Calvinism · CHRISTIAN LIFE · MARTIN LUTHER · REFORMATION

ARE YOU A BOLD REFORMER?

boldBold Reformer: Celebrating the Gospel-Centered Convictions of Martin Luther is available now!

On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed the ninety-five theses to the castle door in Wittenberg. One act of courage sparked a theological firestorm in Germany that set the world ablaze in a matter of days. Spreading like wildfire, thousands were introduced to the gospel which is received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

Bold Reformer: Celebrating the Gospel-Centered Convictions of Martin Luther takes readers on a journey through a remarkable period of church history. It will challenge contemporary readers to learn the lessons of courage, and perseverance. It will inspire a new generation of people to follow Jesus, obey Jesus, and worship the Savior with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. It invites a new generation of Christ-followers to recover the gospel in their generation and make their stand as a bold reformer.

Bold Reformer is born out of personal pastoral turmoil and inspired by the courage of Martin Luther.  My hope is that many pastors, Christian leaders and Christ-followers will be encouraged as a result of reading this book; that God will propel them into the future by his grace and for his glory.

Endorsements:

“David Steele’s Bold Reformer is a book for our times! As we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, how appropriate to look afresh at ways the bold faith and action of Martin Luther can inspire and instruct our own faith and work. Christians today need strength of character and boldness of conviction. Steele’s presentation of Luther’s life moves readers to live bold lives that adorn the gospel of grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone.”

Dr. Bruce A. Ware, T. Rupert and Lucille Coleman Professor of Christian Theology, Chairman of the Department of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Pastoral ministry is often mingled with both blessing and despair. Many pastors experience seasons of opposition that result in discouragement and even depression. David Steele’s new work, Bold Reformer is an exploration into the gospel-centered convictions of the stalwart reformer, Martin Luther. Luther faced many pastoral hardships during his ministry, but emerged victorious because of his unwavering faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I encourage you to drink from the refreshing waters of this book and use the life of Luther as an example that emboldens you to stand strong in the midst of the fiery trial.”

Dr. Steven J. Lawson, President, OnePassion Ministries, Dallas, Texas

 

REFORMATION

CORNERED IN A CASTLE: THE RESOLVE OF MARTIN LUTHER

IMGP0693The Protestant Reformers were men of unbending principle. They were men of unyielding conviction. These men fought relentlessly for the truth. Some of the battle took place privately as godly men wrote books and treatises, which magnified the mighty work of the gospel.

The story is well-known about how Frederick the Wise arranged to have Martin Luther “kidnapped” and secretly transported from the city of Worms to the Wartburg castle where the Protestant Reformer would spend the next ten months in seclusion. These days were spent largely in isolation under the pseudonym, Junker Jörg.

Luther made good use of his time at Wartburg, translating the Greek New Testament into German, the language of the people. Leather spent hour after hour, laboring over the text and translating God’s Word for the common man. Soon, thousands of people would read the Word of God in their mother tongue for the first time. They would hear the Word of God thunder from the pulpit in their heart language.IMGP0676

After his brief stop in Wartburg, Luther made his way back to Wittenberg where his reformation efforts continued. Indeed, the Reformation tides continued to swell as the Word of God grew and people were transformed by God’s Spirit.

For more on this topic, see David Steele’s new book, Bold Reformer: Celebrating the Gospel-Centered Convictions of Martin Luther.

Dr. David Steele is the Senior Pastor at Christ Fellowship in Everson, Washington.

BOOK REVIEWS · Church History

REFORMATION THOUGHT – Alistair McGrath (1988)

0470672811_bAlistair McGrath. Reformation Thought: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell, 1988. 285 pp. $40.54

Reformation Thought: An Introduction by Alistair McGrath explores the fascinating contours of the sixteenth century. The author helps readers understand the historical, cultural, and theological context of the events that led up the Protestant Reformation.

McGrath guides readers on a fascinating Reformation tour and overviews key areas such as justification by faith, predestination, Scripture, and the sacraments.

There is much to commend about this excellent work. Pastors, students, and theologians will greatly benefit from McGrath’s work.

Biography · Calvinism · Church History · Uncategorized

RECOVERING THE REFORMATION

Today, you will have an opportunity to pick up Stephen Nichol’s excellent book, Martin Luther: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought (2002) for $1.99.

Students of the Reformation will also want to pick up my new book, Bold Reformer: Celebrating the Gospel-Centered Convictions of Martin Luther.  Here’s a brief sample: Bold Reformer - d5

The Protestant Reformers were men of unbending principle.  They were men of unyielding conviction.  These men fought relentlessly  for the truth.  Some of the battle took place privately as godly men wrote books and treatises, which magnified the mighty work of the gospel.  Much of the battle, however, took place in public as the reformers made their bold ascent into the pulpit.  Lines were drawn, the Word of God was declared, and lives were forever changed.

Oh, that we would recover the spirit of the Protestant Reformers in our day.  May our pulpits reflect the great truths that Luther boldly proclaimed.  May the great Name of Jesus be exalted in our generation.

