26 March 2010

I've blogged on this before...

...but the realization hits me anew: how unbelievably blest we've been with the recent publications from CPH. I compare to when I started in the ministry. We had a Synod quite divided over the hymnal (which, to be fair, had some very good points; and some very bad ones). We had an essentially Reformed Study Bible that we tried to "tweak" with a few "Lutheran" notes. We had a "daily prayer" office that relied on the NIV, featured no writings from the Fathers or the Confessions, used generally but two psalms A WEEK and was completely geared toward pastors only. There was no lectionary option for those who wanted the historic lectionary in the hymnal; the published lectionary was only three year, and was - pardon my crassness - as ugly as the hymnals themselves. Blue and spotted.

Look at what we have now, all of which is beautifully bound and presented:

A hymnal that is (for all its weaknesses) the best hymnal Lutherans in America have ever produced.
A complete and wonderful Altar Book.
A complete Agenda that makes the previous Agendas look sparse.
A Reader's Edition of Concordia: the Lutheran Confessions
Treasury of Daily Prayer - designed for ALL the baptized and replete with the daily Scripture readings AND writings from the history of the Church
A Pastoral Care Companion that is so rich a pastor in his ministry will never wear out its resources
A Study Bible that is one of the best available for its rich blending of Patristic, Confessional and modern scholarly insight into the Word of God.
And last but not least: Lutheran Service Builder that is top notch software for utilizing the full resources of hymnal AND Altar Book/Agenda with unprecedented ease and speed!

I can't imagine it has ever been a more joyous time to be a Lutheran pastor. In liturgy, Bible study, prayer, and pastoral care we have been resourced in a way that our spiritual forebears would be astonished at. And just today I read that CPH is coming out with an updated reader's edition of Dr. Walther's classic *The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel* that takes the "King Jamesy" language out of Dau's rendition of Walther and gives us the real and rugged Saxon at his best. Looking forward to it.

Oh, and did I mention the Gerhard volumes available now in his classic Loci Theologici? And Starck's Prayer Book? And Walther's *God Grant It!*? It goes on and on. And still the goodies are rolling out.

Thank you, heavenly Father, for these resources and for the opportunity to serve Your people in these days!


Jon Bakker said...

Don't forget 20 more volumes of Luther's Works in English...:-)

George said...

Now if CPH would only give complimentary copies of each book to every pastor... :)

Bibliophile said...

Now I just have to get caught up on the Gerhard before everything else comes out!
Fr. Pollock

GC said...

Oh, and the concordia commentary series.

I know it's not perfect either, but I've found all of the volumes to be some of the best and most useful commentaries available

Brian P Westgate said...

Anybody want to argue that TLH (or ELH) is the best? I know somebody does. . . .

David Jay Webber said...

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN HYMNARY has its flaws too. But all points considered, I do think it is actually the best hymnal Lutherans in America have ever produced, not LSB. For one thing, it has more Gerhardt and Luther. It has the Augsburg Confession in addition to the Small Catechism. It includes more verses of the historic chorales in general, cutting fewer of them out in comparison to LSB.

Past Elder said...

I will so argue, for TLH. Nonetheless, despite the Vatican II wannabe stuff heterodox churches have all gone to side by side with the real deal, after which how can one credibly say other stuff cannot be put up there with the real deal, considering the woeful state of things in the church these days the appearance of something as good as LSB is bloody near miraculous, and watching it come to-gether (I was in WELS at the time) is one of the reasons I am now LCMS.

I can't say about the pastors' volumes because I'm not a pastor, but I am a HUGE fan of God Grant It and also TLSB, which at first I thought would be my main reference Bible but I find now it's the one I read and use regularly. Also the Reader's Edition Concordia, though I came up on Tappert and in some ways like the translation there better, but overall the "McCain" BOC is just unmatched by anything else.

Those four, plus the LC separate volume, are MELL, my essential Lutheran library so to speak.

The only strike out IMHO is TDP, but, given the almost total lack of experience with the Office of most Lutherans these days, it's at least a place to start reclaiming that heritage, and maybe when we're a little further along with that something more congruent with the development of the Office and less like what a committee of scholars thinks would make a nice Office will emerge. After examination online, I don't use it at all.

That said though and all things considered about our times, CPH has done a great job putting solid Lutheran stuff out there, and nobody else even comes close.

Excited for the new Proper Distinction. Would love to see a new edition of the 1520 essays like the "Three Treatises" from Fortress. It was when I got to the treatment of the mass in Babylonian Captivity that the lights came on and I knew I was in, that this is IT!

(PW -- no I'm not normally up this late, fell asleep on the couch and hit the Net before going to bed!)

Jon Townsend said...

I will not say that TLH is objectively better, but living as one who went through the shock and horror of switching to LW at the tender age of 12 (Earth and All Stars, please get forever out of my head!!!), I will always have such a deep fondness for TLH, that no other hymnal, no matter how good, can replace the love I have for TLH.

I live with CW now. St. Peter's is the best Lutheran congregation around these parts, but CW, ah, I will never get used to saying "fully human."

Dan at Necessary Roughness said...

Whenever I do a hymn for the podcast and put the lyrics on the post, often I will find the TLH lyrics online and change them to LSB, to save on typing. On some of the hymns we used, I found myself thankful that the LSB committee changed some of the lyrics to get rid of pietism lurking in the old text.

Sometimes, the LSB setting is better, other times the "improvement" is an annoying half-stop drop in the key.

It's hard to say whether I would prefer 100% usage of TLH 50 years ago (did EVERYONE use TLH back in the day?) or today's LCMS where LSB usage is a fraction of the whole and you hope that the other people in worship are hearing law and gospel in their pastors' sermons when they aren't getting it in CCM music.

Past Elder,

I'll defend TDP from this aspect. Having all the day's readings, a prayer, and in the case of Lent, a catechetical blob makes for a devotional order that is dead simple and I can have the Mrs. just go to the "Monday -- Lent 5" or "October 31" date header and just start reading to the kids while I'm away. I also like not having to assemble a devotional order from various resources and flip through books while the kids are waiting for their bedtime with Dad. :)

Anonymous said...

You are just looking at all the good stuff and ignoring all the bad. Presumably, you only buy what you know to be good, though. Personally, I'm more shocked at the diversity of it all.

William Weedon said...


Oh, there's stuff they publish that leaves me scratching my head. But my focus was on the major way they've addressed the liturgical (public and private) and Scripture areas. Little short of a miracle compared to what we had when I started in the ministry.