The Reformation and Women – Book Feature

As we continue to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation this year (1517-2017), we have been taking a glimpse at some of the new books being written and published in commemoration.

Many of these paint a broad picture of God’s reformation of the church and of Protestantism, covering its various movements and branches. Others focus on the main characters of the great Reformation – Luther, Calvin, Knox, and others of particular significance.

Not to be forgotten are the women who played an important role in this mighty reformatory event. For God, as He has throughout the history of His church, used many women – of high degree and low degree (humanly speaking) – to turn His people back to His Word during the 16th century.

And there are several old and new books that highlight the role that women played in the great Reformation. Today let’s feature some of them, so that the ladies, as well as the men, may profit from God’s work through His queens and nuns.

Reformation-Women-VanDoodewaard-2017A brand new one recently published is Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity’s Rebirth , written by Rebecca VanDoodewaard and published by Reformation Heritage Books (2017). Here is some detail on this title as found on the publisher’s website:

Women are an essential element in church history. Just as Deborah, Esther, and the New Testament Marys helped shape Bible history, so the women of the Reformed church have helped to make its history great. In Reformation Women, Rebecca Vandoodewaard introduces readers to twelve sixteenth-century women who are not as well known today as contemporaries like Katie Luther and Lady Jane Grey. Providing an example to Christians today of strong service to Christ and His church, these influential, godly women were devoted to Reformation truth, in many cases provided support for their husbands, practiced hospitality, and stewarded their intellectual abilities. Their strength and bravery will inspire you, and your understanding of church history will become richer as you learn how God used them to further the Reformation through their work and influence.

 

Table of Contents:

  1. Anna Reinhard
  2. Anna Adlischweiler
  3. Katharina Schutz
  4. Margarethe Blaurer
  5. Marguerite de Navarre
  6. Jeanne d’Albret
  7. Charlotte Arbaleste
  8. Charlotte de Bourbon
  9. Louise de Coligny
  10. Catherine Willoughby
  11. Renee of Ferrara
  12. Olympia Morata

Conclusion

Appendices

Timeline

French family tree

Dutch family tree

British family tree

Bucer’s letters to Margarethe Blaurer

Mrs-Luther-Wilson-2016Another new title is Mrs. Luther and Her Sisters: Women of the Reformation by Derek Wilson (Lion Hudson, 2016). From the publisher comes this introduction:

It is a frequent complaint that women have been airbrushed out of history, their contributions forgotten, their voices silenced. In this superbly written book, historian Derek Wilson redresses the balance, showing how women were crucial to the Reformation. Working alongside men and sometimes in opposition to them women were able to study, to speak, to write, to struggle and even to die for what they believed, and to leave behind a record of all these achievements. From Catharina Luther, through English martyr Anne Askew to Elizabeth I and onwards out into Europe this book reveals the rich threads women brought to the tapestry of history.

On Reformation Heritage’s website you also find two more titles that broadly treat women of the Reformation. One is an older work that has been reprinted by Solid Ground Christian Books – Famous Women of the Reformed Church by James I. Good. About this work we find the following:

The wives of the Reformers are an interesting study and have been an important element in the history of the Reformed Church. They received greatness from their husbands, and impart gentleness and beauty in return. Just as Deborah and Esther, with the Mary’s of the New Testament, aided in making up Bible history, so the women of the Reformed Church have helped make her history great. It is hoped that the lives of these Reformed saints will stimulate the women of our Church to greater interest in our splendid Church history, to greater activity in missions and the practical work of the Church. Some of the women considered are Anna Reinhard, Zwingli’s wife; Idelette D’Bures, Calvin’s wife; Anna Bullinger, Henry’s wife; Queen Margaret of Navarre and many others.

