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Martin Luther


Martin Luther (1483–1546), one of the most significant figures in Western history, was a key figure in the Protestant Reformation. Over the course of his life, Luther was a monk, a priest, a professor of biblical literature, a Reformer, a husband, and a father.

Luther is most noted for his Ninety-Five Theses (1517), in which he argued that salvation is not earned by good deeds but received only as a free gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. His refusal to retract all his writings, demanded by Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521, resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the emperor.

Luther has been both praised and vilified for what he preached and wrote. Luther’s translation of the Christian Bible into the vernacular greatly influenced the church. His works continue to impact all Christians and animate the movement that bears his name. Luther’s Works (55 vols.) contains many of Luther’s writings, including commentaries, sermons, and lectures.



map 15. MARTIN LUTHER BEGINNINGS OF REFORMATION in Atlas of the European Reformations (Open | Purchase)

Faithlife TV programs
  • Martin Luther (1hr 46m) – The dramatic black and white classic film of Martin Luther’s life made in the 1950s.
  • Martin Luther – A Return To Grace (1hr 46m) – The great drama of Martin Luther’s life comes alive in this vivid portrayal of the penniless monk’s quest for truth—a quest that would re-shape the church, and the world.
  • LUTHER: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer (1h 31m) – Discover the story behind the man who sparked the Protestant Reformation. Told through a seamless combination of live-action storytelling and artistic animation, Martin Luther’s daring life is presented in extensive detail while still making the film relevant, provocative, and accessible.
  • Opening The Door To Luther (31m) – Open the door to Martin Luther with public television travel host Rick Steves. He takes us to areas of Germany known as Lutherlands. From Eisleben, where Luther was born, to Wittenberg where he taught and preached, and to several other areas, we learn about the tumultuous events of the Reformation and the monk at the center of it all.
  • The Reformation Overview Part 3 – Martin Luther (27m) – Martin Luther – He wanted only the quiet solitude of the monastery. There this guilt-burdened monk discovered the freedom of the Gospel. He couldn’t keep quiet about it, nor could he stop the relentless swirl of events that propelled him to a decisive role in the shaping of the modern world.
  • Luther – His Life, His Path, His Legacy (31m) – Using stunning dramatic footage from the 2003 theatrical film “Luther”, starring Joseph Fiennes, this documentary gives a comprehensive overview of the great reformer’s life and legacy.
  • A Man Named Martin – Part 1: The Man (5 episodes 13-20m) The life of Martin Luther is one of resolute conviction and steadfast faith. This documentary will examine the life and teaching of this great reformer. The program gives important historical background and explains the key doctrines expounded by Luther: With tenacity and bravery, Martin Luther inspired a Reformation that reverberates throughout the centuries.
  • A Man Named Martin – Part 2: The Moment (3 episodes 19-27m) – Witness the interplay of personalities and events that led to the Protestant Reformation. From Luther’s inner struggles of conscience and faith to his call for debate with the Pope to his scathing rebuke of erroneous church practice, this installment examines the semi-scriptural and oft-times unethical teachings and doctrines of the late Medieval Church and how Luther addressed them. A cast of scholars and church leaders share their expertise on the cultural and religious milieu in which Luther operated
  • A Man Named Martin – Part 3: The Movement (5 episodes 11-21m) – The Movement completes the trilogy begun with Parts 1 and 2, The Man and The Moment. Here viewers will see how God was at work in the Reformation, in the lives of the men and women that shaped it, and in the societal transformations that resulted.

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