Well last night we finally watched the film “Luther,” which I’ve been meaning to watch since it briefly passed through theatres last November (’03). As the title suggests, it’s the story of Martin Luther, the great reformer who kicked off the Protestant Reformation when he posted his 95 theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg on November 1, 1517 (I think that’s the correct year). Luther certainly was used by God to change the world in many significant ways.
I don’t think that this was an overtly Christian film (though I don’t know for certain), but it certainly is profitable for Christians. It was, as I understand the life of Luther, quite accurate in its portrayal of events. The film even gets into Luther’s stand on salvation by faith in God’s mercy rather than through ritualistic and superstitious practices such as the buying of indulgences.
The cast is first-rate, led by Joseph Fiennes and Sir Peter Ustinov. The film is certainly of a higher quality (by far) than what one finds in typical “Christian” films. That said, it certainly didn’t deserve any Oscars or anything, and the ending seemed particularly abrupt. I wish the DVD had included deleted scenes to help fill in some of the gaps. The one scene missing from the film would be a scene describing the conversion of Luther based on his study of Romans 1 (specifically, verse 17). The other pivotal moments are there – most notably the posting of the 95 theses in response to John Tetzel and the great confrontation at Worms where Luther, rather than recant under great duress, boldly takes his stand on Scripture alone, concluding, “Here I stand. I can do no other.” They did a marvelous job of creating the look and feel of 16th century Germany, and the acting, as I mentioned above, is quite good. Fiennes’ Luther portrays both his great faith and yet a very human struggle with self-doubt.
All and all, we’ll probably buy it and I certainly commend it to you to see sometime.