Table of Contents:

Part I: Women of the Reformation

1. Switzerland

Anna Reinhard, Zwingli’s Wife

Calvin’s Wife, Idelette D’Bures

Anna Bullinger

2. Germany

Catherine Zell

Margaret Blaarer

3. France

Queen Margaret of Navarre

Queen Jeanne D’Albert of Navarre

Charlotte D’Mornay

Phillipine De Luns

Charlotte D’Bourbon, Princess of Orange

Louisa De Coligny, Princess of Orange

4. Italy

Duchess Renee of Este

Olympia Morata

Part II: Women of the Seventeenth Century

1. Germany

Electress Elizabeth of the Palatinate

Electress Louisa Juliana of the Palatinate

Landgravine Amalie Elizabeth of Hesse Cassel

Countess Ursula of Hadamer

Countess Gertrude of Bentheim

Duchess Catharine Charlotte of Palatinate-Neuberg

Princess Elizabeth of the Palatinate

Electress Louisa Henrietta of Brandenburg

2. Women of Other Lands

Countess Susan Rakoczy of Hungary

The Women of the Tower of Constance

3. Women of Switzerland

Anna Lavater

Anna Schaltter and Meta Heusser Schweitzer

4. Women of America

Mrs. Thomas C. Doremus

In the same vein is this reprinted work: Ladies of the Reformation by J. H. Alexander (Westminster Discount), about which RHB says:

Throughout the history of the church of God there has been a succession of women who have been shining examples in their life and witness.

Read the story of brave Sibylla of Cleves who defied the emperor Charles V and Katherine the Heroic who held the terrible Duke of Alva at bay in her own castle. Also retold are the stories of four Reformers’ wives Anna (Zwingli), Katherine (Luther), Idelette (Calvin), & Marjorie (Knox).

The renowned author of “More Than Notion” and “From Darkness to Light”, J. H. Alexander writes the poignant stories of several outstanding ladies of this era.

five-women-english-reformation-zahlAnother broader title with narrower focus is Five Women of the English Reformation, penned by Paul F. M. Zahl (Eerdmans, 2001). The publisher includes this brief description on its website:

Books on the history of the Reformation are filled with the heroic struggles and sacrifices of men. This compelling book by Paul Zahl puts the spotlight on five women — Anne Boleyn, Katharine Parr, Jane Grey, Anne Askew, and Catherine Willoughby — who were themselves powerful theologians and who paid the cost of their reforming convictions with martyrdom, imprisonment, and exile.

As enjoyable to read as its subject matter is fascinating, this book not only portrays important women in church history but also has much to say about the relation of gender to theology, human motivation, and God. An epilogue by Mary Zahl contributes a woman’s view of these remarkable Christian women.

Titles on individual women of the Reformation include the following:

Katherine_ParrKatherine Parr: A Guided Tour of the Life and Thought of a Reformation Queen byBrandon G. Withrow (P&R, 2009). Concerning this work the publishers states:

This book examines the life of an important, but often forgotten, Protestant Reformer. Katherine Parr, one of only a handful of women to publish in a hundred-year period in England, dared to push Henry VIII toward the Reformation, nearly losing her head as a result. This volume is a guided tour of her life, her contributions to the Reformation, and her writings. Including the full text of her two books as well as select letters, Katherine Parr presents both an intimate portrait of a woman struggling to make a difference, and a reintroduction of a classic text to the contemporary church.

Katharina-Luther-2017Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk by Michelle DeRusha (Baker Books, 2017). About this title the publisher provides this information:

Their revolutionary marriage was arguably one of the most scandalous and intriguing in history. Yet five centuries later we still know little about Martin and Katharina Luther’s life as husband and wife. Until now.

Against all odds, the unlikely union of a runaway nun and a renegade monk worked, over time blossoming into the most tender of love stories. This unique biography tells the riveting story of two remarkable people and their extraordinary relationship, offering refreshing insights into Christian history and illuminating the Luthers’ profound impact on the institution of marriage, the effects of which still reverberate today.

Together, this legendary couple experienced joy and grief, triumph and travail. This book brings their private lives and their love story into the spotlight and offers powerful insights into our own twenty-first-century understanding of marriage.

I will stop here for today, but an Internet search on the Christian publishing sites will yield plenty of other good things to read. Be sure to include some reading on the women of the Reformation this year!

