One of the world’s most prominent Christian leaders is calling on the Church to conduct its most monumental rethink since the Reformation, through the launch of a new web video series.
On the 500th anniversary since Martin Luther supposedly posted his Ninety-five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg - effectively ushering in what would become known as the protestant reformation – Rev Canon Steve Chalke is launching the new ‘Chalke Talk’ video web series. Through a weekly succession of videos, Steve will focus minds on ninety five burning questions that he believes the Church needs to face up to as part of a radical rethink of its theology, engagement and role in society.
Rev Canon Steve Chalke says, “In the early years of the 16th century, German priest and scholar Martin Luther came to believe that the shape of the established Church and its relationship to the State did not fit the needs of the world in which he was called to live and serve.
“In the early years of the 21st century it is clear, once more, that the shape of the established Church and its relationship to the State no longer fits the needs of the world in which we are called to live and serve. It is time, once again, to reimagine the role of faith, Church and its place in the public square.”
Over the coming two years Steve Chalke will post his ninety five revolutionary questions about the way the Church operates in video form, one at a time, week-by-week, on the worldwide web at openchurch.network/ChalkeTalk.
Steve continues, “My goal is to help promote the important debate that we must have – and have with urgency. There are some huge questions we have to face, which at the moment we bury under the ecclesiastical carpet. I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers but I think I know what some of the questions are.
“Each of my video blogs will be around five minutes long and will end with one of those big questions. The first will be posted on October 31st at 2.00pm, the hour at which it is traditionally believed Luther posted his statements.”
Step-by-step Steve plans to ask a series of practical questions designed to promote thought and discussion around themes covered including:
· Do we shape our churches around tradition rather than the need of the 21st Century world?
· Do we design our theology to serve as a comfort blanket for believers rather than to answer the questions the world is asking?
· Does the way we interpret the Bible make it almost impossible for the unchurched to believe?
· Do today’s churches borrow more from the 1950s than from Jesus?
Steve continues, “In committing to this cause I am inspired by another great German theologian, Helmut Thielicke, who once wrote: ‘The gospel must constantly be forwarded to a new address, because the recipient is repeatedly changing his place of residence...if the basic questions of life have shifted, then I must redirect the message of the gospel.’”
If the famous story is to be believed, then exactly 500 years ago, on 31 October 1517, Luther posted what became known as the Ninety-five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, which by tradition was used by university staff to pin up messages and notices.
Although it is impossible to be certain whether the event actually took place or not, what we do know is that on that same day Luther sent his 95 revolutionary objections about the way the Church operated in a letter to Archbishop Albert of Mainz.
The date is generally regarded as amongst the most significant in the Western Church. Its symbolic 500th anniversary serves as gilt-edged inspiration to once again ask the deep – and sometimes hard – questions that are relevant today in the same brave and courageous spirit as Luther and the reformers that followed him.
The ‘Chalke Talk’ series is hosted on the Open Church Network - a virtual gathering place for people seeking an open conversation about Christianity, theology, church, the Bible and life. www.openchurch.network is a web portal rich in content and resources for those with a personal interest in Christian life or theology; for church leaders, church members and those who are currently finding their way outside a traditional sense of church.