Friday, July 13, 2012

LHP Review: ALPB Resources


Jenson, Robert W. Lutheran Slogans: Use and Abuse. Delhi, NY: ALPB Books, 2011. 80 Pages. Paper. $6.00. www.alpb.org (LHPN)

The Lake Louise Commission: The Sacred Family. Delhi, NY: ALPB Books, 2011. 124 Pages. Paper. $12.50 www.alpb.org (LHPN)

Ronneberg, Rod. L. A Little Book of Canons: Eucharistic Prayers for Times and Seasons.  Delhi, NY: ALPB Books, 2011. 120 Pages. Paper. $10.00. 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.

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No discourse that goes on for any length of time, particularly if it becomes an argument, can do without slogans-those shorthand phrases that are placeholders for a whole complex of concepts, metaphors, practices and understandings to which they point. They make it possible for a speaker or writer with just a few words to call to the minds of the participants in a discussion a great deal that has been said before in considerable detail, rather than going over it all again.

"The problem with slogans," Robert W. Jenson writes, "is that as over time they become increasingly necessary, they just so tend to acquire lives of their own, and then can become untethered from the complex of ideas and practices which they once evoked. In that free-floating currency they are then available to be wielded to various ends, often antithetically to their original service and without awareness that this is happening."

Lutherans use many slogans like "Justification by Faith Apart from Works" and" the Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel" and "Sola Scriptura", most of which arose in the context of the 16th Century Protestant Reformation. In this small book, Jenson, a Lutheran and one of the United States' most eminent theologians, takes up 10 of these slogans and examines what they originally called to mind and how they are used and abused today.

(Publisher's website)
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.

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In two previous ALPB books, the Banff and Jasper Commissions were asked to give a truly scriptural, confessional, ecumenical and prophetic word to pastors and congregations who wished to remain faithful in their life and proclamation, as well as to minister effectively to every community, including those with orientations other than heterosexual. The participants spoke the truth with boldness and with clarity.

The members of the Lake Louise Commission were called upon to speak to our time and to allow brother Martin Luther to also speak God’s Word through these commission presentations on God’s design for marriage and the family. Commission convener K. Glen Johnson called this collection "A 21st Century Addendum To Luther’s Catechisms."

Contents:

The Nature of Marriage
J. Larry Yoder
Understanding the Hostile Environment to Marriage in God’s Plan
F. B. Henry, Bishop of Calgary
Sanctum: Womb, the Sanctuary of Mercy
Amy C. Schifrin
Marriage and the Moral Order
Patrick Henry Reardon
Pygmalion Redeemed: The Christ-Centered Imperative of Marriage
Nathan Yoder
Taking Refuge with Luther
Brad Everett

(Publisher's website)
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.

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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

NoOtherName.jpg

Papers Delivered at the 2011 Theological Conference Sponsored by Lutheran CORE and NALC August 10-11, 2011 at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church Columbus, Ohio

Contents:

Preface

Bishop John Bradosky

Introduction: Salvation Today

Rev. Dr. Carl E. Braaten

The Uniqueness and Universality of Jesus Christ

Rev. Dr. Gerald McDermott

Calling Lutherans Back to the Evangelistic Task

Rev. Dr. Berhanu Ofga'a

Engaging in Politics, Yes; Politicizing the Church, No!

Dr. Robert Benne

The Lutheran Legacy in the World-wide Church

Rev. Dr. Sarah Hinlicky Wilson

Orthodoxy at Stake: An Ecumenical Symposium

An Anglican Perspective

The Rt. Rev. Ray Sutton

A Reformed Perspective

Rev. Dr. Joseph Small

The Future of Orthodoxy

Rev. Dr. James Nestingen

(Publisher's website)
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.

Between 2011 and 2017 - the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation - give the children, their families and all members of your congregation a series of 9 medallions in gold anodized aluminum to collect to create excitement in learning about Luther and the Reformation. For adults interested in collecting the series and numismatic and historic collectors, medals will also be available in antique bronze and .999 silver.

Martin Luther Medals

Above: Images of the finished gold anodized version of medal number 1 and the antique bronze version of medal number 2 followed by the original artist's concept for medals number 3 and 4. The obverse of each medal will be similar, focusing on Luther (either as a monk or doctor of the church) looking left at an image suggesting the event depicted on the reverse side - here the lightning storm (#1), the door to the Erfurt Monastery where Luther became a monk (#2), the city of Rome (#3) and the tower of the Castle Church in Wittenberg where he received his doctor's degree (#4). Actual size of medals is 1 1/2 inches. Click on the image above for a larger version, then click again to magnify.

NINE MEDALS BETWEEN NOW AND THEN

Luther in Lightning Storm (1505) - Available Now
Luther Ordained a Priest (1507) - Available Now
Luther Travels to Rome (1510 -1511) - Available Now
Luther Receives Dr. of Theology Degree (1512) - Available Now
Luther's “Tower Experience” (1513) - available in 2013
Frederick the Wise Blocks Tetzel from Saxony (1514) - available in 2014
600th Anniversary of Jan Hus's martyrdom (1415) - available in 2015)
Charles V becomes King of Spain (1516) - available in 2016
Luther Posts His 95 Theses (1517) - available in 2017


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.