Teaching God’s Children
Hot off the Concordia Seminary Press is Teaching God’s Children His Teaching, a new and revised edition of Robert Kolb’s classic introduction to Luther’s Small Catechism. The book will help all those connected with teaching the faith—pastors, teachers, deaconesses, DCEs, parents, et al—to discover anew the dynamic faith at the heart of Luther’s “marvelous little book.” This is Bob Kolb, the master teacher, at his best, teaching the teachers. But why take our word for it? Read here the introduction and first chapter for yourself.
And then we dare you not to click here to purchase the whole book (with a special discount until August 31, 2012).
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From Teaching God’s Children His Teaching, by Robert Kolb (Concordia Seminary Press, 2012)
On Using This Book
This book was written as a reader for catechists. It contains my understanding of how Luther understood the function and the content of his Catechism, as we might read it at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It is designed to assist pastors and others involved in Christian education as they prepare for teaching the Catechism to adolescents. It is also designed for the parents of those adolescents to read so that they might reinforce what the catechists of the congregation are doing as they instruct the children of the congregation. I hope that it will serve as devotional reading for all who wish to review the Catechism in a slightly different form. Perhaps, too, some pastors will read it as they prepare to preach the Catechism to their congregations.
I completed the final preparation of the first edition of this little volume in 1991. Since its appearance, Charles Arand produced his more extensive commentary on Luther’s Catechisms, That I May Be His Own. More recently, Timothy Wengert has published his interpretation of the Catechisms, Martin Luther’s Catechisms. These are recommended reading for every reader of this introduction to Luther’s catechetical efforts! For those who read German, the five-volume work of Albrecht Peters, posthumously brought to press by his colleague Gottfried Seebaß, provides an extensive, detailed commentary on the Catechisms of Luther and their place in the catechetical tradition of the church. It is beginning to appear in English translation. For reading the texts of the catechisms in the context of the best of recent research and study, with up-to-date notes and introductions, readers must turn to the recent scholarly edition of the Lutheran confessional writings in English published by Augsburg-Fortress Publishers.
This volume was completed on the five-hundred-eighth anniversary of Martin Luther’s baptism. Although it took a long while for Luther to realize the significance of this act of God, his baptism became for him the heart of his daily life. For God’s promise to him in his baptism—God’s acceptance of him as his child and his commitment to him as his Father forever and without fail—sustained and supported Luther in good days and bad. To convey that kind of life to others Luther composed his Catechism.
It is a marvelous little book. Rightly has it commanded the attention and affection of generations of children and parents. I do not believe that Luther’s Catechisms provide a cure-all for what ails the church or the world, nor do I believe that they alone should be the texts for all Christian instruction. I do believe in taking his Catechism seriously and using it seriously—in the manner in which Luther understood it and its function. I do believe that this catechism, as a lifelong process of listening to and learning God’s word within the framework of his law and his gospel, is indeed the best basis for genuine Christian piety (which is truly human living). I also believe that Luther’s Small Catechism provides an excellent introduction and guide to instruction in that piety, that way of life.
The Catechism is an adventure, an adventure of faith. God’s richest blessings as you use this book to open another window on God’s revelation of himself and of what it means to be human. That was Luther’s hope as he composed this gift to the church.