500 Years Since the Beginning of the Reformation - 500 Years Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ


Screenshot of the SolasAlive website.

ONLINE – Lutheran Hour Ministries – Canada has released “SolasAlive,” a series of three short videos you can use to on social media to share your faith with friends and family online.

These short, engaging, videos and companion webpages have been created for you to use on social media, to invite outside the Christian church to find out more about God and His plan of salvation for all.

Each of the three videos provides an unexpected take on traditional slogans of the Reformation: Grace Alone, Faith Alone, and Scripture Alone. Watch all the videos below:



Here are some ways you can participate in this outreach:

  • Like and Share the videos on Facebook
  • Use email, twitter, and other social media as well as word of mouth to promote the SolasAlive videos
  • Try sharing them on different days so you don’t overload your friends’ social media feeds
  • Put a link to SolasAlive.com on your personal or congregational web-site

When you like and share the videos on Facebook, you increase the chances others will find them. For more information go to www.LLL.ca and click on “Resources.”

Find out more about Solas Alive at www.SolasAlive.com. Follow LLL-Canada online at the Facebook pages for Lutheran Hour Ministries – Canada and Lutheran Laymen’s League of Canada. And subscribe to LLL-Canada’s YouTube page here.

Help others learn of God’s message of Grace Alone, by Faith Alone, as revealed to us in Scripture Alone.


Snapshots from LCC’s Reformation Exhibit

WINNIPEG – Lutheran Church–Canada is currently holding Here I Stand, an exhibit commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation at its synodical office in Winnipeg (3074 Portage Avenue).

The event features a poster-series developed by leading German museums, in addition to numerous artifacts, including period books, statuettes and busts, coins and medals, models, artwork, music, film, and more. The event is open every day 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. from October 27 to November 5, 2017.

A 19th century statuette of Martin Luther, patterned after the memorial in Worms.

A facsimile of Bugenhagen’s Passion Harmony in front of a model of the Wartburg and a statuette of Martin Luther patterned after a memorial in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

A statuette of Martin Luther, patterned after the memorial in Eisleben.

A facsimile of a hand-painted edition of Luther’s 1534 Bible in the foreground, with woodcuts of Luther, Melanchthon, and Cranach the Elder in the background.

Busts of Melanchthon and Luther. Not pictured but also featured on the table are facsimile editions of The Augsburg Confession, The Small Catechism, and three of Luther’s most important early treatises: The Babylonian Captivity, The Freedom of a Christian, and To the Christian Nobility.

Coins and Medals commemorating the Reformation, ranging in date from 1730 to 2017.

A table featuring information on the Old Lutheran flight from persecution under the Prussian Union, with a copy of C.F.W. Walther’s homilies in the foreground. The table also features Reformation coins, medals, and notgeld. In the background, footage from a 1927 silent film on Luther’s life plays.

A 1737 edition of Scriver’s The Soul’s Treasure accompanies an explanation of Lutheran spirituality. Not pictured, but also featured on the table, is a 1699 edition of Gerhard’s Sacred Meditations.

A model of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Not pictured, but also featured in the exhibit, is a model of the Lutherhaus in Eisenach.

Wittenberg notgeld (“emergency money”) with woodcuts of Luther. Not pictured, but also featured in the exhibit, are three other sets of Notgeld.

Artwork by Kelly Klages commissioned by Lutheran Church–Canada to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The six-part series features artwork and an artist’s description on The 95 Theses, The Excommunication of Luther, The Diet of Worms, The Translation of the Bible, The Augsburg Confession, and Lutheranism after Luther.

The exhibit features a number of other pieces, and all pieces include informational text. Immerse yourself in Reformation history. Come face to face with Martin Luther and the world he shook through artwork, statuettes, models, period books, and more. Discover how the Gospel transformed the world 500 years ago—and how it continues to do so today. The story comes alive in this special event hosted by Lutheran Church–Canada.

More information on the exhibit is available here: “Winnipeg to host Reformation exhibit.”



