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Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom

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Martin Luther's historical significance can hardly be overstated. Known as the father of the Protestant Reformation, no single figure has had a greater impact on Western Christianity except perhaps Augustine. In Luther on the Christian Life, historian Carl Trueman introduces readers to the lively Reformer, taking them on a tour of his historical context, theological system Martin Luther's historical significance can hardly be overstated. Known as the father of the Protestant Reformation, no single figure has had a greater impact on Western Christianity except perhaps Augustine. In Luther on the Christian Life, historian Carl Trueman introduces readers to the lively Reformer, taking them on a tour of his historical context, theological system, and approach to the Christian life. Whether exploring Luther's theology of protest, ever-present sense of humor, or misunderstood view of sanctification, this addition to Crossway's Theologians on the Christian Life series highlights the ways in which Luther's eventful life shaped his understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Ultimately, this book will help modern readers go deeper in their spiritual walk by learning from one of the great teachers of the faith.


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Martin Luther's historical significance can hardly be overstated. Known as the father of the Protestant Reformation, no single figure has had a greater impact on Western Christianity except perhaps Augustine. In Luther on the Christian Life, historian Carl Trueman introduces readers to the lively Reformer, taking them on a tour of his historical context, theological system Martin Luther's historical significance can hardly be overstated. Known as the father of the Protestant Reformation, no single figure has had a greater impact on Western Christianity except perhaps Augustine. In Luther on the Christian Life, historian Carl Trueman introduces readers to the lively Reformer, taking them on a tour of his historical context, theological system, and approach to the Christian life. Whether exploring Luther's theology of protest, ever-present sense of humor, or misunderstood view of sanctification, this addition to Crossway's Theologians on the Christian Life series highlights the ways in which Luther's eventful life shaped his understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Ultimately, this book will help modern readers go deeper in their spiritual walk by learning from one of the great teachers of the faith.

30 review for Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mark Nenadov

    This is now the third book I've read in the "Theologians on the Christian life" series by Crossway, edited by Justin Taylor and Stephen J. Nicholls. The author, Carl Trueman (apparently not related to the other Mr. Trueman, the jailor in John Bunyan's Holy War), is perhaps the Reformed/Presbyterian community's "resident Luther expert." Though I will freely grant his importance as a Reformer and influence on Western Christianity and I respect him as "the father of Protestantism," for whatever reas This is now the third book I've read in the "Theologians on the Christian life" series by Crossway, edited by Justin Taylor and Stephen J. Nicholls. The author, Carl Trueman (apparently not related to the other Mr. Trueman, the jailor in John Bunyan's Holy War), is perhaps the Reformed/Presbyterian community's "resident Luther expert." Though I will freely grant his importance as a Reformer and influence on Western Christianity and I respect him as "the father of Protestantism," for whatever reason I've rarely found myself excited to read a book by or about Martin Luther. But I have an inability to say no to books that call my name, so alas, here I go. This book has a different flavor than the other two I've read. Certainly there is less of a popular feel to it, and it gets into more involved areas of theology and ecclesiology to an extent which I haven't seen in other books in this series. Trueman's command of his subject shines through a bit more brightly than Nicholls on Bonhoeffer or Ortlund on Edwards. Though Ortlund and Nicholls' books have some areas of strength comparatively speaking, Trueman generally handles his subject in a way that instills more confidence in the accuracy and evenness of the portrayal. Trueman paints Luther skilfully and fairly. I especially appreciated Trueman's discussion of humor in the conclusionand also the section where he speaks about the misunderstanding of Luther's teaching on sanctification. I also found the discussion of "anfechtungen" to be surprisingly lucid. I can't say that Trueman has "blown me away" with this book, either. On the negative side, I feel like he sort of got bogged down in discussing historical aspects of Luther's views and practices on liturgy and the sacraments. I'm not saying that these things aren't relevant. They clearly are. However, I feel like they sort of crowded out other aspects that may have been slightly underdeveloped. It seems that he was just sort of rushing to fit in vocation, marriage, children, etc. That said, though, Trueman has delivered a solid presentation on what we can learn from Martin Luther on the Christian life. It is detailed, well-organized, conveys enthusiasm, interesting, and useful. What more can we ask for? It is a profitable read and well worth taking the time to work through.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    One of my favorite authors writing about one of my first favorite subjects in church history. A spectacular addition to a great series!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Grayson Gilbert

