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”. Of it, Luther writes,
The Catechism is the Bible of the laymen. In it the entire body of Christian doctrine, which every Christian must know in order to be saved, is contained…
“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. At first reading, it may indeed seem diffuse, but farther study will show that it contains little, if anything, unnecessary, as it is its aim to meet the questions proposed at every turn, and to examine them from varied standpoints.
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.
In republishing this book, we seek to introduce this editor and content to a new generation of those seeking authentic spirituality.
“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. Bente was president of the Canadian District of the Missouri Synod. He edited Lehre und Wehre and co-edited the “Triglotta” translation of the Lutheran Confessions. He is famous for his masterful volume, Historical Introductions to the Book of Concord.
“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
On This Page From the Translator: Book Contents From a Pastor Order a Printed Copy Download the eBook Publication Information LutheranLibrary.org paperback edition available on Amazon
From the Translator: “The popular edition, here offered, fulfills the hope of the editor from the very beginning, to have the Confessions published at such price that they may he scattered broadcast throughout all English-speaking lands… Such edition will serve an important office in deepening and strengthening the faith of our people in drawing them together in the bonds of a common fellowship, and in enabling them to appreciate all the more highly their heritage…
“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.
“By a careful study of the symbolical books of our church, commencing with the Augsburg Confession and its Apology, a more thorough understanding of the history, difficulties, true genius, and triumphs of the Reformation will be attained than by reading every thing that can be got, or that has ever been written about that memorable movement.
“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.” – Charles F.
“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. Yet his life is comparatively unknown to many intelligent Christians.
“In the preparation of this book, the author has made use of a number of biographies of Melanchthon by German authors…His aim has been to prepare a brief but sufficiently comprehensive life of Melanchthon, in such a form as would interest the people… That these pages may, in some measure at least, accomplish their purpose, and make the Christian reader more familiar with the work and merit of the man of God whom they endeavor to portray, is the sincere wish of the author.
“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.
Many people have opinions about Martin Luther, but few have actually read his words. This small volume includes what church scholars Henry Wace and C. A. Buchheim consider Luther’s three primary works. These are the Address to the Nobility of the German Nation, Concerning Christian Liberty and On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church. The famous 95 Theses are here too, as well as two helpful introductions, one theological, and the other historical.
Here is a clear, trustworthy and easy-to-search and navigate version of the Lutheran Confessions. This edition was prepared by Henry Eyster Jacobs for the use of all the Lutheran Churches in America and published as The People’s Edition.
On This Page Summary of the Contents About the Translation Download the eBook Publication Information Summary of the Contents I. The General Creeds: The Apostles’ Creed. The Nicene Creed.
This is Dr. Schmauk’s magnum opus on Christian Confessionalism, a treasure of approachable, Biblically Conservative scholarship.
“This book is written in the belief that the one ultimate authority among men is truth.” – Theodore Schmauk
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 In republishing this book, we seek to introduce this author to a new generation of those seeking authentic spirituality.
“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. We desire to see it remain in its original breadth and depth, so that we may consistently and honestly reply to the query: ‘What are the distinctive doctrines of your church?’ ‘You will find an epitome of them in Luther’s Smaller Catechism.
“The Christian religion has been called a way of life. It is indeed a way of life, but it is at the same time a way of faith and a way of thought. If it should cease to be a way of thought, it would soon cease to be a way of life.
“The things we believe make up our creed, and our creed determines our character and our conduct.