Sunday, February 07, 2016

Book: 20th Century Lutheran theologians

20th Century Lutheran theologians

This collection of essays examines important twentieth-century Lutheran theologians, including European and North American voices.
Each essay provides an overview of the life and thought of important confessional Lutherans who shaped theology with an ecumenical, world-wide impact. The focus here is not on later twentieth-century figures but earlier ones, selected similar to the spirit manifest in Karl Barth's contention »lest we forget where contemporary theology came from« (Protestant Theology From Rousseau to Ritschl).
The essays composed over the last five years were initiated by Lutheran Quarterly in order to assess our recent past as we move into a new millennium. The goal of each author, each a leading theologian, has been to describe each thinker's life and vocation and how each thinker's work continues to impact theology today.

The theologians included are:

  • Francis Pieper (1852 – 1931)  by David P. Scaer
  • John Philipp Koehler (1859 – 1951) by Michael J. Albrecht
  • Karl Holl (1866 – 1926) by Gregory A. Walter
  • Ole Hallesby (1879 – 1961) by Torleiv Austad
  • Werner Elert (1885 – 1954) by Matthew Becker
  • Paul Althaus (1888 – 1966) by Hans Schwarz
  • Hermann Sasse (1895 – 1976) by John T. Pless
  • Hans Joachim Iwand (1899 – 1960) by Gregory A. Walter
  • Edmund Schlink (1903 – 1984) by Matthew Becker
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945) by Richard H.  Bliese
  • Ernst K√§semann (1906 – 1998) by Roy A. Harrisville
  • Helmut Thielicke (1908 – 1986) by John T. Pless
  • Gustaf Wingren (1910 – 2000) by Mary Elizabeth Anderson
  • Gerhard Ebeling (1912 – 2001)  by Mark D. Menacher

Book: 19th Century Lutheran theologians

19th Century Lutheran Theologians
This collection of essays, a companion volume to the book, Twentieth-Century Lutheran Theologians (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013), examines important nineteenth-century figures from the perspective of contemporary European and North-American scholars.
Each essay provides an overview of the life and central ideas of a key Lutheran/Protestant theologian who has had a significant impact on theological reflection down to the present. The focus here is on those thinkers who were active between 1799 (the year when Schleiermacher's Speeches appeared) and the First World War. These are individuals who deserve repeated examination, whose insights are still worth pondering today, and whose theological positions help us to understand better "where contemporary theology has come from" (Karl Barth).
All of the essays were initiated by the journal Lutheran Quarterly in order to assess our theological heritage as we move further into a new millennium. The goal of the authors, each a leading theologian, has been to describe a given thinker's life and vocation and how that person's work continues to impact theology today.

The theologians covered include:

  • Friedrich Schleiermacher (Christine Helmer; Northwestern University)
  • Georg Hegel (Mark Mattes; Grand View University, Des Moines)
  • F. C. Baur (Mark Seifried; Concordia Seminary, St. Louis)
  • J. T. Beck (Roy Harrisville Sr.; Luther Seminary, St. Paul [emeritus])
  • Adolf von Harless (Lutz Mohaupt; University of Hamburg [emeritus])
  • Nikolai F. S. Grundtvig (Anders Holm; University of Copenhagen)
  • W. Loehe (David Ratke; Lenoir-Rhyne University)
  • J. C. K. von Hofmann (Matthew Becker,Valparaiso University )
  • Gottfried Thomasius (Hans Schwarz; University of Regensburg [emeritus])
  • C. F. W. Walther  (Christoph Barnbrock; Theological Hochschule Oberuersel)
  • S. Kierkegaard (Carl Hughes; Texas Lutheran University)
  • Theodosius Harnack (Christoffer Grundmann, Valparaiso University) 
  • Albrecht Ritschl (Darrell Jodock; Gustavus Adolphus [emeritus])
  • C. P. Krauth (Mark Oldenburg; Gettysburg Seminary)
  • Martin Kaehler (Carl Braaten; Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago [emeritus])
  • Nathan Soederblom (Dietz Lange; University of Goettingen)

Friday, February 05, 2016

Book: Brand Luther

Brand Luther: How an Unheralded Monk Turned His Small Town into a Center of Publishing, Made Himself the Most Famous Man in Europe and Started the Protestant Reformation

A revolutionary look at Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the birth of publishing, on the eve of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary

When Martin Luther posted his “theses” on the door of the Wittenberg church in 1517, protesting corrupt practices, he was virtually unknown. Within months, his ideas spread across Germany, then all of Europe; within years, their author was not just famous, but infamous, responsible for catalyzing the violent wave of religious reform that would come to be known as the Protestant Reformation and engulfing Europe in decades of bloody war.

