Top Twelve Books Every Lutheran Seminarian Should Read Before Graduation, by Prof. Pless

  1. The Bible
  2. The Book of Concord
  3. Bayer, Oswald. Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation
  4. Elert, Werner. Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries
  5. Elert, Werner. The Structure of Lutheranism
  6. Giertz, Bo. The Hammer of God
  7. Koeberle, Adolph. The Quest for Holiness
  8. Krauth, Charles Porterfield. The Conservative Reformation and its Theology
  9. Luther, Martin. Commentary on Galatians
  10. Luther, Martin. The Bondage of the Will
  11. Sasse, Hermann. Here We Stand
  12. Walther, C.F. W. Law and Gospel



Bayer, Oswald. Living By Faith: Justification and Sanctification. Eerdmans.

Bayer, Oswald. Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation. Eerdmans

Forde, Gerhard. On Being a Theologian of the Cross. Eerdmans.

Forde, Gerhard. The Captivation of the Will. Eerdmans.

Giertz, Bo.The Hammer of God. Augsburg Fortress

Hagglund, Bengt. History of Theology. Concordia.

Hamann, Henry. On Being a Christian. Northwestern.

Iwand, Hans Joachim. The Righteousness of God According to Luther

Kittelson, James. Luther: The Reformer. Augsburg Fortress

Lull, Timothy. Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings. Fortress

Luther, Martin. Day by Day We Magnify Thee

Nestingen, James. Martin Luther: A Life.

Parton, Craig.The Defense Never Rests: A Lawyer’s Quest for the Gospel. Concordia

Paulson, Steven. Luther for Armchair Theologians. Westminster John Knox Press.

Pless, John T. Handling the Word of Truth: Law and Gospel in the Church. Concordia.

Preus, Robert. Justification and Rome. Concordia

Sasse, Hermann. Here We Stand. Lutheran Publishing House

The Lonely Way (Volumes 1-2). Concordia

We Confess. Concordia

Senkbeil, Harold. Dying to Live: The Power of Forgiveness. Concordia

Veith, Gene. The Spirituality of the Cross. Concordia

Wells, David. Above All Earthly Powers: Christ in a Postmodern World. Eerdmans

Wingren, Gustaf. Luther on Vocation. Ballast Press

-Prof. John T.Pless

Residential Education at Concordia Theological Seminary


Chapel services are clearly the center of our community at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne. This point is not a matter of pride, but a given, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Our belief in residential Seminary education at CTS is NOT a question of practicality but about a dynamic education grounded precisely of who we are and what we are as baptized Christians in the community of saints.

-FB Post 5/31/13

A Good and Inexpensive Theological German and Latin Grammars

Introduction to Theological German by J.D. Manton ($15 – tap here for Amazon link)

Latin Grammar (Theological Latin), by Cora Carroll Scanlon, and Charles L. Scanlon  ($15 – tap here for Amazon link)

If you are interested, I might lead an online weekly instruction using the above text.  I will help with pronunciation and grammar by using Skype and/or other means such as this blog.  The texts are inexpensive and simple to use.  If you are interested, you know how to get a hold of me, I will start making a list of those who are interested and email you when and how this will take place.  I am looking at starting sometime after the first week of January or later.  I will be speaking at a college event the first week of January on exorcism.

I will collect the names and towards the end of December I will email/FB those who have shown interest.



Application Questions

You can always download the application from our website but here are the questions that are missing from our Notes on the Application for Admission:

Section 6

A. What does the Gospel mean to you?

B. How does the Holy Spirit work in your life?

C. What specific strengths and weaknesses do you possess as they relate to the Office of the Holy Ministry?

D. What do you see as the most important thing Concordia Theological Seminary can do for you?

E. Why do you seek to serve the Lord as a pastor in the LCMS?

Section 7

As a separate enclosure, provide an autobiographical statement which includes your educational,  work and church experiences and information about any events or people who have been instrumental in your decision to apply for this program (3-5 pages).



Re-reading parts from the book: “Christianity for the Modern Pagans”

From a previous post, I mentioned the book edited, outlined and explained by Peter Kreeft called, “Christianity for the Modern Pagans,” reflecting on Pascal’s Pensées.  According to Kreeft, Pascal was a seventeenth-century contemporary of Descartes who was “the father of modern philosophy.”  Pascal was seen as the one who did not jump on the ship leading to “the Enlightenment” and one who was at odds with the scientific method. (p.9)  Pascal, in his Pensées, writes in short little paragraphs that in some way are a collection of contemplative thoughts.  The beauty of reading his Pensées, is that you can read from beginning to the end or jump around in the collection of his contemplative thoughts.  He appears to be a theologian that responds to our modern day secularism and finds Christ at the center.  In this way, I think he would be found quite appealing to most Lutherans.  Especially when he makes statements such as in my earlier post.

