply give the free gift gratis so that, "as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4)


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Thursday, April 25, 2013

FW: Squandering the Treasure




Feed: Gottesdienst Online
Posted on: Thursday, April 25, 2013 5:32 PM
Author: Rev. Larry Beane
Subject: Squandering the Treasure


By Larry Beane

One of the official publications of one of our LCMS Districts reports that a retired pastor has just been given an honorary doctorate from one of the Concordia universities owing to the fact that under his leadership, his congregation's music "transitioned from the emphasis on traditional music and added a more Gospel oriented genre."

Speaking as an adult convert to Lutheran Christianity from a different tradition, I will unequivocally state my own opinion that there is nothing more "Gospel oriented" than the traditional hymnody from our Lutheran tradition.  But my opinion pales with the historical and cultural importance of that of Rosa Young, the heroic 20th century black Lutheran who founded many Lutheran churches here in the South following the emancipation of the former slaves.  Miss Young wrote concerning our traditional Lutheran hymnody:

"Those words of praise to Jesus and the sweet German melodies made a lasting impression upon my heart. I thought then, and still think to this day, that the Lutheran melodies are the sweetest in the world. Give me my Lutheran melodies."  

This contrasted with the non-Lutheran hymnody that she described thus: 

"They praise noise; they applaud and approve noise. If one wishes to succeed…he must be noisy. The more noise he makes, the more quickly he will succeed. One has to be a real novelist, keeping something new before them all the time." 

And again she praises traditional Lutheran worship as a "quiet, decent, orderly service" that causes the "Word of God [to be] sown in their hearts."

The Lutheran Church is often called "The Singing Church" and Lutheran hymns are known for their theological rigor and their unequivocally Evangelical and Christocentric nature.  Our hymns are nothing other than the Gospel set to music - and that is our tradition from the ancient Gregorian chants, our 16th century chorales, and our modern hymns from within our formidable tradition.

In fact, our musical tradition is one of the greatest treasures that we have in our churches.  Invariably, churches that deviate from that traditional hymnody veer off into the shallowness, legalism, and self-centeredness of pop ditties at best, and heresy and false doctrine at their worst.

But we are now seeing our university system rewarding this abandonment of the most Gospel-oriented hymnody in Christendom with honorary doctorates, and an official organ of our church body calling this kind of thing a "more Gospel oriented genre" than "traditional music."

What a sad betrayal of the legacy of Rosa Young.

For more information about this remarkable Lutheran, see this post by the Rev. Walter Otten, as well as Miss Young's autobiographical Light in the Dark Belt.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

FW: ACELC Free Conference on Worship


Read on…


Feed: Four and Twenty+ Blackbirds
Posted on: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 6:06 PM
Author: Rev. Rick Stuckwisch
Subject: ACELC Free Conference on Worship


The papers presented at the ACELC Free Conference, "Christ For Us: The Divine Service," and four of the sermons that were preached at the daily prayer offices during the conference, are now available online at the ACELC website.

In addition to my own paper, in which I attempted to address my assigned topic, namely, to represent and defend a "High Church" attitude and approach to the Liturgy and worship, I would call special attention to the papers by Pr. Rick Sawyer and Pr. Bryan Wolfmueller, and to the sermon by Pr. Scott Porath. I don't highlight these several contributions to make light of the others, but simply to say that I found these to be especially helpful.  I appreciated the contributions made by my colleagues, Pr. Philip Hale and Pr. David Langewisch, and I thank them for the opportunity to engage in dialogue, discussion, and debate.  I thought the preaching throughout the week was quite good, and I would have liked to see the sermon that was preached on St. John 4 made available on the website; perhaps it will yet be put up there.  But, all in all, quite good.

Kudos to the ACELC for organizing and sponsoring a great conference, and to the pastor and people of Trinity, Austin, for their gracious hospitality and their excellent hosting of the conference.  Well done, one and all!  I was impressed with the tenor of the gathering, and with the way that everything aimed at promoting and facilitating theological conversation.  It was an encouragement to the rigorous engagement of the Scriptures and the Confessions, in a way that is often hailed but seldom found.

Of course, it added tremendously to my enjoyment of the conference, that my daughter and son-in-law, and three of my grandchildren, were in attendance.  Can't beat that with a stick!  But, in addition to the conference itself and my soak-it-up-while-you-can family time, I especially treasure the opportunity provided to share the mutual conversation and consolation of the brethren.  I was reminded, again, as I have been in the past, of what a blessing and a benefit that is, and I am truly grateful to have received that good gift of God this past week.

