Thoughts on the Legacy of the Reformation

ReformationAs you know, this years is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses on the Wittenberg door. Whether one is Catholic, Protestant or non-religious, you cannot deny the impact of this event.

What is the lasting impact of the Reformation? I asked a number of historians what they thought and here are their responses.

I agree with Lindberg: “In one way or another…the legacies of the Reformations have affected every aspect of modern life and thought.” (Carter Lindberg, The Reformations, 357.) The good would be the reform of the church (both Protestant and Catholic), and positive developments in governance, science, liturgy, and literature. The bad would be the violent breakup of Christendom, and 500 years of internecine warfare between Christian communities.Gordon Heath, McMaster Divinity College

The legacy of the Reformation is the recovery, by part of Christendom, of the biblical, apostolic teaching on a variety of subjects, including justification by grace alone through faith alone, and the authority of Scripture, as God’s revealed word, over all human teachings and authorities. While the recovery of these teachings tragically resulted in opposition from the church authorities and therefore in new divisions in the church, such divisions should not be blamed on God’s truth or its recovery, but on our human fallenness.Kevin Flatt, Redeemer University College

The legacy of the Reformation essentially boils down to two important points: 1) the need for fidelity to Scripture’s authority; 2) a love for the gospel of faith alone apart from works. It’s both the meaning of the Reformation, and its continuing relevance.Ian Clary, Colardo Christian University

What about you? What do you see as the legacy of the Reformation?


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