Book Review: Wittenberg vs. Geneva

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Wittenberg vs. GenevaTitle: Wittenberg vs. Geneva: A Biblical Bout in Seven Rounds on the Doctrines that Divide
Author: Brian W. Thomas
Publisher: NRP Books (August 24, 2015)
Language: English
Formats: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle
Pages: 192

What is the difference between Lutherans and Calvinists? This is a question I had not really considered because I don’t fall under either label; I am a Baptist by denomination and classify myself as a Mediate Theologian, which is somewhere in the middle on the Calvinist/Arminian scale. Brian W. Thomas, a Lutheran pastor, is uniquely qualified to address this question, however, having grown up outside the church and initially trying out the Presbyterian church before transitioning to Lutheranism.I requested to review this book out of curiosity for what the author would say but not expecting to find any agreement.

I requested to review this book out of curiosity for what the author would say but not expecting to find any agreement. I was shocked to discover that Thomas’ theology resembled mine in many respects (one of the biggest disagreements I had with Thomas is the idea that Baptism and the Lord’s supper are “performative rites that accomplish what God says, namely, the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation”). However, I thought his section on predestination and election articulated quite well what I have found Scripture to say on the matter.

Thomas’ approach is to look at key verses, “the best way, according to the Reformers, to argue theological issues.” While he points out areas of disagreement, he also demonstrates where Lutherans and Calvinists agree, something that I have discovered to be rare in my limited reading on any denominational comparatives. Thomas quotes from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity where Lewis likens the church to a large house of many rooms (denominations), all connected by a hallway where commonality can be found. A healthy, respectful discourse is great, and Thomas gracefully engages his audience.

Despite some theological differences, I would rate this book 5/5 and recommend it to any Bible students interested in this subject.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest appraisal. I was not required to provide positive feedback.


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