Soli Deo gloria!

Biography · Calvinism · Church History · Leadership · REFORMATION

BOLD REFORMER: Celebrating the Gospel-Centered Convictions of Martin Luther – David S. Steele

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On April 1, 2016 my new book, Bold Reformer will be available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and Booksamillon.com.  Here’s a brief summary:

On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed the ninety-five theses to the castle door in Wittenberg. One act of courage sparked a theological firestorm in Germany that set the world ablaze in a matter of days. Spreading like wildfire, thousands were introduced to the gospel which is received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

Bold Reformer: Celebrating the Gospel-Centered Convictions of Martin Luther takes readers on a journey through a remarkable period of church history. It will challenge contemporary readers to learn the lessons of courage, and perseverance. It will inspire a new generation of people to follow Jesus, obey Jesus, and worship the Savior with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. It invites a new generation of Christ-followers to recover the gospel in their generation and make their stand as a bold reformer.

Bold Reformer is born out of personal pastoral turmoil and inspired by the courage of Martin Luther.  My hope is that many pastors, Christian leaders and Christ-followers will be encouraged as a result of reading this book; that God will propel them into the future by his grace and for his glory.

Soli Deo gloria!

BOOK REVIEWS · Calvinism · Church History

GOD’S GLORY ALONE: The Majestic Heart of Christian Faith – David Vandrunen (2015)

aGod’s Glory Alone – The Majestic Heart of Christian Faith and Life is the second title in the 5 Solas Series. The first volume by Thomas Schreiner, Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification walked readers through this important doctrine which was rediscovered in the sixteenth century. The latest installment is penned by David Vandrunen, professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California.

God’s Glory Alone unfolds in three parts. Part one, The Glory of God in Reformed Theology summarizes the essence of the Reformation and is captured by the Latin words, soli Deo gloria – ”to God alone be the glory.”

Part two, The Glory of God in Scripture is a tour of redemptive history which presents the glory of God in both testaments and also includes a section the describes the glory of Christ in the glorification of his people.

Part three, Living for God’s Glory Today includes practical application which is an overflow of the first two sections. The author presents chapters that discuss prayer, worship, and the fear of the Lord.

Vandrunen’s work is welcome addition to the 5 Solas Series and is sure to serve pastors, theologians, and Christ-followers well, especially as we near the 500th year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Soli Deo gloria!

BOOK REVIEWS · Church History · Theology

FAITH ALONE – Thomas Schreiner (2015)

Faith Alone by Thomas Schreiner is much-needed treatment of the scrinedoctrine which was rediscovered during the days of the Protestant Reformation, namely, justification by faith alone. The author makes it plain from the beginning that he does not intend to offer a comprehensive treatment of this doctrine. Rather, he guides readers through a tour of the doctrine of justification. The contours of this fascinating tour are informed by history, theology, and biblical/exegetical arguments.

Dr. Schreiner is unique among theologians as he fairly represents opposing positions and graciously refutes them. His stance toward Rome, in particular, is refreshing and sure to pose a challenge to Roman Catholic thought.

Despite the gracious intent of the author, his arguments are robust and biblical. His allegiance to the Sola Scriptura principle is evident throughout and his love for the doctrine of justification by faith alone is clear.

I commend this work highly and expect it shall receive a wide reading.

BOOK REVIEWS · Historical Fiction

LUTHER AND KATHARINA – Jody Hedlund (2015)

lutherHe was an Augustinian monk, transformed by the sovereign grace of God. His newly regenerated heart beat with passion for Jesus. His mind was devoted to the sacred Scripture. This former Roman Catholic turned Protestant rebel was mightily used by God to influence a nation and eventually the whole world for the sake of Christ’s gospel.

But one of the key themes in Luther’s life was the other love of his life, Katherina Von Bora. This fascinating love story emerges in Jody Hedlund’s new book, Luther and Katharina. This work of historical fiction captures the pathos of a woman who left the “safe” confines of the abbey. Safety was a relative term in the 16th century abbey, since the Roman Catholic church was plagued by corruption, heresy, abuse, and sexual sin.

Luther and Katharina underscores the heavy works-based orientation among the faithful. At one point in the story, one of the former nuns asks with chagrin, “Do you ever wonder if we should have stayed?” “What if God is displeased with us? What if He’s punishing us for forsaking our vows?” She continues, “What if we’ve thrown away our best chance at salvation.” Such a sentiment not only characterized the church in the 16th century. It is still a part of the warp and woof of the Roman works-based system.

Additionally, the book captures the tension between genders in a 16th century context. The author does a formidable job of fairly representing a male dominated culture, “without horns and without teeth,” as Luther might say.

Hedlund is a colorful writer, with an ability to turn a phrase and guide the imagination of the reader in the right direction. She demonstrates a good working knowledge of Reformation culture, including the priesthood of believers, cardinal doctrines such as justification by faith, and the repudiation of celibacy.

Luther and Katharina is a terrific historical read designed to awaken a thirst for authentic relationships which are grounded in gospel reality.

