“Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World” – Additional Resources
Last night was the St. Louis premiere of a new movie, “Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World.” The film is a documentary about the person, teachings, and impact of Martin Luther.
Martin Luther remains one of the most important and influential people in the western world. The year 2017 will see both scholarship and popular media reflect and comment on Martin Luther and his legacy—sometimes negatively. His reform of the church, his translation of the Bible, and his reshaping of Christian life changed the religious, social, and political face of Europe. These reverberations are still felt today—even here in far-away America, where Christianity and even the nation itself would look very different were it not for Martin Luther.
But who was Martin Luther? What was his world like? And, most importantly, what is the significance of his message today? Trying to imagine this 500 years later is not easy; trying to visualize and verbalize it through film is both an opportunity and a challenge. In this film, in addition to accurately representing historical details like clothing, architecture, sounds, and attitudes, the most important work is to communicate Luther’s ideas to a modern audience. Technical vocabulary of “justification,” “gospel,” or even “sin” can be misleading or confusing not only to life-long Lutherans but especially to those who are not connected to a congregation. How do we connect the world-changing message of the Gospel—and Luther’s insight into that Gospel—with secular viewers whose only brush with theology is their belief that “I am a good person”? Perhaps this is where Luther surprises the most—being a “good person” is not what Christianity is all about—it is all about Jesus Christ! It is about his love that lays down his own life for God’s enemies—that is, even you and me. It is about receiving “the good life” even in the midst of despair and uncertainty and suffering and death. It is a message that God is not like us: he does not look for us to be beautiful and then love us. No, God in Christ does the opposite. He makes us pleasing to himself, in Christ, and loves us as his new creation. Purely out of fatherly, divine, goodness and mercy. Now that is worth remembering—and sharing—even 500 years later! (That, BTW, is from Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation (1518), thesis 28: “The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it.”)
The faculty of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis was heavily involved in the filing: Dr. Erik Herrmann, who was on set in Europe for all three weeks of production as historical adviser, Dr. Gerhard H. Bode Jr., Dr. Paul W. Robinson, and Dr. Robert A. Kolb all appear in the film to give context to Luther’s story. And yes, Concordia Seminary has that many professors (and more) who are experts on Martin Luther.
The movie can be screened locally; if your congregation is interested in showing the film, this page will help you do that.
One movie cannot capture all of Luther’s legacy. Here are some additional resources produced by the Seminary faculty on Luther. Happy reading!
By Gerhard Bode
“The Lutheran Reformation and the North American Inheritance,” Journal of Lutheran Mission, vol. 2, no. 4 (September, 2015), 76–79.
“Preaching Luther’s Small Catechism: Paul Eber’s Catechismuspredigten (1562),” in Paul Eber (1511–1569): Humanist und Theologe der zweiten Generation der Wittenberger Reformation. Edited by Daniel Gehrt and Volker Leppin, Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2014, 401–23.
“The Instruction of the Christian Faith by Lutherans after Luther,” in Lutheran Ecclesiastical Culture, 1550–1675. Edited by Robert Kolb. Leiden: Brill, 2008, 159–204.
“Luther and Lessons of God’s History,” The Servant, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Church Militant 2008), 3.
“Leonhart Hütter’s Compendium Locorum Theologicorum: A classic of Lutheran theology and its translation into English (Henry Eyster Jacobs and George Frederick Spieker),” Epilogue to Leonhart Hütter, Compendium Locorum Theologicorum ex Sacris et Libro Concordiae Lateinisch—deutsch—englisch. Herausgeben von Johann Anselm Steiger. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog, 2004, Teilband 2, 1123–1143.
Editor of Several Translations of Martin Luther’s Works for Concordia Publishing House’s Extension of the American Edition of Luther’s Works (forthcoming)
Several Translations of Martin Luther’s Works for Concordia Publishing House’s Extension of the American Edition of Luther’s Works (forthcoming)
By Robert Kolb
with Carl R. Trueman, Between Wittenberg and Geneva. Lutheran and Reformed Theology in Conversation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017).
Martin Luther and the Enduring Word of God. The Wittenberg School and its Scripture-Centered Proclamation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016).
The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology, co-edited with Irene Dingel and Lubomir Batka (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).
Luther and the Stories of God, Biblical Narratives as a Foundation for Christian Living (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012).
with Charles P. Arand and James A. Nestingen, The Lutheran Confessions, History and Theology of the Book of Concord (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2012).
with Irene Dingel, Nicole Kuropka, and Timothy J. Wengert, Philip Melanchthon. Theologian in Classroom, Confession, and Controversy (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012).
