500 Years Since the Beginning of the Reformation - 500 Years Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Schedule your showing of new Luther film

Padraic Delany stars as reformer Martin Luther in Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World. (Image: Courtesy Boettcher+Trinklein Inc.)

Padraic Delany stars as reformer Martin Luther in Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World. (Image: Courtesy Boettcher+Trinklein Inc.)

The radical events, compelling personalities, and exciting drama of the Reformation are brought to life in Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World. This new full-length documentary features thrilling reenactments of the sixteenth-century events with commentary from leading church-history experts. The film, which was sponsored by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, is now available to schedule for a showing in your community.

The film features narration by Hugh Bonneville, best known for his acting on Downton Abbey. Pádraic Delaney, known for his work on television series The Tudors and movie The Wind that Shakes the Barley, portrays Martin Luther in the film. Producing the documentary are Emmy-nominated Lutheran filmmakers Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein. Among the many experts who appear in the movie is Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Showing the film is an excellent way to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in a local setting. Congregations have two options for setting up screening of the film, either by utilizing local theatre space or by showing the film in your church. Theatre options are limited to those available through partnership with Tugg, so this option is not available in many locations. Church showings are made available via DVD or Blue-ray through licensing. To set up theatre space, visit here. To set up a church showing, visit here (showings are also available for schools and libraries). Congregations are encouraged to work together in setting up a theatre showing for their city in order to ensure ticket sales reach minimum requirements.

[Update: One pastor has reported receiving an email from Tugg saying the film cannot be show in theatres in Canada. We are awaiting confirmation from Tugg on this matter.]

Publicity materials to promote the film are available here.

The film will air on PBS later in 2017.


Reformation 2017: Praying for Christian Unity

dove-sqWORLD – Christians around the world are recognizing the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which takes this year from January 18-25. The call for Christian unity takes on renewed significance in 2017, as this year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Lutherans recognize the Reformation as a tragic necessity—tragic in that it led to the division of the church, but necessary in its move to restore biblical clarity to the church’s teachings on justification, among other doctrines.

Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) takes seriously Jesus’ call for unity in His church, and engages in responsible ecumenical relations with a number of other church bodies. First and foremost is its relationship to other confessional Lutheran churches around the world, both directly as well as through the work of the International Lutheran Council (ILC). At its most recent World Conference, the ILC adopted a statement noting that “confessional Lutherans are obligated to cooperate in overcoming the divisions within Christianity in the spirit of biblical truth and Christian love.”

LCC puts that commitment into practice through direct dialogue with a number of other Christian church bodies. In 2016, LCC and its sister church The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCC), together with the Anglican Church in North America, issued a report on their six-year dialogue, highlighting the significant doctrinal agreement reached thus far. At the same time, positive dialogue between LCC and the LCMS on one side and the North American Lutheran Church on the other also continues, with the three churches issuing a joint statement on Scripture last year.

LCC has also been engaged in dialogue with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) since 2013. LCC President Robert Bugbee brought greetings to the CCCB’s annual conference this past September, at which time he noted LCC’s gratefulness for the ongoing dialogue between the two churches. The Canadian dialogue complements world-wide discussions between the International Lutheran Council and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, meeting most recently in Paderborn, Germany.

Lutheran Church–Canada is also an observer member of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), and has been engaging in greater cooperation with Evangelicals in recent years. LCC joined the EFC, along with Roman Catholics and other Canadian church leaders, in issuing several joint statements recently, including a statement drawing attention to the dangers of physician assisted suicide and euthanasia, as well as another statement calling for increased support for palliative care in Canada.

LCC also engages in regular contact with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada through cooperative work in Canadian Lutheran World Relief and the Lutheran Council in Canada.


Praying Towards Reformation 500

President Robert Bugbee

President Robert Bugbee

by Robert Bugbee

Soon it will be Reformation Day 2016. That marks 499 years since the moment when a little-known German monk, Martin Luther, posted his 95 Theses on the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church. They were a public appeal to discuss and debate. Those theses touched off a series of events that turned the church and the world upside down.

After this Reformation Day, we enter the 500th Anniversary Year of Luther’s Reformation, which will culminate in large-scale commemorations in October 2017. Christians in many places will mark the event with services, exhibitions, lectures, concerts, books and articles. Our own Lutheran Church-Canada recently launched a special website: www.reformation2017.ca.

