Monday, August 25, 2014

Luther's Small Catechism, Part 8: Baptism

Catechism Series, Part 8

AbrahamsonIn this part of our Catechism Series with Pr. Joe Abrahamson, we discuss the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. According to the Bible, what is Baptism and what does it actually deliver? Why do some Christians actually make Baptism a work of us humans rather than God’s work of saving us? What is the role of faith in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Luther's Small Catechism, Part 7: The Means of Grace, the Sacraments

Catechism Series, Part 7

AbrahamsonIn this installment of our Catechism Series with Pr. Joe Abrahamson, we discuss how God wants us to receive His grace, mercy, and forgiveness in the Sacraments. What are Sacraments? What do they actually give to us? Pr. Abrahamson outlines the differences between the Lutheran view of the Sacraments on the one hand, and the Roman Catholic and  Reformed views on the other hand. The last two might more alike that you think!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Spiritual Boot Camp for Christian Manhood

Equipping Men for Godly Vocations in the Family, Church, and Society

Crosslake, Minnesota
September 19-21, 2014

A Men's Retreat hosted by Salem Lutheran Church and presented by Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson, founding president of the Hausvater Project and Associate Professor of History at Bethany Lutheran College


  • The Family Altar: The Necessity and Benefit of Home Devotions
  • A Man's Vocation in the Family, Part I: Marriage
  • A Man's Vocation in the Family, Part II: Fatherhood
  • A Man's Vocation in the Church
  • A Man's Vocation in Society

Retreat Site

Beacon Shores Resort on Whitefish Lake
36859 Silver Peak Road
Crosslake, MN 56442
(218) 543-4166, (800) 950-9507 -

Registration (early bird discount available through Aug. 24)

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Catechism and the Home: Wilhelm Löhe

Luther emphasized that the Catechisms are meant not just for study by pastors, Church and school, but primarily for the Home. Fathers are to instruct their children and daily to pray the Catechism at home. The Church today cannot make the parents carry out this loving work. The Church can encourage, entreat, portray the value of this teaching. But as the cares and pleasures, the schedules and the concerns of this life take priority, the teaching of the young in the way of truth falters. And the young are taught to enjoy the good of this worldly life but loose hold on sin, repentance, and the forgiveness won by Christ, given to them in Word and Sacrament.

This is not a new problem. It is a persistent and old problem. And through the centuries the teachers of the Church have encouraged fathers, families to take up the Catechism for the benefit of the faith and salvation of their own households.

 In 1845 Wilhelm Löhe wrote:
How many, who are acquainted with the Small Catechism, know its preface which together with the introduction to the Large Catechism offers an incomparable, simple, yet truly religious method of catechetical instruction? And again, how many know both prefaces without having observed that the Catechism was written not only for the Church or school, but also for the home?

Home, school and Church become One Church through the dear Catechism. Why is the very important factor of the home omitted? That is the reason why the Catechism is memorized so miserably, and sounds so wooden and flat, because it is not considered as something intended for the home, nor for daily life, nor as a life philosophy, but as a lesson for children and the school room. As a watch-word belongs on the lips of all who are united in one camp, thus the Catechism as a spiritual watch-word should be on the lips of all.

The father, the children, the servants should use it; pray, learn, appreciate it. Thus it will become the cruse of oil of the woman of Zaraphath that does not fail. Yes, when the Catechism again becomes a book for the home, then the people will realize what a flood of strength proceeds from it for the Church and for all her undertakings. 

Johann Konrad Wilhelm Löhe 1808-1872 in his Drei Bücher von der Kirche (1845)


Found in:
Reu, M. 1929 Luther's Small Catechism: A History of Its Origin, Its Distribution and Its Use. Wartburg Press, Chicago. Page 251f

[I added paragraphing and typographic styles to make the text easier to read]

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Some Useful Books and Resources for Catechism and Sunday Schools

Catechetics: Or, Theory and Practise of Religious Instruction by  Johann Michael Reu, Wartburg Publishing House, 1918.
(Google eBook)

Luther’s Catechetical Writings: God’s Call to Repentance, Faith and Prayer, Volume 1, Martin Luther, Luther Press, 1907
(Google eBook

Biblical History for School and Home, by Johann Michael Reu, Wartburg Press, 1918
(Google eBook)

Wartburg Lesson Helps for Lutheran Sunday Schools, Volume 1, Johann Michael Reu, H., Brueckner – 1914
(Google eBook)

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Most Neglected Part of the Catechism

Jordan McKinleyWhat is the most neglected part of the Small Catechism? According to Pr. Jordan McKinley, it’s not what you might think. He draws our attention to the repeated – and neglected – parts that say, “As the head of the family should teach….” Pr. McKinley also gives practical tips for how parents can teach the Catechism at home, especially in the context of family devotions.

Read Pr. McKinley’s article, “The Most Neglected Part of the Small Catechism.”

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Most Neglected Part of the Small Catechism

From the Steadfast Lutherans Blog

July 2nd, 2014 Post by Pastor Jordan McKinley

As is my custom, I was wasting time on Facebook one day, and I came across a post from a friend that posed this question: “What is the most neglected part of the Small Catechism?” I thought about it for a moment, and a few answers came to my mind very quickly: the table of duties and confession and absolution (even though it is right there in the 5th chief part!). After letting my mind think on these texts for a moment or two and my own experience growing up in the LCMS, I read the answer the original post gave: “As the head of the family should teach it.”

Boom. That hit me like a ton of bricks.

If you thumb through your 1986 Small Catechism (the actual catechism: Commandments, Creed, Our Father, Baptism, Confession/Keys, Lord’s Supper, Daily Prayers, Table of Duties, and Christian Questions with Their Answers), this phrase (or a form of it) appears seven times by my quick count.

“As the head of the family should teach it…” It appears at the beginning of five of the six Chief Parts and in two other places. If a man considers himself to be a confessional Lutheran, this phrase really ought to shape the way he practices his Christian faith. In the words of the Small Catechism, what does this mean?

First and foremost, this means that the Small Catechism is a book for the home. If the first time a young man sees the Small Catechism is at his congregation’s confirmation class informational meeting or at the first session of said class, this part of the Small Catechism has already been...

Read more at: | Steadfast Lutherans