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Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther - Roland H. Bainton

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Genre: Biography / Author: Roland H. Bainton / Edition: New Ed / Paperback / 432 Pages / Book is published 2002-03-28 by Penguin Books Ltd

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      17.11.2001 19:48



      The Book ‘Here I Stand’ was a required reading in my college course in Church History, and so my first meeting with it over a decade ago was not entirely of my own free will. But I enjoyed it then, and I enjoyed it even more when I recently dusted it off and read it again. Bainton's book powerfully reminds us that there is no way to appreciate and understand the history of Christian religion if one bypasses the enormous contribution of Martin Luther. If not for Luther's depth of brutal honesty in his own struggle to know God we may all still be living in times when the Word of God was chained to the pulpit. As Luther ineffectually fought his way toward God through "works" he once stated, "I was myself more than once driven to the very abyss of despair so that I wished I had never been created. Love God? I hated him!" Bainton recounts how that during 1516-17, Luther's study of the book of Galatians resulted in his revelation of "the just shall live by his faith," a concept which reconciled for him, once and for all, the issue of the "justice" of God with the "justification" of God. This revelation unleashed the greatest REFORMATION in Christian thinking that could have been imagined at the time. Luther composed his Ninety-Five Theses and was quick to gain his reputation (in the religious world) as "the son of iniquity". Bainton chases this increasingly interesting story with novel-like tempo, and follows Luther through all of his personal crises, his hidings, false identities, public trials and public triumphs. Friends and foes emerge with all the hilarity and villainy of a great medieval romance... and as the world's greatest non-conformist theologian, Luther barges onto the scene in a very beer-spattering Robin Hood-like way. I found one of the papal bulls referring to the havoc that Luther was wreaking at the time to be particularly hilarious: "Arise O Lord, and judge thy
      cause. A wild boar has invaded thy vineyard." A wild boar indeed! It is great fun to watch Martin Luther trample. As I close the book now for the second time, I am no less amazed and breathless at how RADICAL a "stand" Luther took. For me he is a hero to the end. The quintessential INDIVIDUAL. An entertaining, beautifully illustrated, and most of all IMPORTANT book. Of this opinion, I cannot... I will not... recant!


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