Events that took place hundreds of years ago still shape our world today. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute has a special series on the Christian church Reformation starting this week.

2017 marks the 500th year since Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church in Germany. Dr. Nathan Hitchcock who is a professor of Church History at Sioux Falls Seminary says Luther was just the beginning of multiple religious movements.

“Just a few years later, you have the beginning of the Reformed Reformation in Switzerland, France and elsewhere. Then there was the Radical Reformation which eventually generated groups like the Mennonites. England gets in on the action in the 1530’s which became the Anglican Reformation. So four different Reformations just among the Protestants and a Catholic Reformation.”

With centuries of perspective, Hitchcock feels many concepts started by the Reformation movements spread beyond the religious community.

“You have Martin Luther, Martin Bucer and all sorts of guys 500 years ago and what they ignited was not just a change within the western and Christian church. They actually had all of these new ideas about human freedom and human dignity which really got in the ground water. Imagine 500 years from now where that goes.”

Three sessions will cover the Lutheran and Catholic perspectives plus its relevance to modern times on successive Tuesdays in March. You can learn more here.

The Reformation series is a joint partnership between OLLI and the Sioux Falls Ministerial Association.

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