Looking Back – Looking Forward:

Reading the Reformation through the Lens of Contemporary Christianity


The 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses provided the opportunity to reflect on the history of the Reformation. The first year after this quincentenary may serve as an invitation to consider also what lies ahead. The Reformation was intended to remove corruption within the church and to right what had gone wrong. Few, if any, would suggest that this effort can ever be carried out completely and the Reformation should perhaps be seen not as an event, but rather as a process. A phrase sometimes attributed to Augustine of Hippo but popularized by Karl Barth that captures this idea is Ecclesia semper reformanda – “the Church is always to be reformed.” This exhibition will present books and documents from the Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection to shed light on the original context of the Reformation and to invite discussion on how these documents can inform the issues and concerns of today. The selection of the materials was governed in part by the “Future Directions” initiative of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and by the “Four Areas of Ministry Focus” outlines by the United Methodist Church.

Exhibition catalog: Read Online | Download PDF