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Between Wittenberg and Geneva: Lutheran and Reformed Theology in Conversation

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At the 500th anniversary of the Wittenberg Reformation, two highly regarded scholars compare and contrast the history and theological positions of the Reformed and Lutheran traditions. The authors tackle nine theological topics significant for the life of the church that remain a source of division between the two traditions. The book helps readers evaluate the strengths a At the 500th anniversary of the Wittenberg Reformation, two highly regarded scholars compare and contrast the history and theological positions of the Reformed and Lutheran traditions. The authors tackle nine theological topics significant for the life of the church that remain a source of division between the two traditions. The book helps readers evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the Reformed and Lutheran approaches to presenting the biblical message and invites honest, irenic, and open dialogue within the Protestant family.


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At the 500th anniversary of the Wittenberg Reformation, two highly regarded scholars compare and contrast the history and theological positions of the Reformed and Lutheran traditions. The authors tackle nine theological topics significant for the life of the church that remain a source of division between the two traditions. The book helps readers evaluate the strengths a At the 500th anniversary of the Wittenberg Reformation, two highly regarded scholars compare and contrast the history and theological positions of the Reformed and Lutheran traditions. The authors tackle nine theological topics significant for the life of the church that remain a source of division between the two traditions. The book helps readers evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the Reformed and Lutheran approaches to presenting the biblical message and invites honest, irenic, and open dialogue within the Protestant family.

30 review for Between Wittenberg and Geneva: Lutheran and Reformed Theology in Conversation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    This book is a breath of fresh air that helps to blow the conversation between these two great traditions forward. Caricatures are laid aside and the authors achieve what they set out to do, that is to help others gain a greater understanding of their own respective tradition’s position on several theological topics, expounding where they are in agreement and where they are in disagreement in a congenial manner. I really appreciate what these two authors have done through this collaborative effo This book is a breath of fresh air that helps to blow the conversation between these two great traditions forward. Caricatures are laid aside and the authors achieve what they set out to do, that is to help others gain a greater understanding of their own respective tradition’s position on several theological topics, expounding where they are in agreement and where they are in disagreement in a congenial manner. I really appreciate what these two authors have done through this collaborative effort. May many more follow suit!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zach McDonald

    "Between Wittenberg and Geneva" is meant to be a conversation regarding Lutheran and Reformed theologies. First, the authors chosen for this book were, I believe, great choices as they represent fairly accurately the conservation of historical/confessional Lutheran and Reformed theologies, the topic of which I will get more into in a second. While the book was helpful in comparing these two systems of theology, I did not feel that the book was much of a "conversation." If anything, it seemed lik "Between Wittenberg and Geneva" is meant to be a conversation regarding Lutheran and Reformed theologies. First, the authors chosen for this book were, I believe, great choices as they represent fairly accurately the conservation of historical/confessional Lutheran and Reformed theologies, the topic of which I will get more into in a second. While the book was helpful in comparing these two systems of theology, I did not feel that the book was much of a "conversation." If anything, it seemed like more of a introduction to these systems than a conversation between the two. Eight topics are covered from "Scripture and Interpretation" to Worship" with each contributor laying out the historical/confessional position of their given camp. Not much conversation is had which is what really disappointed me. Kolb does a great job giving the reader insight into Luther's theology, with a bit of information on his followers, which proved to be helpful for me as a Reformed type. His use of Luther's catechism is especially helpful. However, while differences are mentioned, the authors do not go very far beyond presenting their position. What may have been helpful, though it would have doubtless made the book longer, would be a presentation of the respective positions followed by a reflection/response from the other side. Instead it seems the reader merely gets an introduction to each system, which could have been found elsehwere. It is interesting to see the role that Luther plays for Lutherans in their theology vis-à-vis the Reformed system of doctrine. Kolb almost exclusively speaks of what Luther taught and compares it to some of what came after him. On the other hand, Trueman uses a number of resources from Calvin to the Westminster Standards to Bavinck without giving primacy to anything specific. The interesting part about conversations between these two camps is that, in the end, in order to accomplish unity in doctrine, one side is going to have to humbly admit the fault of their confessions/history - something that neither is willing to do. This makes one wonder if visible, ecclesiastical unity is ever to be had. If I am to be honest, I don't think it will since the moment one drops their history/confession they cease to be Reformed or Lutheran and simply move to the other side. Where I do believe unity will be seen is in how the ecclesiastical bodies recognize and work with each eachother in the future while maintaining their doctrinal differences. Overall, I would heartily recommend this books to someone from a broad evangelical background who is trying to understand the Lutheran and Reformed faiths. What is presented is clear, informative, and helpful for getting a grasp on both sides.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    I am so excited this book exists. I have a hard time thinking of two other people I would want to produce this volume. I am quite familiar with Trueman, less so with Kolb (I guess that is a giveaway as to which flavor of the Reformation I find to be more compelling), but I have found both to be consistently balanced and gracious when interacting with opposing views. This volume offered nothing to counter that particular conclusion. The authors hope that believers of all sorts "find that the volu I am so excited this book exists. I have a hard time thinking of two other people I would want to produce this volume. I am quite familiar with Trueman, less so with Kolb (I guess that is a giveaway as to which flavor of the Reformation I find to be more compelling), but I have found both to be consistently balanced and gracious when interacting with opposing views. This volume offered nothing to counter that particular conclusion. The authors hope that believers of all sorts "find that the volume offers the opportunity to come together with longtime friends or with strangers in our vicinities to discover common ground and to explore serious differences," and I do as well. There is much more that unite Wittenbery and Geneva than there is that divides them, so I am glad that there are educated and articulate leaders encouraging us all to continue holding hands on those mutually agreeable issues while we passionately and graciously discuss the doctrines where our perspectives diverge. ARC provided.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Filip Sylwestrowicz

