Below is one denomination's plan to provide resources and vision for its own local churches to celebrate an event that deserves celebration. On 31 October 1517, the German Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, attached 95 theses to the giant door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. These theses were really 95 points intended for debate with the church authorities.
Though many had come before Luther to prepare the way for the Reformation, this date and act are generally considered to be the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
2017 will be the 500th anniversary of this re-dawning of biblical truth and the Presbyterian Church of Australia will mark this occasion in five ways:
1. We have published the book, “Truth Matters”. Eight of our own Australian Presbyterian ministers have each written a chapter on the main theological themes of the Bible. This book, which includes questions for personal or group use, is now available for churches from the NSW Presbyterian Church office: firstname.lastname@example.org for the amazing (below cost) price of $5 per copy.
2. Historical video presentations, for use in our churches’ weekly small groups are being produced to highlight Luther’s life and his discoveries that led to the Reformation. These videos, produced by Australian Presbyterians will be available online for downloading in time for the October celebrations.
3. A national evangelistic campaign is being organised, with the theme “Taking God Seriously”. Every congregation is encouraged to organise outreach events to their own locality.
We believe that one of the best ways of celebrating the gospel is to proclaim it. Each church is encouraged to form a committee to organise its outreach events, to adults and children, through meal evangelism in restaurants, through outreach services etc. We believe the local committee understands the best form the evangelistic event should take. A panel of Australian Presbyterian evangelists has been assembled and is available, though churches may of course invite other evangelists.
David Cook is co-ordinating this campaign and churches wanting to use an evangelist from the panel, should contact David, who will discuss the events and, in consultation, an evangelist will be allocated. David can be contacted at email@example.com
4. The committee has published tracts to support the campaign. Tracts have been written for children and adults around the theme, “why take God seriously?”
These evangelistic tracts are now available for our churches from the NSW Presbyterian Church office: firstname.lastname@example.org at the cost of postage ONLY.
5. Although now fully subscribed, we should be reminded that a PCA 20-day tour of the Reformation areas is happening in October 2017, led by John Wilson. The tour will visit Rome, Geneva and Wittenberg, where it will coincide with a special celebratory event being organised by the World Reformed Fellowship. The tour will conclude with a three day visit to Scotland.
Please be at prayer, that this commemoration will lead to the growth and maturity of Christ’s church.
In your prayers, particularly remember the “Taking God Seriously” campaign and remember that: “Faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the Word of Christ”(Romans 10:17).
Finally, in promoting the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, we draw your attention to this new 3½ minute video produced for YOUR congregation. It’s timed to just over 3 minutes so as it neatly fits within Sunday morning church announcements. I’m asking that you play this to allow your congregation to hear what’s happening within the PCA in celebration of this great anniversary.
Taking God Seriously - OVER TO YOU.
You’ll find the video downloadable from the PCA website: presbyterian.org.au
with warm regards,
John P Wilson
Moderator-General, PCA (Presbyterian Church of Australia)