Study guide the hammer of god

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STUDY GUIDE

THE HAMMER OF GOD

By

Bo Giertz (Revised Edition)


PMM 150

Prof. John T.Pless

Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne, IN
NOTE: All additions of footnotes and Appendices are the sole responsibility of Michael A. Petersen, First Evangelical Lutheran Church (LCMS), Odenton, MD

Table of Contents
Biography of Bo Giertz…………………………………………………… pg 3
Background of the Hammer of God…………………………………… pg 4
Discussion Guide Questions:
“The Call” (3-42)…………………………………………………… pg 9
“”Awakened by the Law” (43-75)……………………………… pg 12
“Poverty of Spirit and

“The Light of the Gospel” (77-110)…………………………… pg 16


“Three Days Before Christmas” (113-127)…………………… pg 18
“Springtime in March” and

“Transfiguration Day” (129-192)…………………………… pg 20


“New Life” (195-235)……………………………………………… pg 23
“A Heart of Stone and “A Rock of Salvation” (237-282)…… pg 25
“In the Place of Sinners” (283-332)…………………………… pg 29

Additional Background Materials:
Appendix 1: Prof John T. Pless 1998 Pieper Lecture

"Liturgy and Pietism: Then and Now." …………………... … pg 34

Appendix 2: Extracts on Baptism from The Small Catechism…… pg 52

Appendix 3: Luther's explanation of the Second

Article in The Small Catechism, The Creed…………………… pg 54


Appendix 4: Law and Gospel: 25 Theses by C.F.W Walther …… pg 56
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE HAMMER OF GOD BY BO GIERTZ

AUTHOR: BISHOP BO GIERTZ

Bo Giertz (1905-1998) served for many years as Bishop of the diocese of Gothenburg in the Lutheran Church of Sweden. Bishop Giertz was known for his sturdy confessional Lutheran theology. He is remembered for his defense the orthodox Christian faith against the inroads of liberalism. He would not yield to the pressures to abandon apostolic practice by ordaining women into the pastoral office. In addition to The Hammer of God, Giertz was the author of several books now translated into English: Liturgy and Spiritual Awakening, Preaching From the Whole Bible, The Message for the Church in a Time of Crisis, With My Own Eyes: A Life of Jesus, and Freedom in Christ. Two of his writings translated by Bror Erickson, "Preach the Word: A Preacher's Allegiance to the Scripture" and "How the Seelsorger Cares for His Own Soul" are published in Concordia Pulpit Resources (August-November 2005). A Memoriam published in Lutheran Forum commemorates his service to Christ's church:

"The life of Bo Giertz spanned most of this century, at the midpoint of which he was consecrated bishop. His preaching, teaching, and writing demonstrated his utmost concern for God's Word and the people to whom it was addressed. He held firmly to the threefold heritage of the apostolic and patristic witness to the faith, the reformation confession of the faith, and the spiritual renewal in the faith. Until the end of his 95 years, he remained a vigorous leader of orthodox Lutherans in Sweden" — "In Memoriam: Bo Giertz, Bishop and Confessor" by Ronald B. Bagnall and Glenn C. Stone, Lutheran Forum (Winter 1998), 1).

A dozen years before his death, Bishop Giertz penned "My Last Will and Testament" in which he noted:

"It is not without sadness that we look back on those happy years. In my dark moments I wonder if ever a church, which has been given such a rich inheritance, has been so careless about it. My old eyes have had time to see so much of what in the long run means a sickness unto death for the Church. I mean the doubt that possess a revelation, a truth-to-say with the Scriptures — 'which was once for all delivered to the saints' (Jude 3). The truth that Christ is the Savior; that he is the way, the truth, and the life; that there is no other way to the Father; that Christ with his Spirit has led the Apostles into all truth, and given the church a foundation, which can never be changed. Heaven and earth will pass away. Everything else is submitted to the law of change, but his Word will remain - and it is for us to hold on to that, steadfast to the end. This faith is on a collision course with some of the pet dogmas of our time: the belief that everything is relative, that everything is continually changing, which at the same time means progress, even in new concepts of faith and altered codes of morality" — "My Last Will and Testament" by Bo Giertz, The Lutheran Forum (Winter 1998), 13.



