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Reformation 500 Conference 29-30 September

Reformation 500 Conference 29-30 September

On 31st October 1517 Martin Luther changed the world.

His nailing of the 95 Theses to the Church doors in Wittenberg ultimately called into question the authority of the Pope and therefore set him on a collision course with the Roman Catholic Church. At the same time, Luther was also rediscovering where true authority lies in Christian faith, not in an individual person or an office of the Church, but in Scripture as God’s inspired word. As he dug deeper and deeper into the Bible he also rediscovered the good news of the Gospel, that we are made righteous through what Christ accomplished on the Cross and, as we receive this imputed gift by faith, our sin is laid upon Him – what Luther called the “great exchange.” All of this came to revolutionize first Luther’s own thought, then his University, next Germany and, ultimately, much of Europe.

The earliest supporters of Luther were not called“Lutherans” but “evangelicals”. Five hundred years later, those of us who would call ourselves evangelicals recognize the huge debt that we owe to the grace of God that was upon Martin Luther. At the same time, we also acknowledge that Europe is now decidedly post-Christian. If ever our continent needed a fresh discovery of the authority of Scripture and the power of the Gospel to change the human heart it is surely today 500 years after the original Lutheran Reformation. Europe needs a fresh move of God, not simply a nostalgic nod to a historical event.

It is for these reasons that we are holding the Reformation 500 Conference at Kings Community Church Southampton on 29th – 30th September 2017. The conference will start at 10am on the Friday and finish at 4pm on the Saturday. Terry Virgo has agreed to give us some Bible readings over the two days in which he will unpack parts of one of Luther’s favourite books, Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Other speakers will include Andrew Wilson, Joel Virgo, Glen Scrivener, Mike Reeves and myself. Those who have been invited to speak are not simply gifted preachers and communicators of the Gospel but they all have a particular interest in Luther, the Reformation and historical theology.

The price of the conference is £30 (£35 if bookings are made after 31st June 2017)and includes tea, coffee and biscuits but not lunches or overnight accommodation. KCC is an excellent modern facility with plenty of free car-parking and is within 300 yards of Junction 7 of the M27.

The delegate fee will also include beer and bratwurst on the Friday evening for a special event which we have called “Beer, bratwurst and Bible”. Whilst I was studying for my PhD on Luther’s influence outside Germany I had the privilege of leading a fellow postgraduate to Christ by the name of Stefan Smart. Stefan was doing his research on the early English Reformation and became particularly interested in how early evangelicals committed Scripture to memory. With this in mind, he has committed the whole of Mark’s Gospel to memory, which he will perform as a two act play – hence the “Beer, bratwurst and Bible” title! If the Reformation stands for anything, it stands surely for the power of the word of God. As Luther wrote in 1522, “While I sat and drank beer [with friends] the word of God dealt the papacy a mighty blow.” I can promise you that Stefan’s one man enactment of Mark’s Gospel will be a truly stunning performance.

Do join us for these two days of teaching, preaching, celebration and prayer for a fresh move of God in Europe.

Full session details will be released nearer the time. If you require any practical information regarding local places to stay or have queries relating to the conference, please contact

Andy Johnston

Tickets are available, click here.


Friday 29th

1000     Coffee

1030     Worship

1100      Session 1: Terry Virgo – Sons and heirs

1150      Coffee

1215      Session 2: Andrew Wilson – Justified by faith

1300      Lunch

1400      Session 3: Luther Film – The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer

1530      Break

1600      Session 4: Mike Reeves – Joy in God

1645      Break

1730      Session 5: Stefan Smart – Beer, Bratwurst and Bible

1900      Finish for the day

Saturday 30th

0930      Coffee

1000      Worship

1030      Session 6: Terry Virgo – Free in Christ

1120      Break

1145      Session 7: Glen Scrivener – Christ, Scripture & Proclamation:Luther’s theology of preaching

1230      Lunch

1330      Session 8: Joel Virgo – Luther the husband and father

1415      Break

1440      Session 9: Andy Johnston – Luther’s legacy

1525      Break

1545      Prayer for Europe & Church Planting and Worship

1630      End of Conference

*schedule subject to change