Archive for July, 2009

Weimar Edition Volumes of Luther’s Works in Google Books

July 12th, 2009 3 comments

Picture 3The Wittenberg Listserve posted today a message from Finn Anderson announcing that he has index available of a good number of the Weimar Edition of Martin Luthers Werke that have been put up on Google Books (Weimarer Ausgabe – WA) 1-56 is now on the web as images (PDF-files and Flip-books). It is free, gratis. Google has scanned the books and I have made an index on my website

There are 127 volumes in the entire Weimar Edition set, and a number of the older volumes have been updated since the 1930s, so for detailed scholarly work you would need to check the updated volumes, where they exist.

Thanks to Paul Schaum for passing this news along.

Categories: Luther's Works

Launch Countdown Has Commenced: Mailing Chocked Full of Lutheran Study Bible Promotional Goodness! Coming soon to a Lutheran Congregation Near You

July 11th, 2009 2 comments

cWe are almost ready to launch the promotional kit for The Lutheran Study Bible. It is being mailed out to every Lutheran congregation in the USA and Canada. We are dotting some “i”s and crossing some “t”s and preparing final files, assembling everything, and putting the DVD-ROM together which will come with the kit, chocked full of TLSB goodness. Here is what more than 20,000 Lutheran congregations across the USA and Canada are receiving by the end of August. We hope to get this into the mail stream the first week in August. The contents of The Lutheran Study Bible’s promotional kit will include the list below. And yes, hah-hah, I know it would be better if the kit contained a free copy of the Bible. Oh, one more thing. Nearly everything below, with the exception of the posters, will be on the Internet, for anyone, anywhere, to access, and download, for free. Check The Lutheran Study Bible’s web site in a couple weeks at

The Lutheran Study Bible Promotional Kit Contents

Slip Sheet/Cover Page for the Mailing “Time to Get the Word Out!”
Letter of introduction and explanation “What is in this Kit”
2 Posters to promote The Lutheran Study Bible, full color
Bulletin Insert, camera ready
Newsletter Page, camera ready
Pricing information sheet
A printed sampler of the Bible
Super Size Order/Sign Up Poster, with all editions and options and accessories
Camera ready Order Form – with sample of Larger/Regular print on back
How to Use the TLSB, a several session study on using The Lutheran Study Bible, a “user’s manual”
Sample from the Life By His Word Bible Study, the every-book-and-chapter Bible study of the whole Bible, keyed to TLSB
TLSB Mission Emphasis document
How to Promote the TLSB in Your Congregation, a guide to a congregational promotional campaign
The Top Twelve Reasons Your Are Going to Love The Lutheran Study Bible
Why TLSB if I Already own the CSSB?
A complete set of promotional videos, one short promo and five brief introductory videos
Five audio podcasts featuring interviews with key contributors to the Bible
Collection of Extended Samples from TLSB, including entire books of the Bible and both the front and back matter sections
Order of Dedication for the Bibles for parish use
Power Point Presentation with embedded videos
Excel Spreadsheet containing Order Form information (making gathering orders much easier)

Sound good?

“Against Clandestine and Infiltrating Preachers” 1532 Luther Document Now Available as Free PDF

July 10th, 2009 Comments off

The Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has posted free PDF scans of historic documents, among them is Luther’s letter he wrote opposing self-proclaimed prophets and ministers who, at the time of the Reformation, suddenly showed up in towns and villages declaring a variety of varied and sundry nonsense. This is an important document in understanding the confession of the doctrine of the Holy Ministry, in the Lutheran Church. Here is the direct link to the PDF scan of the first edition of this document.