BACKGROUND

by

Prof John T. Pless

The Hammer of God is a historical/theological novel that demonstrates the power of God's Word over spiritual deadness, rationalism1, pietism2, and liberalism3. The title of the book is based on Jeremiah 23:29, "Is not my word like a fire? Says the Lord. And like a hammer that breaks the rock into pieces?"

As you read this book keep in mind the historical background. Set within the parish of Odesjo over a period that reaches from the late 18th century to the middle of the 20th century, The Hammer of God demonstrates the constancy of the Gospel over against the rationalism of the Enlightenment, the subjectivity of Pietism, and the relativism of Liberalism. Good descriptions of these movements can be found in Bengt Hagglund's History of Theology (325-397). You may also wish to read my 1998 Pieper Lecture entitled "Liturgy and Pietism: Then and Now." (See Appendix 1) This essay is currently available under "Writings" on the University Lutheran Chapel website (http:www//ctsfw.edu/academics/faculty/pless)

The founding father of Pietism was the German Lutheran pastor Phillip Jakob Spener (1635-1705). Spener sought to maintain the substance of orthodox Lutheran doctrine while presenting it in a new way. In his book, Pia desideria (1675), Spener set forth several proposals for transforming church life centering on the use of small groups called conventicles as the setting for the nurture of the spiritual life. There is a shift away from the means of grace to the spiritual experience of the believer. Assurance of salvation was to be found in one's personal experience of Christ. Pietism was less interested in the Office of the Holy Ministry4 than it was in the "Priesthood of All Believers." Doctrine was less important than living a pious life. Justification was displaced by an emphasis on sanctification.

The age of the Enlightenment roughly coincided with the 18th century. The roots of the Enlightenment are found in the humanism5 of the Renaissance. Prior to the Enlightenment, God was considered the central reality. With the Enlightenment, man becomes the central reality. No longer is philosopher considered the servant of philosophy. Deism6 replaced the orthodox Christian concept of God. Miracles were explained in a naturalistic manner. Books such as Matthew Tindal's Christianity as Old as Creation(1730) and Reimarus' Wolfenbuettel Fragments are prime examples of Enlightenment theology. Reason was set over revelation. Religion was increasingly viewed in individualistic terms. The promotion of good morals and happiness of human life were seen as the primary goals of Christianity.

The subjectivity of Pietism and the rationalism of the Enlightenment gave birth to Liberalism. Friedrich Schleiermacher (d. 1834), a professor in Berlin, became the leading light of Liberalism. He attempted to describe religion as "the feeling of absolute dependence" on the infinite. Schleiermacher thought that true religion was not to be found in doctrinal formulations or acts of morality but in the spiritual consciousness of the individual. Liberalism divorced faith from history thus paving the way for a critical study of the Bible7.

The names of several prominent church leaders surface several times in The Hammer of God.

--Carl Olof Rosenius (1816-1868) was a Lutheran lay preacher and spiritual leader. Troubled by doubt as a young man, he was led to certainty in his faith by George Scott, an English Methodist who was ministering in Stockholm. Rosenius was not a separatist; he urged his followers to remain faithful to the Church of Sweden and the teachings of Luther. Rosenius was one of the organizers of the National Evangelical Mission Society. He edited a magazine entitled Mission Tidings and authored a number of devotional books.

--Henric Schartau (1757-1825) was a Swedish Lutheran churchman. Ordained in 1780, he was influenced by the German pietists but in 1787 he lost his enthusiasm for the conventicles (pietistic small group meetings) and turned his attention toward catechesis and the care of souls. Schartau served as the Dean of the Cathedral in Lund.

--Johann Philip Fresenius (1705-1761) was a German Lutheran pietist. A pastor in several German cities, he also wrote a book of sermons, Evangelische Predigten, which extended his influence into the Scandinavian countries as well.

