So it’s October, 2017, and we’re counting down the days now until the 31st – the actual 500th anniversary of the day Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses up on the door of Wittenberg Church thus starting off the Reformation with a bang (probably two bangs.)
Yes, I know Luther didn’t start the Reformation single-handedly. There were others who went before him, like John Wycliff, Peter Waldo, and Jan Huss, but I wanted to make my little joke.
Some historians say the Protestant Reformation is the greatest event in history. (That’s excluding events like the creation, the flood of Noah, the Advent, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, which are in a different category all together, being Acts of God.) Well, given its historical significance, the Protestant Reformation deserves real study and with this anniversary approaching, it’s the perfect time to start. There’s certainly theology involved, but don’t expect it to be a dusty, dry academic subject; these people were flesh-and-blood heroes and heroines who performed amazing exploits for their faith! There were midnight escapes through the forest on horseback, death-defying stands against tyrannical rulers, hair-raising rescues, and sometimes heroic deaths. Exciting stuff.
I’ll be trying to review several books in the next few weeks that will be useful for readers of a variety of ages in the study of the Protestant Reformation.
For starters, this classic biography of Martin Luther, by Roland Bainton called, Here I Stand. Published by Abingdon-Cokesbury Press in…well, it says MCML in my lovely, old copy; let’s see…that’s 1950, right? (I love how Roman Numerals look but am I ever glad we don’t use them for everything!)
Here I Stand has been the standard – the quintessential – biography of Luther for many years. With the 500th anniversary hard upon us there are many more recent biographies, but I’m sure I won’t have time to read or review them.
This book, however I have read twice (the first time, forty years ago) and have found it enlightening, very stirring, and a perfect foundation upon which to build further study of the Reformation.
Probably best for High-School-aged readers and up, though the most exciting bits could possibly be read aloud to a younger audience.