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Decatur Circuit
500th Anniversary Reformation Celebration

The Reformation was, first and foremost, all about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was then, and it still is now. The task of reformation never ends, for every person, in every generation, needs to hear the good news of their Savior from sin and eternal death.


Reformation Timeline

The world was changing. New scientific discoveries had opened pathways for understanding more about our complex universe. The ocean, once feared for its danger and depth, was tamed for travel and trade. Peasants and workers, laboring under harsh and relentless conditions, sought revolution. The bubonic plague had claimed the lives of about 75 million people from 1347 to 1351. It continued to reappear and panic European cities. Political alliances, long forged between pope and prince, fractured as power centers shifted. Gutenberg’s press (1455), the first to use movable type, transported ideas from one person to the next with swiftness and ease. As the medieval era collapsed into the modern, changes seemed everywhere and limitless.


Yet even during these changing times one thing remained constant: our God, who grants forgiveness and grace to His people through Jesus Christ. Despite advances and transformations in science and society, politics and publication, God was working. He gave hope and life by His Spirit through Word and Sacraments. He bestowed comfort and joy in trying and often perilous situations. In changing times, His promises through His Son did not change, nor will they ever. They will never be altered, nor revoked. His Word pronounces us righteous through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. He alone is our Life and our Peace.


Significant people and events in the “Old World” as well as the “New” have been included for the years 1436 to 1600. Additional references include scientific discoveries, substantive works of art, and the arrivals of European explorers to the Americas. Items in bold indicate writings and events specifically relating to the Lutheran Confessions.


This timeline confirms what we know by experience: change will take place. But in changing times God’s Word reminds us that He is always faithful to His people. With hearty confidence and trust we can say with King David, “My times are in Your hands” (Psalm 31:15).