This year on October 31st, 2017 the entire Protestant world will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In honor of this monumental historical event and to help people understand what the Reformation is all about, we’ve compiled a short reading list that will make you love the Reformation. Here are five books you should pick up and read before October comes around.
1. Reformation Sketches: Insights into Luther, Calvin, and the Confessions by W. Robert Godfrey
This short book offers an introduction to significant Reformers (Martin Luther, John Calvin, Phillip Melanchthon, and Peter Martyr Vermigli) and the confessions that were produced during this time period (the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of Dort and the Westminster Confession of Faith).
2. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton
If you want to understand the Reformation, you won’t be able to do so without first understanding one of the most prominent and key figures of what led to reformation. This is one of the most readable and enjoyable biographies of Martin Luther in the English language.
3. Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom by Carl Trueman
This wonderful volume highlights key aspects of Luther’s cross-centered theology and sets him in his historical time and place without being boring. It’s also quite devotional and does not shy away from humanizing the great Reformer.
4. Calvin on the Christian Life: Glorifying and Enjoying God Forever by Michael Horton
Aside from Calvin’s Company of Pastors, I haven’t read a book on Calvin that was more satisfying and illuminating. This book portrays Calvin not just as a scholar but as pastor. It offers us a glimpse of a robust Reformed piety that faithfully represents and articulates Calvin’s vision for the Christian life.
5. Reformation Theology: A Systematic Summary edited by Matthew Barrett
This book is for the more advanced reader as it’s much more technical than the rest, but the way this volume is organized and how each contributor articulates the central doctrines of the Reformation make this a fantastic resource for anyone seeking to understand the heartbeat of the Reformation. If you get this far and read through this, you’ll be ready to enter into a whole new world of books if you follow the bibliographies provided in each chapter.
Bonus for Parents & Children
Martin Luther – Christian Biographies for Young Readers by Simonetta Carr
This fantastic children's book introduces children and young readers to the life of the Reformer. Simonetta highlights Luther's life from Law student to Reformer, husband, and father and introduces key points of his thought in a concise, compelling way that both children and adults will love. Luther's greatest accomplishment, she writes, "has been his uncompromising emphasis on the free promise of the gospel."