Monday, December 2, 2013

A Christian Pedagogy by Edward W.A. Koehler

Pedagogy is definitely a weak spot in modern Lutheranism. Modern theories of education, derived from anti-Christian enlightenment presuppositions, rule the day in most schools. In some places, catechesis is perfunctory at best. And perhaps most destructive, parents--especially fathers--do not lead and teach their children as they ought, and in many cases, not at all.

Obviously we cannot blame poor pedagogy alone for the horrific retention rate in modern Lutheranism. But it certainly is a deserving candidate for much of it. Lutheranism, and the Missouri Synod in particular, used to be held up as a shining example of the intentional training, thorough indoctrination, and shaping by the Word of God which parents and pastors are to give to their children.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Evangelical Lutheran Hymn Book of 1912 and "What Our Father Does Is Well" by B. Schmolk

The ELHB was the Synod's first English hymnal. I own a very worn out copy that was a gift to my grandparents from their pastor. You can read a brief history on Missouri Synod hymnals by Dr. Carl Schalk here. The pertinent paragraph concerning the ELHB:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Lutheran Pastor by G.H. Gerberding: PART II

Note: This is the second part of a review of The Lutheran Pastor by G.H. Gerberding. The first part of Mr. Porter's in-depth review can be found here, along with additional information about the book and author.

The work continues with careful examinations of the duties which properly belong to the ministerial Office. Conduct at the Altar, The Preparatory Service, a robust and thoroughly Lutheran section on Preaching, the Holy Communion, Catechizing (Confirmation), Marriage, Christian Burial, And Visitation follow. Each subject is worthily treated at length. Of particular note are the sections on the Holy Communion, Matrimony, and Visitation.

Concerning Holy Communion, Gerberding wishes to encourage fitting dispositions among Evangelical pastors. While all ministers should be cognizant of the dread seriousness of the act, they should also fully rely on the Lord’s present action as warrant for boldly administering the Sacrament. God’s promise to use the individual minister for His good purposes should override excessive scruples. Perhaps most interesting to me is his rather blasé endorsement of a receptionist position concerning Sacramental presence. Gerberding states: “Use the words of the Common Service in the distribution. Speak them deliberately, distinctly, and reverently. Do not forget that it is at the reception that the heavenly joins itself to the earthly element.” One may wonder how one could in good conscience proclaim the distribution formula while at the same time mentally withholding the reality one has just [verbally] offered to a communicant. To say that I find this position to be unconvincing would be an understatement. Further, Gerberding asserts that while the early church practiced, and the Confessions recommended, frequent reception of the Holy Communion, that the church of our time is not fit for this:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Lutheran Pastor by G.H. Gerberding: PART I

Note: Thank you very much to Mr. Christopher Porter of the greater Detroit area for giving us an in-depth summary of The Lutheran Pastor by G.H. Gerberding. While not strictly an L-TOM, it was an influential work, and Gerberding is well worth a closer look for those interested in what Eastern American Lutherans were thinking at the time. The Lutheran Pastor was published in 1902 by the Lutheran Publication Society. It can be read online here for free. You can also buy it on Amazon. Here are some select quotations on Pr. David Jay Webber's webpage.

Gerberding was born in 1847 in Pittsburgh, PA. He was educated at Thiel College and Muhlenberg College. Ordained pastor and missionary in the ULC for PA, OH, ND and was the founder and first president of the Synod of the Northwest. He was later also a president of the Chicago Synod. He served as the president of Chicago Lutheran Seminary and Northwestern Lutheran seminary. He died in 1927. Other famous works include The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church and The Lutheran Catechist.

A Summary of George Henry Gerberding’s The Lutheran Pastor
by Mr. Christopher Porter

A president of two Synods within the ULCA and a seminary professor, George Henry Gerberding has much of value to share regarding the Office of Ministry and its occupants.

