Reclaiming the social-economic dimension of the Reformation 

Large, multinational corporations controlling prices and driving down wages, masses of people too poor to afford basic goods, an economy that favors the wealthy, politicians and church leaders at the mercy of banks….1517 was quite a year.  So much has changed, so much remains the same.

Many people remember Martin Luther’s sharp critique of the abusive practices of the church, but few of us are as familiar with Luther’s equally sharp critique of the abusive economy of his day, an economy that made a few people wealthy and a lot of people poor.

At the 2015 Forgotten Luther conference in Washington, D.C., theologians and historians shared this little-known side of Luther’s teachings.  The presenters described Luther’s critique of monopolies, price gouging, and greed. They showed the clear economic teachings in Luther’s Catechisms and the political side of his theology. They also shared Luther’s insistence that the church be part of the solution to injustice, a heritage that can still be seen today in the many ways Lutherans respond to poverty and hunger 500 years later.

This study is geared to the lay people within every congregation who are committed to the mission of the church. It assumes not only that they are prepared to follow Christ’s call to love the neighbor, but also that they are willing to give tangible expression to that calling through use of their talents, experiences, and knowledge. Congregations are filled with people who are economics savvy and prepared to use their knowledge in addressing the complex causes of the present income disparity.

ELCA World Hunger is proud to offer videos of each presentation from this important conference, as well as video interviews with each of the presenters.