--Christian Scriver (1629-1693) was a German pastor and writer of hymns and devotional materials. He was one of the first pietists. A gifted preacher and author, Scriver drew many of his illustrations from the world of nature. His sermons, devotional writings, and catechetical materials were widely used in Germany and Scandinavia.

--Anders Nohrborg (1725-1767) was a Swedish Lutheran pastor and court chaplain. His sermons were published posthumously in a volume entitled The Order of Salvation for Fallen Mankind. He was referred to as "the preacher of the unseen congregation in Sweden." Nohrborg's sermon collection was popular exposition of Lutheran dogmatics. His sermons centered on justification by faith alone and are devoid of appeals to human emotions. Nohrborg was influenced by pietism but avoided its excesses. He became one of the most widely known devotional writers in Sweden, although he died at an early age from tuberculosis.

--Erik Pontoppidan (1698-1764) was a Danish-Norwegian Lutheran bishop. Educated at Aarhus, he became the court chaplain at Copenhagen. He later served as bishop in Bergen, Norway. His most famous book was an exposition of Luther's Catechism entitled Truth Unto Godliness. He was pietistic in his views.

Other books that provide good supplementary reading to The Hammer of God are:

--Hagglund, Bengt. History of Theology

--Lindberg, Carter. The Pietist Theologians: An Introduction to the Theology of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.

--Pless, John T. Handling the Word of Truth: Law and Gospel in the Life of the Church
--Preus, Daniel. Lutheranism and Pietism: 1998 Pieper Lectures

--Preus, Herman. A Theology to Live By

--Koerbele, Adolf. The Quest for Holiness

--Sasse, Hermann. Here We Stand

--Senkbeil, Harold. Sanctification: Christ in Action

--Walther, C.F.W. The Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel



"The Call" (3-42)

1. How would you characterize the Dean (4)?

2. What was the nature of this party at the Dean's home? What does it tell you about the clergy (4-6)?

3. What are Savonius' credentials? Why does he resent the assignment that was given to him (3-10)?

4. What does the driver tell Savonius about the man he is about to visit (10)?

5. How does Savonius react to the peasant's question, "Pastor, can you tell me how one shall get a deeply distressed soul to believe in the grace of God?" (10) How would you respond to this question?

6. What does Savonius experience as he steps into the Johannes' cottage (14-15)?

7. How did Johannes' conscience accuse him? How does he respond to Savonius' suggestion to confess his sins (15-18)?

8. Savonius could understand how a person might doubt the miracles, the sacraments, the fall of Adam, or the existence of hell. But he could not understand how one could doubt God's grace and goodness. What does he assume about the grace of God? Why is this of no help to the dying man (17)?

9. What was Peter doing while Savonius was attempting to minister to Johannes? How did this embarrass Savonius (20)?

10. How does Katrina help where the pastor failed (23-26)?

11. Katrina says "You do not lack repentance, Johannes, but faith. You have walked the way of repentance for thirty years" (24), What is the difference between repentance and faith? What was Katrina trying to get Johannes to see by this distinction?

12. What does Katrina ask Pastor Savonius to do after she finishes talking to Johannes (26-28)?

13. What does Savonius mean when he reflects on the fact that "he had learned more about real godliness in these short morning hours than in all his past life" (32)?

14. How did Savonius' picture of God contrast with God portrayed in the faith of these peasants (32-33)?
15. Why does Peter quote Luke 22:328 to Savonius (34-38)? How does the pastor react?

16. What particular insights have you gleaned from this section that are especially beneficial for one preparing for the pastoral office?



"Awakened by the Law" (43-75)
For Further Reading:

--Hamann, Henry. "Article V. Law and Gospel" A Contemporary Look at the Formula of Concord edited by Robert Preus and Wilbert Rosin (CPH), 171-187;


-- Nestingen, James A. "Distinguishing Law and Gospel: A Functional View" Concordia Journal (January 1996), 27-34;
-- Nestingen, James A. "Preaching Repentance" Lutheran Quarterly (Autumn 1989), 249-266;
--Pless, John T. Handling the Word of Truth: Law and Gospel in the Church Today (CPH);
--Preus, Daniel (editor), The Beauty and the Bands: Law and Gospel-Papers Presented at the Congress on the Lutheran Confessions —1995 (Luther Academy);
--Walther, C.F,W. Law and Gospel (CPH).

