Reader Recommendation — A Summary of the Christian Faith (Catechesis), David Chytraeus

Member of our Facebook group, Erich Heidenreich, recommended A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568), by David Chytraeus (1531-1600), translated by Richard Dinda, introduction by Paul T. McCain, Repristination Press, Decatur, Illinois (1994).

This is a translation of Chytraeus’ work originally titled Catechesis.

Eric says:

For further catechesis in addition to the Large Catechism I cannot recommend highly enough the 1568 book A Summary of the Christian Faith by David Chytraeus, one of the authors of the Formula of Concord. This is an excellent example of the Loci method being used in catechesis.

Here is the publisher’s description:

Originally intended for the advanced instruction of young people, Chytraeus’ A Summary of the Christian Faith is a marvelous book for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the faith. Chytraeus (1531–1600), one of the authors of the Formula of Concord, ranks as one of the most significant Lutheran theologians of 16th century. His Summary is not marked by the various synodical concerns of later lay dogmatics; it is truly what it claims to be: A Summary of the Christian Faith.

    A Summary of the Christian Faith (Originally entitled Catechesis) offers two great blessings to its readers: (1) an opportunity to see how one of the Lutheran fathers confessed and taught the faith, and (2) an opportunity to grow in one’s own knowledge and appreciation of Christian doctrine. “Chytraeus had the irenic nature of Melanchthon with the doctrinal commitment of Luther.” (From the Introduction.)

    Chytraeus’ Summary is one of the earliest examples of a Lutheran dogmatics following the loci model first set forth by Philip Melanchthon in 1521. Unlike Chemnitz’s more extensive Loci Theologici, Chytraeus’ Summary was written for a lay audience. The work consists of 10 chapters: (1) God, (2) Creation, (3) The Law of God, (4) On Sin, (5) On the Remission of Sins, (6) On the New Obedience, (7) On the Sacrament, (8) On Repentance, (9) On the Church, (10) On the Immortality of the Church, the Resurrection, and Eternal Life.  Chytraeus’ “Brief Explanation” of the Lord’s Prayer is also appended to the Summary.

David Chytraeus is a person we should know more about. Brothers of John the Steadfast have a helpful brief biography on their Facebook page.

Repristination Press is a publishing house for confessional Lutherans. It Press was started in Fort Wayne, Indiana in June of 1993, beginning publication with several books by Wilhelm Loehe, Charles Porterfield Krauth, and other works by 19th century Lutheran theologians. Over time, Repristination Press has become a leading publisher of English translations 16th and 17th century Lutheran theology, including works by Johann Gerhard, Nicolaus Hunnius, David Chytraeus, and J.A. Quenstedt. Repristination Press has been located in Texas since 1998.

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