Thursday, November 10, 2005

Book Review: Martin Luther's Small Catechism

Martin Luther’s Small Catechism” is an extremely dry read. That is the only way I can describe it. Unlike most modern works on faith there are no jokes, no stories, or any other form of poetic license used to keep the writer interested. It’s a straight forward book of theology intended to give a basic introduction to the Christian faith. In spite of that it was a quicker read than I expected. He relied on a question and answers format to get his point across on subjects ranging from prayer, grace, and the various creeds. There are a few things that struck me about this book. First, his heavy reliance on scripture. Once again in modern books writers a lot of writers rely own words and very little quoting of scripture. If you were take out every scriptural references I’d be surprised if we were left with 20-30 pages of things he actually wrote. Second, I thought he rejected all things catholic, but I saw some influence of the Catholic Church by his use of formulaic prayer, genuflecting, and confession. It doesn’t detract from the basic principals of a grace based faith and our need to rely on Christ for salvation. This book is extremely forward thinking for its time that still impacts the church to this day. You can see how his ideas have shaped the movement of the church into modern times. It can be an extremely important read to help us remember what it means to be a Christian. In fact, his discussion on confession made me take a look at how little confession of sins there is in the church anymore. Luther recognized how we needed to be able to share of our burdens and sins with each other as believers. Unless you are a patient reader I would not necessarily recommend it to people. A friend of mine once said, “He should have just stuck to thesis.” I can’t say I disagree.

  • If you feel so inclined you can download it here for free.

  • And here is a more extensive listing of his work.
  • posted by Out Of Jersey | 6:14 PM


    Blogger Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

    Kudos on reading Luther's Small Catechism. But if you want something less dry, you really should not have started there. The Small Catechism is only intended as a handbook for fathers to teach their children Christian essentials.

    But Martin Luther was a very colorful writer. Get yourself a copy of his Large Catechism and you'll see what I mean. Or go find a collection of his sermons and give those a hit.

    10:15 AM  
    Blogger The Cubicle Reverend said...

    There's a large catechsim?!?

    I saw it actually available on download. I think I've read enough of that. I'm going to check out his thesis now.

    12:40 PM  

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