By the way, all of these titles are in the PRC Seminary library, and some can be found for sale in our Seminary bookstore. 🙂

Published in: on August 10, 2017 at 7:33 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Christian Faith of Jane Austen

8-women-haykin-2016A few weeks back I did a post on some new books from Crossway publishers, one of which was Eight Women of Faith by Michael A. G. Haykin (2016). One of the woman written about in this book is Jane Austen, 1775-1817 (author of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and many more).

(As a partial aside, I might mention that I really want a woman (young or old!) to take this book that I offered for review, and to this date no one has. Would you reconsider, ladies?)

Recently Crossway did a feature on this title and included an excerpt, from which I also quote today. I include a couple of paragraphs, encouraging you to read the rest of Crossway’s post by following the link that follows.

Jane “displays an Anglican reticence about religious affections”[1] and is very interested in Christianity as a teacher of morals. Given this, it is not surprising that Jane was not an evangelical.[2] In fact, in 1809, Jane was forthright: referring to a novel by Hannah More, she told her sister Cassandra, “I do not like the Evangelicals.”[3] By 1814, however, her attitude had changed. As she told her niece Fanny Knight (1793–1882): “I am by no means convinced that we ought not all to be Evangelicals, & am persuaded that they who are so from reason & feeling, must be happiest & safest.”[4]

Haykin then points to Austen’s prayers as evidence of her Christian faith, prayers that show her familiarity with and use of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

An excellent vantage point to see Jane’s faith is one of three written prayers that have been attributed to her and that probably date from Jane’s life after the death of her father in 1805,[9] though there are doubts about the authenticity of two of them.[10] The third runs as follows and does seem to have been written by Jane:

Give us grace, Almighty Father, so to pray, as to deserve to be heard, to address thee with our hearts, as with our lips. Thou art every where present, from thee no secret can be hid. May the knowledge of this, teach us to fix our thoughts on thee, with reverence and devotion that we pray not in vain.

Look with mercy on the sins we have this day committed, and in mercy make us feel them deeply, that our repentance may be sincere, & our resolutions steadfast of endeavouring against the commission of such in future. Teach us to understand the sinfulness of our own hearts, and bring to our knowledge every fault of temper and every evil habit in which we have indulged to the discomfort of our fellow-creatures, and the danger of our own souls. May we now, and on each return of night, consider how the past day has been spent by us, what have been our prevailing thoughts, words, and actions during it, and how far we can acquit ourselves of evil. Have we thought irreverently of Thee, have we disobeyed thy commandments, have we neglected any known duty, or willingly given pain to any human being? Incline us to ask our hearts these questions, Oh! God, and save us from deceiving ourselves by pride or vanity.

Source: The Christian Faith of Jane Austen

And, by the way, the eight women featured in this book are as follows:

Jane Grey: The courageous Protestant martyr who held fast to her conviction that salvation is by faith alone even to the point of death.

Anne Steele: The great hymn writer whose work continues to help the church worship in song today.

Margaret Baxter: The faithful wife to pastor Richard Baxter who met persecution with grace and joy.

Esther Edwards Burr: The daughter of Jonathan Edwards whose life modeled biblical friendship.

Anne Dutton: The innovative author whose theological works left a significant literary legacy.

Ann Judson: The wife of Adoniram Judson and pioneer missionary in the American evangelical missions movement.

Sarah Edwards: The wife of Jonathan Edwards and model of sincere delight in Christ.

Jane Austen: The prolific novelist with a deep and sincere Christian faith that she expressed in her stories.

Review Books – Two New Crossway Titles

Recently I received two requested review books from Crossway publishers, and today I make them available to our readers who may be interested in writing a brief review for the Standard Bearer.

"Free Grace" Theology

The first is “Free Grace” ‘Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes the Gospel, written by Wayne Grudem (paper, 159 pp.). This book is a fresh look at an old error that often creeps into the church, that salvation by grace means salvation without a change of life (genuine repentance) and without demands on a person’s heart, mind, and walk (godly obedience).

