‘Forum Letter’ Annual Subscription

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The premiere monthly journal of Lutheran church life.  Winner of multiple journalism awards.

Filled with hard-hitting commentary and profound insights, Forum Letter is the monthly “shot in the arm” for Lutherans focused on faithfulness and mission impact in the 21st Century.


Our Mission:

The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau (ALPB), established in 1914, is a non-profit organization independent of official church control, linked by faith and confession to the Church it serves. Committed to an understanding of the Lutheran tradition as evangelical and catholic, the ALPB affirms the Church’s scriptural and confessional foundations in order to foster renewal within the Lutheran bodies of North America, Lutheran churches abroad, and the wider ecumenical community. The ALPB holds that all those under Christ who hold fast the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions have a common life, with a distinctive role to play in conveying the Gospel message. In an era in which the Church in North America must address an increasingly post-Christian and secular culture, the ALPB makes the theological, liturgical and devotional resources of our confessional heritage accessible and relevant to all Lutherans as well as to friends in other communions.

Board of Directors

Pr. David H. Benke, President; Pr. W. Stevens Shipman, Vice-President; Hope Wittrock, Secretary;
Pr. John Heidgerd, Treasurer; Pr. Philip Anderas, Dr. Robert Benne, Capt. Raymond J. Brown, USCG, Pr. Timothy Eichler, Pr. Brett Jenkins, Pr. John Hannah, Pr. Ray F. Kibler III, Dr. Michael J. Meese, Pr. Richard E. Mueller, Donna K. Roche, Pr. Paul Sauer, Pr. Travis Scholl, Pr. Matthew Staneck, Pr. Terrence Weber, Pr. Nathan Yoder, Rev. Dr. Samuel D. Zumwalt, Jr.


Chap. Paul R. Sauer, Executive Director; Donna K. Roche, Office Manager; Richard O. Johnson, Forum Letter Editor; Pr. Matthew Borrasso, Forum Letter Associate Editor; Pr. Matthew O. Staneck, Lutheran Forum Editor; Piotr J. Malysz, Lutheran Forum Editor; Joshua Hollmann, Lutheran Forum Associate Editor; David C. Drebes, Lutheran Forum Production Editor; Gracia Grindal, Poetry and Hymn Editor; Rebecca J. Frey, Copy Editor; Martin Christiansen, Publications Editor
Cooper Marotta, Website Manager

Christian Sexuality: Normative and Pastoral Principles

Christian Sexuality: Normative and Pastoral Principles
by Russell E. Saltzman(Editor)


Published jointly by ALPB Books and Kirk House Publishers. Available at www.Amazon.com and at www.kirkhouse.com

List Price: $15.00

Lee Griffin, M.D., Psychiatrist, Theologian

A vital read. This volume constitutes a clarifying light of truth.

Paul L Maier, Professor of History

In support of the overpowering evidence of scripture and two millennia of church tradition.

Walter Sundberg, Professor of Church History, Luther Seminary (From the Back Cover)

An indispensable text for those who feel that the mainline church in America has lost its way in sexual ethics.

Jaynan Clark Egland, President/CEO, WordAlone Network (From the Back Cover)

A faithful presentation of Christ’s boundless love that confronts each of us with real and necessary boundaries.

