Header Graphic

2015-16 LSM Cont Ed Faculty/Topics
In Preparation for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Sept 11-12, 2015     
Kit Kleinhans            
Wartburg College 
“Reformation: Why and How? An Introduction”

There have been reform movements in the church almost from the beginning of Christianity. What happened in the early sixteenth century that led us to identify this period as THE Reformation? We’ll examine the theological background as well as the political context that helped shape the Protestant Reformation as we know it.
Oct 9-10, 2015         
Martin Lohrmann    
Wartburg Seminary                         
“Reformers Working Together: The Collegial Side of the Lutheran Reformation”

More than just the effort of a single person, the Lutheran Reformation was the product of rich collaboration and collegiality. This presentation will begin with Luther’s early relationships with people like Staupitz and Spalatin to show that he had strong mentors, friends and colleagues from the beginning. We will then look at Luther’s relationships with people in Wittenberg like Melanchthon, Karlstadt, Amsdorf and Cranach to see that Luther belonged to a circle of reformers in Wittenberg. Other important reformers outside Wittenberg like Barnes, Brenz and Osiander will also be introduced, noting how they helped shape the Reformation across distances. Finally, we will study examples of collegial reform visible in works like the Saxon Visitation, the Torgau Articles, and the production of the Luther Bible.

Nov 13-14, 2015      
Wanda Deifelt          
Luther College                                              
“Art and the Reformation”

By using art works from Cranach (and his workshop) we will study how key theological themes (such as interpretation of Scriptures, sacraments, priesthood of all baptized believers, and the role of a Christian in the world) are conveyed in forms other than the written word.

Dec 11-12, 2015      
Robert and Victoria Christman       
Luther College          
“The Reformation and the Common Folk (Germany and the Low Countries)”

How did the common people experience the Reformation? Scholars have answered this question in two very different ways. One group argues that from the start, the Reformation was popular movement, characterized by a groundswell of support from the masses. The other group sees the Reformation as a long, slow process, ultimately imposed on the laity by the political and ecclesiastical authorities over the course of the sixteenth century. Our series of lectures will address this seeming contradiction by evaluating popular responses to the Reformation from its origins up to the turn of the seventeenth century, with a focus on Germany and the Low Countries. Topics will include popular piety on the eve of the Reformation, early lay responses to the Reformation, the impact of the Peasant’s War on popular support for the Reformation, the intervention of the political authorities, and their efforts to control the beliefs and behaviors of their subjects.

Jan 8-9, 2016                       
Phil Ruge-Jones        
Texas Lutheran University                         
"Luther and the Word"

At the heart of the Reformation's theological witness was the active, living, effective Word of God. We will explore how Luther's understanding of the Word shaped his understanding of God's way of being in the world. We will examine how this commitment was manifest in Luther's work as translator, interpreter, and proclaimer of the Word. We will ask about the role of God's Word in the continuing work of reformation to which we ourselves are called.

Feb 12-13, 2016      
Darrell Jodock           
St. Olaf                                                                                   
"500 Years of Interpreting and Reinterpreting Luther."

The legacy of Martin Luther is a living tradition, always wrestling with how to connect the historical Luther and the faith community today. The basic principles of Luther’s teachings are valuable in many, many situations. But in any given context, some seem more important than others. These are emphasized, while others are neglected. When the situation changes, the emphasis also changes. Over the past 500 years the followers of Luther have found themselves in many different contexts. For example, in the late 1500s and in the 1600s Lutherans struggled to define and defend the distinctiveness of their teachings. They feared that Luther’s insights would be blotted out. The emphasis fell on the ways Lutheranism differed from other Protestants and from Roman Catholics. But, after the Thirty Years War and the demoralization that accompanied it, the emphasis shifted to cultivating individual faith and renewing hope. Protestantism had been successfully defended, even if at great cost. Denominational differences became less central. Each of these two developments produced a school of thought that has continued to play a role in church life. They were followed by others: an emphasis on reason and “progress” in the 1700s, an emphasis on historical development in the early 1800s, an emphasis on the cultural significance of Christianity in the late 1800s, and, in the early twentieth century, an emphasis on the distance between the kingdom of God and any of its embodiments. We will examine these developments and what they meant for the church and then seek to assess where the emphasis should be today. What has been neglected and can be retrieved? What has been over-emphasized and can be modified? What does and does not “speak” to the problems and possibilities of today? What is the vibrant center of contemporary Lutheran thinking?

Mar 11-12, 2016     
L. DeAne Lagerquist             
St. Olaf                                               
“Global Legacy of the Reformation”

Jaroslav Pelikan observed that in Europe the effervescent era of the Reformers was followed by solidifying work of the Orthodox theologians and then by the warm, awakening of Pietism; and, in contrast, in the United States Lutheran history unfolded in the reverse order. While the movement spread through Europe in the first generation, it arrived on other continents later, often prompted by Pietist impulses. My sessions will consider the spread of the Lutheran Reformation, attending to ways the tradition has traveled around the globe and how it has developed in various places including India, China, Indonesia, two or three places in Africa, and the Americas.  

April 8-9, 2016         
Brooks Schramm & Kirsi Stjerna    
“Luther and the Jews"

The presentations will develop the claim that Protestant Christians, and most especially Lutherans, have an ethical obligation to come to terms with the writings of Martin Luther on ‘the Jews and Judaism’. Reading Luther with an eye toward ‘the Jewish question’ makes clear that, far from being tangential, the Jews are rather a central, core component of his thought, and that this was the case throughout his career, not just at the end. By probing the logic of Luther’s anti-Jewish arguments, the presentations will seek to ascertain how Luther’s attitudes towards the Jews shaped his interpretation of Scripture and his theology in general, as well as what problems this poses for modern readers. Attention will also be given to how Luther was different from and similar to his contemporaries and predecessors in this regard.

May 13-14, 2016     
Ralph Klein               
Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago   
“Rare Books, Reformation Medallions and Luther”


To register, send $100 made payable to the “Northwest Synod of Wisconsin” and mailed to Howard and Bonnie Weber, 21401 78th Street, Bloomer, WI 54724.