Long Before Luther Review

Book Review: 

As most of you are aware of, this year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. This is the time where Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of Castle Church. There have been many book on the Reformation for the past few years leading up to this anniversary as well as books on Martin Luther. There have some wondering, if gospel-centered theology came into the church during the time of the Reformation, how was the gospel taught before the Reformation. Was Catholicism the norm until Martin Luther came into the picture?

Nathan Busenitz has written a book that takes a look at the proclamation of the gospel prior to the Reformation. The book is titled Long Before Luther.

In the beginning of the book, Busenitz looks at whether gospel-centered theology was a new thing or something that needed to be revitalized. The answer is the Reformers were not looking to make a new religion, they were looking at going back to the Bible and the proclamation of the gospel, which teaches we are saved by faith alone. The Roman Catholic Church had a lot of confusion when it came to being justified which affected the people they were teaching. The Reformers were seeking clarity in Biblical Theology and what it truly meant to be justified.

Busenitz then addresses how theologians handled church doctrine in regards to justification and Christ being our ultimate sacrifice before Augustine came into the picture. Then he addresses what Augustine taught about justification and being saved followed by what was taught after Augustine passed away. Busenitz states that the Reformers were right in looking into Augustine's theology especially in how he viewed justification which was closer Biblically speaking than what the Roman Catholic Church taught.

Church History is very important for Christians to study. We must know what the church believed in the past and also did in regards to faith and practice. I am grateful the gospel was proclaimed properly before the Reformation, even though there were not as many voices as there during the time of the Reformation and centuries later. This is one book I highly recommend in one's study of Church History and the Reformation.