Leader’s Guide for Luther Movie Showings

ONLINE – As congregations prepare for observances of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in October, some will likely be planning to watch a film adaption of Luther’s life. Many such congregations will turn to the 2003 film Luther starring Joseph Fiennes. Lutheran Church–Canada is pleased to provide a study guide that can be used to introduce the film and lead discussion following it. It can also be used for private reflection on the film.

The study guide was developed by Rev. Ted Giese, the award-winning film reviewer for The Canadian Lutheran, as well as Issues Etc. and KFUO. The guide comes in two parts: a presentation introducing the film to the audience as well as a leader’s discussion guide for after the film has been shown. A participant’s guide to follow along during the initial presentation is also available.

Congregations are reminded of the importance of respecting copyright law when it comes to the public presentation of films. Licensing for the 2003 film Luther is available in Canada from Audio Cine Films Inc. Churches can purchase annual licenses to show films, or they can submit a quote request for a single presentation license.


Experience the story of the Reformation anew with free video series

ONLINE – Delve deeper into the story of the Reformation with A Man Named Martin, a free video-based Bible study series from Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM).

“In this Bible study, Luther’s life and times are examined through the lens of history, religion and theology,” notes promotional material for the series. “Expanding on commentary from Rev. Gregory Seltz, Speaker for The Lutheran Hour, numerous scholars add their expertise and perspective to render an illuminating portrait of the life of this extraordinary human being… A Man named Martin is a fresh and explorative look at an individual who, down through the centuries, has increased in importance and vitality to the Christian church.”

There are three segments in the video series: Part 1: The Man, Part 2: The Moment, and Part 3: The Movement. Part 1: The Man introduces viewers to the person of Martin Luther, a 15th century religious reformer from Germany who broke ranks with the Catholic Church. Part 2: The Moment examines the errant teachings and wayward traditions of the late medieval Church which sparked the Protestant Reformation, a theological overhaul set in motion by the publication of Luther’s 95 Theses. Part 3: The Movement traces how the Reformation transformed European society and eventually left a profound impression around the globe.

The three Parts are subsequently broken down into smaller sessions, providing enough video material for several weeks of group study in each Part. Alternately, viewers can enjoy each of the three Parts as a self-contained film.

You can watch the entire study of A Man Named Martin online for free on LHM’s website. See Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here. The website includes additional resources and links to complement each session.

You can also buy the series on DVD through the Lutheran Laymen’s League of Canada. Each DVD comes with a discussion guide to help groups gain even more from these well-received documentary studies. Congregations looking for ways to share the story of the Reformation with the community around them can also purchase the LHM booklet A Treasure Revealed: Martin Luther and the Events of the Reformation (in English, French, and Spanish) as well as the booklet What Lutherans Believe (in English, French, and Chinese).


Free Online Course on Luther’s Life

ONLINE – Concordia Lutheran Seminary (CLS – Edmonton) has announced that its next Quest Course will focus on “Martin Luther’s Road to Reformation, 1483-1521” and be taught by Rev. Dr. John A. Maxfield. The free course is scheduled for Wednesday nights in October 2017, with live-streaming online for those unable to attend in person.

“What better way to celebrate the Reformation 500 anniversary than to learn about the man who started it all?” asks promotional material. “In this course we will examine Martin Luther’s life and the development of his theology from his birth in 1483 to the controversy that developed thirty-five years later after his posting of the Ninety-Five Theses on Indulgences on October 31, 1517 that initiated the Reformation.”

Classes will take place October 4, 11, 18, and 25 at Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time, with live-streaming online occurring simultaneously. Video from the lectures will be made available online later for viewing after the event.

