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Posts Tagged ‘Protestantism’

Steven Lawson. John Knox: Fearless Faith.  Ross-Shire, UK: Christian Focus Publications, November 2014. 126 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Westminster Amazon

Of all the major Reformers John Knox is one that I probably know the least about.  It was therefore a delight for me to read this book on John Knox by the preacher and biographer of preacher Steven Lawson.  One would expect this work would have been part of the series of “A Long Line of Godly Men” which the author is the editor for but this work was instead published by Christian Focus as a stand-alone work and I suspect it is because Steven Lawson has been greatly impacted by John Knox and wanted to write about Knox even though someone else contributed to the John Knox volume for the “A Long Line of Godly Men” Profile Series.  What follows in this review is a summary of the chapters of the book followed by my thoughts of the contents of the book.

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This is a book review as part of our blog’s celebration of Reformation 500.

Alec Ryrie.  Protestants: The Faith That Made the Modern World. New York, NY: Viking, April 6th 2017. 627 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This book was published in the timely year that is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation which began when Martin Luther started raising concern with the corruption of the Catholic Church that eventually led to Luther’s recovery of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, among other things.  Here the author Alec Ryrie examines Protestantism historically as a movement.  Ryrie also evaluated the impact that Protestantism has had for good or for bad in history.  Given how much Protestantism has shaped world history and has contributed to what society and civilization looks like today, this is indeed a fascinating book for both Protestants and non-Protestants alike.

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Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

NOTE: This book just came off the press (March 2013) and was on sale and promoted widely during Shepherd’s Conference!  I thought it would be timely to put up this review. This was a very edifying read; one ought to purchase it for their pastor! The book makes the case that Luther must be understood as a preacher before all other roles that he had, whether it’s a theologian, professor or writer. I learned that Luther zeal for preaching was done while he was doing everything else in ministry and on any given Sunday he preached three to four sermons with the first service beginning at at 5 AM! He would preach a sermon every two days. While I have enjoyed other biographies on Luther in the past (see for instance, this recent post), what makes this particular book unique is that this book on Martin Luther as a preacher is written by Steven Lawson who is himself a powerful and passionate preacher. There’s nothing like a good preacher having the insight on another famous preacher. Lawson is not only a preacher but he has proven himself in the past to be a capable writer especially in the area of the history of preaching and this work doesn’t disappoint. For a work in which the body comes in at 122 pages, Lawson’s historical leg work is amazing with 324 footnotes total. The sources he cites indicate his familiarity with both secondary sources and English translation of primary sources on Luther. And he’s able to do this without making the book feel boring.  On the contrary, reading the book made me felt passionate about preaching especially when I got to chapter five on Luther’s passionate delivery in the pulpit. I couldn’t go to sleep until after three in the morning because I wanted to preach God’s Word as a result of reading this book!  I am a firm believer that true Christ-centered preaching that’s Biblically driven can’t be delivered as a mono-tone lecture–one must internalize the Word of God and let the Word set you ablaze with a conviction of it’s truth and power. I highly recommend the book for all readers.

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