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Mercy from the Heart – a review

Mercy from the Heart by Oswald Bayer and translated by Jonathan Mumme is one of the “Mercy Booklet Series” published by Concordia Publishing House and available as a free download at https://files.lcms.org/wl/?id=fTWufWRW0yHyji5CR7ciJlrW9zJYV9Vv

The booklet looks at God as he has revealed himself, that is, a God who is mercy. The question of God’s justice is addressed and Bayer maintains that God, in his mercy, overturns his own justice. So God, in creating everything, is acting in mercy. Of course God, in becoming a man and bearing our sin, is also acting in mercy. God providing for us an eternal home is acting in mercy. While mercy is normal and natural for God, ever since the Fall into sin the same cannot be said for humanity. Therefore we have the ethical admonitions in the Bible to be merciful: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). Our mercy is founded on God’s mercy.

Bayer is a major German Lutheran theologian whose work is only now beginning to be translated into English. This excellent short pamphlet (only eight pages) is actually written with a trained minister in mind. That means some of the words used might slip past those who do not know theology-speak. He also, at times, quotes in the original language. With this in mind, Bayer’s book is a wonderful short look at the foundation of Christian mercy.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor

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