Ladies of the Reformation, by J.H. Alexander, is a bright pink paperback without even a barcode and dives into one part of the Reformation that you might not have on your list this year. When a friend lent it to me, I was absolutely thrilled. It gave me a huge amount of help in preparing a short series of lessons I'm writing about women of the Reformation and Scripture principles we can take from their lives.
In the midst of Calvin and Luther and an impressive list of theological points, it's easy to let the year go by while overlooking the women who contributed to the Reformation. Who thinks about it much? It's like the women who supported Jesus in his ministry: many nameless and faceless, but all valued by the Son of God in helping to spread the Gospel.
J.H. Alexander's book highlights women from all over the world who helped support Christian ministers and were used by God to advance the cause of Christianity. With lots of exciting details to interest girls (midnight escapes and forced marriages!), this book can give vision in so many areas: reading Scripture for themselves, supporting churches and ministers, and obeying God rather than men when people try to force them to abandon their faith. These are important lessons and show them the powerful biblical influence a woman can have on those around her. Some of the stories end happily; others are martyrdoms that end in faithfulness to Jesus. The women in this book come from all around the world and range in scope from nuns to princess to housewives.
Sometimes I think certain aspects of the book could be very slightly embellished, and I found a couple of facts differed from internet articles on Elizabeth of Brunswick's life, so I would want to fact check. But this book serves as a good introduction and jumping-off point into further research. I'm so glad I got a chance to read it.
I've enjoyed studying the theology and history of the Reformation this year. It's a watershed moment in Christendom, and regardless of a person's theological background, it's a vital time in history to be informed about. It's shaped our pulpits, our congregational singing, and our view of work and marriage. Reformed or not (I'm actually not 100% Reformed) it's well worth taking the time to study. In fact, if you're looking for a great theological overview, you might want to check out my brother's studies over at www.icbfblog.blogspot.com!