Unless you have been hiding in a monastery, you will know that this year is the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. A plethora of publications have appeared, drawing attention to this fact at various levels and from different points of view. This title comes from Dr Brownell, who has been pastor of East London Tabernacle for over 30 years.
This little book is one of the shorter contributions. It should not be sneered at, however, as in brief and accurate compass it not only gives you the essential story of Martin Luther and his 95 theses but places before us 10 theses for today. These follow careful reflection on the original historical debate, but also speak powerfully to today’s world.
To take one example, the third modern thesis is that ‘Unbiblical doctrines and practices in churches contradict or undermine the gospel and need to be challenged, repudiated and discarded if Reformational Christianity is to flourish’.
Brownell chases down some obvious culprits, such as liberalism, Romanism and the prosperity gospel. He also highlights two areas closer to home, namely pastoral care that is little more than pop psychology, and public worship that does not exalt the Triune God or build up God’s people before a watching world.
On page 62, the author refers to Luther as one who could write learned treatises as well as simple books. Dr Brownell is blessed with the same gift and this present volume is evidence of it.
Like Luther’s own work, it is theologically informed writing that not only engages the mind but the will and the emotions also. Like Luther’s Sermon on indulgences and grace, which was reprinted 24 times between 1518 and 1520, this book is designed for mass distribution. Let’s hope it gets it.