Editorial: Celebrating The Reformation By Remembering The Legacy Of Martin Luther -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 21:4 (Winter 2017)
Article: Editorial: Celebrating The Reformation By Remembering The Legacy Of Martin Luther
Author: Stephen J. Wellum


Editorial: Celebrating The Reformation By Remembering The
Legacy Of Martin Luther

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and editor of Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. He received his PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and he is the author of numerous essays and articles and the co-author with Peter Gentry of Kingdom through Covenant (Crossway, 2012) and God’s Kingdom through God’s Covenants: A Concise Biblical Theology (Crossway, 2015), and the co-editor of Building on the Foundations of Evangelical Theology (Crossway, 2015 with Gregg Allison), and Progressive Covenantalism (B&H, 2016 with Brent Parker), and author of God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of the Person of Christ (Crossway, 2016) and Christ Alone—The Uniqueness of Jesus as Savior (Zondervan, 2017).

The 500th anniversary of the Reformation took place in 2017. On October 31, 1517, a relatively unknown professor, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses at the University of Wittenberg to begin a theological discussion about the practice of indulgences. However, what resulted from this seemingly insignificant action was a spark that lit the flame of the Reformation. Over the next century the Reformation resulted in profound changes both within the church and in the larger society. As many historians have noted, the Reformation was not a perfect time in history. In fact, some scholars have wrongly attempted to attribute a number of our present ecclesiastical and cultural problems to the Reformation. For example, Michael Legaspi traces the beginning of the “death of Scripture” to the rise of an “academic Bible” to the Reformation (see The Death of Scripture and the Rise of Biblical

Studies [Oxford, 2010). Or, Brad Gregory argues that our present secular, pluralistic culture is an unintended consequence of the Reformation (see The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society [Harvard, 2012]), and the list could go on. Such analyses are highly problematic since at their core they fail to do justice to the theology of the Reformation and to the Reformers as men who faithfully stood in their time for the recovery of the Gospel in all of its truth, beauty, and glory. On this point see the well-argued case of Kevin Vanhoozer in Biblical Authority after Babel (Brazos, 2016).

Although the Reformation resulted in various theological divisions for a variety of reasons, at its heart the magisterial Reformers recaptured the central truths of Scripture, which is reason enough to celebrate it and to learn from it. For ...

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