So, I am not one that usually feels the need to put a disclaimer on my blog posts. But this time, I feel that it is necessary.
I love the Catholic faith. I may not agree with all Catholic doctrine, or every Catholic tradition. But there is much about the Catholic faith that I find beautiful, and have myself enjoyed Mass (minus communion) many-a-time. Now, with that said, I am a Protestant, and a proud one, at that. (We Norwegians get fairly passionate about our…well, passions.) So, Long Before Luther got me pretty excited. But this does not diminish my respect for my Catholic brothers and sisters. Does that make sense?
Everyone good with that?
Okay, moving onward.
One thing that always intrigued me about the Catholic faith is their history. I used to wonder where Protestantism was before Luther came along. Which is why I was anxious to get my hands on this book. With 2017 bringing the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, I thought this was the perfect time to really sit down and dig into the history of my church.
The author, Nathan Busenitz, is an Assistant Professor of Theology at the Master’s Seminary and holds a doctorate in church history with a specific focus on patristic theology. He first takes us through how the reformers defined “justification,” which I found fascinating. I had a vague working knowledge of Luther’s definition of justification, but to learn his reasoning in depth…as well as the Bible verses he was working from…was a dream for this forever-Bible-student. The book then takes us through many writings of the church fathers, all of which show that the Reformation had it’s roots long before Luther spoke up and changed the face of Christianity.
Perhaps my favorite part of the book is at the end. The author includes an appendix entitled “Voices From History,” which includes many quotes from church history, further affirming us being saved through faith, by grace alone. I could study these writings over and over.
While the author made every effort to create an easy read (and succeeded, I might add), Long Before Luther is not a book to be read quickly. It was a joy to dig into, a joy to study, and further grounded me in my Protestant beliefs. But if I hadn’t taken the time to really absorb the depth of the teaching within the pages, I feel that I would have missed all that was included inside for the reader’s benefit.
**A big ‘thank you’ to Moody Publishers for the opportunity to read and review this book! And a huge ‘thank you’ to Nathan Busenitz for all that you have taught me!