Martin Luther, Confessor of the Faith (Christian Theology in Context series; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
Charles P. Arand, The Genius of Luther’s Theology. A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008).
Luther’s Way of Thinking. Introductory Essays (Trivandrum: Luther Academy India, 2006).
Bound Choice, Election, and Wittenberg Theological Method From Martin Luther to the Formula of Concord (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005).
Martin Luther as Prophet, Teacher, and Hero. Images of the Reformer, 1520-1620 (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999).
Luther’s Heirs Define His Legacy, Studies on Lutheran Confessionalization (Aldershot, Hampshire: Variorum, 1996).
Teaching God’s Children His Teaching, a Guide to the Study of Luther’s Catechism (Hutchinson, MN: Crown Publishing, 1992; second edition, Saint Louis: Concordia Seminary Press, 2012; India edition, 2005; Latvian translation, 2009).
Confessing the Faith, Reformers Define the Church, 1530-1580 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1991).
“The Lutheran Confessions: A Genre to Define the Church,” in Martin Luther and the Reformation. Essays, Catalog of the United States Exhibit of the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeologz Saxony-Anhalt et a;/ (Dresden: Sandstein, 2016), 350-358.
“Martin Luther,” in T & T Clark Companion to the Doctrine of Sin, ed. Keith L. Johnson and David Lauber (London: Bloomsbury, 2016), 217-233.
“The Enduring Word of God, in Wittenberg,” Lutheran Quarterly 30 (2016): 193-204.
“The Bible in the Reformation and Protestant Orthodoxy,” in The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures, ed. Donald A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016), 89-114.
“Nowhere More Present and Active than in the Holy Letters: Luther’s Understanding of God’s Presence in Scripture,” Lutheran Theological Journal 49 (2015): 4-17.
“God’s Word Produces Faith and Fruit. Reflections from Luther’s Understanding of the Sermon on the Mount,” Concordia Journal 40 (2014): 217-224.
“The Lutheran Doctrine of Original Sin,” in Hans Madueme and Michael Reeves, ed., Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014), 109-127.
“The ‘Three Kingdoms’ of Simon Musaeus. A Wittenberg Student Processes Luther’s Thought/Terminology,” in Collaboration, Conflict, and Continuity in the Reformation. Essays in Honour of James M. Estes on his Eightieth Birthday, ed. Konrad Eisenbichler (Essays and Studies, 34. Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2014), 297-321.
“The printer’s funeral sermon: recalling the contributions of the printer in the Wittenberg Reformation,” in Studies on the German book presented to Ulrich Kopp in his retirement, ed. William A. Kelley and Jürgen Beyer (Tartu: University of Tartu Press, 2014), 191-205.
“Pastoral Education in the Wittenberg Way,” in Church and School in Early Modern Protestantism. Studies in Honor of Richard A. Muller on the Maturation of a Theological Tradition, ed. Jordan J. Ballor, David S.Sytsma, and Jason Zuidema (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 67-79.
“The Prophet of the German Nation and Other Saint-Sinner Martyrs among the Lutheran Stars,” in: Calvin and Luther: The Continuing Relationship, ed. R. Ward Holder (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013), 121-142.
“Did Luther’s Students Hide the Hidden God? Deus Absconditus among Luther’s First Followers,” in Churrasco. A Theological Feast in Honor of Vitor Westhelle, ed. Mary Philip, John Arthur Nunes, and Charles M. Collier (Eugene: Pickwick, 2013), 1-16.
“Called to Milk Cows and Govern Kingdoms. Martin Luther’s Teaching on the Christian’s Vocations,” Concordia Journal 39 (2013): 133-141.
“The Critique of Melanchthon’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper by his ‘Gnesio-Lutheran’ Students,” in Irene Dingel, Robert Kolb, Nicole Kuropka, and Timothy J. Wengert, Philip Melanchthon. Theologian in Classroom, Confession, and Controversy (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012), 236-262.
“Recultivation of the Vineyard in Sixteenth Century Lutheran Exegesis and Preaching,” in: The Reformation as Christianization. Essays on Scott Hendrix’s Christianization Thesis, ed. Anna Marie Johnson and John A. Maxfield (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012), 305-319.
“Preaching the People of Christ’s Passion. Luther’s Depiction of the Characters of John 18-19,” Lutheran Forum 46/4 (2012), 38-41.
“Resurrection and Justification. Luther’s Use of Romans 4,25,” Lutherjahrbuch 78 (2011), 39-60.