The first main section of the work is an overview of the origin and theology of the Pastoral Office. It offers, in the main, little that is original, but presents a fairly uncontroversial picture drawn from Scripture, Luther, a number of orthodox Lutheran fathers, and from contemporary voices (including Walther). After dealing with the plurality of NT ministerial phenomena which are no longer in force (at least in their NT form) such as prophets, and evangelists, he turns to the two main foci of his concern: elders/bishops/pastors and the diaconate. Here we find one of the more controversial aspects of his understanding of the global ministry, which is that it is comprised of a “ministry of the Word” and a “ministry of mercy”.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christian Fundamentals by J. T. Mueller

Published in 1926, Christian Fundamentals by J.T. Mueller is a daily, 25 week, topical Bible Study on the basics of the Christian faith. Mueller was a professor at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis from 1920 to 1964. Besides the many works of his own, he is also remembered for condensing Pieper's Christlische Dogmatik into a one volume English version, Christian Dogmatics, and translating Walther's Kirche und Amt (Church and Ministry) into English.
The book succeeds in clearly and systematically presenting the basics of the faith. The beautiful prayers are an especially excellent aspect of this volume. The last three weeks are an in-depth study of the Gospel of St. John, one chapter per day. This last section is not just a fitting capstone for the work, but can really stand alone as a brief devotional work.
[See pictures below for examples of lessons and prayers, including several from the Gospel of John section.]

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bible History References by F. Rupprecht

First published in 1926, CPH's Bible History References by F. Rupprecht were linked with the Comprehensive Bible History of 1918. However, the most popular and widespread version is the "revised and enlarged" updated version of 1947 (pictured and reviewed here), which enjoyed numerous reprintings. These volumes can be purchased through Anchor Publications here or use this page to obtain an old copy.

The updating of 1947 coordinated the Bible History References with the new/updated resources used by the Synod at the time. These were the Advanced Bible History of 1936 (the updating of the Comprehensive Bible History), the 1943 Small Catechism and Questions, and the--then new!--TLH of 1941. There were also other minor additions and expansions.

Covering the same 140 Bible stories of the Advanced Bible History, the reference notes in the volume are tied to particular words or phrases from each story. There are also brief excursuses on important topics/questions. There are additional suggested tie-ins to the Catechism, hymn verses, and additional Bible readings at the end of each lesson.

I am sure that I have said it before, but I'll say it again: I am constantly impressed by the Synod's resources for children's Bible history. Most notable is the the focus on the Promise of the Seed (Messiah) throughout the Old Testament and the Christocentricity of the New Testament notes.

Besides excellent introductions to each major section of biblical history, additional appendices in the O.T. Volume include:

Brief Review of Jewish History from the End of the Captivity to the Birth of Christ
Some Messianic Prophecies and Their Fulfillments
Types of Christ
Bird's Eye View of the Old and New Testaments
Suggestions to Pupils on How to Study a Lesson in Bible History
Biblical Weights, Measures, Money, and Time
Chronological Tables of the Old Testament
Pronouncing Glossary
Topical Index
Indexed Bible Atlas

and in the N.T. Volume:
Summary of Paul's Activity
Biblical Weights, Measures, Money, and Time
New Testament Chronology
Pronouncing Glossary
Topical Index

A portion of the foreword to Bible History References may summarize it best:

The References will be found useful by anyone who is interested in a study of popular selections from the Bible. Pastor and teachers in parochial schools, Sunday schools, and vacation Bible schools have found them especially helpful. Study of the References provides the Bible Teacher with the wider historical, social, economic, geographical, archaeological, and doctrinal background necessary from best success in his teaching. The language is simple, and the explanation of difficult words and passages is clear and concise. The maps, charts, illustrations, and historical tables help to visualize much of the content.

...and they are wonderful resources regardless of what additional materials you are using, if any...

While the References follow the sequence of the Advanced Bible History, they may be used equally well with only the Bible in hand. In short, these volumes may be used conveniently by any teacher of Bible stories, regardless of the particular lesson materials which he may use in his class.

