Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Received for Review



Gerhard, Johann. Translated by Richard J. Dinda. Edited by Benjamin T. G. Mayes and Heath R. Curtis. On Sin and Free Choice (Theological Commonplaces XII-XIV). St. Louis: Concordia, 2014. 367 Pages. Cloth. $54.99. http://www.cph.org/p-23635-on-sin-and-free-choice-theological-commonplaces.aspx (P)

Das, A. Andrew. Galatians (Concordia Commentary). St. Louis: Concordia, 2014. 738 Pages. Cloth. $49.99. http://www.cph.org/p-24356-galatians-concordia-commentary.aspx (P)



Engelbrecht, Edward A., General Editor of English Edition. Hector E. Hoppe, Editor of Spanish Edition. La Biblia de la Reforma: Biblia de Estudio (Reina Valera Contemporanea). St. Louis: Editorial Concordia, 2014. 2336 Pages. Cloth. $49.99. http://www.cph.org/p-22186-la-biblia-de-la-reforma-the-bible-of-the-reformation.aspx (LHP)
LHP QBR was also honored to receive advanced digital preview copies of two titles, and a partial digital preview of a third:
Engelbrecht, Edward A., General Editor. Lutheran Bible Companion (Set). St. Louis: Concordia, 2014. pdf sample received. Initial Hardback Sale Price: $49.99. www.cph.org/p-24345-lutheran-bible-companion-set.aspx (LHP)

Kraus, George. Edited and Revised by Scot A. Kinnaman. The Pastor at Prayer. St. Louis: Concordia, 2014. 288 Pages. pdf sample received. Hardback: $24.99. www.cph.org/p-26075-the-pastor-at-prayer-revised-edition.aspx (LHP)

Concordia Psalter. St. Louis: Concordia, 2015. www.cph.org (LHP)


Received for Review






Ross, Melanie C. Foreword by Mark A. Noll. Evangelical Versus Liturgical? Defying a Dichotomy. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014. 149 Pages. Paper. $17.00. www.eerdmans.com (L)


Friday, July 11, 2014

LHP Review: Commentary on Luther's Catechisms




Peters, Albrecht. Translated by Holger K. Sonntag. Creed (Commentary on Luther's Catechisms). St. Louis: Concordia, 2011. 588 Pages. Paper. $42.99. http://www.cph.org/ (P)


Peters, Albrecht. Translated by Holger K. Sonntag. Lord's Prayer (Commentary on Luther's Catechisms). St. Louis: Concordia, 2011. 222 Pages. Paper. $42.99. http://www.cph.org/ (P)

Peters, Albrecht. Translated by Holger K. Sonntag. Baptism and Lord's Supper Commandments (Commentary on Luther's Catechisms). St. Louis: Concordia, 2012. 248 Pages. Paper. $42.99. http://www.cph.org/ (P)

Peters, Albrecht. Translated by Holger K. Sonntag. Confession and Christian Life (Commentary on Luther's Catechisms). St. Louis: Concordia, 2013. 280 Pages. Paper. $42.99. (On sale: $36.99.) http://www.cph.org/ (P)


We rejoice in the completion of the publication of Albrecht Peter's Commentary on Luther's Catechisms. Let's return to portions of our review of the first volume on the Ten Commandments:

In accordance with LCMS governing documents, and since Albrecht Peters made regular use of historical-critical methods of interpretation (10, 56, et al) a "Surgeon General's Warning box" appears on the copyright page (4). It reads:

This material is being released for study and discussion purposes, and the author is solely responsible for its contents. It has not been submitted to the process for doctrinal review stipulated in the Bylaws of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod and odes not necessarily reflect the theology of the Lutheran Confessions or the doctrinal position of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.
Is the book worth it for the publisher to go ahead and publish and the reader to buy and read? Most certainly!

Consider our ongoing discussion about "graven images" with the Reformed, (mentioned in a parallel review). Peters explains the history behind this seeming "skip" over the text of R2/L1B. Consider Augustine and all of the iconoclastic controversies of Christian history (141ff). He lays out a convincing case for Christian teaching and practice.

I will grant Peters his insights and thank the Lord for them, but like CPH and the aforementioned LCMS Bylaw language, I will not share with those whom I teach his false JEDP musings (Deuteronomist, 141), nor a partition of prophetic books (Deutero-Isaiah, 145). What God has joined together, let not man separate!

