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HTS Theological Studies

On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
Print version ISSN 0259-9422


DREYER, Wim A.. Calvin, Van Lodenstein and Barth: Three perspectives on the necessity of church reformation. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2017, vol.73, n.5, suppl.11, pp.53-65. ISSN 2072-8050.

During 2017, churches with their roots in the 16th-century Reformation, will be celebrating the legacy of the Reformation. It affords theologians and churches the opportunity to reflect on the principles of the Reformation and its relevance at the start of the 21st century. This contribution reflects on the question of the necessity of church reformation, based on three texts from different periods in the history of the church. Firstly and primarily, Calvin's 'De necessitate reformandae ecclesiae' of 1543 sheds light on the issues the 16th century reformers were faced with and why they believed the church needed reformation. Calvin had a very clear view on the necessity of church reformation, but that it should also come to some conclusion once the liturgy and doctrine are in order. The question of church reformation is then further discussed in the light of two other texts, one from Jodocus van Lodenstein (Beschouwinge van Zion) and Karl Barth (1947, 1948) ('Die Botschaft von der freien Gnade Gottes). All agree on the necessity of church reformation, but differ in terms of theological and practical implications. The contribution concludes with a few remarks on the modern maxim 'ecclesia semper reformanda'.

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