Lawrence's Reviews > Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther

Here I Stand by Roland H. Bainton
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's review
Sep 12, 2010

really liked it
Read from September 12 to 28, 2010

This is a nice beginning biography of one of the world's most remarkable men. It is an older book that hails from the early 1950's. It is a really good overview of Luther's life and his encounters with the outside world, especially up till about 1525. It seems aimed at a believing Christian readership. That is, Mr. Bainton, the author, seems to be a believer who appreciates very much Luther's lifetime spiritual struggle and his scriptural resolution of it in the doctrine of justification by faith. I think this is to be appreciated because Luther was primarily a man of religion and insights into his spiritual life are therefore important.

However, the book also outlines Luther's organizational work after he "began" the Reformation --- much to his surprise. It provides a balanced overview of Luther the preacher, the talker and teacher, the translator, and the writer. Although Mr. Bainton focuses on Luther's actual warmth and high intelligence, he does not minimize or hide Luther's darker acts (e.g., the agreement to outlawing the Anabaptists). On the whole, though, I think that Mr. Bainton's program is to relate and preserve the good in Luther's life and legacy.

Although Mr. Bainton is interested in presenting the man Luther, the book is a little thin on how the outside world such as England, the Netherlands, etc., reacted to Lutheran ideas, especially post-1530. Plus, ensuing bloodshed and martyrdoms need attention.

The book has generous excerpts from sermons on Jonah, the Nativity, and the Sacrifice of Isaac. These and other quotes show Luther as witty and profound. My edition had reproductions of wonderful woodcuts from the period.

This is a good biography, but it encourages me to read another.
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