Over at Gottesdienst Online, where I’m privileged to serve as an editor, we strive to provide resources, commentary, and counsel for Lutherans seeking to recover and strengthen their Lutheran heritage. For years our Editor-in-Chief, Rev. Dr. Burnell F. Eckardt, has taken the lead with the print journal, various books, and (in our humble opinion) the best conference in the Missouri Synod every fall. Today’s print-on-demand and eBook technologies make it even easier to get good resources into the hands of laity and clergy. Over the coming months we hope to greatly expand the availability of classic Lutheran works and offer new titles from the Gottesdienst editors. Welcome to the Gottesdienst Library!
Theology: The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, edited by Heinrich Schmid
This is the book for the interested layman who want to dig deeper into Lutheran theology, and Lutheran clergymen for that matter. Heinrich Schmid sysematically collected the statements of the classic Lutheran theologians, from the Book of Concord through Chemnitz, Gerhard, etc., all the way down to Hollaz. He then prefaced each section of quotations with a brief summary. If you have been through the Large Catechism – or even the whole Book of Concord – but still want more, this is the book for you. The Kindle edition includes an active table of contents that will let you go directly to the section you wish to read; the paperback has full indices and you can, like, write on it 🙂
Devotional Literature: Sacred Meditations by Johann Gerhard
More than 400 years after their publication, Johann Gerhard’s meditations (written when was just 22 years old!) remain the touchstone of Lutheran piety informed by sound Lutheran doctrine. I often use Meditation II for Good Friday midday service and keep a copy hand at my desk. The version for Kindle is an optimized pdf – you download the file and then send it as an email attachment to your @free.kindle.com email address and Amazon will deliver it to your device at no additional cost. Best viewed with horizontal screen orientation. NB Concerning all the PDFs: All of the works I have optimized for Kindle in pdf format can be found elsewhere on the internet for free in a raw state. You might try reading one of those un-optimized files first to see if it’s readable on your device. If you can get these books for free, all the better!
Liturgical Resources: Daily Divine Service Book, edited by H.R. Curtis
The best-selling (because it is the only!) Lutheran daily missal in English is now available for the Kindle with an active table of contents that lets you find each section easily. In addition, the paperback price has been cut from $30 to $22.25. A hardback edition is also available – but the new deal on the paperback is hard to beat (I use a paperback copy for shut-in calls). Complete propers are included for every Sunday, every festival, and every saint of the traditional Lutheran calendar. In addition, have you ever wondered what all those ceremonies are that your pastor is doing during the service? Find a complete explanation of the rubrics (ceremonies) right alongside the text of the Common Service.
Liturgical Resources: An Explanation of the Common Service
Our friends at Emmanuel Press have done the church a service by making this wonderful little book available again in paperback. Emmanuel Press is a wonderful outfit and you should check out their whole site – especially their new greeting cards for baptisms, weddings, ordinations, etc. The electronic edition is a pdf optimized for viewing on Kindles (use horizontal screen orientation). Download the file, then email it as an attachment to your @free.kindle.com address.
Lutheran History: The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology by Charles P. Krauth
Our goal is to make essential works that are hard to get more readily available at affordable costs. Since Krauth’s monumental historical work can be had cheaply other places online, I’ve only put together an electronic edition. It’s a pdf optimized for viewing on Kindles (use horizontal screen orientation). Download the file, then email it as an attachment to your @free.kindle.com address.
Lutheran History: The Lutheran Movement in England by Henry Eyster Jacobs
Jacobs is famous for his translation of the Book of Concord in the late 19th century, but this professor at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia was much more than a translator. This is a fascinating look at the close relationship between the Lutherans and the English Reformers in the sixteenth century which gives insight for today’s ecumenical discussions. The electronic edition is a pdf optimized for viewing on Kindles (use horizontal screen orientation). Download the file, then email it as an attachment to your @free.kindle.com address.
Theological Monographs: The New Testament in His Blood by Burnell F. Eckardt, Jr.
The purpose of this manuscript is twofold: first, to present the Divine Liturgy in such a way as to highlight its beauty and dignity, and second, to show the liturgy’s necessity by making the connection between Christ’s fulfillment of the entire Old Testament and the proclamation of this fulfillment by the liturgy. It is not accidental that the term “new testament” refers both to the canon of apostolic books arising after Christ’s ministry and to the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. There is an integral connection between word and worship, between faith and the reception of the incarnate Christ. And just as the written New Testament is the word of God, and therefore the ultimate norm and rule for all of Christian life, so the new testament as sacrament, in Christ’s blood, must be the heart of truly Christian worship, from which all other forms of devotion and piety flow.
More to come, Lord willing: Lutheran Homiletics by the editors of Gottesdienst; a second edition of The New Testament in His Blood; and many more.