Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Perhaps you've heard of Kernlieder, the core hymnody that ought to be taught to children. There is also a de facto canon of core Bible Stories that can be recognized not only in Missouri Synod history, but across (American and otherwise) Lutheran history. The Missouri Synod's resources for teaching Bible History are representative of this broad consensus.
While not a true L-TOM, published in 1996, Bible History: Explained and Applied is linked to this same tradition as a supplemental resource to: the Elementary Bible History, which later became 100 Bible Stories; the upper grade Advanced Bible History, which is the 1936 revision of the Comprehensive Bible History; and other coordinated materials such as Bible History References. This book of Rev. K.K. Miller, who was a pastor in the LCR, is a collection of short sermons on the same Bible stories that are covered in the above primary resources. From the Preface:
The more books I read from the early 1900's about and for the teaching of children, the more I am in awe of how dreadfully seriously our forefathers took pedagogy. The task of compiling Bible Histories, teacher training materials, etc. was entrusted to the leading men, if not the leading theologian, of the particular synod. While this is still true to a greater extent in the LCMS than most other Lutheran bodies, it is only a shadow of what was.
Kretzmann, Stellhorn, Koehler, Rupprecht, etc. were all top theologians that were heavily involved in and directed the educational direction of the Missouri Synod. If one surveys the Concordia Teachers' Training Series booklets from the first half of the 20th century, they were in large part written by seminary professors or well-respected parish pastors. J. M. Reu, the greatest theologian of the Iowa Synod, personally compiled their Bible History and many of their catechetical and educational resources. This same pattern can be seen again and again among the German, Scandinavian, and other Lutheran groups.
Turning to the General Council, and East Coast Lutheranism in general, Theodore Emmanuel Schmauk was the leading theologian among these Lutherans in the generation after Krauth. He was the President of the General Council, editor of the Lutheran Church Review, and served as a professor and in other important positions at the Lutheran seminary in Philadelphia. His most famous work is The Confessional Principle and the Confessions of the Lutheran Church (1911).