The X Factor in the Reformation


reformation CMS


12 October, 2017

What was the X factor that gave Martin Luther an edge in changing the most powerful organisation in 16th century Europe?

If Pope Leo X had engaged with the young monk’s protestations instead of dismissing them, would there have been any need to split the church in two?

Luther’s excommunication destroyed the possibility of dialogue between opposing factions in his time, but today how well do churches handle diversity and difference within the fold, while staying true to their central beliefs?

A panel of distinguished guests will debate the X factors in the Reformation, and discuss the intentions and consequences of one of the world’s major religious reformations. The forum will be hosted by Rachael Kohn and recorded for ABC Radio National’s The Spirit of Things.


Rachael Kohn

Dr Rachael Kohn is the creator, producer and presenter of The Spirit of Things for 20 years, other programs including The Ark and Encounter, and programs for ABC TV’s Compass, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and Buddhism East and West. Rachael was previously an academic in Religious Studies and Semitic Studies at the University of Sydney, with a speciality in new religious movements. She was the editor of The Australian Journal of Jewish Studies, and has authored The New Believers: Reimagining God (2004) and Curious Obsessions in the History of Science and Spirituality (2007).


Carole M Cusack

Professor Carole M Cusack is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Sydney. She trained as a medievalist and now researches contemporary religious trends. Her books include (with Katharine Buljan) Anime, Religion and Spirituality: Profane and Sacred Worlds in Contemporary Japan (2015), and Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith (2010).

Reverend Dr Michael Jensen

Reverend Dr Michael Jensen is a theologian and author and is the Rector of St Mark’s Anglican Church, Darling Point, Sydney. Michael has written several books, including Is Forgiveness Really Free? and My God, My God – Is it possible to believe anymore? He taught theology at Sydney's Moore Theological College for 10 years, continues to lecture around Australia and overseas, and appears on ABC's The Drum.

The Hon Kristina Keneally

The Hon Kristina Keneally served as the 42nd Premier of New South Wales from 2009-2011, and is the first woman to hold the office. Kristina is an Anchor at Sky News Australia, where she co-hosts the daily lunchtime show To the Point. Kristina holds an Adjunct Professorship at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management and is the Director of Gender Inclusion at MGSM.

Reverend Dr Mark Worthing

Reverend Dr Mark Worthing is an ordained pastor of the Lutheran Church of Australia. He holds a DPhil in the history and philosophy of science from the University of Regensburg, Germany, and a Dr. Theol. from the University of Munich. He is the author of Graeme Clark. The Man Who Invented the Bionic Ear (2015), and Martin Luther. A Wild Boar in the Lord’s Vineyard (2017).