Friday, June 27, 2014

LHP Review: Luther

Luther, Martin. Edited by Benjamin T. G. Mayes and James L. Langebartels. Church Postil I (Luther's Works 75). St. Louis: Concordia, 2013. 460 Pages. Cloth. $49.99. (LHP)

Luther, Martin. Translated by Holger Sonntag. Edited and arranged by Paul Strawn. What is Marriage, Really? From Two Marriage Sermons On Hebrews 13:4 and Ephesians 5:22-33. Minneapolis: Lutheran Press, 2013. 116 Pages. Paper. $.6.00. (LHP)

Springer, Carl P. E. Luther's Aesop. Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2011. 249 Pages. Paper with flaps. $39.95. (LHP)

Countdown Commemorative Medallions to the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation (Dr. Martin Luther; Luther Caught in a Lightning Storm; Luther Becomes a Monk; Luther Travels to Rome; Luther Receives Doctor of Theology Degree; Luther's Tower Experience). Delhi, NY; American Lutheran Publicity Bureau 2011-2013, projected through 2017. Prices vary from $1 to $18 each. (LHPN)

Walther. Gerhard. Luther. Each of our reviews posted today feature at least one sermon collection by these giants and Fathers of our Lutheran tradition. 

This review focuses on recent releases with content by Luther himself.

According to the original CPH prospectus for the addition of volumes 56-75 to the American Edition of Luther's Works, there were to be twenty volumes.

I rejoice to report that there are now twenty-eight planned volumes (!

Church Postil I is numbered as Volume 75. With the addition of eight more volumes, we can surmise (and pray) that more than the previously-announced three volumes will feature Luther sermons. The back flap of the dust cover confirms this: "Volumes 75-79 of the American Edition of Luther's Works, for the first time in 300 years, provide readers with Luther's mature, final version of the Church Postil, along with footnotes identifying the great reformer's own changes." Pray with me for patience as we await more news. Will the House Postil be included?

From the beginning of his work on the postils, Luther had stated that they were supposed to serve common pastors and people, and thus were to be the great devotional book of the Reformation.
Martin Luther’s collected sermons for the church year were originally published in two series: the Church Postil and the House Postil. These were among his most popular works. Aside from his catechisms, they did more to teach people the Reformation than any other book. Volume 75 gives the sermons on the Epistle and Gospel readings from Advent through Christmastide in fresh, clear English.
Benefits of Luther’s Works, American Edition, vol. 75 (Church Postil I)
1. Accurate and clear translation. (An early 20th-century version of these sermons was inaccurate and stilted.)
2. Presents the Church Postil as the mature Luther wanted it to be:
-Includes Luther’s often-extensive revisions to his own work, with significant variant readings from earlier editions translated in the footnotes.
-Includes the version of the summer sermons that Luther approved (Cruciger’s edition, not Roth’s edition).
-Epistles and Gospels are interspersed as they were originally printed, showing the progression of Luther’s teaching through the course of the church year.
(The early 20th-century Lenker version followed the revisionist 1700 edition of Philipp Jakob Spener, not Luther’s mature, final edition of 1540 and 1544.)
3. Includes the careful, explanatory introductions and footnotes that have become a hallmark of Luther’s Works: American Edition.
4. Includes cross-references and a table showing where Luther’s sermons can be found in the German originals.
5. Fully indexed.

Edited by Benjamin T.G. Mayes and James L. Langebartels.
Read Luther's sermons (alongside those of Gerhard and Walther) to better preach to your own people, especially if you are using the One Year Lectionary.

It was interesting to read how Gerhard (xxv) discouraged preachers from imitating Luther's wandering preaching style. My wife would agree. :)

What should be sought and expected in the Gospels? Read Luther's answer (7ff).

For Luther on the church as "mouth house," see 11 n. 9, 39 n. 36, and 51 n. 72. Don't miss this!

Note Luther's sermon text for St. John's Day: Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 15:1-6.

We're returning to Luther's form of the postil (xxviii). Blame Spener's 1700 edition for the poor editions ever since(back flap). Watch footnotes for significant variants (xxx, passim). Compare these translations to Lenker at your leisure (xxxii).

Yes, this edition is far better than the seven-volume set recently reprinted by Baker. Save your money. Buy this and not that one. 

