Faith in Focus

Book Review of : "Ladies of The Reformation"

by J H Alexander. ( Published by Gospel Standard Strict Baptist Trust Ltd)

On borrowing this book from our church library, I was surprised how much information it contained, considering its size. The title doesn't have the pizzazz of current literature and at first glance wouldn't appeal to many, but I can assure you of an inspiring and provoking look at the role these women played in the Reformation period (early 16th century).

The author has purposefully chosen the word "Ladies" rather than "Women" because many of them were titled ladies, ladies of royal or noble blood. The women in the royal courts were expected to attend lectures on various subjects including sermons. This provided a welcome relief from endless sessions of embroidery and a sedentary lifestyle. These women were all born into the old faith, namely Roman Catholicism, and then brought out of it by the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. The Bible had been released to the people in their common language.

One thing that struck me on reading this book was the desire of these women to learn, especially spiritual matters. They all actively lived out their new found faith, often risking their lives for the sake of spreading the gospel.

We are also given an insight into the lives of the wives of such influential men as Luther, Calvin, Knox and Zwingli. Their lives were often marked with tragedy, many infants died within these homes from illness. The women themselves were often of a weak constitution. Calvin himself wrote, on losing his wife Idelette, "I do what I can that I may not be altogether consumed with grief. I have been bereaved of the best companion of my life; She was the faithful helper of my ministry."

There is much more that I could tell you but I hope you will get hold of this book and read it for yourselves. The challenge before us as women today is not necessarily of as great a significance as it was for these women, however let us consider why the Lord has placed us on this earth, in the late 20th century, and how we too can be of service to Him.

Mrs Janine Heeringa (Silverstream)

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Faith in Focus /NZ Reformed Church / / revised August 96 / Copyright 1996