FAMOUS REFORMERS OF THE REFORMED AND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHES
James I. Good
One of the promising tendencies in the sphere of present-day religious life, especially among the young people, is the growing interest in the study of the history of the Christian Church. "Bible and Mission Study Classes"; the combination of terms is itself highly significant; are being successfully organized and maintained by so many agencies directly and indirectly connected with the Church, that we may fairly cherish the hope that, not only among youthful converts, but also among older members in our households of faith, the zeal that is so marked and so admirable a feature of our religious activities may be increasingly tempered with that knowledge which is ever the prime requisite for the cultivation of the noblest types of character and the promotion of the best forms of service.
And if truth is never more potent than when it is seen incarnated in human life, surely the study of the great Reformers of the sixteenth century, the leaders in that wondrous anabasis that brought the Church out of her medieval tutelage into the spacious liberties of the modern era, will ever be an effective means for the deepening and enriching of our conception of what Christianity is and what it may become.
I therefore heartily welcome this "Mission Study Manual on the Reformation." The author's many publications in this particular field and his long experience as a professor of history in a theological seminary are a sufficient guarantee for the general excellence of his work. He has succeeded in sketching the careers and achievements of the Reformers with admirable simplicity, clearness and conciseness, and in maintaining a due proportion among the varied elements of the outline as a whole. The style is frequently brightened with picturesque and dramatic touches and with references to historic landmarks and memorials that reveal the sympathetic interest of the narrator as an eyewitness. After the approved fashion in works of this sort, each chapter is followed by a series of questions designed to bring out the salient features of the text for the purpose of a class review. As explained in the Preface, the book is adjusted to the specific purpose of stimulating popular interest in the study of the Reformation considered primarily, though not exclusively, as an evangelistic and missionary enterprise.
We congratulate the author on the completion of this Manual on the eve of the four hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, and express the hope that the book may be widely useful in spreading the knowledge of the Church of that period, and by this means furthering the kingdom of our Lord and Savior in our own day.
Frederick W. Loetscher. Princeton Theological Seminary, May 15, 1916.
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