Need to Get Level: 10/10

Seriously, it really is a 10. If you are a pastor or layman, you should have this on your shelf for a reference of what the most basic questions and important points to teach are concerning 140 of the most central stories of the Bible. This is a perfect aid for biblical survey classes or the education of children...or adults. Parents should especially consider these volumes as they provide to you a resource for opening the Scriptures for your children-and you!


More coordinated resources:

Go here to read more about the Advanced Bible History. Or here to buy a copy. The older version, Comprehensive Bible History, can also be bought here.

Anchor Publications still has Bible History References for sale here, and also has two supplementary works that are designed to work with the Advanced (or Comprehensive) Bible History and Bible History References. I do not own nor have looked through these resources, however I am confident that they are worth checking into if you wish to use the Advanced Bible History at home, church, or school.

1. Bible History Explained and Applied by K.K. Miller ($13.50, 264 pages)
2. Exercises in Bible History, 2 volumes, Old and New Testaments, by H.A. Merta and W.A. Siems ($9.50, 150 pages each)

The above two resources can be found on this page.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

This Do Ye Often by P.E. Kretzmann

Published in 1952 by NPH, P.E. Kretzmann wrote This Do Ye Often, a short piece (76 pages) and passionate plea for "the need of partaking of the Sacrament OFTEN." (emphasis in the original) While published shortly after Kretzmann left the Missouri Synod due to the worsening liberalization and laxity in the synod at that time, the work is obviously addressed to all Lutherans who would be faithful in the administration and reception of the Sacraments.

The work is truly devotional in nature. It is divided up into 15 chapters, four pages a piece. Clearly and simply written, Kretzmann includes many scriptural references, beautiful illustrations, and a stanza or two from a hymn to end each section. They are as follows:

1. The Stimulus of Self-examination
2. Examining Oneself to Doctrinal Knowledge
3. The Assurance of the Forgiveness of Sins
4. A Confession Concerning the Person of Christ
5. The Remembrance of Christ's Atoning Work
6. A Better Understanding of Christ's Sacrifice
7. Obedience to the Savior's Command
8. Laying the Foundation of Complete Trust in Christ
9. Laying the Foundation of Union and Communion with Christ
10. Promotion of Communion or Fellowship with All Other Believers
11. A Tonic for Our Faith-Life
12. A Tonic in Temptation and Trials
13. A Powerful Motive in Sanctification
14. An Example and Incentive to Others
15. A Preparation for the Marriage Supper in Heaven
Luther's Summary on the Need of Frequent Attendance at the Lord's Table

One encounters in this book, and in many works of Old Missouri, a deep and abiding sensitivity and appreciation toward the sacramental and liturgical life of the pious Christian. Additionally, Kretzmann pulls no punches about the ravages of Pietism upon practice surrounding the sacraments nor the challenges of the American context for orthodox Lutheran teaching AND practice. Those who would encourage us to go hat-in-hand to heterodox church bodies for "schooling" in our sacramental or liturgical life, deriding our forefathers in the process, merely show their own ignorance of their inheritance.

This goes doubly for the suggestion that the Missouri Synod ought to have some sort of abiding debt of liturgical gratitude towards those who were uncritically swept up into the ecumenical, higher-critical, and liturgical movements of the 20th century. "Old Missouri" was not perfect, but it certainly had an awareness and Lutheran appreciation for the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church--apart from modern liberalism--because, not despite, its love of its Lutheran confession and heritage. P.E. Kretzmann is about as Old Missouri as one can get from that era, and his work stands as a testimony to this truth.

See a post on another of Kretzmann's work on the broader subject here: Christian Art.
One can also read a more detailed review of This Do Ye Often from 1952 here. [p.144 in the periodical, and the last page (16) when viewed at this site]

Need To Get Level: 6/10 8/10

It is an excellent devotional for the layman or pastor, and could easily serve as an outline for a class on the importance of the frequent and proper reception of the Lord's Supper. It also is nice for pastors to have on the shelf to reference when preaching about the Lord's Supper. It was suggested at the time as a good gift for confirmands. There is one on Amazon, and that is all that I can find after a short get it now if you want it!

