Category "Book Reviews"

Review of “The Journal Articles of Hermann Sasse,”
By John T. Pless | Published On: January 2, 2017

The Journal Articles of Hermann Sasse, eds. Matthew C. Harrison, Bror Erickson, and Joel A. Brondos (Irvine: New Reformation Publications, 2016), 647 pp. Hermann Sasse (1895–1976) is remembered for his staunch confessionalism, largely out of step with twentieth century theology. The journey of his life was a movement away from the Prussian Union and the […]

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Review of “Sabbath as Resistance,”
By Dennis Di Mauro | Published On: November 27, 2016

As a parish pastor, I find it more and more common for parents to inform me that their children will be unable to attend this Sunday’s worship service, confirmation class, or youth activity because of conflicts with soccer, lacrosse, football or some other extracurricular activity. These apologies put me in a difficult position. How should the shepherd respond? On one hand, the pastor wants to uphold the third commandment and its directive on keeping the Sabbath holy. But on the other hand, the pastor wants to be sympathetic to those faithful families who must live in a society which has abandoned the Sunday obligation altogether. In frustration, he asks in his Sunday sermon whether “setting aside one hour a week is too much for God to ask?”…

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Review of “Lutherans in America” by Mark Granquist

Mark Granquist, Lutherans in America: A New History (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2015), 375 pp. It has been observed that there are countless dissertations, articles, and books on the Shakers, a tiny and now basically extinct group of American Christians, while the research on American Lutherans, once the third-largest Protestant group in America, is thin on the […]

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There’s Something about Flacius,
By Martin J. Lohrmann | Published On: November 12, 2016

Review of Luka Ilić, Theologian of Sin and Grace: The Process of Radicalization in the Theology of Matthias Flacius Illyricus (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014). Theological reflection involves both content and style. It is an art and a science: scientific in the rigorous analysis of its truth claims; artistic in how theologians choose to communicate […]

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Review of “Luther and Katharina” by Jody Hedlund

Many moons ago when I was a tender tween I happened upon Kitty, My Rib, a genuinely hagiographical account of the First Lady of Lutheranism, tidy and heartwarming as only the 1950s could manage. Much more recently at a German bookshop I found the racier title Kinder des Ungehorsams (“Children of Disobedience”) and sweated through […]

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Review of “Christian Churches in Post-Communist Slovakia”

Christian Churches in Post-Communist Slovakia, eds. Michal Valčo and Daniel Slivka (Salem: Center for Religion and Society, 2012), 548 pages. As we approach the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation—October 31, 1517—we also are approaching the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution—October 25, 1917. In the years following the Bolshevik Revolution, the Soviets […]

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Review of “Beloved Community: Critical Dogmatics after Christendom”
By Paul R. Hinlicky | Published On: February 1, 2016

Paul R. Hinlicky, Beloved Community: Critical Dogmatics after Christendom (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015), xviii + 932 pp. Pastoral work in the present needs more works from authors who belong to the theological wing of the theological disciplines. By this “theological wing,” I mean that the everyday work of pastors and lay leaders needs theology that […]

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Review of “The Great and Holy War” by Philip Jenkins

Philip Jenkins, The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade (San Francisco: Harper One, 2014), 448 pp. Page references are inserted in parentheses. Philip Jenkins is a rare scholar in the current American scene.  A theologian, a historian and a excellent communicator, this academic is able to make comprehensible, huge […]

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Review of N. T. Wright’s “Surprised by Scripture,”
By Dennis Di Mauro | Published On: November 27, 2015

A former Anglican bishop of Durham, England, and the current New Testament chair at the University of St. Andrews, N. T. Wright is undoubtedly the most popular and well respected biblical scholar alive today. Continuing his popular series begun with his bestselling 2008 book, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, Wright now takes on the task of understanding Scripture in light of issues confronting the church today. Using a style that is simultaneously academic and conversational, and easily accessible to the laity, Wright seeks to debunk many biblical misconceptions held by atheists and fundamentalists alike…

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Review of “The Self-Donation of God” by Jack D. Kilcrease

Jack Kilcrease has accomplished the near impossible, drawing on his dissertation research and revising it so thoroughly as to produce a book that normal people might actually want to read. (“Normal people” is here understood to indicate a self-selecting and highly nerdy Lutheran laity—and “laity” here is understood to indicate “non-academic” rather than “non-ordained.”) His Self-Donation of God (2013) borrows the title and builds on the searching analysis from his doctoral thesis (2009), which treated the doctrine of the atonement within the Lutheran tradition, and presents an account of Christ’s person and work that is driven by Scripture and Lutheran theological discourse. Rather than drawing on the last hundred years of Lutheran academic theology, however, as his dissertation demanded (look, if you’re that nerdy, read it there), Kilcrease focuses on Scripture and interacts with Lutheran theology to the precise extent of “[standing] firmly with one of the foundational documents of the Lutheran Reformation, the Formula of Concord.” That said, the author does bring in the occasional reference to historical Lutheran lore as it relates to the subject matter at hand: see the Excursus into 17th-century Swabian and Saxon Lutheran churches on kenosis (225-38). And, really, who could blame him?…

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