From the German

The following articles have been translated from German original sources. Full details about the source and a preface to each translation is usually included with the translation. Just click a title to read more.

Jesus, Good and Faithful Shepherd

by Sigmund von Birken
translated by Aaron Jensen

Sigmund von Birken (1626-1681) was a famous German poet. He wrote many hymns, only a few of which are still used today including “Jesus, I Will Ponder Now” (CW 98) and “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus” (CW 452). This hymn, set to the melody “Jesu, Meines Lebens Leben” (CW 114), is a confident prayer to Christ our Good Shepherd.

The Sacraments

by Balthasar Mentzer
translated by David Strucely

This is an excerpt from Mentzer’s Herrliches Catolisches Haendbuchlein. The following chapters, chapters sixteen and seventeen, concern the two Sacraments.

Sermon Outlines for the Festival of Ascension

by Adolf Hoenecke
translated by Benjamin Foxen

Homiletical helps from Adolf Hoenecke.

Sermon for the Festival of Ascension

by Adolf Hoenecke
translated by Benjamin Reichel

Ben, currently completing his first year at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, translated this sermon in connection with the American German Lutheran Writers elective in 2009. This translation was also selected as the scholarship-winning translation for that year. It is published for the first time now so as to appear in an issue close to the Festival of the Ascension, on which occassion Hoenecke first preached it.

Sermon for Good Shepherd Sunday

by Johannes Brenz
translated by Andrew Hussman

This sermon on the Good Shepherd, taken from Ernst Bizer’s Predigten des Johannes Brenz, was delivered by Johannes Brenz on the second Sunday after Easter in 1539. Brenz explains what Christ means by calling himself the Good Shepherd, who the thieves are, and how we are like sheep. He also uses the example of a shepherd to provide some valuable applications for those who hold positions of responsibility at home, in the church, and in the secular world.

Sermon for Easter Monday

by Adolf Hoenecke
translated by Andrew Ewings and Aaron Voss

This translation was completed in connection with the 2010 American German Lutheran Writers elective. In it Hoenecke discusses the amazing contrast between how that first Easter day began and ended for the Emmaus disciples.

Gold Nugget No. 4: Sermon for Good Shepherd Sunday

by C.F.W. Walter
translated by Aaron Jensen

The final sermon contained in the Gold Nugget collection was first preached by Walther in 1850 on Good Shepherd Sunday (historically called Misericordias Domini). Walther here applies Jesus' words about himself as the Good Shepherd as the model which all who shepherd his flock should follow and the standard by which they should be judged.

Gold Nugget No. 3: Confirmation Address

by C.F.W. Walter
translated by Aaron Jensen

Walther gave this confirmation address in 1844. In it he reminds both those confirmands and all of us how we must remain faithful until the end.

Now Everything Is Good And Sweet

by Laurentius Laurenti
translated by Aaron Jensen

Laurentius Laurienti (1660-1722) was the cantor at the Lutheran cathedral in Bremen. He authored many hymns based on the Gospels, including “Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers” (CW7). This Lenten song is sung to the melody “Ich Hab’ Mein Sach’, Gott Heimgestellt.” This translation is a conflation of the many variations of this hymn to be found in different German hymnals.

The Fear of God’s Word

by Franz Pieper
translated by Andrew Hussman

Franz Pieper expounds on the meaning of “fearing God’s Word” in the sense of revering it and treating it as holy and as God wants us to treat it. He warns against trying to rationalize God’s Word, as the Zwinglians in Luther’s time did and even Lutherans in Pieper’s day were doing. True Christian unity only exists when there is agreement in doctrine and practice. This article is the Forward to volume 35 of Lehre und Wehre¸ January and February 1889, pp. 1-6, 33-37.

Third Sermon on the Passion

by Johannes Brenz
translated by Timothy Rosenow

In this set of three sermons from 1564, Johannes Brenz expounds upon a harmony of the passion history. Each of the translations was completed by different individuals who are all at various locations and stages of their training for the full-time Gospel ministry. The first sermon was translated by Aaron Voss, currently a senior at Martin Luther College, the second by Jacob Haag, currently studying in Leipzig, Germany at the seminary of our sister-synod, the Evangelisch-Lutherische FreiKirche (ELFK), and the third by Tim Rosenow, a first-year student at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon. Skills cultivated in the confessional languages prove valuable to pastoral students at every point of their education and remain a blessing into their ministry. May these words of Brenz be as valuable to their readers this Lenten season as they have been to their translators.

Gold Nugget No. 6: Synodical Sermon

by C.F.W. Walther
translated by Aaron Jensen

Walther preached this sermon at the opening service of the convention of the Central and Eastern Districts of the Missouri Synod in 1867. In it he reminds us what the spirit of the Church really is.

