Presbyterians of the Past

Between Wittenberg and Geneva, Kolb & Trueman

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Trueman-and-Kolb-Wittenberg-and-Geneva-5-8-2019.jpgIn 2017, professors Robert Kolb and Carl R. Trueman published Between Wittenberg and Geneva: Lutheran and Reformed Theology in Conversation, Baker Academic. The purpose of the book is to invite “both Lutheran and Reformed theologians and pastors to a greater appreciation, awareness, and understanding of each other’s traditions and in this way to become more fluent in each other’s milieu and more gracious toward each other.” Church history is dependent on publications and manuscripts from the past, and the unfortunate thing is these texts were often written to defend views, present ideas, record debates, and summarize judicial proceedings, each of which involves a degree of confrontation. Unfortunately, the events that make up church history are sometimes anything but gracious. I hope the authors achieve their purpose. It is a rare attribute of personal character to be able to differ with others while doing so with grace. As I read the book, one thing I experienced was difficulty distinguishing which author composed his respective portion of the book. But then the inability to distinguish an author’s portion of the content reflects the graciousness and conversation they seek. It helps that Dr. Trueman wrote his PhD thesis on Martin Luther and is not only familiar with his own Reformed-Presbyterian universe but also the thought of the reforming Augustinian. The book is very nicely done but is not light reading.

BARRY WAUGH

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