Dec 08, 2000 Print This Article

Seminary Professor Authors Book Illuminating Luther's Catechisms

Dr. Charles P. Arand, associate professor of systematic theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and chairman of the Seminary’s department of systematic theology has authored a new book titled “That I May Be His Own:An Overview of Luther’s Catechisms.” It provides an historical and theological overview of Martin Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms.

In addition to providing a scholarly analysis of Luther’s catechisms, “That I May Be His Own” is offered by its author in the hope that it will “benefit the reader personally by leading him or her into the catechism’s genius, thought pattern and perspective on God and the world. Thus, it hopes to show how the catechism renews minds and cultivates the habitus of thinking the things of God, that is, helps us to think theologically” (p. 19).

Arand also hopes “That I May Be His Own” will result in “a renewed appreciation and love for Luther’s catechisms so as to stimulate further devotional reflection and intensive study of the catechisms themselves. “That I May Be His Own” is written in the conviction that the catechism is not something we grow out of but something we grow into” (p. 23).

“Dr. Charles Arand has become one of the most significant scholars of the Lutheran Confessions, respected both by those within our own circles and by the wider circle of Lutherans,” commented Dr. Andrew Bartelt, vice president for academic affairs at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. “In this book, he demonstrates that same ability to relate the great doctrinal truths and devotional genius of Luther’s catechisms both to Lutherans who seek to grow in doctrine and in practice and to those who are first coming to understand the great strengths of our theology. Catechesis is one of the most pressing issues in our church today, and Dr. Arand has provided a very significant and extremely helpful resource.”

In the Forward to the book, Dr. Robert A. Kolb, mission professor of systematic theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and director of the Institute for Mission Studies writes, “This volume acquaints its readers with the historical setting in which Luther composed his catechisms. Professor Arand’s carefully crafted survey of the context of medieval instruction and piety bring to life the habits of mind which Luther inherited as a member of the church and a student of theology, as well as the concerns for the spiritual welfare of his people which moved him to prepare a course of instruction for them” (p. 10).

“That I May Be His Own” is the first of a two-volume set and is published by Concordia Academic Press, a division of Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Mo. The second volume, to be published in 2001, will “provide a more in-depth historical and theological reading on the catechism’s chief parts. In particular, it will concentrate on what was for Luther the heart of the catechism itself: the Ten Commandments, Creed, and Lord’s Prayer, as well as his treatment of the Sacraments” (p. 22).

In addition to numerous articles treating Lutheran confessional writings, Arand also has authored “Testing the Boundaries: Windows to Lutheran Identity” (Concordia, 1995) and is the translator of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession in “The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church” (Fortress Press, 2000).

For more information, contact Rev. Glen Thomas, vice president for seminary relations at Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105; 314-505-7371.