Author: LINDSAY BROWN
Publisher: DayOne Publications
This little book is an enthusiastic introduction to the 16th century Reformation and its impact, both at the time and right up to the present day.
Starting with a brief sketch of the doctrinal rediscoveries, Brown moves quickly on to describe the impact of the movement in terms of engagement with every area of life – from music to banking, and universities to the visual arts. Luther and Calvin are chiefly in view, but the author mentions a whole array of interesting characters and developments.
The brevity of the book is both its strength and its weakness. It covers a great deal of material in a very short compass, from references to Reformation forerunners right through to missionary expansion in the 20th century. At best this leaves you hungry to learn more; the downside is that no particular topic gets more than a cursory treatment.
A unifying thread is the passionate contention that, contrary to popular misconception, the Reformers were not disinterested in mission, but actually oversaw a great missionary expansion as gospel truth spread throughout Europe. Another frequent note is the need for the church to truly engage with the world in which we live, neither retreating into isolation nor mindlessly assimilating.
The final chapter contains ten lessons for today, including the need to recapture the wonder of the gospel, a confidence in the Scriptures, the value of teamwork, and the gospel opportunities presented by both university students and migrants.
This is a stimulating little book and might be a great primer for someone new to the subject, or as a refresher. Brown’s enthusiasm for his subject is infectious, and should dispel forever the idea that either doctrine or history is irrelevant to everyday life.