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Lutheran Identity: A Classical Understanding (Lutheran Voices) [Paperback]

By Frank C. Senn (Author)
Our Price $ 10.19  
Retail Value $ 11.99  
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Item Number 84953  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   96
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.7" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.2"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2008
ISBN  0806680105  
EAN  9780806680101  

Availability  0 units.

Lutheran Voices - Full Series Preview
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Item Description...
What does it mean to be Lutheran? In the sound-bite age in which we live, too often the answer is reduced to a handful of familiar phrases such as "justification by faith," "both saint and sinner," "the priesthood of believers," and "theology of the cross versus theology of glory." But noted theologian Frank Senn appeals to Lutheranism's rich tradition and culture to answer this question, seeing here "something to build on as we confront the possibilities and challenges of preaching, teaching, professing, and living the gospel of Jesus Christ in our own time and place." In the author's thoughtful consideration of key elements of the Lutheran faith is a cautious reminder that to abandon this tradition or step away from this culture means becoming something other than Lutheran.

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More About Frank C. Senn

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Frank C. Senn is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Evanston, Illinois. He is active in ecumenical affairs and liturgical circles, and has taught at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, the University of Chicago Divinity School, the University of Notre Dame, and Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois. Senn is the author of nine books, including most recently The People's Work: A Social History of the Liturgy (Fortress Press, 2006, 978-0-8006-3827-6).

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General   [31520  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Lutheran   [280  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Ecclesiology   [1097  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Good Intro, But Do More Research On Your Own  Jun 2, 2008
Reverend Frank Senn has created a concise introduction to the history of the Lutheran Churches' distinct identity. It is handy and readable for lay people interested in learning more about their faith, but because it's such a short and synoptic pamphlet, it suffers from minor problems that will urge more ambitous readers into further research and discussion.

As the secondary title suggests, this pamphlet focus on the classical history of the Lutheran tradition, leaving the present up for debate in our modern, contentious times. This is probably for the best, since the future is an open discussion based on history, which he provides. Focusing on Lutheranism in its historical contexts, and the evolutions of its theology, Senn bravely includes many ignominious moments from the church's history, instead of limiting himself to some sort of ill-defined song of praise. He even brings in the evolution of scripture in the Apostolic Age and how the controversies that helped bring the church together were played out again during the Reformation. His history is very comprehensive, though short, and gives the curious reader a first footing for further research in the field.

The problem is when he occasionally strays away from history and into proclamation. For instance, at the end of chapter 3, "Ecumenical Creeds," he insists that the three creeds from the Apostolic Age MUST be the only three used in worship, as no others can hold the same theological weight. Though he softens this stance in a discussion question later on the page, this dogmatic view that some things are too holy to be questioned risks alienating more spiritually inquisitive readers who may fundamentally agree with the idea but want to investigate rather than being simply told what to believe.

Conversely, there are several times where Senn flees from telling us what something means. He mentions that Martin Stefan, first bishop of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, was expelled over a "troubling episode," but doesn't explain further. Likewise, he names controversies that have plagued Lutheran history, like Antinomianism or Osiandrianism, without further definition. Though this book is meant to be short and synoptic, a few brief sentences wouldn't overburden the text, and frankly, I shouldn't end my reading with a frustrated flight to Wikipedia.

That said, the book's six chapters give a remarkably overarching view into the history of the Lutheran traditions. Why are there different Lutheran branches in the U.S.? Why do multiple congregations need to have a common liturgy? What is the purpose of the Creeds and of hymn-singing? This book gives handy, short, useful answers to these questions and others you probably never contemplated before now.

Good for an adult Bible study or group discussions, this book is also short and simple enough for an individual to savvy in one or two nights. As an adult convert to Lutheranism, it cleared up many of the historical questions I never got in my earlier religious education, and helped me understand why we perform many of the acts we do on Sunday and during the week. Highly recommended for Lutherans interested in learning about their own church, it will also be informative and educational for any outsiders who want to know more about one of the most influential branches of the Christian tradition.

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