Subscribe now

Review

Bitesize Biography – Girolamo Savonarola

By Douglas Bond & Douglas McComas
January 2015 | Review by Kerry Orchard
  • Publisher: EP Books
  • ISBN: 978-1-78397-001-8
  • Pages: 144
  • Price: 6.99

Book Review

Bitesize Biography – Girolamo Savonarola
Douglas Bond & Douglas McComas
EP Books
144, £6.99
ISBN: 978-1-78397-001-8
Star Rating: 3

Girolamo Savonarola

Douglas Bond & Douglas McComas

EP Books, 144 pages, £6.99, ISBN: 978-1-78397-001-8

Prior to reading this book, the name Girolamo Savonarola was known to me, but the more I read, the more I realised how much more there was to learn.

The Bitesize Biographyseries performs a valuable service of bringing us up to scratch with our church history. The authors, Douglas Bond and Douglas McComas, have done their research well and write in a clear and interesting way.

What does one make of the subject of the book? Savonarola was of a generation before Luther and an outspoken critic of (though never leaving) the Roman Catholic Church.

His was a prophetic voice, majoring on condemnation of the sin of the political and church leaders and the dissolute lifestyle of 15th century Florence. He was, perhaps, a Jeremiah or John the Baptist of his day, thundering out a fiery message of repentance and condemnation. Martin Luther, for one, held him in high regard.

He is an enigmatic figure, though clearly brave and incorruptible. What is one to make of his emphasis on prophecy (of the foretelling sort) and his immersion in the politics of the day? He lived over 500 years ago and, crucially, before the Reformation cleared away the fog of sacramentalism. It is easy to pick faults from our vantage point in the 21st century.

The authors suggest that, in his final days, Savonarola seemed to attain a clearer understanding of the grace of the gospel before bravely dying a martyr’s death.

So was he a born-again Christian, who, under God, helped pave the way for the great European Reformation and revival? I believe so, but this book is careful not to eulogise its subject, making clear how Savonarola made serious mistakes.

Yet, in an era when Scripture’s message was largely hidden, he preached the message of the Bible. Hebrews 11 reminds us of many men and women of faith with feet of clay.

Who should read this book? It might confuse an unbeliever and even a young Christian. A mature Christian could read it with profit.

Kerry Orchard

Cardiff

 

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Understanding Suicide and Euthaniasia – A Contemporary and Biblical Perspective
Eryl Davies

It is with sensitivity and a pastoral heart that Eryl Davies addresses these complex and controversial issues. Statistics alone demand that a biblical perspective is given to these topics. In 1969, an estimated 51% of the UK population was in…

See all book reviews
Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Owen Strachan and Gavin Peacock

These three punchy books address pressing issues: what the Bible teaches about lust (on desire), about homosexuality (on Biblical sexuality) and about transgenderism (on identity). The trilogy approach keeps each book short and focused while dovetailing effectively. Each book has…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
A Beginner’s Guide To Church History
Philip Parsons

This book is a must-read for every Christian, which covers a wide period from the apostolic age to the church under Communism. There are numerous excellent works on church history, like Philip Schaff’s eight volumes, or Andrew Miller’s three volumes,…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Who Am I? Human Identity and the Gospel in a Confusing World
Thomas Fretwell

In today’s secular society, religion is often regarded as without rational or scientific basis, and therefore irrelevant to life in the modern world and all areas of public engagement. If that is our social context, then it is no wonder…