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!