Reformation Day, 2011

As usual, I have a Reformation Day thought. Or two. Or even three.

1. Mariners

Then: Around 1517, the Turkish were raiding the Med Sea and bringing terror to the Europeans, even the English who were the other worthy sea-power, standing up against the Turks. Martin Luther wrote much about the Turks.

Now: Turkey is a friendly country, working towards full membership in the EU. Whether it will join or not is not certain. But Turkey is a friend and will be even more of a friend in the future. Actually, I am writing this from Eastern Turkey, having just delivered supplies to the earthquake affected areas.


2. Mannerism.

Then: The Reformation took place at a time of great transition, squidged in tightly between the glories of the High Renaissance and the marvelous but opulent Baroque. It was a time of deconstruction and experimentation, a transitory bridge between one period and another.

Now: LIke the age of Mannerism, the period we are calling postmodernity was [is] also a time of deconstruction and experimentation with new forms [like new media] and what happens now will lay the foundation for a new kind of church that will fit the new realities of the 21st Century.

2. Monasteries

Then: The German Reformation took place initially because of corruption in the church. The focus of that corruption lay in the monasteries that had grown rich and lazy  . . . and corrupt. The Reformation eventually did away with the monastic structures and replaced them with the church model we Protestants now enjoy.

Now: Once again the Christian church is dealing with corruption, but this time it is the large church pastors and Christian celebrities that are to blame and not the monasteries. In fact, many young people in the new monastic movement are bringing reform to the wider church through ascetic lifestyles and generous hospitality. If we are in a new Reformation, which I believe we are, we will see a reversal of what happened 500 years ago and the monasteries will show us the way.

Anyway, just a few thoughts. Have a nice Reformation Day.

Previous Reformation Day posts:

Reformation Day: A little Scottish Oats with your Bratwurst? (2006)

Why I’m Not A New Calvinist, By One Guy Who Should Be. (2009)



Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Dyfed says:

    Interesting insights – as ever.
    May I add a 4th?
    What about the role of outside influences (outside of the church that is)? Printing press, ‘secular’ princes in the 16th century. And today the Occupy protest is having an effect – making church leaders really think about their position – Giles Fraser’s resignation from St Paul’s being maybe one example.
    Happy Reformation Day!

  • Jason says:

    Interesting thoughts. I really like the 3rd one. Have thought a time or two about getting a group like that going.

  • re: #3 (not 2 as above) …
    What pray tell might you mean by “the monasteries will show us the way?” I’m intrigued here.

  • Andrew says:

    hi paul. the monasteries started up by young people and ec groups in the past 5 years are providing us with a more holistic training environment, better social enterprise projects, greater ministry through hospitality, deeper relational discipleship, a prophetic stance against prosperity doctrine, a cheaper and more well-rounded spiritual training than the seminaries, a more economical way to do mission, etc.
    thats what i mean.

Leave a Reply