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Reformation of the Church Series

Returning to the Basics by Eugene H. Peterson
Sixty miles or so from where I live there is a mountain popular among rock climbers––Stalamus Chief. It presents itself as a vertical slab of smooth granite, 2,000 feet high. On summer days rock climbers are spread out in varying levels of ascent up and down its face. Occasional climbers spend the night in hammocks (they call it bivouacking), hanging like cocoons attached to barn siding. It always strikes me as a might dangerous way to have fun. Fall 2018, Theology Matters, Pg.14

Martin Luther: A Moment to Remember by Richard Gibbons
Recently I received an email along with a photo of a cute puppy. It read: “This is Buddy. I bought him as a surprise for my husband, but it turns out he’s allergic to dogs. So unfortunately I have to find a new home for him, and am wondering if anyone out there can help. His name is Allen. He’s 61, great at DIY projects, drives a nice car, and plans wonderful holidays.” Winter 2018 Pg. 11, Theology Matters

The Reformation of the Church: Where Is the Power Lodged, by Rev. Sue Cyre--
This is the first in an on-going series on steps to take in the reformation of the church.  This article discusses where the power to reform is lodged--in the people who form governing bodies.  The power is not lodged in renewal groups. p.15  Jan/Feb 2009 Theology Matters

The Reformation of the Church, by Rev. Faith Jongewaard, p.15--
Jongewaard examines Hosea's commitment to Gomer because of his commitment to God. Jongewaard compares Hosea's faithfulness to an unfaithful wife to our faithful commitment to the PCUSA. Nov/Dec 2008 Theology Matters p. 15

The Reformation of the Church, by Rev. Sue Cyre, p.16--
Cyre begins a series on practical steps that must be taken to reform the church.  This article looks at the turmoil in the church caused by false teachers in 1 Peter.  Reference is also made to Calvin's commentary on 1 Peter.  Sep/Oct 2008 Theology Matters p. 16

Is the Reformation Ever Finished? by the Rev. Michael D. Bush, PhD., pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Athens, Alabama, and a member of the Theology Matters Board of Directors.

Bush seeks to discover the original meaning of the popular phrase ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda—best translated as “a Reformed church, always needing to be reformed.” This phrase, often touted as “the motto of the Reformation” and presented as a distillation of John Calvin’s thought, has been used to justify a program of continuous change in the doctrines and practices of the church. That meaning, however, is not what Bush finds in the historical record. Spring 2016 Theology Matters p. 11

A Reformation Sermon by David McKechnie

On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Luther was fulfilling an obligation, but he was also taking advantage of an opportunity. He believed he had an obligation to challenge some of the teachings of the medieval Roman Catholic Church. Make no mistake: there is a difference between the Roman Catholic Church of the 16th century and the 21st century. Fall 2016 Theology Matters, p. 14

Looking Back, Looking Forward: The Protestant Reformation by Paul C. McGlasson
The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the onset of the Protestant Reformation. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses on the castle church door in Wittenberg. It was, appropriately, high noon, though his posting was intended not so much for dramatic effect as for scholarly discussion among his theological colleagues at the University of Wittenberg. In fact they were written in Latin, the language of learned debate. Winter 2017 Theology Matters, p. 1

A Reforming Recommendation by Tee Gatewood
The year 2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Half a millennium has passed since Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of All Saint’s Church in Wittenberg. During this year there is much to celebrate joyfully and ponder critically. This tension is perhaps best captured by Jaroslav Pelikan's phrase, “the tragic necessity of the Reformation.” Spring 2017 Theology Matters, p. 10

Commemorating the Reformation in “Post-Christian” Europe? by Herman Selderhuis
The debate over the meaning of Reformation jubilees or commemorations is an old one. Such celebrations can be put to different uses and interpreted in a range of ways. For example, at an early marking of the occasion in 1617, Friedrich V (1596–1632), elector of the Palatinate and an enterprising Calvinist, was perhaps the first to propose the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Reformation. He wanted to observe it as a single, common celebration for Lutherans and Calvinists. But his plan was criticized by Lutheran statesmen and theologians, who accused him of making this proposal for improper reasons. Summer 2017 Theology Matters, p. 1

Seeking A Correctable Conscience by John L. Thompson
Had things gone differently for Luther at the Diet of Worms—where he was on trial before representatives of Pope Leo X and Emperor Charles V—these might have been his famous last words: “I cannot do otherwise; here I stand. May God help me. Amen.” Summer 2017 Theology Matters. p. 9

Luther’s Mistress and Knowledge of Ourselves by Richard Burnett
Martin Luther had a mistress. It can be denied and has been many times. But the fact is he did, or at least he thought he did, and he struggled with her for many years, especially as a young man. There is much about this relationship we do not know, but we do know this: rightly or wrongly, he sometimes called her “Reason.” Summer 2017 Theology Matters, p.14

The Source of Revolution by Gerrit Dawson

October 31, 1517 is 500th anniversary of a revolution. It began when a young, obscure theologian in an insignificant town in Germany rediscovered the radical grace of the gospel. It soon set the world ablaze. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed a copy of his 95 theological challenges to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. This was the crystallizing moment for a movement that had been growing around Europe. For a hundred years, the Bible had been translated into the languages everyday people could understand. Reading the Scriptures in plain language was kindling a fire in the hearts that maybe Jesus Christ is different than the medieval church had said he was. Maybe there could be some freedom from the relentless cycle of sin, confession, penance, and the purchasing of so-called indulgences to reduce one’s punishment for sin. Fall 2017 Theology Matters, P. 15

Does The Reformation Still Matter? by Richard Burnett, Managing Editor

“There is no question the mainline church is dead,” he said. “The only question now is whether Evangelicalism is the seven demons that come into the corpse.” This was the response I got after a long period of silence to a question I had posed to my teacher, George Lindbeck, in a course on “Comparative Ecclesiology” in the fall semester, 1992, at Yale University Divinity School.

