Published: April 2015
Trade paperback, 256 pages
Reviewed by Fil Piccolo
Respected Lutheran theologians contribute to this well-written book to bring to the 21st century reader the accomplishments and legacy of Martin Luther. Soon is the celebration of the 500th anniversary of 1517 when Luther nailed his “95 theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Saxony. This book contains 12 chapters, each one written by a Lutheran theologian and giving the reader a deeper sense of how the Lutheran church remembers Martin Luther and his theology. What can the reader expect?
The first two chapters present us with a brief look at the modern religious landscape and what makes Lutheran a better choice, according to the essayist authors. However, be forewarned these chapters set the tone for this book. We see a constant comparison and at times criticism of other Christian and non-Christian denomination’s religious beliefs.
Chapter 3, my favorite, looks at Martin Luther during the reformation period; what Luther and other reformers had in common and what they did not agree upon. Chapter 4 gives the reader a good general understanding of Lutheran’s view of the sacred scriptures for doctrinal understanding and how they differ from other religions. Chapter 5 is the Lutheran message of the gospel and their view of justification. Here again comparisons are done.
At times, I did find such comparisons of interest in clarifying how one Christian religion differs from another. However, I felt that many of the religions spoken of as being deficient would have done a better job defending their own faith.
Finally, I enjoyed the historical content the book offers throughout most chapters and how modern Lutherans understand Luther's views of the gospel. I did not enjoy the almost polemic position taken by some of these authors, but the comparisons of theology did achieve its goal of shedding light on the Lutheran faith.
Note: This book is rated G.
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Disclosure by Fil Piccolo: Thanks to the publisher for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.
Five hundred years ago, the church of Jesus Christ underwent a Reformation.
A lot happened after Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the castle church door in Wittenberg. But the fallout was not simply the start of Protestantism. The Roman Catholic Church also recast itself in response to Luther’s call for reforms. And contrary to common belief, Martin Luther did not set out to start a new church. Rather, he was trying to reform the church that already existed by reemphasizing its essence—namely, the “good news” (the gospel) that Jesus forgives and saves sinners.
In the hope of that wholeness, Dr. Montgomery and Dr. Veith commissioned these essays celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, gathering some of the best contemporary voices the Lutheran church has to offer.
And we need these voices! The religious climate in the early 21st-century is simultaneously highly religious and highly secularized. It is a time of extraordinary spiritual and theological diversity. This book will propose the kind of Christianity that is best suited for our day. The remedies offered here are available by way of the same theology that was the catalyst for reforming the church five hundred years ago.
John Warwick Montgomery is the author of more than sixty books in six languages. He holds eleven earned degrees, including a Master of Philosophy in Law from the University of Essex, England, a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, a Doctorate of the University in Protestant Theology from the University of Strasbourg, France, and the higher doctorate in law (LL.D.) from the University of Cardiff, Wales. He is a Lutheran clergyman, an English barrister, and is admitted to practice as a lawyer before the Supreme Court of the United States and is a practicing avocat, Barreau de Paris, France. Dr. Montgomery currently serves as Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at Concordia University Wisconsin.
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