Today’s guest post is by Dr. Jim West. Dr. West is adjunct professor of biblical studies at the Quartz Hill School of Theology and pastor of Petros Baptist Church in Petros, Tennessee. He has written a number of books and articles, and he serves as language editor for the Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament and language revision editor for the Copenhagen International Seminar series.
“The Reformation” is a misnomer if ever there were one, for in fact there was no one Reformation any more than there was just one Reformer. “The Reformation,” when used by students and the general public, usually refers to the Reformation of Martin Luther, which commenced at the end of October in the year of our Lord, 1517.
Even then, though, Luther’s intent wasn’t as earth-shattering as later ages took it to be. For Luther, the placement of a series of theses in Latin on the church door at Wittenberg Castle was nothing more than an invitation to debate. In other words, Luther didn’t see his act as the commencement of a revolution; he saw it as an academic exercise.
“The Reformation” is, then, little more than a label derived from historical hindsight focusing on a series of events over a period of time across a wide geographical landscape. Each Reformer had roots sunk in fertile ground, and their work was simply the coming to fruition of generations of shift in the Roman Catholic Church.
Hence, it would be more appropriate to speak of “Reformations” in the same way that we now speak of “Judaisms” and “Christianities.” The Reformation was no monolith.
Who, then, were the Reformers who gave birth to the Reformations most closely associated with them? They were Huldrych Zwingli, Martin Luther, and John Calvin, in just that order.
Each of these Reformers was the father of his own Reformation. Each was, originally, independent of the others, and in many ways they tried very hard to retain that independence even when their common foe, the Church of Rome, was the target. Each contributed to the Reformation in his own unique way.
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The Reformation Day Sale
In preparation for Reformation Day, we’ve discounted several Reformation resources. Get Luther’s influential 95 Theses free, and save up to 40% on other Reformation titles, from now until 11:59 p.m. (PDT) October 31, 2012. Learn more about the principles and people of the Reformation by picking up these discounted titles:
$4.95 Regularly: $0.95
FREE with coupon code REFDAY
Nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Church in October 1517 to provoke discussion, this is one of the most significant documents in Christian history. Many believe this particular document to be the spark that gave birth to the Protestant Reformation. The Logos edition provides the 95 Theses in parallel English and Latin translations.
Only $229.00 with coupon code REFDAY1
This massive collection contains Luther’s exposition and commentary on Scripture, as well as his sermons, theological writings, and other materials. The final volume in the set contains an index of quotations, proper names,
Only $89.95 with coupon code REFDAY2
Not only did History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin become a bestselling and widely praised account of the Reformation—it remains one of the most compelling and influential Reformation histories more than a century after its original publication.
$220 Regularly: $99.95
Only $59.95 with coupon code REFDAY3
The collection opens with an explanation of Bullinger’s works. Bullinger then covers the Four General Synods, or Councils, and explains the historical significance of the various creeds that came from these councils. His sermons follow—messages that spurred and shaped the Reformation and that still impact today’s church.
$249.95 Regularly: $99.95
Only $84.95 with coupon code REFDAY4
This is the standard edition of Knox’s texts. Knox, a Scottish clergyman and a leader of the Protestant Reformation, was a pivotal figure in the creation and organization of the National Reformed Church in Scotland.
All these discounts end at 11:59 p.m. (PDT) on Wednesday, October 31, so pick up yours now!