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Good Review of “Friends of the Law” in Wisconsin Synod Journal

June 25th, 2012
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The book Friends of the Law: Luther’s Use of the Law for the Christian Life has received a very favorable review from Dr. John Brug, of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, in their theological journal. It is good to see these kinds of reviews beginning to appear. Friends of the Law is truly a remarkable tour de force utterly demolishing the mythology that has been floating around since the early part of last century that Martin Luther did not in fact teach a third use of the law, some claiming he didn’t even refer to third use. The author, my colleague here at Concordia Publishing House, Rev. Edward Engelbrecht, utterly shatters the myth and provides hard, factual, primary source documentation to refute those claiming otherwise. It is simply a magnificent book and if you have not read it, may I please encourage you to do so? Here are more details about the book, along with a sample you can view.

Charges of forgery, heresy, legalism, and immorality turn on the question of whether Martin Luther taught a third use of the Law for the Christian life. For the past sixty years, well-meaning scholars believed they settled the question—with dire consequences. Friends of the Law sets forth a completely new body of evidence that shows how little Luther’s teaching was understood. This new book looks at the doctrine of the Law and invites a new consensus that could change the way Christians view the Reformation and even their daily walk with God. Contains data tables translations of passages not available in English appendices bibliography on Law and Gospel.

“For more than a century, each generation of scholars has produced a definitive study that redefines our understanding of Luther’s signature teaching on the ‘uses of the law’. Edward Engelbrecht’s impressive new title is the definitive study for our generation. It reflects a masterful command of all of Luther’s writings on point, and of the place of Luther’s teachings on all three uses of the law in the classical and Christian tradition. Crisply written, meticulously documented, and conveniently presented in short chapters, with useful tables and appendices, this is now the go-to book for scholars, students, and pastors alike.”

John Witte, Jr., Emory University Author of Law and Protestantism: The Legal Teachings of the Lutheran Reformation

“I’m writing simply to thank you and commend you for your excellent book, ‘Friends of the Law’. I finished reading it this afternoon. It clarified many things for me. I’m looking forward to recommending it to my first-semester class in The Lutheran Confessions, due to get underway at Australian Lutheran College.”

Gregory Lockwood, ThD Emeritus Professor of New Testament Studies Australian Lutheran College

“Engelbrecht forces the reader to face the fact that . . . a modernist confessional theology . . . dismisses the law as oppressive.”

Walter Sundberg, Ph.D. Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN

“A corrective to often unbalanced understandings of Law and Gospel.”

Jeffrey K. Mann, Ph.D. Susquehanna University

“Friends of the Law will be of interest to Luther scholars, parish pastors, and parishioners.”

Daniel E. Lee, Ph.D. Augustana College

“Engelbrecht . . . shows that Luther maintained a third use of the law.”

Prof. Mark Mattes, Ph.D. Grand View University

“An important contribution . . . An eminent ecumenical study.”

Franz Posset, Ph.D. Author of The Real Luther

“Demonstrates convincingly that Luther taught the so-called third use of the law.”

Prof. John Brug, Ph.D. Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary

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