The Reformation is in many ways synonymous with the present socio-political climate in Europe at the moment.
For instance, like Brexit, Luther’s Reformation was propelled majorly by social and patriotic goals as to ‘spiritual’ ones. Perhaps he did not see a dichotomy between the spiritual and social.
Hence it gained traction with the people and the nobles, who were keen to brake ranks with the authority of the Catholic Church at the time – the first institution, and symbol of European cooperation.
But unlike Brexit, broadly speaking, Luther’s Reformation was a movement towards the emancipation and enlightenment of the Germans. This was the same with other counter Reformation initiatives.
Writing on the Reformation in England, Owen Chadwick argues that,
“[m]any clergy were ignorant, simple, poverty stricken, and generally ‘unreformed’. Others, more capable of decision, were convinced that the Church needed reform.” – (The Reformation in England to 1559, p.135)
I say this to emphasise that the Church cannot be devolved from the daily challenges facing humanity, locally and globally.
This brings me back to two themes captured by Paul on the subject of Reconciliation in 2 Cor. 5:19. For Paul,
“in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.”
First and perhaps foremost, the role of Christ as The Reconciler, bringing divinity into humanity. Secondly, our role as the Church through the power of the Holy Spirit in the continuation of the work of reconciliation here on earth.
Join us this Sunday for my new series: God was in Christ.
This Sunday I will be examining Core Teaching About Christ.
The Parish Hall
St John’s Sidcup,
Kent DA14 6BX