In the more recent past, this error was known as the “lordship controversy,” but now it has a “new” name – “free grace theology.” It may be pointed out that this error also shows itself wherever antinomianism is promoted. As Grudem points out in his introduction, he wrote this to point out properly the nature of the gospel, true Christian assurance, and the nature of saving faith.

The publisher offers this description:

Must the gospel message include a call for people to repent of their sins? “No,” say Free Grace advocates. Is evidence of a changed life an important indication of whether a person is truly born again? “No, again,” these advocates say.

But in this book, Wayne Grudem shows how the Bible answers “Yes” to both of these questions, arguing that the Free Grace movement contradicts both historic Protestant teaching and the New Testament itself.

This important book explains the true nature of the Christian gospel and answers the question asked by so many people: “How can I know that I’m saved?”

If this book is of interest to you and you are willing to write a review on it, please contact me here or by email.

Eight Women of Faith

The second book is Eight Women of Faith, penned by Michael A. G. Haykin (paper, 160 pp.), and takes a look at eight significant women who played an important role in church history.

Crossway gives this summary:

With the majority of books about church history centering on the lives and accomplishments of men, it is easy for contemporary Christians to forget the vital role that women have played in the history of Christianity. Drawing from journal entries, personal letters, and other historical documents, historian Michael Haykin reminds Christians of women from previous generations who have helped shape the church. This book affords readers deep insights into how women such as Jane Austen, Sarah Edwards, and Anne Steele responded to challenges in society, came to embrace key doctrines, and made crucial contributions to the life of the church.

For obvious reasons, it would be nice to have a woman do the review on this book. Any interested ladies?

As always, the books are your to keep.

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Five Important Women of the Reformation You Should Know About – Roman Roads

This blog post on “Roman Roads” (dated Oct.15. 2015) was linked from another website and after checking it out, I thought it was worth pointing our readers to it.

It is not often enough that we remember and recognize the women God raised up and used at the time of the great Reformation of the 16th century. This post will help us to think more of God’s work through women during this church-reforming and world-changing event.

Below is Valerie Foucachon’s personal favorite, and I think mine too, of the five she highlighted. To read about the others (quite a unique collection of women!), follow the link at the bottom of this post.

Olympia Morata (1526-1555)—The Scholar

Olypia MorataOlympia Morata, I must confess, is my personal favorite of all these women. Her life was tragically short, but a brilliant testimony to her faith and her incredible breadth and depth of learning. Her father was an Italian scholar, and brought her up so that by the age of 12, she was called as a companion and tutor to the young Anna d’Este of Ferrara, the future wife of the (infamous) François, Duc de Guise. During her time at the court of Ferrara, she was invited to lecture to the court in Greek and Latin! After leaving court to care for her declining father, she fell out of favor with the Duke. It seems that it was during this time that these convictions, previously held more intellectually along with her broad philosophical and literary interests, now awakened in her a true and living faith in Jesus Christ, and marked a turning point in her life. It was also during this time that Andreas Grunthler, a Reformed German doctor, classically-trained and a lover of literature, sought her hand in marriage. Olympia fell passionately in love with him, and they married around 1550. Life was not easy, as they travelled back to Germany where her husband hoped to find a position in a university. They met with persecution, were even imprisoned, and barely escaped with their lives before finally finding peace in Heidelberg. Her health suffered as a result, and when the Elector Palatine offered her the incredible position of lecturing at a university, she seems to have turned it down. She died shortly thereafter, followed by her husband and her little brother. Olympia’s faith seems to have only grown stronger throughout her life and its trials. During her life, she wrote dialogues, Latin and Greek letters (including love letters in Latin to her husband!), a popular Greek psalter, and more. Theodore de Beze, himself one of the Reformation’s greatest classicists and theologians, even wrote a eulogy for her. Her short but faithful life was well-summed up in her own words when she wrote, “There is no part of the world so distant that we would not be glad to live in it, if we could but serve God there with full liberty of conscience.” (The Life of Olympia Morata, 128.)

