Book Review – Reformation Women by Rebecca VanDoodewaard

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Reformation Women Book Cover Reformation Women
Rebecca VanDoodewaard
April 25, 2017

Women are an essential element in church history. Just as Deborah, Esther, and the New Testament Marys helped shape Bible history, so the women of the Reformed church have helped to make its history great.

In Reformation Women, Rebecca Vandoodewaard introduces readers to twelve sixteenth-century women who are not as well known today as contemporaries like Katie Luther and Lady Jane Grey. Providing an example to Christians today of strong service to Christ and His church, these influential, godly women were devoted to Reformation truth, in many cases provided support for their husbands, practiced hospitality, and stewarded their intellectual abilities. Their strength and bravery will inspire you, and your understanding of church history will become richer as you learn how God used them to further the Reformation through their work and influence.

Book Review – Reformation Women by Rebecca VanDoodewaard

As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation this year we will be hearing a lot about the men who dedicated their lives for the sake of truth. Great men of God such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, Knox, and Beza will be recognized for their role in helping to clarify biblical doctrine. In the midst of our remembering there will be some that we hear much of and some which we hear very little of. Unfortunately, some of the lesser known saints of the Reformation are women. In Reformation Women, Rebecca VanDoodewaard highlights the lives of twelve such women — women who, despite their obscurity, played a significant role in shaping the Church that emerged from the ashes of the Reformation with new life. From Zwingli’s wife Anna Reinhard, to the brilliant scholar Olympia Morata, VanDoodewaard treats us to captivating biographies of these incredible women.

The biographies are so delightful that I have a difficult time picking a favorite. However, if I had to choose it would be Charlotte de Bourbon — an intriguing woman whom VanDoodewaard, when summarizing her life said, “So a nun became a Reformed believer, a princess became the mother of kings, and a saint became a servant in heaven’s court”. I especially enjoyed reading how Charlotte de Bourbon, upon being forced into a convent, discovered the Reformed faith and secretly taught other nuns the doctrines of the Reformation. For those familiar with Good’s book on the Famous Women of the Reformed Church, VanDoodewaard takes a different approach to Charlotte de Bourbon’s upbringing favoring Broomhall’s instead which has her mother as being more sympathetic to Rome than to the Reformed doctrines. While I personally tend to like Good’s narrative better than Broomhall’s, I agree with VanDoodewaard that his telling of the story lacks documentation and is therefore suspicious. Either way, the story of Charlotte de Bourbon is sure to delight the reader and is a wonderful example of the providential nature of the Protestant Reformation.

Each of the twelve biographies will capture your imagination and spark a much needed interest in the great women of the Reformation. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in the history of the Protestant Reformation –especially those who desire to learn more about the very important role that women played in its success. This book is perfect for a part of a homeschooling history curriculum and would be a timely addition given the important anniversary  which is just around the corner.

Where to purchase

Amazon | ChristianBook.com | Reformation Heritage Books

About the Author

Rebecca VanDoodewaard is a freelance editor. Her husband William VanDoodewaard is ordained in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They blog together at The Christian Pundit.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Reformation Heritage Books in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

3 thoughts on “Book Review – Reformation Women by Rebecca VanDoodewaard

  1. Wendy

    We’re studying the Reformation this year like every other homeschool family and I haven’t been too impressed so far with the books in women. They are just too dry! My kids toss them to the side and keep saying they will get back to them eventually. I give them a little freedom to do that as long as they finish everything. I’m thinking it might be time to look for a new book. Do you think this one will keep their attention?

  2. Roy McDaniel

    I’m not familiar with the three names you mentioned. Who are the others included?

  3. Karl

    The women of the Reformation were just as great although they were not as influential. Tbis isn’t their fault. They did magnificent things but they were not at the visible leaders. Such a shame that they have been forgotten so quickly. I hope this book help a to reverse that.

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