Peters excels in organizing his thought and that of Luther. Chapters share a common structure:
  • Wording of the Commandment, Interpretation, (and Arrangement in the Large Catechism)
  • Characteristics of Luther's Interpretation
  • Texts by Luther on the same topic
  • Other helpful Bibliography
The German Edition of Commentary on Luther's Catechisms by Albrecht Peters has long been the gold standard of research on the catechetical texts of the great reformer. This translation makes the wealth of research available in English for both the researcher and the catechist. This is the first of five volumes. 

Future volumes with address the Decalogue, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Sacraments, and Confession with the Table of Duties, Prayers, and the Marriage and Baptismal Booklets.  (publisher's website)
Let's proceed with a fresh review of the rest.
The German Edition of Commentary on Luther's Catechisms by Albrecht Peters has long been the gold standard of research on the catechetical texts of the great reformer. This translation makes the wealth of research available in English for both the researcher and the catechist.  
Foreword by Gottfried Seebass
Translated by Holger K. Sonntag, Thomas H. Trapp, and Daniel Thies
Separate volumes address the Decalogue, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Sacraments, and Confession with the Table of Duties, prayers, and the Marriage and Baptismal Booklets. 
Let's take the volumes one by one. My focus will be on the kind of insights you will gain from buying, owning, and studying each volume in the series.

Luther is responsible for our modern approach to the Apostles' Creed, in that we see three instead of twelve articles (33). Peters contrasts Imago Dei with Imago Satanae (95ff). Page 112ff give an outline of the Creed section of Luther's Large Catechism. Learn how "prophet, priest, and king" came together as a phrase (120ff). Consider Christ "for us" (134), a liturgical Christology (163), and Luther's comment on supposed marriage between humans and gods (167). Read four insights on the Third article (216ff). Conclude by learning why "Christian" is a translation of catholica (268ff).

Read about "The Lord's Prayer as Defensive and Offensive Weapon Against Satan" (22ff), the source of the content and pattern of the "What does this mean?" questions (60ff), refuge in baptism and references of Church Fathers (151), and a treatment of the 6th and 7th petitions as a double petition (173ff).

Consider "promise and faith" as Luther's guides to add Bible wording and teaching of the two Sacraments to the Western catechetical tradition (1ff, 27ff, passim), "The Gift of the Saving Work of Christ under Word and Sacrament (43ff), "The Faith of the Church and the Particular Faith of a Child at Baptism (122ff), and the author's insights on Luther's two front war of catechesis against both Roman and Reformed (198ff, passim).

This volume reminds the reader of the enormity of Peters' work: "he examined each of the later editions, the various expositions on Confession and Absolution, the Household Responsibilities, the Marriage Booklet and the Baptismal Booklet, as well as Luther's Household Prayers, which included the Morning and Evening Blessings and prayers before and after meals" (xiii). Sometimes the chapter titles are enlightening: "Individual Confession and Absolution as the Proper Form for the Office of the Keys" (3). Often, insights are highlighted in section headings: "Restructuring Private Confession and Absolution to Become an Exercise in Law and Gospel" (82). I loved reading about Luther's source material for prayer (235-251), my favorite chapter of the whole book and set!
 

I am not aware of any other resource even remotely like this set, so order the entire five-volume set of Peters' Commentary on Luther's Catechisms!


LHP QBR reviewed the first volume of this set back in 2010:
http://lhpqbr.blogspot.com/2010/11/pulpit-review-ten-commandments.html



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.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

LHP Review: Music for Worship and the Christian Life






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

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


Munson, Paul and Joshua Farris Drake. Art and Music: A Student's Guide (Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition). Wheaton: Crossway, 2014. 112 Pages. Paper. $11.99. www.crossway.org (LHP)

Vieker, Jon D. August Crull and the Story of the Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book 1912 (Shaping American Lutheran Church Music). Minneapolis: Lutheran University Press, 2013. 87 Pages. Paper. $15.00. http://www.lutheranupress.org/Worship-and-Music-books (LH)

Hawkins, Robert D. Prelude and Fuge on the Life of Harriet Reynolds Krauth Spaeth 1845-1925 (Shaping American Lutheran Church Music). Minneapolis: Lutheran University Press, 2012. 31 Pages. Paper. $15.00. http://www.lutheranupress.org/Worship-and-Music-books (LH)

Hyslop, Scott M. The Precious Gift: The Hymns, Carols, and Translations of Henry L. Letterman (Shaping American Luheran Church Music). Minneapolis: Lutheran University Press, 2013. 126 Pages. Paper. $15.00. http://www.lutheranupress.org/Worship-and-Music-books (H)

Finale 2014. Eden Prarie, MN: MakeMusic, 2013. Music notation/composition software. Windows/Mac. (Retail: $600; Academic/Theological: $350; Upgrade from Finale, previous version $139.95; Trade up from Allegro: $300; Trade up from PrintMusic: $400. Trade Up from SongWriter: $450; Switch from competitive product $139.) http://www.finalemusic.com/products/finale/ (LH)  


Psalms, Hymns, Songs of the Spirit, and software are before us in this LHP Review.



