At our meeting on 27th July Peter Firth presented a talk on Martin Luther. As well as being complete in itself, it also served as an introduction to Peter’s seven-session course on the Reformation in Europe, starting in September. This was the last meeting of the 2018-19 season and our first at a new venue, All Saints Church Hall.
Whatever one’s religious outlook it cannot be denied that Luther had a major impact on European history, both in triggering the Protestant Reformation and, indirectly, the Catholic Church’s response, the Counter-Reformation. The immediate consequence was a period of destructive religious warfare and the long-term one a divided Christendom. Peter presented the basic information about Luther’s life in an entertaining but essentially factual cartoon film. He then explored the Church as it was and what Luther wanted to reform. He extended the discussion to illustrate other Protestant movements in Switzerland and concluded by raising some broad historical questions, both in terms of the relevance of the Reformation in the modern world and in what he described as ‘the law of unintended consequences’.
This was an informative and challenging presentation, establishing the basis for wide-ranging discussion of the seminal series of events which surrounded the life of Martin Luther. Those who attend Peter’s course in the Autumn will be able to study these issues in much greater depth.