Reformation Month: Day 19

Several years ago, my friend and expert bookman David Leach asked me if I was familiar with the historian George M. Ella.  I was stumped because I had never so much as heard of the man.  I promptly started looking into his work and discovered the book Henry Bullinger: Shepherd of the Churches.  This book is valuable simply to help us all to see that God did not just raise up Luther and Calvin in the 1500s.  There were quite a few other key theologians and pastors who spoke and wrote just as boldly and with the same convictions as Luther and Calvin.  People still read Luther’sBondage of the Will and Calvin’s Institutes.  (Or at least, they buy the books to put on the shelves or recognize the titles.)  Martin Bucer, Philip Melancthon, Henry Bullinger, and quite a few other Reformers appear as almost footnotes or shadow figures.  Some readers might think that this biography overstates Bullinger’s importance.  And those of us who have identified ourselves as Calvinists for years would find it stressful to now have to call ourselves Bullingerists.  Nevertheless, this book is a necessity for Reformed pastors and history teachers.

George Ella has quite a few titles that I would like to have.  He is a very prolific author, and his website can be found here.  Unfortunately, most of his books are published in the United Kingdom and are quite pricey.  For a listing of his titles, click here.

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2 thoughts on “Reformation Month: Day 19

  1. I read Ella’s biography of William Cowper. The bookstore from which I purchased it offered a credit for my purchase price if I returned it as they had a customer who really wanted a copy. It appears that the book is hard to find. I reluctantly complied with their request to help a fellow book lover. A direct descendant of Henry Bullinger (properly pronounced Boo-lin-gehr’) is E. W. Bullinger, the compiler of the Companion Study Bible published around 1900. Though I do not agree with some of the dispensational influence in some of his notes and appendices, it is a valuable resource as it contains detailed structures (chiasms, etc.) in the notes along the side and for all the books of the Bible, and a thorough treatment of figures of speech used in the Bible. However, I have yet to find a copy of the above biography at a garage sale. Will continue to look, though.

  2. Thanks for the connection between the Reformer and E. W. Bullinger. I have never come across any of Ella’s books at any used book sources. I often find good histories and plenty of novels, but the theological selections, including church history, are usually weak. But we will both keep looking.

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