Categories: Lutheranism

When Words are Abused and God is Invoked to Lie and Deceive

July 9th, 2009 Comments off

A story that came across the e-mail inbox today set my teeth on edge: “Resolution to allow for generous discretion for same-sex blessings…”  Specifically the words that did it were: “generous discretion.” Verbal abuse, in its highest degree. In fact, the Catechism speaks of such behavior when it warns against taking the name of God in vain by appealing to people in God’s name to lie and deceive. Let us be absolutely clear. There is not a single thing “pastoral” about blessing what God has declared to be sin. It is the height of unfaithfulness to do so. Here is the full story from the Epipscopal News Service:

[Episcopal News Service] “Marriage equality is a reality coming soon to a state near you,” Bishop Gene Robinson told an overflow crowd at a July 8 hearing. He was speaking to a proposed resolution that calls for wider-than-usual latitude for bishops to allow blessings of gay and lesbian couples in states in which same-sex marriage or civil unions are legal.

The text of Resolution B012, “Pastoral Generosity in Blessing Civil Marriage,” calls for “generous discretion [to be] extended to clergy in the exercise of their pastoral ministry in order to permit the adaptation of the Pastoral Offices” for marriage. It also provides for the affected dioceses to report annually to the House of Bishops and to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Church Music for help in developing a service of blessing for same-sex marriage if such a rite should be approved by future meetings of General Convention.

Some 30 speakers — gay, lesbian and straight, bishops and clergy and laypersons, old couples who had been together for decades and young people who couldn’t see what the fuss is about — lined up on July 8 to support the resolution, which was under consideration by the joint committee on Social and Urban Affairs, co-chaired by Bishop Bavi Edna (Nedi) Rivera of Olympia and deputy Diane Pollard of New York. But the chorus of approval was finally brought up short by equally passionate remarks by those who struggle with passages in Scripture that oppose homosexuality.

Read more…

Categories: Liberal Christianity

The Lutheran Study Bible: Folded and Gathered Edition

July 8th, 2009 Comments off

Regular Print EditionI’m holding here the “folded and gathered” signatures of the regular print edition of The Lutheran Study Bible, which we received today for review. The next step? Sewing up the signatures, then sending off some for thumb-indexing and then off to the binder. We are getting close. The large promotional kit of materials to help you publicize the Bible will go into the mail stream the first week of August. It contains all you need to promote the Bible to your congregation and gather orders. Exciting!

How Will The Lutheran Study Bible Help Laypeople and Pastors? Listen to this podcast

July 8th, 2009 Comments off

I had a chance to do an intereview with Pastor Michael Walther, one of The Lutheran Study Bible’s editors. I appreciated his remarks about how he sees The Lutheran Study Bible being of help and service to lay people and to our pastors. I think you will find his remarks informative and encouraging. Take a listen here.

Need your input: Have you seen the church as a ship depicted in a congregation’s stained glass?

July 7th, 2009 7 comments

Do you know of a congregation that has a depiction of the Christian Church as a ship, depicted in their stained glass windows? Does your’s? Let me know please.

Categories: Uncategorized

“You Poor Maggot Sack” — Luther on Forgiveness

July 5th, 2009 1 comment

maggotsI love it when Rev. Dr. Benjamin Mayes, Managing Editor for our new extension of Luther’s Works, slips me the latest Luther translation he is working on. He did this the other day. Here is a little snippet from the draft of the translation. Our dear good Doctor Luther has a real knack for laying it down clearly, plainly and bluntly like few others before or since.

“Repenting” means that a person knows and confesses in his heart that, as the Scripture says, he was conceived and born in sin [Ps. 51:7] and is therefore by nature a child of wrath [Eph. 2:3], condemned to everlasting death and damnation, and that it is precisely at this point that all works are of no avail. They only make things go from bad to worse since people think they can accomplish by them what belongs to Christ alone, the sole Mediator between God and men, who sacrificed Himself for us all that we might have forgiveness of sins through Him. If you believe the former, then you have the latter. If not, you will never ever be free [of sin], even if you yourself to the point of death. For it is called the forgiveness of sins, not the payment for sins; a gift, not merit. But what God bestows on you out of pure grace for the sake of Christ, that is something that you, you poor maggot sack, can’t pay Him for, buy, or earn. That is what Luke means when he says that John preached a Baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.


