Institute for Luther Studies

The Institute for Luther Studies serves the Seminary as the center that promotes in-depth study of Luther and interdisciplinary Reformation scholarship with inclusive, ecumenical, and global perspectives.

The Institute for Luther Studies serves the seminary, the church, and the academy by promoting thein-depth study of Luther and the Lutheran tradition from diverse modern, ecumenical, and global perspectives.  It advances scholarship and connects scholarship to ministry, responding to critical issues facing the church and the world today.  

The Institute for Luther Studies sponsors the annual Luther Colloquy, which has brought together distinguished scholars and church leaders annually since 1970.  Recent Colloquies have addressed “Lutheranism and Race,” “Theological Education in the Lutheran Tradition,” “Theology and Exegesis in African Contexts,” and “Luther and the Catholic Church.”  The 2021 Colloquy will focus on “Lutheran Spirituality.”

The most recent colloquy papers have been published in the journal Dialog, ensuring broad distribution among scholars and church leaders.  

The Institute also awards an annual Luther Studies award to a graduating student who has demonstrated exemplary interest in the study of Luther, Lutheran history, and Lutheran theology as well as the ability to use these historical-theological resources for effective ministry today.

Luther Colloquies and Presenters

2021 [upcoming]
Lutheran Spirituality

Vincent Evener — “The Passion and Spirituality in Sixteenth Century Lutheranism”
Jonathan Strom — “The Complex and Controversial Spirituality of Pietist Conversion Narratives”
Lisa Dahill — “Rewilding Life Together: Bonhoeffer, Spirituality, and Interspecies Community”
Carmelo Santos — “Decolonizing Emotions: Musings on a Lutheran Liberation Theology of the Brain”

2020
Lutheranism and Race
Presenters:
Anthony Bateza — “Bearing Witness Against Unbearable Whiteness: Lessons from Luther to Confronting Racism Today”
Linda E. Thomas – “A Womanist Perspective on Racial Justice”
Maria E. Erling – “American Lutherans Debate Slavery”

2019
Theological Education in the Lutheran Tradition
Presenters:
Timothy J. Wengert – “Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon on the Care and Feeding of Future Pastors”
Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe – “Catechism as Catalyst: Lutheran Education from German Reformation to American Revolution”
Kristopher Norris – “Public Ethics as Formation: Bonhoeffer’s Approach to Theological Education”
David A. Brondos – “Gemeinde Transformata Semper Transformanda Evangelio: Theological Education for What?”

2018
Theology and Exegesis in African Contexts

Presenters:
Madipoane Masenya — “Whose reading matters? The Bible and African (South African) Women”
Andrea Ng’weshemi — “Lutheran Churches in Africa: Vitality, Challenges, and Opportunities for the New Face of Lutheranism in the 21st Century”
Elieshi Ayo Mungure — “Churches in Transforming Mission: A Story of theLutheran Communion in Africa”
Deborah Lyanga — “Narrative Theology, Cultural Practices and the Lost Sheep:The Significance of the Church and Rethinking of the Mission in Tanzania”

2017
Luther and the Catholic Church
Presenters:
Wanda Deifelt
Derek Nelson — “Portraits of Luther by Friendly and Not-so-friendly Roman Catholic Authors”
Christopher M. Bellitto — Luther and Church Reform: A Catholic Perspective.”

2016
Facing Suffering: The search for meaning, consolation and strength

Presenters:
Austra Reinis– “The Lutheran Art of Dying in 16th Century Wittenberg”
Ronald K. Rittgers — “Luther’s Reformation of Suffering”
Leonard Hummel — “Clothed in Nothingness: Consolation for Suffering in Luther and the Confessions”

2015
Luther and Lutherans on the Holy Spirit
Presenters:
Karin Johannesson — “The Holy Spirit and Lutheran Spirituality in the 21st Century”
Nelson Rivera — “Spirit in the World: Cry and Comfort–A Lutheran Perspective”
Jennifer Hockenbery Dragseth — “Spirit and Letter, Gospel and Law: Augustine and Luther in Conversation”

2014
Reforming: From Conflict to Communion and Reconciliation
Presenters:
Eero Huovinen — “Martin Luther: A Common Teacher, Doctor Communis? The Ecumenical Significance of Martin Luther”
Susan Wood — “Is Baptism Complete or Part of a Larger Christian Initiation? A Dialogue with Lutheran Sacramental Theology”
Elina Vuola — “The Ecumenical Mother Mary and Her Significance for the Luther Tradition”
Christine Helmer — “Lutherans, Ecumenical Relations, and Doctrine”