    In similar accord to Bonhoeffer and Lewis, Luther is often marginalized by the appeal to a broader evangelical context than he would fit within during his own lifetime. Trueman, recognizing the weaknesses of this approach, argues for a more sensible reading in moving beyond the modernly-evangelicalized Luther by studying the real Luther; the systematic thinking, often bombastic, Christian man, in his own historical context (22). The reason for moving beyond this one-dimensional study of Luther is In similar accord to Bonhoeffer and Lewis, Luther is often marginalized by the appeal to a broader evangelical context than he would fit within during his own lifetime. Trueman, recognizing the weaknesses of this approach, argues for a more sensible reading in moving beyond the modernly-evangelicalized Luther by studying the real Luther; the systematic thinking, often bombastic, Christian man, in his own historical context (22). The reason for moving beyond this one-dimensional study of Luther is painfully obvious: we can never be challenged with a shallow reading focusing only upon areas of agreement. In the scope of many other works on Luther, Trueman devotes time discussing Luther’s high sacramentology, his post-1525 writings, the historical/personal context shaping his theological advancements, and the distinction to being a “theologian of the cross” as opposed to a “theologian of glory.” Trueman’s basic framework draws mainly from Table Talk publications (among other notable works) in the following structure. Chapter one describes Luther’s biographical life, particularly linking Luther’s early life experiences to his existential crises, leading to the dominating shift into a Law-Gospel theology. Beyond this, Trueman highlights specific events shaping Luther’s theology, for example: The Bondage of the Will being not only a response to Erasmus, but undermining the authority of the Papacy. The second and third chapters deal more extensively with Luther’s understanding of the “theologian of the cross,” and subsequently, the power of the Word preached. Thus, the true “theologian of the cross” will be dominated by the idea of the scripture’s supremacy and power to effectively change the hearts of hearers. The fourth and fifth chapters respectively deal with Luther’s liturgical values and how the Word addresses individual souls. Thus, maturation in the Christian life is not simply one of rote memorization and catechesis, but a profoundly moral exercise intended to grip our affections for God by the knowledge of scripture. Chapter 6 draws out Luther’s sacramentology on the effectiveness and importance of baptism and the presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. Chapter seven draws upon Luther’s response to the “long-haul,” recognizing the Immanent Return of Christ was delayed beyond his expectations, thus forcing a structured response to Christian living in lieu of licentiousness and antinomian tendencies. Finally, in chapter 8, Trueman reveals Luther’s pastoral nature, specifically with the ordinary aspects of every day life and common struggles of believers. Trueman fairly reveals Luther, warts and all, as a sinner justified in Christ, mastered by the ideals of being a “theologian of the cross.” This was evidenced in seemingly small ways, such as a tract written on prayer for a barber, yet ultimately, in his ability to effectively point to the cross as a source of perseverance through doubt, trial, the pain of death, and the common struggles of man. Personally, what resonated most deeply was the pastoral devotion Luther had for his congregants, sparing time for hospitality, developing catechisms for the maturation of their faith, and utilizing the cross as the means by which we grow to love God. For the clarity with which Trueman writes and this brief, yet illuminating work upon the life of Luther, I would wholeheartedly recommend this book. Disclosure: I received this book free from Crossway Books through the Beyond the Page book reviewer program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/wa.... Find other book reviews @ gilsongraybert.wordpress.com

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jon Jester

    Maybe the best biography I've ever read, and maybe the best book on the reformation I've read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cole Brown

    Carl Trueman is given a difficult task: summarize Luther's interesting life and profound theology and focus specifically and how it applies to the Christian life. What's more, he has to do all of this within 215 pages and on a popular reading level. Thankfully, he succeeds. I highly recommend this as an introduction to Luther and his theology or, if already familiar with both, as a means of reflecting on how both can guide us in our living the Christian life today.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Colin Buchanan

