This year we celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Why bother with celebrating something that happened 500 years ago. For some of us, historical events seem far off and remote. At school, History felt like learning a lot of meaningless dates. Then celebrating something that was a protest, something that led to a split between Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians and led to war across Europe doesn’t seem to be a great thing after all.
Other reasons why we might not want to celebrate the Reformation include
1. The anti-Semitism of Martin Luther (see https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/luthers-jewish-problem?platform=hootsuite)
2. The harshness of some of the reformers in their dealings with perceived heretics – e.g. the execution of Servetus and the suppression of Anabaptists.
3. The harshness of some reformed theology – doesn’t the Doctrine of Election create a narrow and restrictive Christianity.
It is my view that:
1. The reformers did get quite a few things wrong. They were fallible human-beings
2. The way that some of their doctrines have been developed or understood by others has been faulty and not what they would have recognised.
3. Overall, the Reformation was a good thing and worth celebrating.
Over the next few days, I want to pick up on some of the reasons why we can and should celebrate The Reformation.
For a little bit of historical background, have a look at this article on Luther and Calvin.