The Lord be with you,
Matthew C. Harrison begins the preface of this Mercy Essay by Dr. Norman Nagel with the words, “Lutheran theology without mercy renders the confession of the faith a clanging cymbal. Mercy without the mooring of a solid confession, and rooted in the church’s life of worship, quickly loses its Christian character.” In this “Mercy Essay” (first published in Concordia Journal), Dr. Nagel clearly shows how theological faithfulness and mercy went hand in hand both in the Church of the Apostles and in the Church of the first four centuries following the Apostles. He also covers the Middle Ages and the Reformation Age, but not as closely. It is impressive how appointed representatives of mercy were included in the worship life of the congregation. Word and Mercy are not an either-or proposition but a both-and one. So the quote from Harrison I began this review with is spot-on. This essay gives us much to consider as we look to the future and how we represent our Lord Jesus. We have a dual call, both to proclaim the Gospel and to live the Gospel. What God has joined together men should not separate.
The actual text of this essay is 19 pages, but if the footnotes were removed it would be noticeably shorter. There are also four study questions at the end. You can access this article by clicking on the link below. Dr. Nagel is one of the treasures of our church. A short profile of him can be found on the Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, website. You can access it by clicking: Dr. Norman Nagel. You can find other articles by Dr. Nagel on the Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, website by clicking: More Articles.
I certainly recommend this essay to all Christians.