Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Second Mid-Week Advent Vespers Service, 2016

Second Mid-Week Advent Vespers Service, 2016
7 PM Central Standard Time

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

The Hymn #554          Now Rest Beneath Night's Shadow
The Order of Vespers                                              p. 41
The Psalmody                       Psalm 92                    p. 143
The Lection                           Isaiah 53
The Sermon Hymn #645       Behold a Branch             

The Sermon – The Suffering Servant

The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace                                            p. 45
The Hymn # 558                 All Praise to Thee  


Isaiah 52:13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

53 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
The Suffering Servant

Today I was studying some of the Lutheran writers from the past, many largely forgotten. These were men from the history of the ELCA, so no one wants to remember their faithfulness to the Word of God. On the other hand, the Synodical Conference people (WELS-ELS-LCMS) do not want to acknowledge someone outside their own boundaries.
However, their works continue to be studied and reprinted because the truth of the Scriptures is timeless, just as the fads of the moment are locked into that era. I have watched many popular fads come and go. Nothing is so unloved as an old fad. But if something touches upon the eternal, its value is lasting and often discovered again and again.
Bach was forgotten after his era was over, but Mendelssohn said, "This musician is a genius." Now I see many people listing Bach as a favorite musician, along with the Grateful Dead and other celebrities. Bach was an orthodox Lutheran 
Moby Dick was hated in its own era and the few printed copies never really sold. When they burned in a fire, the publisher said, "No reason to reprint the lost ones, because they were not selling anyway." Decades later someone discovered the whale book again and it became required reading.  
The Suffering Servant passages of Isaiah were mysterious to the Jews for centuries, especially the reading for tonight. We can see how true that is, because the disciples did not see that before their eyes, not until all the events had unfolded. They were no different from the rest. The truth was so powerful and different that everyone was blind to it.
That is not strange, because the term King always bears the meaning of ruler and warrior. The combination is consistent throughout human history. Today many Third World rulers fashion themselves as military generals when they can fill that role or not.
Julius Caesar was first a successful Roman general, whose battles are still studied. In fact, some of his greatest successes are reproduced in animations so people can study how the descriptions of the battle looked.
As I wrote before, the concept of Messiah was wrongly associated with a soldier because descending from King David suggested battle. Judas Maccabeus and two zealot leaders after Jesus were the three Messianic pretenders who werenot the real Messiah.
The real Messiah was a different kind of King - "My Kingdom is not of this world." Jesus was not limited by the human concept of kingship. All governments fade away. All empires end. So many powerful kingdoms have passed away that people cannot remember them all.
One brilliant writer recorded the 1100 year history of the Byzantine Empire. The summary is good for three thick volumes. He wrote, "By the time I had finished this work, I was already forgetting some things that I had written in it." After all, how does one remember 11 centuries of history? And most do not know any of this.
We associate influence with power - how much territory is controlled, how many soldiers are armed, how many lethal weapons are developed. The Byzantine Empire had a liquid flame-thrower that terrified its enemies. 
The Suffering Servant is the opposite of all this. Jesus' greatest work was not one of power in the normal sense, but apparent weakness - allowing the forces of religion and state to torture and kill Him. All the worst aspects of abandonment were felt, but this was consistent with His birth. 
Instead of being born in a royal palace, He came to us in apparent weakness and poverty, so that the trappings of power would not frighten or repel us. 
Likewise, the description of Jesus in this passage can make us sympathetic with those who could not see the Messiah there - before it happened.
The passage begins with the repellent image of the tortured Servant. After the introduction, this is repeated with the question, "Who will believe our report?"
That question is repeated by Paul in Romans 10, because report is the equivalent of sermon. When people speak about how Jesus came into our world, born of a Virgin, dying for our sins, this account - sermon - report is the sermon that creates and sustains faith.
Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
That is the difference between human history and the Gospel story. Human history has many variations, such as the five different reasons offered for Napoleon losing the Battle of Waterloo. But the Report is one story, God's revelation, and this story has converted millions to faith in Jesus Christ the Savior.

The Report in Isaiah is that this horrible torture and death would have a reason - suffering and dying for our sins.
This claim, at first glance, seems hard to get across - except for the worship God directed  Israel to conduct. They sacrificed spotless lambs for their sins. They acknowledged he Passover Lamb that led to their freedom from Egypt and settling in the Promised Land.
So the concept of an innocent sacrifice for sin was embedded in Israel for centuries before the Son was incarnate by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary. What seems illogical from the outside is clearly consistent with centuries of the Word and worship. Even today, those who know little about Judaism are aware of the Day of Atonement. That was October 11 this year.
So the purpose is well established in Isaiah 53. But the details are also spelled out so that no one can deny them. Jesus 
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Apart from all the other details, in how many incidents do we have where this could be true? - He was punished as a wicked man, the worst kind of criminal, and yet he was buried as if He were a wealthy man of respect.
This is an example of God's wisdom, that He gives us a Report that inspires and nurtures faith. When our Old Adam, fed by sceptics and scoffers, says, "How could this all be truth," the revelation itself teaches us.
  1. All the details are correct.
  2. They occur throughout the Old Testament and are repeated in the New Testament.
  3. They teach us the love, mercy, and forgiveness of God the Father and the grace of Jesus Christ His Son, the Report witnessed by the Holy Spirit.
The Bible gives us a history that telescopes outward, far into the future - the Great Judgment - and back down to microscopic views, each and every detail necessary for us to know.  
Most important, this all shows us that we have a purpose, because this Report shows us God's purpose. We are part of His plan, in spite of suffering, health problems, rebukes, set-backs, and all kinds of anxiety.
We are still in His hands and part of His purpose, as the Word shows us.