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Pulpit Review: More Old Testament Resources


Bartelt, Andrew H. and Andrew E. Steinmann. Fundamental Biblical Hebrew/Fundamental Biblical Aramaic. St. Louis: Concordia, 2012 (2000, 2004). 378 Pages. Cloth. $62.99. https://www.cph.org/p-2918-fundamental-biblical-hebrew-and-aramaic.aspx (P)

Bartelt, Andrew H. and Andrew E. Steinmann. Workbook and Supplementary Exercises for Fundamental Biblical Hebrew and Fundamental Biblical Aramaic. St. Louis: Concordia, 2004 (2000, 2003). 294 Pages. Spiral. $24.99. https://www.cph.org/p-2921-fundamental-biblical-hebrew-and-aramaic-workbook.aspx (P)

Simonetti, Manlio and Marco Conti, editors. Thomas C. Oden, General Editor. Job (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Old Testament VI). Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. 253 Pages. Cloth. $40.00. http://www.ivpress.com/ (P) 


Ferreiro, Alberto, editor. Thomas C. Oden, General Editor. The Twelve Prophets (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Old Testament XIV). Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003. 366 Pages. Cloth. $40.00. http://www.ivpress.com/ (P) 


More high-powered and worthwhile resources for understanding the Old Testament are in store for you in this review.

First, we head to CPH for the fundamentals of Aramaic and Hebrew:


This new volume contains both fundamental biblical Hebrew and Aramaic.

The fundamental biblical Hebrew is organized in a manner that facilitates learning and serves as an easy-to-use reference tool, including vocabulary, morphology, and syntax. While it serves as a basic Hebrew textbook and grammar for the purpose of theological study, it is useful for college, university and seminary courses, as well as a desk reference for pastors engaged in the study of the Bible in its original language.

The Hebrew section also includes translation and reading exercises, a full set of verb paradigm charts (regular and irregular), and a Hebrew-to-English glossary.

The fundamental biblical Aramaic section follows the Hebrew text to enable undergraduate and seminary students, who possess a working knowledge of biblical Hebrew, a quick reading proficiency in biblical Aramaic. While it is not designed to introduce other Aramaic dialects, such as Old Aramaic, Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, Palmyrene or Nabatean, it is written so that the advanced student who wishes to pursue further study by exploring ancient Aramaic dialects may do so. To that end, from time to time, reference is made to the historical developments in ancient Aramaic. 


This grammar concentrates on biblical Aramaic, primarily emphasizing the grammatical features the student needs to understand in order to read. Its structure allows the student to finish the grammar and to progress on to reading the actual Biblical texts in a typical semester. All the exercises, with the exception of the beginning ones, are drawn from the Bible, exposing the student to actual biblical Aramaic while learning the grammar.


The exercises in this workbook reproduce the exercises in the chapters of Fundamental Biblical Hebrew. More space is provided for writing out the exercises. The chapter summaries from the textbook are included at the end of this workbook. In addition, at the end of each chapter's exercises are supplementary exercises. Two principles will be apparent to anyone using these supplementary exercises:

1) The supplementary exercises require students to reproduce basic Hebrew forms, including forms of weak verbs, as an aid to learning the basics of Hebrew morphology.

2) This workbook emphasizes reading actual Biblical Hebrew as an aid to learning syntax. The texts reproduced are exactly as they appear in the Hebrew books of the Old Testament.

(Publisher's Website)

I must admit being intimidated by returning to a rigorous study of the Biblical languages of the Old Testament scriptures. Perhaps you are, too. Our Winkel, in recent years, has had at least one Old Testament exegetical study a year. Yes, I did two of them. Recently, our congregation has done two long-term OT Sunday Morning Bible studies (Jesus in the Book of Isaiah, Judges). They have been good for me to help get my Hebrew skills back into shape.

I didn't have the benefit of Dr. Steinmann's excellent Aramaic grammar while I was at the Sem, but I do now. I loved my Aramaic class, even though it was rigorous, yet learned a lot by the last third of this volume. The first two thirds are the latest edition of Dr. Bartelt's Hebrew text. We got to test it at 801 in the late 1990's. I still have my original letter-sized version with spiral binding made by the seminary copy shop. I have yet to copy my notes over into this handsome new edition.

