The Legacy of the Reformation

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Celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation by attending the The Legacy of the Reformation Conference.

September 28-29, 2017

Plenary Sessions by Timothy George, Carl Trueman, John Woodbridge, and Paige Patterson

In addition to four plenary sessions, and seven invited papers, there are 14 slots available for submitted papers/presentations, and five lightening session slots available for LU Grad and Undergraduate Students wanting to participate the dissemination of research. Each session below has room for two papers and each paper should be presented in 20-25 minutes, except for the student session which has room for five student posters/papers presented at 10 minutes each.


  • The Legacy of Reformation Theology (Moderated by Chad Thornhill)

    This session will explore the legacy  of the theology of the Protestant Reformers. Papers may explore the theological foundations of the life and thought of particular Reformers, points of compatibility and contrast with Roman Catholic thought and practice contemporary with the Reformers, areas of agreement and disagreement among key Protestant Reformers, and the missional results (intended or unintended) of the theology of the Reformers. Papers should give some thought to modern points of application of lessons learned from the thought and practice of the Reformers.

  • The Legacy of Women in the Reformation (Moderated by Donna Donald)

    The impact of the Protestant Reformation was theological and political, but also social, affecting every area of life in early modern Europe. Traditionally, scholars have focused on the Reformers and their ideas, but more recently attention has turned to the role of women in shaping the themes and impacts of this movement. This session will consider the contributions women made to the Reformation itself as well as the profound and enduring impact it had on their lives. Papers submitted for this session will consider some aspect of women’s contributions to the movement or how the Reformation affected their lives specifically or the broader experience of women during the period and beyond.

  • The Mission of Reformation Catechesis (Moderated by Nathan Finn)

    During the sixteenth century, various reformation movements in Europe looked too formal catechesis as a key practice in advancing their intended reforms. Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists, and Catholic reformers each prepared catechesis that summarized their approach to Christian faith and practice in a form that complemented more detailed summaries found in confessional statements and dogmatic pronouncements. For the reformation traditions, catechesis contributed to their missionary task through the theological and ethical formation of disciples, whether those disciples were children nurtured within their particular tradition or adult converts to a new movement.

  • The Legacy of Reformation Worship (Corporate Worship) (Moderated by Vernon Whaley)

    Reformation ideas and ideals were not only perpetuated through long, detailed written treatises but also through musical writings and regular corporate worship services in local churches. Many Protestant corporate worship services involved singing and instruments, but some included the spoken recitation of creeds and catechisms. As Protestant groups considered what separation from the Catholic Church entailed in their corporate worship services, they arrived at a variety of conclusions. Papers submitted for this session could focus on what distinguished Protestant from Catholic corporate worship, new Reformation liturgies, popularizing theology in hymns, or analyses regarding how various Protestant groups worshiped differently among themselves in content and/or style.

The Legacy of Reformation Worship (Personal Worship) (Moderated by David Wheeler)

  • The Legacy of Missional Movements of the Reformation (Moderated by John Woodbridge)

    A long-standing historical interpretation exists that the Protestant Reformers did not define mission in a way that included sending out missionaries to non-Christians for evangelistic purposes. In an Outline of the History of Protestant Missions from the Reformation to the Present Time (Edinburgh: James Gemmel, 1884), Gustav Warneck famously wrote: “With all earnestness he [Luther] urges the preaching of the gospel, and longs for a free course for it. But nowhere does Luther indicate the heathen as the objects of evangelistic work” (p. 12). Whereas The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1996, 2016) includes a discussion of Anabaptist and Roman Catholic missions, no article devoted to missions promoted by Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and other magisterial Reformers appears. The lack of such an article is stunning. In the “introduction” to The Mission of the Church Five Views in Conversation (2016), Professor Ott further supports the thesis that the Reformers did not engage in foreign missions: “With the conversion of Constantine and the establishment of Christianity as an official religion in the Roman Empire, convictions shifted and the church came to be identified with a Christian empire. The task of evangelization of non-Christian peoples was largely left to monastic orders.   The responsibility of the church was the instruction and nurture of Christians in the context of the Christian state. Apart from smaller Anabaptist and free church movements, the Protestant Reformation did not fundamentally overturn this thinking.” (pp. x-xi). 

    By contrast, in his article “Protestant Missions in the Sixteenth Century,” (The Great Commission Evangelicals and the History of World Missions (Martin I. Klauber and Scott Manetsch, eds. (Nashville, B. & H, 2008), pp. 12-22)), Professor Glenn Sunshine offers a nuanced and helpful revisionary analysis: “Lack of access to mission fields kept virtually all sixteenth-century Protestants from engaging in any systematic foreign missions; internal missions are a different matter, however. Contrary to the stereotypes, both magisterial and Anabaptist Protestants actively evangelized within Europe, though differences in their theologies, particularly their views of the relationship of the church with society, produced very different evangelistic approaches (p. 22).”

    In this breakout section, we would like to study the Protestant Reformation and Christian mission with fresh eyes. This is an exciting valuable enterprise to engage at the 500th year Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.   

  • The Legacy of Missions of Reformation Preaching (Moderated by Cecil Kramer)

    Scholars of the Reformation often credit the underlying power and effect of the movement to the primacy of preaching from the pulpit. Key to understanding the emphasis on preaching during the Reformation is to understand the content, authority, purpose, theology, and affect preaching had in and on the Reformation as a movement and how this change affected church mission and purpose throughout the past five centuries. In the session, papers will be solicited that identify the character and purpose of preaching as defined and practiced by the Protestant churches during the Reformation. Also under consideration during this session will be the means and impact of Reformation preaching on doctrine, spiritual practice, and role preaching had in advancing and promoting the Reformation as a movement. 

  • The Impact of the Reformation (CRS Initiative, LU Students Only)

    This session is for LU undergraduate and graduate students interested in beginning the process of academic engagement. This session has room for five, ten-minute research or poster presentations. Students interesting in presenting in this category should focus their research on an analysis of the impact of the reformation. Following the presentations, the moderator will offer concluding thoughts and the Center for Research and Scholarship will present an award based on the best student presentation based on feedback from the moderator and select professor evaluations.

In addition to presenting these papers at this conference, select papers from the conference will be chosen for publication titled The Legacy of the Reformation (B&H, Forthcoming) with a foreword by Robert Kolb. Contributions will include invited essays from Timothy George, Carl Trueman, John Woodbridge, Paige Patterson, Nathan Finn, and Stephen Eccher.

Papers should be submitted to If you are a professor or researcher with a terminal degree you may submit an abstract of 150-250 words; however, if you are a graduate or doctoral student we request that you submit your paper in its entirety. If you are an LU Graduate or Undergraduate Student you may present an abstract of your proposed research in under 150-250 words.

The deadline for submitting papers to the conference is May 1, 2017. Invitations will be extended by June 1, 2017. Chapters for the B&H Publication will be chosen at a later date and all chapters will need to be submitted to the editors by Dec. 1, 2017.