Martin Luther (Joseph Fiennes), first seen in 1507 as a young, aspiring student in a German monastery, is sent by his mentor, John Von Stapuitz (Bruno Ganz), to study theology in Wittenburg. While there, Luther begins to struggle with practices of the Catholic church, most notably the selling of indulgences, a “ticket” to deliver deceased loved ones from purgatory. As he studies the Scriptures, he realizes that they teach salvation by Christ alone, faith alone and Scripture alone. Luther posts his famous 95 theses on the door at Wittenburg, and thus begins his battle with the church officials that leads to the Protestant Reformation. When he refuses to recant his beliefs, he is forced to go into hiding and there begins translating the New Testament into German. Luther watches in horror as some of his overzealous followers lose their lives in violent riots. As many others take up the cause peacefully, the Reformation comes into full swing and heads toward a break with Rome.
“Luther” is an inspiring story of one man’s pursuit of God and his tremendous courage in the midst of constant threat. As the young man seeks God through the Scriptures and fights for faith over tradition, he grows from a timid young man into a bold leader. The language is mild, and damn and hell are used frequently but always in discussions of eternal judgment, not as obscenities. Dove recommends “Luther,” with a mild warning about the violent images. It is a good film with the emphasis on salvation through Christ, not the Church.