The first of a planned 10 volume collection of Marquart’s Works has been published by Lutheran News and edited by Rev. Herman Otten, longtime friend and colleague of Kurt Marquart. I received my copy in the mail a few days ago and have been going through it with great pleasure. It is in hardback form and is just over a hundred pages in length. There is a brief biography of Marquart’s life included at the beginning of the volume as well as an index.
This first volume of “popular writings” is made up of many brief articles (or series of articles) intended for youth and laymen, banquet addresses, reviews, and other pieces that still seem amazingly timely.
Though I have read many of his academic articles, I was a couple of years too late at Fort Wayne to have had the privilege of learning from Prof. Marquart in the classroom. Therefore it is all the more enjoyable to read this particular collection of the writings of a man who was so beloved as a teacher of the church and a gentleman with a common touch.
Reflecting the sentiment in the Foreword by Rev. Ray Ohlendorf, I was struck by how easily and quickly I could (and will!) give or recommend this book to both pastors and laymen. Marquart certainly had the ability, as all who truly grasp what they are talking about, to speak to a variety of audiences and zero in on the essential points and issues at stake concerning a particular subject. I could easily see myself picking several articles for a weekly book or topical Bible study. The two series of articles which would be especially good for this purpose are: “How Do We Know” (12 articles, 1-3 pages each) and “Seven Deadly Sins” (7 articles, 2-3 pages each) Additionally, Rev. Otten provides questions at the end of each article to aid study and more careful reading.
Perhaps the most fun and slicing piece in this collection is “Intellectual Respectability, Yes! Pseudo-Intellectual Aping, No!” In this essay, Marquart warns of the lure of the world’s praise for Christian of every age. He has hard words for those who take their cues (and marching orders) from the culture and the vanity that tempts Christians to seek favor and standing on the world’s stage:
We must distinguish between genuine intellectual respectability, or better, integrity, and its mass produced imitation. The former is characterized by substance, toughness of mental fibre, interior consistency, breadth of perspective, and a firm ultimate anchorage in Reality–which to the Christian can only mean submission to divine Revelation. Pseudo-intellectualism, on the other hand, is a mere craven subservience to fashion, which mistakes (1) learning for truth, (2) academic standing for learning, and (3) “high fidelity” reproduction of the latest literary “hit parade”, for academic standing!
The pompous vulgarity of the “newly rich” invades also the mind…shining with the splendor of the Establishment, [it] possesses a high degree of snob-value, because it seeks, and receives honor from men, not from God.
Appropriately, the article/book review immediately following, “Your Personal Guide to Head-Shrinking,” exhibits these principles at work. Marquart, from a biblical and informed position, takes a tough-minded approach to modern psychology, poking holes in its unverified and unscientific claims and faulty presuppositions. He clearly warns about the wide ranging effects that psychiatric ideology has on society and morality, and that ultimately, we are dealing with a competing religion:
That secularists have embraced the new values is only natural. But that many Christians have been able to follow suit, indicates a massive failure of Christian thought and of its official custodians. The challenge to thinking Christians could hardly be more provocative!
If this was a belated wake up call in 1972, how much further have we slipped into the coma over 40 years later?
There are many such gems and insights for clergy and laity alike in this volume. I can only hope that the subsequent ones will be swift in appearing…though I have no doubt that they will be just as enjoyable and edifying as this first one has proven to be.
Note on purchasing: This volume is still available at the pre-sale price ($10 instead of $14.95) and can be ordered through the Christian News website here. The second volume “Marquart’s Works: Communism” is now also available at the pre-publication price of $10.00 as well. To pre-order, call or email the Christian News office (same contact information as in picture).