Next year will be the 500th anniversary of the seminal incident that triggered the Protestant Reformation. The SETS Annual General Meeting decided to mark this significant anniversary in next year’s SETS Conference programme, and we need your help.
On 31 October 1517 Martin Luther published his Ninety-five Theses in Wittenberg, Germany, an event which eventually led to renewal and reformation in the church and also to revitalisation in European society. We felt a contemporary way of marking this occasion so might be to focus in each conference session on one ‘thesis’ (or proposition) that our churches in Scotland urgently need to hear and address.
This is not designed to be an exercise in nostalgia. On the one hand, in marking this anniversary it would be wrong to ignore history. While recognising that Luther’s theses relate to specific conditions of his own day, some of his concerns may be germane for us today—such as popular loss of the fear of God, or the danger of preaching doing injury to the Word of God, or the idea that divine forgiveness can be gained by human merit. On the other hand, we discovered while listening to the papers given at this year’s conference on the ‘Gospel and Consumerism’ that we are facing highly critical issues that are unique to our post-Enlightenment, post-industrial, and postmodern age.
To help the SETS Committee select the most pressing issues, we are inviting proposals of a ‘thesis’, or more than one, that would be worth nailing to the door of the Scottish churches today. Some online resources on Luther’s theses are noted below by way of reminder, and as a prompt for your own suggestions.
Such proposals ought to focus on live topics that you consider to be urgent. We suggest they be offered in the spirit of encouraging the people of God to fulfil more effectively God’s mission in Scotland during the second half of the second decade of the 21st century. The Committee will build the 2017 conference programme around six proposals selected from those received.
We have prepared an online survey through which you can indicate your ‘thesis’ or ‘theses’. The survey also invites you to indicate whether you would prefer next year’s conference to be on Monday-Tuesday or Friday (evening)-Saturday.
To make your proposal(s), and also to indicate your preference for the 2017 Conference to be held on a Monday–Tuesday (as at present) or on a Friday evening – Saturday, visit this URL:
Survey now closed
Please note that all returns of completed survey forms are due by 20 May at the latest.
In anticipation, many thanks for your input.
With Christian greetings,
Fergus Macdonald, Chair, Scottish Evangelical Theological Society
On Luther and the 95 Theses
- For the 95 Theses themselves:
- For context and orientation, see Justin Taylor’s interview with Carl Trueman.
- Broadly on Luther and his thought and times, A. Skevington Wood, Captive to the Word. Martin Luther, Doctor of Sacred Scripture. Exeter: The Paternoster Press, 1969.
- Robert Kolb, “Martin Luther: The Man and His Mind”, Reformation & Revival 8.1 (1999), 11-33 (see pp. 18-19).
- B.B. Warfield, “The Ninety-Five Theses in Their Theological Significance”, Princeton Theological Review 15 (1917), 501-529:
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