Monday, May 29, 2017

Book Review: The Reformation

The Reformation: What You Need to Know and Why. Michael Reeves and John Stott. 2017. Hendrickson. 100 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Looking for a short read on the Reformation? I'd recommend this one edited by Jen Cameron. It features a foreword by Lindsay Brown, an essay by Michael Reeves "The Story and Significance of the Reformation," an essay by John Stott, "Keep the Faith and Pass It On," an essay on prayer by Alan Purser, a translation of Martin Luther's 95 Theses, and other helpful features like a timeline and discussion questions.

Michael Reeves' essay is essentially a history lesson--a concise history lesson. Reeves introduces readers to Martin Luther, John Calvin, William Tyndale, etc. What we have here are the basics pure and simple.

John Stott's essay is a passionate plea for doctrinal purity. I loved, loved, LOVED this essay. The book would be worth buying for this essay alone. That is how WONDERFUL it is.

In his essay he sets out to do three things: first, to clarify WHAT the evangelical faith is; second, to examine WHY the evangelical faith matters; third to discuss HOW to pass on the faith. He uses the outline of the Apostle's Creed to dive into the subject of the gospel--what it is that Christians hold to be true. He looks at what Christians believe about the God the Father, what Christians believe about God the Son, and what Christians believe about God the Holy Spirit. Along the way, he touches upon many doctrines.

Favorite quotes:
So we see that the evangelical faith—the biblical faith—is an essentially Trinitarian faith. We believe in God the Father, the God of creation, covenant, and revelation. We believe in God the Son, unique in his person, work, and salvation. And we believe in God the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of life, truth, holiness, love, and glory. While our Christian creed is Trinitarian, it is also Christological—it focuses on Christ. For the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world, and the Holy Spirit bears witness to him, Jesus, that he is Lord (1 John 4:14; 1 Corinthians 12:3). The major attacks on Christianity down the centuries have not surprisingly been attacks on the person and works of Christ. For this reason it has been vital for evangelical confessions of faith to articulate clearly their tenets of belief about him. It is for this reason also that Scripture’s authority and justification by faith were the two major emphases of the Reformation, and are the two major hallmarks of evangelical Christians today. ~ John Stott
The evangelical faith is the gospel. It is the good news of salvation from God through Christ by the Holy Spirit. Our first responsibility, therefore, is to embrace it ourselves with all our hearts and minds secretly, and then go on to confess it with our lips publicly. ~ John Stott
It is not possible to trust in Jesus without first defining who this Jesus is in whom we are putting our trust. Nor is it possible to believe the evangelical faith in our intellect and not trust personally in Jesus on whom our faith focuses. True faith is neither an arid assent to the evangelical faith with the mind alone; nor a mindless commitment to an undefined Jesus. ~ John Stott
How can we claim to believe the evangelical faith if we do not obey it? What is the point of confessing it with our lips if we do not adorn it in our lives, our homes, and our churches? ~ John Stott
The incarnation is the most spectacular cross-cultural event in the history of the world. God’s Son entered our world. He left the culture of heaven and he entered into the culture of the earth. We too have to learn to enter other people’s worlds, both their thought world and the personal world of their pain, alienation, and loneliness. Only then, when we are inside their territory, which is home to them though alien to us, can we share with them the good news in a way that they will understand. ~ John Stott

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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