Refuge is 17 psalm selections from The Book of Psalms for Worship, recorded by a choir from the Syracuse Reformed Presbyterian Church. Includes Psalms 3B, 27A, 30B, 34B, 42D, 48A, 51C, 68A, 73B, 76B, 84C, 130B, 123A, 107C, 134A, 140A, and 149A.

You can download the words for Refuge here.



I appreciated hearing more traditional choir voicings and tone paintings on this recording. 

Lutheran listeners will recognize 3B (Lutheran Service Book 442), 34B (405, 441), 48A (886, 891), 51C (490, 741), 73B (613, 766), 76B (909), 84C (377), and 123A (628, 705). 

Choirs and congregations of the LCMS should be able to pick up these new Psalm texts paired with  well-known tunes upon a first singing. 



Deliverance includes 20 psalm selections from The Book of Psalms for Worship, performed by Tim and Kaylee McCracken. Includes Psalms 3B, 12, 17A, 17B, 17C, 20A, 23D, 25A, 25B, 25C, 29A, 48A, 59A, 65C, 65D, 70A, 100C, 108A, 108D, and 141A.

You can download the lyrics for Deliverance here.

Still accessible, but less familiar on early tracks, Lutheran listeners will recognize 29A's St. Denio, 48A's St. Clement, 59A's National Hymn, 65C's Lauda Anima, 65D's Solid Rock, 100C's Lobe Den Herren, 108A's Nicaea, and 108D's Diademata. Singable. Edifying. Try metrical Psalms!


We have featured reviews of The Book of Psalms for Worship and its various editions and recordings in previous reviews:


Nov 2010  http://lhpqbr.blogspot.com/2010/11/hymnody-review-psalms.htm

April 2011 http://lhpqbr.blogspot.com/2011/04/liturgy-and-hymnody-review-psalms-hymns.html


Dec 2011  http://lhpqbr.blogspot.com/2011/12/liturgy-and-hymnody-review-sing-more.html
All are commended to you for your consideration.


More music awaits us in the latest release from Crossway's series, Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition.


We were surprised to see two large subject areas compressed together in such a thin volume. Do remember, these books are not complete courses, but the necessary supplemental worldview orientation each Christian needs in and after College.


Munson and Drake guide the reader to think critically about why something is objectively, rather than merely subjectively good. Sacred and secular examples will help the reader appreciate the treasures of Western Civilization while learning to be more critical about pop culture and every fad and "wind of doctrine" in modern music and visual art.
God made us to enjoy beauty wherever we find it, whether it’s music or the visual arts. But sin finds ways to obscure what is right in front of our eyes and ears.
Drawing on years of teaching experience, two professors offer tips for understanding, evaluating, and appreciating art in all its forms while highlighting the important ways in which art and music reflect the glory of God. This book will help you better understand and appreciate humanity’s pursuit and imitation of beauty through artistic expression—a vital means by which we bear witness to the beauty of our Creator.
Paul Munson (PhD, University of Michigan) is professor of music at Grove City College.
Joshua Farris Drake (PhD, University of Glasgow) is associate professor of music and humanities at Grove City College.




 
We turn our attention to three titles by Lutheran University Press and Concordia University Chicago.


An essential biography and history of what are for all practical purposes "lost years" for many American Lutherans, Dr. John D. Vieker writes of August Crull and the Story of the Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book. 
August Crull (1845–1923) edited and compiled the first edition of the Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book (1889), thus playing a critical role in shaping the hymnic tradition of the Missouri Synod as it transitioned from German to English. This study tells the story of Crull’s pioneering labor in the formation of this seminal hymnal and documents the twenty-year journey to its final edition in 1912, which became the first, official English-language hymnal of the Missouri Synod.

JON D. VIEKER served for twelve years as assistant director for the Commission on Worship and since 2010 has served as senior assistant to the president of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. This is the second of a series of monographs published by the Center for Church Music, Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Illinois—Shaping American Lutheran Church Music—highlighting persons, movements, and events which have helped shape the course of church music among Lutherans in North America. 
Some LCMS Lutherans may read this volume and learn that the English District used to be a separate English-speaking church body. Some readers may learn about the existence of the English District for the first time! 

Imagine a hymnal without music. The Lutheran Hymnal would not have been what it was to the LCMS and the Synodical Conference without the 1892 Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book the desire to have a tune book for it. That led to ELHB 1912.

