On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther published his 95 Theses, igniting the powder keg that would be the Reformation. In the centuries leading up to the date, various factions of the European Church had assumed the cultural identity of "Christian" and started to let the Gospel slip away. Movements sprung up across Europe, and leaders like Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, Philip Melanchthon, John Calvin, and Thomas Cranmer became etched in the history books. What was the movement about? What did it accomplish? Does it still matter today?
Gateway Downtown commemorated the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation by tackling those questions in a short sermon series, Five for Five Hundred which looked at the five “solas” of the Reformation: sola scriptura (scripture alone), sola fide (faith alone), sola gratia (grace alone), solus Christus (Christ alone), soli Deo gloria (for the glory of God alone).
Below are some fantastic resources to read to understand the movement and its impact today. You will notice great points of unity as well as important points of divergence. Please note that Gateway Downtown does not officially endorse any of these documents or any point therein. Nevertheless, we hope that by providing a wide range of documents over the last 500+ years, you'll see how the church is always to be reforming to be brought into accord with the word of God: Ecclesia semper reformanda!
Each entry includes a title (hyperlinked to an available resource), the author or principle author, the geographic origins of the document, and (in parenthesis) the year it was written or published.
On the Church, John Wycliffe, England (1378)
On the Church, Jan Hus, Bohemia (1413)
95 Theses, Martin Luther, Germany (1517)
67 Articles, Huldrych Zwingli, Switzerland (1523)
Augsburg Confession, Philipp Melanchthon et al., Germany (1530)
Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin, Switzerland (1536)
The Smalcald Articles, Martin Luther, Germany (1537)
The Necessity of Reforming the Church, John Calvin, Switzerland (1543)
The French Confession of Faith, John Calvin and Antoine de la Roche Chandieu, France (1559)
Scottish Confession of Faith, John Knox et al., Scotland (1560)
Belgic Confessions, Guido de Brès et al., Low Countries (1561)
The Heidelberg Catechism; Zacharius Ursinus and Caspar Olevianus; Germany (1563)
Second Helvetic Confession, Heinrich Bullinger, Switzerland (1564)
The 39 Articles, various, England (1571)
The Formula of Concord; Jakob Andreä, Martin Chemnitz, et al.; Germany (1577)
Arminian Controversy (1610-1619)
The Irish Articles of Religion, James Ussher et al., Ireland (1615)
First London Baptist Confession of Faith, particular Baptists, England (1644)
Westminster Confession of Faith, Westminster divines, England (1647)
Savoy Declaration, congregationalists, England (1658)
Confession of the Society of Friends, Robert Barclay, Scotland (1675)
Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, particular Baptists, England (1689)
A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God, Jonathan Edwards, America (1736)
The End for Which God Created the World, Jonathan Edwards, America (1750)
New Hampshire Confession of Faith, J. Newton Brown, America (1833)
Creed of the Free Christian Church of Italy, various, Italy (1870)
The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, international (1978)
The Cambridge Declaration, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, international (1996)
Affirmations and Denials, Together for the Gospel; Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, Albert Mohler, and C. J. Mahaney; America (2006)