The Reformation and the Irrepressible Word of God

“The Reformation and the Irrepressible Word of God: Interpretation, Theology, and Practice” is a collection of essays based on the Reformation and the Ministry of the Word conference held at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. This series of essays is edited by Scott M. Manetsch who is professor church history at the same school. The book features contributions from men like Kevin DeYoung, Michael Horton, David S. Dockery, and more on a variety of topics as they relate to the centrality of the word of God, the Bible.

There are four parts to the book with each portion consisting of two chapters roughly twenty pages in length. After an introduction by Manetsch is part one which focuses on biblical interpretation in the reformation covering Crespin’s “History of the Martyrs” and Martin Luther’s Christological principle of interpretation. Part two has more of a pastoral focus so I was expecting to be a little less interested in it, but I found I actually enjoyed it, especially Ronald K. Rittger’s chapter which explores the idea of scripture reading being treated by the reformers as a sacramental means of grace, though they did not necessarily explicitly refer to it as such. Part three may be my favourite, in no small part because its chapters are made up of essays by Michael Horton and Kevin DeYoung, some of my favourite names. This part deals with the central issue of justification in the reformation. The fourth and final part speaks on the Christian life. Thomas H. McCall’s chapter on the sainthood of all believers deals with sanctification by considering the various traditions of the Reformed, Anglicans, and Lutherans. Following is an afterward by Timothy George entitled “What Evangelicals Can Learn From the Reformation” as well as a bibliography, list of contributors, and indexes.

I love the format of independent essays which makes it easy to read the book linearly, from cover to cover, or for the reader to pick out what interests them and read in any order they choose. Having multiple contributors to a book means there will be a variety of writing styles which can be a strength or a weakness. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the authors since I was only familiar with a handful prior to reading this book, but this work manages to be consistently engaging, each author writing elegantly on their topic.

“The Reformation and the Irrepressible Word of God” is a great book on the reformation centred around the scriptures, with many solid teachers contributing to this work. This book will be an excellent read for anyone studying the reformation, from students and academics to the dedicated layman.

Many thanks to IVP Academic for supplying me with a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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