Segments in this Video

Martin Luther's New-Found Understanding of the Gospel (01:19)


Most of the worship before the Reformation was conducted by the clergy with an occasionally used choir. Augustan Monk Martin Luther rebelled against the power of the Pope and used congregational singing to enrich the understanding of the people.

Martin Luther's 95 Theses (03:00)

An Augustan monk and priest, Luther became a professor of biblical theology at Wittenberg University in 1512. There he discovered the gospel that man is saved through grace by faith alone, thus beginning his challenge of the Pope’s authority.

Martin Luther's Legacy (01:31)

Luther’s legacy includes the rediscovery of the gospel of God’s grace, or the Material Principle of the Reformation; his translations of the scripture, or the Formal Principle; and the beginning of congregational singing.

Music in Worship: The Views of Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin (03:38)

Luther’s translation of the Bible into German gave the people direct access to the gospel. Music gave all Christians a way to express their beliefs. Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin, other Reformers, had different views of music in worship than Luther’s views.

Luther's Musical Contribution to Christian Worship (02:33)

Although Luther’s ideas drew on biblical patterns, his hymns were freely composed and he included instruments. He translated old Latin hymns and liturgy for the congregation to sing. He found poets to put form in his translations of scripture and hymns.

Luther: The First Christian Hymnals (02:04)

In 1522 Luther urged others to compose sacred hymns and transcribe Old Testament psalms into German verse. Wanting to bring worship into the vernacular of the people, Luther had Johann Walther publish the first hymnal with eight hymns in 1524.

Luther's Vernacular Mass (02:39)

Though Luther broadened what could be used in worship, he was considered the most conservative of the Reformers in keeping the general outline of the mass, which he translated into German in 1526.

Luther's Reformation: A Great Musical Tradition (02:54)

A trained musician, Luther selected appropriate tunes for the hymns, including both secular and sacred existing tunes. Bach gave Luther’s hymn tunes a new setting in his cantatas. Luther’s hymns are still printed in modern hymn books.

Luther's Hymns (06:04)

Luther based his hymns on scriptures, Catholic hymns, and popular songs. Based on Psalm 46, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” expresses the confidence Christians have in God’s greatness. It was used as the war cry of the Reformation and to spread the Gospel.

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The Nightingale of Wittenberg

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Congregational music during worship owes its origin to Martin Luther, who used it to proclaim his bedrock message of the Protestant Reformation: God’s grace as the sole ingredient for salvation. This elegant program explains how Luther changed the mode of public worship by integrating music into the divine service so that all Christians—not just the clergy—could express and celebrate their belief. It also highlights Luther’s biography, from his time as a professor of Theology in 1512 at Wittenberg University to his "love for the truth and…desire to elucidate it" expressed in his 95 Theses five years later. Excommunicated and under the ban of the Emperor, Luther’s love of music in Protestant worship never waned. (27 minutes)

Length: 28 minutes

Item#: BVL33600

ISBN: 978-0-7365-9771-5

Copyright date: ©2004

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.