Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Review - Where Christ is Present


Five hundred years ago, the church of Jesus Christ underwent a Reformation.

A lot happened after Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the castle church door in Wittenberg. But the fallout was not simply the start of Protestantism. The Roman Catholic Church also recast itself in response to Luther’s call for reforms. And contrary to common belief, Martin Luther did not set out to start a new church. Rather, he was trying to reform the church that already existed by reemphasizing its essence—namely, the “good news” (the gospel) that Jesus forgives and saves sinners.

The unity of the church was broken when the pope rejected this call for reform and excommunicated Luther, starting a chain of events that did lead to the institutional fracturing of Christendom and to a plethora of alternative Christian theologies. But, as many – including conservative Catholics – now admit, the church did in fact need reforming. Today, the church – including its Protestant branches – also needs reforming. Some of the issues in contemporary Christianity are very similar to those in the late Middle Ages, though others are new. But if Luther’s theology can be blamed – however unfairly – for fragmenting Christianity, perhaps today it can help us recover the wholeness of Christianity.

In the hope of that wholeness, Dr. Montgomery and Dr. Veith commissioned these essays celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, gathering some of the best contemporary voices the Lutheran church has to offer.

And we need these voices! The religious climate in the early 21st-century is simultaneously highly religious and highly secularized. It is a time of extraordinary spiritual and theological diversity. This book will propose the kind of Christianity that is best suited for our day. The remedies offered here are available by way of the same theology that was the catalyst for reforming the church five hundred years ago.


John Warwick Montgomery is the author of more than sixty books in six languages. He holds eleven earned degrees, including a Master of Philosophy in Law from the University of Essex, England, a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, a Doctorate of the University in Protestant Theology from the University of Strasbourg, France, and the higher doctorate in law (LL.D.) from the University of Cardiff, Wales. He is a Lutheran clergyman, an English barrister, and is admitted to practice as a lawyer before the Supreme Court of the United States and is a practicing avocat, Barreau de Paris, France. Dr. Montgomery currently serves as Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at Concordia University Wisconsin.

Gene Edward Veith is the Provost and Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.


I found this book wonderfully interesting. As a former Lutheran, I was especially interested in the history of the church and how the influence of Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses on the church door. I have always admired him for his bravery, but mostly, I have admired him for truly reading the Bible and sharing what God's Word is truly about. He wanted it to stop being about what the priests told us it said (and some of this was very legalistic) and about what God was telling us in His Word!

This book is very interesting, even if you're not a deep theologian. I love theology so I was very excited to read this book and it did not disappoint! It's not a book that is easily read without thinking, however, it's not so above your head that you'll struggle to understand it. I found it very easy to understand, which is a plus.  It is broken down into twelve chapters, each written by an expert. 

My favorite chapter was chapter nine. This is titled, "Christian Liberty, the Arts, and J.S. Bach". I have long been a lover of Bach (because of my Lutheran background, no doubt) and I found this chapter so interesting. I enjoyed reading about the musicians and artists that were theologians first and this influenced their work they did. I also loved how they talked about freedom comes from Christian liberty first. 

The book reflects how far our church has fallen from the true theology of the Bible and what Martin Luther had wanted. There is comparison about how divided we are in our theology even among the Christian churches. This is a very timely book and one that I highly recommend to everyone. This is not a light and easy read, but it's an important read, and I would love to see everyone read this important book! I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me for my honest review by iRead Book Tours 

Blessings - Julie

1 comment:

  1. enjoy your reviews. please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. if you ever want to email me, here is my email


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