I love theology and church history, so was excited to be invited to review Where Christ Is Present: A Theology for All Seasons on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. However, nothing in the invitation or summary suggested that it was a Lutheran apologetic. I was surprised and somewhat put off when the authors took strong positions favoring Lutheran theology as they contrasted it with other theologies. Some of the contrasts were respectful; others less so.
That being said, I very much enjoyed the read. The authors offered excellent summaries of various theologies of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Calvinism, and Weslyanism, as contrasted with Lutheran beliefs. My favorite chapter was the one on the various understandings of salvation by Rod Rosenbladt. It answered a lot of questions that were never addressed in my theology or church history classes. Other authors contrasted the differing theologies on the Lord’s Supper, baptism, grace, and vocation. I also enjoyed the introductory chapters on the Reformation itself. The book was well documented with excellent endnotes and bibiliography.
I found the book easy to read, but I have a graduate degree in theology. I think it would be a bit denser for the average layperson, but I don’t think it would be overwhelming. If you have always wondered why different churches take different approaches to these issues, this would be an excellent resource. Just keep an open mind and look at it as a comparative theology rather than a Lutheran marketing tool. The only reason for the 4-star rating is the fact that the Lutheran apologetic aspect was not clearly disclosed and was too dominant for my taste.