Pastor’s Book Club

Chapter 9 (Nov 4)

Chapter 9

Chapters 6 & 7 (Oct 21)

Chapter 6-7

Chapter 5 (for Oct 14)

Chapter 5

Chapter 4 (for Oct 7)

  1. Define “theology of glory.” How is this theology made manifest in contemporary religious

thinking? Read John 16:33. How does Jesus correct this false theology? See also Matthew

5:10–12; Matthew 16:24; Mark 13:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:6.







  1. Have you ever known anyone like Betty (94–95)? How is Betty an example of a Christian

serving faithfully in her vocation?







  1. How do the Scriptures teach us to pray in our distress and affliction? See Psalm 77:7–9;

Psalm 79:5; Psalm 88:14.







  1. What kind of help does God promise in times of temptation? See Psalm 50:15; Matthew

7:7–8; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 4:15–16.







  1. In a sermon at the site of a church destroyed by a bomb in World War II, a famous German

preacher proclaimed that “he who has the victory of the last hour can endure the next few

minutes.” How does the “victory of the last hour” set our present sufferings in perspective?

See Romans 8:18, 28; 1 Peter 1:4; 1 Peter 2:9–12.




  1. What is the distinction between God’s “alien work” and His “proper work” (98–99)?









  1. Read Luther’s explanation of John 15:1–2 (99–101). How does Luther see God at work in

the crosses that He sends us?







  1. How do these crosses become occasions for Christian love to the neighbor? See Matthew

25:34–40 and 1 Corinthians 12:25–27.





  1. Pastor Preus writes: “The cross of suffering has become a sign for all Christians, a sign of

salvation, hope, and everlasting life” (104). How is it that the instrument of execution is now

the sign of victory? See Hebrews 12:2.

Questions for Sept 23 (p. 77-88)

Chapter 3

 1. In the Christian faith, being comes before doing. Our vocation, or calling, is simply to be

children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. In Him we are holy and righteous. Good

works flow from faith, and all that is apart from faith is sin. How does Paul make this point

in Romans 14:23b?


2. Martin Luther once remarked, “We are daily bread to one another.” In other words, God

uses us in our various vocations to serve the needs of the neighbor. In doing this, we are

serving God. Pastor Preus writes: “When we love our neighbor, we love Jesus. When we

serve our neighbor, we serve Jesus” (78). How does this insight shape the way that we look

at the ordinary tasks of daily life?

3. How does the Formula of Concord describe the vibrancy of faith (81)?

4. Read John 15:5. What does Jesus tell us about the relationship of faith and good works in

this text? See also Philippians 4:13; Hebrews 11:6; James 2:18–19.

5. Read Romans 6:1–4, 11–14. What does it mean to “die to sin”?

6. Pastor Preus states: “Christians are always sinners and saints at the same time. We do not

stop being sinful when we become Christians. The more we understand the Law, the more

we realize we cannot live up to its demands for perfection. We need a Savior no less today

than the day on which we were baptized” (84). Read Romans 7:21–24. How does Paul

describe the lifelong battle with sin in the believer?

7. Where do we find strength for this conflict? See Romans 8:1. Note Pastor Preus’s comment

on this text: “Love is born not out of condemnation but out of forgiveness, not out of terror

but out of faith, not out of despair but out of hope. Only the message of forgiveness in Jesus

creates faith, hope, and true love” (88).

Why I Am a Lutheran: Jesus at the Center


Pastor’s Book Club is an opportunity to ready theological books and discuss them with pastor. Pastor’s Book Club meets on Tuesday’s from 6:00 to 7:15 beginning Sept 9th. Our current book is Why I Am a Lutheran: Jesus at the Center by Daniel Preus. This book extols the virtues of a clear Christ-centered confession and how the Gospel is the comfort for those living every day in a world fallen in sin.

If you would like us to include your copy of the book with our order, email by September 2nd.

Nov 12 (p.195-213)

1. What are your first impressions of Pastor Torvik (195-197)?

2. What was Pastor Torvik’s perception of the spiritual condition of his new parish (198-202)?

3. What had happened to the old rector? In what condition did he leave the parish (197-199)?

4. How does Torvik react to the dismal circumstances of his new congregation (202-203)?

5. Why did the parishioners not trust Pastor Torvik (203-204)?

6. What leads Pastor Torvik to conclude that his ministry is a failure (203-207)?

7. Pastor Torvik is called upon to take the Lord’s Supper to a shut-in known as Mother Hanna. What did Pastor Torvik discover about this talkative woman? How did his visit with this woman end(208-211)?

8. After the disappointing episode with Mother Hanna, what did Pastor Torvik resolve to do (212-213)?


Hammer of God: Nov 5

Hammer of God pages 155-192

1. What had happened to Conrad? Why had he allowed himself to be re-baptized? How did Conrad’s letter provoke a spiritual crisis for Fridfeldt (155-163)?

2. What does Fridfeldt find when he comes to minister to Frans? Why is Lena disturbed by Frans? How did Fridfeldt see himself in this dying man (163-167)?

3. How does the crying baby remind Fridfeldt of the scope and power of original sin (168-169)?

4. Fridfeldt must leave the dying man to return to the church for the Divine Service on Transfiguration Day? How does the Transfiguration Day Gospel (Matthew 17:1-8)[1] change Fridfeldt (170-175)?

5. What was the liturgy doing to Fridfeldt? How does Fridfeldt unwittingly defend the liturgy (171)?

6. Why was the housekeeper, Mrs. Holleman, critical of Fridfeldt’s sermon (177)?

7. How does Fridfeldt come to see infant baptism as a gift of the Gospel (182-188)? Compare Fridfelt’s clarity on baptism with The Small Catechism.

8. What is Christian freedom? How would you defend your answer biblically (see Galatians 5:1-13[2]; 1 Peter 2:16[3]). How do the words of the Rector help Fridfelt to appreciate the freedom we have in Christ (190-192)?


[1] Matthew 17: 1-8:  1Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;2and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.3And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him 4Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” 8When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

[2]  Galatians 5: 1-13:  1Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. 7You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is. 11And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off! 13For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

 [3] 1st Peter: 2: 15-16: 15For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—16as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.

Fire and the Staff Reading Guide

Apr 16 7 213-241 p. 241 all questions
Apr 23 8 243-258 p. 275 / S1-3 / D1
Apr 30 8 258-275 p. 275 / S4-11 / D2-3
May 14 9 277-295 p. 311 / S1-4 / D1-2
May 21 9 296-311 p. 311 / S5-6 / D3-5
May 28 10 313-335 p. 357 / S1-4 / D1
Jun 4 10 335-357 p. 357 / S5-7 / D2
Jun 11 11 359-379 p. 395 / S1-4 / D1-2
Jun 18 11 379-395 p. 395 / S5-8 / D3
Jun 25 12 397-417 p. 433 / S1-3 / D1
Jul 2 12 417-433 p. 433 / S4-6 / D2-3
On your own Conclusion 435-443  

Smalcald Articles

In the little bit of time before Christmas break, for Pastor’s Book Club we’re reading from Luther’s writings in the Smalcald Articles. Here are the readings with discussion questions and background information.

Part 1

Part 2