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Commemoration of Johann Gerhard, Theologian

Commemoration of Johann Gerhard, Theologian
August 17

The Lord be with you

Johann Gerhard (1582-1637) was a great Lutheran theologian in the tradition of Martin Luther (1483-1546) and Martin Chemnitz (1522-86) and the most influential of the seventeenth-century dogmaticians. His monumental Loci Theologica (twenty-three large volumes) is still considered by many to be a definitive statement of Lutheran orthodoxy. It is currently being translated into English by Concordia Publishing House. (So far, almost twenty volumes have been issued.) Gerhard was born in Quedlinburg, Germany. At the age of fifteen he was stricken with a life-threatening illness. This experience, along with guidance from his pastor, Johann Arndt, marked a turning point in his life. He devoted the rest of his life to theology. He became a professor at the University of Jena and served many years as the superintendent of Heldburg. Gerhard was a man of deep evangelical piety and love for Jesus. He wrote numerous books on exegesis, theology, devotional literature, history, and polemics. His sermons continue to be widely published and read. Gerhard, alone with his co-workers Johann Major and Johann Himmel, were sometimes call the “Trias Johannea” (three Johns), as their work was so well respected and influential.

An excellent, short, summary of his life can be found at: http://www.studiumexcitare.com/content/71. The only question mark I have about this article is the quote “Gerhard is the third (Luther, Chemnitz, Gerhard) in that series of Lutheran theologians in which there is no fourth.” However the great theologian Abraham Calov (1612-1686), commemorated November 9, would, in my opinion, be in the same class as Gerhard, and be considered the “fourth” by most.

Prayer: Most High God, we owe You great thanks that in the sacred mystery of the Supper You feed us with the body and blood of Your Son. May we approach this heavenly meal with true faith, firmly convinced that the body we eat and the one given into death for us and that the blood we drink is the blood shed for our sins; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Other appropriate prayers include:

• For our seminaries
• For pastors
• For the proclamation of the pure Gospel
• For those who write Christian literature

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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