Update: I was reminded by Pr. Joshua Scheer of Wyoming that this book is available from Anchor Publications for $1.50 (with NO SHIPPING CHARGES for domestic orders)--making it so cheap and easy to get that I have raised the "Need to Get Level" to 8/10. I mean, really, get the change out of the couch and buy it folks...

Go here to get it. It is about the 17th book from the bottom of the page. A nice thing about Anchor Publications is that the price you see is the price you pay!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Century of Blessing (1846-1946) Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois

A Century of Grace is a centennial (1846-1946) publication in honor of Concordia Theological Seminary compiled by W.A. Baepler. It gives a brief history of the institution from its prehistory and founding in Fort Wayne, to its brief time in St. Louis, and ending with its time in Springfield, IL. A beautiful banner of the institution at each location begins each section. It also includes a list of the officers and faculty of CTS in the centennial year, a list of past presidents and faculty members of CTS by location,  and a list of graduates.

Perhaps most interesting are the tons of pictures (reproduced below) of buildings, past and current faculty, and churches in Springfield, IL.

Need to Get Level: 0/10

If you can pick up one of these from a retiring Springfield grad, do it. The historical sketch of the institution is a fine one and the lists interesting, but the gems are the pictures in my book. Hopefully this post will satisfy your curiosity until one comes your way.


Click here for lots more...

Friday, September 13, 2013

Scripture Cannot Be Broken by Theodore Engelder

Scripture Cannot Be Broken (CPH 1944, 496 pages) by Theodore Engelder is a staunch defense of verbal inspiration and inerrancy. Engelder was also the main translator of Franz Pieper's Christian Dogmatics. He taught, especially Symbolics and Dogmatics, at both Springfield and then St. Louis. During his time at St. Louis, he published a series of articles in Concordia Theological Monthly, "Verbal Inspiration-A Stumbling-Block to the Jews and Foolishness to the Greeks," April '41 to December '42. These were compiled and edited into this volume due to encouragement from many within and without the Missouri Synod. It was a timely book since many Lutherans were wrestling with questions about verbal inspiration and the historical-critical method.

Strangely, the table of contents is found in the rear of the book alongside general and biblical indices. The longest section, almost half the book, is devoted to the answering of the question: "Does the Bible Contain Errors?" Engelder shows mastery of his opponents lines of argumentation and theological framework. He deals with the broad issue in the abstract or general sense, as well as confronting specific, frequently raised "errors."  The remaining major chapters are:

II. Has the Bible Moral Blemishes?
III. Does the Bible Deal in Trivialities?
IV. The Disastrous Results of Criticizing and Correcting Scripture (A Resume)
V. Is Verbal Inspiration Mechanical Inspiration?
VI. Does Verbal Inspiration Imply an Atomistic Conception and Use of Scripture?
VII. Does Verbal Inspiration Establish a "Legalistic Authority of the Letter"?
VIII. The Battle for Verbal Inspiration (Final Resume)

Throughout the work, Engelder displays a gentlemanly and charitable demeanor. However, he does not pander or apologize to those who charge the Bible with falsehood, but rather exemplifies the sense of scandal and disgust the Christian should properly feel against such charges.

This volume stands well alongside other classic defenses of orthodox teaching on the nature and interpretation of the Holy Scriptures from that era such as P.E. Kretzmann's The Foundations Must Stand and W. Arndt's Bible Difficulties or here, or the updated edition from CPH.

Need to Get Level: 8/10
It is easy to find and cheap to buy. If you are a pastor, my question would be: "Why wouldn't you have this on your shelf?" At times it becomes technical and assumes a seminary education. I would therefore suggest Arndt's book (mentioned above) for the interested layman. But I certainly would not dissuade the ambitious layman who wishes to plow into Engelder's profitable work!

