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:
Dear Brothers in Christ’s Ministry,
Luther wrote his Small Catechism to help pastors teach God’s Word, especially to children. He could not have imagined the sheer numbers of students who would be armed with the Word of Truth through his little book. No other book of Christian instruction has endured for almost 500 years. Not one! No other book of Christian instruction has been so widely used. It is with a deep sense of awe and gratitude that we consider the blessings God has given to the church through this book. It is truly amazing. Though our world has changed in innumerable ways over these last five centuries, the value and relevance of Luther’s Catechism are just as great today as when it was first written. Continue reading
I am wary of any book or chapter of a book that begins with the words “The Secret to. . . . ” Our world today is always looking for a quick fix, a silver bullet, an easy solution to all its problems. We would love to know the secret to six-pack abs or financial security.
This chapter is not a silver bullet. It’s not a pill that will make your body fat melt away or all your problems disappear. There is no secret to being overwhelmingly grateful. I’m not about to reveal a great and profound mystery. The secret to being overwhelmingly grateful is simply to open your eyes. Continue reading
The British author Charles Dickens once commented that we are somewhat backward here in America. Instead of having just one Thanksgiving Day each year, we should have 364. “Use that one day just for complaining and griping,” he said. “Use the other 364 days to thank God each day for the many blessings he has showered upon you.” Continue reading