When the present publisher first issued The Reformation in England in 1962, it was hoped, in the words of its editor, S. M. Houghton, that it would ‘be a major contribution to the religious needs of the present age, and that it [would] lead to the strengthening of the foundations of a wonderful God-given heritage of truth’.
In many ways there has been such a strengthening. Renewed interest in the Reformation and the study of the Reformers’ teaching has brought forth much good literature, and has provided strength to existing churches, and a fresh impetus for the planting of biblical churches.
Concurrent with this development in the life of the churches, however, has been a dramatic shift in Western society at large. In the decades since the 1960s, the de-Christianization of society at a cultural and legislative level has been rapid. Biblical illiteracy is the norm. Secularism now dominates the Continent that witnessed the reforming work of Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, Tyndale, Cranmer, and Knox.
In this hostile intellectual climate, d’Aubigne’s work again provides a means for Christians to place themselves in history. The Reformation in England brings to mind the important part that Reformers and Martyrs played in the development of our now fragile modern freedoms.
Above all, however, this work bears testimony to the power of the Spirit of God in the lives of individuals, churches, and nations. D’Aubigne wrote as a serious historian, but also, and crucially, as a pastor who had a deep understanding of the way in which God sovereignly acts in providence to bring about his purposes.
Gripping in its prose, yet far from sensationalist, this colourful record of the period is one which will be appreciated by spiritually-minded Christians everywhere.