Vieker highlights the faithful worship history of the LCMS (and some of the typos and editorial disagreements along the way) in this wonderful volume.



Robert Hawkins writes a biography of Harriet Reynolds Krauth Spaeth in the form of a literary Prelude and Fugue. She "was music editor of the Church Book with Music (1872), [and] she was the only woman ever to serve in that capacity.

Worship wars are nothing new. Spaeth helped pave the way for the Common Service of 1888 (16), but her work and that of confessional Lutheranism faced and still faces criticism and praise, whether from Reed or Grindal (28).
The author served for twenty-six years as professor of worship and music, and dean of Christ Chapel at the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina.

This is the first of a series of monographs to be published by the Center for Church Music, Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Illinois—Shaping American Lutheran Church Music—highlighting persons, movements, and events which have helped shape the course of church music among American Lutherans in North America.



Part biography, history, a "behind the scenes look at LW, and hymnody collection, The Precious Gift by Scott Hyslop gives us The Hymns, Carols, and Translations of Henry L. Letterman.

Henry L. Lettermann (1932-96) served as professor of English at Concordia Teachers College, River Forest, Illinois, from 1959 to 1988 where his talent for poetry became readily apparent. From 1979 to 1987 he served as a member and secretary of the Hymn Text and Music Committee which produced Lutheran Worship in 1982. His original texts, translations, and observations about the process of preparing this new hymnal provide fascinating insights.

Scott M. Hyslop received a DMA in organ/church music from the University of Michigan. In addition to numerous compositions for the church, he has also published a biography of Paul Manz (Morning Star, 2007). He presently serves as director of parish music at St. Lorenz Lutheran Church in Frankenmuth, Michigan.
Two Letterman texts made it into LSB 835's "On Galilee's High Mountain," and "Lord Jesus Christ, the Children's Friend" (866).




All three booklets are recommended. We pray for more additions to this series.



 

We've reviewed previous versions of Finale composing software in the past. This time, we REALLY tested it out.




Getting Started
Getting started is easy. Whether you’re setting up your score, picking a music font, or watching a QuickStart Video, Finale guides you to perfection.
Entering Notes
Enter notes your way – from MIDI to your mouse, from scanning to Finale’s exclusive MicNotator®, no other software offers you more note entry options.
Adding Markings, Lyrics, and More New in 2014 – Expanded Percussion Playback
Finale automates and streamlines the process of entering lyrics, guitar tab, chords, and more.
Editing Tools
Finale makes it easy to perfect your score with handy editing tools like the Selection tool, Multiple page editing, ScoreManager®, and intuitive cut/copy/paste options.
Hearing Your Music New in 2014 - More Garritan Sounds
Finale includes world-class instrument libraries, support for external sound libraries, and several innovative tools to make sure your music sounds as good as it looks.
Sharing Your Music New in 2014 - Backward and Forward Compatibility
In addition to printed pages and audio files, Finale helps you create electronic documents that anyone can edit, print, and save. No one offers more ways to collaborate and share your music.
Educator Tools New in 2014 - More Resources
With exclusive features like SmartMusic® support, customizable music education worksheets, and the Exercise Wizard, Finale offers music educators more ways to save time.
Composing and Arranging Timesavers New in 2014 - Expanded Linked Parts
Exclusive idea-generating features, essential tools like transposition and range checking, and timesavers like Linked Parts are all included.

Production and Sequencing Tools
Finale is able to open or save as a standard MIDI file to work in conjunction with the industry’s most in-demand production and sequencing programs. Video support and Finale’s built in mixer are just two of many tools inside of Finale that help you prepare your score for final production.

Finishing Touches New in 2014 - Improvements to Rests, Accidentals, SmartShapes and more.
Finale is the industry standard because it offers ultimate control of the printed page.


Using an older version of Finale?
Finale is constantly being improved and new features are added each year. In the past few years these include: Linked Parts, easier chord entry, improved staff layout, percussion notation enhancements, improved lyrics, automatic rehearsal marks, and more.
See what you’ve been missing.
To put Finale 2014 through its paces, we had had ambitious plans. They all fell apart when my laptop seized up and died just before Thanksgiving. I was essentially without a personal computer (though I still had computer access) for nearly a month. And to be clear, NO, the Finale software was NOT to blame. We were able to rescue the data from my machine and successfully restore my data and Windows 8.1 to the very machine I'm writing on.

