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The Fire And The Staff: Lutheran Theology In Practice Paperback – January 1, 2005
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Preus carefully utlizes examples from his life and ministry and from cultural examples such as movies to get this point across that many Lutherans are sacrificing Lutheran doctrine for American Protestant Evangelicalism practice, which has a reciprocal relationship that changes the doctrine.
He makes so many good points. This reviewer's only fear is that many won't even consider them, either due to the misleading title or the number of pages. The title, while the book makes a case early on and on the back cover to explain itself, doesn't at all captivate and fit. Much better would have been something like: "God's Word in Action: The Reciprocal Relationship between Doctrine and Practice" or "Confessing the Faith in Doctrine and Practice". Some more succinct and memorable title would do this marvelous book wonders.
The length of over 450 pages should not be obstacle, since it is easy to read, and has marvelous discussion questions at the end of each chapter along with the answers to these at the end.
This deserves wide read among Lutherans, and for that matter Christians who want to be in God's truth, both in their doctrinal statements and in their practice thereof.
Second, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I am actually coming up on the end of it, and am disappointed it is not still going on.
The substance in the book to me, is the solidity of doctrine and its relation to church service (I intentionally did not say, "Divine Service", because many churches and even Lutherans, have drifted in some cases, significantly, from where they should be doctrinally.)
He does not trash "Praise Celebrations" per se, but he does explain the significance of doctrine in our worship service and how the neglect of maintaining our Lutheran doctrine, has affected our church and really, society as a whole.
He discusses synergism, flaws in other doctrines (where Calvinism falls short), speaks of the "revival" movement in the 19th-20th centuries and what present day church practices came from that. He also addresses how those revivals bring with them, the danger that we drift back toward works-based faith.
This book is a great book. As a new President of the Congregation, I was actually looking for books speaking to the topic of evangelism. Not only does he nail the concept of evangelism and how it is "done right", but weaves that into the very fabric of the Church. In other words, he shows us how to go back and retrieve those things, which we have in most cases, forgotten how to do.
I used the Kindle features of highlight and notes a LOT. There were so many things, which I found of great use that if I were a Pastor, I could integrate the concepts from this book into quite a few sermons!
Pastors, throw out The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church and read through The Fire and the Staff with your congregation; it teaches a truly Christian, that is Christ centered, foundation and in a way that is edifying to anyone's faith.