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‘Luther’ premiere wows audience

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Hundreds of people attended the sold-out St. Louis premiere of the new movie “Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World” Feb. 13 at the Wehrenberg Des Peres 14 Cine in Des Peres, Mo.

The sponsors included Concordia Seminary, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church—Des Peres, Mo.

LCMS leaders and faculty members from Concordia Seminary were closely involved in the production. Dr. Erik Herrmann, director of the Seminary’s Center for Reformation Research, was on set in Europe for all three weeks of production as historical adviser. Herrmann, LCMS President Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, Associate Professor of Historical Theology Dr. Gerhard H. Bode Jr., Professor of Historical Theology Dr. Paul W. Robinson and Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert A. Kolb all appear in the film to give context to Luther’s story.

Provost Dr. Jeff Kloha welcomed the movie-goers to the screening. Afterward, Herrmann shared some insights from his role with the movie and answered questions from Harrison and a few from the audience. “I was in Poland for three weeks making decisions like which hammer is the best to use for the 95 Theses,” Herrmann joked. “It was a very interesting time, for me especially.”

“What was it like being on the set with these guys?” Harrison asked Herrmann.

“They were very detailed,” Herrmann replied. “They were very dedicated to the idea of reproducing something authentic. I was frequently being asked about costume changes. One of the most intriguing things that happened was the writing of the 95 Theses.

“They originally had a printed version of this and I said, ‘Maybe it wasn’t printed the first time. It may have been hand printed.’ So someone came the next day with a fully written, in calligraphy, every word of the 95 Theses, which they sent me in a tube after it was all over. That was pretty cool.”

The movie will appear on cable this fall in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
One movie-goer, Bob Claus, a member of St. Paul’s Des Peres, had only praise for the movie.

“I thought it was a tremendous effort, a very educational effort,” he said. “It put the entire Reformation into historical relevancy in terms of what was going on in different parts of the world. It certainly will be a great tool for all Christian denominations to view.”

LCMS congregations are invited to host local screenings of the movie similar to the one held in St. Louis. For details about how to host a screening, visit newluthermovie.com/lcms.