In this 500th year of the commemoration of the Reformation, we have been inundated with books on the subject and many good ones too. As it has been 500 years since Luther nailed a few points up for discussion, there are many Luther biographies that have surfaced and some new ones about his wife, Katie, as well. While Luther was certainly a central figure in the Reformation, he wasn’t the start of it.
Events such as the nailing of the 95 theses to a door seldom happen in a vacuum. Luther made a statement by nailing up his theses, but did he do it all alone? I don’t think so. No doubt Luther’s personal circumstances prompted him to action (read a biography), but imagine the conversations and discussions out of which these theses were distilled. There would have been discussions (arguments?) at the university where he lectured. People in the pew may have been airing their views, some out of selfish concerns and others out of genuine concern.
There were also others before Luther that drew attention to the ills in the church. The Reformation may have its seeds planted before Luther’s time, but the plant surely grew to maturity in his time. Why? The printing press had been invented! Ideas could spread, and the discussions went far beyond Wittenburg. The Lord moved and the rest is history!
The Reformation isn’t over yet. The discussions continue. In this 500th commemoration year, churches and colleges have held Reformation conferences and some have had group studies around this topic. Hopefully, the discussions continue long after this year is over. Who knows? Maybe our discussions will be instrumental in making those around us think about the difference between biblical and traditional or biblical and cultural. Preaching, counselling, worship and just the way we live, all need to be governed by the bible alone. Long may the Reformation continue in our churches and in our lives.
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For those of you who are unable to purchase Timothy George’s Theology of the Reformation, you may enjoy two of his lectures on the subject. The link is:
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