The Reformation at 500: From Conflict to Communion

‌Course Description: On October 31, 2016, Pope Francis joined Lutheran Bishop Munid A. Younan, President of the Lutheran World Federation, in Lund, Sweden, for a joint commemoration of the Reformation. How did these two religious communities move from the intense conflict that marked 1517 to being able to commemorate together the Reformation? This course will begin by examining the religious, social and political environment of 1517 that provoked Martin Luther and others to raise the questions that caused what came to be known as the Protestant Reformation. It will look, from both Catholic and Lutheran perspectives, at what has happened in the Catholic and Lutheran worlds in the intervening 500 years. It will conclude by considering the current state of relationships between Catholics and Lutherans.

Course Information: Wednesdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m., starting Oct. 4, 2017, O'Shaughnessy Educational Center Auditorium, University of St. Thomas St. Paul Campus

Course Instructors:

  • Dr. Dirk Lange is a professor of worship and holds the Frederik A. Schiotz Chair of Christian Missions at Luther Seminary. He is a Lutheran Participant on International Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity.
  • Dr. Christian Washburn is an associate professor of dogmatic theology at the University of St. Thomas St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity. He is a Catholic Participant on International Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and on the Evangelical–Catholic Dialogue of the United States.
  • Both instructors were participants in the October 31st, 2016, joint ecumenical commemoration of the beginning of the Reformation with Pope Francis and the leaders of the Lutheran World Federation.

Fee for the series:  $60 per person (4 week series)

To register on-line with a credit card on our secure page, click on this link:

To print out a form to complete and then mail in with a check or cash payment, click on this link: ‌Printable Registration Form Fall 2017

Link to campus mapSt. Paul Campus Map

Recommended book:  From Conflict to Communion. ISBN: 978-0-8028-7377-4 (

Detailed Course Syllabus:

Oct. 4

The religious, social and political world of 1517. What was the context that provoked Luther and others? What was Luther's response to these issues? This session will explore these questions from both Catholic and Lutheran perspectives. (Drs. Lange and Washburn)

Oct. 11 

What has happend for Lutherans since 1517? Martin Luther died in 1546. Since then, the Lutheran movement has spread across the globe. (Dr. Lange)

Oct. 18

What has happened for Roman Catholics since 1517? For Catholics, the years since 1517 have seen, among other things, three ecumenical councils, Trent, Vatican One and Vatican Two and 49 popes. What have these changes meant for relationships between Catholics and Lutherans? (Dr. Washburn)

Oct. 25 

From the conflict of the 16th cetnury to shared worship in the 21st, this session will explore the current state of affairs between Lutherans and Catholics. (Drs. Lange and Washburn)