Reformation conference looks to 500th anniversary
Among the lessons of the Protestant Reformation is one about technology. Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church, but it was the printing press that took them and the Scriptures to a larger audience.
Christians seeking to present the “never-changing” Gospel in an “ever-changing” world should learn from that example, Lloyd Harsch, director of the Institute for Faith and the Public Square in New Orleans, told those attending a recent Reformation conference at LSU.
“The printing press allowed for the vast dissemination of knowledge in the way that wasn’t available (before),” Harsch said. “We have to be willing to use technology of the future to do the same thing.
“Social media is the next thing,” he said. “And if social media is all that makes sense to (people), we need to present (the Gospel) in that way.”
The April 25 and 26 conference, led by R500, Loyola’s Center for Spiritual Capital and the Institute for Faith and the Public Square, was held in anticipation of the 500th anniversary of the revolution that started when Luther nailed his theses to the Wittenberg Church door. The quincentennial will not be until 2017, but the conference was part of the planning process for the anniversary.
Director of R500 Charles Davis said he hopes the work leading up to the anniversary can spark spiritual revival in the country and the anniversary will cut through “clutter” in today’s world.
R500’s website, http://www.r500.org, has more information about preparing for the celebration.
Attendees at the conference spoke about how to get through to today’s society that the Gospel is relevant.
Dave Wardell, co-founder of the international Christian men’s ministry Promise Keepers, talked about the mission.
“Who are we? We are men of God that love the Lord Jesus Christ and want to see a difference,” he said. “Where are we going? Into the world to disciple. How are we going to get there? I don’t know, but God does. If he’s in it, it’s going to work.”
Wardell encouraged the men and women at the small conference to continue teaching the world about God.
“To my dying breath, I’m going to profess that Jesus is Lord, and this world needs him desperately. What you’re doing is wonderful, but pick up the pace, because there’s a dying world out there that needs you, that needs me to make a difference. Run with all you’ve got … Press on, mighty warriors. Press on,” he said.
Bradley Aucoin from Christ Covenant Church in Baton Rouge said obstacles include ministering to people in a post-Christian world.
“A lot of Americans seem to have gotten a vaccination to (Christianity),” he said. “They’re almost inoculated to it. We’re trying to bring the Gospel to people who think they have it, but they really don’t,” he said.
Harsch said he was encouraged by the post-Christian world because it reminded him of when the Apostle Paul traveled and ministered to people.
“People were seeking for truth in the midst of religion, and the truth never changes,” Harsch said.
Nick Trosclair, a Catholic from John Paul the Great Academy in Lafayette, called for the reunification of religions.
“I would love to see a re-unity of the gospel,” he said. “I think that one voice would change the culture, like it did in the Dark Ages. During the Dark Ages, the Scripture was the light. Scripture is central to our faith, but Scripture alone breeds so many different interpretations … the interpretations of those Scriptures lacks a unified voice.”