Doing Theology with the Reformers, By Gerald L. Bray
Doing Theology with the Reformers
  • Length: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: July 16, 2019
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 5251
  • ISBN: 9780830852512

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The Reformation was a time of tremendous upheaval, renewal, and vitality in the life of the church. The challenge to maintain and develop faithful Christian belief and practice in the midst of great disruption was reflected in the theology of the sixteenth century.

In this volume, which serves as a companion to IVP Academic's Reformation Commentary on Scripture, theologian and church historian Gerald L. Bray immerses readers in the world of Reformation theology. He introduces the range of theological debates as Catholics and Protestants from a diversity of traditions—Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, and Anabaptist—disputed the essentials of the faith, from the authority of Scripture and the nature of salvation to the definition of the church, the efficacy of the sacraments, and the place of good works in the Christian life.

Readers will find that understanding how the Reformers engaged in the theological discipline can aid us in doing theology today.

"Once again Gerald Bray has managed to combine his profound knowledge and his great writing style in a book that not only demonstrates that theology was the core matter of the Reformation but also what that theology was, where it came from, and how it functioned. This book is a wonderful help to understand the Reformers and their message and to see the relevance of Reformation theology."

Herman Selderhuis, president of the Theological University Apeldoorn, director of Refo500

"Here is an excellent book by a master historian, a study that places the Reformation and its theology in the context of the church and culture in which it happened. A fine companion to the Reformation Commentary on Scripture."

Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture

"Taking an approach that is both accessible and knowledgeable, Bray dexterously weaves an engaging tapestry, orienting readers to the key Reformation-era theologians and their insights. His themes range from the sources of authority in the Reformation churches to the complexities of church-state relations, helping modern-day readers engage with the leading theological issues in early modern Western Christianity."

Karin Maag, director of the H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies, Calvin College

"It is impossible to understand the Reformation without a clear comprehension of the changing social and geopolitical landscapes of the sixteenth century, the driving importance of a number of complex theological issues, and the sometimes tangled interplay between the two. In Doing Theology with the Reformers, Professor Gerald Bray offers a most excellent and integrated overview of Reformation history and doctrine that will serve equally well as a solid introduction to the field and as an engaging read for anyone wanting to further thicken up their knowledge of the period and its developments. With his characteristic accessibility, Professor Bray moves seamlessly from the macrosweep of early modern European history to the nuanced details of particular religious debates, interacting with the major persons, texts, regions, and emphases as he evenhandedly narrates the theological story of the Reformation. With plenty of direct connections to present day religion and culture in the West, this volume will profit all its readers at multiple levels."

Tim Patrick, principal, Bible College of South Australia

"The list of useful books produced by Gerald Bray just keeps growing. In this book, written in Dr. Bray's characteristically accessible style, we are given an excellent introduction to the world of the Reformers and their key theological contributions. More than that, he shows how those contributions still affect us, not only through the Reformers' own writing but also through the confessions of the Reformation churches. What is remarkable is the breadth of understanding of the Reformation world that is evident throughout the book and the evenhanded treatment it provides of the theology of each branch of the Reformation. Here is a reliable introduction that is enjoyable to read. Those with a detailed knowledge of the subject will appreciate how well it has all been brought together, though there is no doubt room for disagreement on one or two particulars. Those who are just beginning to discover the riches of the Reformation will be thankful for such a helpful guide. Here is a challenge to do theology with the Reformers, for we cannot ignore their effect on our own grasp of the biblical gospel. Dr. Bray's book is a fine example of how to do just that."

Mark D. Thompson, principal, Moore Theological College

"Gerald Bray is an expert guide to the theology of the Protestant reformers of the sixteenth century, and this volume surveys the terrain in which they labored with his characteristic skill and verve. Let him take you on a tour of the theological landscape of Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, and others and inspire you with the ideas and doctrines that brought light to Europe five hundred years ago."

Lee Gatiss, director of Church Society, author of Light After Darkness


1. The Education of a Reformer
2. The Sources of Theological Authority
3. The Interpretation of the Bible
4. The Work of the Holy Spirit
5. The Godly Commonwealth
6. The Emergence of Confessional Theology
Works Cited
General Index
Scripture Index


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Gerald L. Bray

Gerald L. Bray (PhD, La Sorbonne) is a professor at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and director of research for the Latimer Trust. He has written and edited a number of books on different theological subjects, including Galatians, Ephesians in the Reformation Commentary on Scripture series, Biblical Interpretation: Past and Present, The Doctrine of God, and Romans in the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series. A priest of the Church of England, Bray has also edited the post-Reformation Anglican canons.