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The Reformation as an Evangelical Movement

  • R. W. Scribner
  • C. Scott Dixon
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Part of the Studies in European History book series (SEURH)

Abstract

For some time now it has been common for scholars of the Reformation to speak of it as an ‘evangelical movement’. The term captures the tone of the upsurge of religious enthusiasm that swept through Germany in the early 1520s. In its broadest manifestations, it was a movement of biblical renewal. Many felt that the genuine Christian message, the ‘pure Word of God’ as it was recorded in the Bible, had been rediscovered after it had lain hidden or obscured for many generations. Religious fervour was certainly the dominant characteristic of this movement. For those involved, the biblical revival offered a new meaning to many areas of life, a changed perspective of their relationship to God and the world. An important feature of the movement was the conviction that religious revival was not just the work of mere human beings, but the result of a direct intervention of God into human history, the work of the Holy Spirit. Many, including Luther, saw this as a decisive sign of the imminence of the Last Days. The catchword of this movement was ‘the Gospel’ or ‘the Word of God’: one was either for the Gospel or against it, one agreed to ‘stand by the Gospel’ and to ‘uphold the pure Word of God’.

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Select Bibliography

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© R. W. Scribner 2003

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  • R. W. Scribner
  • C. Scott Dixon

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