Sunday, July 14, 2013

Luther-related Links

Here are a few tidbits I found interesting this week:

1) Over on the Catholic Answers Non-Catholic Religions forum appeared, Is That True About Martin Luther?  It's some of the usual stuff. One of my links was offered in response by a Pentecostal participant.  What interested me though was a Lutheran going by the name "Evangelical Catholic" stated, "I am aware of Luther going through self-mutilation as a way to express penance but I believe that was the norm during the 1500's for religious." I inquired about the "self-mutilation" aspect, and was directed to do my own Google search.  My response can be found here, and then this counter-response from Evangelical Catholic  can be found here.

2) Over on Steadfast Lutherans, a pastor announced the closing of his church. While that post warrants reading, what fascinated me were comments left by a person who claims he has tried to become a Lutheran to no avail. He states in a follow-up comment, "Lutheranism is just like a secret society." If you are a Lutheran reader here, go visit these comments.

3) Cyber-Brethren announced the latest volume of Luther's Works is available, but only in a Kindle format. I don't plan on getting the Kindle version, because I haven't found the Kindle software to be useful for anything but casual reading. I typically get the actual books, and then, after a long period, a Logos version usually appears. The Logos version is much easier to navigate and utilize, and I will purchase that.

The volume is a critical version of Luther's Church Postils. This looks to be very useful. Luther's sermons have been used very polemically by his detractors, and most of those detractors have no idea that a lot of times, the sermons are transcriptions of what Luther said, not something Luther actually wrote. With the Church Postil, there were different versions based on different transcriptions. This volume claims, "The new translation we are releasing is based on the best and final edition of the Church Postils that Luther was involved in producing, knew of, and endorsed."


Brigitte said...

James, what were you thinking regarding the church closure and the "secret society" charge?

I am just home from a trip and practicing organ for tomorrow, but the thing is circulating in the head.

James Swan said...

I highlighted that sentence to entice readers to visit the context from which the sentence came from.

Brigitte said...

Well, this would not be the place to make sweeping generalizations, complain about my own little Lutheran circle and its shortcomings. Basicially, of course, confessional Lutheranism is not a secret society. It has buildings all over the world that advertise public service at give time and place that anyone can attend and get the entire scoop. Pastors may be busy, but they do offer classes and instruction. Especially confessional people are very clear on what they teach and why--too clear and boring for some. I don't think obscurity or hidden-ness can realistically by charged. Even the complainer has Lutheran friends all over the internet and listens to Issues, etc. radio, and so on. He does not seem as deprived as he makes out to be. Also he lives somewhere on the British Isles where people tend to be Catholic or Anglican, so you'd think he could figure something out about vestments and church furnishings (as if those were the important things.) So the whole thing is a little baffling. It seemed like he just had to say something to Pastor Wurst.

The difficulties related to smaller, rural churches can be encountered all over the world where people are very busy, mobile and work nowhere to close to where they live, and all sorts of other features of current social conditions impact various communities.

The question about what could be done better, however, is always with us and remains and should be asked.

One thing that gave me pause in relation to this was this news item from International Christian concern in my Facebook thread:

"Coptic Pope Tawadros II, the head of Egypt’s Coptic Christian community canceled his weekly Wednesday afternoon public prayer meeting and catechesis at Cairo’s Coptic Cathedral. The reason for the cancellation for the third week in a row was out of fear that a large public gathering of Christians could turn into an easy target for those who remain angry at the removal of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi from office on July 3."

We see that our dear brothers and sisters in Egypt are suffering much persecution and unrest. But we also see that there usually are Wednesday afternoon prayers and catechesis. !!!

Luther, our dear preacher, was very big on catechetical sermons. We don't get very many of these, everywhere and in all places, and even then people say that they know all this already, why hash it over. Or else it is too doctrinal for them and they'd rather hear a story or illustration, etc. SO, ya--maybe Wednesday prayers and catechesis would be fantastic!