Two great new books are out and available, first in eBook, and in the coming weeks, also in print form.
Here is where you can find them on Amazon
Two great new books are out and available, first in eBook, and in the coming weeks, also in print form.
Here is where you can find them on Amazon
Several years ago, Concordia Publishing House embarked on creating a study Bible for Spanish speakers, and in Fall of 2014 it will be here. Titled La Biblia de la Reforma [the Bible of the Reformation] it is based on The Lutheran Study Bible, translating many of the notes in The Lutheran Study Bible and using the contemporary version of the Reina Valera translation of the Bible, the most popular translation of the Bible among all Spanish speaking protestant Christians. We now have the sampler of the Bible, the complete Gospel of Mark. We are distributing it throughout the Spanish speaking world to Bible sellers everywhere. We have produced this Bible in a partnership with United Bible Societies and various regional Bible societies throughout Central and South America.
Endorsements are coming in for Professor John Pless’ latest book: Martin Luther: Preacher of the Cross – A Study of Luther’s Pastoral Theology and it would not be far from the truth to say we have here “a new classic.” In this superbly done study of Luther’s pastoral theology, Pless provides resource both for pastors and laity alike. For pastors, a book offering them the wisdom of Luther as pastor and for laity, the wonderful Biblical comfort and counsel that animated Luther’s preaching and teaching, applied specifically to various situations in life.
Following the list of endorsements is a PDF file you can download to preview the book, view the Table of Contents, etc.
Here is insight to do a daily ministry of teaching, challenging, and comforting that truly cares for souls. Pastors facing requests to be all things to all people will find in this guide a basis for discerning what is important from what is not. They will find focus and energy to fulfill their God-appointed calling.
—Dr. Mark C. Mattes Professor of Philosophy and Theology Grand View University, Des Moines, Iowa
John Pless has distilled twelve years of teaching experience into a valuable and insightful book. Theology is a practical aptitude (Theologia est habitus practicus), especially for Lutheran pastors. Pless demonstrates the integration of heart and mind, faith and knowledge, experience and pastoral care by examining “how Luther put his evangelical theology to work in actual cases of pastoral care” (14). Pastoral care is spiritual warfare against the evil one. It is time we reclaimed that focus and seriousness in soul care. We can learn much from the “how” and “what” of Luther’s Christ-centered preaching.
—Rev. Paul J Cain Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming Editor of Liturgy, Hymnody, and Pulpit Quarterly Book Review
Reliable markers are life saving to navigate any jungle. As Lutherans in Africa, we are grateful for the clear and joyful song from that Wittenberg nightingale, dispelling fear of eternal damnation by vocalizing the accomplishments of the One who overcame sin, death, and devil for the entire world. In this practical study, crucial highlights from Luther’s pastoral treasury masterfully guide readers, whetting the appetite for more. This is a most suitable handbook for all who study and teach theology.
—Dr. Wilhelm Weber Rector of Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane and Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Southern Africa
John Pless shows with many examples and rich quotations from Luther how the reformer brought consolation to troubled consciences and set them right with God through the encounter with both Law and Gospel. This is an important book for those who care to mine Luther’s insights in assisting them in pastoral care for their own lives and the lives of those entrusted to them.
—Prof. Dr. Hans Schwarz Full Professor of Systematic Theology and Contemporary Theological Questions Institute for Evangelical Theology, University of Regensburg, Germany
The craft of responsible soul care in our confusing times is greatly enriched by Martin Luther: Preacher of the Cross—a master class in the care of souls. John Pless’s long pastoral experience and years of Luther studies provide a rich storehouse of Christocentric treasures from which contemporary pastors may draw both inspiration and insight for faithful and sensitive care of the sheep and lambs of Christ.
—Rev. Harold L. Senkbeil, STM, DD Executive Director for Spiritual Care DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel
The precious art of communicating Law and Gospel in pastoral situations, such as distress, despair, illness, and death, is here compactly presented with the wisdom of experience, not only John Pless’s years as pastor and professor, but also and especially Martin Luther’s experience of prayer and trial as seen in his catechisms and “Letters of Spiritual Counsel.” The Luther quotations are ample and apt, the secondary bibliography judicious and current.
