Honestly I had a bit of trouble getting into this book. It starts off with an overview of Luther’s life and shows that he was human and had weaknesses just like all of us. Once I got further into the book it grabbed my attention more, perhaps because it was talking about Luther’s emphasis on the importance of the Bible and the need for the Word to be central to the Christian’s life. “Luther’s view of the Christian life, like his view of the success of the Reformation, was rooted first and foremost in the overwhelming power of the preached Word.”
This book, while not a biography, gives an extensive look at Luther’s theology and life, and doesn’t hold back from the warts and weaknesses of Luther. Too often we focus more on the successes of our heroes, but they are human too and Luther had failings. While not spending too much time on these failings, the author doesn’t shy away from them. Also, Luther’s theology was continually forming and wasn’t set in stone when he nailed his Ninety-Five Theses. It was an ongoing process. We too often think he had it all figured out, but he was continually learning just as we do.
So far, my favorite book in this Theologians on the Christian Life series is either the one on Schaeffer or Warfield. While this one on Luther didn’t grab me quite as much (hence the 3 stars instead of 4), it was still a good read and a good look at Luther’s life and what he believed on different issues (such as the importance of the Bible and the sacraments of baptism and communion, as well as his views on civil authority, marriage and family).
*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Crossway in exchange for my review.