October 2017

On 31st October 2017 we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation. On that date a little known German monk hammered a notice onto the church door at Wittenberg containing his 95 theses. As his message detonated throughout Europe over the following years so the church was changed irrevocably – the Reformation had dawned. It’s an exciting story of people being gripped by the word of God, recovering the gospel message, reforming their Churches and making an impact upon the surrounding culture. But it’s all “history”, so why bother making a fuss now?

One of the slogans of the Reformation was “semper reformanda”. As Chester and Reeves state in “Why the Reformation still matters” (IVP £8.50 in the Church bookshop), this is “usually translated as ‘always reforming’; but a better translation may be ‘always being reformed’ (by God’s word). It describes not a movement forwards to some uncharted horizon, but a continued movement back to God’s word.”

In other words the Reformation is not just a period of church history which may enthral you or otherwise depending upon your love of history. Rather it is an era which has continual relevance for the Christian because it reveals how the Church needs to return to the word of God in each generation, often having to battle away against vested interests, human traditions and cultural accretions to do so.

As we prepare to celebrate the Reformation our aim at St Nicholas is to enable us to be
reformed by God’s word. To help us to do that we have an exciting programme:

Tuesday 17th October at 8pm William Tyndale - Bible translator, Hero & Martyr
Lecture by Ian Dobbie
Tuesday 31st October at 1:45pm Tuesday Fellowship: 'Through many tribulations –
Gospel growth, gospel opposition –
Andrew Wilson
Tuesday 31st October at 8pm Film: Luther

We are also making available a number of key resources to help us. Why not select one to help you make the most of this opportunity?

The Reformation – what you need to know and why £5.50
by Michael Reeves and John Stott

Why the Reformation Still Matters £8.50
by Michael Reeves and Tim Chester

Freedom Movement £1.50
by Michael Reeves

Courage and Conviction Volume 3 –
Chronicles of the Reformation Church £6.50
by Mindy and Brandon Withrow (for 8-14 year olds)

Jeremiah lived in a day when God’s people needed to get back to God’s ways. They needed a reformation. He called out to them “Reform your ways and your actions” (Jer 7:3). He also used a powerful image:
"Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls."(Jer 6:16)

Let’s heed the call and return to these ancient paths, marked out by God’s word and be inspired by the journeys these Reformers took as, under God, they changed the face of the Church in Europe.

Angus MacLeay

October 2017