Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the essential Lutheran theologian for our dispirited post-modern age, reminds us that the field of ethics – the sometimes disciplined effort to understand and elect “the good” or “the right” – belongs to the realm of the penultimate in human affairs. Accordingly, the issues arising from and surrounding morality, justice, the good life, the duties of the believer in Christ, etc, must never be permitted to occupy a place of importance in our philosophical schemes or in our lives above the issues of faith and of the world’s relation to God. “Justification by grace and faith alone remains in every respect the final word and for this reason, when we speak of the things before the last, we must not speak of them as having any value of their own, but we must bring to light their relation to the ultimate.”
 Granting the truth of Bonhoeffer’s assertion, it is a special treat that Fortress Press has published Professor Samuel Torvend’s concise book on Luther’s understanding of the ethical dimensions of the believer’s life in Christ. One can only hope that Fortress Press will continue to publish even more Lutheran work in theology and ethics – especially as it relates to the great reformer of the sixteenth century – as we approach the quincentennial of the posting of the Ninety-Five Theses.
 The reviewers for this month’s book once again represent a cross-section of the Church as well as society.
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics (Touchstone, N.Y., 1995), p. 125.
© March 2009
Journal of Lutheran Ethics
Volume 9, Issue 3