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The Reformation Begins: Martin Luther, Medieval Soil, and the Reformation Seed

Martin Luther, Medieval Soil, and the Reformation Seed is the first half of a two-part course on the Reformation era. Part 2 is NOT required to participate fully in this course, although it is suggested.

This course is for high school students who enjoy historical exploration and who are particularly interested in the intersection of history, culture, and theology. Following one of the mantras of the era itself, ad fontes or "back to the source_," s_tudents will go back to primary sources from the Reformation era. Hearing from the voices of the Reformers themselves, we will explore the social and theological reasons that sparked the Protestant Reformation. We will hear from one of the spearhead Reformers himself: Martin Luther. We will also listen to voices like Dante, Erasmus, and others, trying to understand the world that Luther inhabited. We will consider what was gained and what was lost throughout the changes of the Reformation. We will pay close attention to the theological and social legacy of the medieval world, the responses to new developments and to Martin Luther himself.

Students who are curious about the cause-and-effect nature of history and in the intersection of theology and everyday life will be served well by this course. Students will get a sense for the pastoral heart, passion, and difficulty of Martin Luther, the historical significance of his influence on Western civilization, and an appreciation for the work of God in the hearts of the men and women in the medieval and Reformation eras. The course may serve as a half credit in history, literature, religion, or philosophy.

Required Materials:
Books and supplies are not included in the purchase of the course.

  • Reformation: A History by Diarmaid MacCulloch

    • ISBN: 978-0143035381
  • A Simple Way to Pray by Martin Luther

    • ISBN: 978-0758640338
  • _Bondage of the Will _by Martin Luther
    • ISBN: 978-0801048937
  • A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton
  • Other works provided by the instructor, including The Freedom of the Christian by Luther, and select texts from Erasmus, Dante, and others.

Nathan Dickinson holds a M.Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently serves as a deacon at Christ the King Anglican Church in Beckley, West Virginia. He is a West Virginia native who has had approximately a decade of teaching experiences in local churches and missionary settings. He has taught the Bible in Kenya, Zambia, Myanmar, and Jamaica, and has taught English (among other things) to students in a Christian school setting. He loves helping students see the beauty of God in Holy Scripture and helping students learn to engage in meaningful dialogue.
His two boys (Barnabas, 5, and Martin, 3) keep his home life interesting and full of adventure! When he is not adventuring with his wife and boys, he is looking for a good cup of coffee, a good book, and a good conversation.

Quarter 1

  1. The Medieval Life
  2. The Medieval Church
  3. The Reformation: Modernist or Medieval?
  4. The Kindling Lit: John Hus and John Wycliffe

Quarter 2

  1. Martin Luther and the 95 Theses
  2. “Magisterial Reformers”
  3. Luther’s Struggle and Resolution
  4. Luther as Theologian and Pastor

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

Red checkmarkScanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.


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