Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World

Dear Friends in Christ,

Martin Luther triggered a seismic upheaval that shaped the course of Western Christianity for almost 500 years.

Now, in a new movie created for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, your congregation can further explore Luther and the impact of his teachings. “Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World” is a feature-length film that revisits the dramatic moments that shaped Luther’s life while examining his quest to share the good news of the freeing love of Jesus Christ. The film, sponsored by Thrivent and in collaboration with the ELCA, is available for use as a Reformation anniversary activity.

About the movie
The film vividly portrays the key moments in Luther’s story: the lightning storm that nearly killed him, the bleak self-punishment of his time in the monastery, the theological breakthrough that reset Christian thought and his ongoing drive to reconnect the church to its original anchor.

Along the way, viewers will learn of Luther’s enormous cultural impact as a champion for the dignity of everyday work and as a popularizer of the ideas that would morph into a renewed understanding of the freedom we have in Christ.

In a quest for authenticity, the movie was filmed in the castles, monasteries and cobblestone streets of eastern Europe. Luther scholars were involved in all aspects of the production to further ensure historical accuracy, including ELCA theologians Richard Perry, Kirsi Stjerna, Mary Jane Haemig, Kathryn Johnson, Jane Strohl, Mark Tranvik, Vitor Westhelle and Timothy Wengert. Every sentence Luther speaks in the film is taken from his writings, talks and sermons.

Movie-showing opportunities
The movie presents a unique outreach opportunity for members to invite friends and neighbors to a community gathering – a possible first step in learning more about the Lutheran tradition.

You are invited to add this theatrical release to your congregation’s Reformation anniversary events, whether at a local theater or in a venue of your choice. Here’s how you can show this new film:

  • Host a showing at a local theater. Setting up a screening at your local theater is easy. You just fill out a form online – choosing a date, time and theater. All the logistics are then handled by the distribution company (called Tugg). There is no cost to your congregation to set-up a screening, however, attendees purchase their own tickets. (You may arrange for your congregation to pay for the tickets, should you choose to do so.)In addition, a percentage of ticket sales are returned to your congregation for designation to any mission or ministry you choose. To learn more about setting up a theater showing (including identifying a possible local theater), go to
  • Host a showing at a venue you choose. Since not all communities have a Tugg-associated theater, another option is to host a showing in your congregation, a school or other community venue. A license fee guarantees you a DVD or Blu-ray copy of the film and the rights to show it publicly. To learn more about this option, go to

Free and easy-to-use materials are available for publicizing your showing, including guides for setting up a showing, bulletin inserts, posters, movie trailers and email templates. This information is available on the booking website.