Luther film to air on PBS Sept. 12

In this scene from “Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World,” Martin Luther, played by Padraic Delaney, faces Emperor Charles V in the trial known as the Diet of Worms. The film is set to air nationally on PBS Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. Central time.

“Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World,” the full-length feature film that premiered in selected theaters in February, is set to air nationally on PBS on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. Central time.

Congregations still may arrange screenings of the film at their local theaters. Visit for information on how to host and promote a screening, as well as resources including a sample bulletin insert, poster, artwork and the movie trailer.

Funded by Thrivent Financial, the film dramatizes the events that shaped Luther and examines the questions he wrestled with, such as “Who am I?,” “What is my purpose?” and “How do I get right with God?”

Included are insights and commentary from LCMS theologians and historians.

Visit the PBS webpage for the movie here.

Posted August 14, 2017

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47 Responses to Luther film to air on PBS Sept. 12

  1. Bob Pangman August 14, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

    What is the Eastern Time slot? Too bad if it is as early as 6:00 pm. Miss a lot of working people.

    • LCMS Church Information Center August 15, 2017 at 9:12 am #

      Thank you for your comment. The Luther movie will be airing on PBS at 8:00 p.m. Eastern/7:00 Central on September 12.

      • Eunice kirkpatrick August 15, 2017 at 10:04 am #

        6:00 mountain time, i assume?

        • LCMS Church Information Center August 15, 2017 at 10:42 am #

          Thank you for your comment. Please check your local listing for the time they are showing it in your area.

          • Linda Kollacks September 12, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

            Today, September 12th, I have been trying to find the exact time for this broadcast, and it has been listed anywhere from 7:00pm to 8:30 pm Central time. This is frustrating!!!

    • Bill Cox August 16, 2017 at 11:14 am #

      7 PM Central time is 8 PM Eastern time. But, as always, check your local PBS station for their broadcast time.

    • Marie August 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

      If it’s 7:00 Central, it would be 8:00 Eastern.

    • LCMS Church Information Center August 17, 2017 at 10:37 am #

      Thank you for your comment. There are two ways to get a DVD after it has aired on PBS.

      A consumer version of the DVD will be available for $25.00 sometime after it has aired on PBS. Information on how to order one will be released at a later date.

      In addition, churches and schools may request copy at While this DVD costs $75.00, it includes a Bible study, PowerPoints, and the rights to show the film in a church or school.

    • Joan Colliflower September 15, 2017 at 9:46 am #

      I thought I understood there were to be 2 presentations. Was that incorrect information or if not when is the date and time for a 2nd airing?

  2. Annamary Seltz August 14, 2017 at 9:36 pm #

    Might be hard to get the church members to pay 12 dollars to see it if it is being shown on TV…I am very much looking forward to seeing it!

  3. Rev. Thomas R. Noon August 15, 2017 at 7:15 am #

    Thanks to Thrivent and to PBS!
    Rev. Tom Noon

    • Todd Dickinson September 10, 2017 at 8:05 pm #

      Thanks to Martin Luther.

  4. August 15, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    We’ll see if it is as accurate as the 1950’s version starring Niall MacGinnis.

    • Carl Vehse August 18, 2017 at 3:38 pm #

      The 1953 B&W movie, “Martin Luther,” can be seen on YouTube. The movie stars stars Niall MacGinnis (1913-1977) as Luther. The movie was produced by Louis de Rochemont and RD-DR Corporation in collaboration with Lutheran Church Productions and Luther-Film-G.M.B.H. The time frame of the film is 1505-1530.

      Wikipedia has more information about <a href=",the 1953 Luther movie.

  5. John Kjoller August 15, 2017 at 8:15 pm #

    Who’s producing it?

    • LCMS Church Information Center August 16, 2017 at 8:47 am #

      Thank you for your comment. It was produced by BT Media.

    • Angela September 12, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

      Thrivent Financial

  6. Linda Ritter August 16, 2017 at 12:15 am #

    It is a fantastic movie. Plan on watching it again on PBS.

  7. Rev. John A. Flamme August 16, 2017 at 10:24 am #

    I have previewed the film and was very disappointed. The film focuses on the historic impact of Luther (from a worldly perspective) and gives little attention to Luther’s theology and its impact on the people and the princes of Luther’s day. For instance, no mention is made of the Augsburg confession and it is a full 45 minutes into the film before “a righteousness that comes by faith” is even mentioned. Luther’s Christo-centric, biblical theology is not mentioned nor is there any overt presentation of the pure Gospel (Justification by grace through faith in Christ) which Luther was completely passionate about and which drove his theology. Luther the man is depicted as a course, rude, angry, disrespectful and a clinically depressed individual. In Luther’s dealings with Zwingly he is labeled “intractable and uncompromising” when it came to his stand on the Word of Christ in regard to the Lord’s Supper. But this is not to Luther’s shame, but to his credit! Theologians from many denominations comment on Luther, none however more that Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan who postulated that it was the Germans greed for power and money that caused them to take Luther’s side in his opposition to the Roman Church. This view totally overlooks the German princes who stood before Charles the Fifth and said that they would rather have their heads removed than denounce the Augsburg Confession. Greed and power had nothing to do with the strength of their Biblical convictions. All in all, this is a “politically correct” film from Thrivant and a very unfair and incomplete picture of Luther, his theology and the man. Two thumbs down! Way down!

