The issues of the past will always be the issues of today, because they are the issues of life. History is doomed to repeat itself when we fail to learn from it.
In Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation, Erwin Lutzer offers an excellent introduction to the Reformation by asking and answering questions essential to every generation of believers.
- Do only good people go to heaven?
- Do priests and pastors have special privileges in the sight of God that are not accessible to ordinary believers?
- What is the nature of the church?
- To what extent should we accept tradition into our church life and belief system? Is all tradition bad?
- What does it mean to say that Christ is the head of the church?
- When you participate in the Lord’s Supper, are you literally or symbolically eating and drinking Christ’s body and blood?
- Is the Reformation over?
Lutzer begins his overview with a general introduction to John Wycliffe and John Hus—two men who laid the groundwork for the Reformation. The majority of the book focuses on Luther—his life, his struggles as a monk, his conversion, and his passion to defend the Word of God in the face of the established church full of corruption. After the chapters on Luther, Lutzer gives a general overview of Zwingli’s and Calvin’s work in Switzerland—as well as the passion and persecution of the Anabaptists.
The final chapter echoes with a theme Rescuing the Gospel began with:
Whether you’re Catholic or Protestant, every generation, including ours, has to fight for the purity of the Gospel. It’s our nature to reject the Gospel’s verdict on us and resist the profound simplicity of its transforming message of grace. The Gospel must always be defended, and sometimes it must be rescued.
Rescuing the Gospel offers beautiful, full-color photographs throughout, with historical etchings, paintings, and locations. The book is an excellent introduction and overview of a part of history we must never forget.