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Publisher's Summary

On the 500th anniversary of the Reformation comes this compelling, illuminating, and expansive religious history that examines the complicated and unintended legacies of Martin Luther and the epochal movement that continues to shape the world today.

For five centuries, Martin Luther has been lionized as an outspoken and fearless icon of change who ended the Middle Ages and heralded the beginning of the modern world. In Rebel in the Ranks, Brad Gregory, renowned professor of European history at Notre Dame, recasts this long-accepted portrait. Luther did not intend to start a revolution that would divide the Catholic Church and forever change Western civilization. Yet his actions would profoundly shape our world in ways he could never have imagined.

Gregory analyzes Luther's inadvertent role in starting the Reformation and the epochal changes that followed. He reveals how Luther's insistence on the Bible as the sole authority for Christian truth led to conflicting interpretations of its meaning - and to the rise of competing churches, political conflicts, and social upheavals. Ultimately, he contends, some of the major historical and cultural developments that arose in its wake - including the Enlightenment, individual self-determination and moral relativism, and a religious freedom that protects one's right to worship or even to reject religion - would have appalled Luther: a reluctant revolutionary, a rebel in the ranks, whose goal was to make society more Christian, yet, instead, set the world on fire.

©2017 Brad S. Gregory (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

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Something to think about

The overall thesis of this book was interesting...how the unresolved problems of the 16th Century Reformation have influenced and informed 21st Century America. While I may not agree with all of the author's conclusions, the questions he poses are important. The only criticism I have on the performance is that the voice actor needs to do better research on how to properly pronounce proper names. E.g. Melanchthon and Bonhoeffer. His continued slaughtering of these names was annoying.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Damning but formative

This book should be earth shaking. The last section on Secularization should stir us to think more how to take our faith to all parts of our social, political and economic spheres. This, along with other books on the foundations in Secular theory, should and hopefully will be material for a prophetic movement that critiques the modern captivity of the Church and brings forth a new model of faith in the three veins of Christianity that is thoroughly political, social and economic without giving way to the divisiveness and war mongering power struggles of the previous era in the Reformation.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding Read!

outstanding. simple, yet erudite discussion of the all-pervasive influence of Luther and the Reformation thru six centuries of Western experience.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful