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Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

12 January 2007
  Three Important Works of Contemporary Theology

I came across John H's meme on contemporary theology at Confessing Evangelical and decided to give it a go. The meme says, "Name three (or more) theological works from the last 25 years (1981-2006) that you consider important and worthy to be included on a list of the most important works of theology of that last 25 years (in no particular order)."

As John sort of notes, "Yeah, right!" (Ok, that was a Yank paraphrase.) And, like John, while I maintain an ongoing moratorium on tags, I'll follow his lead and give this meme a whack.

1. Whether clergy or laity, almost anyone in Christianity can benefit greatly by reading Harold Senkbeil, a man I think stands among the forefront of recent confessional Lutheran writers. I particularly recommend Dying to Live: The Power of Forgiveness (1994). Few books old or new do a better job of describing how the cross of Christ gives form to the believer's life. While oft-times a sharp critic of sins, evils, and errors in modern society and Christendom, Senkbeil remains at heart a parish pastor and keeps his pastor's heart open to those in need. While not a "how-to" book, Dying to Live certainly shows how a true Christian lifestyle flows from a life of forgiving and being forgiven.

2. Important in a much more negative sense is The Da Vinci Code (2003). Much ink and countless millions of electrons have been wasted by the books defenders and, even more so, by its critics. Yet for all its sloppy scholarship and speculation passed off as truth, and in spite of its open agenda against orthodox Christology, the Code did more than have most pastors and theologians of recent past in sending Christians back to Scripture and deeper theological study.

3. My final entry is not "a" book but rather a series still in the making. That would be the Concordia Commentaries from Concordia Publishing House. Only a handful of the final total has been published so far. And for a while, production slowed so much that it seemed that we'd never realize a completed collection of commentaries from CPH. However, volumes are once again making regular appearances and my hopes are higher than they've been in some time that I'll eventually own a set covering the entire canon. God willing, maybe they'll stick with it long enough to produce a few volumes on the Apocrypha, too.

From my first reading of the initial volume of Dr. Art Just's commentary on Luke, I've been hooked. Top scholars, good writing, crack editing, and a certain consistency of style mark all the books I own so far. The use of graphics to flag thematic content provides visual breaks on the pages while also making it easy to focus on the points that both the modern writer and the Biblical author are trying to make. Also, after battling through liberal commentaries and conservative works from the Reformed and Roman Catholic perspectives, it's an absolute joy to be able to study the Scriptures hand in hand with those who share my Christological assumptions concerning the entire canon.

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Comments:
Good list. "Dying to Live" is good, but I think Senkbeil's "Sanctification: Christ in Action" is much better.
 
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