Wednesday, November 30, 2022

499 years ago tomorrow

 ... on December 1, 1523, this historical and pivotal sermon series began. It evidently ran right up through Christmas Eve.

2023 would be a great time to have a Bible study on 1John, with Oecolampadius' sermon series to guide you. 

Here is a playlist of 17 videos consisting of a 30-min Introduction and sixteen short summaries by Oecolampadius' leading biographer, Ernst Staehelin (a contemporary colleague of Karl Barth); the summaries are newly translated and read as introductions to Bible Study sessions.

Meanwhile, as further evidence of just how groundbreaking this series was, check out this link; notice whose name appears first and notice the categories:

Tradition = Reformed and Genre = Sermon / Sort = Date (Oldest)

The title in question is the third on the list. The first is Oecolampadius' translation of a patristic sermon, the second is a collection of three sermons from 1521, which merit translation, but do not quite represent the full breakthrough to the Reformation, as they were produced while he was still in the monastery.

For the hardcover version of the Sermons on the First Epistle of John, and also for additional translations of related material, ... these Works of Oecolampadius are appearing at Barnes & Noble.

First Year in Basel

This latest volume in the series, The First Year in Basel, fills the gap between Sown on Rock: The Sermon on the Vernacular and the Correspondence with Hedio, and the Sermons on the First Epistle of John (A Handbook for the Christian Life).



[Links to images lead to paperbacks. Links in the paragraph above lead to hardcover options.]

Thursday, October 6, 2022

The "Mere Christianity" of its day

 


  
Cloth w/ DJ                                      Kindle                                      Paperback

Next year (2023) is the 500th anniversary of this popular and pivotal sermon series, first preached in Advent in 1523. 

Looking at the history of preaching, especially through the work of the late Hughes Oliphant Old, it is hard to overstate the importance of series of 21 sermons on the First Epistle of John. Casting about for a literary comparisons, allowing for differences in genre, technology, and context, and measured in terms of influence, the best comparison that springs to mind is C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. Both are challenging, but still accessible to the persevering lay reader. In hindsight, it really was momentous, a major milestone in the Swiss Reformation.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

"What does the fire chief say?"

 


  
Cloth w/ DJ                                      Kindle                                      Paperback

Next year (2023) is the 500th anniversary of this immensely popular and important sermon series, first preached in Advent in 1523. 

Reading the opening of Sermon Ten, it is hard not to think of Kierkegaard's short piece from the Attack on Christendom, entitled, "What does the fire chief say?" 

There are times when one needs to preach like the fire chief at the scene of a conflagration, and even times when the beloved apostle had to write in this urgent tone. Half a millennium since this sermon was preached, but it could have been, and perhaps it was, written for just such a time as this.


Tuesday, October 4, 2022

The "purest Gospel"

 



  
Cloth w/ DJ                                      Kindle                                      Paperback

Next year (2023) is the 500th anniversary of this immensely popular and important sermon series, first preached in Advent in 1523. 

Once the Reformation in Germany had taken hold under Luther, based in particular on his re-discovery of the theology of Paul (Romans and Galatians), further south in Basel, Switzerland, Oecolampadius' serial exposition of 1John likewise tackled, among other things, the doctrine of justification by faith, and strongly confirmed it, while at the same time affirming the fact that good works testify to the genuineness of a living faith and offer us reassurance that we truly have the Word of God abiding in us.

In Sermon One of this series, which was enthusiastically received by the Wittenberg theologians, when Oecolampadius introduces the human author John as the author of the Gospel and the Epistle, he refers to the latter, this epistle as, "itself the purest gospel." This is super-essential material, the stuff of confirmation, a short course in Christian basics, and here it is, finally translated into English for the first time as of 2017, for just such a time as this. 

Why not soak in this sermon series with your congregation in its 500th year, the series that reconnected preaching to the patristic tradition of lectio continua expository preaching, after 1000 years of drift? [Let me know if you want to buy in bulk for your Sunday school, adult Bible study, pastor's reading group, confirmation, or new member's classes, and we can work something out.]

Monday, October 3, 2022

Jesus trusted his mom to this guy

 

  
Cloth w/ DJ                                      Kindle                                      Paperback

Next year (2023) is the 500th anniversary of this popular sermon series, first preached in Advent in 1523. 

Throughout the series, and indeed throughout his correspondence, Oecolampadius continually refers to the Holy Spirit as "the anointing" (1John 2:27) to invoke the divine authority that lies behind the inspiration of Scripture. But here, in Sermon One, as he introduces the human author of 1John, he takes the traditional line that the author of the Gospel and the Epistle(s) are one and the same: John son of Zebedee and brother of James. And though he banks far more on divine inspiration, he says of the human author, in essence, "Look, if Jesus trusted this guy with his mom, you can trust him, too!" (my paraphrase). Who can argue with that?

Is it budget season? Is it time to develop your 2023 preaching plan? Why not read this sermon series in its 500th year, the series that virtually re-calibrated preaching after 1000 years of drift? [Let me know if you want to buy in bulk for your Sunday school, adult Bible study, pastor's reading group, confirmation, or new member's classes, and we can work out a discount window.]

Friday, September 30, 2022

Plan now for your all-congregation Bible study of 1John guided by the sermons of Oecolampadius


  
Cloth w/ DJ                                      Kindle                                      Paperback

Next year is the 500th anniversary of this important and popular sermon series on 1John. These twenty-one sermons by Oecolampadius were preached every evening during Advent in December 1523 (leaving out Sundays). Though it was a weekday (evening) series, the lectio continua style of straightforward, comprehensive Bible teaching (1) represented an historic reclamation of patristic expository preaching, and (2) set the standard that would be implemented by ordinance in all the pulpits of Basel some five years after these sermons were published. Though Oecolampadius was gone by the time Calvin arrived in Basel, every church in town was ringing with the form of preaching offered here. There can be no doubt that Calvin will have had a copy of the series, which sold through several editions in multiple languages very quickly. Surely for this reason, among others, Oecolampadius can be called, and indeed he has been called, Calvin's "spiritual father." 

Not only are the sermons lively, accessible, and illuminating, Oecolampadius' selected book of the Bible, The First Epistle of John, proves a perfect focal point for this Advent series, for a fresh approach to the then-current debates over the doctrine of justification, and as he himself says, the book is a veritable "Handbook for the Christian Life." 

Whether as an adult Bible study, or a resource for new members or even confirmation, a Bible study guided by this sermon series would, with little effort on the part of any facilitator, feed and edify a congregation for half a year. So why not read these Sermons on the First Epistle of John in its 500th anniversary year (1523/2023)? Why not challenge your whole congregation, any neighboring congregations, and churches in your presbytery, synod, classis, or annual conference, to read and discuss this rich, foundational text with you?

Kindle available at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Sermons-First-Epistle-John-Christian-ebook/dp/B075WRG9CV/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1664564991&sr=1-1

Paperback available at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Sermons-First-Epistle-John-Christian/dp/197589202X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1664564991&sr=1-1

Hardcover available at Barnes & Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sermons-on-the-first-epistle-of-john-johannes-oecolampadius/1128121419?ean=9781668519998