Well, I must run, I am traveling around southern United States, visiting with perspective seminarians and deaconesses.  Though a northern boy, I do enjoy visiting with the people of the south.  In many ways, this is where culture is to be found but again, I still prefer the north despite our nasty weather at times.  – H.F.

A Book: Christianity for Modern Pagans

I was in conversation with a gentleman last night about Pascal’s Pensées by Blaise Pascal.  I especially like Peter Kreefts explanation of  Pascal’s Pensées in a book Kreeft authored called, “Christianity for Modern Pagans.”  Since I am traveling, I will edit this post later and add this book to my Pre-Sem recommended reading list.

The Book: Hammer of God

Book Recommendation – The Hammer of God by Bo Giertz

 By Pompadoras

If you visit the seminary during the Christ Academy College weekend, they will give you an opportunity to speak to a panel of students from each different year at the seminary. When I visited a few years ago, one of the questions posed to these students was, “What books do you recommend we read before coming to seminary?” Each student gave their answer. The fourth year student recommended reading a book called The Hammer of God by Bo Giertz. I had previously heard the name of this book from a few pastors and a professor or two at the seminary. If I could read only one book before coming to the seminary, it would be this book.

The book is about the proper distinction between law and gospel. Professor Pless has said that what Walther does in theses, Giertz does in a novel. The book is filled with pastoral care scenarios in which the pastors have to apply law and gospel to the messy, real lives of their parishioners. The fantastic thing about this book is that these are no imaginary scenarios. Each situation represents something we’ve seen or someone we know has seen. The book will show you how law and gospel is applied to sinners, wherever they may be. I recommend reading this book before you get to seminary because it will get you thinking about how theology applies in real life and to real people.

The Hammer of God is more than just a guide in pastoral care. It is about the work of the law and gospel in our own lives. As a seminarian, you will struggle with the sin of spiritual pride, which is the common feature of each of the pastors in the book. For this reason, the book shows the necessity of having a pastor. It is impossible to apply law and gospel to ourselves. For that, we need a pastor. Each of the pastors in the book needs and eventually receives the spiritual care of a fellow pastor. As a seminarian you will need a pastor too. You won’t stop being a sinner when you show up on campus.

Before arriving at the seminary, read the book. You will read it again during your first year at the seminary. The great thing about this book is that you will keep seeing new insights every time you read it. The book is theological, yet thoroughly pastoral throughout. You will find wonderful insights for pastoral care. You will find application of law and gospel. But above all, you will find Jesus Christ crucified for sinners like you and me.

Recommended Reading List For Those Intending to enter into the Seminary

( I will continue to add and revise this list as time goes on)

The Holy Bible – English Standard Version  (Recommend the Lutheran Study Bible from Concordia Publishing House)

The Lutheran Confessions (Concordia: Pocket Edition which is really nice from Concordia Publishing House)

The Lutheran Service Book (CPH)

Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation (CPH)


We begin with preparation through prayer and devotion:

Treasury of Daily Prayer (CPH)

The Lutheran Book of Prayer (CPH)

Reading the Psalms with Luther (CPH)


A few year old statistic but at CTS, 72 % of our students did not grow up any kind of Lutheran.  We are a growing Synod with pastors of different backgrounds with a great appreciation of the Lutheran confession.  We are also existing in an increasingly  diverse world. Here are some good books that would be a good read:

The Lutheran Difference (CPH)

Luther the Reformer (CPH), by Rev. James M. Kittleson

The Hammer of God (CPH) by Bo Giertz

Infant Baptism, by Dr. David P. Scaer (CPH)

Discourses in Matthew – Jesus Teaches the Church, by Dr. David P. Scaer (CPH)

The Great Jesus Debates: Four Early Church Battles about the Person & Work of Jesus, by Douglas W. Johnson (CPH)

Eucharist and Church Fellowship, by Werner Elert (CPH)

Worhsip, Gottesdienst, Cultus Dei, by James L. Bauer (CPH)

The Apostolic Fathers in English, Ed. by Michael W. Holmes   …. Or The Loeb Classical Library series:  The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 1-2

More in Depth:

Martin Luther, Volume 1 (His Road to Reformation, 1483-1521)  by Martin Brecht (CPH)

Martin Luther, Volume 2 (Shaping and Defining the Reformation, 1521-1532) by Martin Brecht (CPH)

Martin Luther, Volume 3 (The Preservation of the Church, 1532-1546) by Martin Brecht (CPH)

Philosophy for Understanding Theology, (2nd Ed) by Diogenes Allen and Eric O. Springsted (Amazon)

Primary Readings in Philosophy for Understanding Theology, by Diogenes Allen and Eric O. Springstead (Amazon)