—Dr. Paul Rorem Benjamin B. Wareld Professor of Ecclesiastical History Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey
Doctrine and life, for Luther, belong inseparably together. Therefore, the care of souls is not a distinct discipline or technique for Luther; it is not a theory but an activity. This book by John Pless is an introduction to this activity by leading the reader through the various areas of the care of souls as it is given and received. Due to the many citations, Luther himself speaks, and in this way the reader discovers what we as Christians through Christ are and what Christ has done for us and presently through Word and Sacrament does to us. This is a book that, in its clarity, serves not only to educate pastors but also to edify the congregation.
—Prof. Dr. Reinhard Slenczka, DD Professor Emeritus Erlangen Faculty of Theology, Erlangen, Germany
This book offers a sensitive, insightful assessment of how Luther opened Scripture to the daily life experiences of individual acquaintances and his Wittenberg congregation. Pless’s judicious selection of texts from concrete contexts provides a bridge over the centuries that models application of God’s Word today.
—Dr. Robert A. Kolb Professor of Systematic Theology Emeritus Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri
Martin Luther: Preacher of the Cross opens to us the heart of the Reformation, including the use of sacraments and vocation, and succeeds in revealing the rich practical and theological resources at our church’s disposal for comforting troubled souls from cradle to grave. The insights Professor Pless offers on marriage and care of the poor alone are worth the price, to say nothing of how Luther teaches our faith properly to fight against the attacks of sin, death, and devil. This is a great, useful, and inspirational book that sets a new standard for the pastoral care of the future. It is not to be missed!
—Dr. Steven D. Paulson Professor of Systematic Theology Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota
This book is a significant contribution to pastoral theology. Not only do we read much about Luther, but this book also beckons pastors to follow suit. Pastors are entrusted with the task of being caretakers of people’s troubled consciences and struggles in life; this book will again bring to the attention the truth and seriousness of pastoral care and ministry.
—Dr. Klaus Detlev Schulz Chairman, Pastoral Ministry and Missions Supervisor of PhD Missiology Program, Dean of Graduate Studies Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana
You may place an order to receive your copy as soon as we receive them from the printer in late September/early October. Click here.
We will offer it as a Kindle eBook as well, and I’ll let you know when that becomes available, shortly.
The 20% professional church worker discount applies on this volume, and, as always, be sure to select “media mail” in the shipping options for the lowest shipping cost.
I was poking around looking for materials related to the daily lectionary that was developed for the Lutheran Service Book project and came across this early draft of a daily lectionary. What is interesting is that the additional suggested readings include not only readings from the Lutheran Confessions, but … from the Apocrypha.
Here’s a copy of it.
I shared it with The LCMS Director of Worship, Rev. William Weedon, and he had not seen it before either.
2013 On Creation and Predestination
Includes the commonplaces On Creation and Angels, On Providence, On Election and Reprobation, and On the Image of God in Man before the Fall. This volume is notable for its section on the angels and its discussion of many aspects of the doctrine of election.
2014 On Sin and Free Choice
Includes the commonplaces On Original Sin, On Actual Sins, and On Free Choice. This volume is notable in opposing “decision theology,” in which one’s conversion and salvation depend ultimately on human choice.
2015 On the Law
Includes the commonplaces On the Law of God and On Ceremonial and Forensic Laws.
2016 On the Gospel and Repentance
As the title says, this one includes the commonplaces On the Gospel and On Repentance. This volume is notable for its in-depth examination of confession and absolution, one of the means of grace.
2017 On Justification
Includes just one commonplace, On Justification through Faith—right in time for the quincentennial of the Reformation. (Luther posted his theses for debate on indulgences on Oct. 31, 1517).
Volumes are released every year in the late summer or early fall. Subscribe and save at www.cph.org/gerhard. Become a subscriber to Theological Commonplaces and each new volume of Gerhard’s monumental series will be shipped to you automatically. Currently, volumes are priced at $54.99, but as a subscriber you will pay only $38.49, a 30% savings. Your subscription starts with the newest volume and you will continue to receive each new volume. As an added bonus, new subscribers can purchase previously released volumes at the same 30% savings.
.Time to stock up again. As part of our Fall Ministry Kick Off Sale, we are again offering the Concordia Edition of the Book of Concord for only $19.99 and if you order at least three copies, you will qualify for FREE shipping, use code GMA at check out.
And be sure to check out ALL the great sales going on now until the end of September.
You can now purchase the entire set of the YOU CAN DO IT titles, at one time, for a 30% discount.
by Rev. Dr. Benjamin Mayes
First published on Concordia Publishing House’s Professional/Academic Books Blog:
The first volume of Luther’s Church Postil (LW 75, sermons for the church year) is out, and I hope you’ve been enjoying it. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing the next volume of the Church Postil, and as I did so, I became very aware of Luther’s preaching style. Luther’s preaching was popular at his time, but why? I think readers of these sermons and all preachers can benefit by understanding the basic structure of how Luther preaches.
