Monday, October 17, 2016

Book Review: Why The Reformation Still Matters

Why The Reformation Still Matters. Michael Reeves and Tim Chester. 2016. Crossway. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Why The Reformation Still Matters by Michael Reeves and Tim Chester is a MUST READ in my opinion. At least it is a must read for believers within the Protestant tradition. The book sets out to answer the question, DOES the reformation still matter? Their answer is YES, MORE THAN EVER!

Each chapter sets out to explain to readers WHY the reformation still matters. They go through the doctrines held dear by the Reformers one by one. In the first chapter, for example, the focus is on justification by faith. The second chapter addresses the view of Scripture. The third and fourth chapters take us back to basics: what is sin? what is grace? There are eleven chapters in all. Each chapter is FABULOUS.

The authors first explain what the commonly held view was prior to the Reformation. Then the authors explain what led the Reformers to change their minds. Finally the authors discuss WHY the doctrine is biblical and essential to the faith. In other words, WHY it is important for us to upheld the doctrine and reformation tradition.

This one is RICH in quotes. Readers have the opportunity to read what the Reformers actually said or wrote, not merely what one person or another interprets that person to have said or wrote.

This one is probably one of my favorite books of the year. I think it is VERY relevant and a great introduction to the Reformers.

Favorite quotes:

The Reformation still matters because eternal life still matters.
Nothing matters more than justification by Christ alone through faith alone. If justification by faith seems obvious to you, then it is because of Luther. But we must not presume on his legacy.
God is committed to judging sin. And that means he is committed to judging my sin.
Justification is the reminder that we have peace with God and the hope of glory. And we need that reminder not just on the day of our conversion, but day after day.
What is God’s Word? There is more than one answer. The first answer is that Jesus is the Word of God (capital W if you like). Second, the Bible is the word of God. The Bible is the word of God for three reasons. First, the Bible is from God the Father. It is a revelation of God the Father. Second, the Bible is about God the Son. It is the record of the Word of God in the person of Jesus, promised in the Old Testament and attested in the New Testament. Third, the Bible is by God the Spirit. It is the Spirit-inspired record of the Word of God in the person of Jesus. The Spirit ensures that it is an accurate and reliable account of the word of God. So it is from God, about God, and by God.
So Christ is central to the Bible. And Christ is central to the interpretation of the Bible. All true interpretations of the Bible lead us to Jesus.
The Reformation’s “deep” view of sin is rather like the proverbial ugly duckling: initially unattractive and embarrassing, but secretly a thing of promise. It is a doctrine of promise because without it Christ is robbed of his saving glory, and the gospel loses its wonder. If sin is not much of a problem, Christ need not be much of a Savior, and we do not need much grace.
There is no such “thing” as grace; there is only Christ, who is the blessing of God freely given to us.
Our knowledge of God is by grace alone.
The only way the Reformation could possibly not still matter would be if beauty, goodness, truth, joy, and human flourishing no longer mattered. We have been made to enjoy God, but without the great truths the Reformers fought for that display him as glorious and enjoyable, we shall not do so. Seeing less of him, we shall be lesser and sadder. Seeing more of him, we shall be fuller and happier.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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