Book Review
Reformation: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Reformation: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

by Carl Trueman
127 pages

Sometimes people wonder whether some Christian books apply to their lives. The reader of this little book won’t wonder. The point of the book is to look at the theology of the reformers, especially Luther, and to apply that to us today, as individuals and as a church, “Reformed, and continually reforming.”

Carl Trueman is now Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. When he wrote this book 12 years ago he was teaching at a Scottish university and had been asked to give four talks at a conference at the Evangelical Theological College in Wales. It was published in Wales in 2000, and again by Christian Focus in 2011.

In the first chapter the theme of the book is presented. “The Pearl of Great Price: The Relevance of the Reformation Today” That principle is applied in Chapter 2 to the centrality of the Cross of Christ, in Chapter 3 to the Word and words, Scripture and preaching, and in Chapter 4 to the importance of the idea of assuredness of believers. In that last chapter he addresses “an obsession” of some “with the experience of the believer as a basis of assurance.” Throughout Trueman goes back to the reformers for basic principles.

Here are some quotes from the first half of the book:

What Generation X and the New Age movement are actually telling the church is that the human heart is ineradicably idolatrous [Ineradicable: Impossible to eradicate or be eradicated: ineradicable stains.], that men and women will do anything and believe in anything rather than face up to the claims of the triune God on their lives.  p. 36.
What Luther is rebelling against here is the tendency that he perceived among theologians in his own day to create a picture of God which reflected merely humanity’s own expectations of what God should be like. p. 41.
Luther’s whole theology can be quite accurately summed up as one protracted attempt to direct men and women to God in human flesh, Jesus of Nazareth, and him crucified. p. 48.
What is the Christian believer to expect from life? Health, wealth and happiness? … True Christian expectations center on the cross and involve an acceptance, if not the willing embrace, of the suffering, weakness and marginalization which inevitably come to those who follow in the footsteps of the master. p. 53.

Strong stuff. What I have quoted might fall in to the “I already know all that” category, but, do we really?

Dean Brown