How To Find a Graphic on Ichabod

This is an easy way to find a graphic and often a story with it, on Ichabod.

Start with Google Images and write in Ichabod the Glory

then add your search - Robert Preus

That will yield all these graphics, many of them with Robert Preus in them -

Robert Preus et al. images on Ichabod

If you "view page," you will usually find an Ichabod article associated with it.

The Forgotten J. Michael Reu - From 2012.
He Would Not Recognize the Seminary Where He Taught for the Iowa Synod/ALC - Now ELCA

Johann Michael Reu became more conservative
as he matured, so that offended his ELCA descendants.

Talbot School of Theology: Christian Educators:

Johann Michael Reu
By Mark Kvale & Robert C. Wiederaenders
Contributions to Christian Education

J. Michael Reu (1869-1943): Was born in Germany and immigrated to America. As an ordained Lutheran clergy, he was an educator his entire professional life, whether while teaching a class of seminarians, training lay leaders to teach Sunday School, teaching a group of confirmands, or preaching to a congregation. While he was an educator, Reu never stopped being a student. It was said of Reu, that the Bible was a love story from beginning to end, God wooing back His own and sustaining them with heavenly food. Reu understood the main task of Christian education to be telling the story of God as revealed in scripture. And for Reu, the study of scripture was more than just the pursuit of knowledge, but had to do with formation and feeding of the soul. He leaves a legacy of a man who was a teacher, pastor, student and lover of God's word.

In his forty-three years as a professor at Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, IA, Johann Michael Reu taught generations of seminary students as well as lay leaders how to be teachers. His many books and articles cover a vast array of subjects including homiletics, doctrine, catechetics, and practical and thorough discourses on how to teach Sunday School. Reu founded a graduate school at Wartburg, was committed to educating lay leaders, and was one of the first religious educators to be concerned about providing continuing education programs for pastors.

"We Knew Him" We knew him and we marveled, for the years Passing him by in decades, touched him not.

We knew him and we marveled, for he bent To labors monumental and renewed At the Well of the Word daily his strength of ten.

We knew him and we marveled, for his faith, Maugre the mind's lone eminence supreme, Was humble as flame the heart of a child may cup A-caroling sweetly forth on Holy Eve.

We knew him. Still we marvel. And we praise God for his lending who is again with God.

This poem, written in celebration of the life of J. Michael Reu, shortly after his death, bears witness to the legacy of this man, who for over forty years taught and molded people into leaders who taught the Word of God. J. Michael Reu, pastor, professor, and church leader was a person who did indeed labor monumentally at the task of not only teaching the Word, but helping future leaders develop skills as teachers themselves.

The Life of J. Michael Reu
Johann Michael Reu (pronounced "Roy"), was born on November 16, 1869, in the German village of Diebach, Bavaria. He was the youngest of ten children born to Johann Friedrich Reu and Margarete Henkelmann. Johann Friedrich was a mason and contractor, who died when Johann Michael was only two years old. Reu exhibited exceptional academic gifts at an early age, which were noticed and nourished by the village pastor. In addition to the normal confirmation instruction, this pastor took it upon himself to give Reu lessons in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.

The pastor recognized gifts for ministry in the young Reu. The amount of money and time needed to fund and partake in a normal course of studies in preparation for service in the state church was too prohibitive for the Reu family. So, at the suggestion of the pastor, Reu entered the missionhaus in nearby Neuendettelsau, an institution that was not as expensive. This school was founded by Pastor Wilhelm Loehe, to train pastors to serve the German people who had traveled to America. William Weiblen has this to say about the approach to formation for mission espoused by Loehe, and Reu's unique giftedness to thrive in this environment:

Reu's life is also a remarkable testimony to the validity of Wilhelm Loehe's idea to provide another route to prepare people for the parish ministry. Loehe's emergency arrangement, which provided hundreds of pastors for the Lutheran church on the frontier in America, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, and other places, reminds us that the way to learning and creative service need not be bound to established models. Reu stands as a superb example of Loehe's idea that you could take a bright young student with eight to ten years of basic education, teach that student how to study and think, and the student could become a life-long learner and scholar. That is what happened to Professor Reu, for if there ever was a self-made scholar, Reu was certainly that person.

Reu studied at Neuendettelsau from 1887-1889. Reu was a superb student. He distinguished himself in biblical studies; so much so, that one of his professors appointed him as an instructor in Hebrew. In addition to being less expensive, the education that was offered at the missionhaus was considered by many to be substandard. Craig Nessan has suggested that Reu was driven by the need to prove his academic integrity. In regards to his academic abilities, William Weiblen says:

Reu was gifted with genius and discipline. It seems (he was not only gifted with a near photographic memory, but he seems to have been born with a scientific, computer-like method of classifying and organizing whatever subject he chose to research.