In this chapter and the following one ("Poverty of Spirit in Light of the Gospel") we see Giertz working with the right distinction of law and Gospel as he develops the character of Savonius. At the end of the first chapter, Savonius is brought to the realization of his failure as a pastor. Upon returning to the deanery, he confesses his desire to be "a real pastor." Several months pass and now Savonius is zealously at work as a pastor. He is no longer troubled by the unlearned peasants or the remoteness of his parish from the cultural and intellectual centers of Sweden. He has devoted himself to the reading of "spiritual" authors and has changed in dress and demeanor. His ability as a preacher has increased as has the attendance in church. But Savonius is living and working under the law, confusing changes in outward behavior with the righteousness of faith.

As you discuss this chapter, keep in mind Article V of the Formula of Concord:

"The distinction between law and gospel is a particularly glorious light. It serves to divide God's Word properly (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15)9 and to explain correctly and make understandable the writings of the holy prophets and apostles. Therefore, we must diligently preserve this distinction, so as not to mix these two teachings together and make the gospel into a law. For this obscures the merit of Christ and robs troubled consciences of the comfort that they otherwise have in the holy gospel when it is preached clearly and purely. With the help of this distinction those consciences can sustain themselves in their greatest spiritual struggles against the terror of the law" (FC-SD V10)

"The preaching of the law is not sufficient for genuine and salutary repentance: the gospel must also be added to it" (FC-SD V:15).
" As a result, the gospel in its strict sense teaches what people should believe, namely, that they receive from God the forgiveness of sins; that is, that the Son of God, our Lord Christ, has taken upon himself the curse of the law and borne it, atoned and paid for all our sins; that through him alone we are restored to God's grace, obtain the forgiveness of sins through faith, and are delivered from death and all punishments of our sins and are saved eternally,' (PC-SD V:20)

"We believe and confess both these teachings. Until the end of the world they must continually be taught in the church of God with all diligence and with the proper distinction, so that in the ministry of the New Testament the proclamation of the law and its threats may terrify the hearts of unrepentant people and bring them to a knowledge of their sins and to repentance-but not in such a way that they give up hope and despair" (FC-SD V:24)

1, What changes had transpired in Savonius' life (43-44)?

2. Why did the Dean alter the preaching schedule? Did this work(45)?

3. What changes begin to take place in Savonius' preaching (43-47)?

4. What charges are leveled against Savonius? Who brings these charges (49-52)?

5. Who was Pastor Haferman? Why was he critical of Savonius? Were his criticisms justified (55-57)?

6, Why does the Dean tell Helvig that she must "trust Jesus and wear her mother's brooch" (58)?

7. How are the people responding to Savonius' ministry (59ff)?

8. Why was Linder skeptical (61)?

9. How would you describe the catechization session (62ff)?

10. Why might the Cathedral Chapter interfere with Savonius' pastorate (69-70)?

11. How does the Dean confront Savonius with his growing legalism? How does Savonius react (71-75)?

12. What have you learned from this chapter regarding the work of the law?

"Poverty of Spirit and the Light of the Gospel" (77-110)
1. How does the law preached by Savonius also accuse him (77-79)? How does Savonius react to the accusing voice of the law in his own preaching?

2. How did "the ancient words of the liturgy" bring comfort to Savonius' wounded heart (80)? What does Giertz show about the importance of the liturgy in the cure of souls?

3. What would it mean to be "victorious over sin" for Savonius (81)?

4. What thoughts run through Savonius' mind as the catechumens come to the altar (82-83)?

5. Savonius hears the words of the Gospel, yet "For every word of comfort he found, some new demand which he had not fulfilled immediately intruded and silenced the promise of grace so that he was certain that it could in any case not be valid for him" (83). How does the mind twist even the words of pure consolation (Gospel) into unfulfilled accusation (law)? Where is comfort to be found? See I John 3:19-2011.

6. What prompted the Dean to shed a tear as he was distributing the

Sacrament (83)?

