So here is Rick's review of the book Luther on the Christian Life by Carl R. Trueman.
Martin Luther is one of my favorite figures in church history. While I disagree with some of his doctrinal positions, not surprising given my Baptist background, I enjoy his bold and down-to-earth way of expressing well-thought-out theological convictions – many of which I do agree with. So I was eager to read this volume by Carl R. Trueman, a Presbyterian pastor and church history professor who shares a similar perspective: a non-Lutheran with undisguised respect for Luther.
I gained a much greater understanding of Luther's views because Trueman does not immediately begin a survey of the reformer's teachings on various aspects of the Christian life. Only after an easily readable account of Luther's life, the affect of his Christology on his overall view of theology, and the primacy in his thinking of the objective Word as the only reliable communication from God to mankind – which takes up over half the book – do we find the statement, “We now arrive at a point where we can ask: What is the 'normal' day-to-day Christian life like?”
It's worth the wait to begin getting Luther's perspective on the topic. The reader is then treated to Luther's teachings on such subjects as prayer, government, church, family, personal sanctification, and spiritual struggle. One will learn not only what the reformer thought, but why he thought it. Also examined is Luther's teaching on baptism and “the mass,” and while still in disagreement with Luther's beliefs here, I have a much better understanding of his position.
One of my favorite passages in this book concerns preaching:
Luther's sermons first of all remind us of a very important truth: we are not the center of the universe; God is. And we are not so unique that we need tailor-made answers to our greatest problem. The answer is always the same: God's promise in Christ.The last two chapters of the book seemed rushed, but that could be because I didn't want the study to end so soon. This book is well worth reading. Martin Luther's teaching on the Christian life is still valuable; Pastor Trueman's presentation of those teachings make them easily accessible to the 21st century reader.
You can purchase a copy of Luther on the Christian Life by Carl R. Trueman HERE at Family Christian Stores!
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