    "Between Wittenberg and Geneva" aims to lay out side-by-side classic Reformed and Lutheran positions on eight major doctrinal topics. Authors attempt to show how two major branches of the Reformation differ both from one another and modern Evangelicalism. It is a very fine introduction to Lutheran and Reformed theology. Kolb and Trueman are both writing in clear, accessible but informative and engaging prose. This book, however, will disappoint everyone who expects some conversation between thes "Between Wittenberg and Geneva" aims to lay out side-by-side classic Reformed and Lutheran positions on eight major doctrinal topics. Authors attempt to show how two major branches of the Reformation differ both from one another and modern Evangelicalism. It is a very fine introduction to Lutheran and Reformed theology. Kolb and Trueman are both writing in clear, accessible but informative and engaging prose. This book, however, will disappoint everyone who expects some conversation between these theological traditions. Authors mostly limit themselves to outlining their confessional positions and sometimes pointing out specifically how they differ from one another. There is little or no meta-commentary, polemics, attempt to find a way forward or reflection on how these old divisions can be evaluated in the light of later theological, ecclesiastical and social developments. More on my blog: https://fsylwestrowicz.com/book-thoug...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    October 31st, 2017 was the 500th anniversary of the initiation of the Protestant Reformation. When Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the doors of Wittenberg. Since then a large group has formed the Protestant church. Due to Luther’s shot heard round the world, Protestantism’s break from Catholicism sent ripples to all corners of the world. Yet after Luther made his historic break there were many who agreed with Luther in principle to break from the Catholic Church yet or in disagreement with October 31st, 2017 was the 500th anniversary of the initiation of the Protestant Reformation. When Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the doors of Wittenberg. Since then a large group has formed the Protestant church. Due to Luther’s shot heard round the world, Protestantism’s break from Catholicism sent ripples to all corners of the world. Yet after Luther made his historic break there were many who agreed with Luther in principle to break from the Catholic Church yet or in disagreement with him on theological issues. One of the most pronounced has become the chasm between Lutheran and reformed theology. Is there fitting to have such a book come out during this historic celebration of the Reformation. The book I am referencing is Between Wittenberg and Geneva: Lutheran and Reformed Theology in Conversation by Robert Kolb and Carl R. Truman. Both of these men are respected Scholars in their own historical theological view. Kolb is the Systematic Theology professor at Concordia Seminary while Truman is the professor of historical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. Each of these men have a healthy respect for one another and for the theological position the other holds. It is therefore out of this mutual respect that this book is formed. In between Wittenberg and Geneva the authors discuss eight points of contention between Lutheran and reformed theology. In every chapter each theological position is presented and descended and then contrasted with the other. Each argument and counter-argument are thorough and scholarly yet are accessible enough to the Layman. If you are in either theological tradition you will find a plethora of information detailing the theological viewpoint as well as some questions regarding it. As a minister in the reformed tradition I found this work exhilarating and profound in challenging my viewpoints yet at the same time confirming them to be true. I came away with a greater appreciation for Lutheran Theology and for Luther himself, for that matter. From this work a person can come to a a greater understanding of the church as a whole, from understanding the theological roots of their specific tradition. I therefore recommend this work to anyone and everyone who seeks to have a greater understanding of either Lutheran and reformed theology in a form that is both respectful yet sperm in their personal convictions to said theological position. This is a book that you will want to have in your possession, for it truly informs in a way few books, on theology, to this point ever have. Between Wittenberg and Geneva: Lutheran and Reformed Theology in Conversation © 2017 by Robert Kolb and Carl R. Truman Publisher: Baker Academic Page Count: 272 Pages ISBN: 978-0801049811

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pete Williamson

    For those who don't come from a confessionally Reformed background, one of the challenges (and joys) is discovering what "Reformed" really means...and what it doesn't mean. This book, for example, is a discussion of the difference between Reformed and Lutheran traditions - a difference that I wasn't fully aware existed until recently. Exploring the differences is a valuable exercise in understanding the history of the Protestant Reformation and I think goes a long way toward their goal of encour For those who don't come from a confessionally Reformed background, one of the challenges (and joys) is discovering what "Reformed" really means...and what it doesn't mean. This book, for example, is a discussion of the difference between Reformed and Lutheran traditions - a difference that I wasn't fully aware existed until recently. Exploring the differences is a valuable exercise in understanding the history of the Protestant Reformation and I think goes a long way toward their goal of encouraging the Lutheran and Reformed bodies to engage with each other about where they disagree on the basis of where they do agree. Kolb and Trueman do an admirable job of seamlessly presenting their respective sides on a variety of topics from the doctrine of justification to worship.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peter Bringe

