A Theology for All Seasons on the
500th Anniversary of the ReformationEdited by John Warwick Montgomery
and Gene Edwards Veith
Where Christ is Present is a book of contemplation with each chapter written by different author. Through this book we will take a look at the Church of today in contrast to both its beginnings and when Luther acted upon his convictions.
Have we unknowingly fallen back into the trap which Luther found the church of his day mired in? Have we rejected the truth of Christ's message in favour of works and self-justification? If so, we are no better off than those who spent their lives in fear that they could never "buy" enough merit with earthly priests to earn a chance to fall before God in His seat of judgment much less gain salvation.
But does this fault lie with us or with Luther for fighting against the ills he saw within the church? Has our lack of unity hurt and hindered our spiritual growth? Or has it rather been a blessing - allowing believers to come to their own conclusions in regard to Scriptural validity and their own consciences?
These various writers will help us to weed our way through to the truths about the Reformation and what Martin Luther's motivations were when he stood up to the church. Each chapter includes bibliographic source references so that we can see that their ideas are not just pulled out of a hat, like a magician's trick, but rather painstakingly researched and vetted.
Each chapter is enlightening, but during my reading three really resonated with me.
Chapter 5 The Way of Salvation The Gospel by Rod Rosenbladt in which various church doctrines are compared in how they view the Fall, its effects, and how Christ's death and resurrection SAVE the sinner.
Chapter 6 The Means of Grace The Word and Sacraments by Harold Senkbeil in which we delve into how we attempt to bridge the gaping divide between us and God. Do we turn to the Word? The Sacraments?
Chapter 9 Christian Liberty, the Arts, and J.S. Bach by Craig A. Parton in which music in regard to the Christian and worship is explored. Should our music change with the world around us? Or should it be drawn from the Scripture? Different denominational views are shared as we go through this chapter.
This book is both informative and thought provoking. Be sure to have a dictionary nearby as there are a few words that you'll need to look up as you work your way through. You won't be sorry that took the time to read this book and explore the Church of today and yesterday.
I was provided a copy of this book through iRead Book Tours in exchange for my honest review and tour participation.
Book Description for Where Christ Is Present:
Five hundred years ago, the church of Jesus Christ underwent a Reformation.
A lot happened after Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the castle church door in Wittenberg. But the fallout was not simply the start of Protestantism. The Roman Catholic Church also recast itself in response to Luther’s call for reforms. And contrary to common belief, Martin Luther did not set out to start a new church. Rather, he was trying to reform the church that already existed by reemphasizing its essence—namely, the “good news” (the gospel) that Jesus forgives and saves sinners.
The unity of the church was broken when the pope rejected this call for reform and excommunicated Luther, starting a chain of events that did lead to the institutional fracturing of Christendom and to a plethora of alternative Christian theologies. But, as many – including conservative Catholics – now admit, the church did in fact need reforming. Today, the church – including its Protestant branches – also needs reforming. Some of the issues in contemporary Christianity are very similar to those in the late Middle Ages, though others are new. But if Luther’s theology can be blamed – however unfairly – for fragmenting Christianity, perhaps today it can help us recover the wholeness of Christianity.
In the hope of that wholeness, Dr. Montgomery and Dr. Veith commissioned these essays celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, gathering some of the best contemporary voices the Lutheran church has to offer.
And we need these voices! The religious climate in the early 21st-century is simultaneously highly religious and highly secularized. It is a time of extraordinary spiritual and theological diversity. This book will propose the kind of Christianity that is best suited for our day. The remedies offered here are available by way of the same theology that was the catalyst for reforming the church five hundred years ago.
John Warwick Montgomery is the author of more than sixty books in six languages. He holds eleven earned degrees, including a Master of Philosophy in Law from the University of Essex, England, a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, a Doctorate of the University in Protestant Theology from the University of Strasbourg, France, and the higher doctorate in law (LL.D.) from the University of Cardiff, Wales. He is a Lutheran clergyman, an English barrister, and is admitted to practice as a lawyer before the Supreme Court of the United States and is a practicing avocat, Barreau de Paris, France. Dr. Montgomery currently serves as Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at Concordia University Wisconsin.
Gene Edward Veith is the Provost and Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity and Culture.
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