31 October 2017

The Non-Event of the Reformation? Or, Why You Should Buy "Reformation Theology: A Reader of Primary Sources"

Since becoming associated with The Davenant Institute I have come to have a greater appreciation of the catholicity of the Reformation. While I might not go as far as to call the Reformation a "non-event" (as is argued here, or perhaps more even-handedly here), it was very much a reform of the best of the received catholic tradition (including education and even the Eucharist!). In other words, none of the "reformers" believed that the true church had vanished from the earth for the preceding ten centuries. And neither should their followers today.*

There were, of course, new insights into doctrine and practice associated with the Reformation. There were certainly new emphases among what had come before. And rejections of prevailing teaching and practices that, however, had been the subject of debate and attack for decades if not centuries. But even here we could say that any new teachings that came with the Reformation were less "new" than those associated with the Council of Nicea, which in its own day was followed by decades of controversy and opposition (which further suggests that the continuing significance of the Reformation lies not in its efforts at reform but in the now-centuries-long rejection of those efforts).

In any event, if you want to learn about the catholic, reformational, and developmental aspects of what happened in the sixteenth century, please buy Reformation Theology: A Reader of Primary Sources with Introductions and see for yourself. This book has the aim of restoring basic theological and historical literacy about the Reformation to Protestant churches. Pastors and lay readers will find it of great value and I hope it receives wide classroom use at Christian colleges and seminaries.

* As an example of the catholicity of Protestantism, one could begin by reading "A Reforming Catholic Confession" here. For a trenchant critique of Protestant hand-wringers like Stanley Hauerwas go here.)

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