Vocabulary in both parts was chosen on the basis of frequency in the Biblical text. Hebrew consonant and vowel characters are readable, even without magnification. The companion workbook reproduces exercises from the text so that your hardcover can be used and reused as necessary.

I appreciate the opportunity this text gives me (and you) to revisit a seminary-given skill for the sake of the Gospel of Christ.


We mistakenly overlooked the following two ACCS titles during our main run of reviews on the series. We aim to correct this oversight now.

The book of Job presents its readers with a profound drama concerning innocent suffering. Such honest, forthright wrestling with evil and the silence of God has intrigued a wide range of readers, both religious and nonreligious.

Surprisingly, the earliest fathers showed little interest in the book of Job. Not until Origen in the early third century is there much evidence of any systematic treatment of the book, and most of Origen's treatment is known to us only from the catenae. More intense interest came at the end of the fourth century and the beginning of the fifth.

The excerpts in this collection focus on systematic treatment. Among Greek texts are those from Origen, Didymus the Blind, Julian the Arian, John Chrysostom, Hesychius of Jerusalem and Olympiodorus. Among Latin sources we find Julian of Eclanum, Philip the Priest and Gregory the Great. Among Syriac sources we find Ephrem the Syrian and Isho'dad of Merv, some of whose work is made available here for the first time in English.

In store for readers of this volume is once again a great feast of wisdom from the ancient resources of the church.

Manlio Simonetti, a widely acknowledged expert in patristic biblical interpretation, teaches at the University of Rome and at the Augustinian Patristic Institute in Rome. He is the author of several books and Bible commentaries, including Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church: An Historical Introduction to Patristic Exegesis (T & T Clark).

Marco Conti (Ph.D., University of Leeds) is professor of medieval and humanistic Latin literature at the Ateneo Salesiano and lecturer in classical mythology and religions of the Roman Empire at the Richmond University in Rome.

(Publisher's Website)

I look to commentaries to help me find what I've missed in my exegetical study of a text. Sometimes, commentaries help when you are pressed for time. Preaching on Job 19:23-29 for a funeral? Gain the insights of Julian of Eclanum, Ephrem the Syrian, Chrystostom, and Gregory the Great to comfort those who mourn with our Resurrection hope in Christ (105-106).

Is wisdom reserved only for the old? Reconsider Elihu's speech  (32:1-14) as you encourage the young. Chrysostom says:

Why is it not said, But then, why did you not fight from the start together with us in order to defend God? He answers, I withdrew into my age, while I expected, he says, to hear you pronounce a beautiful and wonderful speech. Notice how he did not look fo rhonors, how he conceded them the first rank, how he showed that even then now he would not have spoken if they had not compelled him to do so (164).

When I write reviews of Study Bibles, I often zoom in on the Behemoth and Leviathan (40:15ff, 208). How do they handle it? Is it a myth? A hippo? At least the Fathers confessed it was a Dragon! Modern creation science holds it to be one, too, a dinosaur!

Our second ACCS volume covers the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, minor in size, but not in stature or content.

"And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, [the risen Jesus] interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself" (Lk 24:27).

The church fathers mined the Old Testament throughout for prophetic utterances regarding the Messiah, but few books yielded as much messianic ore as the Twelve Prophets, sometimes known as the Minor Prophets, not because of their relative importance but because of the relative brevity of their writings.

Encouraged by the example of the New Testament writers themselves, the church fathers found numerous parallels between the Gospels and the prophetic books. Among the events foretold, they found not only the flight into Egypt after the nativity, the passion and resurrection of Christ, and the outpuoring of the Spirit at Pentecost, but also Judas's act of betrayal, the earthquake at Jesus' death and the rending of the temple veil. Detail upon detail brimmed with significance for Christian doctrine, including baptism and the Eucharist as well as the relation between the covenants.

In this rich and vital resource edited by Alberto Ferreiro you will find excerpts, some translated here into English for the first time, from more than thirty church fathers, ranging in time from Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus (late first and early second centuries) to Gregory the Great, Braulio of Saragossa and Bede the Venerable (late sixth to early eighth centuries). Geographically the sources range from the great Cappadocians--Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa--John Chrysostom, Ephrem the Syrian and Hippolytus in the East to Ambrose, Augustine, Cyprian and Tertullian in the West and Origen, Cyril and Pachomius in Egypt.

