About Dr. Matthew Phillips

My name is C. Matthew Phillips and I am Professor of History at Concordia University, Nebraska. I completed my Ph.D. in medieval European history at Saint Louis University in 2006. My research has focused on medieval monasticism, preaching, devotion to the True Cross, and the Crusades. Additionally, I have interests in medieval and early modern European education and the writings and life of Martin Luther.


At Concordia I teach World Civilization I, World Civilization II, Europe Since 1914, Early and Medieval Christianity, Renaissance and Reformation, The Medieval Crusades, The History of Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, and The Modern Middle East.

Philip Melanchthon’s Early Teaching on Justification

Philip Melanchthon published his first major theological work, Loci Communes (Theological Commonplaces) in 1521. At the age of 21, in 1518 Melanchthon had come to Wittenberg to teach Greek, but soon took on other teaching responsibilities.  He began to lecture on … Continue reading

Martin Luther’s Confession of the Gospel of Justification

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Martin Luther's Discovery of the Doctrine of Justification

In 1519, Luther published an edited copy of his lectures on Galatians.  This text represented his clearest exposition of the doctrine of justification.  His new colleague, Philip Melanchthon, edited the text and gave Luther the citations of the church fathers.[1] … Continue reading

Martin Luther’s Discovery of Justification by Faith Alone

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Martin Luther's Discovery of the Doctrine of Justification

An examination of Luther’s lectures on Romans in 1515-1516 reveals significant changes in his understanding of justification.  In these lectures, he began to emphasize the believer’s passive role as a recipient of God’s righteousness by grace.  Additionally, he explicitly rejected … Continue reading

Martin Luther’s Discovery: The Late Medieval Background

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Martin Luther's Discovery of the Doctrine of Justification

In 1545, Martin Luther wrote the preface for the publication of his complete works in Latin.  Therein he included a biographical statement that included his recollection of how he rediscovered the doctrine of justification by faith alone.  He wrote: At … Continue reading

Striving for Heavenly Things: An Example of Luther’s Preaching on Sanctification

In a previous post, I described how Dr. Luther recognized St. Paul’s pattern of teaching good works and virtues after the preaching of the Gospel (Christians Teach Morals). Most often he connected the good works that result from faith with … Continue reading

A Sermon on the Two Kinds of Righteousness

Our observation of the 500th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther’s publication of the Ninety-Five Theses took place a few months ago.  However, this event only initiated the Lutheran Reformation.  Luther’s rediscovery of the Gospel resulted from his study (and teaching … Continue reading