Lecture Recommendation: How Martin Luther Transformed Marriage and Family Life by Mardi Keyes

Each term we enjoy “diving deeply” into a specific topic during a weekend seminar.  This past fall, we hosted the seminar, “500 Years Later: The Reformation and its Lasting Impact.”  See descriptions of all three lectures here (scroll down the page to Autumn 2017), and read on for Mardi’s summary of her lecture on Martin Luther.  During our Winter 2018 term, we will host the seminar, “To Live in Peace in a World with Conflict,” with three lectures from Dick Keyes.  More details on that to come!

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Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther posted 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church, protesting widespread Church corruption and abuse. The Protestant Reformation which he birthed recovered the Bible’s teaching that salvation is available by grace, through faith, to anyone who repents and believes in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.  Christian and non-Christian scholars also credit Luther with a critical turning point in the significance and value of the individual in Western culture. His belief that every person is an Image of God made him remarkably egalitarian for his time.   

Fewer people are aware of Luther’s impact on marriage and family life.  A host of scholars trace the celebration of married love and companionship to the 16th Century Protestant Reformation, and particularly to the writings and surprising marriage of Martin Luther to the runaway nun, Katherina von Bora.

As states and provinces converted to Protestantism, one of the most contentious debates between Protestants and Catholics was over the role and value of marriage. The Medieval Church exalted celibacy and condemned clerical marriage.  Marriage was a “necessary evil”, procreation was the only legitimate purpose for sex, and enjoyment of sexual relations was denounced as sinful.  In contrast, Luther argued from Scripture and Creation that marriage is a “glorious estate” and family life (in contrast to a monastery) was the surest context for growth in Christian character and holiness. He recommended marriage to priests and layman alike, but had no intention himself of marrying, as he expected to be burned at the stake as a heretic.  Find out what changed Luther’s mind!  His marriage was a dramatic form of iconoclasm directed against the ‘false saintliness’ of the ascetic of God, who forsakes all things ‘worldly’.  For Luther, ‘to be ‘saintly’ meant to be near his ‘dear housewife’ and ‘to be (her) lover now’.”  It meant “God allows us to laugh and embrace our wives, whether naked or clothed!”

Click here to listen to Mardi’s lecture.



Save the Date – “Fear Not”: Living Hope In An Atmosphere of Crisis

All of us here at Southborough L’Abri invite you to join us for our Winter Seminar:

“Fear Not”: Living Hope In An Atmosphere of Crisis

March 11-12, 2016
49 Lynbrook Road, Southborough, MA

Over the course of one Saturday (in conjunction with our Friday night lecture), we’ll engage together on the theme through lectures, discussions, workshops, and over a meal.

All are welcome, so please spread the word and feel free to invite friends.

Mark your calendars now…Full schedule and more information coming in the new year!


As anyone who has been to L’Abri knows, this place can be a hard thing to describe. L’Abri is many things, but at our heart we are a community of people who desire to extend hospitality to those who seek it. What is hospitality exactly, and how can all of us incorporate it more into our families, churches, and communities? If you have ever pondered any of those questions, then come join us on October 24, when we will be hosting a day-long seminar: “Hospitality: A Key to Community”. Feel free to invite friends and come join us for a day of lectures, workshops, discussion, and, of course, food! We look forward to seeing you there!  Here is a rundown of what you can expect:

Hospitality: A Key to Community

October 23-24, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015
8:00 pm: Lecture 1: “Hospitality – God’s Mandate for All Christians”
Mardi Keyes

Saturday, October 24, 2015
9:00am: Arrival and Welcome

9:30: Lecture 2:  “Image-Bearers of a Hospitable God”
Ben Keyes

10:45: Tea Break

11:15: Workshop: “Table Talk”
Sarah Chestnut

12:15: Lunch (provided at L’Abri)

1:30: Lecture 3: “But I Can’t Cook!”: Practical Hospitality for Everyone
Mary Frances Giles

2:45: Tea Break

3:15: Roundtable Discussion (Moderated by Sue Morrell)

4:30: Close

The Saturday portion of this seminar is being given in conjunction with our lecture on Friday evening, October 23. Attendance both days is not required.
The seminar is free, although there is a suggested donation of $5.00 to offset the cost of lunch on Saturday.

If you would like to join us for the day on Saturday, please email us your reservation ahead of time to southborough@labri.org.

Limited overnight accommodations are available at L’Abri on Friday, October 23 on a first-come, first-served basis for an additional cost ($28/person), and must be booked in advance.