A talk from Alister McGrath given on Monday 25 September 2017, as part of the St Martin-in-the-Fields Autumn Lecture Series – Reformation. A question and answer session follows the lecture.

About the series

On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther pinned 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, protesting against the practice of indulgences and touching on questions of grace, repentance and forgiveness. The Reformation was a culmination of events and circumstances that led to a seismic shift in the religious framework of Britain. It established the image of an island nation, separate and supreme, still resonant today. It triggered a religious and political redistribution of power. It led to renewal and reform but also deep division, persecution and violence. And out of this turmoil were born the concepts of state and church as we know them today.

The 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation provides the opportunity to explore and reflect upon issues of church, state, and religious and cultural diversity that are still at the centre of our national life: the conflicts that divide, and the convictions which diverse parts of the Christian church hold sacred. How are we called to be reformed by the Gospel? How do we build the unity Christ called for with those whose convictions are very different from our own? In this autumn lecture series we will be exploring some of those hopes and controversies.

About the speaker

Alister McGrath is Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, with a longstanding interest in the history and thought of the Reformation. He is the author of a number of works on the Reformation, including The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation, and Martin Luther’s Theology of the Cross. He is best known as the author of the international bestseller The Dawkins Delusion? Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine, and the market-leading textbook Christian Theology: An Introduction. He is also associate priest in a group of Cotswold parishes in the Diocese of Oxford.