“The Lutheran Theology of Baptism,” in Baptism: Historical, Theological and Pastoral Perspectives (Eugene: Pickwick, 2011), 53-75.
“Luther’s Theology of the Cross Fifteen Years after Heidelberg: Luther’s Lectures on the Psalms of Ascent, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 61 (2010): 69-85.
“The Relationship between Scripture and the Confession of the Faith in Luther’s Thought,” in Kirkens bekjennelse I historisk og aktuelt perspektiv. Festskrift til Kjell Olav Sannes, ed. Torleiv Austad, Tormad Engelviksen, and Lars Østnor (Trondheim Tapir Akademisk Forlag, 2010), 53-62.
“Luther’s Recollections of Erfurt. The Use of Anecdotes for the Edification of His Hearers,” Luther-Bulletin, Tijdschrift voor interconfessioneel Lutheronderzoek 10 (2010), 6-16.
“The Sheep and the Voice of the Shepherd. The Ecclesiology of the Lutheran Confessions” Concordia Journal 36,4 (2010), 324- 341.
“David: King, Prophet, Repentant Sinner. Martin Luther’s Image of the Son of Jesse,” Perichoresis 8 (2010): 203-232.
“Models of the Christian Life in Luther’s Genesis Sermons and Lectures,” Lutherjahrbuch 76 (2009): 293-320.
“Confessing the Faith, the Wittenberg Way of Life,” Tidsskrift for Teologi og Kirke 80 (2009): 247-265.
“Luther on Peasants and Princes,” Lutheran Quarterly 23 (2009): 125-146, a revision of “Luther and the Peasants,” in English and Korean, in Ru-tu yun-ku [Luther Study] (2009).
“Luther’s and Melanchthon’s Students: The Wittenberg Circle and the Development of its Theology to 1600,” Religion Compass 3 (2009): 471-487.
“Seelsorge for the Cranachs,” Lutheran Forum (Spring 2009): 34-37.  with Mary Jane Haemig, “Preaching in Lutheran Pulpits in the Age of Confessionalization,” in Lutheran Ecclesiastical Culture, 1550-1675, ed. Robert Kolb (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 117-157.
“‘Life is King and Lord over Death’: Martin Luther’s View of Death and Dying,” in: Tod und Jenseits in der Schriftkultur der Frühen Neuzeit, eds. Marion Kobelt Groch and Cornelia Niekus Moore, (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2008), 23-45.
“‘This is My Customary Procedure,’ Says God: Martin Luther’s Use of Dialogue and Monologue in his Lectures and Sermons,” in Teach These Things. Essays in Honor of Wallace Schulz, ed. Erik Rottmann (Versailles, MO: Wild Boar Books, 2008), 25-40.
“Forgiveness Liberates and Restores: The Freedom of the Christian according to Martin Luther,” Word & World 27 (2007): 5-13.
“God and His Human Creatures in Luther’s Sermons on Genesis: The Reformer’s Early Use of His Distinction of Two Kinds of Righteousness,” Concordia Journal 33 (2007):166-184.
“’The Noblest Skill in the Christian Church’: Luther’s Sermons on the Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel,” Concordia Theological Quarterly 71 (2007): 301-318.
“Here We Stand: Confessing the Faith in Luther’s Footsteps from Worms to Smalcald,” Concordia Journal 32 (2006): 175-188.
“From Hymn to History of Dogma. Lutheran Martyrology in the Reformation Era,” in More than a Memory. The Discourse of Martyrdom and the Construction of Christian Identity in the History of Christianity, ed. Johan Leemans (Louvain: Peeters, 2005), 301-313.
“Martin Luther and the German Nation,” in A Companion to the Reformation World, ed. R. Po-chia Hsia (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), 39-55.
“Luther’s function in an age of confessionalization,” in The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther, ed. Donald K. McKim (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 209-226.
“The Plan Behind the Promise: Luther’s Proclamation of Predestination, ” Reformation & Revival 12,2 (2003): 41-52.
“Christ’s Descent into Hell as Christological Locus. Luther’s „Torgau Sermon“ As Confessional Instrument in the Late Reformation,” Lutherjahrbuch 69 (2002): 101-118.
“Luther on the Theology of the Cross,” Lutheran Quarterly 16 (2002): 443-466.
“Reality Rests on the Word of the Lord: Martin Luther’s Understanding of God’s Word, ” Reformation & Revival 9,4 (2000): 47–63.
“Luther on the Two Kinds of Righteousness. Reflections on His Two-Dimensional Definition of Humanity at the Heart of His Theology,” Lutheran Quarterly 13 (1999): 449-466, and Harvesting Martin Luther’s Reflections on Theology, Ethics, and the Church, ed. Timothy J. Wengert (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 38-55.