Stock up on copies this Lutheran Press edition of Luther From Two Marriage Sermons On Hebrews 13:4 and Ephesians 5:22-33 to catechize couples preparing for Holy Matrimony and to defend Biblical marriage.

Understand Holy Matrimony better at the feet of Dr. Luther as he repeats with clarity what the Scriptures teach regarding it.
What is marriage? A common understanding is that it is a legally binding arrangement between two individuals in which they are granted certain legal rights and privileges by society. But is that all marriage is? Isn't there something more to it that a simple legal arrangement? Martin Luther answers this question with a resounding "Yes!" and in the process, lays out what marriage truly is, how it is created, and how it is joyously maintained. This is a must ready for anyone contemplating marriage, or for those already married.

Formatted into 17 simple chapters along with study questions, this book is perfect for personal devotion or Bible study.
Indeed. Sonntag and Strawn give the Church a timely, accessible, and substantive catechetical tool. 

Without the Word, marriage disintegrates.

Buy it. Use it. Give it away. Buy more. Do so to encourage Lutheran Press to produce more titles like this.

Springer's Luther's Aesop is a pleasant and scholarly surprise from Truman State University Press.

While not yet the children's' edition of Luther's Aesop that Lutheran parents would read in illustrated form to their children as catechetical bedtime stories, this is the necessary and scholarly groundwork for such a set of future publications.

Reformer of the church, biblical theologian, and German translator of the Bible Martin Luther had the highest respect for stories attributed to the ancient Greek author Aesop. He assigned them a status second only to the Bible and regarded them as wiser than “the harmful opinions of all the philosophers.” Throughout his life, Luther told and retold Aesop’s fables and strongly supported their continued use in Lutheran schools.

In this volume, Carl Springer builds on the textual foundation other scholars have laid and provides the first book in English to seriously consider Luther’s fascination with Aesop’s fables. He looks at which fables Luther knew, how he understood and used them, and why he valued them. Springer provides a variety of cultural contexts to help scholars and general readers gain a deeper understanding of Luther’s appreciation of Aesop.
Classical educators should take note of this book (and practice their German and Latin on the Coburg fables).

Finally, we highlight a celebratory project of our friends at ALPB:


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

Images of the finished gold anodized version of medals number 1, 3 and 5, and the antique bronze version of medals number 2 and 4. The obverse of each medal is 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). the tower of the Castle Church in Wittenberg where he received his doctor's degree (#4) and Luther's tower study in the Augustinian monastery in Wittenberg (#5). Actual size of medals is 1 1/2 inches. Click on the image above for a larger version, then click again to magnify.


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

Collector's Board

Martin Luther Medals
(click here for larger image)

A collector's medal holder is now also available. It can be ordered below for $5.50 plus $2 shipping and handling.

With orders for 25 or more gold anodized aluminum medals two gifts will be provided: 1 - Reformation Countdown Hymn, “Hammer Blows Heard Round the World” by Scott Blazek and Reagan Mullin, with each stanza focusing on the theme of one of the medals (with permission to copy in church bulletins) and 2 - children's sermon ideas by Fred Schumacher for use at distribution of medals.
We were provided with the pictured collector's board with the first six medals. It will be a teaching tool at my classical Lutheran school this October. Now, I need to order some of the coins for the students to take home!

I've said it before and write it again: read more Luther for the sake of the Gospel and your hearers in Jesus' Name!


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 permanent member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.

Pulpit Review: Gerhard

Gerhard, Johann. Translated by Richard J. Dinda. Edited by Benjamin T. G. Mayes and Joshua J. Hayes. On Creation and Predestination (Theological Commonplaces: XIII-XI). St. Louis: Concordia, 2013. 390 Pages. Cloth. $54.99. (LHP)

Gerhard, Johann. Translated by Elmer M. Hohle. Edited by Heidi D. Sias. Postille: Sunday and Main Festival Gospels, Parts III and IV. Fort Wayne: Lutheran Legacy, 2012. 388 Pages. Paper. $19.95. (P)

After too long of a wait for English-reading Lutherans, Johann Gerhard is finally getting his due. Two recent Gerhard releases are before us in this review.

The cover subtitle mentions creation and predestination. The title page goes into much more detail of what is in store for a reader of Theological Commonplaces VIII-XI:
In this volume, Gerhard addresses creation, anthropology, angels, divine providence, eternal election, and the image of God. 