Vacation time for my niece's Confirmation on Palm Sunday gave me time to pause and reflect and compose. It wasn't planned. I heard a "wouldn't it be nice to have..." from friend and in a quiet moment I heard a new original melody to an historic hymn text playing in my head. It found its way onto a notepad in my own secret code for when I don't have staff paper at hand. I finished the set of compositions the same way over the next few days at home. And a new Mass setting for Lutherans was born.

Entry of the melody into the Finale 2014 software was easier than I had remembered. I still had minor challenges to overcome when correcting typos in a potential arranger's name I inputted through the Wizard. I still dread the laborious process of inserting lyrics or hymn texts, thought I have appreciated the semi-automations of Finale versions before this F2014.

What do I love? A LOT. I sent of my compositions to a friend with an older version of Finale for arrangement. Boy, do I owe him! They arrived today to my great joy, and were recognized as Finale Legacy Notation Files by Finale 2014. I saved them in the new format, printed everything, and exported the files as .wav audio. Everything worked without a hitch.

I can also print them in "hymnal" format bulletin inserts, just like I always dreamed of. 


I wholeheartedly recommend Finale 2014. They have listened and responded to some of this reviewer's previous critiques and requests. I'm happy with the software. And I'm sure it will be even better in the next upgrade.




Sing a New Song Unto the Lord! SDG



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

Quick Summaries: Elders, Preaching and Pastors


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.

Overdorf, Daniel. One Year to Better Preaching: 52 Exercises to Hone Your Skills. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2013. 319 Pages. Paper. $17.99. www.kregel.com (P)

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


Helm, David. Expository Preaching: How We Speak God's Word Today (9Marks). Wheaton: Crossway, 2014. 125 Pages. Cloth. $14.99. www.crossway.org (P)
Rinne, Jeramie. Church Elders: How to Shepherd God's People Like Jesus (9Marks). Wheaton: Crossway, 2014. 133 Pages. Cloth. $14.99. www.crossway.org (LHP)


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. www.kregel.com (LHP)

Hellerman, Joseph H. Embracing Shared Ministry: Power and Status in the Early Church and Why It Matters Today. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2013. 313 Pages. Paper. $17.99.  www.kregel.com (LHP)


Kornacki, Alan. Lutheran Purgatory: Pastors Without Calls. Amazon Createspace, 2014, 72 Pages. eBook. $4.99 ($2.99 currently) http://www.amazon.com/Lutheran-Purgatory-Pastors-Without-Calls-ebook/dp/B00L84ZWZK (LHP)

 

This post is primarily for pastors. Elders and "hearers" of our congregations, feel free to listen in.




/+ Caution! One Year to Better Preaching: 52 Exercises to Hone Your Skills has great potential in improving your preaching. Unfortunately, if you quickly work your way through all 52, you will feel beat up by the Law like little you have experienced before. Some exercises will seem designed to please every English Grammar teacher in your congregation (e.g., 17 Write in E-Prime) while others are neglected common sense (22 Pray for Your Listeners, 49 Write for the Ear). Lutheran preachers will appreciate some more than others (45 Make a Bee Line for the Cross, 48 Interweave Preaching and Worship) while grieving for those who need to be taught such things for the FIRST time. Recommended, but with caution. Take in intentional small doses.

+ I first learned of Dr. Rossow's "Gospel Handle" idea from Preaching the Creative Gospel Creatively. Then, I had him for a seminary course on C. S. Lewis. I have since appreciated his Gospel Patterns in Literature and the companion to this volume, Gospel Handles: Finding New Connections in Biblical Texts, a volume that solely focused on sample Gospel Handles and sermons based on the Four Gospels. "A Gospel handle involves the selection from a biblical sermon text of an excerpt that contains absolutely no Gospel whatsoever; the preacher then uses this excerpt as an approach, bridge, or handle to an account of the Gospel somewhere else in the Bible." This volume focuses on Old Testament Lessons, and gives examples of Gospel handles in the Pentateuch, History books, Poetry books, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures. The book concludes with sample sermons, including a free text sermon on Job. Creative, Practical, Useful, and Affordable. Recommended!


+ Largely helpful and practical, David' Helm's 9Marks volume on Expositional Preaching: How We Speak God's Word Today could benefit Lutheran preachers. It is part of a series focused on Building Healthy Churches. Having preaching like this (67, passim), that respects the text and the Biblical hearer by proper contextualization, exegesis (instead of eisegesis), and theological reflection, a preacher can avoid the perils of an overly academic/intellectual treatise, an imperitival legalistic nightmare, a spiritualizing trainwreck, or a dehistoricizing myth of a homily. While we were generally pleased with this volume, similar ones (yet to come) left us disappointed. Recommended. Supplement with Walther's Law and Gospel.



