A Letter from the NPH Professional Books Editor on Doctor of Souls

Dear shepherds of God’s people,

How many of you remember what we were taught on the first day in Dogmatics class as Middlers at the seminary? We learned that theology is a “habitus practicus,” that all (scriptural) theology is practical—it is for people (Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:15,16). Perhaps at the time we did not always appreciate every fine dogmatical definition and distinction—in Latin terms and phrases—made by Quenstedt and Gerhard. Such was not the case, however, in our courses in pastoral theology. In “PT” it always seemed obvious that we were learning the very “practical” nuts-and-bolts aspects of the ministry—how to “be a pastor,” how to bring God’s Word of law and gospel, properly distinguished, to the hearts and minds and lives of God’s people. In our PT classes we became very familiar with the book The Shepherd Under Christ by A. Schuetze and I. Habeck. And I’m guessing that everyone reading this letter has a copy of that book on his library shelf.

Today I’d like to talk to you briefly about a new book on pastoral theology, authored by the senior Schuetze’s son, Professor John Schuetze. The book is Doctor of Souls: The Art of Pastoral Theology. I will let Professor Schuetze explain in his own words the reason and need for the new PT book:

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How to Teach Talk Learners

Talk learners are the opposite learning style of the Research learners.

Talk learners love to rephrase to learn. They desire verbal exchange immediately (hence the name “Talk learner”).

They prefer to learn by collaborating with others and being part of a team (or having a study buddy). They prefer studying things that directly affect people’s lives, rather than impersonal facts or theories. They also love personal attention and encouragement from instructors. (Many talk learners will get tutors just for this reason alone).

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Here We Stand: Teaching the Blessings of Our Shared Lutheran Heritage – A Letter From the Editor

Dear fellow servants of the Word,

Our pluralistic society insists on blurring the differences between denominations under the guise of being more loving and tolerant. After being bombarded with this message for many years, we may all have loosened our grip a bit on why we are Lutheran. Some of the folks on our membership rosters may mistakenly view our heritage as more of a cultural thing: “My family tends to be Lutheran.”

Reformation-500The celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation gives us a wonderful opportunity to teach that our heritage as Lutherans is not a matter of culture but of standing on the chief doctrine of Scripture: justification by grace through faith. It encourages us to restudy the Scriptures, to grow in our understanding of what Jesus has done to right our broken relationship with God—we are justified because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross—and to grow in understanding of how God brought his church back to focus on that chief doctrine.

Two Bible studies from NPH will help your members grow in their appreciation of their Lutheran heritage and in their understanding of core Biblical truths. Both use the Reformation as the context for teaching these truths. Both include a video segment for each lesson, which will appeal to those who learn best visually. Altogether, the two studies can be used in a variety of venues, bringing the foundational truths of Scripture before a broad spectrum of God’s people. Continue reading

How to Teach Research Learners

Research learners love to read and study to learn. They desire debate and always want the big picture before, during, and after learning.

They prefer to learn by studying about ideas and how things are related. They love problem solving that requires collecting, organizing, and evaluating data. They enjoy arguing or debating a point based on logical analysis, but only after they have had a chance to plan and carry out a project of their own making and interest.

Research learners learn best from lectures, reading, logical discussions and debates, and projects of personal interest. (Many professors going for tenure fall into this research learner category).

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From the NPH Director of Worship & Sacred Music

Dear Fellow Musician,

“I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13:6).

We rejoice each year in the gifts God gives to his church on earth for the proclamation and praise of his goodness, in particular the gifts of music and faithful composers and arrangers. The last few months have seen the release of several new music products. One is from the newest and growing series that NPH offers, Hymn Settings for the Contemporary Liturgical Ensemble. Named for their hymn tune, these arrangements for piano, guitar, and additional instruments—sometimes identified as a “contemporary ensemble”—are designed to accompany the singing congregation. With the assistance of song leaders, the congregation can sing right out of the hymnal. “Erhalt Uns, Herr” serves as the tune for three hymns in Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal. Other arrangements in the series include the tunes “Nun Freut Euch” and “Sieh, Hier Bin Ich.” For a single price, each arrangement comes with a full score and parts for instrumentalists. Full previews are available at nph.net, and more are planned for future release.

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How To Teach Create Learners

Teach the Word“Create” learners are the exact opposite of the Step learners.

Create learners love to synthesize to learn. They desire to generate something (create something) in order to really “get it.”

They prefer to learn by being creative and using their imaginations and creative ideas to plan and organize concepts. They prefer working on a number of tasks at one time, discussing real problems and looking for real solutions. They also enjoy searching for alternative solutions to problems, looking beyond those normally considered. (Some might call this divergent thinking.)

Create learners learn best with creative and artistic activities that are used along with open-ended discussions about personal and social values. They do best with activities that enlighten and enrich understanding, such as stories, dramas, etc.

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Neuroscience

So, parent of an infant or toddler, what are you doing to help your child make lots of neural connections these days? Maybe you need to learn more about what you can do to help your child develop those all-important neural connections that bring about learning.

Neuroscience studies the brain and how it functions. It explains that through the workings of billions of nerve cells with trillions of connections, the brain receives stimuli, processes it, remembers a lot of it, and produces learning. Neuroscience demonstrates the complexity of the human mind and the wonder of God’s creation. It supports what the psalmist observed for us long ago: “I praise [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Continue reading

A Letter from the Editor Regarding Luther’s Protest

Dear fellow servants of the Word,

Wise King Solomon observed, “Of making many books there is no end” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). That certainly is true of books in general, and we can also safely say that it’s true of books about Martin Luther and the Reformation. In fact, it has been said that more books have been written about Martin Luther than any other person in history, except for Jesus Christ. I have never seen actual statistical evidence to back up that assertion, but it does seem reasonable. And over the years Northwestern Publishing House has contributed more than a few titles to that ever-growing list of books on Luther. This Reformation 500 anniversary year, NPH has published four new Luther titles and brought back into print or reissued new editions of several older Luther books. Some are aimed at younger readers and people with little knowledge of Luther. Other books are aimed at pastors and teachers, as well as laypeople who already have some knowledge of Luther and the Reformation. Continue reading