18 February 2009

For Jason

Jason asked for a collection of 10 "must reads." I've restricted myself to Lutheran theological and devotional literature. If I were to expand this to include other confessions, then Schmemann and Pope Benedict XVI would be listed too.

Jacob's Elements of Religion (note: weak on the Supper; only fault I see in the book - well, aside from its horrible title. A patristically informed setting forth of a complete overview of Lutheran theology)

Krauth's Conservative Reformation (note: DENSE writing, but worthwhile. Any reader of this blog knows he's my favorite)

Gerhard's Sacred Meditations (The Lutheran classic devotional writing for all time; great way to spend Lent!)

Piepkorn's The Church (I wouldn't be a Lutheran today without Piepkorn's work - I'm very grateful for this collection of his essays)

Piepkorn's The Sacred Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions (Ditto)

Sasse's We Confess Series (This is an essential collection; wonderfully translated by Dr. Nagel)

Sasse's Here We Stand (You'll never confuse Lutheran and Reformed again after reading this work)

Sasse's This is My Body (The definitive volume on Luther's contention for the Real Presence of our Savior's body and blood in the Eucharist)

Chemnitz' Ministry, Word, and Sacrament: An Enchiridion (In the Reformation, this and Rhegius were bound together to provide pastors a sort of workbook for doctrine and for preaching)

Rhegius' Preaching the Reformation (THIS is what they should be using to teach preaching at the seminaries!)

That's my list for the moment. If any others have "must reads," by all means, tell us about them in the comments.


Jason said...

Thank you Pastor Weedon.

bajaye said...

Not that it would make a top ten list but I'm curious as to your assessment of Gritsch and Jenson's "Lutheranism."


William Weedon said...


I confess that I've not read it. Part of living in an LCMS ghetto, no doubt.

Grasshopper said...


Thank you for posting this.


Jim Huffman said...

Chemnitz: Two Natures in Christ?

Omar said...

I've read (portions) of Gritsch and Jenson's "Luthernanism".

It's a fair assessment of, as the subtitle purports, "the theological movement and its confessional writings".
As far as my knowledge extends, some of the stonger sections are those dealing with Lutheran sacramentology -- in particular its difference with the Roman and especially the various Reformed strains. On the less strong side is, perhaps, that one which deals with matters of adiaphora.

A good read at any rate.
It's a good starting point for those exploring Luthernanism and/or want to read somethign that covers a broad area concerned with or linked to Lutheranism.
As a neophyte I found it reasonably easy to digest, but it does demand at least a working knowledge of some pertinent matters like Medieval theology and the Confessions.


Rev. Paul Beisel said...

A most formative book for me was Adolf Koeberle's "The Quest for Holiness." Also, Gustaf Wingren, "Luther on Vocation."

Herr B. said...

Pr. Weedon,

I've read the three books by Dr. Sasse that you list. I think he's magnificently clear and to the point. Sometimes i chuckle at how quickly he dives into a topic. What impresses me the most, though, is his intense love for the church. The passion for confession in "We Confess" conveys more than information. It more conveys how to live and breathe confession. Many of Sasse's writings are a great example of how to confess the truth in love. There's much to be learned from him.

I always struggle to explain why Sasse impresses me so much. Maybe it's because his best writings always offer heaping measures of seriousness, knowledge, clarity, passion, and love. All of these qualities mixed together make for something far from ordinary.


Bryce P Wandrey said...

What I find interesting is that there are no works by Luther listed. "Freedom of a Christian...", "Bondage of the Will", "The Babylonian Captivity". None of these make the top 10 list for confessional Lutherans?

This was one of my critiques of the my seminary education at Fort Wayne: I read more Luther and Augustine at St Olaf College as set texts for classes than I did at Seminary.

Jeremy Loesch said...

Giertz- "Hammer of God"
Forde- "On Being a Theologian of the Cross"
Steinbeck- "The Grapes of Wrath"

All of them useful in their own way.

christl242 said...

If one can still find it, Martin Luther's beautiful "Day By Day We Magnify Thee" (which I gave to my sister and am contemplating breaking into her house to steal back).

Gritsch and Jenson are more identified with the ELCA branch of the Lutheran world, I think. Although, Jenson and Carl Braaten have written some fine Lutheran works and struggle with the direction the ELCA is heading in.

Jason said...

Christl242: No need to break a commandment to get the book: it was republished in Oct 2008.


christl242 said...