Summary of the text.
Luther begins with a brief summary of the text, never with a story, analogy, or statistic. He goes straight to the Bible text and summarizes it in a sentence or two before moving to a more in-depth study. Luther either explains the text verse by verse or section by section. It appears that he has considered the rhetorical outline of the pericope, because Luther often gives an enumeration of parts of the text. After citing the Bible verse or section, Luther explains the following: What this passage says and means. Luther explains what the important words mean or restates the passage in his own words. This is usually quite short.
Application to himself and his hearers in faith and love.
Here Luther directly applies the text to his people at his time. If the Bible text is Law, he explains what the people are to do or avoid, in plain words. If the Bible text is Gospel, he explains the forgiveness and mercy of God in Christ, again in plain words. The important point is that this is not just something that happened back in Bible times; it applies to the hearers right now. This means that Luther is deriving the doctrine from the text and setting it forth for the people to believe, or he is deriving the moral teaching from the text and setting it forth for the people to do.
The next few points are not always present for each Bible verse or section. Luther uses them like tools to communicate the verse or section under consideration.
Luther gives illustrations of the moral teaching or the doctrine being discussed in the Bible passage. These illustrations are often biblical.
The rhetorical device of antithesis is the practice of setting forth the opposite, so that what God’s Word teaches is understood by the contrast. For Luther, antithesis takes the form of negative illustrations of sin and false doctrine. Luther can be quite vehement here. His goal is to show how shameful sin and false doctrine are and to make the people loathe sin and false doctrine. This is where Luther often attacks the monks, pope, fanatics, popular false beliefs, vices, and superstitions.
Sometimes Scripture seems to contradict itself. In such cases, Luther spends some time resolving the apparent conflict and explaining the possible ways in which the text should be understood so that one part of Scripture is not read in a way that conflicts with other parts of Scripture. This helps his hearers to understand Scripture in its canonical context and to let Scripture interpret Scripture.
As the final part of the sermon in the Church Postil, Luther often adds the “hidden meaning” or allegories. Allegories are used only with histories, and Luther does not use them to prove doctrine, but rather to illustrate what he has already taught from the literal sense of Scripture. He usually applies these allegories to the conflict of Satan against Christ, of human teachings against the preaching of the Gospel, or of salvation by works against salvation by faith. These allegories seem sometimes to be influenced by traditional, patristic readings of the text (such as the interpretation of the gifts of the Magi in the Epiphany Gospel). But at other times they could be Luther’s own inventions and can be just as fanciful as any allegory one reads in the early church fathers. That said, Luther’s allegories always are in harmony with the broader message of Scripture (the “analogy of faith”), and so his allegories are effective in illustrating doctrines that are found clearly stated in the literal sense of Scripture.
As an appendix, many of Luther’s sermons outside of the Church Postil also include an admonition. The admonition was essentially moral teaching, ethical encouragement, or even rebuke of sin, given as the last word of the sermon. This admonition often was related to the text for the sermon, though sometimes it was unrelated. It was a point that Luther felt had to be addressed for the common good of the parish and community and could not be put off until a later time. Modern Lutherans, having learned from C. F. W. Walther to end their sermons with a word of Gospel and grace, will likely find this disturbing. Luther did not hesitate to leave his hearers with the Law—as moral teaching, encouragement, or rebuke. Rather than focusing on ending each sermon with Gospel, Luther was more interested in following the shape of the text at hand. If the text was mostly Law, Luther preached mostly Law. If the text was mostly Gospel, Luther preached mostly Gospel. And Luther also had no problem with concluding a sermon by telling people what God wanted them to do. In Luther’s mind, at least, this did not entail a confusion of Law and Gospel. Rather than dismissing Luther as one who was unable to preach the Law-Gospel distinction that he taught elsewhere, we would do well to see why Luther preached this way and consider whether we have not misunderstood what the distinction of Law and Gospel is all about.
A final thought about Luther’s preaching.
The reformer studied and prepared for his preaching, but he did not preach from a manuscript. Instead, he usually preached from a brief outline or notes. Stenographers recorded his sermons, and then sometimes these shorthand, Latin-German notes were filled out and put into print. For an excellent example of how Luther’s preaching went from an outline to stenographer’s notes to print, see LW 69:373–401.