At the end of his studies, even though he was not even twenty years old, Reu immigrated to America to begin pastoral ministry. He was ordained and called to the "new world"- to Mendota, Illinois to be an assistant of Pastor F. Richter. After a year serving in this capacity, Reu received a call to be the solo pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Rock Falls, IL. He served in Rock Falls for nine years. On November 16, 1892, Reu married Marie Wilhelmina Schmitthenner, whom he had met in New York on arriving in America. The Reu's were married for over fifty years and raised four children. Reu engaged whole heartedly into his call as pastor in Rock Falls. Of his time there, Pilger recalls how Reu devoted quite a bit of himself to teaching the children of the parish. Unfortunately, his earliest experiences as a teacher in the parish were not always successful:

On an especially bad day … when his nerves through overwork and too late hours [were] perhaps a little frayed, when he found nothing but stupidity, looked into nothing but vacant, uncomprehending and indifferent eyes, met with nothing but ill-will, he became so exasperated, that, tears in his eyes, he rushed out of the classroom, so that Mrs. Reu had to go over to pacify first the flustered class, then her repentant husband.

This ominous start led to Reu's work in developing instructional material for Luther's Small Catechism which was to be used in the parish setting. Reu grew in his abilities as a preacher during this time and by all accounts, Immanuel Lutheran Church prospered during Reu's time as pastor.

In 1899, Reu was called to Wartburg Seminary in order to fill a position left vacant by the illness of one of the professors. Reu would remain at Wartburg for the rest of his life. Reu "hit the ground running." He was not deterred when after he had been at Wartburg for a year or two he was named business manager of the seminary, a position he held to the end of his life.

He was criticized by some professional theologians because he was not coming up with some original nuance of theology. His answer was that he was not that kind of theologian. His calling was to collate and systematize the teachings of all the Lutheran theologians and communicate this to the lay members of Lutheran congregation by way of the students he was teaching in the seminary.

At some point, Reu would have taught every course offered in the seminary: Hebrew for two years, Greek for six, Introduction to the New Testament for four, Religious Education for sixteen, Practical Methods for ten, as well as Liturgics, Homiletics, Hebrew, and Greek exegesis, Romans, Galatians, Philippians, Ephesians, Symbolics, Life of Luther, Dogmatics, and Introduction to Theology.

In one of his letters to an admirer who observed that Dr. Reu was teaching 16 hours of class a week (which was not unusual for him) he responded "Ja, and that means sixteen preparations."

In his call at Wartburg, Reu produced an astounding number of texts dealing with the subjects taught at seminary: Cathechetics, or Theory and Practice of Religious Instruction, Homiletics: A Manual of the Theory and Practice of Preaching, Lutheran Dogmatics, and Paedagogik. (He) was a demanding teacher, expecting much from his students, as he did of himself. Robert C. Olsen has this to say of Reu's expectations.

He (Reu) was a very thorough exegete, and insisted that his students be the same. The text in its original meaning, context, and train of thought - these had to be recovered with great care. He [wrote] in his Homiletics: 'If the preacher, owing to defective preparation, has no Hebrew, he may find not a substitute but a stopgap in the cross-reference Bible. As for the preacher incapable of using the Greek New Testament, he will have difficulty to prove his right to exist.

In addition to the preparation required for teaching, Reu began writing. Two early works were a collection of commentaries of Thomasius (Thomasius Old Testament Selections) and a compilation of the catechisms of The Evangelical Church of Germany from the years 1530-1600. These two works, published in 1904, marked just the beginning of a life as a prolific writer.

1904 is the year in which Reu assumed the editorial responsibility for the Kirchliche Zeitschrift, which was the theological journal of the Iowa Synod of the Lutheran church. Reu maintained this position until his death in 1943. A major part of this responsibility involved the review of books and writings. During the forty years of being editor, Reu reviewed "the astounding number of 3,631 books, almost a hundred every year, almost two a week."

Another feature of the Kirchliche Zeitschrift was Reu's observations of the current events taking place in the church. An example of this is an article entitled: "Why are So Many Members Lost to the Lutheran Church." Here is an excerpt from this article.

Would that our younger pastors would study the good old German and Scandinavian sermonic literature from confessional Lutheran pastors and that they would in addition drink liberally from a linguistic standpoint from their English Bible and from a few nobler modern secular English works! This would result in much sounder Lutheran preaching in English garb than is achieved by pouncing on the Reformed sermonic literature before they had themselves become firm in the saddle. Here the English-speaking Lutheran Church, for it is of her only that we are speaking, still has much work to do if she does not want to lose her Lutheran individuality and thereby herself contribute to the transference of her members into the Reformed church.

Reu began receiving recognition for his scholarship and writing. In 1910, Erlangen University honored him by naming Reu a Doctor of Theology. And, in 1914, the University of Leipzig elected Reu to fill the position of professor of Practical Theology. Since the university was under the direction of the state, the government had to approve his appointment. It was denied on the grounds that Reu was no longer a German citizen. Reu applied for citizenship in the United States in 1902. Later, in 1926, Reu also received an honorary Doctorate of Literature from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.

Reu believed that "sound theological understanding proceeds from solid exegetical and historical study," and was "driven to demonstrate he could provide the answer for everything by connecting it to the scriptures."

There are many stories that have become part of the lore of Reu regarding the high expectations of Reu for his seminary students. But this drive for perfection was founded on a deep respect for the Bible, the Word of God. Olsen quotes a Dr. John G. Kuethe in this regard. "It cannot be repeated too often that for Reu the Bible was a love story from beginning to end, God wooing back His own and sustaining them with heavenly food." William Weiblen has this to say about Reu in this regard;

Professor Reu directed his scholarship to helping the pastors and teachers of the church bring the liberating message of the Bible and Reformation to people of today. In other words, Reu's scholarship was pastorally centered. Scholarship, he believed, served the task of theology only if it was practical and applicable to the contemporary life of the people of God.

