Roper’s attempt at a truthful look at Luther, a historical figure that changed the landscape of Christianity, is honest and needed. At the time of the publication of this book, and this review as well, the 500 year anniversary is upon Germany for the Reformation. Luther accomplished much to transform Christianity and create the Protestant faith, even if it involved scandal and rampant antisemitism. Roper does not shy away from addressing Luther’s failures and struggles, which is appreciated. Prior to encountering this book (and using it as a course material in Len Sweet’s cohort Semiotics program), I was already aware of the Jew-hating approach that Luther held due to his own failure to convince the Jews of a Gospel they didn’t need. Roper took me even farther by revealing how engrained his antisemitism was to his works, and I appreciated the authentic approach to highlighting Luther as a man instead of as an idol.
Roper spends sufficient effort into laying out the land, as it were, for the reader to have a better grasp of who Luther was and what formed his flawed theological perspectives. Those looking for sole praise of this historical figure may be better off in the fiction section, but Roper does express some of Luther’s less negative accomplishments. As one that endorses orthodoxy and discourages evangelicalism, I found Roper’s work to be balanced and even-keeled, adhering to a regimen of historical reporting instead of alternative facts. In the realm of historic works, this title does a fair and candid job of revealing Luther to a new generation.
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Also published on Medium.