Here is a treasure trove out of which Christians may bring riches both old and new in their understanding of these ancient texts.

Alberto Ferreiro is professor of history at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington.

(Publisher's Website)

I do not envy the task General Editor Thomas Oden assigned to Alberto Ferreiro. I pray his diligent, attentive, and far-ranging work on the Twelve Prophets will bring these books back to the importance they had in the estimation of the Fathersx (xvii).

Irenaeus shows the Christology in Hosea (1:1-3, 3). Gregory the Great (64) helps us better understand the two comings of Christ through Joel 2:1-11. Amos foresaw Christ. Read Cyril of Jerusalem on Amos 4:1-13, 96). With Ambrose, read Jonah 4 in the context of Redemption (148). Meditate on the Incarnate word with Theodoret of Cyr and Micah 5. Improve your preaching by reading good mini-sermons in The Twelve Prophets, part of Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.

We believe we have one remaining title to review in the ACCS. We hope to receive, read, and review that title for you in the near future. In the meantime, God bless your study of the "older testament" in the original Hebrew and Aramaic with the insights of the Church Fathers and encouragement from the Lutheran Confessions.

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.

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LHP Review: More Lutheran Classics


Walther, C. F. W. Matthew C. Harrison, editor. The Church and the Office of The Ministry. St. Louis: Concordia, 2012. 495 Pages. Cloth. $34.99. https://www.cph.org/p-20881-the-church-and-the-office-of-the-ministry.aspx (LHP)

Engelbrecht, Edward A., General Editor. The Church from  Age to Age: A History. St. Louis: Concordia, 2011. 976 Pages. Paper. $36.99. https://www.cph.org/p-18164-the-church-from-age-to-age-a-history-from-galilee-to-global-christianity.aspx (LHP)

Chemnitz, Martin. Ministry, Word, and Sacraments: An Enchiridion; The Lord's Supper; The Lord's Prayer (Chemnitz's Works 5). St. Louis: Concordia, 2007. (Previously published separately in 1981, 1979, 1999.) 574 Pages. Cloth. $69.99.  https://www.cph.org/p-676-chemnitzs-works-volume-5-enchiridionlords-supperlords-prayer.aspx (LHP) 

Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. 

That pithy piece of wisdom encouraged me to be a history major. I was always surprised by its truth. 

I am also similarly surprised when I re-read or read for the first time something I should have been taught before.

These three books deserve the title "classic." They are part of your Lutheran heritage. Now is the time to (re)discover them!


Rev. Keith Clow provides FREE charts from his research contributed to the publication of the book.

The charts include additional data, which researchers may consult online or print out."

"The issue of church and office is too often a muddle among us, and Walther can be most helpful if he is allowed to speak with the precision he intended."

Matthew C. Harrison

President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

Matthew Harrison's new edition of this seminal writing by the first president of the LCMS restores Walther's precise language on the doctrines of church and ministry. As the subtitle of the original German edition states, The Church and The Office of The Ministry is "a collection of testimonies . . . from the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and from the private writings of orthodox teachers of the same." Professional church workers and interested lay members will find a wealth of insights from the Bible, the Confessions, ancient church fathers, Luther, the orthodox Lutheran fathers, and more on the key questions of what or who is the Church, what is and who holds the Office of the Ministry, and what are the powers and duties of each.

This New Study Edition Includes

  • new reader-friendly updated translation
  • footnotes explaining terms and history
  • glossary of key German and Latin terms
  • appendices including supporting documents
  • Scriptural index
  • topical index
  • free downloadable data charts
  • editorial introductions from Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison

Purchase 10 or more copies of The Church and The Office of The Ministry for only $23.99 each.

Use promotional Code LWT on the checkout screen to receive your discount!

One of the most significant Lutheran theologians in North America, C. F. W. Walther (1811–87) dominated the theological landscape of the mid-1800s. A leader in the Saxon immigration to Missouri in 1839, Walther helped to found the college that would become Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, as well as to organize The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. In addition to serving as a pastor, Walther was the synod's first president and the president of the seminary and its leading teacher. A prolific author, Walther wrote on a variety of topics, corresponded with numerous religious leaders, edited the theological journal Der Lutheraner, and helped start Concordia Publishing House.

During the 20th century, the ecumenical movement made the doctrine of the church one of the most discussed issues of its day. Today, this controversy still exists with congregations exploring the boundaries of what it means to define the church. C.F.W. Walther's classic study of The Church and The Office of The Ministry provides biblically-based answers to these questions facing congregations today.

