Reformation2017

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Reformation2017 is a year-long initiative that seeks to capture the creative legacy of the Reformation which was set in motion when Martin Luther published his 95 theses five centuries ago.  It includes a range of events and conferences; a sculpture exhibition depicting the five ‘sola’s of the Reformation; a set of new research publications; and a broad public campaign to identify 95 new theses to change the world today.  The goal of Reformation2017 is to shape a new narrative for spiritual and social transformation based on ‘true human flourishing’, and inspire the next generation of Christian social reformers.

The dedicated website is www.reformation2017.org 

Capturing the Zeitgeist

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Martin Luther’s 95 theses (Latin edition, 1522)

There are moments in history when prevailing conditions align to create a ‘perfect storm’. October 1517 proved to be such a moment. Who knew Martin Luther was standing on the threshold of the modern world when he nailed his 95 Theses to the doors of Wittenberg Cathedral?

The invention of the printing press by Gutenberg around 60 years earlier meant that copies of the Theses had circulated throughout Europe in a matter of months. Luther’s writings captured the zeitgeist for reform and drew together disparate groups of dissenting believers who were also questioning the authority of a morally and spiritually corrupt Church. Luther’s one radical act was a game-changer. Universal education and literacy, the rule of law, the right of conscience, modern science and democratic governance are among the many developments that owe a debt to the ideas of what was to become the Reformation.

A Catalyst for Transformation

240dpi-credit-freedom-houseNext year is the 500th anniversary of this catalytic act, and we want to use it to inspire the Church to ‘reignite a passion to transform the world.’ As in Luther’s time, our world is crying out for change. Approaching moral and spiritual bankruptcy, it is crumbling under a mountain of unpayable debt, in fear from the threat of terror, traumatised through population upheavals and with its head in the sand when it comes to accelerating climate change. Civil wars, deeply divisive elections and referendums, both here and abroad, show a world becoming increasingly polarised, with a yawning chasm between the super-rich and poor. Political leaders are not trusted and are bereft of meaningful, unifying ideas. We believe it is time to act, time for the Church to stand up boldly and speak hope into the voids in our culture.

Jubilee Centre is collaborating with Christian Heritage and the Kirby Laing Institute of Christian Ethics (KLICE) to launch Reformation2017, a year-long programme of research, events, campaigning, and engagement projects. The aim? To capture the creative legacy of the Reformation. Our vision is that it becomes a catalyst for change that radiates from Cambridge to the rest of the UK, through Europe and out to the wider world, inspiring a new generation of Christian social reformers.

Challenging the Church, Engaging our Society

new-brighton-1239724_640Key to this is the rediscovery of the Reformers’ commitment to the Lordship of Christ over the whole of life. Reformation2017 will question truncated versions of the Gospel still influenced by Enlightenment ideas of a secular/sacred divide. Instead, we will champion the idea that the Gospel is an integrated, transformative vision for human flourishing, both for individuals and society.

The social, political and cultural legacy of the Reformation will enable us to engage a wide audience that includes both believers and those who are not yet Christians. Central to the project is promoting a series of conversations that will lead to creating a new set of theses for today: ’95 Ways to Change the World’.  These will be framed by considering underlying problems in terms of ‘dehumanisation’ (in individuals and institutions), and the alternative in terms of ‘true human flourishing’, which includes restoring relationships, since we are primarily relational beings.  This language can be used with people of any faith or none, and yet can easily be seen in terms of the biblical concepts of sin and redemption.

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Decalogue – a sculpture by Liviu Mocan in Geneva, commissioned to mark the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth

The historical significance of this anniversary and the sheer scale and ambition of what we’re proposing will, we hope, provide a number of media-worthy public engagement opportunities.  The most visual element we’re planning is an exhibition of powerful sculptures by Romanian artist Liviu Mocan, symbolising the five theological ‘sola’s of the Reformation: sola scriptura (by scripture alone), sola fide (by faith alone), sola gratia (by grace alone), solus Christus (Christ alone) and soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone).

 

 

Category: News and Reviews

October, 2016

Comments (5)

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  1. Yvonne Mildred says:

    I love this idea. Please keep me informed and if I have anything to contribute as I learn more from you, I will. Thank you.

  2. David Corbett says:

    Amazing!

  3. Ralph S. Werrell (Rev Dr) says:

    Although I do not deny the importance of Martin Luther’s Reformation, I think we need to consider the work of John Wyclif.
    We do not know how much further his Reformation ideas would have gone if he had lived longer, his theology was more Reformed than Luther’s: also Luther pointed to Wyclif when he wrote, We are all Hussites.
    I look forward to seeing the programme, and the possibility of making a contribution.

  4. Yes, interested, could you keep me informed.

  5. David says:

    What is interesting is that despite Luther and Calvin’s critque of the business practices of their day there is little evidence that the 16th business world was any more ethical and less focused on profit than today. Indeed Richard Gresham, leading City figure and lay Anglican was described by a contemporary as a ‘brigand’ is his business dealing. Luther’s printer and publisher Hans Luft became wealthy through publishing Luther’s works and bible but kept most of the profit for himself-plus ca change.

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