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Faith Seeking Understanding Forum

Church Reformed: 500 Years After the Divide
october 28–29, 2017

Audio Files from the Forum
Keynote by John Cunningham
Overview of the Reformation, by Zach Kirschner
Men and Women of the Reformation, by Rick Moore
Theology of the Reformation (audio) and slides, by Bo Waldo
Our Cultural Moment and the Reformation, by Jesse Robinson
The Reformation, Unity, and Trinity's Spiritual Practices, by John Cunningham

Vision

Part of Trinity’s mission is to be “a community seeking to share in God’s renewal of all things.” Our Triune God is one God in three persons—unity is at the core of His being—but the global Church is many bodies in many buildings. Renewal includes the unity of God’s people into one body (1 Corinthians 10:17). Five hundred years ago Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation, his effort to reform the Roman Catholic Church. This led to the creation of Protestantism and its host of denominations, including the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), of which Trinity is a part.

While we celebrate what Protestants believe was a closer alignment to biblical orthodoxy, we can also mourn the loss of unity that came when Protestants divided from Catholics. How do we resume Luther’s original motive of reformation without division? What is the future and obligation of a church that is divided under denomination but “one body in Christ” (Romans 12:5)?

Unity is not just agreement on doctrine—it’s an attitude of humility and a practice of grace that can be present despite certain forms of division. Again, we are “one body in Christ,” one body that is saved by grace through faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8).

For this Faith Seeking Understanding Forum, Church Reformed: 500 Years after the Divide, Trinity hosted one of our former pastors, John Cunningham, who focused on helping Trinity and others in Charlottesville consider the following:

  • History: Clarity on what the Reformation was and wasn’t

  • Perspective: A humble balance between celebrating and mourning the Reformation

  • Action: Direction on where we are now and our responsibility to create future unity

“The righteous shall live by faith” was the cornerstone of the Reformation and the doctrine of justification by faith (Romans 1:17). Different groups within Christianity debate the interpretation of this verse and its practical implications, but we desire unity as “one body in Christ.” To paraphrase Martin Luther, here we humbly stand. We cannot do otherwise. God help us. Amen.

ABOUT OUR SPEAKERJohn Cunningham

Dr. John Cunningham is an Associate Professor of Humanities at Providence Christian College in Pasadena, California. Prior to working at Providence, he spent many years as a pastor and counselor and also worked for Fortune 500 companies. He has a PhD in Theology, Ethics, and Culture from UVa and was a pastor at Trinity from 2001 until 2015. In his current role, he is passionate about students flourishing in college by opening themselves to the wonder and delight of the life of the mind and preparing themselves to live out their callings. John is married to Susan, a gifted poet and counselor. They have two children, Evan and Elisabeth, and a golden retriever, Bono.