Our current sermon series focuses on the 6 beliefs and values that our church especially stands behind. These beliefs and values were revised by our PCC (our church trustees) earlier this year and they form a foundation that underpins our life together. Each week we will be taking one of these beliefs and exploring how it shapes our church today. You can see each of the beliefs and values on our church website - stkea.org.uk/beliefs
It is particularly significant that we begin this new sermon series this week, as this week marked 500 years since a young German monk walked from his monastery to the Castle Church in Wittenberg and nailed a poster to the church door. On that poster were written 95 statements, challenging church teaching of the day. The monk was Martin Luther and that act has become associated with the start of the Protestant Reformation. This reformation impacted Christianity across Europe and beyond, gave birth to the Church of England and shapes our church to this day.
In truth, the reformation was not any one single event in history. The Renaissance had led to a renewed interest in ‘ancient learning’ and fuelled a movement to get back to the Bible. Many were equally frustrated with corruption in the church. In Zurich in Switzerland Huldych Zwingli was introducing reforms based on his reading of the Bible. In England William Tyndall (despite church opposition) determined to translate the Bible into English so many could read it for themselves.
Of course in school we are all taught the story of Henry VIII and his political and marital motivations to see change in the church. Yet Henry’s archbishop, Thomas Cranmer, was determined to see Protestant reform, and his Prayer Book (that we use to this day at Old Kea) wrote reformation theology into the weekly services of parish churches across England.
Our foundation beliefs here at St Kea contain the five solars that have come to summarise the rediscoveries of the reformation…
Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Saviour, and King.
Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
… and much that shapes our life at St Kea is directly dependent on the discoveries that were being remade in those days. These imperfect and flawed people became instruments through which God displayed the glory of the gospel. Our hope is that we will constantly be reforming as a church, to better display that glory in our own day and age.