The Theological Commonplaces series is the first-ever English translation of Johann Gerhard's monumental Loci Theologici. Gerhard was the premier Lutheran theologian of the early seventeenth century. Combining his profound understanding of evangelical Lutheran theology with a broad interest in ethics and culture, he produced significant works on biblical, doctrinal, pastoral, and devotional theology. Gerhard interacts with the writings of the church fathers, Luther and his contemporaries, and the Catholic and Calvinist theologians of his day. His 17-volume Loci is regarded as the standard compendium of Lutheran orthodoxy, with topics ranging from the proper understanding and interpretation of Scripture to eschatology.
Useful for research on Lutheran doctrine, Gerhard's accessible style makes this a must-have on the bookshelf of pastors and professional church workers.
Each embossed hardback volume includes
• the translation of Gerhard's Loci (originally published from 1610 to 1625)
• a glossary of key theological, rhetorical, and philosophical terms
• a name index
• a Scripture index
• a carefully researched works cited list that presents guidance for deciphering the numerous abbreviations of the other titles from which Gerhard quotes.

Call 1-800-325-3040 or become a subscriber to the series and save 30% off the retail price!
Commonplace VIII: On Creation and Angels details God's initial creation and shares an amazing wealth of information about the messengers of God, His holy angels (and our old evil foe). 

Commonplace XI: On the Image of God in Man before the Fall returns to the topic of God's creation by zeroing in on humanity and a fuller definition of imago Dei than is currently widely-known in the LCMS Explanation of Luther's Small Catechism.

Commonplace IX: On Providence gives a Lutheran definition to the term (Chapter I), details God's foreknowledge (Ch. III), and successfully defends the thesis and Biblical truth that God is not the cause of sin (Ch. X). 

Commonplace X: On Election and Reprobation builds on the necessary foundation of Commonplace IX and will help 21st Century Lutherans discuss the topic with Calvinists winsomely and Biblically, well-equipped for such a difficult task. I wish I would have had this volume as a tool for pastoral care two years ago.

I rejoice in the restoration of our Lutheran doctrinal heritage! 

If only Gerhard were more widely known and studied at the time of the Predestinarian controversy (xv)!

Thank you, CPH, for regularly releasing volumes of this important set.

I am also thankful for Elmer M. Hohle's translations of Gerhard's sermons!

I began reading Gerhard's sermons (Volume I) in 2003 thanks to the publication of Rev. Dr. Hohle's previous translation work. Page ix of that volume's Foreword explained that there were more sermons to come from the 1613 collection. 

My patience was rewarded in 2007 with the publication of Volume 2, Sermons for the Trinity season, translated by Dr. O Marc Tangner, and released by Repristination Press.