Source: Five Important Women of the Reformation You Should Know About – Roman Roads Media

Published in: on October 21, 2015 at 10:50 PM  Leave a Comment  

May “TT”: What Is the New Covenant Church? Plus Housewife Theologians

What Is the New Covenant Church? by John Tweeddale | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT-May2014As I read a few more articles in my May issue of Tabletalk yesterday, I appreciated this article by pastor John W. Tweeddale (First Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA).

Writing in connection with the theme of this issue (“What’s So New About the New Covenant?”), he addresses the nature of the church in the new covenant age. And he presents a solid, Reformed and Biblical understanding of the nature and importance of the church for the NT Christian.

I quote from the beginning of it and encourage you to follow the link above to finish reading it.

A churchless Christian is an oxymoron. As John Calvin famously said, echoing the church father Cyprian, “For those to whom God is Father the church may also be Mother.” While the notion of “mother church” may jolt some readers, a moment’s reflection will demonstrate the biblical rationale behind it. Under the new covenant established by Christ, the church is critical for the Christian life; without it, exhortations to worship, discipleship, missions, and fellowship would be meaningless. Indeed, an individual would be hard pressed to accommodate the gaggle of “one another” passages that populate the pages of the New Testament apart from participation in a local church.

Most importantly, the church is central to the work of Christ. The great mystery of the gospel is that the Son of God left His Father in heaven in order to take for Himself an unworthy bride here on earth. He shed His blood for her. The church is not on the margin of God’s plan of redemption but at the center of it.

Given the importance of the church to the Christian life and the work of Christ, we need to think carefully about the question of who comprises the church. One helpful answer is found in the Westminster Larger Catechism, which states, “The visible church is a society made up of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true religion, and of their children” (Q&A 62). At least three aspects of this definition deserve our consideration.

As an additional note, the ladies will be interested to know that this month’s “TT” interview is with Aimee Byrd, “wife, mom, author (Housewife Theologian), and blogger ( http://www.housewifetheologian.com ). You will appreciate her encouraging and challenging thoughts too!

More Review Books – More Book Reviewers Needed! Women too!

I have received four new titles for review from Reformation Heritage Books and I would love to give these books away to willing reviewers! All you have to do is write a brief, 1-1.5 page paper (Times Roman, double-spaced) about the book, and the book is yours to keep!

Two of these new titles are especially for women, so I would love to see a couple of gals step forward with a volunteer spirit 🙂  These two books are:

LifeinJesus-MWinslowGodly people speak long after their deaths, inspiring us and revealing to us lives that are worthy of imitation. Octavius Winslow thus took up the daunting task of writing a memoir of his God-fearing mother, Mary Winslow (1774–1854). He viewed her as a grace-filled example of true spirituality, the antithesis of “religious formalism,” which he called “the bane of the Christian church.” One simple line captures his esteem for her: “How powerful and deathless is the influence of a holy mother!”

Mary Winslow’s letters are a treasure of experimental and practical divinity. Living, vital Christianity is here set before us in undeniable reality, flowing out of the resurrected Christ. We learn, in her words and by her example, how to “deal unceasingly with God as God deals unweariedly with us.”

A queen, an educator, a missionary, a pastor’s wife. Some of them single, some married, some widowed, some mothers. All of them, like women today, knew the joys and heartaches of life. But the bond that drew this generation of women together—and connects them to women today—was their heart for God and devotion to Christ. In this year’s worth of devotions, you will find spiritual insights from godly women of the past who, like us, struggled with sin, loneliness, and disappointments yet rejoiced in God’s love, mercy, grace, and providential blessings. Join them in the various seasons of their hearts and find timeless encouragement and wisdom from one generation of women to another.

Authors include Ruth Bryan, Anne Dutton, Isabella Graham, Elizabeth Julia Hasell, Frances Ridley Havergal, Sarah Hawkes, Susan Huntington, Harriet Newell, Katherine Parr, Susannah Spurgeon, Anne Steele, and Mary Winslow.

Then I also have two others of broader scope and interest:

BuildingGodlyHome-2For years, William Gouge’s Domestical Duties has stood as the foremost Puritan treatment of Christian family life. Yet due to its size and antiquated expression, it has become almost unknown among current generations of believers. To help revive the usefulness of this classic book, Scott Brown and Joel R. Beeke divided Gouge’s work into three manageable volumes, updated the language to modern standards, and have given it the title Building a Godly Home.

