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.]