Title: The Hammer of God
Author: Bo Giertz
Recommended for: Any Christian person – very highly recommended
This amazing little book nearly passed me by entirely. I can’t remember who recommended it to me, but the Lord brought it into my life during my preaching through the book of Galatians at a time in which my own thoughts were not as clear on these matters as I had imagined before I started the series on Galatians. Enter the novel.
This novel follows the stories of three separate pastors who pastor in the same Lutheran parish; first in 1810, then 1870, then in 1940. Each of these men, though a pastor, begins his story in a place of confusion about God and his Word. Through crises events in their pastorate (an encounter with a dying parishioner, a fight between two church members, etc.), the pastors come to confront their own weakness of character and take hold of the Law of God. Having done so, each one eventually realizes the weakness of that Law to deliver anyone, since it brings only condemnation. Through the gracious providence of God, the men then separately come to embrace the true Gospel of Jesus Christ in all of its freedom and power.
The completely Bible-infused conversations and musings of Giertz’s characters were a blessing and a refreshment to me like a pastoral word to my heart. Giertz places these truths in such appropriate contexts that the discussions (especially to someone like me in a pastoral role) never seem contrived or artificial, but stand out boldly as the bedrock truths they are.
Giertz was a staunch Lutheran, and he writes like one, with his high-church theology standing out especially in the last section. But those who disagree with his ecclesiology will still find much to bless and strengthen them. This book, like few others I’ve read, is recommended for any and all Christians.