THINK 2017: Reading Galatians 500 Years After Martin Luther image

THINK 2017: Reading Galatians 500 Years After Martin Luther

Five hundred years ago, the world was turned upside-down by an unknown theology professor in a small German town. Within five years of Martin Luther's call for an academic debate on 31st October 1517, he had caused uproar throughout Western Europe, destabilised the papacy, prompted new biblical translations, written numerous inflammatory pamphlets, been excommunicated, placed under imperial ban, kidnapped for his own safety and imprisoned in a castle, and his reform movement was already shaping churches across Christendom. The religious, political and even economic landscape of Europe, and in many ways the rest of the world, would never be the same.

Fifteen hundred years before that, the world had been turned upside-down even more emphatically by an unknown Jewish preacher in various small Asian and Greek towns. His radical new message about the kind of God there is, the kind of gospel he had revealed and the kind of communities that should result, expressed with such clarity and fire in his letter to the Galatians, brought about what some secular historians regard as the only genuine “revolution” there has ever been.

Because of the obvious similarities, many have regarded Luther and Paul as saying exactly the same thing. Many others have regarded them as saying very different things, with Luther thinking he was representing Paul when in fact he wasn’t. A newer movement in scholarship has proposed that both these views are wrong, and that Paul is a much more “apocalyptic” thinker than most of us realise. How should we locate ourselves in this debate? And more importantly, how can we read this astonishing, brave and bombastic letter in a way that does justice to all its themes: unity, freedom, baptism, fruit, faith, table-fellowship, spirituality and (yes) justification?

Join us for three days in July 2017. Be enriched. Take time. Think.

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