Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation by Erwin Lutzer

Explore the journey of the Reformation with Erwin W. Lutzer's "Rescuing the Gospel," as it connects the dots between past theological battles and today's evangelical challenges. Our review delves into the heart of this narrative, uncovering the timeless relevance of Reformed Presbyterian convictions in today's ever-evolving spiritual landscape.


Justin Hoke

10/29/20232 min read

Title: Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation
Author: Erwin W. Lutzer Publisher: Baker Books Publication Year: 2017

Introduction: "Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation" by Erwin W. Lutzer encapsulates the essence and historical narrative of the Reformation, underscoring its enduring significance in contemporary evangelical discourse. Central to this book is the assertion that the Gospel proclaimed during Jesus' time continued through Martin Luther and the Reformers, holding profound implications for modern-day evangelism​1​.

Context: The book delves into the historical, theological, and philosophical facets of the Reformation, unfolding against a backdrop of the Catholic Church's urgent need for reform. The Reformation, ignited in European cathedrals and town squares, bore a strong alignment with the Reformed Tradition, especially through the lives and teachings of Martin Luther and John Calvin​2​.

Author's Argument: Lutzer articulates the pivotal moments and figures of the Reformation, encompassing the actions of John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, and John Calvin among others. The book unfolds the drama surrounding indulgence sales, Luther's Ninety-Five Theses, and Calvin's reformation efforts in Geneva, contending that these historical events continue to resonate with contemporary challenges in defending the Gospel​2​.

Evaluation: The narrative, lauded for its engaging prose and comprehensive depiction of Reformation events, brings to light the human and divine aspects of this historical epoch. It balances admiration for Reformation figures with critical analysis of their shortcomings, such as Luther's derogatory remarks towards Jews and peasants, and Calvin's role in the execution of Servetus​3​. The book also critically engages with the lasting theological discord between Protestantism and Catholicism, highlighting the unresolved issues that precipitated the Reformation.

Lutzer's work is hailed for its clear exposition, relevance to modern evangelical concerns, and alignment with Reformed convictions. It evokes a nuanced appreciation for the Reformation's indelible mark on theological, social, and cultural landscapes, affirming the Reformed stance in a broader evangelical context.

Conclusion: "Rescuing the Gospel" invites readers into a profound exploration of Reformation legacy, instigating discerning discourse within and beyond the Reformed Presbyterian ambit. It beckons a renewed commitment to the Gospel's integrity, echoing the Reformation's clarion call for doctrinal purity and spiritual authenticity in contemporary ecclesiastical realms.

For Further Study:

Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation by Erwin W. Lutzer

Martin Luther's Commentary on Galatians by Martin Luther

The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther