Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Message for the Historically Challenged

I have read fifty books on church history, maybe more, I'm not sure of the number. I know it is a lot. I am a lover of history. I'm am only saying that to put the following comment in perspective. I just read the best book on Reformation History yet. It is The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation by Michael Reeves.

The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the ReformationI am enthusiastic about this book for the following reasons. It is short (190 pages), it is written by a skilled author, it is easy to understand, it is illed with entertaining stories, and packed with punchy, crucial truth. And, the Reformation is a crucial story. Western history, secular and religious, turns on this historical moment. You can't understand Western Europe, North America, Great Britain, or the last 500 years without a solid grasp of the Reformation.

In addition, it is important because doctrine matters, some doctrines more than others. The Unquenchable Flame is the story of men and women willing to die for important doctrinal distinctives. Reeves devotes chapters to Luther, Calvin, the Anabaptists, and the English Reformation. Most importantly he clearly delineates the fight that caused the Reformation, the issues involved, and the fact that no steps have been made by the Roman Catholic tradition to repent and change. The question that provoked the Reformation, the Roman Catholic church is no closer to answering now than they were in 1550. 

We need books like this. The average Christian is historically deprived. I would be thrilled if every member of my congregation would devour this little gem.

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