Pastor’s Top Books to Consider Reading this Year for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Are We Together [R. C. Sproul]

In recent years, some evangelical Protestant leaders have signed statements pledging themselves to joint social action with Roman Catholics. Others have refused to participate, declaring that, in their view, the statements went too far, touching on the gospel, which remains a point of disagreement between Protestants and Roman Catholics. Many evangelical Christians have found themselves confused by the different directions taken by their leaders.

In Are We Together? A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism, R.C. Sproul takes his stand for the cardinal doctrines of Protestantism in opposition to the errors of the Roman Catholic Church. Sproul, a passionate defender of the gospel of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, cites the historic statements of the Protestant Reformers and the Roman Catholic authorities, then references modern doctrinal statements to show that the Roman Catholic Church has not altered its official positions. In light of this continuing gap, he writes, efforts by some in the evangelical camp to find common ground with Rome on matters at the heart of the gospel are nothing short of untrue to biblical teaching. In Sproul’s estimation, the Reformation remains relevant.

Are We Together? is a clarion call to evangelicals to stand firm for the gospel, the precious good news of salvation as it is set forth in Scripture alone.

The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World by [Nichols, Stephen J.]

Mention history and some might struggle to stifle a yawn. But when presented as a narrative it can often be compelling reading. Stephen J. Nichols takes a key period in time, the Reformation, and presents its major players in a fresh way. From Martin Luther, a simple monk who wielded the mallet, to kings and queens, this book goes behind the scenes to uncover the human side of these larger-than-life Reformers. Along the way readers meet Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Kings Henry VIII and Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Anne Bradstreet, and many others.

For those wanting to see history in its context, Nichols also provides a sampling of primary source materials. It is an engaging read that will remind readers of the foundational truths that can never be taken for granted by the church in any age. Includes numerous illustrations.

 

The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation by [Reeves, Michael]

Burning pyres, nuns on the run, stirring courage, and comic relief: the Protestant Reformation is a gripping tale, packed with drama. But what motivated the Reformers? And what were they really like? The Unquenchable Flame, a lively, accessible, and fully informative introduction to the Reformation by Michael Reeves, brings to life the movement’s most colorful characters (Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, The Puritans, etc.), examines their ideas, and shows the profound and personal relevance of Reformation thinking for today. Also included are a lengthy Reformation timeline, a map of key places in the Reformation.

 

Why the Reformation Still Matters by [Reeves, Michael, Chester, Tim]

In 1517, a German monk nailed a poster to the door of a church, disputing key doctrines taught by the Roman Catholic Church in that day. This moment set in motion a movement that changed the entire trajectory of church history. But do the Reformers still have something to teach us?

In this accessible primer, Michael Reeves and Tim Chester answer eleven key questions raised by the Reformers—questions that remain critically important for the church today

 

The Great Orators of the Reformation Era by [Luther, Martin, Calvin, John, Knox, John, Latimer, Hugh, Zwingli, Huldreich, Fenélon, Francois]

An absolute goldmine, this book contains a collection of brief biographies of the 17 greatest preachers of the Reformation Era; and includes a sermon written by each of them. Modern readers will be deeply moved and inspired by the words of these humble giants of the faith who were used powerfully by God to breathe new life into the Church and to usher in a whole new age of thought in human history.

 

Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation by [Lutzer, Erwin W.]

The Riveting Story of the Reformation and Its Significance Today

The Reformation unfolded in the cathedrals and town squares of Europe–in Wittenberg, Worms, Rome, Geneva, and Zurich–and it is a stirring story of courage and cowardice, of betrayal and faith.

The story begins with the Catholic Church and its desperate need for reform. The dramatic events that followed are traced from John Wycliffe in England, to the burning of John Hus at the stake in Prague, to the rampant sale of indulgences in the cities and towns of Germany, to Martin Luther nailing the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in 1517, to John Calvin’s reform of Geneva.

Erwin Lutzer captures the people, places, and big ideas that fueled the Reformation and explains its lasting influence on the church and Western Civilization.

Why We’re Protestant: An Introduction to the Five Solas of the Reformation by [Pickowicz, Nate]

How do you discern true vs. false Christianity? In the days of the Protestant Reformation, the core tenets of the faith were strenuously examined. In the end, the Reformers maintained that at the heart of the Christian faith stood five main credos: sola Scriptura, sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus, and soli Deo gloria. This book examines these five “solas” and makes a definitive case for why we’re Protestant.

 

Faith Alone—The Doctrine of Justification:

What the Reformers Taught…and Why It Still Matters (The Five Solas Series)
Historians and theologians have long recognized that at the heart of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation were five declarations, often referred to as the ‘solas’: sola scriptura, solus Christus, sola gratia, sola fide, and soli Deo gloria. These five statements summarize much of what the Reformation was about, and they distinguish Protestantism from other expressions of the Christian faith. Protestants place ultimate and final authority in the Scriptures, acknowledge the work of Christ alone as sufficient for redemption, recognize that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, and seek to do all things for God’s glory.

In Faith Alone – The Doctrine of Justification renowned biblical scholar Thomas Schreiner looks at the historical and biblical roots of the doctrine of justification. He summarizes the history of the doctrine, looking at the early church and the writings of several of the Reformers. Then, he turns his attention to the Scriptures and walks readers through an examination of the key texts in the Old and New Testament. He discusses whether justification is transformative or forensic and introduces readers to some of the contemporary challenges to the Reformation teaching of sola fide, with particular attention to the new perspective on Paul.

Five hundred years after the Reformation, the doctrine of justification by faith alone still needs to be understood and proclaimed. In Faith Alone you will learn how the rallying cry of “sola fide” is rooted in the Scriptures and how to apply this sola in a fresh way in light of many contemporary challenges.