Wittenberg vs Geneva by Brian W. Thomas
What are the differences between Lutherans and Calvinists, and do they really matter? In Wittenberg vs. Geneva, Brian Thomas provides a biblical defense of the key doctrines that have divided the Lutheran and Reformed traditions for nearly five centuries.
It is especially written to help those who may have an interest in the Lutheran church, but are concerned that her stance on doctrines like predestination or the sacraments may not have biblical support. To get to the heart of the matter, Pastor Thomas focuses solely upon those crucial scriptural texts that have led Lutheran and Reformed scholars down different paths to disparate conclusions as he spars with popular Calvinist theologians from the past and the present. (From the Publisher’s Website)
Why Did This Book Interest Me?
This is the book I have wanted to read for a long time. Theological differences among various denominations interest me greatly, especially those born from the reformation. No denominations are more recognizable from that great period in church history than the Lutheran and Presbyterian churches. But up until now, this would have been a painstaking and enormous task. Being neither Lutheran nor Presbyterian, I simply did not want to spend that much time researching the nuances in each traditions numerous writings. I have compared the Presbyterian teachings to that of my own denomination and am very familiar with the teachings of their tradition. The gap in my knowledge comes from the Lutheran side. That is where this book fills in the gaps.
What Does This Book Accomplish?
This book details the differences between some of the key doctrinal issues to spring from the reformation as represented by the Lutheran and Presbyterian traditions. The author explores these differences by examining the main passages used by the two sides to defend their doctrinal stances. Mr. Thomas shows us that there are differences in definitions of terms as well as implications of the teachings. He takes us to the bible to help us understand that it is the measure that we have to use when establishing our doctrines. He employs two rules: scripture interprets scripture and a literal sense of the text. Thomas clearly explains the Lutheran position on the key topics of atonement, predestination, the sacraments, and the believer’s security. These are contrasted with what he understands the reformed (Presbyterian) view to be.
What did I come away from this book with?
I appreciate that Mr. Thomas employed C.S.Lewis’ illustration of the Christian church having many rooms (denominations). This sets the tone for a discussion in community and not a vilification of all those who would disagree with the author’s conclusions. I also appreciate that this book does not get distracted with the various “furnishings” of the rooms. Thomas has helped me understand and appreciate the Lutheran viewpoints concerning these reformed doctrines. While I do not agree with all of his conclusions, he has helped me to look at some of the proof texts in a fresh way and for that I am grateful. The reformers believed in “always reforming” and that means we cannot simply twist scripture to agree with our conclusions but we must align our conclusions with what the scriptures clearly teach. I do wish there had been a format, maybe an appendix, for a rebuttal from Sproul or Horton. Maybe they will respond with a book of their own. Overall, I was pleased with the book and feel that it accomplished most of its intended purpose. Thank you Brian Thomas and NRP Books for this informative resource.
- Author: Brian W. Thomas
- Publisher: NRP Books
- Format: Paperback
- Page Count: 177
- ISBN#: 9781945500374
- List Price: $19.95
About the Author:
Brian William Thomas serves as the pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Kingston, Washington. His writing focuses on confessional Lutheranism in a post-Christian culture and reclaiming ancient pastoral practices for present day service. (From Back Cover of Book)
Where to Buy:
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my unbiased opinion.