9.5 Theses: Suggested Reading on the Reformation – Ligonier


Reformation Day 2022. Let’s talk books – Reformation history books. Reformation doctrine books. Reformation spiritual growth books. Books for adults, books for children, books for teenagers.

This fine little article by Barry York highlights in a clever way how we can help Reformation churches and her members grow in their knowledge of and commitment to the principles of our Protestant heritage. Here’s how York puts it:

Returning now to the opening question, what might be some guidelines to help a church grow in its knowledge of the Reformation through some of the best books written on it? In the spirit of Luther, here are 9.5 theses to give congregations a suggested plan. This plan focuses on encouraging (1) quality books rather than a quantity of books; (2) a simple yet comprehensive strategy; and (3) a longer-term, deepening approach to help a congregation mature in its knowledge of the Reformation.

I’ve selected three of his categories (“theses”) for you in this post, but by all means read the complete article. And then, gather up some good books on the Reformation! Like this one – for the children!


Thesis 4: Trace the spread of the Reformation through other key figures. Well-written biographies help bring the history and characters of the Reformation alive. By reading these stories, God’s people can see how the fires of the Reformation spread into other countries. Here are just three lives to give a taste of how this happened.

Martin Bucer was on hand for the Heidelberg Disputation in 1518 when Luther defended another set of twenty-eight theses. Bucer was influenced tremendously by Luther. The relatively recent English translation of Martin Greschat’s biography Martin Bucer: A Reformer and His Times captures this Swiss Reformer’s life. Next, John Calvin spent three years in Strasbourg learning from Bucer, and readers will get to know this great Reformer well by reading either the careful treatise John Calvin: A Biography by T.H.L. Parker or Bruce Gordon’s longer and more personal look at his life simply titled Calvin. Finally, John Knox spent time with Calvin in Geneva before returning to Scotland, and Steven Lawson’s John Knox: Fearless Faith is a succinct, approachable summary of his life.

Thesis 5: Don’t forget the little children. Helping families train their children by suggesting or providing books written for their age range, or even reading the stories in church classes, is a great way to encourage the coming generation. Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World by Paul L. Maier is a great picture book for young children. Catherine MacKenzie’s Little Lights series has several titles featuring the Reformers above, such as Martin Luther: What Should I Do?John Calvin: What Is the Truth?, and John Knox: Who Will Save You?, for those just learning to read. Reformation ABCs: The People, Places, and Things of the Reformation―from A to Z by Stephen Nichols provides a helpful alphabet-style overview of the Reformation period.

Thesis 6: Engage the young people as well. For elementary and middle school children, When Lightning Struck! by Danika Cooley tells of Luther’s life. The Trailblazers series offers other inspiring biographies such as John Calvin: After Darkness, Light and John Knox: The Sharpened Sword by Catherine MacKenzie. Robert Godfrey’s Reformation Sketches: Insights into Luther, Calvin, and the Confessions will help high school and college students as it provides some brief biographies as well as a look at some of the Reformed confessions, which helps students know why some of their churches are named Westminster or why they use a catechism called Heidelberg.

Source: 9.5 Theses: Suggested Reading on the Reformation | Tabletalk

Published in: on October 31, 2022 at 9:14 PM  Leave a Comment  

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