The Spirituality of the Cross
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The Spirituality of the Cross

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  237 ratings  ·  35 reviews
The author uses his own spiritual experience as a backdrop to examine what led him to a relationship with God that was rooted and anchored in the Gospel.
Paperback, 127 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Concordia Publishing House (first published January 1st 1999)
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Luther's Small Catechism, with Explanation by Martin LutherThe Book of Concord by Martin LutherThe Lutheran Study Bible by AnonymousThe Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich BonhoefferThe Spirituality of the Cross by Gene Edward Veith Jr.
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Book Evaluation by Rev. Dan Krueger © May, 2013
The Spirituality of the Cross
by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.

Veith begins by evaluating the methods and pitfalls of three paths to God, or “three kinds of spiritual aspiration” (p. 17) observed by an Adolf Köberle (1898-1990). Wikipedia identifies Köberle as a German theologian best known for his work: “The Quest for Holiness: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Investigation.” The three paths to God identified by Köberle are moralism, speculation,...more
I am Reformed but have met several Lutheran friends over the past few years. I found that most of what I thought I knew about their theology was wrong. This book is a very good introduction to Lutheranism and while I don't necessarily agree with all of Veith's position, this helped me to understand them better. I found the sections on "vocation" to be very helpful to me personally.
This work does more to whet the appetite for Lutheranism than satisfy it, which is also its stated goal.
Good, brief overview of key Lutheran concepts, from a Missouri-Synod Lutheran perspective.
Mar 27, 2009 Lori rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lori by: Cheryl Wichtendahl
Some of it was over my head with language. But a VERY good book about religion esp the Lutheran religion. Very nice insight even I learned from it! If your checking out the Lutheran religion this would be a good read.
Perhaps the best book I've read for understanding Lutheran Theology and Worship. A study guide is available from Rev. Prof. John Pless at the Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. You might not like this book if you go to church to be entertained. You might not like this book if you don't approach God as a beggar, with hat in hand. You won't like this book if Christ and Him crucified for you isn't a major part of your pastor's sermons. If I haven't scared you away by now, do your...more

A book in a similar vein to Peter Gillquist's Becoming Orthodox. While slightly more persuasive, probably because I have more sympathy for Lutheranism than Orthodoxy, it still left me unmoved in my position in considering myself reformed rather than Lutheran.

His initial position was from the godly behaviour that he observed in his first congregation, ergo Lutheran doctrine must be correct. I, also,was a Lutheran for a couple of years and was in the unfortunate position of having to observe Chr...more
Jim B
An excellent, easy to read book that captures Lutheran spirituality -- I felt as though Vieth recreates what it is to be Lutheran in every way he addressed. He gives a good explanation to those Christians who are not Lutheran and writes in a manner that winsome and not polemic. Among topics covered: Justification (sin and grace), the Means of Grace, Theology of the Cross, Vocation, and the Two Kingdoms. Because Vieth is an adult convert to confessional Lutheranism, he writes in a fresh style, wi...more
A great overview of Lutheran teaching in relation to its sole focus on Christ and His work and what God accomplishes for us. I particularly enjoyed the sections on how God works in our everyday life and vocations as well as living in a world that is made up of two parts the secular and spiritual and how as Christians we need to be living in both in our life and service to God and others. Great insights and a clear way of explaining teachings and ideas.
Ending quote: "A spirituality in which God...more
Ricky Beckett
Overall a very good book for a basic understanding of Lutheranism, and I understand that it barely scratches the surface of Lutheranism. However, as a non-denominational Christian, I find a few things rather unsettling. In his conclusion Veith writes, " is impossible to be Lutheran, really, without the church" (pg. 108). Sure, that may be true, but it is also impossible to be CHRISTIAN without the church. It seems to me that throughout his book Lutherans are completely set apart from all ot...more
Craig Toerpe
I read this book as part of our Lay Teacher program at church, and our discussion was always led by a pastor, and I am glad it was done that way. This book is not for the faint of heart. It is not an easy read, even for a life-long Lutheran. There are too many spots in which one could just read over the words, and not find nor tie the meaning behind the words to one's faith. One of the most fascinating discussions would be the on Vocation. As those who have faith, we are called to live out our f...more
Sheryl Tribble
I tend to think of myself as Christian first, Lutheran second, and I found myself regularly grumbling about Veith characterizing something as "Lutheran" that I consider "Christian." He also claims that those in the Calvinist/Reformed tradition believe in double predestination, which I know is not necessarily the case, since most of the Reformed authors I have read don't believe that.

