Rescuing the Gospel

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Every Christian should have a sense of urgency to learn about his spiritual heritage. Learning the history of our faith is a motivational factor to live the life Christ expects from us. If you are a believer and have but a rudimentary knowledge of the faith – in particular the Reformation – Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation by Erwin W. Lutzer should move to the top of your reading list.Rescuing the Gospel

Lutzer is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and has been the senior pastor of Moody Church in Chicago for thirty-six years. When he writes about the Reformation, it is with familiarity of the historical places for he has traveled there extensively. This is an author well familiar with his subject matter.

It seems unnecessary to say that Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation is all about the Reformation. That’s what it is. But it is more than that. It is not a routine retelling of dry, historical facts. Lutzer interweaves thoughtful analysis of both the Catholic Church and Luther. As you might expect the majority of the volume centers on Martin Luther – the catalyst of the Reformation. Ten of the seventeen  chapters focus on Luther. There are also chapters on John Wycliffe, Huldrych Zwingli and, of course, John Calvin.

To help us understand Luther, the man, Lutzer also includes chapters on Luther and his view of the Bible and Luther as a family man. We get the realization that Luther was not a perfect man. Lutzer masterfully presents Luther as a man with faults despite the great spiritual revolution that he began.

The book, which is also presented as “An Illustrated History of the Reformation,” includes forty-six images which helps the text come alive.

While this is not a thorough examination of the Reformation, Rescuing the Gospel is a must read for every Christian, a book that must be fully examined sooner rather than later. It will whet your appetite for more study in the history of our faith. Once again, move this volume to the top of your summer reading list.

Disclaimer: The book was provided to me by BakerBooks for a fair and honest review.

They Were Christians

If you read my reviews regularly you know that I primarily review books with an academic leaning but every once in a while a light, engaging and inspirational volume comes my way for review. They Were Christians: The Inspiring Faith of Men and Women Who Changed the World falls directly into that category. The book is authored by Cristobal Krusen (an author previously unknown to me). According to the back cover biographical sketch, Krusen is a screenwritThey Were Christianser and author and the founder of Messenger Films.

Between the covers of They Were Christians, Krusen has compiled brief yet inspirational biographies of eleven, faith-driven historical personalities. I would imagine that most of us are familiar with many of them, perhaps all. I will admit I was unfamiliar with a couple of the personalities ( Frank Pais and Chiune Sugihara), so the book became historically educational as well as stimulating. Most fascinating were the profiles of Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln and John Lister & Louis Pasteur. (Be sure to read this one; it’s emotional.) Each of the eleven accounts revolve around the individual’s faith and how it affected their life and work.

Krusen also adds a special touch to the book by including a personal biographical narrative or thought at the beginning and end of each chapter. I found this element adds personality to the book and also provides a clue as to why each individual was selected for inclusion.

If you searching for a volume that will provide you with some effortless and encouraging reading, this is a book that you need to have at your side. It is well written and reads fast.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by BakerBooks for a fair and honest review.