We began our celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in January. Join us for the next several months as we learn about the influence of the reformers in various parts of Europe. In March, we began a focus on the Southern Reformation, specifically John Calvin and those who worked alongside him. Booklet: The Protestant Reformation, In the Time of Calvin.
This was preceded by our initial focus on some of those who paved the way for the Protestant Reformation. You can read about them in this publication. Booklet: The Protestant Reformation, Pre-Reformation Period
Introduction to our Reformation Celebration
On October 31, 1517, a young Augustinian monk by the name of Martin Luther nailed 95 theses (or points for formal disputation) on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This inauspicious act—a normal way of inviting academic debate on important issues—is now popularly considered to be the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Luther wouldn’t break from the Roman Catholic church for four more years; John Calvin wouldn’t show up on the scene until 1536; and there were many reform movements already underway when Luther posted his 95 Theses. So, this anniversary date is more symbolic than actual, but it does provide us, here and now, with an important touchpoint in church history.
As a church that can trace its own lineage back to the Protestant Reformation that Luther helped launch, we have determined to give significant attention to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in at least five different ways this year. First, you’ll notice a new adult Sunday School class this spring, “The History and Theology of the Reformation,” taught by Rev. Marcus Serven. Second, we’re planning to use several Reformation liturgies from that time period in special worship services this year. Third, our Sunday Evening at Redeemer class will trace the development of the Reformation from the early church to our own experiences as Reformed Christians today. Fourth, we’ll be introducing important books, people, music, and events of the Reformation on our “Reformation Wall” in the foyer of Calvin Hall. Fifth, we hope to cap off the year with a Reformation Celebration weekend conference in the fall.
Please take advantage of all the learning opportunities and experiences that we are offering this year. Come to Rev. Serven’s Sunday School class. Attend the Sunday Evening at Redeemer series. Pick up a booklet that helps you understand the people and events we’re drawing your attention to on the Reformation Wall. Make the most of this anniversary year in whatever way you can.
Although the Reformation, as a historical event, concluded around the time that the Westminster Standards were created and adopted by the English Parliament in the mid-1600’s, we are always in need of reformation. My prayer for us, as a church, is that we would continually return to the light of Scripture as we reform our doctrine, our worship, and our lives according to the Word of God. May our celebration of this anniversary not merely be a time of remembering a fabled “Golden Age” of the church; may it instead be a time when our own hearts are quickened to pursue Christ in a deeper and richer way than we have done in the past as we make use of the resources our mothers and fathers in the faith have passed down to us.
Soli Deo Gloria! Pastor Eric Landry