    I loved this book. Trueman has created a work that is both substantial and accessible. As an academic, he has kindly done the hard work of descending the mine shaft of Luther's words and emerging back onto the surface - where most of us live - with a sack of precious ore only found deep underground. But he then refines and applies and demonstrates that, although profound, Luther's writings and reflections have much to offer me in my doubting, my pride, my weakness, my self-reliance and 21st centu I loved this book. Trueman has created a work that is both substantial and accessible. As an academic, he has kindly done the hard work of descending the mine shaft of Luther's words and emerging back onto the surface - where most of us live - with a sack of precious ore only found deep underground. But he then refines and applies and demonstrates that, although profound, Luther's writings and reflections have much to offer me in my doubting, my pride, my weakness, my self-reliance and 21st century individualism. What could easily be met with a "Yeah. Got that." is stirred over a slow heat to let the aroma - and nutrition - of "Christ is enough" do it's life-saving, life-wide work. Trueman's recipe is historical, theological and sociological - a masterful combination that looses some brilliant heart-arrows from the life and writings of Luther into the heart of the reader. The theologian of glory Vs the theologian of the cross comparison is observed, explained and applied brilliantly. Word and sacrament as the great summary of Christian ministry is likewise probed with practical implications for shepherd and flock alike. ("In the gospel, God doesn't find, he creates." Gold.) The chapter on life and death is potent, personal and powerful. Luther's family life - the death of his dear little Magdalene, the delight of his marriage to Katie - are full of moving - as well as amusing - authenticity, shaped so vitally by the gospel. Carl Trueman is an author who loves to stir, raise hackles, touch nerves and provoke. His clear familiarity with and affection for Luther explains much of what flavours his work. But this never feels like fanboy nerdism. Luther's shortcomings, faults and the developing nature of his theology are not glossed over. Clearly the man had his faults. But I love that ultimately what the life of Luther to offers me is a fresh call to look to our big God and His stunning work in saving for himself a people to know Him in Christ, together shaped and served by word and sacrament. This book has a vital message for us as believers and disciples, for church members, pastors and teachers alike. I thank Carl Trueman for introducing me to the life and times and truths that shaped Luther and for using the reformer's remarkable walk of faith to help shape my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mike Greenwell

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is a great starter book to learning about the life of Martin Luther. It cuts to all of the most important moments in his life, giving you a great understanding of why Martin Luther is renowned as a pertinent historical figure, and that especially in the Christian church. As a follower of Jesus myself, by learning about Luther I felt convicted on many topics such as the importance of Scripture, baptism, penance, and communion in my life. Luther took thes I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is a great starter book to learning about the life of Martin Luther. It cuts to all of the most important moments in his life, giving you a great understanding of why Martin Luther is renowned as a pertinent historical figure, and that especially in the Christian church. As a follower of Jesus myself, by learning about Luther I felt convicted on many topics such as the importance of Scripture, baptism, penance, and communion in my life. Luther took these practices very seriously. In 2019, it is rare to find a church body, let alone an individual Christian, who takes these practices as serious as they should be taken as they were given by God to man for God's glory and certainly not our own, even if our own existed. Amongst the conviction this book brings, be sure to expect convictions against Luther as well. He was a haughty individual. His frequent joking about beer and farts seem to be all in fun. However, there are things that you will learn about this man that will surely be off-putting, possibly a deal-breaker as a Christian influence. All the greater reason to pick this book up and find out who Luther was, how he contributed to the history of the church in the early 1500s, and how that changed the course of history for the Christian church, which in turn, even echoes into the very church you are a part of today. Enjoy!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joel Zartman

    One of the things this book endeavors is to contrast Luther with contemporary evangelicalism. It is done in the interest of historical accuracy and proper Christian memory of the past, but also in the interests of contemporary evangelicals. Christian history is a great repository of wisdom, insight and warnings, but we have to get it right to obtain the benefits. Trueman's message about Luther is: accept no substitutes, they aren't worth it. It's a good book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Griffith

    Excellent treatment of a remarkable life While this volume isn’t intended to be a biography per se, it not only captures Luther’s vision of the Christian life but introduces the reader to Luther’s complicated and remarkable life.

  10. 4 out of 5

    David Morrison

    Colourful character This book brough the great reformed to life with colour and clarity. So many lessons for 21st century believers to help us to continue to walk according to the glory of God.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mark Loughridge

    A dense enough book, but packed with great insight and application. Really enjoyed it - especially the chapter on the theology of the Word preached

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jean-Daniel Veer

    Honestly, one of most challenging and awesome reads of the last few years. I've learned so much. By challenging, I really mean that it questioned conclusions that I had for a long time. I had and still have to reevaluate the assurance of some of my positions I've held for so long, and maybe even change my position. Only time will tell here. We are beggars. This is true. (And the reformation is not all you think it is!)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    "And his emphasis on the objectivity of the action of God in Christ puts all things in perspective and exposes our lives outside of Christ for what they are, acts in a silly farce played out in the shadow of the beckoning grave." A strong finish.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jon Green

    As someone who didn't know much about the life and theology of Luther beyond they most basic facts I felt this book was a good introduction and primer. I'm interested in reading more books in this series and more of Luther because of this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Nice read and great blend of what really matters about Luther with a bit of biography and how it can impact us today....

