Reformers and the importance of their message in focus at Moore rally

On Saturday 18 March Moore College held the first of its planned events celebrating the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. The event was a ‘Reformation Rally’, a morning consisting of three public lectures on three key Reformers and the importance of their message for today.

Rev Simon Manchester, Rector of St Thomas’ North Sydney, spoke about Martin Luther and Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Luther, who on average wrote a book every two weeks, wrote more about Galatians than all other biblical texts put together. Manchester showed how Paul’s message of salvation by faith, not works, was the heart of Luther’s gospel rediscovery. Luther’s boldness and courage in proclaiming the gospel was also highlighted and Manchester challenged those gathered that, because our contemporary situation is no less dire than Luther’s, we need to administer the gospel remedy with the same boldness and courage to our society.

Dr Peter Jensen, former Archbishop of Sydney, delivered a paper on William Tyndale and his role in bringing the Bible to the English speaking world. Tyndale’s genius as a word-smith was highlighted and the way he used his gifts to give ordinary people access to God’s word. Jensen demonstrated that Tyndale was motivated by deep gospel convictions and, in particular, that it was through the Bible that people could meet God. This was a conviction that ultimately cost him his life, but one that English language Bible readers ought to be eternally grateful for.

The morning was capped off with a paper from Dr Peter Adam, former principal of Ridley College, Melbourne. The topic was Thomas Cranmer’s strategy for evangelising the nation. Adam showed how Cranmer adopted both a ‘top down’ as well as a ‘bottom up’ strategy for bringing the gospel to the people of England. Cranmer used systematic Bible reading, preaching and gospel shaped liturgy to win his countrymen for Christ. Adam then reflected on whether Cranmer’s strategy is appropriate for evangelising contemporary Australia and he showed that, while ‘top down’ legislative reform was not appropriate, the method of helping people meet God through the Bible was exactly what Australia needs.

Dr Mark Thompson, Principal of Moore College, said about the day: “This was a great beginning to our year of celebrating God’s goodness to us through the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. I was encouraged and excited by each of the presentations and the size of the crowd that gathered. We have a wonderful heritage in the life and teaching of Martin Luther, William Tyndale and Thomas Cranmer and this was a timely and powerful reminder of that. As the Reformers themselves would have insisted, to God alone be the glory.” Several other events are planned throughout the year including a Justification Summit (26-27 May), Annual Moore College Lectures (3, 7-11 Aug) and another Reformation Rally at the Cathedral (26 Aug). See the Moore College website for more details.

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