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The Life, Teaching, and Legacy of Martin Luther Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
It is important at the outset of this review, to emphasize what this book is and what this book is not. This book is intended to be a basic--I repeat--basic introduction to the life and teachings of Martin Luther. In his introduction, Lindsey tells us that he "endeavored to make this work accessible even for readers who may still be in middle school or underclassmen in high school" (p. ix). The inspiration for the book itself came as a result of Lindsey's classroom experience with 5th and 6th graders.Read more ›
Lindsey very admirably achieves the goal he sets for his book. He explains the truths that brought Luther, first, to trust Christ solely and, later, to separate with the Catholic Church, in a simple manner without the theological jargon that can obscure truth. Theological terms are used, but the less familiar ones are used sparingly and are explained.
This theological emphasis, though, does not come at the expense of readability or enjoyment. The life of Martin Luther is told alongside his theology, especially those parts that are fundamental to knowing him as a man and those parts that are interesting to learn about as a student. Each chapter contains questions for reflection and discussion and a pencil drawing of a scene from Luther's life. Very few books aimed at young people have succeeded so well in marrying theological depth to popular appeal. Adults who are looking for a short introduction to Martin Luther would profit from this book as well.
In the opening sentence of the introduction, Lindsey writes, “It is my goal in writing this work to render an account of Martin Luther’s life that is brief, simple, accurate, and evangelical” (ix). In my judgment, Lindsey succeeded in this goal. There are hefty tomes on Luther, and some biographers may not prioritize writing on a level that almost anyone could appreciate, so Lindsey has done readers a great service by providing a concise treatment that touches on the important issues of Luther’s life while at the same time not being intimidating with jargon or word-count. Adults will benefit from this book, and it is something their children can read as well.
Lindsey is a gifted writer in his clarity and presentation of Luther. The twelve chapters are short but stocked with helpful information.
1) Origin, Education, and the Monastery
2) Early Monastic Career, First Mass, and the Pilgrimage to Rome
3) Professorship in Wittenberg and Evangelical Experience
4) Background to the 95 Theses
5) Posting the 95 Theses
6) Interview With Cardinal Cajetan
7) The Leipzig Disputation and the Papal Bull
8) The Diet of Worms
9) “Sir George”
10) Marriage and Family Life
11) The Augsburg Confession
12) Death and Legacy
Each chapter concludes with questions for reflection and discussion.Read more ›
As noted in the Introduction, Lindsey indicates that his intended audience is the middle school to early high school age. This is important to note lest the reader mistakenly assume this work intends to provide a full account of Luther’s life and doctrine. Nevertheless, I found this simple account of Luther’s life to be the main strength of the work. Lindsey’s approach is, as mentioned above, straightforward, as in ‘just the facts, ma’am’. And the benefit achieved here is that it is simple enough for a child to grasp the basic story, but enough details are included to spur older readers to wrestle with the deeper issues of the Reformation and pursue additional study. Specifically, at the end of each chapter is a ‘focus bible verse’ and a few questions for discussion that impel the reader to consider Luther’s life (the facts) in relation to the larger biblical/theological issues in play. Here, the child is able to grasp the story, while the older reader is challenged to think deeper about how Luther changed the course of history in recovering the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So considering these things, I recommend this book to both children and young adult alike. The child will listen intently to the remarkable story of Luther’s life, and the young adult will be confronted with core issues of the gospel in relation to Luther’s break from Rome.