Celebrating 500 Years of Reform
In 1517, in the town of Wittenburg, Germany, a monk engaged in the teaching of theology challenged some of the core beliefs of the Roman Catholic church of his day. According to popular accounts of his activity, he posted a list of 95 theses, or topics for debate and discussion, on the door of the university chapel. He hoped to encourage the church to abolish the sale of indulgences offered as a means to reduce the punishment for sin after death. He ended up not only changing the church but changing the world. His name was Martin Luther.
This Fall we will observe the 500th anniversary of the start of Protestant Reformation and the beginning of the work of Martin Luther to bring about change in the church. Sunday preaching will focus on important theological themes from the Reformation, and we will have several Adult Education sessions focused on the history of the period and the motivating ideas that drove the reformers.
Of course, the Reformation was not the work of one person. Kings and princes, pastors and theologians, and common people all were stirred by the ideas proposed by the reformers. Neither was the Reformation a one-time event. The work of attending to God’s Spirit in transforming the church continues to this day. In the months ahead, we will be discussing how the Reformation continues to form our practice of the Christian faith and how we might fulfill the motto of our Presbyterian tradition “Reformed and always being reformed according the Word of God.”
All Church Read
As part of our study of the Reformation and Martin Luther during the Fall, the Adult Education committee is inviting church members to join us in reading a biography of Martin Luther written by the eminent University of Chicago church historian Martin Marty. Many biographies have been written about Luther, but this one is readable, relatively brief at 199 pages, and balanced in its treatment of Luther. Luther himself was and continues to be a polarizing figure in Christian history, so this balanced approach is helpful. In other words, we can see the good parts of Luther’s work along with the bad.
A few copies of the biography are available through the church office at $10 apiece. There are also copies in the Penn State library system and at the Schlow library. Of course, the book can be ordered through Amazon or any other bookseller. Here are full publication details:
Author: Marty, Martin
Title: Martin Luther (Penguin Lives Biography Series)
Publisher: Viking/Penguin Group, 2004.