    While I would have liked to see more interaction between the two authors, the book did a good job of explaining both theological traditions on their own terms. It did not feel much like a "conversation," as the subtitle calls it, but more like two parallel books on the same areas of theology. This approach does help each side give a more full portrayal of their views rather than focusing narrowly on their differences. Perhaps it would be best to call this book the beginning of a conversation. I While I would have liked to see more interaction between the two authors, the book did a good job of explaining both theological traditions on their own terms. It did not feel much like a "conversation," as the subtitle calls it, but more like two parallel books on the same areas of theology. This approach does help each side give a more full portrayal of their views rather than focusing narrowly on their differences. Perhaps it would be best to call this book the beginning of a conversation. I think Carl Trueman does a good job articulating the Reformed perspective. I'll leave it to Lutheran readers to judge how well Robert Kolb does representing their views.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Drew

    I enjoyed both the concept and the execution of this book. In giving it to my friend who pastors the Lutheran church in town, we realized an interesting phenomenon: this book reveals just how much your own tradition and training 'colors' your reading. He thoroughly enjoyed the Lutheran sections and thought they just made sense; I found them unclear and unorganized. I found the Reformed sections to be like fresh air; he struggled to understand the arguments. Helpful to create dialogue between two I enjoyed both the concept and the execution of this book. In giving it to my friend who pastors the Lutheran church in town, we realized an interesting phenomenon: this book reveals just how much your own tradition and training 'colors' your reading. He thoroughly enjoyed the Lutheran sections and thought they just made sense; I found them unclear and unorganized. I found the Reformed sections to be like fresh air; he struggled to understand the arguments. Helpful to create dialogue between two traditions with so much in common.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hank Pharis

    This was not as good as I hoped but still very good. Basically these leading Reformed and Lutheran theologians summarize their doctrinal positions in 10 areas. They give clear and helpful summaries and explain their differences. (There are of course more similarities than differences between the groups.) The primary thing I was disappointed in is that they don't really debate their differences. This was not as good as I hoped but still very good. Basically these leading Reformed and Lutheran theologians summarize their doctrinal positions in 10 areas. They give clear and helpful summaries and explain their differences. (There are of course more similarities than differences between the groups.) The primary thing I was disappointed in is that they don't really debate their differences.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Douthit

    I grew up baptist so distinguishing between these two traditions is difficult for me. The finer details of differences was very helpful, but so was seeing the ways in which they agree. I would recommend to anyone.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Felipe

    Fantástico. Melhor do que eu esperava.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ming Hann

    A balanced and brief presentation from both traditions. I expect a deeper discussion from both camps but this short book merely presents the differences.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Helpful overview of key differences between these two Protestant traditions.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Радостин Марчев

    Книгата е много добра. Двама добри читави богослови (Карл Трумън, реформиран и Робърт Колб, лутеран) обсъждат разликите между двете конфесионални традиции. Всяка глава разглежда определена тема, по която всеки от авторите пише изложение. Представянето е честно като нито се влиза в ненужна полемика нито разликите се смитат под килима. По този начин читателят може да получи доста добра представа за единството, разликите и различните гледни точни, по които реформираното и лутеранското крило в проте Книгата е много добра. Двама добри читави богослови (Карл Трумън, реформиран и Робърт Колб, лутеран) обсъждат разликите между двете конфесионални традиции. Всяка глава разглежда определена тема, по която всеки от авторите пише изложение. Представянето е честно като нито се влиза в ненужна полемика нито разликите се смитат под килима. По този начин читателят може да получи доста добра представа за единството, разликите и различните гледни точни, по които реформираното и лутеранското крило в протестантството подхождат към различните въпроси на вярата. Разбира се, читателят трябва да е поне донякъде богословски и исторически подготвен, за да успее да се ориентира в материята, която на моменти е доста фина, но всеки, който посяга към подобна книга трябва да очаква това. Всъщност авторите пишат доста ясно, макар че, лично за мен, Трумън е по-лесен за осмисляне (може би понеже той, освен академик е и практикуващ пастир). И двамата автори излагат своите виждания без извинение и без да смятат, че те са маловажни. В същото време те ясно казват, че различните им виждания по някои въпроси по никакъв начин не пречат да приемат другата страна за братя в Христос. В това отношение книгата е христоматиен пример за отношения между християни.

  15. 4 out of 5

    E.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Larry

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bagesq

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kwan Qi Xiang

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joel Clendineng

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nigel Ewan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marcelo Nascimento

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  24. 5 out of 5

    Connor Longaphie

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Kahlen

  26. 5 out of 5

    Martinus Eleets

  27. 4 out of 5

    David Barnett

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Crain

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

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