Weiblen continues this theme: "In other words, what one believes expresses itself in what one understands about oneself and what one does-Christian faith and life belong together. In this way Reu thought of himself as a 'practical theologian."

Reu was not a theoretical academician. He remained throughout his career a pastor, possessing a pastor's heart and desire to see the good news of Christ, and a solid understanding of Lutheran tradition transmitted and shared with all people. Running concurrent with his duties at Wartburg was a call to serve a small congregation outside of Dubuque. Most of his works regarding how to teach Sunday School and Luther's Small Catechism were based on practical experience gained in the congregation.

Reu was also highly attentive to the importance of providing on-going educational opportunities for pastors after seminary. As an educator Reu initiated the first graduate studies program at Wartburg in 1930's. Reu also initiated what is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) continuing education programs for pastors in America, the Luther Academy. Now known as the Luther Academy of the Rockies, the program began by Reu in 1937.

Reu was also heavily involved in the work of the larger Lutheran church. He served on the synodical Committee on Young Peoples' Societies and Sunday Schools. In 1920 he served as chair of the synodical Propaganda Committee, the purpose of which was to help with the German post-war relief effort. He served as delegate for the Iowa Synod to the Lutheran World Conventions in Eisenach, Germany, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Paris, France.

The Reu's celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1943. Beginning in the summer of that same year, Reu began to experience health problems, which included loss of weight. He went to the hospitals in Rochester, MN three times for tests to determine the cause of his illness. He died, quite suddenly at Rochester on the morning of October 14. Up until this last hospitalization, Reu had been active as teacher, hoping to return as soon as possible to Wartburg.

It was said of the Reu's house that it resembled more a library than a home, reflecting perhaps, Reu's deep and enduring passion for learning and for the teaching of God's word. It is quite fitting that the library at Wartburg Theological Seminary is named the Reu Memorial Library, serving as a legacy of a man who was a teacher, pastor, student, lover of God's word.

Back to top
Contributions to Christian Education
Throughout his long and storied career at Wartburg, Reu was first and foremost an educator; of his seminary students, of the people of the congregations he served, and of others whose task it was to teach. And driving all that he was as an educator, was his deep and profound love and respect and reverence of God's word.

William Streng said this about Reu's understanding of scripture and the role of education; "Reu absorbed the conviction that religious education is to 'connect the individual stories of the Bible into a connected history of salvation.'" For Reu, the study of scripture was more than just the pursuit of knowledge, but had to do with the formation and feeding of the soul. Paul Johnston cites Rue's Grundsatze zur Herestellung;

The newer pedagogy has become more and more agreed that the ultimate purpose of all instruction is by no means the transmission of the accomplishments of the present culture to the growing new generation, but the arousal of a many sided 'interest' of the soul. However, 'interest' is a personal participation of the soul in the subject which is treated in the instruction, and inner exchange of communication of the pupil with the instructional material, an intellectual association with it, an intellectual being in between, an inner immersion in it, so that the soul learns to love this material, becomes at home in it, an prefers it to other materials. Such an interest cannot be achieved nor become permanent without positive knowledge; for this reason instruction must always be given in such a way that together with it there is connected the appropriation of a certain knowledge material, which will vary in amount according to circumstances. This is not, however, the ultimate purpose of instruction, let alone the only one. The chief thing is and remains that the soul of the pupil is stimulated, so that he becomes interested in what he is learning, so that he loves it. Of individual items of knowledge he may in the future lose and forget some; once this exchange of communication between the soul and material has taken place, he will not only find his way about in it again and again, but the material also possesses enough attraction for him that he will sometime later return to it and become more and more at home in it.

Reu understood that a student's encounter with scripture was an ongoing process; "… a one-time running through the biblical historical materials can by no means produce that familiarity with them with which the young people should be equipped as they go forth into life …"

Reu held Martin Luther's Small Catechism to be of great importance in this desire to feed, form, and nurture the soul. Reu believed that Luther's understanding of God and of the central concept of being justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ was combined with how the Small Catechism was a source of profound instruction on how to respond to that grace in one's daily life. Reu believed that the Small Catechism "teaches this truth and thereby the nature of true morality so beautifully, impressively, and forcibly as you can hardly find it anywhere else in all human literature."

What follows is Reu's preface to the tenth printing of his book, An Explanation of Dr. Martin Luther's Small Catechism.

In preparing this volume, I have been guided by the conviction that any explanation of Luther's Small Catechism should merely lead the pupil into the wealth of evangelical truth contained in the Reformer's own terse explanation. Therefore I have shunned every thought of supplementing Luther's text with additional material from dogmatics or sacred history and have followed no design of elaborating the Five Chief Parts into a theological system, possibly by constructing an overture from one part to another. Likewise I have purposely avoided giving an independent exegesis of the Catechism text proper and have regarded not the text by Luther's explanation of it as the source of material to be taught. Possibly the only departure from this principle is found in the treatment of the Second Chief Part, where several historical references are made and where the underlying outline followed by Luther is brought out. These in brief are the principles which have determined what material was to be included in the present treatment of the subject or excluded from it. I feel that by observing these principles one can best apply to the life of the child the material contained in the Catechism-and this touching the everyday life of the child is the important thing in our religious instruction.

