Wittenberg vs Geneva

In Wittenberg vs Geneva: A Biblical Bout in Seven Rounds on the Doctrines that Divide author Brian Thomas seeks to highlight the doctrinal differences between confessional Lutheranism and the Reformed tradition.

The  doctrines addressed by Thomas are the extent of the atonement, predestination, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the believers security. The strongest chapters in the book are the first two addressing the issues of atonement and predestination. His arguments regarding the sacraments aren’t convincing.

While the idea behind this book has a lot of potential, its delivery falls short. The First problem with the book as I see it is he narrows in on one specific stream of the Reformed tradition failing to address the fact that the Reformed tradition is far from monolithic. For example even on the issue of the atonement there is no consensus that Calvin held to a limited atonement, R.T. Kendall’s work Calvin and English Calvinism addresses some of the complications in lumping Calvin with the latter Reformed tradition. Moreover even in the latter tradition there are those in the Reformed tradition who hold to a universal atonement as Luther did. Regarding double predestination there are and have been many in the Reformed tradition who have rejected double predestination.  Regarding the sacraments I see the Lutheran position put forward as one stepper closer to Rome in making the sacraments so vital to perseverance and faith.

To sum up this book is a good idea that deserved a better execution then what is found here.

Disclosure: I received this book free from from the publisher for providing this review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html




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