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An Introduction to the Reformation: The Unquenchable Flame, by Michael Reeves

26 June, 2010

The trumpets blared as the covered wagon passed through the city gate. Thousands lined the streets to catch a glimpse of their hero, many more waving pictures of him from windows and rooftops. It was the evening of Wednesday 16 April 1521, and Martin Luther was entering the city of Worms.

It looked like a triumphal entry. Yet Luther knew where triumphal entries could lead. The reality was, he was coming to be tried for his life, and, like Jesus, he was expecting death. Teaching that a sinner, merely by trusting Christ, could, despite all his or her sins, have utter confidence before God, he had brought down on himself the fury of the church. His books had  already been thrown onto bonfires, and most expected that in a few days he would be joining them. Luther, however, was determined to defend his teaching: ‘Christ lives,’ he said, ‘and we shall enter Worms is spite of all the gates of hell.’

So starts Michael Reeves’s little book, The Unquenchable Flame: Introducing the Reformation (IVP, 2009). Reeves is Theological Advisor to UCCF, and formerly an associate minister at All Souls Church, Langham Place, London. (He holds a doctorate in systematic theology from King’s College, London, as well.) This book’s an entertaining, moving, and accessible read, written by someone who unapologetically appreciates the Reformational gospel (while refusing to overlook the sins of the sinners who preached it). Check it out.

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