Zwo Predigten DML auf der Kindertaufe des jungen Herrn Bernhard (Predigt am Donnerstag nach Ostern) (1540); WA 49:111-124; cf. 814-815, 849

[A Sermon on the Thursday after Easter, 1 April, 1540] Unpublished translation by John Bruss.

How Lutherans Fixed Roman Catholic Prayers to Mary

July 2nd, 2009 2 comments

Thanks to Pastor Weedon for this blog post, which I’m simply copying here. I should note that the book to which Pastor Weedon refers in his post prefaces the reworked prayer by noting that the Reginia Coeli, is an evil prayer in its original form.


That is, fixed, emended. Today I’ve had the joy [thanks to a heads up from Pr. Paul McCain and the kind sharing of Pr. Ben Mayes] of looking over two texts that were rewritten, apparently by Urbanus Rhegius (confessor of Smalcald and evangelical bishop of Lüneburg). The originals were very popular and beloved antiphons to the Blessed Virgin. In the Lutheran Reformation, they were transformed into hymns to Christ (and the original chant lines preserved). I’m no Latinist, so pardon any goof ups in the translations, but I think they’re mostly on target:

Here’s the Salve Regina:

Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae,
Hail, Queen, Mother of mercy,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
our life, sweetness and hope, hail!
ad te clamamus
to you we cry
exsules filii Hevae,
exiled sons of Eve.
ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
to you we send up our sighs, groaning and moaning
in hac lacrimarum valle.
in this valley of tears
Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
Turn, our advocate, upon us
misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
Your merciful eyes
et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
And Jesus, the blessed fruit of your womb,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
show to us after this exile,
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

What happens with the Lutherans got hold of it? Check it out:

SAlue Iesu Christe, Rex misericordiæ,
Hail, Jesus Christ, King of mercy,
vita dulcedo & spes nostra,salue,
Our life, sweetness, and hope, hail!
ad te clamamus exules filij Euæ,
To you we cry, exiled sons of Eve
ad te suspiramus gementes & flentes,
To you we send up our sighs and moanings
in hac lacrymarum valle,
in this valley of tears,
Eya ergo, aduocate noster, illos tuos
Turn, therefore, our Advocate upon us
misericordes oculos ad nos conuerte,
Your merciful eyes
O Iesu benedicte, faciem patris tui nobis
O blessed Jesus, show to us the face of your Father
post hoc exilium ostende,
after this exile.
O clemens, O pie, O dulcis Iesu Christe.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Jesus Christ.

Similarly, the Regina Coeli:

Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia:
Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia:
Quia quem meruisti portare. alleluia,
For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia,
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia,
Is risen, as He said, alleluia,
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, Virgin Mary, alleluia.
Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.
Because the Lord is risen indeed, alleluia.

is now sung with these words to the old chant:

LÆtemur in Christo redemptore Alleluia
Rejoice in Christ the Redeemer Alleluia
quia quem percussit pater ob scelus populi sui Alleluia.
For he was struck by the Father for the sins of his people Alleluia.
Resurrexit (Cœlos ascendit / Spirtum
misit) sicut dixit (sicut dixit / Vt promisit) Alleluia.
He is risen (to heaven ascended/ sent the Spirit) just as He said (as He said / as He promised) Alleluia
Ora pro nobis Christe, qui ad dexteram Dei Patris locatus es
Pray for us, Christ, who at the right hand of God the Father are located
victor peccati, mortis, inferni,
Victor over sin, death, hell,
vnus es nobis propitiator pontifex, ecclesiæ caput:
Our one propitator, high priest, the church’s head
O rex pie, Fac nos tecum resurgere (Fac nos tecum ascendere / Da nobis tuum
Spiritum) Alleluia.
O loving King, make us rise with you (make us ascend with you / give to us your Spirit). Alleluia.

If the medieval Marian cult had for all intents and purposes shoved our Lord off the center and placed His most holy Mother there, it only makes sense that in the Lutheran Reformation, the beauty of the chants would be retained, but the spotlight would shift from the the Most Blessed Virgin to Him who was born of her, and to the triumph of what He accomplished and His constant intercession for us before His Father.