In the second volume, A Holy Vision for a Happy Marriage, we find detailed counsel about the most important relationship in the family—husband and wife. Gouge carefully addresses what a fit marriage is and the proper way to enter into one. He then discusses the mutual duties married couples share in order for marriage to survive and thrive, as well as the duties specific to men and women respectively. Not only does he give detailed treatment of how these responsibilities are best expressed and too often hindered, but he also provides ample biblical motivation to set us on the right course. Christian husbands and wives will find much encouragement in this book.

How does God bring His Word into our lives? The answer is: by the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit the Word was revealed and written. By the Spirit the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. By the Spirit the Word roots itself in the hearts of sinners and produces fruit. Calvin recognized long ago that the Holy Spirit is the bond of union between believers and Christ. Jonathan Edwards said that the Spirit is the sum of all Christ bought for His people with His precious blood. How precious then is the Spirit, and how important to know Him and His ways! In this book, a team of pastor-theologians uncover the rich biblical teachings about the work of the Holy Spirit. How was the Spirit involved in the human life of Jesus Christ? What is a spiritual person? How does the Spirit open the mind of sinners to trust in Christ? What does it mean to serve God in the power of the Spirit? How does the Spirit’s sovereign work relate to our responsibility in evangelism? These questions and more are addressed in this book.

If any of these titles are of interest to you, let me know either by comment here, or by email. I will find a way to get it to you asap! If you want more information, visit the links provided here. Thanks!

Medieval Mendicants and Theology-Loving Women – September “Tabletalk”

The New Mendicant Orders by David Hogg | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT-Sept2013Yesterday’s reading material included the final full-feature article on the theme of “The 13th Century” in the September Tabletalk, carrying the above linked article. This one deals with the development of the main mendicant orders in the Roman Catholic church. No doubt you have heard of the names of the prominent ones, but perhaps, like me, you forgot how or why they arose and what place they served in the medieval church. Hogg’s article will help answer these questions.

I give you a couple of paragraphs and will let you read the full article at the Ligonier link above.

The term mendicant comes from the Latin for “beg,” and begging is what an ever-increasing number of men and women did throughout the thirteenth century as they formed groups for mutual support and encouragement in the pursuit of common goals. During this period, two groups began that would outshine and outlast almost all the others: the Franciscans and the Dominicans. This is doubtless due to the fact that these two orders were founded by men whose character and actions were so compelling that both were canonized as saints. Before considering the two great mendicant orders, let’s look for a moment at the less appreciated orders.

The Augustinian and Carmelite orders were vibrant orders in their own right. Like the Dominican and Franciscan orders, they addressed themselves to the emerging urban context to good effect in their preaching and pastoral care, and they were significant contributors to scholarly life through the universities that were arising at this time. On the negative side, they received their fair share of opposition from secular clergy (priests and bishops) who believed these new preachers and pastors were acting outside of due authority, to say nothing of living lives that debased the reputation of the pastoral office.

Another fine article I read is especially for the ladies! Titled “The Anchor of Theology” and penned by Janet Mefferd (a Christian radio host), it is a powerful encouragement for women to read deep theology for their personal growth and for the good of their families and churches. Not having heard of this gal before, I must say I was quite impressed with her article. I encourage you women (young and old!) to read it at the link provided here. But even the men will be inspired by what one book began to do in her life.

Here’s just a bit of it to get you started:

It started with a providential turn when I came across Dr. James Montgomery Boice’s book The Christ of Christmas in a public library. When I opened that book and read Dr. Boice’s deep, biblical exegesis of the Christmas story, I immediately thought: “He knows the same Jesus I do—but I’ve never read anyone who knew so much about Him.”

I was naïvely stunned that anything about Jesus could be new to me. I’d been in church all my life. I became a Christian as a child. I went to Sunday School and Bible study. But after I read Dr. Boice’s book, I suddenly realized how little I really knew about the Lord and His Word. I was starving for truth, and I wanted more of it.

