Monday, October 31, 2016
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Dr. Lessing was the guest speaker at the Wyoming District Spring Pastoral Conference in 2013. The topic was Isaiah 56-66. Over four sessions, he covered 1) Reading these chapters contextually and theologically, 2) Outlining these chapters and key texts, 3) and 4) Good and Perfect Gifts: A Lenten Sermon Series on Isaiah 56-66. This commentary delivers on what he covered then.
I appreciated the author's humility in this volume's preface (xvi-xviii), especially by admitting, in retrospect, that "a glance backward reveals that occasionally a better or more accurate trajectory could have been followed (xvi). This only makes me respect him more. The teacher is also a student. He wants to improve himself and his scholarship for the sake of his readers/hearers out of respect for Christ and His Word. Those of us with volume 1 of this Romans commentary could and should annotate the necessary pages with these insights.
Friday, October 21, 2016
The Annotated Luther series
I did not find individual introductions to these Luther writings to be universally helpful. I really appreciated the illustrations throughout and the end indicies, particularly the Index of Names. That index alone is an improvement missing from some volumes of Luther's Works.
For an LCMS Lutheran, I find this annotated edition of the Large Catechism to be problematic. Why? Simply put, the annotator could have confessed salvation in Christ alone while annotating what I know as "paragraph 66" and clearly avoid universalism (Note 190; cf: https://www.cph.org/p-670-one-true-god-understanding-the-large-catechism-ii-66.aspx). The strength or weakness of these volumes is dependent on the confession and contribution of each individual volume and writing editor. Note 7 on catechetical preaching on Ember Days was helpful and insightful, as was note 32 on the Divine Office. Notes 11 and 12 on Luther and Zwingli's interaction on the Lord's Supper could be clearer. (My numbering is based on the kindle review copy version.)
This is a unique volume with seventeen essays by German, Swedish, Finnish, Australian, and American contributors. Among the Americans, most are LCMS. One, Paulson, is ELCA.
Originally published in 1992, this is a masterful work of historical theology. Author Kiecker ably demonstrates the need for reform in the Church, attempts at reform, focuses on Luther's time and opportunity, what the Lord accomplished through Dr. Luther, other reformers and their approaches, and challenges since Luther.
Honestly, I haven't resonated with all publicity related to this title. I understand where "Throw out all those notions..." was going, but my members read that and were more suspicious about this book.
Remember, Volume 5 was my first introduction to this artist and arranger. Volume 1 still proves itself worthy of sequels and has much music that would help pianists with preludes, offertories, and postludes in congregations with Lutheran Service Book. See my annotations in [ ] below and throughout this review.
One notes occasional Marian hymns. These can and should be avoided by the Lutheran pianist.
LSB tunes include:
+/ Luther's conscience was captive to the Word of God (passim.). This is an interesting title, one that will provide some insights to those who read a book on such a necessary topic. I recommend that it be read in parallel with Luther's book On the Bondage of the Will. The authors raise thoughtful questions to prepare a Christian for confession and absolution as well as preparing for interactions with other Christians. Regarding the former, Lutherans always want to hear more Gospel comfort. Regarding the latter, I would love to see the authors expand upon the topic in cases of clear departure from Holy Scripture, that which kept Luther's conscience captive. Recommended.
Essentially, what we have here is an almost entirely new volume on the same topic, a third edition from Crossway that belongs on the shelf next Concordia's Third Edition of Women Pastors? (Harrison/Pless) and an available first or second edition (published by Baker and edited by these authors and their previous co-editor H. Scott Baldwin). Highly Recommended!
/ In July, while visiting Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN, I saw a copy of this title in the campus bookstore. While possibly quite helpful from a practical perspective and sharing ideas not incompatible with a Lutheran theology of worship, I don't have to like that the author is a female minister. My church body and I oppose the ordination of women to the pastoral office. She does put her experience as a Christian musician to good use here.