In his classic work, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, C.F.W. Walther pointed out that a newly converted Christian doesn’t live by the motto, “Jesus loves me this I know…and this is all I want to know.” The newly converted Christian now wants to know and understand everything there is to know about God, Jesus, the Scriptures, the plan of salvation, and anything else that God has revealed to us in His Word.
This is nothing other than a repetition of the encouragement of Peter, who wrote, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
Because we ever strive to grow in grace and knowledge, we continually study the Scriptures. In addition, because controversies, questions, scandals, and divisions erupt over what God teaches and says, the Church throughout the ages has written about what God says. The Church has produced theological works — papers, essays, monographs, theses, books, lectures.
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod is no different. Pastors, teachers, and laymen in our church body dive into the Word and write about it. At circuit meetings, pastor and teacher conferences, meetings of districts, and the Synod, a regular part of our gathering is the presentation and discussion of theological papers based on assigned topics. These papers are usually in one of four basic areas:
- Biblical Theology — This includes exegetical or isagogical studies of a selected portion of Scripture. Exegesis focuses on the grammar, vocabulary, syntax, and context of a given portion of Scripture in its original language. For this reason it focuses on a smaller portion of Scripture: a verse, a few verses, a chapter, a couple chapters. Isagogical papers cover larger portions of Scripture, not ignoring the original languages, but looking at the broader sweep of a portion of a book or an entire book.
- Historical Theology — The name says it all. As Solomon writes, “There is nothing new under the sun.” The Church studies her history to see God’s protecting hand, to understand how those who have gone before have testified to the truth, to see how others have perverted it, and to be prepared to deal with old errors in new clothes.
- Systematic Theology — One way to describe this area is “catechism plus.” Systematic theology is the orderly arrangement of Scripture according to topics: God, Jesus, Salvation, the Means of Grace, Sin, End Times, Conversion, Church and Ministry, etc.
- Practical Theology — This area deals with the carrying out of ministry. Practical theology includes preaching, teaching, counseling, how to deal with cases, etc.
On this page will be included some theological works by past and current pastors of St. Mark, along with links to other worthwhile reading.
Pr. Thomas Haar (St. Mark, 1975-1980)
Pr. Robert Hartman (St. Mark, 1966-1970)
Pr. Jerry Kassebaum (St. Mark, 2001-2006)
Pr. Benjamin Tomczak (St. Mark, 2006-present)
- John 6 and the ‘eating’ of Jesus — Does it relate to our preaching and teaching of the Lord’s Supper?
- The Large Catechism: Its Historical Setting and Continuing Significance
- The Distinction Between Fundamental and Non-Fundamental Doctrines [PDF]
- 40 Years in the Bush — A Brief History of John Janosek, Wisconsin Synod Missionary to Zambia and Malawi, 1964-2004
- The Genus Maiestaticum and the Real Presence — Complementary Comforts
- Can We Make a Deal with This Devil? — The Scriptural Doctrine of the Antichrist and its Relation to the Dialogues Between Lutherans and the Roman Catholic Church
- Good Works and Sola Gratia
- Exegesis of Isaiah 65:17-25
- “The Beginning of Knowledge” for Husbands and Wives — Proverbs and the Marriage Relationship
- Formula of Concord, Article I — Original Sin
- Text Study of Luke 9:28-36 [PDF]
- Text Study of Proverbs 9:8-12 [PDF]
- Text Study of John 17:20-26 [PDF]
- Text Study of Matthew 9:9-13 [PDF]
- The Continuing Relevance of the Formula of Concord, Article X: The Controversy over the Historic Episcopate Between the ELCA and the ECUSA
- An Isagogical Overview of Jeremiah
- Evangelism Methods in Acts
- Which Cup is the Right Cup? — A Guided Look at the Distribution of the Blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper
- We are God’s servants — A sermon on 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 for the 2009 LWMS fall rally
- God’s Game Changer — A Sermon for Pastors Conference on Acts 26:9-29 (October 2011)
- He Went Back… — Sermon for DFW Joint Reformation Service (Oct. 2011)
- Revealed, not removed: The Antichrist in Revelation (Summer 2011)
- Review of “A Formula for Parish Practice” by Timothy Wengert (June 2012)
- Review of “Friends of the Law” by Edward Engelbrecht (November 2012)
Pr. Myrl Wagenknecht (St. Mark, 1964, 1970-1971)