The Unquenchable Flame

September 10, 2009

unquenchableThe Unquenchable Flame

Michael Reeves

IVP

192pp

ISBN : 978-1-84474-385-8

 

Thank you Evangelical Times! If you hadn’t sent me this book to review, I may never have picked it up, and that would have been a great shame.

 The Unquenchable Flame is a clear, easy read; lively and humorous in places, it’s ideal for kindling an interest in the Reformation and the events that have shaped Christianity in Europe. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this book lacks depth, it’s crammed full of important details and useful insights. Reeves has written a book that is both light in style and deep in content.

The book charts a time when the World awoke to the sound of God’s Word. Beginning with the pre-Reformation state of Europe, before there was even a hint of discontentment with the Roman Catholic Church, the author shows how the LORD worked in the hearts of men like Erasmus, Luther, Zwingli and Calvin, convicting them of the Supremacy of God’s Word over the Pope’s. These men, and many others, fought to release Christians from the false teachings of Roman Catholic Church, and introduce them to a salvation that could not be bought or earned but was graciously given by a personal God who spoke directly to them through his Word.

Michael Reeves succeeds in bringing the Reformation to life and making its significance unmissable. One of the book’s strengths is that it glorifies God rather than the men he chose to use. The Reformers should certainly be admired and their example followed, but the example they set was one of devotion to following Christ.

What makes this book different is its very human portrayal of the Reformers. Much of the humour in the book comes from stories of their home lives. Mrs Luther, for instance, was one of a group of Nuns convinced of Salvation by faith alone. Luther helped these nuns escape the convent, and found them all husbands. He married Katie because she was so feisty no-one else would have her!

This book has an interesting feature; the main text is interspersed with added informative asides. Every few pages there is a grey box of text giving some additional detail about a person or event that may not link directly with the chapter, but is interesting nonetheless. Although I enjoyed the additional reading I found myself wondering if I should stick with the main text of the chapter or read the text box!

I enjoyed this book very much, and it’s certainly encouraged me to find out more about the Reformation. Anticipating this response, IVP have set up a website with some additional resources and suggested further reading.