Become a subscriber to Luther’s Works and save! The new volumes of Luther’s Works American Edition are currently priced at $49.99 each, but as a subscriber you pay only $34.99, a 30% savings. To become a subscriber or for additional information, go to http://www.cph.org/luthersworks .
Benjamin T. G. Mayes
- See more at: http://academic.cphblogs.com
Don’t miss this great article on Luther’s preaching methods and style, available from our Concordia Publishing House professional and academic blog site, written by Rev. Dr. Benjamin Mayes, the Managing Editor for our extension of the American Edition of Luther’s Works.
I thought you would appreciate an update on the status of the Concordia Commentary series. As it turns out, the Concordia Commentary series is, at this point, the largest ongoing commentary being published in the Protestant community, and has earned high regard and respect from scholars from across all Christian denominations and students of Biblical literature (Christian or not). We have been publishing two volumes a year, for well over ten years now.
We have quite a line up. We also make all these commentaries available via the LOGOS software platform. I’m able to take an advanced look at the materials as it comes in and … thanks be to God! What a blessing these commentaries will be to the Church.
Please remember that the best possible prices for the print volumes is available via subscription. I urge any laypersons reading this to make it possible for your pastor to receive these volumes. They will be of enormous benefit to him for his preaching and his teaching of God’s Word. Read more about the Concordia Commentary subscription program, by clicking this link. To view all volumes presently available, click this link.
Here is what’s coming next. I have no further details to share at this time beyond what I’m posting here.
Mark 1:1 – 8:26 by James Voelz (Fall 2013)
Galatians by Andrew Das (Spring 2014)
Isaiah 56-66 by Reed Lessing (Fall 2014)
Ephesians by Andrew Das (Spring 2015)
John 1–6 by William Weinrich (Fall 2015
Romans 9–16 by Michael Middendorf (Spring 2016)
Hebrews by John Kleinig (Fall 2016)
Mark 8:27-16:8 by James Voelz (Spring 2017)
Do you know John Gerhard?
Gerhard is regarded as the third most important theologian in the Lutheran Church’s history: Martin Luther, Martin Chemnitz and then…John Gehard. The Missouri Synod’s founding president, Dr. Walther, considered him to be, by far, the most important theologian whose works should be carefully read and studies by men preparing to be pastors and by anyone who wanted to know and understand, as thoroughly as humanly possible, the teachings of God’s Word.
Gerhard was a pastor, a professor, a preacher, and a gifted writer. He was most famously known in his own times for his devotional writings. He also wrote a very large and detailed explanation of doctrine called “Theological Commonplaces.”
Concordia Publishing House is publishing a very fine English translation of Gehard’s “Commonplaces.”
The newest volume in this translation project has just come in from the printer. This particular volume is devoted to the subjects of Creation and Predestination.
In this volume, Gerhard addresses creation, anthropology, angels, divine providence, eternal election, and the image of God.
The best way to purchase these volumes it to become a subscriber to the series. Subscribers receive all printed volumes, first, and at the highest possible discount: 30% off, with the ability to purchase any previous volumes for 30% discount. You can become a subscriber by clicking this link.
“Gerhard’s Loci is the greatest doctrinal text in the entire history of Lutheranism. By putting these splendid volumes in the English language, CPH ensures access to the solid teaching of the orthodox Lutheran Church in one of its greatest expressions ever penned. And CPH is virtually the only Lutheran publishing house in the world with the capacity, fidelity, and will to produce such gems!”
-Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
Johann Gerhard (1582–1637) was the premier Lutheran theologian of the golden age of Lutheran Orthodoxy, period. Now his Loci Theologici is translated in English for the first time in seventeen volumes of Theological Commonplaces.
The Theological Commonplaces series is the most significant theological work of Lutheran orthodoxy after the Reformation and remains a classic of Lutheran theology. With skill and precision, Gerhard sets forth the Christian faith from Scripture in dialogue with the Church Fathers, medieval theology, Luther, and a multitude of contemporary theologians.
Each 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 list of works cited, which presents guidance for deciphering the numerous abbreviations of the other titles from which Gerhard quotes.
Become a subscriber to Theological Commonplaces and each new volume of Gerhard’s monumental series will be shipped to you automatically. Currently, volumes are priced at $54.99, but as a subscriber you will pay only $38.49, a 30% savings. Your subscription starts with the newest volume and you will continue to receive each new volume. As an added bonus, subscribers can purchase previously released volumes at the same 30% savings.