Life of Luther by Barnas Sears

Life of LutherSears, Barnas, D.D. Life of Luther.  Green Forest: New Leaf Press, 2010.  496 pp.  $17.99. Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.

Introduction

The Life of Luther was originally published in 1850 by the American Sunday School Union.  Tim Dudley, President of New Leaf Publishing Group discusses this book in the video below.

Summary

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was the catalyst the Lord used to begin the Reformation which led to the start of the Protestant church after being excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.  This biography is split into two parts with ten chapters.  The first part looks at Luther’s life from his birth to the eve of the Reformation which began with his nailing his theses to the Wittenberg Door.  The second part is comprised of the rest of his life from 1517 to his death in 1546.

Review/Recommendation

At 496 pages, this biography is no light reading.  It is fairly extensive in its treatment of Luther’s life.  I would have liked to see the 95 theses included in the book, but the reality is the life of Luther was more about conviction and a high view of Scripture than it was about an argument with the Catholic Church.  Sears does a masterful job of explaining as objectively as possible the life of Martin Luther.  He does not shy away from the controversy that Luther seemed to continuously find himself.

Ultimately, the allure of this book is found in its antiquity.  Unlike other books in the Life of series, this one was written over 300 years after the death of Luther. Nonetheless, it does not delve into the legends that have developed in the past years.  Truth be told, there is so much good to this biography that it is difficult to critique it more than I have.

While the Roland Bainton biography still stands as the standard for most, this particular biography, as lengthy as it is, ought to receive greater consideration than it does.  Sears offers one of the more complete and affordable biographies on Martin Luther.  For these reasons, I highly recommend this biography to anyone wanting to learn about the life of Luther.