Book Description

This book is a collection of nine essays mostly by Lutheran scholars and church leaders who, from various perspectives (scriptural, theological, pastoral, socio-scientific), defend the church’s traditional advocacy of an other-sex prerequisite for sexual unions. The essays are revised versions of presentations made at the Conference on Christian Sexuality held in Kansas City in October 2002, sponsored by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau and attended by some 300 Lutheran (ELCA) pastors and lay persons from around the country. Although all the authors have in view the sexuality discussion going on in the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and all but two are members of that denomination, the aim of most of the essays is to provide a broad Christian perspective on sexuality and homosexuality. One of the two non-Lutheran contributors is Robert A. J. Gagnon, associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and author of two influential books on the Bible and homosexual practice. Gagnon provides a 50-page essay entitled “Does the Bible Regard Same-Sex Intercourse as Intrinsically Sinful?” offering the fullest discussion to date of both the relevance of the creation texts for an other-sex prerequisite and the weakness of claims that Paul and the ancient world generally had no concept of exclusive and innate homosexual desire. Gagnon also mounts a cumulative case against the contention recently put forward by Lutheran New Testament scholar Mark Allan Powell, in the book Faithful Conversations edited by James Childs for the ELCA sexuality discussion; namely, the contention that the Bible permits exceptions to a general prohibition of homosexual behavior. Gagnon’s essay can be viewed as a companion piece to his essay in Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views (co-authored with Dan Via). Robert Benne, professor of religion and ethics at Roanoke College and author of Ordinary Saints and other books, provides a 10-page essay on the subject of “The Limits of Tolerance: Homosexuality and the ELCA’s LPD (Liberal Protestant Drift).” Benne advocates a strategy of “gracious tolerance” that nurtures persons in homosexual relationships without blessing homosexual unions or ordaining persons in such unions. In a 20-page essay, James A. Nestingen, professor of church history at Luther Seminary, explores the subject: “Is There a Law? The Lutheran Reformation and Homosexual Practice.” Nestingen examines homosexual practice in light of the law/gospel conversation in which Lutherans must engage. Merton P. Strommen, a research psychologist and specialist in youth and family ministry who has authored a number of books (including The Church and Homosexuality) describes in his 15-page essay the forces at work in our culture to normalize homosexuality, and the impact this is having on youth (“Homosexuality: A Youth Issue”). Russell E. Saltzman, pastor of Ruskin Heights Lutheran Church in Kansas City, commentator, and editor both of this volume and of the Lutheran publication Forum Letter, discusses—as a divorced pastor—the accommodation granted to divorced pastors and why it is not analogous to non-celibate homosexual pastors (“Clergy and Divorce,” 12 pages). In a 14-page essay Amy C. Schifrin, pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church (St. Cloud, Minn.) and former seminary pastor at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, draws on her personal experiences to address the conundrum of ritualizing homoerotic relationships (“Ritualizing Life or Ritualizing Death”). The book also contains essays by: Thomas A. Skrenes, “Some Thoughts from a Pastor Who Serves as a Bishop” (9 pages); Phillip Max Johnson, “The Spiritual Nature and Destiny of the Human Body: A Pastoral Perspective on Human Sexuality” (16 pages); and Father Jay Scott Newman, “Homosexuality in Ecumenical Perspective” (8 pages).

The Pastor’s Page and Other Small Essays

The Pastor’s Page and Other Small Essays

by Russell E. Saltzman


Most churches have newsletters. And most pastors write a regular column in their churches’ newsletters. For those who know Russ Saltzman via his 17 years as editor of Forum Letter from 1991 – 2007‚ it will come as no surprise that writing a monthly “Pastor’s Page” is something he did uncommonly well. This small book contains a collection of newsletter columns that he mostly wrote originally for his parishioners.

Pastor Saltzman’s writing is engaging and often humorous. But these are serious pieces about serious subjects like the Incarnation, the authority of the Bible, suffering, judgment, the Real Presence, the Two Kingdoms, and more. Some are personal reflections on family or congregational life, but most are in fact short theological essays. Pastor Saltzman is writing for people he knows, loves and respects, and he has put a lot of thought into what he says. Reading each of these short essays is rather like having a conversation with a pastor you can trust to be honest with you.

Current Forum Letter editor and parish pastor Richard O. Johnson said about it that “The Pastor’s Page should be a seminary textbook for teaching future pastors how to communicate-and just how to be-with their parishioners.” There is indeed much here for pastors and other Christian teachers from which to learn and to borrow. But this book is also a joy to read just for its own sake.

Paper, 100 pp., $5.00 + postage


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