In its actual historical context, it hardly seems fair to call the Reformation a “mistake.” In 1517, the Church was in need of a spiritual and theological reform. The issues raised by Renaissance humanism—and by the profound corruption of the Church’s leaders, the Avignon papacy, and the Great Schism in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries—lingered unresolved. What were key factors that led to the Reformation? Were they significant enough to cause the Church to split?
Theologian Matthew Levering helps evangelical readers see these questions from a Catholic perspective. Surveying ten key themes—Papacy, Mary, Eucharist, Monasticism, Merit, Purgatory, Saints, Justification, Priesthood, and Scripture—he explains the positions of Calvin and Luther and makes a case that the Catholic position, as it has developed, and even as it was then, is biblically defensible and should not have been Church-dividing.
The book concludes with a response by Protestant Reformed theologian Kevin J. Vanhoozer.