Forgotten Lutheran Classics

I am an incurable bibliophile. Yes, I am even a member of a Facebook group about book smelling. The smell of a book, whether a newly published paperback or a musty tome, makes me almost euphoric.

In my theological library are a host of books one might call “Forgotten Lutheran Classics.” Some are published by good ol’ Concordia Publishing House. Others are published by houses long since gone (Muhlenberg Press comes to mind). Some of these books may not even be considered “classics” because they were not big sellers or because their theological method leaves something to be desired. Whatever the case, perhaps it would be a fun exercise to list the names of some “Forgotten Lutheran Classics” that either should be published again or perhaps left to be sought out as a collector’s item on used book websites.

I’ll start with these books:

The Word That Can Never Die” by Olav Valen-Sendstad. John Warwick Montgomery often quoted from this book during the “Battle for the Bible” days.

“The Mystery of God” by Wilhelm Stählin. A book that bespeaks its time (the 20th century “Liturgical Movement”) and may be best left for seeking out on used book sites.

The Gospel of Baptism” by Richard Jungkuntz. A marvelous little book that Pastor William Weedon recommended to me. Regardless of Jungkuntz’s later theological position, this book is full of Gospel and could be described as “wet” with baptismal  joy. An enjoyable read.

“The Theology of the Resurrection” by Walter Künneth. I haven’t cracked open this book yet, but CPH published it many years ago and the title looks intriguing.

The Mission of God: An Introduction to A Theology of Mission” by Georg Vicedom. Dr. Detlev Schulz quotes favorably from this out-of-print CPH book that I am waiting to buy. If anyone has a copy they are willing to give away or sell, please contact me!

The Lively Function of the Gospel“, edited by Robert Bertram. This is a “festschrift” for the 25th anniversary of Richard Caemmerer’s professorship at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO. The seeds of Seminex are all over this book, which makes it an intriguing read. An essay by the late Kenneth Korby also makes the book worth reading.

Luther’s Theology of the Cross” by Walther von Loewenich. I’m reading this right now. It is not an easy read, but the title intrigued me enough to borrow the book from a local college library. So far so good, but it’s too early to write any sort of review.

You are welcome to add to the list with your comments. Let’s see if we can get a good list going of books that may be hard to find, but worth the search. The more obscure, the better!

About Pastor David Juhl

The Reverend David Michael Juhl was born June 1, 1972 in Du Quoin, IL. He was born from above by water and the Holy Spirit on June 18, 1972 at Bethel Lutheran Church, Du Quoin, IL. He was confirmed on March 23, 1986 at Bethel congregation. He attended Du Quoin public schools, graduating from Du Quoin High School in 1990. He attended John A. Logan Junior College, Carterville, IL, and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, graduating with the Bachelor of Arts in Radio and Television in 1994. Before attending seminary, Pastor Juhl was a radio disc jockey, working for WDQN Radio in Du Quoin, IL and volunteering at WSIU/WUSI/WVSI Radio in Carbondale, IL while a student at SIU. Pastor Juhl is a 2002 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN. He served his vicarage at Faith Lutheran Church, Tullahoma, TN. His first charge after graduation was Trinity Lutheran Church, Iuka, IL, where he was ordained and installed on July 7, 2002. He served Trinity until March 4, 2007, when he accepted the Divine Call to serve Our Savior Lutheran Church, Momence, IL. Pastor Juhl is married to the former Rebecca Warmuth since October 3, 2003. They have one daughter, Catherine, born September 3, 2004, and two sons, Matthew, born October 11, 2008, and Christopher, born August 12, 2010.


Forgotten Lutheran Classics — 16 Comments

  1. Paul, there used to be one that was called something like “Society of Old Book Smellers.” Alas, it seems no longer to exist on Facebook. Such a travesty. Perhaps we should start one.

  2. G. H. Gerberding. The Lutheran Catechist, The Lutheran Pastor, The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church. One for breakfast, one for dinner, one for evening meal.

  3. I would like to add Adoph Spaeth’s 2 volume biography of Charles Porterfield Krauth to the list. Krauth is not as well known in our circles as he could be or should be. His battles with the revivalism of early American Lutheranism can teach us much today.

  4. @Weedon #4

    Brother William, I thought Richard was the one J.A.O. Preus wanted to “gut” in the late 1960s due to encroaching liberalism? Perhaps I am wrong. Regardless, it’s a fantastic book and one I know you will not let anyone borrow. I recall hearing you say that once several years ago.

  5. CTSFW some time ago & maybe still, photocopied, bound and sold Georg Vicedom’s Mission of God in the bookstore. You might check with the Fort to see if they still have it available.

  6. @Pastor David Juhl #7

    I have found volume one this way but not volume two. I did find volume 2 at the Library at Concordia in Seward. One day I hope to find a set and purchase them for myself… and I hope they smell really old. When I am done with them they will also smell of cheap cicar smoke! 🙂

  7. I would like to add Bishop Bo Giertz’s HAMMER OF GOD as one of the best “Lutheran” novels ever written.

    Of course, Walther’s LAW AND GOSPEL in any edition, even synopses, although the recent CPH edition is wonderful; just as long as one is able to understand and use Walther’s theses in one’s own daily life.

    Speaking of “non-CPH” volumes, how many of those who are familiar with Franz Pieper’s CHRISTIAN DOGMATICS are familiar with Adolph Hoenecke’s EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN DOGMATICS? Or with John Schaller’s BIBLICAL CHRISTOLOGY? Or August Pieper’s ISAIAH II? These are all published by the WELS’ NPH.

    On the doctrine of the Office of the Public Ministry, I must recommend WELS Prof. John Brug’s THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD, also published by NPH. It deals extensive with the errors of “Maximalist” or “Romanizing” Lutherans.

    I also recommend NPH’s “People’s Bible Doctrine” and “Impact” series of short theological volumes aimed at laypeople as well as pastors.

  8. @Rev. Clint K. Poppe #11
    Volume two of the Krauth biography is now available via Google Books. The two volumes bound in one were reprinted in 1969. A copy is available online via AbeBooks at just under $200 postpaid. Individual hardcover volumes were reprinted in 2008 by Pranava Reprint and are available online used for under $100 for both volumes. At least the first volume is available via print on demand in softcover for less than $40. I couldn’t tell for certain from what I saw whether volume 2 is available via print on demand, but it appears it may be.


    Author: Spaeth, Adolph, 1839-1910
    Volume: v.1
    Subject: Krauth, Charles Porterfield, 1823-1883
    Publisher: New York, Christian Literature Co.
    Language: English
    Call number: 475225
    Digitizing sponsor: Princeton Theological Seminary Library
    Book contributor: Princeton Theological Seminary Library

    Author: Spaeth, Adolph, 1839-1910
    Volume: v.2
    Subject: Krauth, Charles Porterfield, 1823-1883
    Publisher: New York, Christian Literature Co.
    Language: English
    Call number: 475225
    Digitizing sponsor: Princeton Theological Seminary Library

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