With the release of the second volume of C. F. W. Walther’s Gospel Sermons, Concordia provides yet another collection of key writings of the first president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Walther’s sermons reflect not only his importance as leading theologian of the LCMS in the first decades of its existence but also his extraordinary gifts as a preacher. Now in English, Walther’s sermons originate from nearly 30 years as pastor of the first German Evangelical Lutheran (Joint) congregation of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession in this country. Gospel Sermons Volume 2 covers The Time of the Church (the season after Pentecost, including sermons for several feast days). [Read more…] about New Addition to Walther’s Works
Concordia Publishing House will soon release LW 76: Church Postils II, the second of five volumes of Martin Luther’s Church Postil. The Church Postil consists of Luther’s sermons for the church year. Luther began working on it while hiding out at the Wartburg in 1521. Alongside his translation of the New Testament into German, he intended that the Church Postil should bring the reformational, Gospel message to ordinary pastors and laypeople. Aside from his catechisms, Luther’s sermons for the church year, the postils, were his most influential writings for the common people. What follows (in five installments) is Dr. Benjamin Mayes’s introduction to LW 75, explaining how the Church Postil developed, was perfected by Luther, corrupted later, and only now has been restored to the form that Luther intended.
[Read more…] about The History of Luther’s Church Postil
“A truly comprehensive reading of all of the calendars, time lines, church chronologies, and other materials that provide the evidence for dating the birth of our Lord.”
—Charles J. Scalise, Professor of Church History, Fuller Theological Seminary
The most important events in human history—the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ—are celebrated by Christians every year. But are we celebrating at the appropriate times? Have we lost the true understanding of these events?
Dr. Steven L. Ware’s new book When Was Jesus Really Born? offers an in-depth look into these events and how the early Christians observed special dates in the Church. In the following interview, Dr. Ware discusses the dates of Christmas and Easter and explains how the Church actually supports scientific timekeeping.
Some people today claim that December 25 is an arbitrary date, not actually when Jesus was born. How does your book help address this claim?
We may never have incontrovertible evidence for a particular date for Jesus’ birth, and it is certainly possible that December 25 is not the correct date. But December 25 is anything but an arbitrary choice of date, as we see it cited in very early Christian literature. And it was chosen as the date for celebrating Jesus’ birth not because of the date itself, but because it was nine months after an equally important date—the Annunciation of Our Lord.
The date of Easter changes every year. How does your book explain this?
Two entire chapters of this book are dedicated to the fascinating story of the development of the Paschal, or Easter cycle, its connection to Passover, and the varieties of Christian approaches to this matter. Special attention is given to Dionysius Exiguus, who not only created a 95-year Easter cycle in the early sixth century but also the modern (Western) chronological system known as “Anno Domini.”
What benefit can students take away from this book?
For college students (and other interested readers) this book holds special value in showing the historical grounding of early Christian beliefs and practices in the events, writings, and inscriptions of the late ancient world. It shows the clear connections of Christian theology with astronomy and timekeeping. And it challenges the popular perception of Christianity as the enemy of science with clear examples of the Christian Church as the benefactor and supporter of scientific research.
Dr. Steven L. Ware is Professor of Historical Theology at Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary in New York City and Nyack, NY.
This excerpt introduces the meditations on Genesis prepared by Valerius Herberger (1562–1627), a Lutheran pastor in Fraustadt (now Wschowa), Poland. Herberger regarded the Scriptures “rather like the linen cloths that wrapped the infant Jesus in the manger, and traced his Lord in every little wrinkle” (from the translator’s preface). [Read more…] about Valerius Herberger on the Sabbath Rest
Dr. James Voelz of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, brought a selection of ancient coins to Concordia Publishing House to be photographed for his forthcoming Concordia Commentary on Mark 1:1–8:26 (available December 2013).
These coins are microcosms of the history, politics, and culture that formed the context for our Lord’s ministry, as recorded in the Gospels. Among them is a large silver coin depicting Antiochus IV (back of coin pictured on the right); a silver denarius with the “image and inscription” of Tiberius Caesar (Mk 12:15–16); and a lepton or “widow’s mite” (Mk 12:42).