Maas, Korey D. The Reformation and Robert Barnes: History, Theology and Polemic in Early Modern England (Studies in Modern British History, Volume 23). Rochester, NY and Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Boydell and Brewer, 2010. 250 Pages. Cloth. $99.00 www.boydellandbrewer.com http://www.boydellandbrewer.com/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=13114 (LHP)
Bray, Gerald L., Editor. General Editor Timothy George. Associate General Editor Scott M. Manetsch. Galatians, Ephesians (Reformation Commentary on Scripture, New Testament X). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2011. 446 Pages. Cloth. $50.00. academic.ivpress.com (P)
There is much about the Reformation that is unavailable to the average English-speaking person five hundred years after the fact. IVP and Boydell and Brewer are working to change that.
First up, an extensive treatment of the English Lutheran, Robert Barnes:
We are used to calling Circuit Pastoral Conferences "Winkels," using the German word for "corner." Lutheran pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England, a sister church to the LCMS, have "Barnes Conferences," named in honor of this English Lutheran martyr.
There have been short treatments of the life and work of Robert Barnes, but they often don't sell well and go out-of-print. Korey Maas provides us the most complete work on Barnes I have seen to date, including biography, theology, and a treatment of the works of Robert Barnes.
We have reviewed volumes of IVP's Ancient Commentary on Scripture for years. Our second book debuts a new IVP commentary series.
The first volume covers both Galatians and Ephesians and is edited by Gerald L. Bray.
This new series will focus on the Protestant reformers. I do like the idea. Although this Lutheran is not eager to read more Calvin or Zwingli, I am eager for English-readers who are inclined to reference this series to learn more about the Lutheran Reformation through our contributing commentators.
My goal in this review is to get you interested in this series. I pray you would even pick up this first volume. Those behind the project picked a volume on Galatians and Ephesians to go first for a reason. These are great Epistles! Luther's commentary on Galatians is a classic. Galatians is a great introduction to the Gospel and how to avoid getting it wrong. Ephesians is a great blessing when it comes to correctly teaching about election and predestination, grace, worship and music, marriage, parenting, and spiritual warfare.
Any Lutheran who has read the Small Catechism has encountered the Twenty Questions. I am thankful that Lutheran Service Book places them in the hymnal right before the first hymn so that we may more properly and reverently prepare to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, the very forgiveness of our sins in the Sacrament of the Altar. Well, I think Luther is quite sarcastic in his last question, and his use of humor wakes some out of their unrepentant, unserious (or too serious) slumber. We are given to always take the Lord, His Word, and our sin seriously. I also think we take ourselves far too seriously.
Ephesians 5:4 Avoid Sinful Talk
We report. You decide. Sin boldly.
As always, we thank the publishers for their generosity in providing complimentary copies of these books for our review. We think they are worth your time and shelf space.
The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Yellowstone Circuit Visitor (LCMS Wyoming District), a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.