31st October marked the 498th anniversary of Martin Luther pinning his 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg Church, an event which changed history.
This week, a new book about Martin Luther is published. Danika Cooley has produced a new book When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther.
I was delighted to have the chance to read a pre-release review copy. My children are studying the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, this year, and so it is helpful for me to know more about Luther and to have a book to read aloud to them.
We were familiar with Danika's work
from her Bible Road Trek which we have used for our Bible teaching.
Danika has taken actual events and some of Luther's written words and written a substantial account of Martin Luther's life for older children which is also suitable as a read aloud from about age 8. The story is fast moving and vividly told. The scene where Luther injures his leg with his own sword is not for the faint hearted! The description of the serious, seeking monk visiting sensual Rome shows him being shaken and disillusioned leading to his famous cry of
Who knows whether this be true!
I found the description of Martin's spiritual search clear and moving: from his vain attempt to confess every sin and his attempts at mortifying the flesh to realising that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone and that faith is the gift of God. The build up to Luther's conversion is explained in detail with the role of Psalms 22 and 71 as well as Romans 1 v17.
The just shall live by faith.
Martin Luther is presented as a person with worries, thoughts, aims and an anger problem. A flesh and blood person like anyone else and this is the strength of this book. His wife, Katharine von Bora is presented as a spirited help meet, certainly no doormat.
There is much to consider in this book. I was struck by how Luther's theology is described as a new theology and his concern about whether he could be the only one right and then his contending for the preeminence of Scripture above the Pope and tradition.
I hadn't appreciated that Luther's translation of the Bible had a similar effect on the German language that Tyndale's had on the English language and it was helpful to have some discussion of Luther's stance on the Peasants Revolt.
In order to help thinking about Luther and his impact, Danika has produced both a free discussion guide and a 12 week unit study in colour. They are both available on this page-scroll down to the end.
When lightning struck! is available as an ebook and a hardback. It would make an ideal Christmas present for an older child or for a family.
There is to be a Facebook party to celebrate the launch of this book which will include conversation and giveaways. The timing isn't great for those of us in the UK but if you are a night owl or in the US, then you will enjoy this.
Until 11th November, Danika has a 50% sale on her other books including the Bible Road Trip.
Disclaimer: I received When Lightning Struck! as an ebook for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions are my own.