About this book: (from the publisher) Five hundred years ago, the church of Jesus Christ underwent a Reformation.
A lot happened after Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the castle church door in Wittenberg. But the fallout was not simply the start of Protestantism. The Roman Catholic Church also recast itself in response to Luther’s call for reforms. And contrary to common belief, Martin Luther did not set out to start a new church. Rather, he was trying to reform the church that already existed by reemphasizing its essence—namely, the “good news” (the gospel) that Jesus forgives and saves sinners.
The unity of the church was broken when the pope rejected this call for reform and excommunicated Luther, starting a chain of events that did lead to the institutional fracturing of Christendom and to a plethora of alternative Christian theologies. But, as many – including conservative Catholics – now admit, the church did in fact need reforming. Today, the church – including its Protestant branches – also needs reforming. Some of the issues in contemporary Christianity are very similar to those in the late Middle Ages, though others are new. But if Luther’s theology can be blamed – however unfairly – for fragmenting Christianity, perhaps today it can help us recover the wholeness of Christianity.
In the hope of that wholeness, Dr. Montgomery and Dr. Veith commissioned these essays celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, gathering some of the best contemporary voices the Lutheran church has to offer.
And we need these voices! The religious climate in the early 21st-century is simultaneously highly religious and highly secularized. It is a time of extraordinary spiritual and theological diversity. This book will propose the kind of Christianity that is best suited for our day. The remedies offered here are available by way of the same theology that was the catalyst for reforming the church five hundred years ago.
About the authors: John Warwick Montgomery is the author of more than sixty books in six languages. He holds eleven earned degrees, including a Master of Philosophy in Law from the University of Essex, England, a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, a Doctorate of the University in Protestant Theology from the University of Strasbourg, France, and the higher doctorate in law (LL.D.) from the University of Cardiff, Wales. He is a Lutheran clergyman, an English barrister, and is admitted to practice as a lawyer before the Supreme Court of the United States and is a practicing avocat, Barreau de Paris, France. Dr. Montgomery currently serves as Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at Concordia University Wisconsin.
Gene Edward Veith is the Provost and Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.
[Tweet “In celebration of the Reformation: Where Christ Is Present @1517legacy @iReadBookTours #the1517legacy #theology #reformation”]
My take: An explanation as to why I chose to read this book in the first place might provide a helpful foundation before I launch into my review. Quite simply, I was curious. For someone who has grown up in the Christian church, and who has attended churches of a wide variety of denominations over the years, I realized that I know very little about Lutheranism. I realized too that I know surprisingly little about the man who began the whole “protesting” movement of which I am a part. My curiosity was heightened by some recent dissatisfaction with the Protestant church at which I now worship, as well as my increasing dismay at some changes taking place in the Christian church at large. What, if anything, sets Lutheranism apart?
Quite a bit, as it turns out.
Curious laypeople like me will find Where Christ Is Present a helpful, timely resource that covers a wide range of topics within this very specific subject. Its appeal will be fairly limited, however, to those who are seeking information and understanding into the Lutheran denomination and willing to wade through a lot of rather arcane terminology. And who are either coming at this book from other denominations, Protestant as well as Catholic or Orthodox, or who are already Lutheran and wish to strengthen the apologetics of their faith.
Though informative, thoughtful, and articulate, it is–as books like these tend to be–on the dry side, and therefore only serious students will be interested in reading every essay. I found the most helpful ones to be those written by editors. Their overviews informed and intrigued me. All essays, however, are set forth in the Table of Contents, and so readers can easily decide which ones might interest them the most.
I was surprised to learn of the very specific differences between traditional Lutheranism and other Protestant denominations (as well as some of the more liberal branches within Lutheranism). It certainly made me look more thoughtfully at this denomination and greatly increased my appreciation for the work begun nearly 500 years ago by its founder, Martin Luther.
Thanks to iRead Book Tours for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: For your chance to win a copy of this book, click here: a Rafflecopter giveaway
And to see what other reviewers are saying, check out the tour schedule:
Aug 31 – The Autistic Gamer – review
Sept 1 – Essentially Italian – book spotlight
Sept 2 – Deal Sharing Aunt – review / giveaway
Sept 3 – Adventures in The Kingdom – review
Sept 4 – Book Stop Corner – review / author interview / giveaway
Sept 6 – Writers and Authors – book spotlight / giveaway
Sept 7 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review / author interview / giveaway
Sept 8 – Hanna Marie Lei – review / giveaway
Sept 9 – Dr. Johnson C. Philip – Top Amazon Reviewer – review
Sept 10 – Bless Their Hearts Mom – review / giveaway
Sept 11 – Chicas Love to Read – book spotlight / giveaway
Sept 14 – Caffeinated Christian Raves-N-Reviews – review
Sept 15 – Vic’s Media Room – review
Sept 16 – Blooming with Books – review / giveaway
Sept 17 – Bluerose’s Heart – book spotlight / giveaway
Sept 18 – A Simple Life, Really?! – book spotlight
Sept 21 – Room With Books – review / giveaway
Sept 22 – I Am Believing God – review
Sept 23 – New Horizons Review – review
Sept 24 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway
Sept 25 – Seeking With All Yur Heart – review
Sept 28 – More of Him – review
Sept 29 – Story Matters – review
Sept 30 – Pursuing Splendor – review
Oct 1 – I’d Rather Be at the Beach – review / giveaway
Oct 2 – Create With Joy – review / giveaway
Oct 2 – Reading to Know – review