Most of us live in a bubble. We experience the people, perspectives, and circumstances of our particular time and place in history. I know some of my readers are well-traveled to countries and cultures that are substantially different–that has an eye-opening and broadening effect.
Even so, we’re all living in the 21st century, dealing with the Church in its current place in time.
I love reading Christian biographies because I get outside my bubble. I get to learn about the Church in a different place and time. Moreso, I learn about the sacrifices others have made for the cause of Christ. Kingdom living isn’t easy. I find it so encouraging to read the stories of other men and women who kept their eyes on eternity, chose to abide in Christ (John 15:1-17), and ran the race well.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) says: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
I love that visual. We’re surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses through time and space. We can lay aside every weight and sin, keep our eyes on Jesus, and run the race before us.
The 500 year anniversary of the Ninety-Five Theses was October 31st, 2017!
Rebecca VanDoodeward has a new book out on Reformation Women (Reformation Heritage Books, 2017). It’s excellent.
When I was researching the Reformation in order to write When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther, I was shocked by how tough the Reformation period (1350-1648). We like to rail against the internet comments we see about religious figures and that are posted in response to articles today.
Imagine if those comments were, instead, swords. So very many people died over comments they made and works they wrote.
The reaction of the Roman Catholic church to dissent was to kill the dissenters. In return, some Reformers killed some Roman Catholics. Mennonites were equally persecuted by both groups (though some Mennonite groups were quite violent.) It was a mess.
I am so grateful for the sacrifices made by the men and women who sought to follow Christ with a right biblical doctrine. They lived difficult lives, they lost loved ones, and sometimes they lived at extreme odds with those in their own households.
In Reformation Women, Rebecca VanDoodewaard covers the lives of 12 Reformed women who sought to uphold the cause of Christ above all else. The 128-page book is an encouragement, and a reminder that this life is a passing training ground for eternity to come.
I want to thank Reformation Heritage Books and Cross Focused Reviews for providing a copy of Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity’s Rebirth in return for my honest opinion.
Or purchase at ChristianBook.com: Reformation Women (book) and Reformation Women (audiobook)
Women Covered in Reformation Women
- Anna Reinhard
- Anna Adlischweiler
- Katharina Schütz
- Margarethe Blaurer
- Margarethe de Navarre
- Jeanne d’Albret
- Charlotte Arbaleste
- Charlotte de Bourbon
- Louise de Coligny
- Katherine Willoughby
- Renee of Ferrara
- Olympia Morata
What I Loved About Reformation Women
I knew the life stories of several of the women of the Reformation detailed in the book, but many were not familiar to me. Mrs. VanDoodewaard covered their lives in an engaging narrative, with sources well-cited. Though each biography was short, I had a lot to think about after reading each one. I spent four years researching the Reformation and Martin Luther, yet I came away from this book with a deepened understanding of both the period and the people in it.
My favorite part of the book was the last chapter, the conclusion. Rebecca VanDoodewaard takes the time to outline seven principles we can take away from the lives of these twelve very different women. These seven principles were encouraging and applicable to our lives today. This paragraph in particular struck me:
These women lived as they did because of sanctification: as selfless love replaced natural selfishness, they became fruitful. This sanctification was not a passive process. These women were not hanging out on social media or mommy blogs, waiting for spiritual maturity to happen. They actively pursued it: Bible reading, prayer, attendance at worship (often several times a week), fellowship with the saints, theological study and discussions, and conscious self-denial matured them into usefulness God blessed. Personal projects, comfort, and plans were subservient to the mission of the Great Commission. (Reformation Women, pg. 113)
Amen, Mrs. VanDoodewaard. Amen.
Not only is Reformation Women a wonderful read for you, it’s entirely appropriate for your middle and high school students. I highly recommend it.
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