The apostle Paul closes his discussion of Israel, the Gentiles and the gospel in Romans 9-11 by exclaiming, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” Then he adds, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be the glory for ever. Amen.” (Romans 11:33, 36).
No words better capture the essence of this year’s Reformation Conference theme, Soli Deo Gloria – to God be the glory. Nor is any theme itself closer to the heart of the Reformation as an event than this.
Emerging as it did out of a religious world in the grips of a degraded papacy, arrogant church claims to infallibility, superstitious belief in the surplus merits of saints and in the grace-conferring power of sacraments, the Reformation restored the glory of God to its proper place. It reasserted that the gospel was from him, and through him, and to him, and that he alone was worthy of the praise of angels and men.
The dominant context of religious life in our times might be vastly different from what it was for Luther in the 16th century. But it has the same man-centered and man-glorifying tendencies. The celebration of the 500th anniversary of Luther’s courageous 95 Theses provides a welcome opportunity to remind ourselves that all the praise and glory for our salvation belongs to God.
Dr Andrew Young
Keynote Speaker, Reformation Conference 2017