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Stephen Nichols: The Reformation

(4) “Solus Christus,” which means, “Christ alone.” This is the view that Christ is the only way to the Father, and the only mediator between God and humanity.

(5) “Soli Deo Gloria,” which means, “the glory of God alone.” This position holds that everything, including people’s secular vocations, must be done to the glory of God.

According to Nichols: “These doctrines form the bedrock of all that we believe, and the Reformers gave these doctrines their finest expression” (18).

Nichols reminds us of some of the contributions of the Reformation that many take for granted.

In various places, he notes some of the contributions of the Reformation that people may take for granted. For instance, he writes: “The Reformers returned the sermon to the church service. In the case of the Puritans in England, they returned it with a vengeance” (18). He also notes: “Congregations didn’t sing in the centuries leading up to the Reformation. In fact, Jan Hus, one of the pre-Reformation reformers, was condemned as a heretic for, among other things, having his congregation sing. Luther and other Reformers restored congregational singing to the church” (18-19).

Nichols’ section on women in the Reformation is a gem. He shows that while scholars are divided on what the Reformation brought to women, there were a number of women who managed to shine during this period. Some of the women he mentions include Katherine Zell, and Marie Dentiere, both of whom were noted preachers and authors.

Nichols writes: “Steven Ozment has led the way for the view that the elevation of women and marriage and families is nearly the singular achievement of the Reformation’s impact on culture” (127).

Remember the past: learn from the achievements as well as the mistakes made by the leaders of the Reformation.

Throughout this book, Nichols manages to deliver scholarly information in a way that is delightful and easy to grasp. He effectively takes issues from several hundreds years ago and shows how they are relevant today. By doing this, he provides a book that is not only historical, but practical in that it offers insight that readers can readily apply to their Christian walk.

Nichols challenges the reader to remember the past and to learn from the achievements, as well as the mistakes, that were made by the leaders of the Reformation.

Nichols’ book has an entertaining quality that will be appreciated by the average reader or student of church history. Its format, which includes numerous illustrations and break-out notes that are highlighted in tinted boxes, makes it an effective tool for teaching. Unlike many books on history that people might find boring, The Reformation is actually engaging and fun to read. It might even be called a page-turner because of the vibrant writing style, and the compelling stories that are presented.

Reviewed by Roscoe Barnes III

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Category: Church History, Summer 2011

About the Author: Roscoe Barnes III, Ph.D. in Church History (University of Pretoria, S. Africa), is a writer, historian, ghostwriter, and prison chaplain. He is the author of numerous books including F.F. Bosworth: The Man Behind ‘Christ the Healer’ (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009), The Guide to Effective Gospel Tract Ministry (Church Growth Institute, 2004) and Off to War: Franklin Countians in World War II (White Mane Publishing, 1996). His articles have appeared in Refleks Journal, The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, The Africa Journal of Pentecostal Studies, and in numerous newspapers and popular magazines. He blogs at Roscoe Reporting and shares his F. F. Bosworth research at Professional: Roscoe Barnes III. Twitter: @Roscoebarnes3

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