- Church Elders is absolutely insufficient as a text for Lutheran lay elders, Lutheran pastors may find some minor benefit and encouragement in this brief 9Marks volume. The main offense to Holy Scripture's doctrine of the Holy Ministry is equating the man-created office of lay elder with the Office of the Holy Ministry called elder in the New Testament. The author shows no knowledge of ordination, yet references many of the passages that pastors will be reminded of at an ordination or installation in the Lutheran Church. Lay elders share much in common with ordained elders. Both are filled with the Baptized. The distinction is not one of person, for both are filled with sinner-saints, but the distinction is one of Office.


- I found it curious that 9Marks authorized two books on Elders by two different publishers. They are here reviewed in close proximity. Newton and Schmucker's volume is an updated edition of their previous release, Elders in Congregation Life. Elders in the Life of the Church: Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership is better than the aforementioned and reviewed Church Elders, but is also insufficient for Lutheran use. The authors provide a lively and sometimes entertaining apologetic for Presbyterian-like teaching and ruling elders in Baptist or nondenominational congregations, but fall into the same eisegesis trap as the Rinne volume: they equate lay elders and ordained pastors rather than seeing the distinction Lutheran, Anglican, Roman and Eastern Christians have seen between the ordained Office of the Public Ministry and lay elders, the latter based upon Acts 6 and church tradition. Lay elders, or deacons, are an auxiliary, man-created office to assist the Pastoral Office. I see modern (and centuries-old) ideas of the word elder being read back into the Biblical text. How about a more thorough study of the word "deacon"? It is one thing to speak of THE BIBLICAL MODEL. There too many Biblical texts left unexamined by the authors. Not Recommended.






/ I remain curious as to why this book was written. Who is the intended audience? What change is desired by the author? I can appreciate a desire for "servant leadership" and for leaders who "relate to one another first as brothers and sisters in Christ." Those are helpful and godly ideas. I'm not sure that a study of the early church peppered with the latest church buzzwords will be the most convincing way to promote or accomplish those goals. I must reject the ordination of women to the Pastoral Office because Scripture does (13). The Chapter Title "When Jesus Is Not Enough (173ff) turned me off as a reader and I quickly lost confidence in the author. 



+ Our final book in this QS is by an author we've reviewed before with his fiction titles. This is non-fiction--scary non-fiction. "The Office of the Holy Ministry within the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is in crisis. It is under attack from pastors who act like corporate executives and arrogant overlords, from bureaucrats who believe a pastor is a failure if he doesn't act like a corporate executive or a used car salesman, and from congregations who believe pastors are merely employees to be hired, evaluated, and fired. Too many pastors have fallen prey to these attitudes and the actions which follow. We call them Candidates, but these men and their families are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and they are suffering. These Candidates, pastors without congregations, suffer in the closest thing Lutherans have to purgatory. These are their stories. Lord willing, we can end their suffering" (Amazon). We commend this for your reading, edification, and action, as the 2013 LCMS Convention acted in care and loving concern for pastors without a call. We thank the Lord for courageous District Presidents who are trying to find appropriate calls for our brothers-in-office in a churchly and Christlike manner.


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

Quick Summaries: Mark, Questions, Bonhoeffer, the Flood, and Catholics


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.


Oden, Thomas C. The African Memory of Mark: Reassessing Early Church Tradition. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2011. 279 Pages. Paper. $22.00 (On sale for $17.60). https://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=3933 (LHP)

Wayne, Israel. Questions God Asks: Unlocking the Wisdom of Eternity. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 2014. 144 Pages. $11.99. www.newleafpress.net (LHP)


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

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. www.masterbooks.net  (LHPN)

Jahn, Curtis A. A Lutheran Looks at Catholics. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2014. 241 Pages. Paper. $16.50. http://online.nph.net/p-14973-a-lutheran-looks-atcatholics.aspx (LHP)


We're back with more Quick Summaries. Enjoy!


+ I have enjoyed the writing of Thomas Oden. The African Memory of Mark is a 2011 eleven release with a fascinating thesis: John Mark was from North Africa. He also asserts that Mark was related to both Barnabas and Peter. Oden paints a powerful picture of Mark, based largely on evidence from African tradition, long-held and passionately held. This reassessment of Church tradition would be an unique addition to your library and background contextual study of the Second Evangelist. Because of the longer, more detailed Gospel accounts, Mark is sadly not paid the attention it is due. Mark the person gets similar treatment. This topic, a biography of Mark, deserves further study. I am interested enough in the authors thesis to double-check his claims in my further study. The select Bibliography will be a great place to start. Recommended.  