Become a subscriber to Walther's Works and SAVE 30%

Now you can subscribe to Walther's Works and receive each volume at a 30% savings off list price. (Volumes are priced differently, so discounted prices will vary.) Your subscription starts with the newest volume (you will need to order previously released volumes separately), and you will continue to receive each new volume upon its release. In addition, subscribers may purchase previously released volumes at the same 30 % discount.

CLICK HERE for more information

Become a subscriber to Fathers of the Lutheran Church Program and SAVE EVEN MORE!

Luther, Gerhard, Walther: Three Programs. One Subscription.

Through the Fathers of the Lutheran Church Subscription Program, the newest volumes of Luther's Works, Johann Gerhard's Theological Commonplaces, and Walther's Works are shipped to you automatically—and you receive a 30% savings off list price plus FREE shipping.

CLICK HERE for more information

(Publisher's Website)

I re-read this title in kindle form during two winter plane trips to the St. Louis area. I was most familiar with the previous translation under a blue cover. The seminary did well to teach me about that edition's deficiencies. In fact, at least one "Ph.D" has eviscerated this edition because of what I believe to be a preference for the mistranslations of Walther, rather than his scholarly knowledge of Walther's original German.

I love the appendices that put Walther's theses and text in context, including the Altenburg Theses, the infamous Hirtenbrief, and writings by Loehe.

I had hoped that The Church and The Office of the Ministry would get a cover more like the volumes of the Essential Lutheran Library, but I will be satisfied (for now) with a more accurate translation of the title. Might I respectfully request similar editions of Walther's Proper Form and True Visible Church?

Our next title is a library of history books under one cover!


The Church from Age to Age examines key historic events from the time of the apostles through today. Informative and clearly written, readers of all ages will find the answers to the who, why, and how behind the current state of Christianity the world over. Maps, readings from primary sources, and an extensive bibliography, index, and timeline make this a complete one-volume resource for the classroom and for home.

Take a look inside CLICK HERE!

Also Available in Amazon-Kindle format.

Foreword by Paul L. Maier, PhD

 Contributors include: 

 •  Dr. Robert G. Clouse is professor emeritus of history at Indiana State University. He was a founding member of the Conference on Faith and History, served on the editorial board of the Brethren Encyclopedia, and was a contributing editor of the New Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge.
•  Dr. Karl H. Dannenfeldt † served as professor of history at Arizona State University, the American editor of Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, a committee member for the American Society of Church History, and president and officer for the American Society of Reformation Research.
•  Edward A. Engelbrecht (STM) is senior editor for professional and academic books at Concordia Publishing House and general editor for The Lutheran Study Bible (2009), which is currently being translated into Spanish and Portuguese.
•  Dr. Marianka S. Fousek is an independent historian who served as a professor at Miami University and other schools. She also served as a council member for the American Society of Church History.
•  Walter Oetting † (MA) served as professor of Church history at Concordia Seminary. He died young, just after completing his book for the Church in History series, which was reissued in 1992 due to its continuing interest as an introductory text.
•  Dr. K. Detlev Schulz is associate professor and chairman for the department of pastoral ministry and mission at Concordia Theological Seminary, serves as the PhD supervisor of the missiology program, and is dean of the graduate school.  He grew up in Africa, studied in Europe and the United States, and served as a missionary in Botswana.
•  Dr. Roy A. Suelflow † served as a missionary in China, Japan, and Taiwan. He also served as a seminary professor and mission director in East Asia. He later taught church history at Concordia Seminary and served as associate editor for the Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly.
•  Dr. Carl A. Volz † served as professor of church history at Luther Seminary and as an editor for Dialog: A Journal of Theology. In 1997, the American Academy of Parish Clergy selected his book, The Medieval Church, as one of the ten best books of that year.

(Publisher's Website)

As I mentioned before I was a history major at university. (To be most precise, I was a double major in Mathematics and History (B.A.) with a minor in Asian Studies.) Why was I, a Missouri Synod Lutheran, ignorant of the previous editions of the contents of this book? I wish I would have had this edition to better survive my Christ-less Western Civ class with a Communist T.A. and a professor who looked like Santa Clause but used George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" in class.

I am thankful for this volume's Christian worldview and the excellent Foreword by Paul Maier. Every LCMS church and school should have a copy of this history. Give a copy to your pastor for Pastor Appreciation month this fall.