7. What thoughts occupy Savonius' mind as he is distributing the blood of Christ? How is his own hypocrisy uncovered? What is his reaction (84-

85)?

8. What is the status of the charges brought against Savonius (86-87)?


9. How does the episode with Anders show the beginning of another change in Savonius (89-94)? What does Savonius begin to understand about righteousness?

10. In what way does Linder help Savonius (95-104)?

11. What was the Cathedral Chapter's verdict on Savonius? What are the reactions to this verdict (105-110)?

"Three Days Before Christmas" (113-127)
1. Who is Fridfeldt? How would you describe his theological position (113-117)? Do you see any contemporary parallels to Fridfeldt?

2. What does Fridfeldl conclude regarding the Rector ? What evidence does he have for his conclusion (118-120)?

3. What does Fridfeldt mean when he says to the Rector "I am a believer" (122)? How does the Rector respond with the Gospel (123)?

4. The Rector comments that there are "two different religions" (123). How does the following statement by Franz Pieper clarify this distinction:


"(There are),. essentially two different religions: the religion of the Law, that is, the endeavor to reconcile God through man's own works, and the religion of the Gospel, that is, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, belief wrought through the Gospel by the Holy Ghost that we have a gracious God through the reconciliation already effected by Christ and not because of our own works" (Christian Dogmatics I, 10)?
What are some ways in which the "religion of the law" makes itself manifest today? What are the implications for preaching? For evangelism? For the care of souls?
5. The old Rector says to his young associate, "Out there you will find a strict and demanding teacher" (124) referring to the congregation. How does the congregation teach those who would serve as pastors?

6. What finally impresses Fridfeldt about the Rector (126-127)?



"Springtime in March" and "Transfiguration Day" (129-192)

1. Describe the spiritual condition of the parish at the beginning of this chapter (129- 132)?

2. How does the incident between Karl-August and Daniel illustrate the power of sin in the life of the believer (133-141)?

3. How does the Rector deal with the dispute between Karl-August and Daniel? Does the Rector rightly distinguish between law and Gospel in his conversation with these two men (141-150)?

4. Why do the Rector's words, "One ought not to talk about oneself, it may hid(e) Jesus from view" sting in Fridfelt's ears(151 )?

5. What is meant of the statement made of Fridfelt that "The crest of revival had lifted him higher than was wholesome for an inexperienced Christian" (152)?

6. What had happened to Conrad? Why had he allowed himself to be re-baptized? How did Conrad's letter provoke a spiritual crisis for Fridfeldt (155-163)?

7. What does Fridfeldt find when he comes to minister to Frans? Why is Lena disturbed by Frans? How did Fridfeldt see himself in this dying man (163-167)?

8. How does the crying baby remind Fridfeldt of the scope and power of original sin (168-169)?

9. Fridfeldt must leave the dying man to return to the church for the Divine Service on Transfiguration Day? How does the Transfiguration Day Gospel (Matthew 17:1-8)12 change Fridfeldt (170-175)?

10, What was the liturgy doing to Fridfeldt? How does Fridfeldt unwittingly defend the liturgy (171)?

11. Why was the housekeeper, Mrs. Holleman, critical of Fridfeldt's sermon (177)?

12. How does Fridfeldt come to see infant baptism as a gift of the Gospel (182-188)? Compare Fridfelt's clarity on baptism with The Small Catechism. (See Appendix 2)

13. What is Christian freedom? How would you defend your answer biblically (see Galatians 5:1-1313; 1 Peter 2:1614). How do the words of the Rector help Fridfelt to appreciate the freedom we have in Christ (190-192)?

"New Life"(195-235)

1. What are your first impressions of Pastor Torvik (195-197)?

2. What was Pastor Torvik's perception of the spiritual condition of his new parish (198-202)?

3. What had happened to the old rector? In what condition did he leave the parish (197-199)?

4. How does Torvik react to the dismal circumstances of his new congregation (202-203)?

5. Why did the parishioners not trust Pastor Torvik (203-204)?

6. What leads Pastor Torvik to conclude that his ministry is a failure (203-207)?

7. Pastor Torvik is called upon to take the Lord's Supper to a shut-in known as Mother Hanna. What did Pastor Torvik discover about this talkative woman? How did his visit with this woman end(208-211)?

