Here is a classic biography reissued in a stunning hardback as part of the Hendrickson Classic Biography series. Though they have been publishing classic biographies for several years, they are in the process of republishing them in volumes worth collecting or displaying in libraries. Fortunately, they have managed to keep them economically priced as well. I’m glad Bainton’s volume on Luther made its way into this series.
This biography made Luther come alive. While Bainton was clearly sympathetic to Luther, he did not smooth off the edges. His background on Reformation history enriched this book in many places.
Luther’s story is amazing. He is heroic in ways hard to comprehend. When he rose up from within the Catholic Church, he traveled an uncharted course and continuously had his life on the line. He never dreamed he would start a Reformation, totally change his country, and shake a continent, but he did. While I do not personally agree with Luther on where he landed on several theological points, I was ever amazed at what he did come to see with no man really guiding him. This volume well handles his theological journey.
This volume tells the story where he finally uttered, perhaps, the most audacious statement any man ever said: ” My conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.” Wow!
We get the real Luther here. Mr. Bainton does not sugarcoat, for example, his inexcusable treatment of the Anabaptists. As a Baptist myself, I just remember where he came from and I am still impressed. The story of his marriage and relationship to his wife will bring a few smiles, though perhaps not to Mrs. Luther. As you read, you will wonder if he experienced survivor’s guilt as many of his followers were executed while he never was. We even learn here that he became quit the grumpy old man. We also learn the context of his failing health and difficult life. This volume is, without question, a winner!
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.