The breakdown of classes is as follows:

October 4: Church Life and Spirituality in Germany on the Eve of the Reformation / Luther’s Family, Upbringing, and Education

October 11: Life in a Monastery and Student of Theology/ Luther as Professor of Theology and Maturing Theologian

October 18: Luther’s “Reformation Discovery” of Justification by Faith—Early Developments and His Reflections as an Old Man/A Theologian of the Cross and the Beginnings of Reform

October 25: The Controversy over the 95 Theses and the Development of a Reformer/A Wild Boar in the Vineyard? The Road to Luther’s Stand at Worms

Course instructor Dr. Maxfield is an ordained pastor of Lutheran Church–Canada and Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Concordia University of Edmonton. He teaches courses in the History of Christianity, Theology, and European History, specializing and publishing on the German Reformation and Luther Studies. Among other works, he is a contributor to the forthcoming Oxford Encyclopedia of Martin Luther, with an article on Martin Luther’s exposition of Old Testament texts.

Those interested in participating can do so either on campus or online (http://concordia.adobeconnect.com/quest). There is no cost to participate, but organizers ask people to register by email at admin@concordiasem.ab.ca or by phone at 1-780-484-1468 (ext. 225).


Reformation outreach to your local school

Reformation-school-letterCANADA – As your congregation prepares to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, you are likely considering ways to reach out to your community. Chances are your local school studies the Reformation at some point in its history curriculum. Why not ask if they would like a guest speaker on the topic—namely, your pastor or another leader in your church?

Lutheran Church–Canada has developed a draft letter you can use to introduce this idea to local schools in your area. Just download the letter here, update it with your church’s information, and send it off.

You can find additional Reformation-related resources, including posters, craft ideas, reading lists, and more, at www.reformation2017.ca/resources.


Reformation 2017: Praying for Christian Unity

dove-sqWORLD – Christians around the world are recognizing the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which takes this year from January 18-25. The call for Christian unity takes on renewed significance in 2017, as this year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Lutherans recognize the Reformation as a tragic necessity—tragic in that it led to the division of the church, but necessary in its move to restore biblical clarity to the church’s teachings on justification, among other doctrines.

Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) takes seriously Jesus’ call for unity in His church, and engages in responsible ecumenical relations with a number of other church bodies. First and foremost is its relationship to other confessional Lutheran churches around the world, both directly as well as through the work of the International Lutheran Council (ILC). At its most recent World Conference, the ILC adopted a statement noting that “confessional Lutherans are obligated to cooperate in overcoming the divisions within Christianity in the spirit of biblical truth and Christian love.”

LCC puts that commitment into practice through direct dialogue with a number of other Christian church bodies. In 2016, LCC and its sister church The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCC), together with the Anglican Church in North America, issued a report on their six-year dialogue, highlighting the significant doctrinal agreement reached thus far. At the same time, positive dialogue between LCC and the LCMS on one side and the North American Lutheran Church on the other also continues, with the three churches issuing a joint statement on Scripture last year.

LCC has also been engaged in dialogue with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) since 2013. LCC President Robert Bugbee brought greetings to the CCCB’s annual conference this past September, at which time he noted LCC’s gratefulness for the ongoing dialogue between the two churches. The Canadian dialogue complements world-wide discussions between the International Lutheran Council and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, meeting most recently in Paderborn, Germany.

Lutheran Church–Canada is also an observer member of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), and has been engaging in greater cooperation with Evangelicals in recent years. LCC joined the EFC, along with Roman Catholics and other Canadian church leaders, in issuing several joint statements recently, including a statement drawing attention to the dangers of physician assisted suicide and euthanasia, as well as another statement calling for increased support for palliative care in Canada.

LCC also engages in regular contact with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada through cooperative work in Canadian Lutheran World Relief and the Lutheran Council in Canada.


500 Years of Reformation – Conference in Edmonton

ccscf-2017-posterEDMONTON – The Canadian Centre for Scholarship and the Christian Faith is encouraging people to sign up soon for their sixth annual conference—“500 Years of Reformation.” The conference will take place March 24-25 at Concordia University of Edmonton.

Rev. Dr. Robert Kolb, one of the world’s foremost scholars on Martin Luther, is keynote speaker for the event. His keynote address is entitled “How Luther’s Reformation Literally Changed the World.” He will also give a plenary lecture on “Luther’s Impact on University Education and Christian Liberal Arts.”

