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Attention LOGOS users, Volumes 58-60, of the new Luther's Works American Edition extension are available now from LOGOS, for integration into your LOGOS digital library. For further information, including all technical support and customer service issues, please contact LOGOS by visiting their web site, or by calling LOGOS at 800-875-6467. Please DO NOT CALL CPH or contact us about any LOGOS product. All our LOGOS resources are now sold, distributed and supported exclusively by LOGOS. Thank you.
Martin Luther's works are of "importance for the faith, life, and history of the Christian church." Luther's Works has made Martin Luther accessible to the modern reader. Concordia Publishing House has expanded Luther's Works to include genres underrepresented in the previous existing American edition volumes, such as Luther's sermons and disputations. These new volumes are intended to reflect both modern and sixteenth-century interests. They include annotations and introductions by the editors and various scholars. The primary basis for the translation is the comprehensive Weimar edition.
This collection presents sermons from 1539–1546 and numerous book prefaces written by Martin Luther. With Logos, you get access to these massive volumes with the power and speed of your digital library. Perform searches, create footnotes and citations, and click your way through Luther's sermons and prefaces! Luther's Works are essential for pastors, theologians, historians, and laypeople in the Lutheran tradition.
Praise for the Print Edition
—Mark U. Edwards Jr., academic dean, Harvard Divinity School
—Carter Lindberg, emeritus professor of church history, Boston University School of Theology
—Robert Kolb, Missions Professor of Systematic Theology, Concordia Seminary
—Amy Nelson Burnett, professor of history, University of Nebraska—Lincoln
—Scott H. Hendrix, emeritus professor, Princeton Theological Seminary
—Susan R. Boettcher, Department of History, University of Texas at Austin
—Jeff Silcock, professor of theology, Australian Lutheran College
—Klaus Detlev Schulz, associate professor, Concordia Theological Seminary
Luther's Works, vol. 58: Sermons V
This volume contains a selection of Luther's preaching from between January 1539 and his death in 1546. Aware of his own mortality and deeply committed to the proclamation of the Gospel in the last days of the world, Luther preached during these years with a special sense of urgency, seeking to make a final confession and testament of his teaching and to issue a public rejection of its opponents. In that effort, he returned frequently to theological themes from the early years of his public career and to autobiographical reflection, working to convey the significance of the Reformation to a new generation ignorant of the circumstances that had called for reform, who had experienced "nothing of these distresses and heartbreak under the pope and what a joyful thing the Gospel is."
The recent expansion of the Reformation to previously hostile territories and cities provided Luther, despite his health, with opportunities to travel and to preach to newly Evangelical communities, expounding the basic elements of his theology. In these sermons, Luther emphasized catechesis in the heart of the Gospel as he understood it, but he was also concerned with warning against a return to old abuses and with encouraging the new organization and support of Evangelical clergy and schools to ensure the survival of the Reformation.
In his ongoing preaching in Wittenberg itself, Luther was intensely concerned with the life and welfare of the congregation with whose life he had been most intimately involved. In addition to preaching on the broader theological conflicts with which he dealt in his published treatises, Luther dealt with local tensions—which culminated in his own brief, self-imposed "exile" from Wittenberg in the summer of 1545. He defended his own role within and responsibility for the Wittenberg church and dealt concretely with the Antinomians' rejection of the Law for Christians by assiduously preaching both the Law and the Gospel to the congregation. When, as it often did, the life of the Wittenbergers seemed to fall short in both good works and faithful devotion, Luther could be uncompromising and unrestrained in his admonitions, whether in denouncing the university jurists who sought to reimpose the standards of papal canon law or in rebuking the Wittenbergers for immorality and, especially, for their greed.
Nevertheless, even Luther's most bitter complaints about Evangelical congregations do not suggest that the old reformer had fallen into despair. His admonitions to faithful hearing of the Word and amendment of life appear alongside his confident declarations that, in fact, the Gospel was being faithfully taught. Luther boasted that the Gospel was being preached and proclaimed, not only in the churches by faithful pastors, not only in the schools, but also in homes, among parents and children, as he says in his last sermon: "You hear [God's Word] at home in your house, father and mother and children sing and speak of it, the preacher speaks of it in the parish church." The Gospel is thus communicated from one generation to the next, from parents to children—and also back again, from children to parents. It is to the children, learning the Catechism, that Luther refers adults who have questions about Christian faith, and upon the youth, "the seedlings with which the Church of God, like a beautiful garden, is cultivated and propagated," that the reformer continues to place undiminished hopes. These sermons thus bear witness to Luther's understanding that the Reformation is neither an accomplished, once-for-all event nor a step along the progressive way to the full purification of the Church, but a continual struggle, carried out through the preaching of the Law and the Gospel, to be renewed from generation to generation until the Last Day.
Never before in English, this volume presents Luther's prefaces from 1520–1532 for the writings of both colleagues and opponents. In Luther's day, the preface was sometimes the most important part of the book. The preface used the most beautiful of language to praise the author, his work, and his arguments—and to decry his opponents. Publishers knew that having Luther's preface brought instant fame to any book.
Some of Luther's prefaces are short, witty, and incisive; others are as long as treatises, with thorough discussions of important theology. Satirical, earnest, tender, combative—in his prefaces Luther is all these things. Over and over, Luther calls his readers to remember why the Reformation was needed, and not to take it for granted.
This volume contains Luther's prefaces to the works of others from 1532 to 1545. Amid the outpouring of print in the wake of the Reformation, Luther—especially in the prefaces to his own works—sometimes expressed the wish that his own books might disappear and give place to the Bible alone. In his prefaces to the works of others, however, Luther developed the opposite rhetorical strategy, hailing their books as faithful guides to the Scriptures or as edifices that, because of their confession of Christ, would "surely stand secure on the Rock upon which they are built." Although he complained of the many "useless, harmful books" with which the Gospel's opponents flooded the world, the multiplication of "good books" in print—of which there could never be too many—was a sign of God's present blessing on the church in restoring the light of the Gospel, and Luther was pleased to encourage the works of faithful colleagues and friends. Many of the works for which he wrote prefaces he declared superior to his own for their insights, style, and more refined approach. Luther was grateful for help in the shared work of Evangelical literary production in all its genres, in constructive work as well as in polemics, and his prefaces give a broad survey of the Reformation's literature.
About Martin Luther
Martin Luther stands as one of the most significant figures in Western history. His distinction as the father of the Protestant Reformation is augmented by his innovative use of new technology (the printing press), his translation of the Christian Bible into the vernacular, and his impact upon European society. Born in 1483 to middle-class parents in Saxony, eastern Germany, he became an Augustinian monk, a priest, a professor of biblical literature, a reformer, a husband and father. He died in 1546 after having witnessed the birth of a renewal movement that would result in a profound shift in faith, politics, and society. He has been both praised and vilified for what he preached and wrote. His thought continues to influence all Christians and to animate the movement that bears his name.
About Christopher Boyd Brown
Christopher Boyd Brown received his AB in history and literature and AM and PhD in history from Harvard. He received an MDiv from Concordia Seminary. Brown is an associate professor of church history at Boston University's School of Theology. He specializes in the Renaissance through Reformation periods and the Counter-Reformation to Orthodoxy and Pietism periods.