The influence of Reu's edition of the "Small Catechism" was still used by many pastors who were trained by Reu, but began to lose its influence when the Church approved different translations of the work, which spelled the death of memorization.

As mentioned previously, during his tenure at Wartburg, Reu taught in every division of the seminary. Two of his works; Cathechetics, or Theory and Practice of Religious Instruction and Homiletics: A Manual of the Theory and Practice of Preaching , became not only staples of the educational diet of Wartburg but also proved to be influential and formative for Lutheran seminary students and scholars across the Lutheran spectrum.

Paul Johnston, in his fine article (as well as his many other writings on Reu) says this about Reu's Cathechetics, or Theory and Practice of Religious Instruction;

Reu's Catechetics was the first and is still the only work by an American Lutheran author which attempts to survey the whole field of sacred and secular educational theory and practice and then seeks to combine these different perspectives into a systematic, scholarly whole.

Reu understood the main task of Christian education to be telling the story of God, as revealed in scripture. All of his understanding was driven by this central norm. Coupled with this was Reu's grasp of the importance of knowing those whom educators would be bringing the knowledge of scripture. Included in this knowledge was an understanding of different abilities and levels of development, and different learning styles. Paul Johnson has this to say about Reu's understanding of Christian education;

Reu's educational task [was] based on emphasis on 'arousing the pupil's interest in new material by relating it to what he already knows, and the place which ideas or 'concepts' have in forming the whole content of the mind and, thus, of education.

Reu understood the importance and impact a variety of teaching styles could have on the way a student absorbed the biblical story. All the senses were important avenues for engaging the text; hearing the story, reading the story, memorization, the visual arts. Reu saw that a child approached study in different ways, with a "many-sided interest." With this in mind, Reu saw the need to be flexible and adaptable in teaching the biblical story to children. Johnston provides a quote of Reu that summarizes this understanding;

No matter how much we emphasize that the truths for faith and life which are contained in the individual stories must be pointed out and many-sided interests aroused in the child, we know also that the story has its own reality; yes, it serves us as a means of education precisely because it is a link in the chain of the events which happened for our salvation; we would not even use them as a means for education if it were to be only the garment in which ethical thoughts are clothed; then it would be better if we used fairy tales or stories from the present.

Reu's influence as a molder of Christian educators did not stop with seminary students. Reu provided an enormous amount of materials for those who taught in the parish; Sunday School teachers, those involved in confirmation, lay leaders of the congregations and those who were going abroad to serve as missionaries. Any aspect of Christian education was of great importance for Reu.

J. Michael Reu was an educator his entire professional life, whether while teaching a class of seminarians, training lay leaders to teach Sunday School, teaching a group of confirmands, or preaching to a congregation. While he was an educator, Reu never stopped being a student. William Streng provides this anecdote; "When one day a student (of Reu's) prefaced his question by saying, 'When you were a student,' Reu interrupted, 'I still am.'"

Central to Reu's understanding of Christian education was the importance of sharing the biblical story of God and of God's salvation through God's Son, Jesus Christ. Any methodology or scholarship that did not center itself on this basic goal, or take into account where those who were to be taught were in their faith journeys, or in their educational levels, was suspect. Martin H. Scharlemann shared this story that summarizes who J. Michael Reu, Christian educator, was;

I was one of Dr. Reu's graduate students while I was a pastor … in Athens, Wisconsin … One of the courses I took was called 'Some Pericopes of the Church Year.' Dr. Reu required that each study include a detailed homiletical outline. I did one on Acts 2 and entitled it, 'Undoing Babel.' When my manuscript came back, Dr. Reu … put a question next to this subject title. It read very simply,'Will your farmers in Athens understand this?'