+ I had low expectations after my initial skim-through. This book was worth my time reading it. We do well to refrain from judging a book by its cover. Israel Wayne attempts to unlock the wisdom of eternity by studying Questions God Asks. I was concerned this would make Law overshadow Gospel. The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as Wayne shows that the good Lord does what a good lawyer does, asking questions He already knows the answer to. From Adam and Eve to Hezekiah and Job to Jonah, this book puts on the Lord Jesus Christ and shows Him present for our benefit.



/+ Decades after his death at the hands of the Nazis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer remains controversial. Yes, he pushed the envelope on what he said and how he said it to be fresh, yet faithful in his day. Yes, fans on the theological left and right read and interpret him for their own ends. Yet, what he wrote has meaning in itself that often and usually is unmistakably clear. This book/ebook by Fortress is a bargain for what you get. The Church Fathers of ancient times are at their best when they say what Scripture says and faithfully apply it to their own day. The same is true for Bonhoeffer. Consider this, especially if your budget cannot afford Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works. 800+ Pages, including his major theological writings.


+  No, I have not seen the new movie about Noah. There's been enough bad press (and more ticket sales) to make the irreverent film a dud. Still, people are curious about the reality of Noah and of the true Bible history behind him and the worldwide flood that remade the globe. The Flood of Noah is an interactive hardcover for all ages. After all, why should the young have all the fun? Legends and Lore of Survival from cultures and oral traditions around the world are featured in text, graphics, charts, pull-outs, and booklets throughout. Recommended!

++ My only complaint with A Lutheran Looks at Catholics is that it may be the last in Northwestern Publishing House's ALLA... series. Though is is common for Lutherans to compare and contrast themselves with Roman Catholics historically, a compact, modern comparison and contrast resource has been needed. Curtis Jahn fills that gap in our pastoral care literature. Readers needing a quick assessment of where things stand should begin with Chapter 1 (Modern Catholicism) and Chapters 9 and 10 (Parish and Worship Renewal, A Few Global Trends in Catholicism). Pastors and laypeople alike will benefit from reading the entire volume. Recommended!



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

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Received for Review


Kornacki, Alan. Lutheran Purgatory: Pastors Without Calls. Amazon Createspace, 2014, 72 Pages. eBook. $4.99 ($2.99 currently) http://www.amazon.com/Lutheran-Purgatory-Pastors-Without-Calls-ebook/dp/B00L84ZWZK (LHP)



Quick Summaries: Belonging, Stress, Poverty, and Lutheranism





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.
 
Chute, Anthony L., Christopher W. Morgan, and Robert A. Peterson, Editors. Why We Belong: Evangelical Unity and Denominational Diversity. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 251 Pages. Paper. $18.99. http://www.crossway.org/books/why-we-belong-tpb/ (LHP)

Corzine, Jacob and Bryan Wolfmueller, editors. Theology is Eminently Practical: Essays in Honor of John T. Pless. Fort Wayne: Lutheran Legacy, 2012. 272 Pages. Paper. $16.95. www.lutheranlegacy.org (LHP)

DeYoung, Kevin. Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 124 Pages. Paper. $11.99. http://www.crossway.org/books/crazy-busy-tpb/ (LHP)

Grudem, Wayne and Barry Asmus. Foreword by Rick Warren. The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 399 Pages. Paper. $30.00. http://www.crossway.org/books/the-poverty-of-nations-tpb/ (LHP unsol)

Jenson, Robert W. A Large Catechism. Delhi, NY: American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, 1991, 2013. 72 Pages. Paper. $6.00.  http://alpb.org/catechism.html (P)

Braaten, Carl E., Editor. Preaching and Teaching the Law and Gospel of God. Delhi, NY: American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, 2013. 174 Pages. Paper. $14.00.  http://alpb.org/preachingandteaching.html (LHPQ)

Bansemer, Richard F. Prayers of the People: Petitionary Prayers Guided by the Texts for the Day. Delhi, NY: American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, 2014. 197 Pages. Paper. $11.00. http://alpb.org/prayers.html (L)

Hill, Kathryn Ann. To You It Has Been Given: The Parables of Jesus in Picture and Verse. Fort Wayne: Lutheran Legacy, 2011. 100 Pages. Paper. $13.95. www.lutheranlegacy.org (HQ)



Let's cover a lot of territory quickly.
 