My only complaint? I wish it had a hardcover rather than a paperback. Perhaps that may help increase sales of the kindle version.

Few books have influenced my pastoral theology and practice more than those collected together under this hard cover.



Martin Chemnitz (the "Second Martin") is credited with solidifying and defining the Reformation movement begun by Martin Luther (the "First Martin"). Chemnitz was a major contributor to the Formula of Concord and is considered to be one of the greatest Lutheran theologians of all time.


This volume of Chemnitz's Works contains three writings of this 16th-century professor, pastor, and church superintendent. It provides the opportunity to learn firsthand from this systematic and pastoral theologian. 


Ministry, Word, and Sacraments: the Enchiridion
This is a translation of Chemnitz's 'little book' for pastors. It covers the Call into the Ministry, the Word and Sacraments, ceremonies of the church, and the conduct of ministers.


Includes Index and end notes.

The Lord's Supper

This is an English translation of De coena Domini, Chemnitz's defense of the real presence of Christ's body and blood together with the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper.


Arguing from Scripture and fortifying his presentation with many citations from the ancient church fathers, Chemnitz explains that the real presence does not entail a crass, cannibalistic eating, but a sacramental eating of Christ's true body and blood. Chemnitz maintains that the Words of Institution are the last will and testament of the Son of God and are therefore to be taken literally and understood with the utmost seriousness.


Figurative interpretations of the Words should be avoided because they are bound to be uncertain, and they rob the Christian of the comfort furnished by Christ's body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins.


The Lord's Prayer
God Commands us to pray, and twice in the New Testament, Jesus gives us the pattern for prayer in the Our Father.


In this work, whose full title is A Substantial and Godly Exposition of the Prayer Commonly Call the Lord's Prayer, Chemnitz unpacks the richness of each petition of the Lord's Prayer: how many words to use, what things to ask for, and in what order to ask for them. He offers a fresh and inspiring interpretation based on the biblical texts. The English translation of this work was originally published in 1598 by the University of Cambridge in England at a time when theologians were becoming increasingly aware of the power of the press. This edition, updated to modern English by Georg Williams, makes Chemnitz's timeless exposition available to today's readers.

Also available as an eBook (ePub)

(Publisher's Website)

I own the separately-published versions of the three titles now compiled under this one cloth hard cover.  

Enchiridion was dear to me for two reasons related to my wife. In high school, her Lutheran theology and practice of baptism was attacked. Her pastor shared the contents of Question 243 (116ff) with her in the form of a tract. It helped her grow as a Christian apologist and has inspired me as well. Second, she has an ancestor that got a grade of "adequate" on the basis of a similar Visitation in the 1580's. I am encouraged that the current LCMS Blue Ribbon Task Force on Districts is placing more emphasis on pastoral care, visitation of pastors, church workers, congregations, and schools, than the size and shape of LCMS Districts. This title could give the LCMS guidance as it moves forward by embracing its past faithful practice. How about Circuit Visitors instead of Circuit Counselors. I am thankful to have a copy for home and a copy for my study (this version)

The Lord's Supper was a required text for my class with the same name with Dr. Nagel. I remember fondly how pages 91ff helped me survive the exegetical challenge of the four accounts of the Words of Institution.

The Lord's Prayer was newly-released while I was at seminary. I remember at the time that when I bought it, it was the most I had ever spent on a paperback book. I am relieved to now have it in more permanent hardback form. Back in Lent 2001, my first as a pastor in the parish, I made regular use of this volume as part of a midweek Lenten sermon series on the Lord's Prayer. That's been some time ago, and my memory at times plays tricks on me. I had remembered, FOR CERTAIN, that Chemnitz was the fellow who taught that the last three petitions of the Our Father prayed against the devil in the past, the present, and the future. I was SURE that was the case. Surprise! When I re-read this part of Volume 5 of Chemnitz' Works for the purpose of this review, I discovered that this idea was my summary of what Chemnitz said in the book. Oh, well. I still hold it to be true. And perhaps I'm not really the original source of such a great idea!

These three Concordia volumes are the ideal "Yes" when our book review posts ask, "Is it worth the money to buy, the time to read, the shelf space to store, and the effort to teach?" Expand your knowledge and comprehension of pastoral, historical, and doctrinal theology with these titles. Look for them at a Pastoral Conference CPH bookstore near you.

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.

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