2013
Reforming: Our Battles with Sex, War, and Demons of Violence
Presenters:
Volker Leppin — “Luther and the Devil”
Mickey Mattox — “Warrior Saints? Luther on Violence in the Patriarchal Narratives of Genesis”
Nelson Strobert — “Black Soldiers, Education, and the U.S. Civil War”
Briant Bohleke — “Fighting for the Union auf Deutsch: A Lutheran Immigrant’s Service in the 27th Connecticut Infantry”

2012
Luther and Lutherans on Marriage
Presenters:
John Witte, Jr. – “The Lutheran Reformation of Marriage and Family Law: An Enduring Contribution to the Western Legal Tradition”
Christopher Boyd Brown – “The Reformation of Marriage in Lutheran Wedding Preaching”

2011
Fifty Years After the Berlin Wall: Luther, Lutherans and Freedom in“Lutherland”
Presenters:
Claudia Bergman – “Rebuilding Lutheran ministry in the land of atheists: Lutherstadt Eisleben”
Scott A. Moore – “Lutherland as the end of modern pilgrimages: strengthening Lutheran identity”
Gunther Gassmann – “Lutherans and Catholics in the Homeland of the Reformation: From Bitter Battles to Common Witness and Celebration.”
Martin Treu – “Did Luther really nail his 95 theses? Myths and evidence from Wittenberg”
Martin Treu, Dirk Lange, Gunther Gassmann, Claudia Bergmann, Scott Moore, panel discussion – “The price of freedom: Issues of religious and academic freedom, and the Iron Curtain.”

2010
40 years of Luther Colloquy – Luther, Faith, and Prayer
Presenters:
Hans Hillerbrand – “Luther and Social Order”
Denis Janz – “To Hell (and Back) with Luther: The Dialectic of Anfechtung and Faith”
Mary Jane Haemig – “Luther and Prayer”
Eric Gritsch – Sermon

2009
Luther, Cranach and Calvin – Reformation Teams
Presenters:
Steven Ozement – “Cranach, Luther and the Reformation” and “Cranach’s Women and the Reformation’s Moral-Domestic Front”
Barbara Pitkin – “Calvin, Theology and History”

2008
Luther and Care for Souls
Presenters:
J. Paul Balas – “Pastoral Theology in Luther’s Tradition:
A Re-membering”
Philip Krey – “Luther and the Spiritual Life in Lutheran Tradition”
Peter Krey – “Luther’s In-Depth Theology and Theological Therapy”

2007
Luther and the Sacrament of the Table

Presenters:
Brian Gerrish – “Luther and the Reformed Eucharist: What Luther Said, or Might Have Said, About Calvin”
Kurt Hendel – “The Finite as a Vehicle of the Divine: Luther’s Defense of the Real Presence”

2006
Luther, war and violence
Presenters:
Stanley Hauerwas
Greg Miller – “Wars of Religion and Religion in Wars: Luther and the 16th Century Islamic Advance into Europe”
Joy Schroeder – “Dismembering the Adulteress: 16th Century Commentary on the Narrative of the Levite’s Concubine”

2005
Luther and the Theology of the Cross
Presenters:
Douglass John Hall – “The Theology of the Cross: A Usable Past”
Vitor Westhelle – “Usus Passionis: On the Use and Abuse of the Cross for Life”
Deanna Thompson – “On Becoming a Feminist Theologian of the Cross”

2004
Luther, Social Justice and Diakonia

Presenters:
Carter Lindberg – “Luther on Government Responsibility for the Poor”
Gerald Christianson – “Lutherans Face the Industrial Revolution: Awakening, Social Justice, and Diakonia”
Jeannine Olsen – “Calvin, Social Justice and Diakonia: a Comparative Perspective”

2003
Luther, Genesis and Gender
Presenters:
Kirsi Stjerna – “Grief, Grace, and Glory: Luther’s insights on Eve and Tamar in Genesis”
Jane Strohl – “Mother Knows Best: The Role of the Matriarchs in Luther’s Genesis Commentary”
Kristen Kvam – “Equality in Eden? Gender Dynamics and Luther’s Lectures on the Creation of Adam and Eve”

2002
New Ways to Understand Luther: Finnish and American Perspectives
Presenters:
Sammeli Juntunen
Risto Saarinen
David Tracy

2001
The Significance of Luther and the Lutheran Confessions Today
Presenters:
Birgit Stolt – “Joy, Love and Trust: Basic Ingredients in Martin Luther’s Theology of the Faith of the Heart”
Timothy Wengert – “The Rhetorical Key to the Lutheran Confessions for Faith and Life in Today’s Church”
Kirsi Stjerna – “The Unbearable Lightness of Teaching Luther and the Confessions”

