In October 2017, millions the world over will mark the 500th anniversary of what came to be called the Protestant Reformation with worship, music, festivals, gatherings, conferences, books and more. This page lists many resources for the celebration of 500 years of the Reformation.
On Oct. 31, 1517, a dour-faced Catholic monk named Martin Luther posted a long list of grievances – 95 in all – to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. The world shifted on its axis and has never been the same since; scholars trace the development of capitalism, the rise of public education, the cult of the individual and many more aspects of the contemporary world to the ideas born in the Protestant Reformation. In terms of religion, the Reformation led to a married clergy, an emphasis on family over celibacy, the notion of divorce and, most importantly, the idea of “sola scriptura” – the idea that the Scriptures are infallible and the sole authority on spiritual matters.
- ELCA500 is a website run by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with a listing of events, resources for congregations, news and more. The site also lists members of the board and staff, who are scattered across the U.S.
- “From Conflict to Communion – Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017” is a Vatican-produced document outlining the common ground between Lutherans and Catholics 500 years after the Reformation.
- Luther500 Festival is a weeklong pilgrimage to Wittenberg, taking place at three different times in 2017 and aimed at families and individuals, not scholars or clergy.
- Reformation 500 is an online resource from Concordia Seminary that includes a detailed timeline of Luther’s life and other resources that explore the impact Luther and Protestantism has had on religion, politics and society.
- Reformation 500th Anniversary is a website maintained by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod with events and resources for its U.S. congregations. One section, titled “Luther and the Jews,” apologizes for anti-Semitic statements Luther made.
- Reformation 2017 is a website maintained by the Lutheran World Federation, a relief agency based in Geneva, Switzerland, with a page of resources and events for Lutheran churches that support its work.
- Luther 2017 is a site maintained by the German National Tourist Board. It tracks Luther-related events, concerts and exhibits and also lists stories, essays and reviews related to the 500th anniversary.
- Lutherstadt Wittenberg focuses on Luther’s time in Wittenberg. It is a project of Luther 2017.
- Mount Tabor Ecumenical Centre for Art and Spirituality is in the midst of a months-long Reformation Commemoration that involves multiple countries. The final celebration will be in Massachusetts.
- Andrews University, a Seventh-day Adventist school in Berrien Springs, Mich., will hold a Luther conference Oct. 31-Nov. 3.
- Billion Soul Network will host Wittenberg 2017 Congress Oct. 30-Nov. 1 in Wittenberg.
- Luther Seminary will hold a Reformation Festival Oct 27-28 on its campus in St. Paul, Minn.
- The Catholic University of America held a conference titled “Luther and the Shaping of the Catholic Tradition” May 30-June 1. A list of speakers can be found here.
- The Gospel Coalition, a network of Reformed Christian churches, held a conference, “No Other Gospel: Reformation 500 and Beyond,” in April. Some of the presentations and talks are available on YouTube.
- The European Bible Training Center and the Master’s Academy International hosted Reformationskonferenz in Wittenberg in May. A livestream is available on the website.
On Martin Luther
- Christianity Today maintains a biographical page on Martin Luther.
- PBS maintains a website about Martin Luther tied to its series Martin Luther: The Reluctant Revolutionary. Its Frontline series has a page dedicated to Luther and apocalypticism.
- Luther wrote “On the Jews and their Lies,” a 1543 treatise. It has been problematic to Jewish-Christian relations ever since. It can be read in full here.
- Read “Martin Luther’s Anti-Semitic Legacy – 500 Years Later” by Marilyn Cooper, writing for Moment Magazine, April 28, 2017.
- Read “Luther’s Living Legacy,” an undated interview with Martin Marty that appeared in Christian History magazine.
On the Reformation
- Cameron Addis, an Austin Community College history professor, has a lengthy overview of the Protestant Reformation, including its transfer to America.
- Read “How the Pilgrims and Reformation Formed America” by Paul Strand for the Christian Broadcasting Network, Nov. 23, 2014. The takeaway: America would not be great without the Pilgrims’ steadfast faith.
On the legacy of Luther and the Reformation
- Read “Martin Luther in North America,” a November 2016 article by Mark A. Granquist posted on Oxford Research Encyclopedias’ website. The takeaway: American scholars, both Protestant and Catholic, are making significant contributions to the study of Luther, Lutheranism and the Reformation.
- Read “Is the Protestant Work Ethic Real?” by Joshua Keating for Slate, Aug. 29, 2013. The takeaway: The story susses out several studies that attempt to examine the impact of the Protestant work ethic on different economies.