The Protestant Reformation: A Schism With Echoes Still Felt Today

Oct 17, 2017

500 years ago this month, the German monk Martin Luther delivered his 95 theses to an Archbishop of the Holy Roman Empire, and the Reformation was born.  Among Luther's complaints about the Catholic Church: the practice of granting indulgences in exchange for good works or acts of piety.  Although he didn't intend to cause a religious revolution, Luther  would become a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation, inspiring a schism in Christianity that resonates to this day. 


Mark Edwards -  Professor of the history of Christianity, he taught at several institutions, including, most recently, the Harvard Divinity School, where he retired in 2017. He is president emeritus of St. Olaf College, which was founded by Norwegian Lutheran immigrants in 1874. He has written several books on Martin Luther and the German Reformation, including Printing, Propaganda, and Martin Luther.   He is now at work on Academic Culture and Religion (Or Why Faculty Have Problems with Religion), which explores the development of academic culture in America and its conflicted relationship with religion, especially Christianity.

Stephen J. Reno - Former professor of comparative religion and chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire and current executive director of Leadership New Hampshire. He recently traveled through Germany, visiting towns significant in Martin Luther's life, a tour arranged by New Hampshire Public Television to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. He is also a member of the NHPR Board of Trustees. 

Martin Luther's 95 theses, also known as the Disputation on the Power of Indulgences

Credit 1517 Nuremberg printing of the Ninety-five Theses as a placard, now in the Berlin State Library


Take a quiz: Do you know what separates Protestants and Catholics? 

Does the Protestant Reformation still matter?  The author says the line between Catholics and Protestants gets blurred more and more each year. 

Still, differences remain and some have objected to Pope Francis's overtures to Protestants. 

The Reformation at 500: A review of two new books that explore Martin Luther's complex legacy.