Second Reformed Church

Monday, April 18, 2016

Review: "Wittenberg VS Geneva"

   Let me begin by saying I love the cover to the book, Wittenberg VS Geneva:  A Biblical Bout in Seven Rounds on the Doctrines that Divide by Brian W. Thomas.  Very entertaining and eye-catching!

   Thomas presents a well-argued and readable contradistinction between Lutheran and Calvinist theology -- arguing for the former -- on the issues of Atonement, Predestination, the Sacramental Word, Baptism Saves, 2 chapters on the Lord's Supper, and Apostasy and Assurance.  He ends his work with The Saxon Visitation Articles of 1592 (which I had never read) and a bibliography and Scripture index.

   Thomas says the "rounds" will go forth with two hermeneutical principles:

   1. Scripture interprets Scripture.

   2. The literal or plain sense of the text will be held (xiii).

   That being said, he makes his case for the veracity and triumph of the Lutheran view on these topics.  While I found the Calvinist view sometimes two-dimensional (probably because I think the Calvinist interpretation of these things is more accurate), I believe he did a fair job in explaining the differences between the two schools of thought and what their understanding of these things are.

   For me, the greatest asset to this book is coming to have a better understanding of my Lutheran brothers and sisters in the faith.  So, if you are not a Lutheran, read this book, and if you are a Lutheran, read this book and share it with someone who is not.  I am better able to understand the Lutheran view thanks to this book.

   However, I remain a Calvinist.  I do not find that the Lutheran arguments trump the Calvinist ones.  "Simply" read the book in reverse to understand why!

  I do, however, grow in my humility about the difficult things of the Scripture.  There are things that I (and others Calvinists) don't have just right -- and I believe my Lutheran brother would agree.  I believe our distinctives are important, and I will argue for the better interpretation to the best of my ability.  I thank Mr. Thomas for his excellent work in this book in helping me to understand how Lutherans come to their understanding of these things.


[This review appears on my blog and on  I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.]

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