“It may be safe to say that the greatest event for Christendom in the last 1500 years was the Protestant Reformation. What was the spark that lit the flame of evangelical passion? It was, by the grace of God, the discovery on the part of Luther, stricken with a sense of his estrangement from God and feeling in his inmost soul the stings of his wrath and the remorse of a terrified conscience, of the true and only way whereby a man can be just with God. To him the truth of justification by free grace through faith lifted him from the depths of the foreboding of hell to the ecstasy of peace with God and the hope of glory. If there is one thing the church needs today it is the republication with faith and passion of the presuppositions of the doctrine of justification and the reapplication of this, the article of a standing or falling Church.” (“Justification,” in Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol. 2, p. 203).
“However epochal have been the advances made at certain periods and however great the contributions of particular men we may not suppose that theological construction ever reaches definitive finality. There is the danger of a stagnant traditionalism and we must be alert to this danger, on the one hand, as to that of discarding our historical moorings on the other. . . . As it is true that ecclesia reformata reformanda est so also is it true that theologia reformata reformanda est. When any generation is content to rely upon its theological heritage and refuses to explore for itself the riches of divine revelation, then declension is already under way and heterodoxy will be the lot of the succeeding generation. The powers of darkness are never idle and in combating error each generation must fight its own battle in exposing and correcting the same. It is light that dispels darkness and in this sphere light consists in the enrichment which each generation contributes to the stores of theological knowledge.” (“Systematic Theology,” in Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol. 4, pp. 7-8). (2 of 2 posts)
“There have been periods of epochal contribution and advance. The reformation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is without question the most notable. It was then that the opus magnum of Christian theology was given to the church. [Footnote: The reference is to the definitive edition of Calvin’s Christianae Religionis Institutio.] It was then that creedal formulation reached its zenith. The architectonic theologies of the Protestant churches witness to the vigour and devotion with which the study of theology had been pursued. It was the golden age of precision and formulation. The theology that does not build upon these constructions or pretends to ignore them places a premium upon retrogression dishonours the Holy Spirit by whose endowments and grace these epochal strides in understanding and presentation have been taken.” (“Systematic Theology,” in Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol. 4, p. 7). (1 of 2 posts)
“Reformation, however, must not consist only in retrospect nor in the repristination of the legacy furnished by the Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries. Reformation is a present duty. It is true that we cannot properly engage in the present task if we discard our moorings in the past. If we do not build upon the foundation laid in the Reformation principles, then, to say the least, there well be something naive about our present efforts and the product of them. But Reformation as a task here and now is complexioned by the different context in which we live.” (“Reformation,” Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol. 1, p.292.)
Something to keep in mind as we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.