Monday, October 3, 2011

Gerhard's On the Ecclesiastical Ministry

If you were to make a short list of "theological controversies in contemporary Lutheranism" there is no doubt that the Ministry would be near the top. And though you might not think of it as a controversy, part of the problem is surely our lack of familiarity with our own tradition. Therefore, CPH is doing Lutheranism a double service in putting Johann Gerhard's Loci into English, with the next volume up being On the Ecclesiastical Ministry Part I.

Full disclosure: in recent months I've had the honor of editing part of the translation for Part II of this work. But hey, CPH isn't paying me a per volume commission, and if they tried, I'd turn them down because these are not the sort of books that make CPH money (just ask my hunting buddy and CPH accountant, Mr. Bivens). These are the kind of books that CPH puts out in service to the church - books that no one else will publish, but that fill an important need in our church. Under the able editorship of Dr. Benjamin Mayes, these volumes are also actually usable for research. You will find not only a good translation, but also clarifying footnotes and a real working bibliography that will allow you to dig into the primary sources that Gerhard is so facile in quoting.

Below is the full PR release for this volume with ordering information. But the reason you need to read this book is rather simply stated: because neither you nor I know as much as we think we know about the Lutheran doctrine of the ministry.


This volume, the first part of Johann Gerhard’s commonplace On the Ecclesiastical Ministry
deals especially with ministers of the church: their necessity, call, ordination, transfer, removal,
and the like. With detailed and penetrating examination and analysis, Gerhard first proves that
there is an ecclesiastical ministry instituted by God, an affirmation disputed by contemporary
Anabaptists and Unitarians. Next, Gerhard demonstrates from Scripture the necessity of a
specific call to the ministry, a call given by God through the church, before one may carry out
the pastoral functions and duties. Besides the qualifications for holding this office in the church,
Gerhard discusses the call of Martin Luther, the degree of Doctor of Theology, and ordination
through prayer and the imposition of hands, among many other topics that are of importance to
the church still today.

The Theological Commonplaces series is the first-ever English translation of Johann Gerhard's
monumental Loci Theologici. Gerhard was the premier Lutheran theologian of the early
seventeenth century. Combining his profound understanding of evangelical Lutheran theology
with a broad interest in ethics and culture, he produced significant works on biblical, doctrinal,
pastoral, and devotional theology. Gerhard interacts with the writings of the church fathers,
Luther and his contemporaries, and the Catholic and Calvinist theologians of his day. His 17-
volume Loci is regarded as the standard compendium of Lutheran orthodoxy, with topics ranging
from the proper understanding and interpretation of Scripture to eschatology.

Useful for research on Lutheran doctrine, Gerhard's accessible style makes this a must-have on
the bookshelf of pastors and professional church workers.

Each embossed hardback volume includes

• the translation of Gerhard's Loci (originally published from 1610 to 1625)
• a glossary of key theological, rhetorical, and philosophical terms
• a name index
• a Scripture index
• a carefully researched works cited list that presents guidance for deciphering the numerous
abbreviations of the other titles from which Gerhard quotes.

Call 1-800-325-3040 and become a subscriber to the series and save 30% off the retail price!

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