Between Wittenberg and Geneva

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At the 500th anniversary of the Wittenberg Reformation, two highly regarded scholars compare and contrast the history and theological positions of the Reformed and Lutheran traditions. The authors tackle nine theological topics significant for the life of the church that remain a source of division between the two traditions. The book helps readers evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the Reformed and Lutheran approaches to presenting the biblical message and invites honest, irenic, and open dialogue within the Protestant family.

1. Scripture and Its Interpretation
2. Law and Gospel
3. The Person and Work of Christ
4. Election and the Bondage of the Will
5. Justification and Sanctification
6. Baptism
7. The Lord’s Supper
8. Worship


“Lutheran theologian Robert Kolb and Reformed theologian Carl Trueman offer robust confessional approaches to classical theological loci, seeking to ground faith in the scriptural truth of the Word. Eschewing the polemics of earlier centuries and embodying the best in civility and integrity, each thinker shows the marked similarities and differences between their two traditions. This book invites both Lutheran and Reformed theologians and pastors to a greater appreciation, awareness, and understanding of each other’s traditions and in this way to become more fluent in each other’s milieu and more gracious toward each other. This is a needed book.”

Mark Mattes, Grand View University

“One could scarcely ask for any better-qualified exponents of classic Lutheran and Reformed views than Robert Kolb and Carl Trueman–two theologians who are well able to articulate a confessional stance while simultaneously nurturing friendship and a mutual Christian bond. Between Wittenberg and Geneva can serve as a terrific introduction to the distinctive biblical interpretations and pastoral convictions of each of these two traditions, not only as usually attributed to Luther and Calvin but also as traced through the several generations (and controversies) that followed. Warmly recommended for both tone and content.”

John L. Thompson, Fuller Theological Seminary; author of Reading the Bible with the Dead: What You Can Learn from the History of Exegesis That You Can’t Learn from Exegesis Alone

“This book is a must-read. Historically grounded, self-critical, and convinced that his confession best summarizes biblical teaching, each author engages in something quite unique and important–talking to each other. In the process, the authors exhibit not only key differences but also the shared legacy that is often overlooked in our nonconfessional age.”

Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California

Between Wittenberg and Geneva is a treasure for all students of the Reformation. Kolb and Trueman, both careful historians and theologians of the Reformation, provide an eminently readable, insightful, and charitable guide to the major theological concerns of the Lutheran and Reformed confessional traditions. They tackle the major doctrines of the Reformation, examining with great clarity and honesty both the shared convictions and sharp disagreements of Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and their theological heirs. Pastors and laypeople, teachers and students will all benefit from the rich content and irenic tone of this book.”

Carl L. Beckwith, professor of history and doctrine, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

“Convergences and divergences on major theological themes of both Lutheran and Reformed traditions are brought to light. Irenic in spirit and lucid in writing, this book is a welcome theological ressourcement; it will also fructify true ecumenical dialogue. Edification and illumination are the gifts of Kolb and Trueman, for whom readers can be grateful.”

Dennis Ngien, professor of systematic theology, Tyndale University College and Seminary, Toronto, and research professor, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

“Robert Kolb and Carl Trueman are not only experts in their respective traditions, but they are both marvelous writers. This is a needed book. Too many who adhere either to the Lutheran confession or the Reformed have not taken time to read their opposites. Further, as Trueman notes in the preface, most Evangelicals ignore issues that are vital to the two great confessional Reformation traditions. Well-informed readers may quibble here and there, but all must admit that this volume is a great contribution to genuine ecumenicity, which requires honest exposition, inquiry, and dialogue rather than the papering over of genuine differences. This volume is much to be commended.”

R. Scott Clark, professor of church history and historical theology, Westminster Seminary California

The Authors

  • Robert Kolb (PhD, University of Wisconsin) is Mission Professor of Systematic Theology Emeritus at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including The Genius of Luther’s Theology, Luther and the Stories of God, Martin Luther: Confessor of the Faith, and The Christian Faith: A Lutheran Exposition. Kolb is also coeditor of The Book of Concord (2000 translation). He has lectured at more than forty educational institutions on five continents and at many ecclesiastical gatherings. Since 1996 he has been Gastdozent at the Lutherische Theologische Hochschule in Oberursel, Germany.
  • Carl R. Trueman (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is Paul Woolley Professor of Church History and chair of the department at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. For the 2017-2018 academic year, he is serving as the William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. He has written more than a dozen books, including Grace Alone–Salvation as a Gift of God, The Creedal Imperative, and Luther’s Legacy: Salvation and the English Reformers, 1525-1556. He also writes online regularly at
  • Additional information

    Dimensions 229 × 152 × 17 mm

    Kolb, Robert, (Author)

    Publication Summary

    Baker Academic (2017), 272 pages

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