In recent years, notable scholars have argued that the Protestant Reformation unleashed interpretive anarchy on the church. Is it time to consider the Reformation to be a 500-year experiment gone wrong?
World-renowned evangelical theologian Kevin Vanhoozer thinks not. While he sees recent critiques as legitimate, he argues that retrieving the Reformation’s core principles offers an answer to critics of Protestant biblical interpretation. Vanhoozer explores how a proper reappropriation of the five solas—sola gratia (grace alone), sola fide (faith alone), sola scriptura (Scripture alone), solus Christus (in Christ alone), and sola Deo gloria (for the glory of God alone)—offers the tools to constrain biblical interpretation and establish interpretive authority. He offers a positive assessment of the Reformation, showing how a retrieval of “mere Protestant Christianity” has the potential to reform contemporary Christian belief and practice.
This provocative response and statement from a top theologian is accessibly written for pastors, church leaders, and students.
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The Reformation was about countering what was wrong in Catholicism, but its central principles, the five solas, are not only negations. Reformational Protestantism is also about being for something. The solas are therefore principles for shaping a robust theology. It is this constructive task that Vanhoozer has undertaken in this book, and he has done so with rigor, vigor, and an infectious enthusiasm.
—David F. Wells, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
A fresh appraisal of the core principles of historic Protestant Christianity. Written with conviction, nuance, and wisdom, this is Vanhoozer at his best—a treasure.
—Timothy George, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
Are rumors of Protestantism’s demise greatly exaggerated? May it actually be the case that the authority, unity, and mission of the whole church could be served precisely by reengaging with the Reformation solas rather than running from them? While wrestling frankly with the Reformation’s unintended consequences, Vanhoozer makes a penetrating argument that must be taken seriously
—Michael Horton, Westminster Seminary California
Kevin J. Vanhoozer (PhD, University of Cambridge), one of the world’s top theologians, is research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He previously taught at Wheaton College and the University of Edinburgh. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including The Pastor as Public Theologian, Everyday Theology, The Drama of Doctrine, Is There a Meaning in This Text?, and the award-winning Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible.