The World without the Reformation Essay Competition, 2017

How is your imagination?

Five hundred years ago a brash young theologian, Martin Luther, challenged the Western church of his time by posting ninety-five theses on the door of a church in Wittenberg. Deeply disturbed by the church’s sale of indulgences and troubled in his heart by his desire for personal relationship with God without human intervention, his thoughts echoed throughout Europe, eventually spurring what is known as the Protestant Reformation. The political, social and religious upheavals from his quest changed Europe and the world forever.

But what would have happened if Luther had been hit and killed by a horse cart on the way to the famous door? What would be different?

Your challenge is to imagine the shape of world history without the Reformation. How could society and religion been different without Luther’s contribution? Through this exploration we can perhaps see more clearly the lasting legacy of Luther and the Reformation.

The rules

  1. The competition is open to anyone born January 1st 1998 or later. (In particular, you do not need to be Danish or affiliated with our church or any other church.)
  2. The contest has two categories:
  3. Your essay must be written in English.
  4. Your essay must be 3000–5000 words in you are a Junior, 6000–10000 words if you are a Senior.
  5. Your essay must include references cited from academic sources. Any academically acceptable referencing style may be used.
  6. Your essay will be judged upon originality, clarity of thesis and the coherence of your alternate history. The essay should include a concluding statement of the main contributions of Luther and the Re-formation emerging from your imaginative reconstruction.
  7. Submit your essay as a pdf file. (If this is somehow not possible for you, please contact us.)
  8. The deadline for submission of your essay is August 1st, 2017.
  9. Send your essay and a scan of the signed Entry Form to .
  10. Your essay may only be submitted once. Further submissions with revisions will not be accepted.
  11. Each contestant may submit only one essay.
  12. By submitting an essay, you grant The Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver, B.C., the perpetual, non-exclusive right to publish your essay (with attribution) in whole or in part in any way we see fit. In particular, your essay and/or your name and/or your photograph may be displayed on our web site.
  13. In the Senior Category the first prize is $1000 and the second prize is $500. In the Junior Category the first prize is $600 and the second prize is $300.
  14. The essays will be judged by representatives of The Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver, B.C., and of the B.C. Synod of the ELCIC.
Luther’s rose emblem