Preaching Professor Clayton Schmit Speaks on Relevance of the Reformation Today
"We are a Reformed people. We are the children—the sons and daughters—of the Reformation." Clayton Schmit, the Arthur DeKruyter/Christ Church Oak Brook Associate Professor of Preaching at Fuller, opened his homily with these words at an all-seminary chapel service held Wednesday, October 29, in Travis Auditorium. The service, which included a celebration of the Lord’s Supper, centered on the theme "Remembering the Reformation," in honor of Reformation Day upcoming on October 31.
"It was the Reformation that gave us a theology that still shapes our ministry today," Schmit declared. The Scripture reading for the service, Romans 3, is the classic Reformation text, he explained, in that it expresses "the core of our faith: justification by faith alone, through grace."
"This was the core of our faith as proclaimed by [seminary founder] Charles E. Fuller over the airwaves," said Schmit, "and it remains the core of our faith at the seminary today." The Romans text, he insisted, "identifies the point at the very center of our faith."
The Reformation was "a mixed blessing," Schmit continued, in that it led to change, division, and differences. "Once the floodgates of the Reformation were open, nothing could stop them"—today, for example, Fuller Seminary alone sees students coming from more than 100 denominations. We all have different views and "we are divided because we are a free people," he said: "free to express our own opinions."
But no matter what our political or doctrinal differences, Schmit stressed, we must remember that we are united by our one God. "Today we remember the Reformation and along with it," he said, "we remember the hundreds of different distinctions in us."
Preparing for the sharing of communion that followed his message, Schmit concluded by emphasizing that "Jesus intended that the table be one of fellowship, where we come together as one in the Body. If you believe we are justified by faith alone through grace, then come. If you believe there can be Reformation without disunity, then come!"