Luther came of age with the printing press, and the path to glory of neither one was obvious to the casual observer of the time. Printing was, and is, a risky business—the questions were how to know how much to print and how to get there before the competition. Pettegree illustrates Luther's great gifts not simply as a theologian, but as a communicator, indeed, as the world's first mass-media figure, its first brand. He recognized in printing the power of pamphlets, written in the colloquial German of everyday people, to win the battle of ideas.

But that wasn't enough—not just words, but the medium itself was the message. Fatefully, Luther had a partner in the form of artist and businessman Lucas Cranach, who together with Wittenberg’s printers created the distinctive look of Luther's pamphlets. Together, Luther and Cranach created a product that spread like wildfire—it was both incredibly successful and widely imitated. Soon Germany was overwhelmed by a blizzard of pamphlets, with Wittenberg at its heart; the Reformation itself would blaze on for more than a hundred years.

Publishing in advance of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary, Brand Luther fuses the history of religion, of printing, and of capitalism—the literal marketplace of ideas—into one enthralling story, revolutionizing our understanding of one of the pivotal figures and eras in human history.

Editorial Reviews

“There is very little serious academic work that explicitly explores the role of printing in the rise of Protestantism. Brand Luther fills that gap. It is an insightful and highly scholarly book but it’s very readable at the same time. It is a well-researched book that provides deep analysis of the rise of Protestantism. It should be on university curriculums for history. It is a must-read for everyone interested in the history of Europe and religion. Pettegree’s scholarship is unmatched in its insight, scholarly value, and authority.”—The Washington Post Book Review 

“A remarkable story, thoroughly researched and clearly told, and one sure to change the way we think about the early Reformation.”—Washington Post
“Pettegree expertly guides us through Luther's years and achievements…. Most of all, though, Pettegree deserves credit for his fresh slant on the Reformation and his dynamic storytelling….And as this absorbing and illuminating book capably shows, after Luther, print and public communication—and indeed, religion—would never be the same again.”—Weekly Standard 

“Pettegree…shines light on an overlooked talent of [the Reformation’s] main progenitor…Brand Luther shows how Wittenberg’s most famous son took keen interest not only in the content of his books, but also in how they were manufactured, designed, and marketed.”—Christianity Today 

“Pettegree admirably presents Luther, warts and all. But in the final analysis, he asks whether printing created Luther and the Protestant Reformation or Luther created mass media through his shrewd manipulation and adaptation of the printing industry to his specific needs. This book argues both—it’s hard to separate one from the other since the rising success of printing as well as Protestantism seemed to go hand in hand. Well researched and well written, this essential book is for anyone remotely interested in Luther or early modern technology.” –Library Journal

"Well researched and well written, this essential book is for anyone remotely interested in Luther or early modern technology."—Sandra Collins, Byzantine Catholic Seminary Lib., Pittsburgh

“A cogent and authoritative overview of Martin Luther (1483-1546) and of the burgeoning printing industry that disseminated his ideas….An informative history of a man of ‘adamantine strengths and…very human weaknesses’ who incited a theological revolution.”- Kirkus

“Authoritative and beautifully written, Pettegree’s book provides a radical take on a revolutionary figure.”- Bruce Gordon, Yale Divinity School, author of Calvin

“Andrew Pettegree draws on a lifetime’s scholarly engagement with the history of the book to offer us a fresh way of looking at Luther and his times. Of all the many new books which will commemorate the momentous events of 1517, this will be one of the most original: not just a biography of Martin Luther, but a study which uses the printing industry as a lens through which to view his extraordinary achievement as writer and inspiration of the movement which reshaped European religion.”-Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of The Reformation: A History and Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

