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The Reformers & the Theology of the Reformation (Students Reformed Theological Library) Hardcover – December 1, 1979
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About the Author
William Cunningham is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Minnesota where he taught for 36 years in the Departments of Botany and Genetics and Cell Biology as well as the Conservation Biology Program, the Institute for Social, Economic, and Ecological Sustainability, the Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership, and the McArthur Program in Global Change. He received his Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Texas in 1963 and spent two years at Purdue University as a postdoctoral fellow. At various times, he has been a visiting scholar in Sweden, Norway, Indonesia, and China, as well as several universities and research institutions in the United States. Dr. Cunningham has devoted himself to education and teaching development at the undergraduate level in biology. He began his educational career in structural biology but for the last 10-15 years has concentrated on environmental science, teaching courses such as Social Uses of Biology; Garbage, Government, and the Globe; Environmental Ethics; and Conservation History. Within the past four years, he has received both of the two highest teaching honors that the University of Minnesota bestows -- The Distinguished Teaching Award and a $15,000 Amoco Alumni Award. He has served as a Faculty Mentor for younger faculty at the university, sharing the knowledge and teaching skills that he has gained during his distinguished career.
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Top Customer Reviews
I expected to see the biography, the account of their conversion, the highlights and lowlights of the ministry of the reformers as well as the doctrines they taught and the controversies they faced, but I am disappointed because Cunningham seems to be lacking in these details or haphazardly covering them. Though he does a good job in defending the sacraments as sign and seal, not sign only as Zwinglie taught or implicitly against Luther's co-substantiation doctrine, he doesn't do enough to show the Scriptural basis of infant-baptism. All he does is to keep mentioning that "infant baptism is fully warranted in Scripture" (p.247) without showing which passages and explaining why they teach infant-baptism. Cunningham does an average job in describing the characters of the reformers, but again, he does this haphazardly because he intermingles it with their doctrines and controversies without a clear organization, causing a confusion to the readers. There is something commendable, however, that Cunningham does in that where appropriate, he does not attempt to defend the reformers when it is clear that they made a mistake or if there is anything uncharitable in their character. For example, though commending Luther for his "deep piety, of his thorough devotedness to God's services, of his habitual walking with God, and living by faith in the promises of his Word,"(p.64), he is known for "naturally somewhat prone to indulge in exaggerated and paradoxial statements, to press points too far, and to express them in unnecessarily strong and repulsive terms" (p.64). Further, there is also a mention of Luther's "impetuosity of his temperament, leading often to the use of exaggerated and intemperate language," as well as "great obstinacy to erroneous opinions, shutting his understanding against everything that could be brought forward in opposition to them" (p.65).
My impression is the purpose of this text, by the inclusion of an inordinate amount of correspondence by English-speaking theologians and the discussion of it, is to defend the reformers and their doctrines challenged in these letters. I have to say this book is not for me, but may be appropriate for graduate or doctorate seminary students and scholars specializing in church history.