I was asked, along with four other pastors and theologians, by TGC what one book on the Reformation or what one book by the Reformers would I would recommend? Hard choice! Be sure to check out what Mark Dever, Robert Kolb, Shawn Wright, and Jeffrey Jue said (some excellent recommendations).
Here is what I said:
If I mention any book but the soon-to-be-released Reformation Theology: A Systematic Summary (Crossway, 2017), then I will have 20 top-notch Reformation theologians wondering what we’ve been laboring over for the past three years; that outrage would be justifiably shared by four other stellar theologians who participated in The 5 Solas Series (Zondervan). Nevertheless, if I can duck their protests, allow me to put forward one book from the pen of Luther himself: Luther’s Works, Volume 31: Career of the Reformer I. Here, in one volume, grow the seeds of what will become Luther’s mature theology. The volume starts with Luther’s “Disputation Against Scholastic Theology,” “Ninety-five Theses,” and “Heidelberg Disputation.” These works will help any student of the Reformation understand Luther’s initial discomfort (and disgust) with late medieval soteriology, as well as the genesis of Luther’s “theology of the cross” (much in contrast to the medieval era’s “theology of glory”). The volume also includes Luther’s “Two Kinds of Righteousness,” “The Leipzig Debate,” and “The Freedom of a Christian,” among others. Not only do sola gratia and sola fide shine bright, but sola scriptura as well. At Leipzig Luther is labelled a friend of heretics John Wycliffe and Jan Hus. By the end of his dispute with Johannes von Eck it’s crystal clear to Luther that popes and councils error; Scripture alone is inspired by God, without error, and therefore the final authority for the church.