The Reformation was a movement that began 500 years ago in 1517, when Martin Luther published his 95 theses as a protest against abuses in the medieval Catholic Church. It set in motion a chain of events that gave birth to the Protestant Church, divided up the Holy Roman Empire and contributed to a series of religious wars.
On the positive side though, the Reformation went on to have a far-reaching impact on the intellectual, social, cultural and economic outlook of Europe. It can be argued that universal education and literacy, the rule of law, the right of conscience, early capitalism, modern science, the secular state, democratic governance, abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage all originated in or were nurtured by the ideas of the Reformation.
However, the ideals of a free, just, secure and prosperous society are crumbling today under the pressures of unpayable debt, the threat of terror, mass migration, accelerating climate change, family decay, huge inequalities of wealth and a deep cultural and political malaise.
The idea of Reformation2017 is not to revisit the issues which have divided the Protestant and Catholic churches, but rather to help shape a new narrative for spiritual and social transformation and inspire the next generation of Christian social reformers.
Patrons of Reformation2017:
Lord Rowan Williams
Professor Jonathan Burnside