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Theology of the Reformers [Paperback]

By Timothy George (Author) & George (Author)
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Item description for Theology of the Reformers by Timothy George & George...

'Theology Of The Reformers' will intrigue and inform all those who are concerned both with the church in the time of the Reformation and the church in the modern era.

Publishers Description
Using the writings of the reformers as a foundation, George launches into a fresh interpretive study of the theologies of these great men. A book that will intrigue and inform those concerned with the church in a time of Reformation and how it relates to the church of today.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: B&H Academic
Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.05" Width: 5.92" Height: 0.84"
Weight:   1.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 1999
Publisher   B&H Publishing Group
ISBN  080542010X  
ISBN13  9780805420104  

Availability  0 units.

More About Timothy George & George

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Timothy George is the founding dean of Samford University's Beeson Divinity School, where he teaches theology and church history. He serves as general editor for Reformation Commentary on Scripture and has written more than twenty books. His textbook Theology of the Reformers is the standard textbook on Reformation theology in many schools and seminaries.

Timothy George currently resides in Birmingham, in the state of Alabama.

Timothy George has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Beeson Divinity Studies
  2. Library of Baptist Classics (Numbered)
  3. New American Commentary New Testament
  4. Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Protestant
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Ethics
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Inspirational

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > Historical Theology

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Reviews - What do customers think about Theology of the Reformers?

Honest Author... Satisfying Read!  Jan 23, 2007
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!

A great look at four heroes of the faith  Sep 27, 2003
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". These chapter headings are tied in with major threads of each of the respective reformer's theologies, and could be used as mnemonics for subsequent reflection.

All four reformers are presented in a sympathetic light. However, George doesn't shirk from showing the reformers belligerently holding on to their divisive approaches to the sacraments, when compromise (or at least temporary concession) may have been better for the church at large. Whilst not misrepresenting the unique perspectives of each reformer's viewpoint nor espousing a "facile ecumenism" (page 316) George proposes a way forward of sorts in his final chapter The Abiding Validity of Reformation Theology namely, to hold to the essentials but continue to promote the importance of the sacraments.

Regarding this final chapter, Baker (Baker, J.W. (1991) Theology of the Reformers (Book Review). Church History 60, 387-389.) asserts that George "...may have exceeded the reach of his study". I do not agree with this statement for the following reasons: first, given the overall fine quality of the book and George's extensive experience in the pulpit, lecture hall and editor's desk, he is qualified to provide guidance in applying the knowledge he has gleaned from the reformers discussed; second, given the importance of the topic (i.e. the way forward for unity among Christians) it is warranted that George contributes to resolving the schisms that past doctrinal differences have caused.

George's description of the disagreement between Luther and Zwingli (along with a number of associates) at Marburg was quite moving. He brings home to me the lasting importance of unity within the Christian church and the need for flexibility in the face of military backlash (cf Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

Should this book have been aimed at theological students, it seems odd that German, Swiss, Dutch and Latin phrases are documented so precisely whilst New Testament Greek (a language of considerable usage by three out of four of the reformers studied) is only touched on thrice (pages 241, 293 and 257), and then only as transliterations. On page 70 George points to a "Greek verb", but fails to mention which verb he is referring to. On the other hand, a sound knowledge of Latin seemed to be assumed by the author throughout. In many theological colleges, such as BCV (Australia), Latin is not taught, but Biblical Greek is. For this reason it seems hard to justify "ordo salutis", for example, not being mentioned in the glossary, nor explained in the passage (page 270). It would be helpful to have a copy of Muller's Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms handy when reading a book such as this (Muller, R.A. (1985) Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker Books).

Further to the level the book is pitched at, note that in Baker's review of this book he says (in connection with his usage of the book for an undergraduate Reformation history class) " was clearly a challenging text for some of them". So, if it is pitched at a high level, why all these other European languages and so little Greek?

Perhaps a good introduction to the subject would be to read McGrath's Reformation Thought first (McGrath, A.E. (1988) Reformation Thought: An Introduction. Oxford: Basil Blackwell). Similarly sized, it takes a more thematic/topical approach than George's, which is more biographical. McGrath has a similar sized glossary, but it includes less non-English words. It is interesting that McGrath only mentions Menno Simons twice in his book. This is not to say that George could be criticised for placing the obscure Menno Simons next to the renowned Luther, Zwingli and Calvin. As I noted previously, there is value in moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar. As is the case with reformation studies, and doubtlessly so many other historical subjects, the amount of repetition in what is published is enormous. The chapter on Menno Simons is a welcome addition.

There is a need for this book in that short biographies are used to explain reformation theology, which may otherwise be quite dry to the new reader. George certainly achieves his aims in this book. The lives and theologies of the four reformers are well elucidated. It is well written, easy reading, yet deep enough and applicable to modern thought and practice (I say this in connection with the discussion on the Marburg Colloquy above).

Reformation Theology Appetizer  Jun 19, 2000
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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