No need to break a commandment to get the book: it was republished in Oct 2008.

What??? WHAT??? It was republished? Thanks, Jason, you've made my day! I really cherished that book (shouldn't have given it away to begin with, but that's another story (-:)


christl242 said...

Arrggghhh! I just went to the Amazon site. The version of "Day by Day" available from Augsburg is an updated one that uses an NRSV text, which will of course have inclusive lanaguage, and is entitled "Day by Day We Magnify You" (Jason, thanks for the Amazon reference, or I wouldn't have seen that).

But the good news/bad news is that the Concorida Seminary bookstore has it available under its original title and the original editors. The bad news is that it costs as hefty $47.00 plus dollars.

Oh well. I'll save my pennies, it's more than worth it. One of Luther's finest devotional works that walk through the Church Year.

Easier than trying to steal it back!


Bryce P Wandrey said...

I have a copy of said book. Since it used I will sell it to you for $46.00. ;)

christl242 said...

Er, thanks Bruce, but I'm seeing some good copies on Amazon for around $21.00!

Or I just may decide to support Concordia Seminary and up the full purchase price for one of theirs!

(OR . . . sneak into my sister's ELCA parish where my original copy now resides and steal it back!)

christl242 said...

Er, thanks Bruce, but I'm seeing some good copies on Amazon for around $21.00!

Or I just may decide to support Concordia Seminary and up the full purchase price for one of theirs!

(OR . . . sneak into my sister's ELCA parish where my original copy now resides and steal it back!)

Brian P Westgate said...

When I got my copy of that book at the Bookstore a couple years ago, although the price tag said that high price, they only charged me $10.00.
We do read a nice amount of Luther here. However, you can never read enough Luther.
I still have to get the Rhegius book (thanks for the reminder Fr. Weedon!), but I've got the rest of them.

Pr. Lehmann said...

For once I agree with Bryce, though I read a lot of Luther at Fort Wayne.

I don't think I could ever write the list and not include "Great Galatians," "Against the Heavenly Prophets," and "These Words..."

I do love your list, however, and there are some things on it that I need to read.

William Weedon said...

Oh, I put Luther in a category by himself, and it's impossible to select only 10! Still, tops for me in his writings:

Large Catechism
Small Catechism
House Postils (that's sneaking in lots of writing under one heading!)
Freedom of the Christian
Great Galatians
Against Hans Wurst
On the Councils and the Church
A Treatise on the New Testament, that is, the Holy Mass
Confession Concerning Christ's Supper
The Keys

That's my top ten Luther must reads.

Pr. Lehmann said...

To be totally honest, my favorite Luther is usually whatever I read most recently. ;-)

I blame both Fr. Weedon and Dr. Masaki for that (in fairly equal measures).

Past Elder said...

Babylonian Captivity utterly changed my life.

However it may not be what needs to be on everyone's reading list.

I just happened to be, like Luther, a veteran of lifelong intense contact with "Babylon", which puts the "Captivity" in a little different light.

Charles Pierce said...

I was interested to find this blog. My blog at http://chasalex.blogspot.com is a reproduction, page by page, of a book that was popular in the early twentieth century. This is the 1935 edition. It was a Christmas present from my grandmother to my mother in 1942. My mother gave it to me in April 1958 and I read a page every night until 1966. It guided me through a difficult adolescence and early adulthood, as a bearer of Asperger's syndrome, a condition which wasn't identified and labelled until decades later.

The book has one page for every day of the year. Just read the page for that date, every day. The pieces are quotes from poets, thinkers, ministers of religion, prominent people and literary figures going back from the early twentieth century to classical times. There are quotes from the Christian bible as well as sacred texts from other religions. Women feature more than you would expect for the time, because this book had among its compilers, women who worked for emancipation and voting rights for women in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The pieces have been reproduced here exactly as they appeared in the 1935 book. Some of the language might be antique, gender-specific and politically incorrect, and God is referred to often, in the natural way that people did in former days.

Jason said...

Hello Fr. Weedon. Wondering your thoughts on "The Quest for Holiness" by A. Koberle, and why you don't quote from him at times? Simply curious. Thanks.

William Weedon said...


The only copy I ever had of it was misprinted with major sections missing - so I never finished reading it.

Jason said...

Fr. Weedon: I accidentally came up with a second copy. I'll send you a copy--FoC--for all the great work you do on your blog (and elsewhere, I'm sure)! :)

William Weedon said...


That would be most kind of you! Thanks!