2000
Episcopacy in Global Perspective
Presenters:
Gillian Evans
Martin Lind
Manas Buthelezi

1999
Justification: Lutherans and Roman Catholics in Dialogue
Presenters:
Margaret O’Gara – “An Exchange of Gifts”
Günther Gassman – “Justification: Much ado about its Right Understanding – But What About Its Pastoral and Ecclesiological Significance?”
Bruce Marshall
Frank Matera

1998
Luther and Spirituality
Presenters:
Simo Peura – “The Essence of Luther’s Spirituality”
H. Lawrence Bond  – “Bengt Hoffman’s Luther and the Mystics: A Retrospective”
Bernard McGinn
Scott Hendrix

1997
Philip Melanchthon
Presenters:
Timothy Wengert
Mary Havens
Walter Bouwman
Scott Hendrix

1996
Luther and Judaism
Presenters:
Heiko Oberman – “Luther and the Jews”
Michael Cook – “The Jewish Scholar and New Testament Images of Judaism”
Brooks Schramm – “The Christian Scholar and Images of Judaism: Christians and the Old Testament”
Maryanne Horowitz

1995
Luther, Bonhoeffer and public realm
Presenters:
Jane Bethke Elshtain – “Caesar, Sovereignty, and Bonhoeffer”
Robert Benne – “The Lutheran Tradition and Public Theology”
Wayne Whitson Floyd, Jr. – “These People I Have Loved Now Live: Bonhoeffer, Democracy and Public Theology”
Kay Dowhower

1994
Luther studies: Where do we go from here?
Presenters:
Bernard Lohse – “Luther and the Common Christian Heritage”
Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr. – “Luther Studies at Gettysburg: Recollections and Anticipations”
Scott Hendrix – “Beyond Erikson: The Relational Luther”

1993
Luther, Lincoln, Manifest Destiny
Presenters:
John Headley – “Luther and Manifest Destinies”
Gabor Boritt – “From Wittenberg to Gettysburg: Some Musings on Abraham Lincoln’s Responsibility for the Coming of the Civil War”
Jerald Brauer – “In God We Trust?”

1992
Luther, Faith and Human Sexuality
Presenters:
David Steinmetz – “Luther and Tamar”
Rick Carlson – New Testament Perspectives on Human Sexuality”
Karen Bloomquist – “How Adequate is the Category of ‘Natural’ for a Lutheran Sexual Ethic Today?”

1991
Luther and Global Christianity
Presenters:
Günther Gassman – “Luther, Lutherans and Global Christianity: A Dissonant Trio?”
Harding Meyer – “World Lutheranism: Movement – Communion – Church”
George Posfay – “The Whole Christian Church on Earth: Luther’s Conception of the Universality of the Church”

1990
Luther and Lutheranism in America
Presenters:
Harry Mc Sorley – “Use and Underuse of Luther in the Lutheran/Roman Catholic Dialogues in the United States”
Mark Noll – “Ethinic, American, or Lutheran? Dilemmas for a Historic Confession in the New World”
George A. Lindbeck – “Lutheranism as Church and Movement: Trends in America Since 1980”

1989
Luther, Town and Gown
Presenters:
Steven E. Ozment – “The Public Reformation”
Eric W. Gritsch – “Academia and Forum: Luther’s Reformation in Wittenberg”
Carl E. Braaten – “God in Public Life: A Rehabilitation of the Lutheran Idea of the ‘Orders of Creation’”

1988
Luther and the Devil
Presenters:
Heiko A. Oberman – “Luther and the Devil”
Mark U. Edwards, Jr. – “Luther and the Servants of Satan”
Robert W. Jenson – “The Evil as Person”

1987
Luther and Liberation Theology
Presenters:
George W. Forell – “Luther and Christian Liberty”
José D. Rodriguez – “Theology from the Underside of History: The Perspective ofLiberation Theology”
Scott W. Gustafson – “Some ‘Lutheranisms’ in Liberation Theology”

1986
Luther, Prayer and Pastoral Care
Presenters:
George Tavard – “Luther’s Teaching on Prayer”
Jane E. Strohl – “Luther and the Word of Consolation”
Herbert W. Stroup, Jr. – “Pastoral Theology: Reformation or Regression?”

