The Reformation – part 2

2017 Autumn Lectures

“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”
Romans 1:17 (NIV)

Many people miss the importance of the Reformation, seeing it as the subject of a lifeless history lesson or a confusing doctrinal quarrel over the right words. But its recovery of vital biblical truths – not least on justification by faith – speaks powerfully to us today. And the Reformers’ example inspires us to live for Christ in a hostile world.

These lectures, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, serve as a timely reminder of its great truths, and of some of the key figures used by God to revive and reform his church.
Through taking a closer look at some of its leading personalities, this series seeks to explore and better understand key themes of the Reformation.

1. Martin Luther: Father of the Protestant Reformation

By Revd Philip Eveson

Martin Luther has been called “chief among the Reformers”. Through his own conversion and study of the Bible he became convinced that the Church of his day had lost the true Gospel. Standing on Scripture, Luther proclaimed the good news that sinners are justified only through faith in Christ. His courageous stand led to dramatic confrontation with the papacy, shaking the entire continent of Europe. Philip Eveson tells the story of Luther’s life and theology.

2. John Calvin: Faithful pastor and Catholic theologian

By Revd Ian Hamilton

John Calvin stands out as one of the most influential Reformers. As a pastor and theologian he devoted his life to teaching Scripture and equipping God’s people to live for Christ. For most of his ministry he endeavoured to plant the truth of the Gospel into the life of the church and city of Geneva. Ian Hamilton believes that, far from being cold or clinical, Calvin’s theology is full of wonder at the amazing grace of God in Jesus Christ. John Calvin helps us to see that the biblical Gospel leads to God-centred living.

3. William Tyndale: England’s greatest Bible translator

By Brian Edwards

Working from the continent and hunted by the King’s agents, William Tyndale translated the New Testament into English. By 1526, copies were being smuggled into England. This ‘subversive’ book was hated by the church authorities but eagerly read by the common people. His translation was a linguistic masterpiece that strengthened the Reformation and enriched the English language. Ten years later, Tyndale was arrested and martyred for his commitment to justification by faith in Christ alone. In this PowerPoint lecture, Brian Edwards will re-tell the thrilling and challenging story of William Tyndale and the impact of his work.

4. Martin Bucer: Reformer seeking Christ’s reign

By Revd Dr Peter Naylor

Martin Bucer was a distinguished minister and theologian of the Reformation. Having understood the Gospel from Luther, he served the Lord for about 25 years in Strasbourg. John Calvin testified to his ‘singularly acute and remarkably clear judgment’ and his intense ‘desire to propagate the Gospel’. He laboured to unite Lutherans and Swiss Reformers. He was ‘tormented’ with care over the peace of the Church. Finally, he became an exile in England, where he worked until his death for the Reformation here. What can we learn from this servant of God?

5. John Knox: Faith, Prayer and Preaching

By Revd Iain Murray

John Knox was a leading Reformer in both England and Scotland and saw gospel belief uniting the two nations. He survived imprisonment, preached with telling effect in Berwick and Newcastle, married an English woman, brought liberty to Scotland, and left an example of how Christians should live in hard and dangerous times. He believed in prayer and testified, ‘God gave his Holy Spirit to simple men in great abundance’.