Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Martin Luther in His Own Words, edited by Jack D. Kilcrease and Erwin W. Lutzer

This year, 2017, marks the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation. Luther was instrumental in initiating the movement but many may not be aware of his contribution. Kilcrease and Lutzer have accumulated selections from Luther's writings and lectures to help modern readers appreciate his works.

The editors have organized the works around the topics of the five solas. They have added an introduction to each reading and updated the translations, clarifying what might not be understood by modern readers.

I appreciated the selections included in this volume. There are portions from Luther's commentary on Galatians taken from notes on his lectures. There is his introduction to Romans, including a summary of the main topics of the epistle. It was this work that moved John Wesley as he heard it read. Additional readings are from Luther's Large Catechism. My favorite reading is from The Bondage of the Will. In it, Luther explains how Christ and His saving death on the cross is the central teaching of the Bible.

Luther rediscovered the doctrine of justification by faith. He translated the Bible into the vernacular and believed preaching should be in the language of the people (not Latin). His work is an essential part of the foundation of contemporary evangelical Christian belief. I recommend this book to those who want to be familiar with Luther's works. Reading works from 500 years ago is not an easy task. The editors have done a good job, however, in helping contemporary readers tackle it.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Jack D. Kilcrease is professor of historical and systematic theology at the Institute of Lutheran Theology and a church elder at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids.
Erwin W. Lutzer is pastor emeritus of Moody Church in Chicago. He and his wife live in the Chicago area.

Baker Books, 176 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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