Highly recommended!

I received this book free from the publisher.   I was not required to write a positive review.

Biography · Calvinism · Church History · Gospel

LUTHER AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE – Carl R. Trueman (2015)

lutherMartin Luther was one of the bright shining stars of the 16th centuries who God used to restore reason to the church and recover the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Carl R. Trueman unpacks the Protestant Reformer in his latest work, Luther on the Christian Life.

The book is a balanced blend of biography, Reformation history, and theology.  Beginners and seasoned students of Luther will all benefit from Trueman’s work.

While each chapter is a worthy read, the fifth chapter, Living By the Word will be the focus of this review.  The author does a magnificent job of drawing Luther’s love for the Bible in these pages.  But he demonstrates how important the Holy Spirit was in Luther’s life and theological framework: “For Luther, the Spirit is only given with the external word.”  Indeed, the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to transform the people of God.  Eliminate the Spirit and the result is a dry rationalism.  Remove the Word and the result is a subjective train wreck.  Luther stressed the importance of both the Word and the Spirit.

Luther’s devotional life and approach to the Christian life is explored, leaving readers with much to contemplate and weight out.  The author contrasts Luther’s emphasis on being a theologian of the cross (as opposed to a theologian of glory):

The very essence of being a theologian of the cross is that one sees God’s strength as manifested in weakness.  The primary significance of that is the incarnation and the cross.  God’s means for overcoming sin and crushing death are the humiliation of his Son, hidden in human flesh.  Nevertheless, the cross also has a certain paradigmatic aspect to it, for it indicates that God does his proper work through his alien work.

Additionally, Luther’s approach to spiritual warfare is reviewed.  Anyone who battles melancholy stands in good company, for Luther battled the same throughout his adult life.  Truman adds, “Luther certainly regards the cultivation of despair as one of the primary tasks of the Devil … Everything hangs on this, from confidence before God to ethical conduct before neighbors, to the ability to look death in the face and not despair.”

Luther’s struggles are always held captive to the Word of God.  Ultimately, Luther’s relief comes when he rests in the promises of the gospel.  Luther says,

And so when I feel the terrors of death, I say: ‘Death, you have nothing on me.  For I have another death, one that kills you, my death.  And the death that kills is stronger than the death that is killed.’

Carl Trueman offers a carefully thought out treatment of Luther, which includes both triumphs and tragedies.  The reader can determine which issues merit further studies.  Luther and the Christian Life is a fine contribution to the growing work on the German Reformer.

Highly recommended!

Biography · BOOK REVIEWS · Calvinism · Church History · Theology

THE DARING MISSION OF WILLIAM TYNDALE – Steven J. Lawson (2015)

DAR05BH_200x1000American people have the right and the freedom to criticize military movements in a foreign theater.  This kind of deplorable behavior makes freedom loving Americans cringe – for the freedom to criticize is actually secured and maintained by the very soldiers “under the gun” of critique.  In like manner, Christians have become quite adept at either criticizing their theological heritage or downplaying the importance of church history which subtly undermines the heroes of the Christian faith.  This mind-numbing, soul-shrinking language that discounts the pillars of church history only strengthens the assertion that R.C. Sproul often makes: “We live in the most anti-intellectual period in all of church history.”

Yet, church history is making a comeback.  Church history is rising from the ashes and is beginning to shine once again.  The heroes of the Christian faith who have been sidelined are making their way back onto the “field.”  Calvin, Luther, Edwards, Whitefield, Knox, and Spurgeon are returning to the collective consciousness of the church – especially in the younger generation.  In my own Christian pilgrimage, I give most of the credit to R.C. Sproul for rattling the cage of my mind and shaping my hard heart in order to not only appreciate church history – but to actually love it!

Another important contributor to this resurgence in the study of church history is Steven Lawson.  In 2007, he introduced the series entitled, A Long Line of Godly Men.  The first volume, The Expository Genius of John Calvin introduced readers to the Genevan theologian and sought to “raise the bar for a new generation of expositors.”  Since that time, several new volumes have been released that survey the lives and ministries of Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther, John Knox, C.H. Spurgeon, Isaac Watts, John Owen, and George Whitefield.

The newest installment in the series, The Daring Mission of William Tyndale summarizes the life of brave Brit, credited with the first English translation of the Bible.

Lawson presents the high points of Tyndale’s life and guides readers on a step-by-step tour which culminates in the martyrdom of a courageous and godly man.

Tyndale’s theological convictions are summarized in five monumental sections:

  • Radical Corruption
  • Sovereign Election
  • Particular Redemption
  • Irresistible Call
  • Preserving Grace

Lawson is quick to alert readers to the Calvinistic piety of Tyndale, a man who stood shoulder to shoulder with the other giants of the Christian faith.

The Daring Mission of William Tyndale is yet another gift to the church from the pen of Steven Lawson.  Young and old will be challenged, emboldened and encouraged as they read about a man who lived what he preached and died for a worthy cause.

Highly recommended!

5 stars

I received this book free from the publisher.   I was not required to write a positive review.