I did not like it. I considered myself an evangelical (and still do). Nor was I ready to forsake my mainstream ecclesial inheritance. Yet even then I suspected that one reason I did not like my teacher’s verdict was because there was more truth in it than I was prepared to admit. Fall 2017 Theology Matters, p.1

Three Pastoral Insights From Martin Luther by Raymond Hylton

Like many pastors across America and the world, I encouraged our congregation to observe the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. But churches were not the only ones honoring this historic moment. Print media, television networks, BBC, NPR, social media and numerous internet outlets tried to cover the importance of Luther’s nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg and the revolution that he sparked. Fall 2017 Theology Matters, p.2

Calvin’s Way of Preaching in a Digital Age by Richard Gibbons

Today as churches around the world continue to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation the question uppermost in my mind is: Does the preaching model provided by our reforming forefathers have anything relevant to say to a generation dominated by the ubiquitous convenience of a digital playground? It could well be argued that this generation’s identity is defined by access to smart phones, tablets, Hulu, Netflix, Instagram, and Facebook. Fall 2017 Theology Matters, p.4

No Substitute for the Word by Patricia Crout Gwinn

The word proclaimed is central to Reformed worship. If and when it is neglected the body can no longer stand with any real integrity and uprightness. The priority of preaching in worship and as worship is one of the contributions of the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition to the larger ecumenical community. So does the Reformation still matter? Yes, more than ever, and particularly as regards the word of God preached. Fall 2017 Theology Matters, p.6

The Bible’s Church by Timothy P. McConnell

Does the Bible belong to the church or does the church belong to the Bible? We tend to lose track of the profound influences that formed the world in which we live and shaped the way we do the things. Christians are so accustomed today to having access to the Bible we fail to realize that this access was hard won. The Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura altered the course of the church, and arguably the course of western civilization. It is still contested to this day. Fall 2017 Theology Matters, p. 7

Worship Matters by Walter L. Taylor

Throughout the 500th anniversary celebration of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther has been the principal character for reflection. At the center of Luther’s personal quest, which led to the important role he played in the Reformation, was a question: How is one made right (justified) before God?” In answering the question of whether the Reformation still matters, one must decide whether the question that motivated Luther matters today. No doubt, there are those for whom such a question is out-of-date or even a bit “passé”, theologically. Perhaps that fact in itself shows us that the Reformation still matters more than ever! Fall 2017 Theology Matters, p 8

Doing Life Together: A Priesthood of All Believers by Nancy A. Duff

Fifty million American adults attend faith-based small groups regularly, according to a 2016 survey of the U.S. Census Bureau.[i] Yet just over 500 years ago, this common faith practice would have been seen as dangerous and displeasing to God. Although small groups are not a direct outcome of the Reformation, they are part of its legacy: The Reformation doctrine of the priesthood of all believers has shaped how the body of Christ functions together today. Fall 2017 Theology Matters, p 9

Living by Grace Alone by Helen Harrison Coker

She sat across from me, imprisoned in pain because she doubted her self-worth and questioned her identity. As her pastor, I tried to reassure her that she was a beloved child of God, so loved in fact that Jesus voluntarily died for her and lavished His amazing grace upon her. But she had been bound for years by chains of lies, lies that had led her to this place of pain. She struggled to break free from those shackles. What more could I do to help her? What did I learn in all those seminary classes that would make a difference in her reality? Does the Reformation even matter to her? Fall 2017 Theology Matters, p. 11

How the Reformation Shapes our Life Together by Edwin Hurley

Last Spring I was planting vegetables and noticed printed on the plastic wrapper around one tomato plant the slogan, “Deep roots produce abundant fruits.” As I reflected on this claim, I thought about how this applies to my own understanding of ministry and how it shapes the life of the church I serve. I thought about the deep roots of our Reformation heritage and how grateful we should be for this heritage, how it has shaped us in the past, continues to bear fruit in the present, and gives us reason to look ahead in hope to future harvests. Fall 2017 Theology Matters, p. 12

The Call to Reformation by Peter Barnes

When Martin Luther wrote his 95 theses, I imagine he had little thought about how it would affect not only his life and the Roman Catholic Church of his day, but also how his actions would reverberate throughout history and actually change the world. When he started out, no one expected him to be someone who would change the theological landscape of Europe in the 1500s. In fact, it was a complete surprise to his family that he became a theologian in the first place. Fall 2017 Theology Matters, p. 13