“This perceptive and engaging analysis of the German Reformation highlights the fruitful interweaving of Martin Luther’s skills as a preacher, writer, and publicist and the burgeoning printing industry. Pettegree’s lucid and persuasive account offers unparalleled insight into this outstanding early modern example of effective use of communication techniques that allowed Luther’s message to take hold.”-Karin Maag, Professor of History and Director, H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies, Calvin College and English editor and translator of The Reformation and the Book 

“Andrew Pettegree brings his expert knowledge of the sixteenth-century book business to bear on the old crux of ‘printing and the Reformation.’ Many images of Luther will appear in the next few years, and this one is particularly intriguing. Pettegree’s Luther understood the importance of the new medium and the new format in which his message was expressed. He was not an artless voice declaiming against the whirlwind, as he sometimes portrayed himself. Rather he was an astute publicist for a message that he firmly believed was much greater than himself.”-Euan Cameron, Union Theological Seminary; author of The European Reformation 

Brand Luther is an important recasting of the history of Martin Luther and the rise of the German Reformation. Without reducing the role of religious ideas or the power of personal faith, Andrew Pettegree demonstrates how Luther was able to harness and exploit the emerging power of print in order to broadcast his message of religious reform and ultimately bring about a transformation of European Christianity. Pettegree tells both sides of the story with equal vigour and understanding, moving between Luther the reformer, the relentless weaver of words, and the emerging forms of early modern media. The result is a book that does not just commemorate the Reformation but helps us to view its history in a completely different way.”-C. Scott Dixon, author of Protestants: A History from Wittenberg to Pennsylvania 

Brand Luther tells two tales. The first is an engaging biography of the German reformer Martin Luther. The second is a stimulating account of the first time the printing press helped shape a mass movement. Andrew Pettegree deftly combines these two stories to show how an abstract academic dispute grew into the Reformation that divided western Christendom. This is history-writing at its best!”-Dr. Amy Nelson Burnett, Paula and D.B. Varner Professor of History, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

“Andrew Pettegree’s Brand Luther brings new excitement and insight to the persistent question of why Martin Luther’s calls for reform revolutionized western Christianity when earlier critiques had not.  Drawing on his deep knowledge of the Protestant Reformation and the early modern printing industry, Pettegree has crafted a compelling narrative that conveys the excitement, chaos, and uncertainty of the first decades of the Protestant Reformation.  In Pettegree’s incisive telling, the Reformation is just as crucially a “commercial revolution” as a theological one.  He presents Luther as an innovative, forward-thinking mover of the print industry whose mastery of the new medium of print transformed both Christianity and the business of printing.  Pettegree places the interactions among Luther, the emerging print industry, and the economic development of the city of Wittenberg at the center of the Reformation drama, returning a sense of suspense to a well-known story and emphasizing the fact that Luther’s success and long-lasting influence was never a foregone conclusion.”-Karen E. Spierling, editor, Calvin and the Book: The Evolution of the Printed Word in Reformed Protestantism

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Video Series: Ed's Story

Ed’s Story is a documentary about Pastor Ed Dobson’s recent life of suffering with ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2000, and given a short time to live, Ed Dobson wrestles with the issues that suffering brings, like worry, identity, forgiveness, gratitude, and healing. But in the midst of his disease, Ed finds hope. Not the kind of hope that ignores suffering, and not the kind of hope that minimizes or bypasses suffering, but the kind of hope that can only come from acknowledging and engaging honestly with suffering. Ed’s Story is a seven-part short film series that takes an intimate look at Ed’s journey with ALS, and inspires us all to become the kind of people who find hope in the midst of difficult circumstances.

The series includes
Become the kind of person who can find hope in the midst of difficult circumstances.
In It Ain’t Over, the first film in the Ed’s Story series, Ed Dobson reminds us that life isn’t over yet and that we don’t have to feel overwhelmed by the struggles we’re facing today. Difficult news can sometimes make us feel like our lives are over. Ed shows us that we don’t know the future, and that things may turn out quite differently from what we expect.

