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

Saints of the Reformation – The Book

“The great Reformation of the church was not merely about events, ideas, and movements. It is also the story of people, individuals made of the same flesh and blood as we are. It is the story of their faith, their witness, their way of handling conflict, and the way in which their personal habits—even apart from their words—have left behind a message for us.”

So writes Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, President of Lutheran Church–Canada, in the preface to the new book Saints of the Reformation.”

Martin Luther and the other reformers encouraged Christians to study the lives of faithful Christians who had gone before and to learn from them. This, they said, was the proper way to remember the saints. In this volume, the reader is invited to reflect on the lives of saints of the Reformation. Some, like Martin Luther, you may have heard of before. Others, like Ursula von Münsterberg, are little known. But in the lives of all—men and women, royals and commoners, clergy and laypeople—the work of God is evident. Their witness to Christ and His mercy remains a powerful testimony to Christians today.

Churches are encouraged to use the new book as they celebrate the Reformation locally, for both in-house education and as an outreach tool. The book is available in print at the low cost of $4.62 CAD each (plus shipping) from the online store Lulu. Those purchasing copies of the book online are encouraged to check Lulu’s home-page for coupon codes in order to save even more. Bulk orders may also be eligible for a discount, so congregation members may wish to order together for further savings on shipping and the cost of the book.

The book is also available as a free e-book for use on e-readers, mobile devices, and computers.

The book will also be made available in print and as an e-book through other online stores in the months to come.

Why Saints?

The title of this book may strike some readers as odd. “Saints of the Reformation?” you might wonder. “Surely the whole point of the Reformation was to do away with ideas like the saints.”

Well, yes and no. Martin Luther and the other reformers certainly wished to correct errors that had crept into the church’s beliefs and practices over the centuries. But that doesn’t mean they did so by erasing everything and starting over. At its core, the Lutheran reformation was conservative in nature. The reformers held up the church’s theology to the Scriptures: where it departed from the biblical witness, they moved to correct it. What needed pruning was indeed pruned; but what was good was kept and celebrated.

It is in this way that the reformers treated the subject of the saints as well: removing errant ideas but embracing what was in keeping with the teachings of Scripture. The end result is a theology of saints that encourages devotion to Christ—a theology put into practice in this book on saints of the Reformation era.

“I’m grateful that our Synod is making this resource available to help with your own personal observance of the Reformation anniversary. May the Lord bless you to remember these saints… to meditate on the wonderful outcome of their lives, which still benefits us centuries later… and to imitate their faith.” – Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee

Features:

An example page spread from the book.

  • “Remember Your Leaders” — A Preface from Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee
  • “Why Saints?” — An Introduction from editor Mathew Block on the reformers’ understanding of the word “saints” and the biblical mandate to remember our forebears in the faith
  • Nine biographies on Reformation figures: Martin Luther, Katie Luther, Philip Melanchthon, Johann von Staupitz, Johann Esch and Heinrich Voes, Ursula von Münsterberg, Johannes Bugenhagen, and Lucas Cranach the Elder. (Early versions of these biographies were published by The Canadian Lutheran from 2013-2016. Two of these biographies—the ones on Martin Luther and Katie Luther—received national writing awards from the Canadian Church Press.)
  • Suggested commemoration dates and prayers thanking God for the work of these Reformation servants
  • A further reading list for those wishing to read more by and about these Reformation figures
  • Authors of the biographies include Rev. Dr. Richard Beinert, Mathew Block, Rev. Dr. Edward G. Kettner, Dr. Leah Koetting Block, Mark Lack, and Peggy Pedersen.