To those who think that the era of fighting over inerrancy or scriptural interpretation is over and that we have moved on, the time to relieve yourself of this uninformed opinion was yesterday. The battle over verbal inspiration does not make headlines or waves anymore, not because it is unimportant or fading away, but rather because it has largely been lost. Like feminism, denial of the truthfulness of the Scriptures is the default position of Americans today--especially the younger generations. Your parishioners live in a culture that denies the Bible. They breath in those presuppositions all day long. Engelder's work in this book is helpful, clear, and comprehensive on that thing which Satan has always rained down his blows upon--the Word of God.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

In the Days of Solomon by P.E. Kretzmann

P.E. Kretzmann was intensely interested in Christian Education, writing many educational books, especially for children, and books concerning education . To whet your appetite, an interesting work, Education among the Jews from the earliest times to the end of the Talmudic period, 500 A.D., is available online here.

In the Days of Solomon is a not well known book for middle school children. (126 pages) It was published by The Book Concern of Columbus, OH in 1932, probably, but a date is not given. One brief complaint concerning format is that besides the beautiful picture on the cover, there are no pictures, maps, etchings, artwork, etc. at all. The book is a historical novel set in the reign of Solomon during the building of the Temple. While I have some misgivings concerning historical novels set within biblical history, this approach is certainly to be preferred to a "retelling" of the biblical story that mixes the text and interpretation/commentary into a substitution for the real Scriptures. I'm a Biblicist, give the kids the real thing!

In the Days of Solomon, however, is certainly for deeper study and contemplation on the Scriptures since it presupposes basic biblical knowledge and does not presume to supplant the actual words of God. It is told from the point of view of an Israelite family of a man named Nathan in Bethlehem, in particular, the son Samuel. Kretzmann emphasizes that the family's center of existence, according to the Word of The Lord, is their home life. The father models a devoted husband's sense of responsibility and leadership as the head of the household, and the mother's glory is as godly wife and queen of the hearth. The importance of family worship and religious education is stressed throughout the book. The solemnity and reverence of worship at the Tabernacle is highlighted, as well as reverence and obedience to the Lord's Word in the home. Outside of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, there are two trips made, one to Joppa, and one to the Jordan Valley, which provide an opportunity for further geographical survey and historical tie-ins. The culmination of the story is the completion and dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem which the parents and older children attend.

For what it is, it is well done. While there are major potential pitfalls in such an undertaking, Kretzmann is a well-grounded and knowledgeable servant of the Word. Most modern examples of this genre are usually tragic failures, written by folks neither called nor prepared to undertake the challenge of producing godly and faithful materials for the religious education of the young. The common deficiencies of these sorts of books are usually not malicious, but rather spring from the ignorance of the writer who is not sensitive to (or even aware of) what is biblically and confessionally appropriate. Kretzmann, on the other hand, is knowledgeable of his material and sensitive to his goal and purpose--to further educate and develop the faith and life of his readers. He succeeds in his endeavor.

I appreciate In the Days of Solomon, and would confidently give it to my own children (and will!) around the age of 10-12. It is an interesting novel which will help familiarize children with "everyday family life" in ancient Israel and to contemplate how great a gift the Temple was to the O.T. Church, pointing to the Promised Seed, Christ, and His sacrifice and forgiveness.

Need to Get Level: 1/10

It is certainly not a "must-have," but it is a nice book for children who want to know more about life in the undivided kingdom. So, if you are one of the 1 in 10, get one of the three copies I could even track down before they're gone....

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Christian Art: In the Place and in the Form of Lutheran Worship by P.E. Kretzmann

Published in 1921 by CPH, Christian Art by P.E. Kretzmann can be read for free online and can be downloaded here. Kretzmann, most famous for his Popular Commentary of the Bible, was also a keen observer of the liturgical trends of his day and took a special interest in the proper form and place of art (music, architecture, visual, etc.) and beauty in Christian worship throughout his life. He wrote numerous articles in Concordia Theological Monthly and several books and tracts on liturgical matters.