I bought every book by Dr. Boice that I could find, and I also started filling my book shelves with titles by Dr. R.C. Sproul, Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Dr. John MacArthur, and others. I learned about the nature and character of God, the redemptive work of Jesus, sanctification. I was eating it up. I would read a Christian book, then my Bible, back and forth.

Without fully realizing it, I had come to love theology.

Janet Mefferd is a radio host whose program, The Janet Mefferd Show, takes a distinctively Christ-centered look at the news and events of the day. She can be heard daily on more than one hundred stations across the country.

Book Alert! “The Mother of the Reformation” – E.Kroker

Mrs. Reformation « THE CHRISTIAN PUNDIT.

MotherofReformation-KrokerThere’s a newly published biography on Katherine Luther out (Martin’s wife), and it looks to be a fine one. “The Christian Pundit” had a post on it yesterday and since we are on Reformation subjects today, I thought I would let you know about it. The “CP” had a detailed description and review of it, so I will simply refer you to that. Below is the beginning of the post; read all of it at the link above.

If it is possible to binge on biographies, that is what a friend of mine spent the summer doing. Books on Luther, from The Barber Who Wanted to Pray to Bainton’s classic Here I Stand, she ploughed her way through volume after volume. There were also a couple books on Katharine Luther, Martin’s wife, that she read and passed along. Mother of the Reformation: The Amazing Life and Story of Katharine Luther is a keeper. If you are married to a pastor, professor, missionary, or extrovert, it would make an especially relevant read.

Originally published in German in 1906, Ernst Kroker’s work was republished this year (Concordia). Mark E. DeGarmeaux’s translation is easy to read but still retains an early 20th century flavour. Katharine is known because of her famous Reformer husband and she lives in his shadow in our minds. Kroker’s biography brings her into the light. There is a lot about Luther in the book—how can you write about only one spouse in a remarkable marriage?—but Katie is the emphasis.

Unearthing much about Katie’s childhood and adolescence, Kroker outlines what we know about her early years, doing a good job of giving a sense of what it must have been like, despite scant sources. Katharine’s early entrance into convent life and her faithful service there, her eventual conversion, escape, marriage, motherhood and widowhood are all there within a rich context. One of Kroker’s strengths is his ability to put this woman not on a pedestal for us to inspect and venerate but in her own world for us to watch and learn from.

Discipline in the Home & Encouraging Your Husband – August “Tabletalk”

Discipline in the Home by Tom Ascol | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT-Aug2013As we have noted here on previous Mondays this month, the August Tabletalk is on the theme of discipline (“The Blessing of Discipline”). The third main article on this subject is written by Dr.Tom Ascol, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL. In his segment he addresses “Discipline in the Home”.

In the first part of his article Ascol stresses that our discipline in the home must reflect the discipline our heavenly Father lays upon us His spiritual children. From there he goes on to show the two important aspects of parental discipline as found in Eph.6:4: the discipline of the Lord and the instruction of the Lord, the first being physical, the second being verbal.

In that connection he points out how these two work together in the Christian home, and it is from this part that I quote. These are not new things to us, but they need to be said again and again, so that we may in truth train our children as our Father in heaven trains us.

God has given a significant safeguard to prevent the discipline he commends from ever degenerating into abuse, namely, the use of the second tool—instruction. Parents are teachers and the instruction that they are to give their children requires talking. Lots of talking. The whole book of Proverbs is an example of how parents ought to regularly be teaching their children the wisdom of God through the various experiences and situations—both good and bad—that life offers.

This certainly includes times of correction. It is not enough for a parent to employ the rod, he must also employ words. He must give the instruction of the Lord as well as the discipline of the Lord. When the rod must be employed, the child must be taught to see the situation in the light of biblical truth.

When your daughter sins, explain to her what she did in simple terms. Make clear what she should have done. Bring to bear the authority of God by telling her what God says about the situation, either directly (as in “Do not bear false witness”) or indirectly (“Children obey your parents in the Lord”). Teach her that you are administering the rod for her sin because you love her too much not to correct her (13:24) and you love the Lord too much not to obey Him (John 14:15).

