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The Origin of the Small and Large Catechisms

In Luther’s day, there were any number of catechisms and catechetical materials. They were often extremely extensive and required the young people to memorize not only the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Creed, but also a list of seven spiritual gifts, seven cardinal virtues, the seven Sacraments, seven words of mercy, the eight beatitudes of God, and on and on and on. Luther cleared away the medieval clutter with his Small and Large Catechisms.

Doctrine of Justification: Its Use and Definition according to Gerhard

This post is adapted from the latest edition in Gerhard’s Theological Commonplaces series, On Justification through Faith.

6 Bible Verses Gerhard Used to Tie Justification to Righteousness

Works-righteousness was as big of a theological issue in Gerhard’s time as it is in ours. So Gerhard went back to the primary source—the Bible—to see what God has to say about the topic. Here’s what he found.

The Second Luther: Nikolaus von Amsdorf

This post is an excerpt adapted from Nikolaus von Amsdorf: Champion of Martin Luther’s Reformation, a new edition of Robert Kolb’s biography about this important Reformation figure.

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Old Testament Reading 

Micah 5:2–5a (MT 5:1–4a)

What Luther Says about Luke 2:15–20

“What it means to find Christ in such poverty, and what His swaddling clothes and manger signify, are explained in the previous Gospel [Luke 2:1–14]. His poverty teaches us to find Him in our neighbors, the lowliest and the most needy of them. His swaddling clothes are the Holy Scriptures. The result is that in our life of work we deal with the needy, but in our life of study and meditation we deal only with the Scriptures. Thus Christ alone is important for both lives; He stands before us in every purpose” (LW 75:254).

C. F. W. Walther’s Sermon on Predestination

On Christmas Day, 1881, C. F. W. Walther was invited to preach on predestination at a church in Macoupin County, Illinois. This day also coincided with the church’s anniversary, and Walther took the opportunity to address the intimidating topic in light of Ephesians 1:3–6.

Third Sunday in Advent

Old Testament Reading 

Zephaniah 3:14–20

What Luther Says about the Gifts of the Spirit

“The abundance and the happiness in the Land of the Promise are the riches of the gifts of the Spirit, the treasures of wisdom and knowledge given us in Christ, where we dwell safely and richly in every blessing of heaven (1 Cor. 1:4–5). Here it is necessary that we be not puffed up as though we were satiated, but that we gratefully bless God, who has given all these things to those who were not only undeserving but even cursed and lost under the poverty of sin” (LW 9:97–98).

Second Sunday in Advent

Old Testament Reading 

Malachi 3:1–7b