Two of which are available to be read online:
- A Short Introduction to Church Architecture and Ecclesiastical Art: Especially from the Standpoint of the Lutheran Church
- The Liturgical Element in the Earliest Forms of the Medieval Drama (With Special Reference to the English and German Plays)

Christian Art is really two books in one volume. The first book is entitled "A Handbook of Church Architecture and Ecclesiastical Art," covering first its history, and secondly its execution in a Lutheran church building. The second book is entitled "A Handbook of Liturgy, Hymnology, and Heortology," which goes through the history of the liturgy, a section on hymnology, a section on heortology, and closes with "The Liturgical Content of the Lutheran Services." Please see the table of contents online for more detail.

I have always been impressed with P.E. Kretzmann and his work, especially his ability to cover vast amounts of terrain succinctly yet comprehensively. I have not read this volume cover to cover yet, but I am sure he succeeds yet again in this volume. The artwork and pictures are worth a perusal alone. The book is a helpful guide to the whole subject and history of beauty and art in the church...and by a Lutheran!

Kretzmann himself writes of the book in the preface:
The double volume which is herewith offered to the Lutheran liturgiologists and liturgists of America makes no claim of being an exhaustive presentation. It is merely, as the subtitle states, a hand-book for the student, for the busy pastor, and for all those interested in Christian art from the Lutheran standpoint and in the liturgical heritage of the Reformation. The references and  foot-notes, however, may prove of value to such as wish to make a more detailed study of any section.
Need to Get Level: 6/10

It is excellent, it is awesome, but it will run you 25-50 bucks at the places I have seen. But with that will regret not getting it. So if you are a pastor or layman that deeply cares for beauty in Christian worship, wishes to learn more, and want a helpful handbook--get it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Justification of the Sinner before God by Eduard Preuss

Walther called Justification of the Sinner before God by Eduard Preuss the best book on Justification in the 19th century. Lutheran Legacy reprinted it a few years back and Prof. Roland Ziegler of Concordia Theological Seminary-Fort Wayne wrote a new introduction for it with expanded notes. It is an amazing book. I read it a few years back, and it deepened and clarified my understanding of Justification, not to mention helping my preaching overnight. The book has beautiful illustrations and powerful sermonic imagery. Throughout, but perhaps most impressively in the second half, Preuss offers concise, clear distinctions and arguments against false understandings of justification. The pastors of our circuit are studying it right now, and the fruit is evident!
Additionally, Prof. Ziegler presented a paper at the Fort Wayne Symposia on Preuss and Walther. This is required pre-reading for this L-TOM, and should be required reading for pastors going out into the field. Ziegler relates the sad story of how Eduard Preuss, though he had such a wonderful understanding of justification, he fell into the error of wanting to see the church triumphant on earth, adorned with wordly glory. He became tempted by Rome and wound up defecting. After contrasting Preuss' later stance with Walther's, Ziegler makes special plea for pastors (and all of us!) to be guard so as not to fall into the same trap Preuss did. Preuss seems to have not made use of going and talking to his brothers about his doubts and fears, but apparently was outwardly fine until BLAMO! he forsook his confession of faith. As always, the forked tongue of Satan works beneath cloak in secrecy, poisoning the well, isolating and drawing us away from those with whom we should be in conversation and from whom we are to hear the Word of God for support.
Need to Get Level: 10/10     [I know, they all have been 10's so far...but we had to start with strong, classic L-TOMs! I promise we'll get to some more obscure works.]

It is only 15 bucks, and has chapters of only 15-25 pages. Just get it! It is a must for pastors or those who wish to delve deep into the teaching of justification. It works wonderfully for circuit study.

Update: Found a picture of Prof. Eduard Preuss in A Century of Blessing (1846-1946) Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois. Click here for lots of pictures from that book.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Outlines of Doctrinal Theology by A. L. Graebner

Note: Thanks to Pr. Andrew Gray for our first guest post and pointing us to a great resource from old Missouri.


