A Movie You Can Take Your Non-Christian Friends To

Many historians consider him the most influential figure of the second millennium. Our ideas about the individual and the inviolability of individual conscience can be directly traced to him. What's more, unlike many seminal figures, he was larger-than-life: a man full of passion and conviction who, it could be said, mastered the clever sound byte centuries before anyone knew what a sound byte was. Yet, for all his historical impact, there haven't been very many well-done cinematic depictions of this man's life -- until now. The man I'm talking about is Martin Luther, the courageous leader of the Protestant Reformation. The new film is simply called Luther. It was produced by RS Entertainment, which a few years ago brought us a film I told you about here on "BreakPoint," Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace. That well-reviewed film was the story of the courageous German pastor and theologian who opposed what Hitler was doing to the Church and the German people and died a martyr. Like RS's earlier effort, Luther seeks to entertain audiences while being faithful to Luther's story and the Christian faith. Of course, none of this matters if the film has poor production values. Thankfully, that's not the case here. The people at RS spent $25 million, a huge sum for a film made outside of Hollywood. They assembled a cast that includes Joseph Fiennes, best known for his role as William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love. He plays Martin Luther. The film, which opens today, September 26, in four hundred markets, already has one fan: Andrew Coffin of World magazine. In his review, Coffin wrote that the film "hits most of its historical marks," especially when you consider the constraints imposed by telling such a story in two hours. The scene in which Luther defends his theology before the Diet of Worms and says some of history's most memorable words -- "Here I stand. I can do no other" -- rings true in Coffin's estimation. And this should come as no surprise. The pivotal scenes in Bonhoeffer also captured the sense of the historical moment. What Coffin found most "remarkable" wasn't the strong production values or the acting. It was "the weight of its theological content and the strength of its message." The producers of this film were under pressure from distributors and studios to gut the film's Christian content. As one potential distributor put it, "all the Christ stuff has got to go." But, the producers didn't cave in. The result is a movie with an unmistakably Christian worldview that avoids the poor production values and forced religiosity that often turn off even Christian moviegoers. You don't need me to tell you how rare this combination is. The only way we'll get more films like Luther is if we support this one. Call us here (1-877-3-CALLBP) or visit (click on "Find a theatre") for more information on Luther, including show times and locations in your area. And take your friends. Martin Luther's life and work profoundly shaped life here in the West. We think the way we do, in no small measure, thanks to him. Let's hope that his influence and the Gospel can spread as people watch a well done movie. For further reading and information: Learn more about Luther and find out about showtimes (click on "find a theatre"). Andrew Coffin, "Luther Stands," World, 27 September 2003. Liza Bear, "This fall, the big screen spotlights religion," Christian Science Monitor, 19 September 2003. Learn more about Bonhoeffer. BreakPoint Commentary No. 000614, "Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace." (Archived commentary; free registration required). Brian Godawa, Hollywood Worldviews (InterVarsity, 2002).


Chuck Colson


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