Friday, July 13, 2012

LHP Review: New Volumes in Respected NPH Series



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)

Deutschlander, Daniel M. The Narrow Lutheran Middle: Following the Scriptural Road. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2011. 235 Pages. Paper. (pdf review copy provided) $18.50. http://online.nph.net/p-9970-the-narrow-lutheran-middle.aspx (LHP)


Our friends at Northwestern Publishing House have two new offerings that are worth your time and room in your book budget.


The fifth volume in the series A Lutheran Looks At...provides a confessional Lutheran perspective on the teachings of the second largest Christian denomination in the world--the Eastern Orthodox church. Author Robert J Koester explains the history behind the split between the Western and Eastern Christian churches and the central teachings of Orthodoxy. A unique addition to this book is the author's own personal impressions of eight Eastern Orthodox churches he visited in Southeast Wisconsin.
 

A Lutheran Looks at Eastern Orthodoxy will help you understand the beliefs of your neighbor, coworker, or friend and help you to share your faith with them.
(Publisher's website)
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.
While reading the Bible, many people make the mistake of favoring one teaching over another. In this book in the Impact Series, the author examines a number of seemingly contradictory teachings in the Bible and shows us how to apply them to our lives by letting each teaching stand alone, without trying to resolve them.
 

Some topics covered in this book include the right and wrong uses of reason in religion; predestination, God's providence, and human responsibility; doubt and presumption; carnal security and despair; God's will and human will; royal priesthood of believers and public ministry; the Great Commission and the doctrine of election; and finding the middle in worship wars.
 

Professor Deutschlander plumbs the depths of Scripture as he examines these timely topics, all the while showing the reader the "narrow Lutheran middle" of Scripture.
This product is eligible for quantity discounts.

(Publisher's website)
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.

We must often keep two important That is a consequence of teaching "the whole counsel of God." For a good example of this, and good food for thought, consider "Finding the middle in the Worship Wars" near the end of chapter eight.

I commend The Narrow Lutheran Middle to you for good summer reading.

And whatever you do, watch out for Dame Reason. Just sayin'. 



We pray for more volumes in both the Impact Series and A Lutheran Looks At... We would suggest a book on the WELS approach to classical and confessional Lutheran Education, the journey of the Synodical Conference toward a common 1941 hymnal, and a Lutheran look at Presbyterians, Left-leaning mainline denominations like the UCC, and groups on the thin line between heterodoxy and cult status. And, given the timeliness of the topic, we would also welcome more resources related to Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons.



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.