Then, simply explain that Jesus died on the cross to pay for these kinds of sins. Remembering this helps parents turn every occasion of serious discipline into an occasion for gospel conversation. “You and daddy are sinners. But Jesus died for sinners like us, so that we can be forgiven of our sins. God forgives everyone who trusts Jesus. I am going to pray now for God to give you a new heart that will hate sin and trust Jesus for forgiveness.”

Then do it. Repeat as often as possible.

Speaking of matters relating to the Christian family, another profitable article found in this issue was “Good News and Good Deeds” by Elyse Fitzpatrick, director of Women Helping Women Ministries. Using her own marriage as an example, she has written a fine piece on how Christian wives ought to encourage their husbands to the doing of good, in the home and outside of it. And it’s not by being a list-maker. It is by pointing them to the gospel of Christ. Here is a small part of her article; read the rest at the link I’ve provided here.

Of course, this command to encourage others applies in all of our relationships, but for those of us who are married, perhaps it applies most particularly to our spouses. In other words, part of my vocation as a wife, is to spend time carefully thinking how I might encourage my husband, Phil, to love God and his neighbors and to do them good. How might I do that? What would it mean for me to give a careful consideration to the ways I might inspire Phil to a love that eventuated in good deeds? Should I make a list of good things that Phil might do and give it to him every morning along with his cup of coffee? “Here’s your Love and Good Deed List for the day, Dear: Go next door and offer to mow our neighbor’s lawn.” Knowing Phil, he might respond back with “Make dinner for the lady across the street.” But is this list-making what the writer of Hebrews has in mind when he calls us to stir up one another to love and good works?

Although this kind of thing might be helpful for some people, I doubt that writing a list of “errands for others” would eventuate in the kind of “faith-working- through-love” motivation that transforms our good deeds from worthless to valuable (Gal. 5:6). Why not? Because only deeds that are performed solely out of love for God qualify as being truly good. Mowing our neighbor’s lawn might actually have nothing to do with Phil’s love for God and neighbor. It might be a way to win my favor, avoid my criticism, become more popular on our street, or reassure his heart that God is smiling at him. No, his good deed needs to be performed out of a true, selfless love for God and neighbor—not out of self-love, self-protection, competition, or reputation-building.

Where would this kind of love come from? First John 4:19 tells us that “we love because he first loved us.” Our work-producing love for God is engendered first by considering how we’ve been loved, and the broader context of Hebrews 10:24 is a wonderful place to start in considering how much we have been loved—since it is filled with such good news.

“Renee of France” – Simonetta Carr Book Review

Renee of France by Simonetta Carr Book Review.

Renee-of-France-SCarrAt the “Christian Book Notes” blog there also recently appeared (May 17, 2013) this brief review of the latest book from children’s author Simonetta Carr (United Reformed Church member), though this particular title is for adults. After reading this brief review, I believe you will want to pick up this book for your personal and/or church/school library as well. And, if you haven’t yet paid attention to her children’s books on church history figures, you will want to do so at the same time.

Here’s a part of the review. Find all of it at the link above.

Carr, Simonetta.  Renee of FranceEngland: Evangelical Press Books, 2013. 128 pp.  Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

Simonetta Carr has become one of my personal favorite authors.  She has done more for children’s literature in terms of biographies than any author I have read.  You can read my reviews as well as my interview of Simonetta here.  You can also become a “fan” of her Christian Biographies for Young Readers series on Facebook.

Summary

Renee lived in the 1600′s and wound up right in the middle of the Reformation (she was seven when Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg church door).  Carr traces Renee’s thoughts as she struggles with what to believe and, more importantly, why she should believe it.  She was a tender-hearted woman who wanted to please God.

Review

Carr does an excellent job staying objective in her treatment of this controversial woman of the Reformation.  For the Roman Catholic Church believes she was deceived by John Calvin and the other Reformers while the Protestants believe her to be a champion of the Reformation.