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.