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Reformation and the Care of Souls

Happy Reformation Day!

I was privileged to speak in chapel today at Union University for our Reformation Day chapel and chose as my topic, “The Care of Souls: The Heart of the Reformation.” My main point is that the Reformation was not simply an academic or abstract discussion but arose from the pastoral care of souls. I sought to establish this point from key events and quite a few quotes (particularly from Luther, Calvin and Bucer) where the Reformers themselves spoke to the importance of soul care and evangelism.

I have posted my notes here.

Here is the introduction:

“The Reformation was a pastoral care movement growing directly out of care for the salvation of the soul” (Ronald Wallace)

Too easily people conceive of the Reformation as an academic discussion, debates about the finer points of theology, high falutin ideas of interest to some people but disconnected from real life, struggles, heart ache, “the things I deal with.” It is important for us to be rescued from such notions less this important event in our history become yet one more dusty item on the shelf, pulled out for special chapels and certain classes but otherwise forgotten.

The Reformation was a diverse movement with various pieces including excesses and unfortunate incidences. But at its center was a pulsing, yearning concern for the well-being of souls.  Its leaders were pastors at pains to lead their flock- and others from around the world- to forgiveness before God and the living hope which comes from that, the knowledge of God’s care and presence in the real hardships of this world and the certain hope of resurrection.

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