New Additions to Apostles’ Library

Three books have been recently added to the library of Apostles Lutheran Church:

1. Day, Bart and others (eds.). Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay. Houston: The Feuerhahn Festschrift Committee, 2002.

A Festschrift is “a collection of articles by the colleagues, former students, etc. of a noted scholar, published in his or her honor.”   The scholar, beloved professor, churchman, and theologian for whom this book was published was Dr. Ronald Feuerhahn, on the occasion of his 65th birthday.  Dr. Feuerhahn served as Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO.

This collection of essays, though assembled in honor of a theologian of the church, are not really about the man.  They are about theology, and theology in practice.  Of course, articles of a historical nature are included, but so are articles about the church’s liturgy, doctrine, and life.

Contributors include Revs Henry Gerike, John Kleinig, Robert Kolb, Norman Nagel, John Pless, Larry Rast, and Jon Vieker.

This work serves well in honoring a confessional Lutheran, a Christian who loves His Lord, the Lord’s doctrine, and the Lord’s church.  The reader will recognize this in these articles, and will grow in appreciation for the rich heritage of liturgy and doctrine which is ours as Lutherans.

 

2. Mayer, F.E.  The Religious Bodies of America.  St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1956.

In the Preface to the first edition, Mayer writes that he “has endeavored to observe the following theological principles: an unqualified submission to the divine truth as it is revealed in the sacred records of Holy Scripture; acceptance of the Word of God as the absolute and final standard and rule of all Christian proclamation; the conviction that the Lutheran Confessions area  full and correct witness to this divinely revealed truth; a deep concern to preserve and cultivate the true ecumenical sprit which recognizes the spiritual unity of all Christians through faith in Christ, transcending all denominational lines, but which at the same time is conscious of the obligation to censure and to correct every doctrinal trend which threatens to undermine or destroy the unity of faith” (vii).

This book, though outdated, (an updated edition is available) contains much by which the reader can benefit.  Mayer appropriately distinguishes the various Christian denominations in our day according to their respective doctrines, without attacking or criticizing.  He notes histories and primary source documents and offers a “widened view” of differences.

From the Greek Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church to Lutheran and Reformed churches, and more, Mayer “endeavors to classify all bodies, to trace the historical origin and development of each denominational family, and to show how each related family maintains certain basic theological premises and observes certain practices that figured prominently in historical development.”  In doing so, he “enables the reader to understand and to appreciate why each church body believes and practices as it does” (4).

This is most helpful for the Christian today.  Many in Christendom assume that the differences among Christians are of minor significance.  Mayer demonstrates that this is not the case.  He helps to foster greater recognition between truth and error, and, gives more understanding as to why we, as Lutherans, and others, believe as we do.

 

3. Reed, Luther D.  The Lutheran Liturgy, A Study of the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America.   Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1947.

A greater understanding of the why and how of worship of the Christian church is not without merit.  The liturgy always has a place in the Church of Christ, not only historically, but practically as well.  What the Christian congregation does together in worship is not isolated from other congregations.  Nor are the parts of the Service derived only for the purpose of “filling time”.  They have Scripture as their basis, and as such, they direct us to Christ, the center of Scripture.

If you ever had questions about the history of the liturgies we use, where the liturgies came from, what they mean, and why we use them, this book may be of great assistance.

The Lutheran Church is considered a liturgical church for a reason.  She did not all of a sudden appear on the scene in a vacuum.  She has a rich history, and a rich liturgy.

Today’s Lutheran has no need to be ashamed either to be called Lutheran or liturgical, for in the liturgy, God serves us with the gift of His Word (Service of the Word), and then with the Sacrament of Christ’s body and blood (Service of the Sacrament), and to confess the Lutheran faith is only to confess the Christian faith.  We need not be ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16), nor do we need be ashamed of Christ, who is the center of our liturgies and our confession.

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