Semper Reformanda Conference to commemorate 500 years since the Reformation

By: Anna Adamyk

On Tuesday, Oct. 10, Sterling College’s Theology Department plans to provide students, faculty and the Sterling community with an event to remember the Protestant Reformation. “We want… a place for students and faculty and people in town to think through the significance of the Reformation,” Assistant Professor of Theology and Ministry, Dr. Glenn Butner, explained.

Quick Reformation History: Oct. 31, 1517, is marked as the day Martin Luther allegedly nailed the “95 Theses” to the Castle Church doors in Wittenberg, Germany. Most historians acknowledge this as the beginning of the Reformation which later led to the separation of the Catholic Church. New branches of churches were formed, resulting in all the branches of Christianity today (

The evening at Sterling College will include three speakers covering various topics. Each speaker had broad guidelines on their speaking topics and chose to speak about things they know well already or things they wanted to learn more about.

Hank Lederle
Dr. Henry Lederle

The guest speaker, Henry Lederle, previously taught at Sterling College in the theology department. Lederle grew up in South Africa and eventually began working on his doctorate at a well-acclaimed theological school, the University of Tübingen in Germany, later finishing his doctorate back in South Africa.

Lederle’s speech is titled “Celebrating the Reformation by Continuing the Task.” Lederle has written many books on the Holy Spirit and has a reformed charismatic outlook on Christianity, which means “he affirms the active manifestation of spiritual gifts today,” Butner explained.

Glenn Butner
Dr. Glenn Butner

Butner will also be speaking on a topic frequently debated church groups, predestination. Butner’s speech is titled “Predestination and ‘Calvinism:’ Myth and Reality in Reformation and Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics.”


Tim Gabrielson - Assistant Professor Theology & Ministry - Sterling College
Dr. Timothy Gabrielson

The third speaker is Dr. Timothy Gabrielson, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Sterling College. His speech is titled “A Legacy in Dispute: The Paul of the Reformation and of Recent New Testament Scholarship.”

“It’s three very different perspectives on what the reformation is about,” Butner said. “Many of us, sometimes myself included, we don’t emphasize faith, grace, Christ, and scriptures enough. Maybe we can spark some type of… continuing reformation where we come back to those things.”

The event is being called Semper Reformanda, which is Latin for “always being reformed.” Butner clarified the significance of the event’s name, “It’s ideal for the reformation because it’s not just one event that happened… the church needs to continually be reforming itself and returning to its biblical roots. And making sure that it’s not deviating from the center scriptural truths.”

The Theology Department at Sterling College hopes this event kicks off a strong beginning to annual fall conferences held by the theology department.

The department sent invitations into the community of Sterling, as well as to other churches and schools in the region. The event begins at 6 p.m. on Oct. 10, 2017, in Heritage Hall in the Cooper Hall building.

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