Selected Writings of C. F. W. Walther, edited by Aug. R. Suelflow (Concordia Publishing House, 192 pp. each, $69.95 for the series: Law and Gospel, tr. Herbert J. A. Bouman; Selected Sermons, tr. Henry J. Eggold; Convention Essays, tr. Aug R. Suelflow, Walther on the Church, tr. John M. Drickamer; Selected Letters, tr. Roy A. Suelflow; Editorials from’ “Lehre und Wehre,” tr. Herbert J. A. Bouman), is reviewed by Mark A. Noll, visiting professor of history, Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther (1811–1887) is one of the great figures of American church history. An immigrant from Saxony who arrived in the United States in 1839, Walther eight years later became the founding president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. For most of his adult life he edited a popular magazine, Der Lutheraner, and a scholarly journal, Lehre und Wehre (Doctrine and Defense), which promoted Lutheran confessionalism and warm piety in equal measure. He was president of Concordia Seminary (St. Louis) for 37 years, a dynamic preacher, a faithful pastor, a learned professor, a diligent scholar, and a prolific author. His views on the church (which favored a Congregationalism adapted to the free air of America) and on salvation (which advocated such a high view of grace as to be called “crypto-Calvinistic”) shaped the Missouri Synod during the years in which it emerged as a mighty American denomination. Yet no one beyond the Lutherans, and not even many of them, pay much attention to Walther today. One reason for this regrettable neglect is that all his writing was in German.

Now Concordia Publishing House has released a substantial sample of Walther’s works in translation. No longer do evangelicals have any excuse to overlook this forceful teacher, whose work cries out for comparison with his better-known contemporaries. Walther’s sermons and letters reveal a Christian zeal as fervent as Moody’s. His editorials and convention essays rank him with Charles Hodge as a defender of the Trinitarian orthodoxy of the Reformation. His essays on the church speak as boldly for Lutheranism as C. I. Scofield did for dispensationalism. And his masterpiece, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel (here presented in a competent abridgment), is one of the few truly significant works of evangelical theology produced in the United States. This series makes available some works from a mighty man of God. Our only regret can be that it has taken so long for them to appear in English.

Like It Was: The Diaries of Malcolm Muggeridge (Wm. Morrow, 542 pp., $18.00) is reviewed by Lloyd Billingsley, a writer living in Poway, California.

It would not work with any other author. The life of Malcolm Muggeridge has been recycled numerous times through the years, with each attempt producing another deep mine of raging truth. In these diaries, which cover the period from 1932 to 1962, Muggeridge shows himself incapable of writing badly. The familiar themes are all here, but all is fresh, alive, and wonderfully worth reading.

The same disillusionment with the Soviet workers kingdom found in works such as Winter in Moscow fairly shouts from these pages. Visiting Lenin’s tomb, he writes, “I had a queer conviction that one day an enraged mob would tear him from his place and trample him under foot.”

Following Muggeridge through his journalistic years in India, England, and America, the reader meets a host of VIPS: de Gaulle, Churchill, Dorothy Sayers, George Orwell, the Beatles, and many others, all brilliantly sketched. His private observations about mass media are interesting. He wrote that leftist journals such as the New Statesman had scored great propaganda success because they “established the position that to be intelligent is to be Left, whereas almost the exact opposite is true.” Also recorded is the abuse such observations earned him.

Delightful insights on Muggeridge’s Christian experience pop up from time to time. While still in Russia, he wrote that he had been reading aloud from John Donne’s sermons and enjoying them. Describing the decay he saw on every hand in India, he writes of a longing for eternity. Back in England, on January 5, 1954, he wrote, “Bad night full of dark fears. While shaving suddenly thought with infinite longings how, of all things, I’d most love to live a Christian life. This is the only wish I’d now have.”

Muggeridge’s eldest son Leonard (nicknamed “Pan”) had strong evangelical inclinations and eventually attended Bible college. Leonard’s influence on his father may, as the entries suggest, be greater than Muggeridge has let on in other works.

Since the diaries stop in 1962, most readers will look forward to the release of the third volume of Muggeridge’s autobiography, where we hope the author will see fulfilled his wish stated in the entry for August 29, 1961: “May I be guided to eternity with my senses unclouded, my mind unafraid, and my soul full of love.”

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