With this year being the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, everyone should be reading something about Martin Luther, and this particular book is a good choice for either beginner or dyed-in-the-wool Lutheran. Everything from Luther's life, his teaching, his interactions with other reformers, and the legacy he left behind is addressed here.
This book is divided into three sections that are each addressed through a series of essays written by an impressive team of theologians. While it is interesting to read the writing of various scholars and appreciate the way their essays support one another, it also inevitably creates some repetitiveness. My favorite section was the first: Luther's Life, which is a brief biography of Luther including how his beliefs were formed and evolved throughout his life.
The writers do not attempt to turn Luther into something he was not, and his faults are part of who he was. God used this temperamental and at times judgmental man. 'Because of the magnitude of the disorders, God gave this age a violent physician.' Luther was not passive and conciliatory, but he was who was needed to put the Reformation in motion.
The second section of the book covers Luther's Thought. This is a highly spiritual discussion of the tenets of faith that may be less familiar to those who are approaching this as a scholarly rather than a devotional work. Scripture Alone does not sound like a controversial stance to take now, but Luther shook the world with it. Each chapter covers the main issues that were written about by Luther and how they impacted the 16th century.
Finally, Luther's Legacy, the third section of the book, looks at the various roles Luther filled and what his impact was long after his death. It is here where we learn that Luther not only translated the Bible into German, but he helped form the German language into its modern form when he did so. He not only wrote hymns that involved his congregation in spiritual music, he was inspiration for future musicians such as Bach.
To this day, Wittenberg and the entire country of Germany celebrate Luther for the sacrificial work he performed that continues to have an important effect on us all centuries later. If you have ever wondered what all the fuss is about, this book is a good place to start.
I received this book through NetGalley. Opinions are my own.