New Luther movie explores confessional Lutheran truths

When the Reformation 500 Committee was formed in 2009 to prepare for the upcoming celebration in October 2017, it had two goals: To teach congregations the importance of the gospel truths the Reformation brought back into focus and to share those truths with others.

A new film, A Return to Grace: Luther’s Life and Legacy, will help fulfill both goals. “If this anniversary is only a special service to commemorate the history we treasure, we have missed a golden moment in history to share our faith,” says John Braun, chairman of the committee. “The film does not just celebrate our heritage, but it provides an opportunity to share the gospel in the powerful medium of film.”

Produced by Boettcher+Trinklein Television Inc., this full-length film explores the life of Martin Luther and his quest for truth, bringing to life the 16th-century events of the Reformation. Commentary from WELS scholars and other experts provides context to the unfolding drama of Luther’s story.

Much of the movie was filmed in the castles, monasteries, and cobblestone streets of eastern Europe. According to producers Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein, Luther scholars were on location to ensure historical accuracy, and every sentence Luther speaks in the film is taken from his actual writings, talks, and sermons.

“It is based on the best historical evidence on the Reformation available today, but it is not just a history,” says Braun, who developed and wrote a new biography called Luther’s Protest to help direct and encourage the film. “It explores the truths of the Reformation: Christ at the center of our faith, the importance of God’s undeserved grace, and the value of Scripture as the authority for all teaching in the Christian church.”

Starting in March, congregations can host a viewing of the movie at their local theaters for their members, prospects, and the community through easy-to-use resources available at

“We hope the film will give all our congregations an opportunity to confess their faith as Martin Luther did,” says Braun. “Here we stand, confessional Lutheran Christians, willing to be counted at disciples of Christ in our world at this time.”

Funding from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans made it possible to produce the movie.



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Volume 104, Number 2
Issue: February 2017

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