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Two courageous bishops

Following the example of my seminary advisor, Dr. Ralph W. Quere, I make it a point to re-read The Hammer of God, by confessional Swedish bishop and theologian Bo Giertz every year. The book is a series of three short novels about young pastors and how they manage to screw up- either by not taking God's Law seriously, or (the more subtle danger) making it, rather than Christ, the center of what they preach. Liberalism and Pietism alike are exposed for what they really are, and the reader is clearly shown the alternative- the faith once delivered to the saints: justification (and sanctification!) by grace, for Christ's sake, through faith.

The Hammer of God
has just come out in a new edition in commemoration of the centenniary of Giertz's birth. I cannot recommend this wonderful book highly enough.

A few years ago I attended a conference of confessional Lutherans in Chicago where a young Swedish pastor spoke on the trials and tribulations of a minister who tries to be faithful in the nominally Christian state church of an essentially pagan society. I listened with horror, fascination, and a little shame. I thought I had it bad trying to do the same thing in the ELCA all those years, but compared to what this faithful man went through, that was a twelve-year picnic.

All of this is a long way of getting around to calling your attention to an item in Paul McCain's blog on Kenyan Bishop Walter Obare's brave and principled consecration of the Rev. Arne Olsson to serve as a bishop for those Swedish Lutherans desiring to remain faithful to Christ and His Word.

Would that God would send us more such men as Bp. Obare and the man who from this moment on will bear a burden, with Christ's help, that none of us could conceivably bear on his own in an environment that makes post-Christian and seldom- orthodox America look positively confessional by comparison.

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