Works Cited
Johnston, Paul I. ed., Anthology of the Theological Writings of J. Michael Reu.(Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1997).
Johnston, Paul I. "Christian Education in the Thought of Johann Michael Reu." Concordia Theological Quarterly Volume 58: Numbers 2-3. (Fort Wayne:Concordia Theological Seminary, April-July 1994), 28. Citing Reu's Grundsätze zur Herestellung.
Kvale, Mark. A Conversation/Interview. May 2005.
Neumann, G. "We Knew Him." Johann Michael Reu: A Book of Remembrance. Kirchliche Zeitschrift 1876-1943. (Columbus: The Wartburg Press, 1945).
Nessan, Craig L., editor. The Air I Breathe is Wartburg Air: The Legacy of William H. Weiblen. (Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2003).
Pilger, A. "Johann Michael Reu." Johann Michael Reu: A Book of Remembrance. Kirchliche Zeitschrift 1876-1943. (Columbus: The Wartburg Press, 1945).
Reu, J. Michael. An Explanation of Dr. Martin Luther's Small Catechism: Together with Four Supplements, Tenth Printing. (Columbus: The Wartburg Press, 1959).
Wiederaenders, Robert C. (Ed.). In Remembrance of Reu: An Evaluation of the Life and Work of J. Michael Reu, 1869-1943 on the 100th Anniversary of His Birth by Some of His Friends and Former Students. (Dubuque: Wartburg Seminary Association, 1969).
Back to top
Reu, J. Michael (1959). An Explanation of Dr. Martin Luther's Small Catechism: Together with Four Supplements, Tenth Printing. Columbus: The Wartburg Press.
Reu, J. Michael ( 1926).A New English Translation of Luther's Small Catechism. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing.
Reu, J. Michael (1952).Biblical History for School and Home. Columbus: The Wartburg Press.
Reu, J. Michael (1931).Cathechetics, or Theory and Practice of Religious Instruction.3rd Edition.Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House.
Reu, J. Michael (1935).Christian Ethics. Columbus: The Lutheran Book Concern.
Reu, J. Michael (1930).Contributions of the Lutheran Church to American Life, Literature, and Culture. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House.
Reu, J. Michael (1919). Dr. Martin Luther's Small Catechism: Together with a Selection of Short Scripture Texts, Hymns and Prayers. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House.
Reu, J. Michael (1950). Homiletics: A Manual of the Theory and Practice of Preaching. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House.
Reu, J. Michael (1938). How I Tell the Bible Stories to My Sunday School. Revised Edition. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House.
Reu, J. Michael (1939). How to Teach in the Sunday School: A Teacher Training Course. Columbus: The Lutheran Book Concern.
Reu, J. Michael (1940). In the Interest of Lutheran Unity. Two Lectures: Unionism and How Can We Become Certain of Its Divine Origin? Columbus: The Lutheran Book Concern.
Reu, J. Michael (1951). Lutheran Dogmatics, Revised Edition. Dubuque.
Reu, J. Michael (1935). Lutheran Faith and Life: A Manual for the Instruction of Adults. Columbus: The Lutheran Book Concern.
Reu, J. Michael (1944). Luther and the Scriptures. Columbus: The Wartburg Press.
Reu, J. Michael (1934). Luther's German Bible: An Historical Presentation Together with a Collection of Sources. Columbus: The Lutheran Book Concern.
Reu, J. Michael (1906). Paedagogik. Dubuque.
Reu, J. Michael (1933). Sunday School Teacher Training Course. Columbus: The Lutheran Book Concern.
Reu, J. Michael (1930). The Augsburg Confession: A Collection of Sources with an Historical Introduction. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House.
Reu, J. Michael (1932). The Book of Books: An Introduction to the Bible for Bible Classes in Sunday Schools, Academies and Colleges, and for the Christian Home. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House.
Reu, J. Michael (1936). The Church and the Social Problem. Columbus: The Lutheran Book Concern.
Reu, J. Michael (1917). The Life of Dr. Martin Luther for the Christian Home. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House.
Reu, J. Michael (1917). Thirty-Five Years of Luther Research. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House.
Reu, J. Michael (1959). Thomasius Old Testament Selections. Columbus: The Wartburg Press.
Reu, J. Michael (1921). Topics for Young People's Societies. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House.
Reu, J. Michael (1952). Two Treatises on the Means of Grace. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House.
Reu, J. Michael (1916). Wartburg Lesson Helps for Beginners in the Sunday School and Home. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House.
>Reu, J. Michael (1916). Wartburg Lesson Helps for Lutheran Sunday Schools: Senior Department. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House.
Writings about Reu
Johnston, P. I. "Christian Education in the Thought of Johann Michael Reu." Concordia Theological Quarterly Volume 58: Numbers 2-3. Fort Wayne: Concordia Theological Seminary, April-July 1994. 93-111.
Johnson, P. I. (1989). An Assessment of the educational philosophy of Johann Michael Reu using the the hermeneutic paradigms of J. F. Herbart and of J. C. K. Von Hofmann and the Erlangen School (German Protestant) (Doctoral Dissertation, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, (1989). Dissertation Abstracts International, 50, 11.
Johnston, P. I. (1993). Reu's Understanding of the Small Catechism. Lutheran Quarterly, 7(4), 425-450.
Nessan, Craig L., editor. The Air I Breathe is Wartburg Air: The Legacy of William H. Weiblen. Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2003.
Neumann, G. "We Knew Him." Johann Michael Reu: A Book of Remembrance. Kirchliche Zeitschrift 1876-1943. Columbus: The Wartburg Press, 1945. 6.
Olsen, Robert C. Johann Michael Reu: 1869-1943. Dubuque: Wartburg Seminary Association, 1969.
Pilger, A. "Johann Michael Reu." Johann Michael Reu: A Book of Remembrance. Kirchliche Zeitschrift 1876-1943. Columbus: The Wartburg Press, 1945. 7-47. The definitive biography is in this final issue. As editor of the journal, Reu reviewed an average of about two books a week for forty years, and in every issue he commented on what was going on in the church and world.
Other Resources
Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, IA, has the master file on him: over 600 written out sermons, hundreds of articles, tracts, and miscellaneous writings, and of course a full file of the journal, Kirchliche Zeitschrift, and many thousands of letters.
Back to top
Excerpts from Publications
Reu, J. Michael (1938). How I Tell the Bible Stories to My Sunday School. Revised Edition. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House. 66-67.
Chapter 4

The Soul-Life of the Sunday School Children


The body of the children (eyes, ears, nerves)

The soul-life of the children:

I. The Intellectual Life

A. Sensation (in the wide sense)

1. Sensation (in the narrow sense)

2. Perception

3. Intuition: What it is; How important it is; How the teacher can secure it

a) By showing the objects in nature

b) By visualizing the objects by means of pictures, models and maps

c) By visualizing religious truths by means of comparison with objects of the natural world

d) By visualizing the religious truths by showing them realized in the life of men

B. Conception (in the wide sense)

1. Conception (in the narrow sense)

2. The movements and associations of concepts, and the laws according to which they associate

3. The reproduction of concepts and the laws according to which they are reproduced; memory and its importance for the training of youth; fundamental rule that is to be observed in assigning material to be memorized

