Original Research - Special Collection: Belief - church and community

Reformation jubilees: Is there cause for celebration in 2017? – What remains?

Werner Klän
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 3 | a3111 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i3.3111 | © 2015 Werner Klän | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 July 2015 | Published: 27 October 2015

About the author(s)

Werner Klän, Lutherische Theologische Hochschule Oberursel, Systematische Theologie, Germany; Department of Church History and Polity, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


This article is about the 500 hundred year commemoration of the Reformation in 2017. However, the question is to be asked: What should we celebrate in 2017? The article reflects on this question against the background of the ongoing division within Western Christianity. It discusses objectives laid out by Wolfgang Huber in 2008 for the Luther Decade. These objectives focus on the relationship between church and society, and particularly Lutheran-themes such as ‘hopelessnesses of life’, ‘afflictions of faith’, ‘God’s hiddenness’ and the ‘theology of the cross’. The article demonstrates that the soteriological focal point of Biblical-Lutheran theology reflects the assertion that it is only God who, through the belief in Christ, awards freedom and dignity to every human. The Church represents the ‘metaphor of a Christian fellowship’, which is a fellowship of equals that provides a socio-political impetus.


Reformation commemoration 2017; division within Western Christianity; Martin Luther Decade 2008; Lutheran-themes: ‘hopelessnesses of life; ‘afflictions of faith’, ‘God’s hiddenness’, ‘theology of the cross’


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