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A World Upside Down: Four Essays on the Life and Theology of Martin Luther (Fry)

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Cruciform Press
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As he approached the final decade of his life, Martin Luther observed that the beginning and end of all his theology was simple faith in Christ. This faith turned Luther’s eyes away from his own “goodness” and onto Christ for the forgiveness of sins, giving him genuine peace and assurance that can only come from God. Ironically, this simple faith also turned 1500s Europe upside down.

A World Upside Down tells Martin Luther’s story, showing that in the midst of stormy circumstances and opposition (both from within Luther and from without), he came to find true rest through faith in Jesus. This indeed was the end of his life and thinking about God.

Martin Luther’s life and theology are shared with the hope that we, like Luther, would grow in having simple, uncluttered faith in Christ alone. Trusting in Christ, we will accurately see ourselves and the world from God’s perspective, know genuine peace which can only come from God, and live a fruitful life for the glory and honor of God.


Table of Contents: 

  1. When Lighting Struck: A Brief Life of Martin Luther
  2. Luther’s Understanding of the Gospel: Five Crucial Insights
  3. That No Flesh Should Glory in God’s Presence: Two Outworkings of the True Gospel
  4. Christ’s Church: Why We Still Need Luther



Charles E. Fry (BA, Marshall University; BA, Moody Bible Institute) is currently pursuing an MA in Theology at Christ College, Irvine, where he enjoys studying the theology of the Reformation. He has taught several church history classes with the goal of sharing a high view of God and a clear understanding of the gospel. In 2011, Chuck was licensed for the ministry through the Baptist church. Chuck is on staff with The Navigators in Huntington, West Virginia, and has been in discipleship ministry since 1989. He and his wife, Lisa, organize and host the annual Majesty of God conference, held each April. Chuck and Lisa have a daughter named Heidi and live in Ona, West Virginia.



“We are theological hobbits, but we can stand on the shoulders of giants like Martin Luther to get a better view of the glory of Christ and his gospel. Charles Fry has helped us climb onto Luther’s shoulders with this little book. It’s a wonderful introduction and survey of Luther’s life and theology—a book well worth the read.” — J.V. Fesko, Academic Dean, Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Westminster Seminary California

There is much in Chuck’s book that I could single out as important to Luther’s understanding of the gospel, but there is one truth that I especially resonate with. That is Luther’s understanding of ‘the reality of sin in the life of a Christian and the subsequent need to live daily by the gospel.’ My view of the evangelical church today is that the majority of Christians believe we are saved by grace, but we relate to God on the basis of our works. The truth, however, is that our very best deeds on our very best days are still flawed both in motive and performance. As one of the Puritans so aptly said, ‘Even my tears of repentance need to be washed in the blood of the Lamb.’ So I commend Chuck Fry’s book to you. If, by God’s grace, you see yourself as a still-practicing sinner, this book will encourage you to live by the gospel every day.” — Jerry Bridges (from the Foreword), author and speaker

I pray that Chuck Fry’s introduction to Luther will help bring the powerful force of the true gospel into the lives of a new generation of believers. The strong, clear articulation of law and gospel in chapter two is by itself worth the price of the book. As Luther said, ‘Distinguishing between the Law and the gospel is the highest art in Christendom…’ May this book stir in you a passion to go further up and further in.” — Bill Walsh, Director of International Outreach, The Gospel Coalition

“As one who has fervently believed in justification by faith for many decades, I was humbled and surprised by how desperately I needed to hear it again, and how delightfully encouraging it is to have it enter more deeply into my heart. The clarity and simplicity of these essays, expounding Martin Luther’s universally needed message of grace, has the power to lift the weight of condemnation from the soul of both the elite scholar and the simple plow-boy.” — C. FitzSimons Allison, retired Episcopal Bishop of South Carolina, author of The Rise of Moralism and Trust in an Age of Arrogance