Archive for April 1st, 2013

Reformation for Armchair Theologian

Purchase: Amazon

Of all the books I have read in the Armchair Theologians series this is the one I learned the most from. There were many things I did not know before about the Reformation that I picked up from this work. The author Glenn Sunshine tells us in the introduction that the book was originally an adaptation of a series of studies and lectures he presented on the Reformation. I thought he did a pretty good job with the history. What I like about this introductory work to the Reformation in contrast with others that I read before is the fact that this book gave more of the historical and political contexts of what was going on while the church and theologians were hammering out a Protestant theology. It was such a tumultuous time period with wars and persecution for Protestants. I appreciated the book’s discussion on the political and social atmosphere that the Reformation took place; there were many times as I read the book that I thought to myself of the biblical truth that what man and rulers might have meant for evil, God brought about good in spite of it. Surely the Reformation would probably not have had a lasting effect if the Catholics were able to militarily wiped out Protestants; but this did not occur since various other wars going on in Europe at that time that tied down or disunited Catholics politically. As a result the Reformation was not militarily crushed and survived it’s infancy. But that does not mean this period was peaceful; on the contrary, by the time the Reformation was reaching the second generation much bloodshed would be spilled with religious wars such as the Thirty Year’s War, etc. I appreciated the author’s decision to discuss the Reformation not just about Luther, Zwingli and Calvin as most classical introduction do, but also how the Reformation spread and fared in other places such as with the Dutch, France, England and Bohemia, etc. It’s a history that’s not always pretty especially with the various rulers’ persecution and political drama. The author did a good job writing this book in a format that is interesting and engaging narrative form. I would recommend this book.

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