Dr. Hohle is again the translator of Parts II and IV. Lutheran Legacy brings them to us in this (c) 2012 paperback. It is so good it deserves a hardcover!
In Exegesis and Explanation of Sunday and Main Festival Gospels, Dr. Johann Gerhard (1582-1637) continues his Postille works, delving into the Gospel texts of the Apostles and other Festival Days (Vol. III) as well as passages for Midweek Sermons (Vol. IV).
A translation by Dr. Elmer Hohle faithfully transmits Gerhard's insightful and engaging 17th century text. His Law and Gospel themed writing is both convicting and comforting as he points the reader to Christ, open very powerfully. Gerhard says, "Since Christ thus is the true Way, He will not lead us upon false ways. Since He is the Truth, He will not deceive us. Because He is the Life, He will not leave us in death. His Word is the Truth—we should believe it. His holy life is the true Way—we should walk upon it. Thus we shall find eternal life in Him." (p. 61)
Gerhard examines a variety of theological topics in these volumes, including: the Office of the Ministry, Christ and the Church (Bridegroom and Bride), marriage, the Christian life, angels, doubt, suffering, the burden of sin, death, hell, repentance, the joy of eternal life, the Last Day, and heaven.
Gerhard encourages those in the faith to continually study and receive God's gifts when he says, "Just strengthen your faith by hearing God's Word, and through the use of the Sacraments. Longingly sigh for God, He wants to complete the work begun and protect you unto everlasting life, where then shall be perfect assurance that we shall be with the Lord at all times." (p. 258) May this volume build up your faith through Gerhard's examination of God's Word.
  • Volume 3: Apostle and Other Festival Days
  • On the Day of St. Andrew (30 November) Matt 4:18–22
  • On the Day of St. Thomas (21 December) John 20:24–29
  • On the Day of The Conversion of St. Paul (25 January) John 19:27-30
  • On the Day of The Purification of Mary (2 February) Luke 2:22-32
  • On the Day of St. Matthew (24 [25] February) Matt 11:25–30
  • On the Day of Sts. Philip and James (1 May) John 14:1–14
  • On the Day of St. John the Baptizer (24 June) Luke 1:57–80
  • On the Day of Sts. Peter and Paul (29 June) Matt 16:13–20
  • On the Day of Mary's Visitation (2 July) Luke 1:39–56
  • On the Day of Mary Magdalene (22 July) Luke 7:36–50
  • On the Day of St. James (25 July) Matt 20:20–23
  • On the Day of St. Bartholomew (24 August) Luke 22:24–30
  • On the Day of St. Matthew (21 September) Matt 9:9–13
  • On the Day of St. Michael (29 September) Matt 18:1–11
  • On the Day of Sts. Simon and Jude (28 October) John 15:17–25
Volume 4: Appendage of Passages for Midweek Sermons
  • The First Sermon (Job 1:13–22)
  • The Second Sermon (Isa 57:1–2)
  • The Third Sermon (Ps 42:1–2)
  • The Fourth Sermon (Ps 68:19–20)
  • The Fifth Sermon (Ps 73:25–26)
  • The Sixth Sermon (Matt 3:1–2)
  • The Seventh Sermon (Matt 5:11–12)
  • The Eighth Sermon (Matt 7:13–14)
  • The Ninth Sermon (Matt 8:20)
  • The Tenth Sermon (Matt 13:40–42)
  • The Eleventh Sermon (Matt 16:24)
  • The Twelfth Sermon (John 8:12)
  • The Thirteenth Sermon (John 10:27–30)
  • The Fourteenth Sermon (Eph 5:32)
  • The Fifteenth Sermon (Phil 1:21)
  • The Sixteenth Sermon (2 Pet 3:10–11)
  • The Seventeenth Sermon (1 John 1:7b)
  • The Eighteenth Sermon (1 John 4:16b)
  • The Nineteenth Sermon (Heb 9:27–28 )
  • The Twentieth Sermon (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26–28; 3:5, 12, 21)
  • The Twenty-first Sermon (Rev 7:13–17)
  • The Twenty-second Sermon (Gen 24:2, 7)
  • The Twenty-third Sermon (Gen 35:16–20)
  • The Twenty-fourth Sermon (Ps 126:5–6)
  • The Twenty-fifth Sermon (Hos 2:19–20)
  • The Twenty-sixth Sermon (Sir 26:22–23)
  • The Twenty-seventh Sermon (John 11:25–26)
  • The Twenty-eighth Sermon (Rom 8:31–34)
  • The Twenty-ninth Sermon (2 Cor 5:1–10)
Allow me to note some of the most fascinating contents:
  • Annunciation is also titled "Conception of Christ" (Contents, refers readers to Volume I, 262)
  • A notable sermon "On the Day of St. Michael" on Matthew 18:1-11 (131)
  • The explanation of Part Four: "Appendage of beautiful and selected passages from the Old and New Testament that otherwise and usually were presented and explained in mid-week sermons, especially directed towards the purpose that we may get to know God's love and Christ's merits, and may blessedly receive them in the inward man" (sub-title page)
  • The Twenty-sixth Sermon, notable for being a Lutheran sermon on Sirach 26:22-23 already, gives the origin of Christian wedding sermons: "Finally, such wedding sermons were sanctified by God's Church. For it cannot be denied that ca. 170 AD this praiseworthy practice was introduced into the Christian Church, that the bridal couple was led to church, upon previous instruction from God's Word. They then in the presence of God, with the holy angels and attending Christians as witnesses, were married with the nuptial blessing" (352).
Did you know that last tidbit? I didn't. That paragraph alone should make it worth your purchase (and sharing in future premarital counseling and wedding sermons).

Did Rev. Dr. Hohle also translate part 2? I would be interested in seeing his translation someday.

Prioritize both of these volumes on your wish list and in your continuing ed budget!

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 permanent member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.