4. The phantasy or imagination that forms new pictures of the concepts already in the soul

5. The apperception that interprets new concepts by means of old ones; important didactic rules based upon the fact of apperception

C. Thinking (in the narrow sense)

1. The formation of conceptions

2. The formation of judgments

3. The formation of conclusions

II. The Emotional Life

A. The functions of the emotions and their importance.

B. The various forms of emotions or feelings

1. The intellectual feelings

2. The esthetic feelings

3. The moral feelings

4. The religious feelings

5. The social feelings

6. The feelings caused by consideration of others

Reu, J. Michael (1931). Cathechetics, or Theory and Practice of Religious Instruction. 3rd Edition. Chicago. Wartburg Publishing House. 221.
"The subject of religious instruction by the Church is the child or the pupil, whose instruction and education becomes her object. He must be accurately understood, and the peculiarities of his life must remain under observation if instruction and education are to be a success. The pupil is constituted of body and soul-the former his material, the latter his psychical, constituent. Materialism denies the independence of the soul, explaining psychic phenomena as mere physical, or cerebral, products. The facts of experience, however, as, for instance, the continuity of self-consciousness in face of the incessant organic changes, also in the brain; the unity of consciousness; the impossibility for a movement of material atoms to produce anything but another physical movement; the strife between soul and body and the rule of the latter by the soul,-facts such as these, and Scripture as well, require as postulate behind the motions of the brain an invisible and independent quantity, essentially different not from the brain alone but from all matter whatever, and permeating and determining the whole body. This is the being which we call soul. Accordingly two worlds essentially different from each other are merged in the pupil in wondrous union".

Reu, J. Michael (1917). Thirty Five Years of Luther Research. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House. 91-92.
"It was in his "German Mass" that Luther declared catechetical instruction of the young as a necessary part of an evangelical Divine Service. 'One of the principal parts of a right German order of worship is a plain and good instruction of the youth,' he said. Here he also illustrated in a remarkable manner, in which way children could be brought to a correct understanding of the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer. … [We] must be astonished over the amount of time and work Luther devoted to the young and the uneducated. … He even gathered them in his house in the evening and expounded to them the meaning of these texts in such a plain and simple way that even the weakest ones could grasp the evangelical truth".

Back to top
Recommended Readings
Reu, J. Michael (1931). Cathechetics, or Theory and Practice of Religious Instruction. 3rd Edition. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House. p. vi.
Reu writes of this text, "I can truthfully say that this textbook has grown out of scientific as well as practical study of catechetical problems extending over many years. Especially what is said concerning the various educational agencies and the distribution of material has been tested as to its practicableness either by myself or by some of my former pupils who perform all their catechetical work in English". "By the time it appeared in its third edition in 1931 it was a 658-page manual on the history, theory, and practice of education in the Lutheran church. Reu's "Catechetics" was the first and is still the only work by an American Lutheran author which attempts to survey the whole field of sacred and secular educational theory and practice and then seeks to combine these different perspectives into a systematic, scholarly whole" (Johnston, Christian Education in the thought, p. 93).
Johnston, P. I. "Christian Education in the Thought of Johann Michael Reu."Concordia Theological Quarterly Volume 58: Numbers 2-3. Fort Wayne: Concordia Theological Seminary, April-July 1994. 93-111.
See this journal article for an overview of Reu's philosophical influences and his innovative integration based upon Johnston's extensive research.
Reu, J. Michael (1938). How I Tell the Bible Stories to My Sunday School. Revised Edition. Chicago: Wartburg Publishing House.

Mark Kvale
Mark Kvale, M.Div., Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, IA, serves as pastor in the Blair Lutheran Parish (ELCA) in Blair, Wisconsin.

Robert C. Wiederaenders
Robert C. Wiederaenders (retired) was achivist at Wartburg Seminary, for the American Lutheran Church, and more recently for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. He authored several works on the history of the Lutheran church, including An Historical Guide to Lutheran Church Bodies of North America (1998, Lutheran Historical Conference). He currently lives in Dubuque, Iowa.

 Louise Johnson is now president of Wartburg Seminary.
She is apparently single,
lacking in academic and pastoral qualifications.
That is a win/win for closing the school in a few years.

'via Blog this'

Going Back in Time - Works with the Media and Lutheran Writers

 Look for these authors - Reu, Tappert, Krauth, Schmauk, Henry E. Jacobs,
Gerberding, Lenski, and Gerberding. Older Lutheran church histories
are also worth reading - the scales may fall off one's SynCon eyes.

My wife and I have been going to movies since our first date, 50 years ago, when I took her to a Quad-City cinema. We scan the previews on the Net to look for good movies. We favor ones based on the facts, such as "Hacksaw Ridge." Another factual film was "Florence Foster Jenkins," with Meryl Streep. That film was uncomfortably close to the history of Hershey Chocolate and the LCMS. But that is what I get for reading too much and too often.

Boo hiss - Iowa Synod - but Reu was a genius.
His book on Luther and inerrancy was far ahead of the
mainline Lutherans, both the backstabbing Missouri  and
waffling WELS clergy.

Lately we have watched a lot more on Turner Classic Movies, because few of the new films have any merit. The old movies seem rather dated in various ways, but they radiate high quality, due to the demands upon veteran actors and script-writers. The old system was a gigantic machine for producing excellent films that have lasting appeal. I know much of the bad stuff about Old Hollywood, which is far worse than most people imagine - because I read - but those scandals are small compared to today's.