The conference has also issued a call for papers and presentations on the theme “500 Years of Reformation.” Papers and presentations may be approached from a variety of disciplines and subdisciplines in the Humanities and the Social Sciences. Possible topics may include Reformation and Biblical Studies, Reformation and Theology, Reformation and Education, Reformation Economics, Reformation and Politics, Reformation and Ethics, Reformation and the Arts, Reformation and Law, Reformation and Literature, Reformation and the Sciences, Reformation and Modernism, Reformation and Authority, Reformation and Philosophy, and others. Original papers may also be submitted for adjudication to the Canadian Journal for Scholarship and the Christian Faith.

Grants for students and pastors attending the conference are also available. To register, and for more information, visit www.ccscf.org.


LCC artist featured in Reformation 2017 resources

The LCMS logo for Reformation 2017 commemorations.

The LCMS logo for Reformation 2017 commemorations.

MORDEN, Manitoba – Kelly Klages, a member of Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) and a gifted artist and hymnwriter, has seen two of her songs recently featured in resources for 500th anniversary commemorations of the Reformation by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS).

“What an honour, and what fun, to work on creative projects for this particular Reformation anniversary,” Klages said. “Remembering and celebrating the renewal of God’s Word and the Gospel will, I pray, inspire us to do the same now, 500 years on.”

Klages’ hymn “Jesus Came a Babe Among Us” was featured in LCMS worship resources for use during services commemorating the birth of Martin Luther. “We remember Martin Luther’s birth,” the materials note, “in order to help us remember Jesus as our only Savior.” For that reason, the church was encouraged to recognize Luther’s birthday by focusing on the birth of the Christ he preached.

Another of Klages’ songs is featured in the 2017 Vacation Bible School curriculum from Concordia Publishing House, which is soon to be released. The theme for 2017’s VBS—Mighty Fortress: In Jesus, the Victory is Won!—draws inspiration from the Reformation anniversary year, and includes optional stories focusing on key events in the life of Martin Luther. One of the theme songs is by Klages, and is entitled “Thanks be to God.”

Klages is also developing artistic Reformation resources for use in Canada as well. She is currently working on a Reformation-themed banner design for use in LCC churches. She has also been commissioned to produce six pieces of art related to major events of the Reformation. This series will grace the covers of The Canadian Lutheran throughout 2017, and will be made available as posters for use in Lutheran Church–Canada congregations as part of their own Reformation commemorations.

Watch for these resources in The Canadian Lutheran and online at www.reformation2017.ca.


LCC launches Reformation anniversary website

reformation-website-web-smONLINE – Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) has launched a new website sharing information and resources related to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which will be celebrated in 2017. You can visit the website at www.reformation2017.ca.

“As we head towards 2017, there is renewed public interest in understanding the movement led by Martin Luther and the other reformers,” noted Mathew Block, Communications Manager for LCC. “This website will help curious Canadians understand more about the Reformation and connect its importance to their lives today.”

October 31, 2017 will mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. Tradition states that on that day in 1517 Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

The new Reformation-themed website features a number of resources, including an introduction to the Reformation, biographies of major (and less major) figures of the Reformation, an interactive timeline, and information on Reformation beliefs. It includes resources for personal spiritual formation and education, like a Bible reading plan and Reformation-themed reading list, and also includes an ever-growing listing of Reformation 2017 events and news stories.

As time goes on, the website will release additional updates, including feature essays on the Reformation and the arts, historical sketches of the events of the Reformation, congregational resources, posters, and more.

Readers who find the website resonates with their own beliefs are encouraged to check out the “Worship With Us” page, where they will find information on how to connect with Canadian churches committed to the ideals of the Reformation. Those in Canada are directed to member congregations of LCC and Canadian congregations of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Those outside Canada are directed to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in the United States, and the churches of the International Lutheran Council elsewhere in the world.