Pulpit Review: Walther

Walther, C. F. W. Gospel Sermons, Volume 1 (Walther's Works). St. Louis: Concordia, 2013. 306 Pages. Cloth. $49.99 (P)

Walther, C. F. W. Gospel Sermons, Volume 2 (Walther's Works). St. Louis: Concordia, 2014. 284 Pages. Cloth. $49.99 (P)

When I was on vicarage, I read this:

And it was one of the highlights of my entire "internship" year. 

No, I'm not THAT old! I was blessed with three boxes of "old German books" including and 1861 Latin all-in-one-volume Examination of the Council of Trent. Yet, I kept coming back to the Walther sermons on the Gospel readings of the Historic lectionary. Back then, my German was better than my Greek. It still meant slow going in Fraktur letters, but it was well worth my efforts (because I definitely needed some joyful, yet solvable distractions in those days).

I remember thinking aloud, "Why should English-reading LCMS Lutherans be deprived of reading these sermons of Walther?" Concordia Publishing House should be commended for making my wish a reality. It wasn't mine alone, apparently.
Walther's sermons reflect not only the importance of Walther as leading theologian of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in the first decades of its existence but also his extraordinary gifts as a preacher. Now in English, Walther’s sermons will give you today a peek into the powerful preaching of the first president of the LCMS.

The sermons are printed unchanged in content and form. They originate from the Walther’s almost 30 years as pastor of the first German Evangelical Lutheran (Joint) congregation of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession in this country, which for some time past consists of four areas with four churches: Trinity, Immanuel, Zion, and Cross Churches. Gospel Sermons Volume 2 covers The Time of the Church (The Season after Pentecost, including sermons for several feast days).

Experience this explanation of God’s Word by C. F. W. Walther and know that Christians are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His [God’s] own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). This was the Bible verse Walther put on one of the first pages of the German edition of his Gospel sermons.

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.
If you haven't read more than Law and Gospel by Walther, you need to read these sermons

If you've never preached on the Historic One Year Lectionary (and you should for at least one year), consider doing so and prepare for the task by reading these Gospel Sermons

Any preacher would benefit from reading these sermons by consulting the Scripture Index of each volume to find texts found in both the One and Three-Year Lectionaries.

What does "postil" mean? Find the answer from President Harrison in his endorsement of the set.

My favorites were largely at the end of the second volume, "Day of the Purification of Mary" (234ff), "Reformation Day" (248ff), and "Day of Humiliation" (268f), though the first volume helped my preaching of Luke 18:31-43 on Quinquagesima (147ff) and John 14:23-31 for Pentecost (291ff).

What's next in Walther's Works? I haven't been told officially (or unofficially for that matter). 

Epistle sermons, anyone? 

His Communism and Socialism would be timely.

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 permanent member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Received for Review

Hodge,  Bodie and Laura Welch, editors and compilers.  Illustrations by Bill Looney.  The Flood of Noah: Legends and Lore of Survival.  Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2014. 24 Pages. Interactive Hardcover. $18.99.  (LHPN)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Received for Review

Sabel, Thomas. Legends of Luternia: the Prince Decides. Little Elm, TX: eLectio Publishing, 2013. 217 Pages. Paper. $13.99. (ebook for $4.99.) (LHPN)

Rossow, Francis. Gospel Handles: Old Testament Lessons. St. Louis: Concordia, 2014. ebook. (P)

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Edited by Clifford J Green, Michael DeJonge. The Bonhoeffer Reader. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2013. 850  Pages. ebook. (LHP)

Refuge: Selections from The Book of Psalms for Worship. Pittsburgh: Crown & Covenant Publications, 2011. Audio CD. $15.00. (H)

Deliverance: Selections from The Book of Psalms for Worship. Pittsburgh: Crown & Covenant Publications, 2019. Audio CD. $15.00. (H)

Nov 2010 BPW

Mar 2011

Dec 2011 BPW5th

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Closing Issue 8.2 and Opening Issue 8.3

Pentecost: Closing Issue 8.2 and Opening Issue 8.3

This post will mark the last entry in QBR 8.2, Eastertide,
and the opening entry in Apostles' Tide, QBR 8.3

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Received for Review

Newton, Phil A. and Matt Schmucker. Elders in the Life of the Church: Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership (A comprehensive update of the previous edition, Elders in Congregational Life). Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2014. 256 Pages. Paper. $16.99. (LHP)

Keating, Ray. The River: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel. Manorville, NY: Keating Reports, 2014. 264 Pages. Paper. $13.99. (LHPN)