8. After the disappointing episode with Mother Hanna, what did Pastor Torvik resolve to do (212-213)?

9. What did Pastor Torvik see in his dream? What effect did this nightmare have on him? (214ff)?

10. What was Pastor Torvik's real problem? How had he judged the validity of the Christian faith (222-225)?

11. Schenstedt had been one of Pastor Torvik's adversaries. How did things begin to change with him (227-230)?
"A Heart of Stone and a Rock of Salvation" (237-282 )
This section of The Hammer of God is especially helpful in highlighting the right use of law and Gospel by those who are in the pastoral office. As you review this section reflect on this thesis: One might not preach enough law, but he can never preach too much Gospel. The Gospel must always predominate in our preaching (Walther). If the law predominates it is not a Christian sermon.

Inexperienced preachers (note the example of Torvik) often err by confusing law preaching with pulpit pounding condemnation of specific sins. Law preaching does not aim to reprimand the hearer for certain pet sins but to expose the sin that is the root of all sins...namely the failure to "fear, love, and trust in God above all things."

The law does not merely scold, cajole, or challenge...it kills. It closes every door that the sinner would attempt to use as a way of escape! The only result that the law can bring is death. The law cannot change the sinner, In fact, if it does not find its telos15 in Christ, it will lead either to despair or pride. Such a mishandling of the law in preaching will lead to what Luther calls a "Turk's faith" in a sermon on Galatians 3:23-2416 preached on January 1, 1532 (see Handling the Word of Truth: Law and Gospel in the Church Today, 115-128). In this sermon, Luther says

"For that reason their faith is, to say the best, purely and simply a Turk's faith which stands solely upon the bare letter of the Law and on outward acts of doing or not doing, such as 'You shall not kill' and 'You shall not steal.' They take the view that the Law is satisfied if a man does not use his fist for homicide, does not steal anyone's property, and the like. In short, they believe that sort of external piety is a righteousness that prevails before God. But such doctrine and faith are false and wrong, even though the works performed are themselves good and have been commanded by God" (116).

Note the words of Mother Lotta to Pastor Torvik: "I think you can blame yourself, Pastor. If one whips the flock of God with the scourge of the law instead of guiding it to the springs of living water, everything will eventually go wrong. No one can endure unlimited lashings" (237).

When the law is not preached in such a way as to kill, it will be received in such a manner as to lead the hearer to conclude that it is doable. Again note the sage advice of Mother Lotta to the young pastor:

"...it won't do to offer Moses a forty percent agreement and expect him to be satisfied with our becoming absolutely pure and loving and honest, as you are always talking about. It will be nothing but patchwork. It will not result in a whole and acceptable righteousness, as the heart will surely attest, and it will certainly not do as the basis for salvation. Those outward sins which can pluck away as one rids the padding of a sofa of vermin, one by one, are by no means the worst. And that is true also of those sins thought that you can take hold of as you would a bug and show the Lord, and say, 'Here it is.' But the corruption of our nature, Pastor, the sinful depravity, that remains where it is, and I should like to see, Pastor, how you would turn that over to God" (281-282).
Again Luther in the 1532 sermon:

"For the Law has its terminus, defining how far it is to go and what it is achieve, namely, to terrify the impenitent with the wrath and displeasure of God and drive them to Christ. Likewise the Gospel has its unique office and function: to preach the forgiveness of sins to troubled consciences. Let the doctrine then not be falsified, either by mingling these two into one, or by mistaking the one for the other" (117).

1. "I think that you can blame yourself, Pastor. If one whips the flock of God with the scourge of the law instead of guiding them to the springs of living water, everything will eventually go wrong. No one can endure unlimited lashings" (237). How had Torvik relied on the law instead of the Gospel?

2. What does the woman mean when she tells Torvik that "it won't do to offer Moses a forty percent agreement and expect him to be satisfied with our becoming absolutely pure and loving and honest, as you are always talking about" (238)?