“‘What Benefit Does the Soul Receive from a Handful of Water?’ Luther’s Preaching on Baptism, 1528-1539,” Concordia Journal 25 (1999), 346-363.
“Martin Luther: The Man and his Mind, ” Reformation & Revival 8,1 (1999): 11-33.
“Niebuhr’s ‘Christ and Culture in Paradox’ Revisited,” Lutheran Quarterly 10 (1996): 259-279.
“God’s Gift of Martyrdom: The Early Reformation Understanding of Dying for the Faith,” Church History 64 (1995): 399-411.
“‘That I May Be His Own’: The Anthropology of Luther’s Explanation of the Creed,” Concordia Journal 21 (1995): 28-41.
“The Influence of Luther’s Galatians Commentary of 1535 on Later Sixteenth-Century Lutheran Commentaries on Galatians,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 84 (1993): 156-184.
“‘Not Without the Satisfaction of God’s Righteousness,’ The Atonement and the Generation Gap between Luther and His Students,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte: Sonderband: Die Reformation in Deutschland und Europa, Interpretation und Debatten, ed. Hans R. Guggisberg und Gottfried G. Krodel (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1993), 136-156.
“‘Saint John Hus’ and ‘Jerome Savonarola, Confessor of God,’ The Lutheran ‘Canonization’ of Late Medieval Martyrs,” Concordia Journal 17 (1991): 404-418.
“Sixteenth-Century Lutheran Commentary on Genesis and the Genesis Commentary of Martin Luther,” in Théorie et pratique de l’exégèse, Actes du troisième colloque international sur l’histoire de l’exégèse biblique au XVIe siècle, ed. Irena Backus and Francis Higman (Geneva: Droz, 1990), 243-258.
“Ministry in Martin Luther and the Lutheran Confessions,” in Called & Ordained, Lutheran Perspectives on the Office of the Ministry, eds. Todd Nichol and Marc Kolden (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990), 49-66.
“Luther’s Smalcald Articles: Agenda for Testimony and Confession,” Concordia Journal 14 (1988): 115-137.
“Singing the Lord’s Song in a New Land, Luther’s Influence on C. F. W. Walther’s The Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel,” The Lutheran Synod Quarterly XXVIII (1988): 1-36.
“C. F. W. Walther, Interpreter of Luther on the American Frontier,” The Lutheran Quarterly N.S., I (1987): 469-485.
“Luther, Augsburg, and the Concept of Authority in the Late Reformation, Ursinus vs. the Lutherans,” in Controversy and Conciliation, the Reformation and the Palatinate, 1559-1583, ed. Derk Visser (Allison Park, Pennsylvania: Pickwick Press, 1986), 33-49.
“‘Perilous Events and Troublesome Disturbances,’ The Role of Controversy in the Tradition of Luther to Lutheran Orthodoxy,” Pietas et Societas, New Trends in Reformation Social History, Essays in Memory of Harold J. Grimm, ed. Kyle C. Sessions and Phillip N. Bebb (Kirksville, Missouri: Sixteenth Century Journal Publishers, 1985), 181-201.
“Luther as Seelsorger,” Concordia Journal 11 (1985): 2-9.
“Luther for the German Americans. The Saint Louis Edition of Luther’s Works,” Concordia Historical Institute Quarterly 56 (1983): 98-110.
“Luther the Master Pastor: Conrad Porta’s Pastorale Lutheri, Handbook for Generations,” Concordia Journal 9 (1983): 179-187.
“God Calling, ‘Take Care of My People’: Luther’s Concept of Vocation in the Augsburg Confession and Its Apology,” Concordia Journal 8 (1982): 4-11.
“Good Works are Detrimental to Salvation, Amsdorf’s Use of Luther’s Words in Controversy,” Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme IV (O.S. XVI) (1980),136-151.
“The Layman’s Bible: The Use of Luther’s Catechisms in the German Late Reformation,” in Luther’s Catechisms – 450 Years. Essays Commemorating the Small and Large Catechisms of Dr. Martin Luther, ed. David P. Scaer and Robert D. Preus (Fort Wayne: Concordia Theological Seminary Press, 1979), 16-26, 75-79.
“The Theologians and the Peasants: Conservative Evangelical Reactions to the German Peasants Revolt,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 69 (1978): 103-131.
By Paul Robinson
Annotated Luther, Vol. 3 (Fortress Press, 2016).
Martin Luther: A Life Reformed, (Boston, Mass: Longman, 2010).