Sometimes we worry too much about the future.
Ed stopped making plans more than two weeks out after his ALS diagnosis. Why? Tomorrow is not guaranteed—for any of us. When we worry about tomorrow, we often miss out on the beauty, richness, and fulfillment of today.
Could living for today be what’s best for us, and could it even free us from the worries of tomorrow?

When those close to us suffer, it’s only natural to want to help. But what do you say when someone’s life falls apart and suffering becomes their reality? How can you show you care?
The people who comforted Ed most were the ones who just showed up and didn’t say a word.
Perhaps just being present can bring more comfort, peace, and a sense of God’s presence than words ever could.

Many of us find our identity in what we do. But what happens when our career comes to an abrupt end? What happens when that job is no longer there? Are we still ourselves? Does our identity change?
A pastor for many years, Ed struggled to adjust to a life without the pulpit. He eventually discovered there is much more to who we are than what we do. Could it be that change is an opportunity for a renewed sense of purpose?

When Ed was told that his life would be over in a few short years, he found his priorities drastically rearranged. He wanted to mend relationships that may have been broken. He decided that relationships were way more important than who was right and who was wrong.
Ed discovered that forgiveness is an issue that requires humility. He also discovered a transforming experience for all involved. Could the power of forgiveness lead to a better world around us?

Many people start each day with a list of things to accomplish. But it’s possible to get caught up in this list; to anticipate how things will go and actually feel entitled to each of our days. As if they are owed to us.
It wasn’t until Ed was forced to slow down that he truly began to see all that he has been given.

Tragedy reminds us what little control we have over life; we are always at the mercy of something other than ourselves. As Ed shares, perhaps acknowledging this lack of control is the key to really understanding the notion of healing.

For more information and to buy the videos visit

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Illustrated Children's Ministry

Illustrated Children's Ministry provides illustrated resources to support ministry in churches and with families at home.

Resources include:

  • Illustrated Children's Moments provide creative and engaging illustrations of Bible stories to be used in worship during children's moments/sermons.
  • Colouring Sheets and Large Posters provide creative intergenerational activities for church events or family gatherings.
  • Resources for liturgical seasons provide engaging practices for families at home and children at church. They consist of devotionals, illustrations, coloring sheets and more.
  • Resources for lent and advent


Every year I’m on the lookout for family and church Advent materials that are engaging and easy to use. This year I found An Illustrated Advent and everyone is loving it! Every week several families comment on how they are using the packets at home and how much they love them! The large coloring posters are being used in Sunday school classes and also at the art table in the sanctuary by all ages. Can’t wait for the Lent materials. Thanks!
Stephanie Fritz, Director of Children and Family Ministries at Central Presbyterian, Denver

Within moments of setting out the posters, I had people clamoring to do some coloring–young & young at heart, men & women, boys & girls. When I asked a few people to pick it up to put down another poster, I hear groans of “But it’s not done yet!” The posters were beautiful and well designed, and the customer service stuck through some pretty tedious mailing issues. I can’t wait for the next few weeks of coloring through Advent!
Pastor Megan Thompson, Mt. Vernon, Champaign & Bondville United Methodist Churches

We handed out your Coloring in series weekly, to the whole congregation as a wonderful mindfulness exercise to spiritually access the season of Advent. Some, did a little each day, others used them when stressed. All exploded with color in the same way that our Southern Hemisphere location explodes with color this time of the year. Many thanks.
Wendy Lewis, Children and Families Education Worker and Wesley Church Melbourne (Australia)

I’m always looking for engaging projects that will give my two busy body kids something to focus their energy and creativity on. These large advent posters have done just that and I’m not going to lie– this momma had fun getting in on the action to. I highly recommend buying a set as a family project and enjoying the quality time together and talking about the message behind each piece.
Marie Walti, Stay at home mom and entrepreneur

We are having a great time here in Mexicali with our brothers and sisters. Sometimes there is a language barrier but with coloring these pictures the differences are minimized. Kids, adults, everyone knew exactly what to do and could come and go as they pleased. This was a great resource for our team.
Adam Knudson, Associate Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries at Hope Lutheran Church, Fresno, CA