I appeal to you individual believers and your church families not merely to gear up toward “Reformation 500” with plans and events. I’m asking you, above all, to pray your way toward this milestone. In this column I want to leave you with a few prayer thoughts you may use together with me. (Feel free to go ahead and print this page out. Fold it into the back of your Bible or somewhere else you’ll see it repeatedly. I hope it will nudge all of us toward marking this anniversary year with prayer.)

* * *

Christ Alone: Thank God that He sent His Son to be your Rescuer out of sheer undeserved mercy. Praise Him for giving you faith to cling to Christ. Ask Him to keep you from taking the blessing of Christ’s saving Good News for granted.

Scripture Alone: Bless the Lord for the Reformation gift of a Bible in your own language. Ask Him to move believers and your local church to teach and preach with faithfulness to Scripture. Implore the Lord to bless your congregation with hunger for the Word, and to provide strong Bible class teaching. Pray that God would give you the heart to read and ponder Scripture every day at home, and to overcome neglects in this area.

Repentance: Pray that the Holy Spirit would kindle in you true sorrow over your sins and failings, and give you the heart to confess them without excuse-making. Ask Him to move you beyond mere regret that you got “caught” or that certain things didn’t turn out well, and to give you honest repentance for having grieved the Lord and hurt other people at times.

Holy Ministry: Thank God for the gift of pastors and preachers to proclaim Christ. Ask Him to make them faithful to God’s Word. Pray that they be filled with love for the people under their care. At the same time, beg the Lord to put it into the hearts of a new generation of servants to enter the ministry in this needy time, and ask His blessing on all who teach and learn at our seminaries. Ask our Father also to stand by congregations who are without a pastor, or who are seeking a faithful one right now.

Mission: Since God gave us His Christ and the Word of His cross to save us, beg the Lord to help your church see its surrounding community as He does, as people He yearns to reach. Pray that He may give your church family clear preaching and a beating heart to attract others who currently do not know Jesus. Ask Him also to send workers and leaders for our missions in Central America, southeast Asia and Ukraine, and to move our churches across Canada to support them with sacrificial gifts.

Courage for Our Time: Because there are strong voices resisting Christian people and our faith these days, implore the Father to give us wisdom and courage to stand with Christ even when it’s not easy. Name especially the youth and young adults from your family and church, that God enables them to be dedicated witnesses in our time, even when it is hard or lonely.

Joy and Steadfastness: Pray that God would give us eyes and heart to see the joy He gives us in being His saved, forgiven children. Ask Him to put down every scheme of the evil one to drown us in frustration or despair. Pray for the gift of steadfastness, to cling in life and death to the Christ Who endured to the end for you.


Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee is President of Lutheran Church–Canada.

LCC launches Reformation anniversary website

reformation-website-web-smONLINE – Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) has launched a new website sharing information and resources related to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which will be celebrated in 2017. You can visit the website at www.reformation2017.ca.

“As we head towards 2017, there is renewed public interest in understanding the movement led by Martin Luther and the other reformers,” noted Mathew Block, Communications Manager for LCC. “This website will help curious Canadians understand more about the Reformation and connect its importance to their lives today.”

October 31, 2017 will mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. Tradition states that on that day in 1517 Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

The new Reformation-themed website features a number of resources, including an introduction to the Reformation, biographies of major (and less major) figures of the Reformation, an interactive timeline, and information on Reformation beliefs. It includes resources for personal spiritual formation and education, like a Bible reading plan and Reformation-themed reading list, and also includes an ever-growing listing of Reformation 2017 events and news stories.

As time goes on, the website will release additional updates, including feature essays on the Reformation and the arts, historical sketches of the events of the Reformation, congregational resources, posters, and more.

Readers who find the website resonates with their own beliefs are encouraged to check out the “Worship With Us” page, where they will find information on how to connect with Canadian churches committed to the ideals of the Reformation. Those in Canada are directed to member congregations of LCC and Canadian congregations of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Those outside Canada are directed to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in the United States, and the churches of the International Lutheran Council elsewhere in the world.