Reformation 500


This page will be continually updated as more and more resources are developed and made available. It is broken into these sections:

Synodical Resources

Rediscovering the Small Catechism
This new resource was first used with our Synod Council on retreat. This resource is ideal for use in retreats, mid-week studies, and more. The uniqueness of this resource is that in enfolds the language of the Small Catechism into the worship practices the Catechism addresses, such that the Catechism is experienced within worship, and not so much the classroom.


95 Theses Study Resource 
Find details notes to inform and help leaders as they direct and guide conversations about the 95 Theses. The materials include study questions adapted from Timothy J. Wengert's Martin Luther's 95 Theses with Infroduction, Commentary, and Study Guide. These materials were developed from the 2016 Deans' Retreat led by Pr. Jonathan Linman. Download this Leader's resource (including participant handouts). 


Lutheran Catholic Common Prayer Resources
We hope that congregations will seek opportunities to not only commemorate the anniversary of the reformation, but to build stronger bonds with local Catholic communities. We've developed a toolkit for local commemorations that will help guide you through hosting an event similar to the October 31, 2016 events in Sweden and our synod:


Online and Digital Resources 

Ecumenical and interreligious witness and the Reformation anniversary webcast
Join Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton on Thursday, October 27, from 8-9 pm EST for a live webcast that will explore ecumenical and interreligious witness on the eve of the Reformation anniversary. You are encouraged to view the webcast with your congregation, group, or committee. This may help conversation as you plan for and discuss your observation of the Reformation in 2017. Learn more here.

elca500Freed and Renewed in Christ
See how the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is observing the 500th Anniversary and is helping to facilitate connections among ELCA partners, networks, and expressions. serves as a digital information clearing house for the ELCA Reformation anniversary.

reformation500-enLiberated by God’s Grace
The Lutheran World Federation’s theme for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, Liberated by God’s Grace, is linked to the doctrine of justification by faith, which has also been called "the doctrine by which the church stands or falls". In Christ, God’s grace is given to us as a free and unconditional gift. Download their Reformation Booklet, which explores the topicality and influence of this Reformation insight from different perspectives and find full information through their website,

Luther and the West
A new Northwestern University Massive Open Online Course is now available for free on the internet. The course is called "Luther and the West" and offers an educational resource for this year’s celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The course is taught by Christine Helmer, who is an internationally known Luther scholar, and Professor of Religious Studies and German at Northwestern University in Evanston, USA. Learn more here

Luther Reading Challenge
main_logo_without_betaJoin in the Luther Reading Challenge. Sign up for a free account and join readers around the world in reading, discussing, and reflecting on Luther's important writings. Each text begins with an introduction, giving its context and key themes. You can add marginal comments, respond to others’ remarks, and raise your own questions. You can also tailor your own profile to share and connect with others. In time there will also be a blog, other languages, and even gamification elements!

catechismappSmall Catechism App
Luther’s Small Catechism and Spanish El Catecismo Menor de Lutero are both included in a free mobile app, available from the Apple iOS App Store and on Google Play. Perfect for youth education and confirmation classes, individuals, adults, congregations, church leaders—anyone who wants easy access to Martin Luther’s guide to the basics of Christian faith.

Print Resources


Annotated Luther
This series features seventy-five of Luther’s most essential writings in six volumes. These volumes will be an essential reference tool for students at all levels, as well as an engaging and accessible resource for pastors and interested lay readers who want to explore and teach Luther and his writings with greater depth and clarity. Published by Fortress Press.


A Short Life of Martin Luther
An accessible yet authoritative biography of the colorful character who instigated the Protestant Reformation. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Dr. Kaufmann will present during our Reformation 500 lectures in September. 


Beyond Charity: Reformation Initiatives for the Poor
The common stereotype is that the Reformers separated public and private morality and were indifferent to the ethical import of social structures and institutions. Beyond Charity calls this understanding into question by providing an analysis of the historical situation and translations of primary documents. Published by Fortress Press.


Christians in Society: Luther, the Bible and Social Ethics
Disagreement on ethical issues overlays a lack of consensus today on even deeper issues of method and authority in ethics. Yet a major ecumenical resource and model for Christian social ethics lies in Martin Luther's use of Scripture as ethical source and norm. Published by Fortress Press.


The Forgotten Luther
This study is geared to the lay people within every congregation who are committed to the mission of the church. It assumes not only that they are prepared to follow Christ’s call to love the neighbor, but also that they are willing to give tangible expression to that calling through use of their talents, experiences, and knowledge. Published by Lutheran University Press.


From Conflict to Communion
This book presents the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation as an opportunity for deeper communion between Roman Catholics and Lutherans and for celebration of their common witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.