On the whole, I very much enjoyed this book for what it is -- a quick, easy read on the foundations of basic Luth...more
The book's first few chapters were a little hard to get into. But they were necessary in setting the stage for the fourth chapter on Vocation, which is where this book really began to shine. It really helps make it clear that we can still be serving God in all aspects of our lives, whether we are parents, children, siblings, coworkers, employees, church workers, layperson, etc.
Kim Johnson
I picked up this book on a whim while perusing the bookshelves at a chapel in Afghanistan. Written from a Lutheran perspective I found that I had an appreciation for the liturgical church upon completion. The chapter on "Vocation", was especially insightful and gave meaning to the many hats we wear in this life.
Next to the Small Catechism Dr. Veith's book is considered, for good reason, one of the most important expositions of orthodox Christian spirituality and overviews of confessional Lutheranism. It is valued for its brevity, clarity, and honesty in accomplishing its goal.

If you are curious what the true doctrine of the Church is as conceived by Christ and given over to the first apostles, are looking for a primer on Lutheranism, and/or just want a refresher in what the Christian is called to belie...more
Good read. Interesting and complete answers to questions I didn't know I had.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Veith knows Lutheranism and I found this particularly invigorating because he hasn't been a Lutheran all his life. He's studied it and found depth and meaning in it. Some of his wording is quite theological and as your average lay person may not know some of these words I think you can still gain so much perspective from his book. If you want to know what a true Lutheran is, read this book. Even as a life long Lutheran I learned so much that I didn't know about wh...more
Jeremiah Gumm
Mar 31, 2011 Jeremiah Gumm rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone interested in a Christianity that has substance
Absolutely excellent book that lays out the core teachings of confessional Lutheranism in clear English style that can be easily grasped by layperson and clergy alike. I enjoyed this edition far more than the last edition. The revised edition is worth the cost simply for the expanded discussion of vocation and the theology of the cross. We need more writing like this in our post-modern age as we express ancient Biblical truth to a new generation.
Luke Brown
This is a brief, outstanding introduction to conservative Christianity along with some of the great paradigms of Lutheranism. If everyone could see the world through these paradigms such as vocation and the two Kingdoms and Law and Gospel, things would go so much smoother and there would be less misunderstanding. This is the first version of the book. There has since been a revised edition and I would expect it would be at least as good.
Tamara Blickhan
6/27/13 finished book - have so much to say about it and will come back to do so. I highlighted a bunch of quotes I'll put in this review later. For now: GET THE BOOK and read it if you are a Christian. You'll love it! If you're not a Christian, still read it - it helps make sense of the stupidity of what tv evangelists say Christianity is (is is not Christianity) and what true Christianity is according to the Bible.
Ben Copeland
Another good introduction to Lutheranism. Veith writes in a way that is accessible to postmoderns, and those who are unfamiliar with confessional Christianity. However, those who are familiar with orthodox Christianity will still benefit from Veith's explanation of what Lutheranism has to offer.

The chapters on the sacraments and vocation are worth the price of admission.
David Williams
Great book! I hope to start reading it annually for a few years. Definitely a recommendation for new Lutherans.
This book is worth it for the updated/revised section on Vocation alone. Outstanding. It's not just for Lutherans, though. I wish Lutherans didn't always tag everything like this, it excludes a lot of other Christians who would greatly benefit from this book but may not approach it now because of the "Lutheran" title.
Rj Grunewald
It's basically a book about following Jesus and some of the core teachings of the Lutheran Church. I think it did a good job of explaining some of the things well. It was not amazing by any stretch, but a good book.
This book would appeal mostly to Lutherans or anyone seeking traditional Christian beliefs and practice. It is well-written and cuts to the bone quickly. Every paragraph has a high-lightable comment.
Greg Reed
Very easy to read introduction to Lutheran spirituality. Though it was easy to read, there was quite a bit I learned. I plan to reread it again, and study the concepts brought out in the book more in depth.
Scott Gercken
Somehow I managed to grow up as a Lutheran without understanding vocation. I read this book in college (hardly able to put it down) and it was the exact catechesis I needed at the time.
Dec 27, 2010 Michelle marked it as to-read
Rec. by Ann Voskamp for Lent. exploring the theology of Martin Luther and the doctrine of the"first evangelicals
Fraser Coltman
Veith offers a succinct and understandable summary of the Lutheran faith. It's really a beautiful little book.
A fresh look at Evangelical and in particular Lutheran theology and spirituality. Very easy to read.
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Gene Edward Veith Jr., is the Culture Editor of WORLD MAGAZINE. He was formerly Professor of English at Concordia University Wisconsin, where he has also served as Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. He is the author of numerous books, including Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture, The Spirituality of the Cross: The Way of the First Evangelicals, and God...more
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