Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation follows the glorious story of several reformers as they battled, many to the point of death, for a truth they knew to be evident in the Scriptures – that Christ accomplished the whole work of salvation and that man contributes nothing.
Reformers – The Means God Used to Rescue The Gospel
I just finished Erwin Lutzer’s wonderful little book, Rescuing the Gospel and I will admit I was unsure when I started.
My husband recommended this book to me when he finished it and it seemed timely enough because the 500 year anniversary of the official start to the reformation (Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the door of the castle church at Wittenberg) is just around the corner.
I will admit, however, that I was somewhat nervous about this book based on the title. I can wholeheartedly attest to the idea that the truth is like a lion, we don’t have to defend it, we need only to loose it and it will take care of itself.
The title of this book is Rescuing the Gospel which grated against me because I do not believe God’s glorious Gospel has ever needed man to rescue it.
However, at Bill’s prompting, I began this small book and I was greatly encouraged.
You see, Lutzer’s point is not that any man or woman is worthy of our adoration because they alone succeeded in rescuing the Gospel. His point instead is to highlight the history of God’s preserving and rescuing His Gospel from the hands of Satan who would dare add human effort to His Divine plan.
This book follows the glorious story of several reformers as they battled, many to the point of death, for a truth they knew to be evident in the Scriptures – that Christ accomplished the whole work of salvation and that man contributes nothing.
You see, the Gospel is clear throughout Scripture but because of our pride, humanity is not content with the idea that we accomplish nothing. As people we want to believe the best of ourselves even though the Bible makes it clear that nothing good lives in us (Romans 7:18). We are not sick in need of some help. We are dead in need of life (Ephesians 2:1).
The Challenging History of the Reformers God Used
In the pages of Rescuing the Gospel, we follow Martin Luther as he attempts to reform the Catholic church from within. We learn about his tremendous impact in the German culture as a whole, and the implications that impact has all over the world today.
We follow Calvin as he digs into truth at a young age and changes the face of Protestantism from his post in Geneva.
Lutzer leads us on a journey with John Huss, Ulrich Zwingli, the puritans, as well as modern movements.
Lutzer does not, however, leave us thinking these men were perfect or even that they rescued the Gospel. He gives God the glory. He also denounces many false teachings and the gut wrenching ramifications of those teachings which the reformers believed.
Lutzer does not shy away from the Nazi’s use of Martin Luther’s troubling words or Zwingli’s approval of the drowning deaths of many within the Anabaptist movement.
The reader is left with both joy and despair.
We despair that these men were so blind to the overtly sinful words and deeds that proceeded from their lives. If we are honest, we see ourselves in them.
We rejoice that God, in His infinite grace, would choose to use such feeble means to change the course of human history. We rejoice that He continues to use us and our feeble means.
I highly recommend this book to you, especially now as we celebrate what is a beautiful turning point in the history of the church.
God is at work in His people. He has always used His Word to change lives. He is the One who defends and yes, even rescues, His Gospel. God uses feeble means and He, therefore, receives all the glory.
I would encourage you to get a copy of this book and take the time to celebrate the God of the reformation and the truth He has always protected.
Do you have other book recommendations about the reformation?
Looking for other book recommendations, check out 6 Must Read Books for Christian Women