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The Hammer of God Paperback – Jan 1991

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Product details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress (Jan. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806613106
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806613109
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,421,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A SHARP, CLINKING SOUND WAS HEARD ABOVE THE HUM of voices in the smoke-filled room as the touched his glass to that of the captain. Read the first page
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "karlyngve" on 8 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a treasure. I have read it several times and it always amazes me. The author is capable of conveying the Gospel in a remarkably persuasive manner.
If you are having trouble distingushing between the Law and the Gospel in Christian understanding, this is the book to read.
It is a novel and not an academic achievement. This makes the book more readable and more applicable to real life.
The book consists of three stories about three different priests in three different times. They are all challenged by their society and congregation and need to find the truth of the Gospel and interpret it to their generation.
The novel depicts the inner struggles of the priests and their findings of grace amidst all troubles and challenges that life makes the face.
It is highly recommended and will give you a new understanding of God's grace and how costly and miraclous it is.
Buy this book and read it several times. It is a classic!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bibliophile VINE VOICE on 4 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bo Giertz was I believe a clergyman himslef and this is based on his own experiences in rural Sweden. It tells of the journey of young pastors gaining vocational experiences and having to deal with parishioners on their deathbeds, fashion-conscious female congregations in austere Protestant churches. If this sounds dull, then I can assure you it is not.

Giertz tackles the big questions with astounding maturity and wisdom. There is a healthy dose of humour, too.

Far from being lightweight and twee, it is actually quite a heavy book, in the sense that there are many layers of meaning to be drawn from it, like all great books.

I liked the references to the Finnish Winter War. The old Swedish rector is following events as they unfold in neighbouringi Finland's war against Russia in 1939 and we pick up the sense of ruefulness of how times changes and nothing can remain the same. Thus we have a strong feeling of reminisence of times gone by.

And no, you do not have to be a Lutheran pastor to enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Calum Honda on 1 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A great book - at times very moving. It comes in three parts following three different pastors in Sweden over many years. It charts their spiritual journey - in some cases through conversion, zeal into a deeper understanding of the sinfulness of their hearts and God's grace in Christ.

I wasn't sure what to expect but one of the best books I've read. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 77 reviews
64 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Stories of Three Pastors 8 Jan. 1998
By John L. Hoh Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Hammer of God" is set in Sweden, when the Swedish Lutheran Church was struggling for its identity. There were many who felt that the "rigid/dead orthodoxy" no longer served a purpose in people's lives. Naturally, nature abhors a vacuum. In place of orthodoxy came two schools of thought: rationalism (scientific thought) and pietism. This masterful volume follows three recent seminary graduates serving their first parishes. Obviously, their mentors are of the "dead orthodoxy" bent. The young pastors feel that the people should be more scientific or live more perfect lives. Needless to say, the new approaches do not work out. Touching is the old soldier, in the throes of senility, barking out fighting orders and using profanity. The young pastor soon realizes that it is by God's grace that we are saved, not in building a better life to become more perfect. This book was required reading at a small Lutheran seminary I attended in Mankato, MN (as was Walther's "The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel."). I will forever be indebted to the professor who required us to read this book. It was very enlightening and graphically displayed Christian faith in action in everyday life.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Almost the best book I've ever read 30 Nov. 1999
By junioR - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
("The Fight" by John White is the best.) The previous reviews have explained the content, so I won't go into that... I just want to add a personal note; that in the last 30 years, since the age of fifteen, I've read The Hammer of God in my native Norwegian version at least five times, and every time it has made me cry. (And not many books are able to make 45-year-old men cry...) This is one of the top Christian books of all time, recommended for any and all Christians, regardless of background and denomination. Great as a gift, perfect as a Confirmation gift.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
To be read and reread 10 April 2001
By Extollager - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am about through my third reading within less than ten years of this novel. Aside from themes mentioned by previous commentators, the recreation of rural Sweden should commend this book to some readers. THE HAMMER makes me want to learn more about Swedish history.
The translation reads very well, as if the book had been written in English.
I have thousands of books. If I had to dispose of all but 200 of them, I'm sure I would keep this one. I would like to get extra copies to give away.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Touches a nerve 25 May 2006
By SKClimacus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Bo Giertz' The Hammer of God should be read by anyone entering the pastorate. The book is divided into three novellas, each set in a different era in a particular area of Sweden. Each novella basically follows the same story: A nominally Christian pastor recently graduates from a modernist university and gets assigned, against his desires, to a country parish. He soon undergoes a kind of conversion experience as he is faced with the realities of parish life, especially with the existential questions of his parishoners, and finds that despite all his formal training, his faith is only nominal at best and he really doesn't know anything about God, until a simple parishoner witnesses the truth of the gospel to him. Newly converted and aware of his own sins, the preacher then begins to passionately preach the law of God bringing some revival to their churches, but as those revivals petter off, he is surprised to find that he is only half-converted, because he must also learn about the doctrine of justication by faith alone, which is the necessary complement to the law, and the heart of the gospel. At the same time, he discovers the richness of Lutheran orthodoxy over and against other modernist, pietistic and anabaptist movements happening around the parish.

Over all, I thought this was a really good book, and I would recommend it to anyone, even to those who are not Lutheran (I'm still a Baptist). Unfortunately, this particular edition is riddled with typos, more than I've seen in any book by a major publisher. So I can only give it 4 stars, rather than 5.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A True Distinction 30 Nov. 1999
By Chris Lohr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Hammer of God was Bo Giertz first novel. In a time when many people have a blurred vision of God, Giertz clears the picture with a true distinction between Law and Gospel. Giertz uses three fictional narratives to illustrate the importance of not only proclaiming God's Word, but using it as God intended. Each story deals with a pastor's struggle to be a servant of the Word, and the pitfalls that can happen when God's Word is proclaimed incorrectly. Giertz's characters and situations are crisp and alive, and his writing is brisk and descriptive. I would highly recommend this book to any reader wanting to grow closer to his God.
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