Theodore Schmauk’s exploration and defense of the Christian faith consists of five parts:
Historical Introduction Part 1: Are Confessions Necessary? Part 2: Confessions in the Church Part 3: Lutheran Confessions Part 4: The Church in America “This book is written in the belief that the one ultimate authority among men is truth.
“Sincere believers of the truth revealed in Christ for man’s salvation have no reason to be ashamed of Luther, whom God sent to bring again to His people the precious truth in Jesus and whose heroic contention for the faith once delivered to the saints led to the establishment of the Church of the Augsburg Confession, now generally called the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Henry Eyster Jacobs' Book of Concord in modern English is highly respected and has been widely used. It is now back in print and available in all formats. The Augsburg Confession, Apology, Small and Large Catechisms, and Formula are also available as separate books.
This is a great little volume, and good introduction for those who’ve never read any Luther, or especially for those who’ve been taught about him, but have never let the great Reformer speak for himself.
Luther’s Little Instruction Book (Small Catechism) has been translated into many of the languages of the world. Williston Walker in his History of the Christian Church describes it as “one of the noblest monuments of the Reformation”.
“The Apology is more than a mere polemical treatise. It is a thorough discussion, in all its relations, of the cardinal doctrine of Justification by Faith alone, without Works; for whatever be the article treated, the discussion always reverts to this theme.
The Augsburg Confession is the first part of the Book of Concord, the Lutheran Confessions. The Saxon Visitation Articles were used by pastors to instruct their congregants and appeared in Saxon editions of the Book of Concord until the forced union of Lutheran and Reformed in the Nineteenth Century.
“The Formula of Concord is the result of controversies within the Lutheran Church after the breach with the Papacy had become complete… It required more than a single generation for the Evangelical faith in all its power to penetrate the minds and lives of even its staunchest adherents; and when we recall the deplorable condition into which the Church had fallen, and the deep ignorance not only of the people, but also of the ministry, described in the introductions to the Catechisms, we cannot wonder at the subsequent internal struggles, when the controversy with the Papists absorbed less attention…
This volume is an essential reference for understanding the Protestant Reformation and the shaping of the Lutheran Confessions.
Friedrich Bente (1858-1930) was educated at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and served pastorates in Humberstone and Jordan, Ontario, Canada.
“The attentive reader… will see that the matters here treated are not antiquated or obsolescent, but enter most deeply into the issues of the hour.” — Henry Eyster Jacobs
Clear print, large format quality paperback available on Amazon by the Lutheran Librarian
“It is vastly more important to know what the Reformation retained than what it overthrew; for the overthrow of error, though often an indispensable prerequisite to the establishment of truth, is not truth itself; it may clear the foundation simply to substitute one error for another, perhaps a greater for a less.
“What are ‘fundamental doctrines,’ or ‘fundamental Articles of Faith’?… Every intelligent Christian feels competent to state the general basis of his belief, or the doctrinal foundation of his Christian character and life… When he, however, proceeds to specify in detail the doctrines which essentially constitute that ‘foundation,’ he will no longer be surprised by the embarrassment that even distinguished divines, on attempting to furnish an answer, have candidly confessed.
“The life of so distinguished a servant of God as Melanchthon deserves to be better known to the general reader than it actually is. In the great Reformation of the sixteenth century, his work stands second to that of Luther alone.
“There are points in the Church’s history, years, months, days, in which all the evil that has ever assailed the Church, seems brought to a focus, and to overcome it, the Holy Ghost, who never deserts his charge, concentrates against it not only the sum of all the experience of the Church of the past, but also the endowments of new, fuller, richer unfoldings of the sense and power of God’s Word.
“We want no broader line than the catechism draws; but then we do not want that line whitewashed out by a diluted and false liberalism, so as nearly to obliterate it.