Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Book of Concord Audio

One of my tasks as the Overseer of Young Adult Discipleship and Outreach for Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries is simply to develop and make available new ways of catechesis and discipleship. For this reason, I was thrilled when a compatriot of mine suggested the development of the entire Book of Concord (Concordia, the Lutheran Confessions,) be made available (for free) in mp3 and on CD audio, so that those who desired to grow in the mind of Christ might, say, listen to the Formula for Harmony on the way to work. I championed this idea, and we have begun the project.

But what I'd like to hear, here, for those of you who have returned, is just this: am I right? Would you use it? If so, what things can we do to make it the most useful?

We intend to make the project as professional as possible. In the future, as they become available, I will make the earliest editions available here, through Philadelphia Lutheran Underground and (under construction as we speak,) and will ask you for feedback.

So, now, first ever roll call! Let me know if your a listener to the sermons. Let me know if the BoC audio works for you. And let me know more of what you'd like to see from and for a local/global outreach to young adults with the goals of discipling them according to the confession of the Evangelical Catholic Revolution.


Paul McCain said...

I hate to be a party-pooper, and I love this idea, but .... Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions is copyrighted material and you need to obtain rights and permissions to record it. I'd love to hear more about your project and hear samples of what you have going.

RevFisk said...

Rev. McCain,

Are you sure that copyright applies, under fair-use, to the distributing of "a" mp3 copy of someone reading "a" section of Concordia, for free? I don't mean to haggle the law of the land, but I think the party-pooping is not so very necessary. Of course, if CPH has such a project in mind, or would like to allow copyright uses, that would be wonderful, and we would certainly take all feedback into account.

One of these days, I will have to post on the sin of copyright which has, in my opinion, put as stranglehold on the Ministry of the Church in many ways. I completely understand the need for professionals to be paid for their work. But there is a middle ground in all of this somewhere. As a hymnwriter, I find it ridiculous that I should receive some form of compensation for poetry. All my hymns are and will ever be public domain.

Just some thoughts. Thanks for the reply, and let me know how I can best proceed without upsetting the flow of the CPH structure.

If need be, we'll use Tapert. Of course, that would be a very sad thing.

Paul McCain said...

Pastor Fisk, as I have informed you in e-mail, your project, as described on this blog site, is in violation fo federal copyright law. There is no "fair use" provision for the kind of recording project you have described.

Please check with our rights/permissions department if you wish to explore the possibility of recording the Concordia edition of the Book of Concord. Without CPH's express permission you are not permitted to record the Concordia edition as indicated in your blog post.

I doubt we would grant it, since we have our own recording project in view.

If you wish to offer a free audio recording of the Book of Concord, you may want to consider recording the original English translation that is in the Concordia Triglotta. It was published in 1921 and as such is no longer under copyright.

Thanks and blessings on your ministry.

Paul McCain

Paul McCain said...

By the way, the Tappert edition translation is also under copyright, so you will need to check with Augsburg Fortress before you proceed to record it.

RevFisk said...


Thanks for the input. The project will take it into account as we decide what to do. I apologize if I have offended you in my response by sounding less than enthused.

To all:

Copyright is a real sticky wicket. The fact the CPH has actually prohibited audio recording of any portion of Concordia certainly seals the deal from a "corum hominibus" point of view. I think, however, this proves my point about the problems (ie "sin") copyright legality has introduced into the Church.

Should we copyright the creeds? If they are copyrighted, is such a law even valid?

Then, there is the other side: there are men and women who put hard work into translation, scholarship, etc, and they deserve compensation from the Church for their labors. Of course, compensation and copyright are not, of necessity, bed-partners.

I can't help but feel a bit distraught, yet again, by the way the bureaucracy of Synod continues to make it hard for confessional Lutherans to simply confess the confessions. We have so many tools for mission and ministry at our fingertips with the internet, so many ways to get the confession of faith into hands (and more so, ears) which have never before heard it. Yet, we will instead haggle over by-laws and copyright laws.