Imaginative World of the Reformation
In this small gem of Reformation research, Peter Matheson offers a rich view of the Reformation as it appeared in pamphlets and sermons, woodcuts and paintings, poetry and song, correspondence and the contours of daily life. Published by Fortress Press.


Luther and Liberation: A Latin American Perspective
Luther and Liberation recovers the liberating and revolutionary impact of Luther’s theology, read afresh from the perspective of the Latin American context. Published by Fortress Press.


Luther Refracted: The Reformer’s Ecumenical Legacy
The contributors, representing a variety of Christian denominations, demonstrate Luther’s lasting impact on their own traditions and, together with the Lutheran respondents, encourage a fresh understanding of the Reformer. Published by Fortress Press.


Luther's Jews
Facing up to the undeniable anti-semitism of one of the most important figures in European religious and cultural history - on the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation which he started. Published by Oxford University Press. Dr. Kaufmann will present during our Reformation 500 lectures in September.


Luther’s Prayers
It is clear that Luther’s faith and confession became devotion and prayer, and his interpretation was rooted and strengthened and nourished in this. Luther’s powerful prayers are on topics spanning all of life: the soldier, employer, politician, pastor, sick person, parent, newlywed, teacher. Published by Fortress Press.


Luther's Small Catechism, Anniversary Study Edition
A translation of Luther’s explanations along with other catechetical study helps, such as prayers, worship rites, and Luther’s introduction. This study edition will provide the focus our Synod Council’s 2016 retreat. Published by Augsburg Fortress.

Martin Luther and the Called Life
One of the hallmarks of Luther’s theology was its concern for daily life. In the midst of debates about justification and salvation, church authority, and the Lord’s Supper, he bore a deep concern for daily Christian life. Published by Fortress Press.

95theses Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses
Timothy J. Wengert, one of the best-known interpreters of Luther and Lutheranism today, sets his newly translated Ninety-Five Theses in its historical context with a detailed introduction and illuminating study notes. This book guided discussion at the 2016 Dean’s Retreat. Published by Augsburg Fortress.

Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer
This bold, insightful account of the life of Martin Luther provides a new perspective on one of the most important religious figures in history, focusing on Luther’s entire life, his personal relationships and political motivations, rather than on his theology alone. Published by Yale University Press.


My Conversations with Martin Luther
In this richly imagined book, Timothy Lull presents a series of fictional conversations with Martin Luther, the great reformer. This book guided discussion at the 2016 MNYS Staff Retreat. Published by Augsburg Fortress


October 31, 1517: Martin Luther and the Day that Changed the World
This new book by religion scholar Martin Marty, released in time for the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, shows how Martin Luther's insights still speak to the church today about reconciliation, repentance and the need for "a change of heart." Published by Paraclete Press. 


Papa Luther: A Graphic Novel
The exciting story of Martin Luther, told through the eyes of his children Hans and Magda. This colorful, 88-page "comic book" is geared especially toward children ages 8 to 13, but will intrigue all ages. Published by Augsburg Fortress.


Reformation 500 Sourcebook
As congregations plan the ways they will observe the Reformation’s five hundredth anniversary, the Reformation 500 Sourcebook will be an essential guide. Gathered in this Sourcebook are a variety of ideas for planning worship services, education events, music festivals, service projects, and connections with other Christians. A CD-ROM of reproducible, customizable content is also included. Published by Augsburg Fortress.


Together by Grace: Introducing the Lutherans
Over two dozen gifted writers—scholars, pastors, leaders, activists—paint a colorful map for this journeyacross abroad landscape of faith and time. Published by Augsburg Fortress.


The Wit of Martin Luther
Eric Gritsch ties Luther's wit and humor to his sharp polemical exploitation of the absurd or incongruous in service to his Reform. At a deeper level Luther's wit and witticisms reflected his keen appreciation of human frailty and the unknowability of things divine. Published by Augsburg Fortress.


Women of the Reformation
Celebrated historian Roland Bainton's three books tell the stories of courageous figures — some famous, some less well-known — all ardently committed to religious reform during the restless years of the Reformation. Published by Fortress Press.

Videos and Movies


Lutheran Stories
Hear from synodical leaders as they share their stories of Lutheran identity on our YouTube page.


The Forgotten Luther
Watch a video series from the Forgotten Luther Symposium here.


Rick Steves' Luther and the Reformation
Here you'll find a various resources for this video, including ELCA-generated discussion points and study questions, a ten-minute video of Rick Steves setting the show up, and art and video clips to help promote the event.


Martin Luther: The idea that changed the world
Learn more about this compelling new movie and how a special screening at your local movie theater is possible here.


Image Resources

Congregations are welcome to use these graphics on their materials surrounding the commemoration of the reformation:

Reformation 500 | jpeg | png | contact Rebekah Thornhill for other formats

Freed and Renewed in Christ | jpeg | stacked jpeg

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