  16. 4 out of 5

    Richard Lawrence

    This is a great book that addresses exactly what its title says. Carl Trueman aims to give a synthesis of Luther's views on christian living from across the breadth of Luther's teaching and both his earlier and later works. Luther saw the christian life as a see-saw that simplistically be presented as: 1. you're pushed down by sin and doubt and despair of one kind or another 2. you hear the word preached and receive the bread and wine and rise up again in joy 3. return to step 1 Obviously this model c This is a great book that addresses exactly what its title says. Carl Trueman aims to give a synthesis of Luther's views on christian living from across the breadth of Luther's teaching and both his earlier and later works. Luther saw the christian life as a see-saw that simplistically be presented as: 1. you're pushed down by sin and doubt and despair of one kind or another 2. you hear the word preached and receive the bread and wine and rise up again in joy 3. return to step 1 Obviously this model centred around regular church attendance - where else would you hear the word. Though Carl Trueman also discusses Luther's teaching on a daily lived out christian life, love demonstrated in action in all of life. There's a lot of great practical wisdom here - we may not agree with Luther on everything and yet he has much to offer. My one criticism of the book is the writing style, it feels unnecessarily verbose and in places overly casual. I think it could have been 10% shorter without removing any content. Also I think an editor may have gone through changing random male pronouns to gender neutral or female ones to make the book sound more "appropriate" -I sincerely doubt that Carl Trueman, the quintessential Christian Grumpy old man, had made some of those linguistic chooses.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alice Gent

    An interesting, honest and down to earth look at the theology of Luther, with a particular basis to how it looked day by day and our implications for today. I found this book difficult to start with. Chapter 1 was a brief overview of his life, but Chapter 2 needed assumed foreknowledge about nominalism and some medieval world views. I thought this book wouldn't be for me, but this disappears in the future Chapters where it becomes much more readable and interesting. I was helpful to see how diff An interesting, honest and down to earth look at the theology of Luther, with a particular basis to how it looked day by day and our implications for today. I found this book difficult to start with. Chapter 1 was a brief overview of his life, but Chapter 2 needed assumed foreknowledge about nominalism and some medieval world views. I thought this book wouldn't be for me, but this disappears in the future Chapters where it becomes much more readable and interesting. I was helpful to see how different some of Luther's beliefs were to the typical evangelical Christian of today, particularly on baptism and the Lord's Supper. This is challenging me to think more deeply and to look for areas in my beliefs that I have just accepted blindly. I certainly feel like I know a lot more about Luther now and will always be challenged to not be a theologian of glory!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vaclav

    These series are very good because they help me to understand the theologian written about and their overall teaching on the Christian life as applied for our times. And this great book on Luther and his thoughts on the Christian life, in particular, the gospel of the cross and the freedom of the Christian is a treasure trove to read and re-read. Here's a quote from the book "There is also a sense in which all Christians are people divided against themselves: clothed in the righteousness of Chri These series are very good because they help me to understand the theologian written about and their overall teaching on the Christian life as applied for our times. And this great book on Luther and his thoughts on the Christian life, in particular, the gospel of the cross and the freedom of the Christian is a treasure trove to read and re-read. Here's a quote from the book "There is also a sense in which all Christians are people divided against themselves: clothed in the righteousness of Christ and yet always striving to justify themselves by their own righteousness. That inner conflict is part of the very essence of what it means to be a Christian in a fallen world this side of glory."

  19. 5 out of 5

    Peter F

    This was an excellent systematizing of Luther's thought on the Christian life. Also doubles as an introduction to the basics of ordinary means of grace ministry which is common to both the Lutheran and the Reformed as opposed to the obsession with technique within broader evangelicalism. Trueman highlights Luther's emphasis on the objective work of Christ as presented to the Christian in Word and sacrament. This is a controlling feature of Luther's thought on preaching, baptism, the Lord's suppe This was an excellent systematizing of Luther's thought on the Christian life. Also doubles as an introduction to the basics of ordinary means of grace ministry which is common to both the Lutheran and the Reformed as opposed to the obsession with technique within broader evangelicalism. Trueman highlights Luther's emphasis on the objective work of Christ as presented to the Christian in Word and sacrament. This is a controlling feature of Luther's thought on preaching, baptism, the Lord's supper, as well as the answer and confirm in all the varieties of trials the Christian will experience.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rex Blackburn

