Date:June 09, 2013

The Reformation Window

reformationThe Reformation Window

This window marks a turning point in the history of Christianity, giving birth to Protestantism. The date was 1517 when Martin Luther (1483-1546) would begin this movement by nailing his now famous ninety-five theses to the door of the Schlosskirche at Wittenberg. This event would mark the beginning of the Reformation, a movement based upon the conviction that “we are saved by grace through faith alone,” and not by our own efforts. The rallying cry of the Reformation was three-fold: “sola scriptura” (scripture alone), “sola gracia” (grace alone), and “sola fide” (faith alone). If Luther, who dominates the center of the window, was the heart of the Reformation, then John Calvin (1509 – 1564) was its mind. Calvin, a second generation Reformer, is looked to as the spiritual father of Presbyterianism. He is pictured at the left of Luther, with pen in hand, writing and refining his Institutes of the Christian Religion. Calvin spoke of “the life of the mind in the service of God,” and began the Institutes by saying “True and substantial wisdom principally consists of two parts, the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves.” To the right of Luther in the window is the Scottish Reformer, John Knox (circa 1513 – 1572). Knox, a follower of Calvin in Geneva, would return to Scotland in 1560 to initiate the Scottish Reformation. He is pictured with his Bible underarm, and a tam upon his head. Upon his return to Scotland, Knox helped write the Scots Confession (1560), one of the nine confessional documents of our denomination. As a preacher at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, he exerted enormous influence over the entire life of Scotland. The symbol at the top of the window is that of the Westminster Confession of Faith. Written by the Westminster Assembly of Divines in 1643, the Westminster Standards have provided the definitive statement of Christian faith and life for Presbyterians in the English speaking world. The symbol shows the open Bible and the eye of God, pointing to our reliance upon Scripture as “the infallible rule of faith and life.”