1985
Luther, Music and Johann Sebastian Bach
Presenters:
Karlfried Froehlich – “Luther’s Hymns and Johann Sebastian Bach”
Almut Rössler – “The Problems of Church Music”
Almut Rössler – “The Protestant Bach and the Catholic Olivier Messiaen”

1984
Luther, Humanism and the Educated Pastor
Presenters:
Lewis W. Spitz – “Luther, Humanism and the Word”
James M. Kittelson – “Luther on Education for Ordination”
Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr. – “From Wittenberg to Gettysburg: A Proposal”

1983 InCommemoration of Luther’s 500th Birthday
Luther and the Christian Tradition
Presenters:
Otto H. Pesch – “Luther and the Catholic Tradition”
Bernhard Lohse – “Luther and the Protestant Tradition”
Eric W. and Ruth C. Gritsch – “Luther at Gettysburg: A Birthday Party Playlet”

1982
Luther, The Church and Christian Unity
Presenters:
Eric W. Gritsch – “The Orthodoxy of Conflict: Luther’s Ecumenism”
John J. Hotchkin – “Koinonia and Exclusivity”
Daniel F. Martensen – “Lutheranism and the Ecumenical Challenge”

1981
Luther and the Lord’s Supper
Presenters:
Robert W. Jenson – “Of Another Spirit”
John Reumann – “The Last and the Lord’s Supper”
Gerald Christianson – “With Hearts and Hands and Voices”

1980
Luther and the Augsburg Confession
Presenters:
George A. Lindbeck – “Article IV and Lutheran/Catholic Dialogue: The Limits of Diversity in the Understanding of Justification”
Carl J. Peter – “Justification and the Catholic Principle”
Robert W. Jenson – “Quod Supra Nos, Nihil ad Nos (What is Above Us is None of Our Business)”

1979 In Commemoration of the 450th Anniversary of Luther’s Catechisms, 1529-1979
Luther and Parish Education
Presenters:
Eric W. Gritsch – “Luther’s Catechisms of 1529: Whetstones of the Church”
W. Kent Gilbert – “Is Parish Education Possible?”
A. Roger Gobbel – “Catechetical Instruction: An Invitation to Thinking”

1978
Luther, Baptism and Christian Formation
Presenters:
Leif Grane – “Luther, Baptism, and Christian Formation”
Marilyn J. Harran – “Conversion and Transformation in Luther’s Early Theology”
Robert W. Jenson – “The Return to Baptism”

1977
Luther and the Authority of Scripture
Presenters:
David W. Lotz – “Luther on Biblical Authority”
Scott H. Hendrix – “The Authority of Scripture at Work: Exegesis of the Psalms”
Lawrence D. Folkemer – “Word and Witness: What Manner of Authority?”

1976
Luther, the Gospel and Human Freedom
Presenters:
Gerhard O. Forde – “Bound to be Free: Luther on the Gospel and Human Freedom”
Avery Dulles, S.J. – “The Meaning of Freedom in the Church”
Leigh O. Jordahl – “Samuel Simon Schmucker and American Lutheranism”

1975
Luther, Worship and Liturgical Renewal
Presenters:
Richard R. Caemmerer Sr. – “Luther and Worship”
Eugene L. Brand – “Lutheran Liturgical Renewal: The Pastoral Motif”
Robert W. Jenson – “Toward Reform of the Lutheran Liturgical Tradition”

1974
Luther and the Moral Question
Presenters:
George W. Forell – “Luther and Conscience”
Bengt R. Hoffman – “On the Relationship Between the Mystical Faith and Moral Life in Luther’s Thought”
Robert W. Jenson – “The Division of the Moral Person”
Herbert W. Stroup, Jr. – “And So to Close…”

1973
Luther and Ministry
Presenters:
Roland H. Bainton – “Luther: Pastor, Consoler, Preacher”
Eric W. Gritsch – “The Ministry in Luther’s Theological Perspective”
Herbert W. Stroup, Jr. – “Up One Hill and Down Another: A Pastoral Exercise in Pursuit of Luther”
Gerald Christianson – “A Reformation Inventory”

1972
Luther, the Old Testament, and the Task of Preaching
Presenters:
James S. Preus – “From Promise to Presence: The Christ in Luther’s OldTestament”
Jacob M. Myers – “Salvation and Its Consequences in the Old Testament”
Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr. – “How Preachers Should Regard Moses”
Lawrence D. Folkemer – “On Being Freed For”

1971
Luther in America
Presenters:
Jaroslav Pelikan – “Luther Comes to America”
Leigh D. Jordahl – “How Lutheran is American Lutheranism?”
Robert W. Jenson – “The Modernity of Lutheranism”
Eric W. Gritsch – “Reformation 1971 (John 8:31-36)

1970
Luther and Violence
Presenters:
Eric W. Gritsch – “Martin Luther and the Revolutionary Tradition of the West”
Rosemary Ruether – “The Reformer Versus the Radical: The Problematic of Social Change”
Robert W. Jenson – “Violence as a Mode of Language”
Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr. – “Reformation Sermon (Genesis 28:10-22)