    This isn't a fair rating. The book was just not at all what I expected it to be. I came into it expecting something like Reinke's 'Newton on the Christian Life,' but that's not at all what I found. I guess that speaks to the differences between the authors and the subjects themselves. I'm sure this book had so much more to offer than I was able to get, but my expectations, the style, and my current life situation all conspired to make this a difficult book to push through. I'll definitely try aga This isn't a fair rating. The book was just not at all what I expected it to be. I came into it expecting something like Reinke's 'Newton on the Christian Life,' but that's not at all what I found. I guess that speaks to the differences between the authors and the subjects themselves. I'm sure this book had so much more to offer than I was able to get, but my expectations, the style, and my current life situation all conspired to make this a difficult book to push through. I'll definitely try again in a few years!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andy White

    Firstly I should say that I am a Trueman fan, particularly his church history lectures. While I don't always see eye to eye with him, I appreciate his candour, clarity and cumudgeonly dry wit. I'm this book he presents a complete overview of Luther, the progression of his theology and how that shaped his view of the Christian life. Trueman has taken Luther's prodigious body of work, his developing thoughts and intriguing life and presented then in a coherent and accessible way. If you want a boo Firstly I should say that I am a Trueman fan, particularly his church history lectures. While I don't always see eye to eye with him, I appreciate his candour, clarity and cumudgeonly dry wit. I'm this book he presents a complete overview of Luther, the progression of his theology and how that shaped his view of the Christian life. Trueman has taken Luther's prodigious body of work, his developing thoughts and intriguing life and presented then in a coherent and accessible way. If you want a book to give you a good introduction to Luther as well as what we can learn from him then this is it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hank Pharis

    This is a very good survey of Luther's life and theology. The title however is a little misleading as the book is not primarily about Luther on the Christian Life but more all of his life and theology. (Note: I'm stingy with stars. For me 2 stars means a good book. 3 = Very good; 4 = Outstanding {only about 5% of the books I read merit this}; 5 = All time favorites {one of these may come along every 400-500 books})

  23. 5 out of 5

    Davi Saro

    I am glad I read this book but must say it was dry at times. That’s my brief review. For more extended comments, read on. At first, I thought this book was more of a biography, but Luther's life was only covered in the first chapter. The rest of the book dealt with what Luther thought, what was very important to him, and how he applied his theology to the Christian life. This book was not a quick read. It was more like a textbook: you plodded through it, knowing the content was good. Here are som I am glad I read this book but must say it was dry at times. That’s my brief review. For more extended comments, read on. At first, I thought this book was more of a biography, but Luther's life was only covered in the first chapter. The rest of the book dealt with what Luther thought, what was very important to him, and how he applied his theology to the Christian life. This book was not a quick read. It was more like a textbook: you plodded through it, knowing the content was good. Here are some highlights of what stood out for me: “What readers must by the and have found remarkable is the way Dr. Trueman has brought clarity and some sense of system to the often obscure, paradoxical, and anything – but – systematic writings of Luther on the Christian life.” P. 202, Afterword “Indeed, he wrote theology from the position of being immersed in the mucky reality of everyday life.” P.26 “A theologian who ultimately helps us to remember that we are of no lasting earthly importance whatsoever has crucial importance in an era obsessed with numbers of Twitter followers and Facebook friends…I love Luther because it was his highest ambition to let God be God.“ P.29 Despite what I wrote in the beginning, in flipping through the pages once again, I noticed I had marked the book quite a bit. Which means I found it engaging. For the more serious reader of theology, I recommend this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Skipr

    How can I please God? Is that even possible? How can I arrive at the answer? Are these questions I even need to think about? This book is the one of the best books I read this year, and it does a fantastic job of explaining how Martin Luther answered those questions.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Piper

    It took me several months to read this book. That is not due to any fault of the book, but just to the craziness of my own life. There is much here to learn from, to dwell on, and to thoughtfully consider. Recommended.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Zach Barnhart

