The 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

Today marks the 500th anniversary of the event that launched the Protestant Reformation: the nailing of Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, by a young monk and scholar named Martin Luther.

As with all important historical events, this one is debated. Did Luther intend to cause the greatest schism in church history? (No.) Did he actually nail his theses to the door? (Maybe.) Did he truly believe that the Western Church had lost its way? (Eventually, yes.) There is even some argument over whether or not this day marks the true beginning of the movement known as the Reformation. While these questions and discussions are all important in their own way, so too is the story of Luther’s actions on this day.

Regardless of who you are, if you’re reading this post, Martin Luther influenced your life. The importance of conscience, the Protestant work ethic, the wars of religion, the proliferation of the Bible, the spread of ideas via printing press–in all these ways and more, Luther’s thought and its ripples throughout the world continue to shape modern society. In fact, Luther is probably one of the most influential people to ever walk the earth–for good or ill–because of the chain of events that his these and subsequent actions initiated.

In honor of this momentous event, I encourage you to dig more deeply into Luther’s life and theology, as well as the subsequent movements that sprung up around him. I’ve posted lots here in the past about Luther–take a look at the articles below and learn something about the great German theologian in celebration of this day.


Martin Luther (General)

The Value of Martin Luther’s Two Kingdoms for Today (@ Patheos)

How I View Martin Luther

The Historicity of “Luther”

A Protestant Reformation without Martin Luther?

Readings from Martin Luther

Luther on Secular Authority

Reformation (General)

Erasmus on Reform and the Philosophy of Christ

Rethinking Authority during the Protestant Reformation

Luther and Zwingli on the Lord’s Supper

The Catholic Reformation of the Individual

The Institutes of Religion

The Historical Luther (Series)

The Historical Martin Luther

Heiko Oberman on the Historical Luther

Scott Hendrix on the Historical Luther

Robert Kolb on the Historical Luther

Education and Background

Reformation Breakthrough

The Historical Luther: Conclusions

Luther’s Two Kingdoms (Series)

Luther’s Two Kingdoms: Introduction

Luther’s Two Kingdoms: Context

Luther’s Two Kingdoms: Sword and State

Luther’s Two Kingdoms: Applied Ethics?

Luther’s Two Kingdoms: On Temporal Authority

Luther’s Two Kingdoms: Christ and Authority

Luther’s Two Kingdoms: Christian Passivity?

Luther’s Two Kingdoms: Critique

Luther’s Two Kingdoms: Conclusions

Luther v. Erasmus on Scripture, Canon, and Authority

Series Introduction

Erasmus’s Background (Pt. 1)

Erasmus’s Background (Pt. 2)

Erasmus on Scripture, Canon, and Authority

Luther’s Background (Pt. 1)

Luther’s Background (Pt. 2)

Luther on Scripture, Canon, and Authority

Luther and Erasmus: Conclusions

Romans, Predestination, and Freewill

Series Introduction

Augustine and Pelagius

Context and Early Erasmus

On the Freedom of the Will (Pt. 1)

On the Freedom of the Will (Pt. 2)

On the Bondage of the Will (Pt. 1)

On the Bondage of the Will (Pt. 2)

Modern Scholars on Romans 7-9 (Pt. 1)

Modern Scholars on Romans 7-9 (Pt. 2)

Joseph Fitzmyer

James Dunn

N.T. Wright

Scholarly Consensus

Luther and Erasmus Revisited

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