Confronting death—as God’s judgment on sin and as God’s doorway to eternal life—and struggling as a “Christian Knight” against the devil, the world, and human desires: these two topics gave Johann Spangenberg, a close friend and devoted adherent of Martin Luther, the basis for one of the most popular pieces of devotional literature in the early years of the German Reformation.
Readers encounter in this pamphlet, published in the early 1540s, an instrument designed to cultivate the piety of the Wittenberg Reformation among the common people, a piety that prepared for death (and thus for daily life!) through daily repentance, casting away sin, casting oneself upon Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection, and then sharing his love with the neighbor.
Using a wealth of biblical illustrations and ideas, Spangenberg’s brief treatise was teaching his readers how to use Scripture and how to live enlivened by its message.
Robert A. Kolb, S.T.M., Ph.D., Litt.D., Litt.D.
Mission Professor of Systematic Theology, Director of the Institute for Mission Studies
Concordia College, St. Paul, Minnesota (A.A. 1961); Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Indiana (B.A. 1963); Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri (M.Div. 1967, S.T.M. 1968); University of Wisconsin, Madison,Wisconsin (M.A. 1969, Ph.D. 1973); Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana (Litt.D. 2000); Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota (Litt.D. 2005); executive director, Center for Reformation Research, St. Louis, Missouri (1972-77); guest instructor, Concordia Seminary (1972-78, 1982-85); assistant to the pastor, St. Matthew, Brussels, Illinois (1974-77); assistant professor, Concordia College, St. Paul, Minnesota (1977-81); associate professor (1981-86); professor (1986-93); guest instructor, Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota (1984-85, 1988, 1992-93); Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana (1987); Lutherische Theologische Hochschule, Oberursel, Germany, since 1996; mission professor of systematic theology and director of the Institute for Mission Studies, Concordia Seminary, since 1993.