Cameron A. MacKenzie

St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2017. 224 pages. Hardcover. $29.99.

Reviewed by Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller, Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, Colorado on 08/21/2018

Dr. MacKenzie has given the Church of the Reformation a great gift with his recent work, The Reformation. The 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of the Ninety-Five Theses had no shortage of commemorative publications, but this history stands head and shoulders above the rest. The book is beautiful; every page is adorned with paintings, engravings, maps and illustrations, but this is not a coffee-table book. The text is engaging and far-reaching, extending beyond the borders of the Holy Roman Empire to explore the impact of the Reformation in Scandinavia, Switzerland, France, England, and Rome. Most importantly, MacKenzie writes the book as a Christian historian. Not content to give merely the names and the dates, he engages the theological controversies, and keeps the doctrine the central issue. The characters of the reformation are brought to life (and not only the well-known figures, but even also the more obscure), but the main character of the story is Jesus, upon whom the Church is established. The reformation was a debate over His word and work, and The Reformation offers a stunning and compelling account of that 16th century debate.