Outlines of Doctrinal Theology is a collection of concise doctrinal statements with Scripture references to show the origin of those statements.  It is a great quick reference guide and has great value for preparation and personal study.  Topics are arranged from prolegomena to eternal life and everything in between. 

It was written by A.L. Graebner who served as a professor at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. [He is the father of Theodore Graebner] The book was published by Concordia Publishing House in 1910.  This would make the work in the public domain, though I was not able to find an available scan online. (Let me know if you find one.) It is however available in the Print-on-Demand section of the CPH site for what I would consider a very reasonable price at 29.99 for this work. As with all of the books listed on L-TOM you might be able to find a copy if you search the right places. I picked mine up for a dollar at a Concordia Theological Seminary book sale a few years back.
The book began as dictated notes from the English lectures on Dogmatic Theology at Concordia Seminary St. Louis delivered by Graebner. The students had reprinted the notes and they began to be disseminated beyond the seminary. When it became apparent there was demand for the work Graebner in his preface notes, “Finally, the students’s supply was exhausted and the Board of Directors of Concordia Publishing House determined on the publication of this book, the author deemed it no longer proper to refuse his consent and cooperation.”
This is a great work to have in your collection. In our day, when there is a great temptation to cast off the teachings of our Lutheran Fathers, Graebner states, “While it has been the author’s constant aim to demonstrate the scripturalness of the doctrinal statements set forth in the Paragraphs of this book, he deems it a duty to say that he knows himself also in full accord with the doctrine of the Lutheran Chruch as laid down in the Book of Concord, and that the absence of references to the Symbols of our church, the norma normata of sound Lutheranism, must not be construed into a disparagement of the Lutheran standards or of any point of doctrine therein contained. With an emphatic refusal to apologize for having nowhere, from the first point in Bibliology to the last in Eschatology, progressed beyond the theology of our orthodox fathers, and with the fervent prayer that God would graciously keep him and his bretheren in the faith from any such progress, this humble contribution toward the theological literature of our church in America is dedicated to the service of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and commended to His divine blessing by the author.”   

Need to Get Level: 10/10

I would say that for the pastor's library it is a must have, especially for its quick reference value, and that laymen would get a lot out of it as well if they had it on their shelves. It is rather accessible.

Pastor Andrew Gray
St. John Lutheran Church-Marengo, IA

Where to find L-TOMs

Here are some places and ways to find some gems of old Missouri:

1. Amazon

I have much better luck on Amazon than ebay, alibris, or alibris, etc. Though I have found incredible deals at these places as well, so they should not be forgotten. Pr. Andrew Gray of Iowa East says I am in the stone age and that bookfinder is the way to go. Whatever...

2. CPH has print on demand works available and a Professional/Academic catalog of books.

3. NPH has some older titles mixed around in its selections.

4. The CLC's Book House has some older treasures as well.

5. Anchor Books and Tracts, which is connected to the LCR, also has LOTS of old gems stuff for very reasonable prices.

6. Concordia Lutheran Conference's Publishing House has a List of available titles has tons of great stuff.

7. The OLCC has two old Missouri classics online: P.E. Kretzmann's Popular Commentary; and much of W.A. Maier's For Better Not For Worse

8. Pr. Rolf Preus has a multitude of essays here by his father Pr. Robert Preus (as well as himself and one by Pr. H.A. Preus). Not all of the essays fit within our historical parameters, but it is too excellent of a collection to pass by.

9. Repristination Press mostly has works from the period of Lutheran Orthodoxy, however, there are a few 19th Century American Lutheran works available and two William Dallman books that would definitely be considered L-TOM's.

10. Lutheran Legacy is another source of great stuff. In regards to American Lutheranism, they carry The Works of David Henkel (intro by Prof. Larry Rast) and The Justification of the Sinner Before God by Edward Preuss (intro by Prof. Roland Ziegler), an L-TOM if there ever were.

