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Theology of the Reformers Paperback – January 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Timothy George is Dean at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He is also editor, together with his wife Denise, of the Library of Baptist Classics series. He previously was an associate professor of church history and historical theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Academic (January 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080542010X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805420104
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,244,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Timothy George (PhD, Harvard University) is the founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University. An executive editor of Christianity Today, Dr. George has written more than twenty books and regularly contributes to scholarly journals.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By James Lane on September 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Timothy George is founding dean and professor at Beeson Divinity School. He has also been a pastor and editor of numerous Christian magazines. Currently he is executive editor of Christianity Today.
It was a refreshing change to read Theology of the Reformers. George comes to the subject as a Christian. He does not fudge difficulties presented to believers, but, as we shall see, seeks to assist in our growing in faith and knowledge of God through the reformers.
George moves from the familiar to the unfamiliar in that most theological students have read biographies of Luther, Zwingli and Calvin, but probably not Menno Simons. The chapter on Menno Simons, then, is couched in a familiar setting which presented me with some quite new and challenging material.
The basic aim of this book is to bring out the emphases in the theologies of these four reformers. In being faithful to this aim, George has assisted in breaking down a number of myths commonly held about the reformers. For example, rather than Calvin being a melancholic and unemotional theologian, he is shown as a pastor who (page 212) "...was frequently called on to counsel those Protestants who had been imprisoned for their faith and who often faced imminent martyrdom." A quick scan of the footnotes between pages 238 and 246 will show that Calvin greatly drew on the Pastoral Epistles to shape his theology.
The key phrase used in the four main biographical chapter headings are something that won't easily be forgotten by most readers: "Yearning for Grace: Martin Luther"; "Something Bold for God: Huldrych Zwingli"; "Glory unto God: John Calvin"; and "No Other Foundation: Menno Simons".
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By William Turner on June 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Timothy George develops a great introduction to the theology of the four most influential reformer's during the Protestant Reformation. The first two chapters set the stage by giving a detailed description of the late Middle Ages.
The third chapter is dedicated to the life and works of Martin Luther and catalogs his pursuit for the doctrine of grace. The next chapter sets forth the life and works of Huldrych Zwingli and gives an excellent summary of the Marburg Colloquy. The fifth (and longest) chapter is on John Calvin. George spends time dealing with his Institutes of the Christian Religion but also delves further into the broad plethora of Calvin's writings. The sixth chapter gives a summation of Menno Simons and adds a new appreciation for this often misrepresented and underrated reformer. George concludes with a chapter on the relevancy of studying Reformation Theology.
This book is a great introduction that will leave you wanting more. No doubt after this is read the reader will find himself digging deeper into the Theology of the Reformation.
For a more in depth historical analysis see: Carter Lindberg's "European Reformations."
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Philip Thompson on February 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
George's Theology of the Reformers explores the history and theology of four key reformation leaders: Luther, Zwingli, and Menno Simons. The writer displays the personal challenges and struggles of each of these men and the resulting impact on their faith and theology, for it is their theology that bears great impact on the theology of Christians today. As George himself states, "for those who stand committedly within the Christian tradition, it is a matter of genuine concern to understand what was so decisively at stake in the great debates of the Reformation" (7).

George's introduction to the work itself as well as to the historical and theological setting of the Reformation is very insightful. These first 38 pages take the reader through the milieu of the Renaissance and Reformation era. George points out that the Late Middle Ages was an era of "decline, disintegration, and decay" (22) which drove many to anxiety and on a search for meaning. In this quest, many sought to gain insight into the true meaning of the church (30-40) and to probe deeper into theology (40-49). These currents converged at the right time to birth what we know now as the Great Reformation.

To Luther, George devotes 57 pages as he outlines his journey towards justification by faith alone. The writer debunks some misconceptions of Luther as he details the Reformer's quest for truth. One poignant statement regarding Luther was of great significance to this reviewer. George states that Luther's theology was "a life-long process of struggle, conflict, and temptation" (61). Luther did not just arrive at the conclusions of the 95 Theses or suddenly become struck with the doctrines of faith, grace, and Scripture alone. Luther was, admittedly, a work in progress.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David D. Flowers on January 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
I believe Timothy George offers the student of church history a great concise overview of the theology of the reformers. His presentation is honest and it calls his readers to learn from history.

I appreciated his clear and forthright view of the Anabaptist tradition that too often is misrepresented. I especially liked the last chapter of the book. I believe the "mainline reformers" have only given us a "half-way reformation." To be Protestant is still in many ways to be Roman Catholic... only reformed to reflect Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin thought.

George brings it all together in the last chapter and beckons the reader to examine their own theology. I believe he is right on when he says, "We have much to learn from each of these traditions, but we are bound to none of them. We are only bound to Jesus Christ." Bravo Mr. George! Bravo!
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