Remembering the Reformation at 500

Most Forum readers will be aware of the fact that October 31 marks a significant occasion. While many will trick or treat, believers of many Christian traditions recognize this to be the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. This event has profound historical significance for world history, but for believers it means so much more. The life and legacy of Martin Luther no doubt stand at the center of the events which took place in Germany 500 years ago. Yet a collection of people from many places played a pivotal role in recovering biblical understandings of justification by faith, the sufficiency of the Scriptures, and more.

During the month of October, contributors and guests will help readers think of some of the diverse dimensions of the Reformation and its legacy. Christa Hill will help us think about loving our pastors and their families. As October is typically Pastor Appreciation Month, and the Reformation did much to place clergy in a different perspective than the one held by the Church of that day, this is a timely offering.

Zach Maloney will discuss the Reformers views of religious liberty, a topic that is receiving significant attention today by many Christians in light of a changing legal and political climate. His essay also is very timely. Kevin Hester, professor at Welch College, will offer a guest essay reflecting on sola fide, one of the five “Solas” (Latin for “alone” or “only”) of the Reformation. His contribution will help put faith in both historical and biblical-theological perspective.

Later in October, Jesse Owens will discuss the concept of Reformed epistemology, showing how many key Arminians aside from Arminius himself were not mere rationalists. Rather, they held views much closer to Calvin and the Reformed tradition than is sometime asserted by modern scholars. Finally, Phillip Morgan will conclude the month by discussing a Christological heresy that plagued many in the days of early Baptist and Forum namesake, Thomas Helwys. These early Free Will Baptist forbears were by and large steeped in Reformed categories and the larger discovery of early Christianity that true Protestants embraced. Morgan’s piece confirms that picture.

We invite your reading, reflection, and response as we join the church across the world and celebrate this momentous anniversary.

Author: The Helwys Society

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