    I’ve been anticipating this book for nearly four months now. After reading Dane Ortlund’s splendid volume on Jonathan Edwards, I knew this series’ volume on Luther by the always enjoyable Carl Trueman would certainly not disappoint. A Reformed reader reading a book on Luther is kind of like a basketball fan watching a documentary on Michael Jordan. The highlights of their career are pretty well already cemented in history and well-remembered, and their coming to prominence is old news. The most a I’ve been anticipating this book for nearly four months now. After reading Dane Ortlund’s splendid volume on Jonathan Edwards, I knew this series’ volume on Luther by the always enjoyable Carl Trueman would certainly not disappoint. A Reformed reader reading a book on Luther is kind of like a basketball fan watching a documentary on Michael Jordan. The highlights of their career are pretty well already cemented in history and well-remembered, and their coming to prominence is old news. The most avid of their “fanbase” even know small, unique stories they love to recount and tell. Anyone familiar with the Protestant Reformation can tell you about Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, his opposition to the papacy, his brash yet whimsical attitude, and his passion for justification by faith alone. Such people mention his marquee work The Bondage of the Will, or his famed commentary in Galatians. Yet what Trueman does in this volume is not merely recant old hat; he enlightens us on what made Luther tick, the convictions that drove his actions, and how to sort through the various controversies of the life of one of the Reformation’s perennial pioneers. I particularly liked this quote from Trueman’s introduction as he reflects on Luther: I find Luther to be one of the most human theologians there is, certainly among Protestants. His humor alone endears him to me. His last written words—”We are beggars; this is true”—set all human pretensions to greatness and divinity in tragicomic perspective. A theologian who ultimately helps us to remember that we are of no lasting earthly importance whatsoever has crucial importance in an era obsessed with numbers of Twitter followers and Facebook friends (29). As I prepare for pastoral ministry, I sometimes struggle to read men like Calvin and Owen and Edwards, as they seem so perfect, even inhuman, most of the time. All we know of such men is their deep passion for the Scriptures and God Himself; they seem so above the humanity of heart we’re subjected to daily! But with Luther, we are able to not only read him, but laugh with him, and identify with him. Trueman kept Luther’s humanness intact throughout, making it an easy read to my surprise. There is more to Martin than the average evangelical knows of. I’ve read a fair amount of Luther, from essays to commentaries to catechisms, but along the way I’ve missed some of Luther’s passions and motivations. From my personal study I know he devoted a great deal to the doctrine of justification and the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, for example, but Trueman’s book helped me see Luther’s passion for sound liturgy, and his deep view of the sacraments. Above all, I was glad to see Trueman speak extensively on the distinction between the “theologian of glory” and “theologian of cross.” I had seen this concept associated with Luther before, but not to this length. The distinction really helped me grab some key insights to take from Luther’s theology and apply to my preaching of solus Christus (another Luther-centric pillar expounded by Trueman). Some key quotes: Throughout the centuries, theologians have often been preoccupied with the cross for what it offers: penal substitutionary atonement, expiation of sin, triumph over the Devil, an example of devotion to God that others should strive to follow. Luther’s understanding of the cross, however, brings out another important aspect; the cross as revelation of God toward us and also as an indicator of where we stand before God (81). “I would gladly have a German mass today. I am also occupied with it. But I would very much like it to have a true German character. For to translate the Latin text and retain the Latin tone or notes has my sanction, though it doesn’t sound polished or well done. Both the text and notes, accent, melody, and manner of rendering ought to grow out of the true mother tongue and its inflection, otherwise all of it becomes an imitation. In the manner of the apes” (113). If Luther were alive today, he would no doubt see the passion aroused in the secular world by the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality as an example of this: God’s Word does not just tell us certain things are wrong; in so doing, it tells us that we are not who we like to think we are, the masters of our own self-created identities and destinies, but instead creatures subject to the Creator (98). With a figure like Martin Luther, the tendency will always be to make him a hero or a villain…What are we to do with him? The answer, I believe, is actually very simple: we are to see him as one of us (59). The last quote is the reason you should read this book. This man is one of us, and we’d do well to understand a brother like Martin. Carl Trueman has written a very well researched account of Luther. It’s not just a summation of doctrine, it’s not biography. It’s a peek inside the mind, heart, and life of one of the most prolific figures of the Church we would all do well to learn from. I was provided this book via Crossway in exchange for my review. All page references relate to iBooks edition.

  27. 5 out of 5

    James Shrimpton

    A good and helpful introduction to Luther and his thought.

  28. 5 out of 5

    george kantartzis

    Read pages 137-158

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    “The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it.” - Martin Luther This is a fantastic book. Both Luther and Trueman offer a lot of beautiful insights in these pages.”

  30. 4 out of 5

    Good Michigan Reads

    The aspect that makes this book unique from other works on Luther is Truman’s ongoing comparison of Luther with modern evangelical faith and practice.

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