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!

No comments:

Post a Comment