Winter Hymn

by Joachim Neander
translated by Aaron Jensen

Joachim Neander (1650-1680) was a Reformed teacher and hymnist. He enjoyed wandering through the countryside near Duesseldorf, where he served as principal. Eventually in his honor this area was named Neanderthal, which means “Neander Valley,” and so indirectly he lent his name to the fossil found there in 1856. The most popular of his hymns is “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (CW234). This winter hymn, set to the melody “Gott Sei Dank Durch All Welt” (CW226), is also still sung today by the Amish to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

Philippians Hymn

by Johannes Olearius
translated by Aaron Jensen

This hymn, based upon Philippians 2:5-11, is set to the melody “O Gott, Du Frommer Gott” (CW 459).

Chapter 24: All’s Well That Ends Well

by Carl Manthey-Zorn
translated by Aaron Jensen

This is one of three translations of the final three chapters from Carl Manthey-Zorn's memoirs of his time as a missionary in India entitled, "This and That from the Life of a Missionary to East India." For more information on Zorn, please see his biography, also published in this issue.

Chapter 23: Preaching to the Heathens in Kudumiamalei

by Carl Manthey-Zorn
translated by Aaron Jensen

This is one of three translations of the final three chapters from Carl Manthey-Zorn's memoirs of his time as a missionary in India entitled, "This and That from the Life of a Missionary to East India." For more information on Zorn, please see his biography, also published in this issue.

Chapter 22: Four Days of Preaching to the Heathens in the Land of Pudukottai

by Carl Manthey-Zorn
translated by Aaron Jensen

The following three pieces are the final three chapters from Carl Manthey-Zorn's memoirs of his time as a missionary in India entitled, "This and That from the Life of a Missionary to East India." For more information on Zorn, please see his biography, also published in this issue.

Gold Nugget No. 5: Mission Festival Sermon

by C.F.W. Walther
translated by Aaron Jensen

Walther preached this sermon at a mission festival held in Sheboygan, WI in June, 1864. In it he shows us the significance of the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer.

Gold Nugget No. 2: Sermon on the 4th Sunday after Epiphany

by C.F.W. Walther
translated by Aaron Jensen

This sermon was written for the fourth Sunday after Epiphany, 1855. It is published here with a disclaimer. Walther interprets Jesus’ getting to a boat and sailing as signifying the Church of Christ travelling to a new place. We cannot approve of such allegorical hermeneutics. When Matthew said that Jesus got into a boat, he meant that Jesus got into a boat. Walther draws things from these passages which they do not contain. Nevertheless they are the pious thoughts of a faithful and gifted theologian and because they offer valuable insight into the history of the continually migrating Church they are a beneficial read. Of special interest may be some of his comments towards the end of the sermon, warning would happen even to his beloved St. Louis if they would not preserve the Gospel faithfully.

Your Mediator Comes

by Johann Jacob Rambach
translated by Aaron Jensen

Johann Jacob Rambach (1693-1735) was a professor of theology at both Halle and Giessen. Although he was to some degree caught up in both the pietist and rationalist movements, he did leave the Lutheran church many wonderful hymns, including "Baptized into Your Name Most Holy" (CW294) and "My Maker, Be with Me" (CW598). This joyful Christmas hymn is sung to the melody "Wie Wohl Ist Mir, O Freund Der Seelen."

Gold Nugget No. 1: Sermon for Christmas Day

by C.F.W. Walther
translated by Aaron Jensen

In this sermon, preached by Walther on Christmas Day, 1872, he encourages his hearers to persist in their childlike faith.

The Closer to Luther the Better the Theologian

by August Pieper
translated by Andrew Hussman

This essay written by August Pieper, entitled Quo propior Luthero, eo melior theologus, appeared in volume 14 of Theologische Quartalschrift in 1917, in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the 95 Theses and the Reformation. While holding true to the doctrine of sola Scriptura, Pieper distinguishes Martin Luther from great men of other eras by highlighting his simple, child-like faith and trust in God and the Word. He discusses why it is essential for both church leaders and laypeople to continue to study Luther and provides several different approaches to studying Luther effectively.

I Know My Name in Heav’n Is Written

by Salomon Franck
translated by Aaron Jensen

Salomon Franck (1659-1725) was a lawyer who was most famous for his poetry. Many of his poems were set to music by Johann Sebastian Bach. Among his many works are “I Leave All Things to God’s Direction” (CW414) and “O God, Forsake Me Not” (CW424). This hymn, which meditates on the joy that from eternity God has by grace and in Christ elected his own for heaven, is set to the melody “Wer Nur Den Lieben Gott” (CW444).

Stewardship Sermon

by Adolf Hoenecke
translated by Evan Chartrand, Benjamin Ehlers, and Benjamin Reichel

Hoenecke preached this sermon in 1890 on the eleventh Sunday after Trinity. It was translated as part of the American German Lutheran Writings Class in 2009.

Gold Nugget No. 8: Second Sermon on the Festival of Reformation

by C.F.W. Walther
translated by Aaron Jensen

In this Reformation sermon, first preached in 1856, Walther celebrates the great freedoms which the Gospel brings.