11. Christian News has tons of old classics for sale in its bookstore.

I am sure there are plenty of other places as tell us about them!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Advanced Bible History

Advanced Bible History came out from CPH in 1936 by A.C. Stellhorn. It was for use in parochial and Sunday schools, as well as in the home. It is an updating of the 1918 Comprehensive Bible History. Stellhorn was most famous for this work, along with Schools of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and other educational aids. This was the standard Intermediate Bible History used in the Missouri Synod (virtually the same to the Comprehensive version) and heavily used from 1918 into the 1970's, and perhaps later in some places. They were still on the shelves at my father's first call in 1980 though no longer in use at that time. This is an L-TOM classic if there ever was one and perfect to kick us off!

It is solid. 70 Old Testament stories, 70 New Testament stories in 447 pages. It covers all the basic biblical narratives you would want covered for a child. As was the case in almost Bible Histories for children, a certain level of summarizing goes on, yet sticks close to the actual text and narrative. [Note: I am not a fan of this approach, but understand that it is the standard approach and far better than a "re-telling"] The pictures are certainly not cartoonish, however, neither are they overly realistic, as if they are pretending to be a photograph. The pictures chosen are of the type that seeks to also tell the narrative historically and artfully so that the proper knowledge is conveyed and thoughts evoked. (An art that we have woefully lost, though there seems to be signs that we are in the process of recovering this sense) There are helpful, yet not burdensome, introductory explanations, notes, and other helps. The section divisions are appropriate and proper. At the end of each lesson is a Small Catechism tie-in (Second Article, 3rd Petition, etc.), additional Bible verse cross reference, and a hymn verse. There is a pronunciation guide and 12 maps in the back of the volume.

It should come as no surprise that the volume highlights and focuses on the Promise of the Seed in the Old Testament and our Lord's Person and Work in the New Testament. There is good attention paid to the 4th Commandment throughout the narratives and artwork. And unlike other Bible Histories of the time period (and the norm today) difficult and/or scandalous portions of Scripture are not shied away from or sanitized.

The Advanced Bible History is easy to get your hands on and cheap. I wouldn't be surprised if a couple aren't hanging around your church's library. It is definitely appropriate and useful in the home, and if additional helps or desired there was a two part Bible History References by F. Rupprecht put out by CPH that was linked to it.

Final Score: Get it, if you don't already have this classic and trustworthy standby. It will be useful for the pastor or parent as a reference. And do not be surprised if you wind up actually using it.

Need to Get Level: 10/10

Please comment if you remember using this volume or have/use a copy.

[Note: There is an updated version of Advanced Bible History, A Bible History, that is faithful to the tradition of this Bible History and was revised with a light touch by editors Rodney Rathmann and Clarence Berndt in 2003. You can find in at Amazon or CPH.]

Welcome to L-TOM!

Lutheran Treasures of the Old Missouri Synod is a Blog about books, articles, and other printed works that were produced in the "old days" of the Missouri Synod. I'm not going to define that time frame any clearer than this: pre-1960. This is certainly not old for some, but it is for most today. I will not venture too far into the German works of the Synod since I do not have much direct access to them. So we are mainly talking about the first half of the 20th century. Works would include anything from that era that is important, insightful, or interesting to me...and that I have in my possession.

Note: I will probably also occasionally mention Lutheran works produced outside of the Missouri Synod.

A good shorthand for these relics worth dusting off is L-TOM, or the plural, L-TOMs.

If you have something from "Old Missouri" that you think is worth mentioning, take these steps:

1. Snap a picture (or two).
2. Give the bibliographical info on the work.
3. Write up a SHORT paragraph or two on why it is important, insightful, or interesting. Also include a little information on the author and context of the work.
4. Send it to me through FB or at: david dot p dot ramirez at gmail dot com.
5. Be ready to ask the almost certain deluge of questions.