A new book from Concordia Publishing House explores the topic of natural law through 15 essays written by American and German theologians representing five different Lutheran church bodies: The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the North American Lutheran Church and Germany’s Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church.
In Natural Law: A Lutheran Reappraisal, the authors consider whether human beings share a common morality within the context of historic Lutheran teaching and practice.
“It’s a timely, reflective book on an almost-forgotten topic that provides a way to look forward to the pressing moral issues of our time, including embryonic stem cell research, same-sex marriage and abortion,” said Rev. Robert Baker, CPH senior editor of adult Bible studies and general editor of the book.
He notes that he has received a number of requests from periodicals and journals for review copies of the book, including Christianity Today, The Westminster Theological Journal, Lutheran Quarterly and Lutheran Synod Quarterly, as well as from institutions such as Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary, The Catholic University of America, Boston College, Trinity International University, New Orleans Baptist University and Dallas Theological Seminary.
“This book, due to be released Jan. 7, is generating a lot of interest, even before it’s available,” Baker noted.
In his essay titled “A Lutheran Affirmation of Natural Law,” Dr. Carl E. Braaten of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), writes, “The [natural] law must be the same for all human beings and at all times, so that if murder is morally wrong in America, it is equally so in Asia and Africa. If torture is to be condemned as evil in Jerusalem, it must be equally so in London and Tehran. The United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights formulates rules with respect to freedom and equality that are binding on all nations and peoples, not because of any majority vote, but because of an inherent correspondence between reason and nature. That is what is meant by saying that the Law is “written on the hearts” (Romans 2:25) of all human beings.”
Other essay titles include:
- “Natural Law and the Lutheran Confessions,”
- “Natural Law and the Orders of Creation,”
- “Natural Law and the ELCA,”
- “The Natural Law of the Family” and
- “According to Nature, Adiaphora and Ordination.”
Also included are 75 study questions (five for each essay) that explore the material presented and lead the reader to study Bible passages and quotes from Luther’s Small Catechism on the topic.
To order the 320-page book (cost $24.99, item no. 124381WEB), visit www.cph.org or call 800-325-3040. Price quoted does not include shipping.
Posted Dec. 15, 2010