So we will watch a TCM film that sounds interesting but is new to us, and really enjoy the movie's humor, drama, acting, lighting.

Lutheran books are similar. Today's books are not worth buying. I keep asking my friends, "Why is each new hymnal worse than The Lutheran Hymnal?" The LCA and ALC could not improve on their Service Book and Hymnal either, but I am sure WELS could improve on CW. Hint - edit the hymnal while sober.

Here are some titles that may crop up at book sales, church libraries, on Alibris and Amazon used books. I have obtained carloads of old Lutheran books many times and distributed them.

Gerberding - The Lutheran Pastor. He was highly respected in the LCA tradition, with good insights about being a Lutheran pastor, as compared to copying the non-Lutheran celebrity clergy of the day. Lutherans were copying gimmicks back then, too.

The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church - 3 volumes. The ALC produced some good books until Augsburg merged with Fortress. In fact, Fortress was printing a lot of required reading at Notre Dame theology when I was there. This work is packed with good information, the kind that specialty encyclopedias are good at offering. I gave my set of Mennonite encyclopedias to WLS at Mordor, where they probably still reside, unread, in the unused and lonely library.

Theodore Schmauk is one of my favorites among overlooked authors, but now many  of his books have been reprinted. George Sandt wrote a fascinating biography of this Lutheran leader, a man who fought against the anti-Lutheran trends of his age - instead of enrolling at the hottest fad school to learn the latest in undermining the Means of Grace. The ebook linked is free. I bought a used copy once owned by a faculty member and gave it to Paul Rydecki.  ELDONA has probably not vetted it yet, but the book is worth reading - if only to get out of the mindset of the sun rising and setting on the Synodical Conference.

Henry Eyster Jacobs is probably kosher to read in the Synodical Conference because his communion hymn is found in The Lutheran Hymnal. Need some Lutheran commentaries? His set is linked for free on the Net. His Summary of the Christian Faith is often found at book sales when old pastors die and leave their libraries to the seminary. WELS pastors often left ALC and General Council/Conference classics - not notebooks from Fuller Seminary.

Here is a true story worth noting. A 1987 graduate of WELS' Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary was looking over my library. He said, "Greg, your library is so Lutheran!" I wondered about his shock. "Why is that so strange?" He said, "All our required books at Mequon were Reformed." Yes, Mequon aka Mordor did just what the frauds in the Crypto-Calvinistic era perpetrated. They made Calvinistic books mandatory, supplanting the Lutheran classics. So much the better for laying a foundation of UOJ rationalism and Church Growth. They paid Valleskey to bury them alive.

Old General Council and General Synod books are worth grabbing and keeping. The older ALC books from Augsburg Press are often very good tool. Augsburg printed Lenski and Sasse, after all, giving up both when they got the fever to unite with the worst elements of the LCA.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Latest Report on LCMS-ELS-LCMS Merger Talks.
Amalgamate Before the ELS Fades Entirely!

Informal discussions continue between ELS, LCMS, and WELS

Leaders from the Little Sect on the Prairie (ELS), the Former Stephan Sex Cult (LCMS), and the Wee Legalistic Sect (WELS) met Nov. 29–Dec. 1 to continue the informal discussions that began in 2012. Once again, the discussions were beneficial, both for sharing information and for discussing our shared false doctrine.

One session was spent talking about the amazing opportunities that face confessional Lutherans around the world. The LCMS, for example, will be pursuing fellowship talks with a yuuuuge Lutheran church in Madagascar. WELS is interacting with churches in Vietnam, Liechtenstein, and Ethiopia. All three synods are in contact with different Lutheran groups in Kenya and in India. It was good to compare notes about our various international contacts, because world missions raise a lot of money for us.
Time was spent discussing “cooperation in externals.” This term refers to activities that are carried out jointly with others outside of church fellowship—activities that do not involve the means of grace or give the impression of unity in faith. There was a good amount of agreement on the principles involved here, although participants didn’t discuss current or past applications in depth. We will continue discussions at Fuller Seminary, Trinity Divinity School, Willow Creek, and Packer Stadium.
Also discussed were the roles of men and women in God’s world and in the church. For decades, differences between the LCMS and ELS/WELS have been recognized on this issue, and those differences showed themselves in our discussions. However, it was valuable to hear firsthand what is taught in our various synods, and that large areas of agreement were evident on issues such as the existence of an order of creation and on women’s ordination. Good news - women's ordination is coming soon.
Plans were made to continue another round of informal discussions next year. Though no one imagines that there is an easy or quick path to church fellowship, these meetings have served a useful purpose in learning about each other’s ministries, filling rooms with cigar smoke, and in clarifying our doctrinal positions.
Serving in Christ,
Mirthless Mark Schroeder
One layman responded to this report - 
"Informal Discussions" continued among the three "conservative" "Lutheran" Synods [Meaning: Merger talks continue.]

International relations are amazing. [Meaning: More people for overseas assignments are needed.]

Cooperation continues in "externals". [Meaning: The more we do things together, the sooner we can merge.]

Also discussed were the roles of men and women ... Large areas of agreement were evident on issues such as the existence of an order of creation and on women’s ordination. [Meaning: Creation must have taken more than a week.  Women can be ordained in all synods next year when talks will continue.]
This wheeling and dealing takes a long time, doesn't it?