    • Bruce Helenbart August 16, 2017 at 3:08 pm #

      Thank you for your review. I wouldn’t expect any other view from a PBS production. Luther’s Christian beliefs are foolishness to them who put their faith in mankind (their progressive liberal mankind, not those other flat-farther types.)

      • Linda MartinDahlke August 17, 2017 at 10:27 pm #

        It’s not a PBS production. Thrivent sponsored it. PBS is airing it. And isn’t that a good thing?

      • Bruce McCullough August 18, 2017 at 10:59 am #

        Read the information on this LCMS webpage and follow the links. PBS is broadcasting it; it did not produce the film.

    • John Mogler September 16, 2017 at 9:04 pm #

      Looking forward to seeing your movie.

    • Walter September 19, 2017 at 1:18 pm #

      An excellent review Rev. Flamme.

  8. Linda Christensen August 18, 2017 at 10:12 am #

    There are 2 versions of the new reformation movie, by the same writer, producer. Both are through Thrivent. I believe the movie, A Return to Grace. Luther’s Life and Legacy portrays Luther’s beliefs much better.

    • Anne August 28, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

      You are right there are. A Return to grace was sponsored by the WELS church and is more for confessional Lutherans. The version being aired by PBS is for a broader audience. The producer as well as the WELS director address these issues on a blog Calle Pathoes.

  9. Rev. Noel C. Olse August 19, 2017 at 11:57 am #

    In light of Brother Flamme’s review, it may be a better use of ur time to watch old reruns of “This is the Life!” instead. In my opinion, some of Thrivent’s “Lutheran” activity has been of questionable character recently.

  10. Bruce Tolzmann August 19, 2017 at 4:05 pm #

    Why only comments from LCMS?

    • Ratke September 13, 2017 at 9:04 pm #

      This is an LCMS publication….that could be part of it.

  11. Christine September 9, 2017 at 11:39 am #

    WHy isn’t it airing on the PBS station in Tucson, AZ?

    • LCMS Church Information Center September 11, 2017 at 9:22 am #

      Thank you for your comment. Each station can schedule to show the documentary whenever they want to. So the best answer is to ask your local PBS station directly.

    • Leonard September 12, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

      In Tucson, it’s on channel 6.3, Friday the 15th at 1pm

  12. Jim Buchanan September 10, 2017 at 9:34 pm #

    Might there be a subsequent showing? I won’t be able to see it Tuesday and don’t have a recording device.

    • LCMS Church Information Center September 11, 2017 at 9:22 am #

      Thank you for your comment. Each station can schedule to show the documentary whenever they want to. So the best answer is to ask your local PBS station directly.

    • Morticia September 12, 2017 at 7:33 pm #

      My pbs station is showing it three separate times. Check with yours.

  13. September 11, 2017 at 10:23 pm #

    Rick Steves ran a one hour special this evening on PBS. He actually did talk about the indulgences and purgatory and being saved by grace and not works. I was really surprised. He also talked about how the prince took care of him for one year so he would not be killed, his depression, the hymns he wrote. I am so glad I watched it because from the comments its seems like the movie is more historical.

  14. Bob Krieger September 12, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

    I went to view the movie as it was shown in our local Theater by our local churches. I will be watching it again this evening. It is an excellent presentation and I recommend to all with interest.

  15. Barb Maurer September 17, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

    Are there any plans for this film to be aired again on TV I missed the Sept 12 airing

  16. Emily Ferrara September 19, 2017 at 6:05 pm #

    It was great and really opened my eyes as a Lutheran !!!! Thanks PBS

  17. Diane Legate September 27, 2017 at 8:02 am #

    I missed the showing on PBS, I attempted to watch it online and it was taken down today Sept 27. I would really like to view the Movie before I attend the October 14, 500th Anniversary Celebration at the Breslin Center in Lansing Michign. Is there any option for me to view this movie before October 14? Thank You

    • LCMS Church Information Center September 27, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

      Thank you for your comment. There are DVDs of the film available for pre-order now, but they won’t be available until on or after 11/21/17.

  18. Marlene October 1, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

    Any more showings in October of this movie. Recorded it and then changed tv companies so didn’t get to see the saved recording.

    • LCMS Church Information Center October 2, 2017 at 8:06 am #

      Thank you for your comment. You may check the events on the website at to see if there are any showings near you. Otherwise, the DVDs of the film are available for pre-order now, but they won’t be available until on or after 11/21/17.

  19. Edward Young October 15, 2017 at 6:07 pm #

    We saw Martin Luther, The Idea That Changed The World in the theater, and just now received the DVD of A Return To Grace….appear to be one in the same production???

    • LCMS Church Information Center October 16, 2017 at 9:08 am #

      Thank you for your comment. “A Return to Grace: Luther’s Life and Legacy” was commissioned by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) to offer a few more of their scholars as commentators and dive a bit deeper into theology. That said, 80 percent of the film is identical to “Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World.”

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