3. What did Mother Lotta teach Torvik about preaching? About Baptism? About the cure of souls (239-243)?

4. How does Rector Bengtsson teach Torvik to read the Bible and understand the pastoral office (247-252)?

5. How does Bengtsson describe the twin dangers of pride and despair in the spiritual life (254-255)?

6. Why did Torvik not want to wear his clericals(254)? How does he confuse "person" and "office" (254-255)?

7. How does Schenstedt set aside the Bible by separating the Spirit from the Word (256-259)?

8. Comment on "Each of us will therefore have to speak tonight according to his own experience and his own way of seeing things. One can do no more than follow one's own conviction" (258).

9. How does Bengtsson describe the fight against sin (265)?

10. How does Bengtsson preach the atonement (267)? How does he describe the relationship of the atonement to the Means of Grace (269)?

11. What was the significance of Jude 317 for Torvik (270)? How does Torvik now come to preach the true Gospel(270-271)?

I2. How does Schenstedt react to Torvik's preaching (272-276)?

13. Where does Torvik find true renewal and revival (279-282)?


"In the Place of Sinners" (pp. 283-332)
1. Describe the situation at the opening of this chapter (283ff)?

2. What are the concerns that shape Torvik's prayers (284-285)?

3. Who is Britta? What are we told about her piety (285-286)?

4. What is the latest development with Schenstedt (286-288)?

5. How does Torvik react to Arviddson's news about Schenstedt (288-289)?

6. Why does Torvik come to regret the passing of the custom of "registering for communion" (290)?

7. How does Torvik attempt to use the confessional address to reach Schenstedt? Does it work (291-295)?

8. How does Schenstedt misuse the Scriptures to justify his own impenitence (295-299)?

9. How does Torvik call Schenstedt to repentance (299-300)?

10. This episode occurs in December. How does the Advent Season serve to focus Torvik on his pastoral work (300-302)?

11. How would you characterize the continuing relationship between Torvik and Schenstedt (303)?

12. What does Torvik imagine as he thinks about the course of the war (304-306)?

13. How does Torvik view Schenstedt's departure for service in the army (306)?

14. What is Torvik now praying for (307)?

15. Why was Saleby deserted? Who still is left there? Why does this woman remain (308-309)?

16. What does the old woman mean when she says to Torvik; "You should not admire, my boy. Nothing human measures up. Instead you must love. One may always love – also that which is broken and twisted" (310)?

17. Who is Agnes and why is she suffering (311)?

18. How does the old lady explain cross-bearing (312)?

19. In preaching on the story of the Canaanite woman (see Matthew 15:21-28)18 Luther remarked that this woman laid a whole sack of God's promises at Jesus' feet and He would not step over those promises. How does the old lady's persistent prayer and trust in God for her grandson, Schenstedt, resemble the description of the woman in Luther's sermon (313)?

20. How this grandmother's faith active in love (314)?

21. Why does Romans 8 help Torvik interpret his life and ministry in this time of war (314-316)? How is the horror broken by the promise of Baptism (315)?

22. How does Christ's atonement provide security and peace for Britta? Do you see evidence that Luther's explanation of the Second Article in the Catechism (Appendix 3) has shaped Britta's faith? How does the atonement interpret providence (316-318)?

23. What happened to Agnes and Aunt Agneta (318-319)?

24. How does Torvik interpret his fear of Schenstedt (320)?

25. What news does Arvidsson bring to Torvik (322)?

26. How does Torvik react to Schenstedt's death (322-323)?

27. How does Torvik react to his wife's desire to adopt Schenstedt's son (324-325)?

28, What does Torvik experience as he is speaking the verba of Christ in the communion liturgy (326-329)?

29. What is the message of the letter that Torvik receives from Schenstedt? What does it teach Torvik about the mystery of repentance and faith (330-332)? How is this episode a fulfillment of Jesus' words in Luke 15:1-1019?



Appendix 1: Prof John T. Pless 1998 Pieper Lecture "Liturgy and Pietism: Then and Now."




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