Fri | Aug 17, 2018

500 years of Protestant Reformation

Published:Monday | October 23, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Where have we reached after 500 years when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg Germany? Is it time for someone else to nail another thesis on another church door?

In the 1920s, Harry Emerson Fosdick was one of the most celebrated preachers in the United States. He was an influential interpreter of religion, and basically a good, all-round rebel.

In May 1922, Fosdick preached a sermon titled 'Shall the Fundamentalists Win', in which he challenged some of the basic tenets of theology, including the Virgin Birth, the inerrancy of scripture, plus some other things. The backlash was explosive and Fosdick was forced to resign from his pulpit.

Today, we are far away from the world of Martin Luther and Harry Emerson Fosdick, so don't you think it is time to sit around the table and have a conversation. Instead of being against each other, could we look at coming together in our theology and ministry practices, and so encourage and build up people rather than label them and knock them down.

The Reformation of 1517 was a world-changing event when the Church was involved in every aspect of life. Can we say the same today? Do we need a new Reformation? Who will nail their theses on my church door? Maybe we are too busy arguing, too busy looking for faults and flaws instead of healing wounds and binding up the broken.

As we commemorate 500 years of the Protestant Reformation, let us not hide behind hatred and suspicion, but come to the table with love, understanding and mutual respect for all.

In the words of Martin Luther, "Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God."

Margaret Fowler