- My cautious optimism about this book quickly became disappointment. Granted, "no contributor can speak for his denomination as a whole" (17). Authors who contribute this way should we aware of the consequences of their words. Two in particular worked against the unity concept of the book as a whole. Chute's essay fails to comprehend what was at stake for Luther, Lutherans, and Christendom at Marburg (49, 64). Sweeney's essay on Lutheranism (111ff)will disappoint Lutherans of every stripe I can think of. His comments on the LCMS and WELS were offensive to me, judgmental, and show a similar lack of depth of appreciate for the Sacrament as Chute (131). The back of the book promised me "natural without being negative" and failed. Good concept. Uneven execution. Not Recommended.

+ Notable names pay homage and give their thanks to the Lord for John T. Pless in this new release. Pless' imprint on each of the contributors is evident. One notes theological depth, Confessional commitment, and appropriate humor in the essays. All the essays in their own way speak to the habitus practicus of Lutheran pastoral care and practice, grounded in Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution, and Holy Communion administered by one called into the Office of the Holy Ministry. Essayists highlight issues with James and Paul, apologetics, reason, Justification and atonement, Lutheran evangelical catholic identity, spiritual warfare, and the proper distinction between law and Gospel. Apart from sharing a Lutheran beverage and the typical accompanying incense with the good professor, this volume is an appropriate way to honor Rev. John Pless.
 
+ Winner of the 2014 Christian Book of the Year Award, Crazy Busy is an appropriate brief and personal book about the self-inflicted madness of the four-letter-word BUSY. Seven diagnoses help the reader put an end to "busyness as usual" (back cover). I have an appreciation for this author's writing style and previous books. There's a fundamental problem when "busy people can't handle long sermons" (110). As Martha. Ask Kevin DeYoung. He admits that he is a work in progress (14). Time is precious. We all need that Sunday rhythm (99). Life without God in Christ is meaningless. So is busyness. Recommended. We'll look for more from this author soon.


+ The Poverty of Nations was such a pleasant surprise, I thought of upgrading this title to a full review rather than one among many in a Quick Summary. My initial bias against the book was simple: I do not appreciate the theology, publicity, or pastoral practice of the author of the Foreword. I do not hold that against the authors, Grudem and Asmus. Their sustainable solution to deal with world poverty is local, national, and global in scope, paying respect to both common sense and the memory of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations. The free market and political freedom have worked for the West. Why not try them in the rest of the world. Read Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, this volume, and work to promote the values of the Appendix (369).


/ I can both appreciate and disagree with the writing of Robert Jenson. On the Inspiration of Scripture was honest, yet too innovative for me. I can welcome the insights of Lutheran Slogans while differing with the author on details. Commandments, Creed, and Prayer form the foundation for his A Large Catechism. I cannot agree with multiple forms and meanings of marriage (11). His passion for the Holy Baptism is evident in his frustration about misuse (53). Finally, I must commend his good point about direct pastoral administration of the Sacrament of the Altar while rejecting a dual he/she pronoun on who may be ordained to the pastoral office (71). 



+ Designed for the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) and easily adaptable for LCMS use in our Three Year Lectionary from Lutheran Service Book,  Rev. Bansemer's Prayers of the People provides the wider church Petitionary Prayers Guided by the Texts of the Day. Clearly a labor of love, the approach is similar to the Let Us Pray weekly prayers provided by LCMS Worship.  Prayers are adaptable and churchly, yet use fresh language chosen by the author based on his academic study, pastoral heart, and knowledge of the Bible texts for each day.




+/ Consisting of "Papers Delivered at the 2012 Theological Conference Sponsored by Lutheran CORE and NALC, August 15-16, 2012 at Calvary Lutheran Church, Golden Valley, Minnesota," Carl E. Braaten serves greater Lutheranism by presenting this set of essays on Law and Gospel. Lutheran, Reformed, and Roman Catholic essayists hold forth, including Michael Horton and Jared Wicks. Schifrin's essay (151) highlights a progressive misunderstanding of what I/we in the LCMS mean about Scripture being holy, inerrant, and inspired. This straw man approach is disappointing. Wicks does well to connect Luther to Bernard of Clairvaux (65). Worth reading, but without many surprises. I am very thankful for the CORE and NALC continued dedication to meet to do theology together.

+ Closing on a strong positive note, this reviewer thanks the Lord for the latest release of the poetry/hymnody of prolific and gifted writer Kathryn Ann Hill. Hill's collection has 43 original metrical poems based on 42 NKJV parable texts accompanied by 19 wood engravings by John Everett Millais. A Scripture index is included plus a list of recommended hymn tunes (95) to sing these Parables of Jesus in Picture and Verse.  I personally resonated most with "The Prodigal Son" (80) and "The Talents" (49). Thank you to Lutheran Legacy for publishing this volume and sharing a copy of it with us. 



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