I wasn’t sure what to think when I picked up this little volume. I don’t know too much about Bromiley, but I know he is responsible for translating a whole library of books into English, including works from Karl Barth, Wolfhart Pannenberg, and (if I’m not mistaken) even some Rudolf Bultmann. I therefore had my doubts about Bromiley’s ability to fairly reproduce a summary of the sacramental teaching and practice in the reformation churches. I have found in my studies of the theology of John Calvin that many interpreters who are influenced by so-called Neo-Orthodoxy have a tendency to recast Calvin in their own image. I feared that maybe Bromiley might be cut from that unsavory cloth.
I was happily surprised, then, to find that Bromiley’s handling of the topic was quite faithful to what I have come to understand as Reformation teaching. Now, I’ll own that I didn’t read this book with scrupulous care. (I largely read it at the side of a pool during the kids’ swimming lessons.) Even so, I found the book edifying and informative. It was well-organized and brief, making it an easy entrance into an admittedly difficult subject.
One thing that I thought was odd is that Bromiley essentially did not quote the Reformers. My recollection is that all the footnotes were references to Scripture. In other words, this little work was very much Bromiley’s condensation of Reformation teaching. This book is his summary, and it is a good summary.