Part one ends with the Council of Trent, the Catholic rebuttal to the Augsburg Confession. The response is stunning! Luther's interpretation of Paul is confirmed as correct but irrelevant! Yes, Paul saw sin as a condition, not an act, but the Curia never accepted Paul as authoritative. Final authority was not in the Bible, but in opinions prevailing in the church. This, the first denial of The Bible was beneficial. It strengthened the conviction of the Reformers. Even their opponents agreed, their view of Scripture was correct! They could side with the prophets, "Thus saith the Lord!"
The second denial of The Bible was by adherents, not opponents. A Lutheran professor insisted that the negative anthropology of Paul, the view of man as helplessly invaded, was archaic and antiquated, had to be set aside. Scripture had to be rewritten. The language and the logic of this second denial were the same as at Trent. But, where Trent spurred the Reformers onward, demythologizing deflated them. The church lost its anchor. Scripture was not rewritten but rejected. The authority of the Bible abandoned. Treasured traditions were forfeit. Protestantism was adrift.
The final third of the book begins by citing the damage done by demythologizing, but moves to offer a cure, a pathway to the restoration of the vigor of the original church.
Parts of the book rise to the level of Pulitzer Prizewinning prose. Chapter Two, the confrontation of Luther and Tetzel, is dramatic. Chapter Six, Luther's condemnation at Worms, has never before been so touchingly told. The chapters outlining the optimistic anthropology prevailing both at Trent and during the second denial are classic.
This book is "A Cure for the Continuing Collapse of Christian Influence," which is the primary problem of our time.