[The emended texts, by the bye, came from this work that Pr. Mayes showed to Pr. McCain this a.m. - I'm jealous! I want a copy!!!]

The New Monasticism or How Protestantism Lost Sight of the Doctrine of Vocation

July 2nd, 2009 8 comments

El_Greco-_St._Francis_and_Brother_Leo_Meditating_on_DeathMany years ago, I had an epiphany that hit me like a ton of bricks. I was listening to a pastor talk about how people confuse being a Christian with doing “Christian things” and thereby, effectively, give every indication, to everyone around them, that unless and  until a person was physically doing “something” at the property of a congregation, or engaging in specifically “Christian” activities, or plastering everything within site with Christian bumper stickers, one was not really and truly glorifying God. It hit me that day that the great Reformation insight about vocation had been, and remains, virtually lost. I had been reading the Lutheran Confessions about monasticism at about the same time and it struck me that what we have here in much, and nearly all, of Protestantism, is simply a new form of monasticism. For all the good the monasteries did, and they did do much good, particularly in their early years: zealous missionaries, preserving Christian literature, etc. they set in motion the idea that unless, and until, a person is doing “churchy” things they are not truly and really and sufficiently “honoring God.”

I was reminded of all this today as I was reading Christian Retailing International, the industry publication serving the Christian retailing business. It’s fascinating. The issue in the mail today features a photograph of a husband and a wife, she holding up a large wrench, he a Bible, with this caption: “Christina Knox opened Christine’s Christian Bookstore in Statesville, N.C., inside the auto repair shop of her husband, Terry, to make the business a place “that God could be glorified.” Let’s think about this for a moment. What was her husband doing in there without her Christian bookstore? Ripping off customers? Engaging in shady dealings? Doing bad repair work? And why is it necessary to open up a Christian bookstore to make sure her husband’s business place is a place where God is glorified?

This is a dramatic example of something that has gone terribly wrong in most of modern American Protestantism. People are allowed, and even encouraged, to think that they “do their Christian/church thing on Sundays or at the church” and have to go about the business of life the rest of the time, which may, or may not, have anything much to do with “glorifying God.” New monasticism! You see it was deeply ingrained in the hearts and minds of people by the time of the Reformation that the way truly to know you are serving God and doing all you can to glorify him was by entering a monastery and “leaving the world.” This notion is deeply ingrained in Roman Catholics to this day. It is common to speak of “the religious” as opposed to the laity of the church. Think on that for a moment.

But it is no better in much of Protestantism. Consider Christina Knox who is opening her Christian bookstore to make her husband’s place a place where God could be glorified. How sad! The point here is that we know that by virtue of our calling in Christ our lives do give glory to God no matter what we are called to do in this life. Christina’s husband’s work is a fine and noble calling. He is serving others by repairing their cars, well and faithfully. That is a glorifying God! Perhaps as he is given an opportunity he speaks to his fellow coworkers and customers about Christ. He certainly does not need his wife setting up a Christian bookstore in his shop to make it a place where God is glorified. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine that others might see your works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Jesus was not talking about opening Christian bookstores in car repair shops.

This kind of thinking is so dangerous and I see it at work all the time in the church today. We lead people to think that as long as they are “busy” up at the church property, doing something in connection with the church building, why then, they are “serving God.” Of course we need people to volunteer and serve at our congregation. Obviously, but it is a great temptation to lead people on to think that it is precisely by so doing that they are really serving God, really being good Christians, really being about their Father’s business.

The reality is that we are called, at all times, and in all places, to be giving God glory, and we do this precisely by doing our jobs well, in whatever station in life in which we find ourselves, in any vocation. The mother changing the child’s diaper, the dad taking out the trash, the woman working to support her family, the man slogging it out on yet another business trip, these are all opportunities to serve God by serving the neighbor, be that neighbor a family member, a coworker or a client at work.

I detest the new monasticism that has infected the Christian Church. I rejoice that Lutheranism does have such a clear doctrine of vocation. I regret that Lutherans do not make better use of it.

Categories: Christian Life