I, by no means, blame any individual for this. I merely assert that we have a problem. When and if the audio versions of Concordia are released (being excellent quality as they certainly will be,) needing to pay professional benefits to all those involved in the making, they will, sadly, not be something one can easily distribute to those who might listen to a cd about the ancient faith, but who are unwilling to embrace Lutheran culture and costs at the same time.

It will be about as useful a mission tool as "Listening to Luther" (which, by the way, we do all the time in our car.) Not only could no parish could afford it. But it will certainly not be as accessible as countless, organized bite-sized mp3s.

Meanwhile, the triglotta could (and might yet) be used by us in our project - and yet, how accessible will the language be to the 20 something punk-rock atheist I have a mind to give it to?

That's the problem.

It's the brave new age of internet and media, and I will maintain my opinion that copyright law is officially out of date. That doesn't mean we should willingly break it. Though, it might just mean, within our own circles as Church, we might be willing to bend it - at least, with our own owned work. (I mean, is anyone really going to steal the Ablaze logo? Don't we theoretically WANT it put on everything?)

There is no better way to get people to buy copies of Concordia, than to give them pieces of it to get them addicted.

Even so, let it be know that I am sad. As our project, whatever it might become, moves forward, pray that we do not cause dissension or duress, but that the pillars of the earth move as they will, so that true Concordia might be preached on the streets... without insisting that those we reach with mission fund the reaching with their own wallets.

RevFisk said...
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RevFisk said...
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mlorfeld said...

The Henkel (1854, as it is better than the 1851 ed.) is not under copyright restrictions.

It reads well, actually amazingly well in American English.

mlorfeld said...

Another suggestion... you may want to check with a local college to use some of their multimedia resources... Heck Lutheran Theological Seminary might do it for free... or in this digital age, there might be some pre-sem guys at CUW (I know they have the equipment) that might be interested in doing this and shooting you the MP3s.

Pr. Lehmann said...

My current congregation has a recording studio. It also has a man with a fantastic voice who I suspect would love to record a public domain translation of the Confessions.

I will mention your project to him. I'm sure he'd be willing to volunteer his time to record a few documents.

And as for the language, I wouldn't worry too much about accessibility. It's much more of an issue with readability than it is with hearability.

Check on the Triglotta (I bet it's public domain) or use Henkel (which I know is).

And I'll put you in touch with my member.

RevFisk said...

Thanks for the tips. At this point, we have the first reader beginning some pieces. His plan was (while reading Concordia in a year) to simply read out loud and record it at home. But we may indeed need some help, and you've given some great suggestions!


E. Rapp said...

This sounds like a great idea. I know that I would down load them. And why not just use the older translation that is in the public domain as mlorfeld suggests.

Anonymous said...

You can go to and buy a vocal recording of the 1917/1922 Concordia (AKA Bente/Dau edition AKA the English part of Concordia Triglotta). CPH's current Concordia Reader's Edition is based off of that in the first place.

Jeff Loucks said...

As a layman, I would very much like to have access to a mp3 version to listen to while in our car or just working around our little farm. Please let me know if there is anyway that I can be of assistance to you. Sincerely, Jeff Loucks

Matthew said...

Pastor Fisk,

Have I told you lately how proud I am to have you on board?

The place I got the idea from for doing a BOC on MP3 was They have volunteers who record each public domain book, using off the shelf technology. Basically, a headset/microphone, your computer and a copy of Audacity will do the trick.

And with all due respect to Paul McCain, CPH takes too long to get these projects done. That's why the Triglotta or other public domain version should be done as soon as possible. I'm all for people being compensated for the work they do, but there needs to be a way to get these things out to people quickly. I'm sure that after the CPH version is released the publicity generated by a lesser production would do much to make people hungry for the larger production.

Pastor Lange said...

The Triglotta translation of the Book of Concord in its entirety is now complete on

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