An original musical drama written to commemorate Martin Luther’s recovery of the essential gospel truths that had been obscured through centuries of neglect.
The Hammer and the Door
“Martin Luther: The Hammer and the Door” is an original musical drama written to commemorate Martin Luther’s recovery of the essential gospel truths that had been obscured through centuries of neglect. Luther stands in a long line of individuals who sought church reform, but by a phenomenal convergence of factors, managed to be heard by the masses and escape being killed.
No matter what you think of the man or the outcome, we hope you enjoy our telling of the story of Martin Luther and ‘the knock heard ‘round the world’
Scholars debate whether Luther used nails, glue, or the services of a university custodian to post his 95 Theses—95 bullet points citing the injustice and lack of Biblical warrant for the sale of indulgences. Luther protested the corrupt practice of selling false assurances that all guilt and due penalty for sin would be absolved in the eyes of God, due to a special favor from the pope, as long as financial contributions were made to help build St. Peter’s church in Rome.
The “Luther” musical was written by New Life Fine Arts founder and director, David K MacAdam, whose music has been arranged and orchestrated by Peter Vantine. The show premiered staged as a chancel drama on October 31, 2017, 500 years after Luther posted his famous Theses to the Wittenberg Castle Church door. His protest went viral when students translated the Theses from Latin to German and sent it to the printers who distributed them far and wide. Luther sent a copy to Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz, who forwarded it to the pope!
Every performance was sold out in advance and received with enthusiastic standing ovations. A cast of 25 playing the many personalities that surrounded Martin Luther as his spiritual journey brought him from a life of quiet anonymity in an Augustinian friary in Erfurt in 1505 to international celebrity and a courageous stand before the two most powerful institutions of the day, the Holy Roman Empire, led by Charles V and the Roman Catholic Church led by Pope Leo X in 1521.
Martin Luther was born and raised in the medieval age and yet he played an important role in changing the face of Western civilization and launching more modern times. He was aware of his flaws, admitting that he feared his own heart more than he feared any pope! In spite of his shortcomings, we believe his story champions both the role of the individual in the pursuit and proclamation of truth, and the role of a supportive network of relationships. The Reformers summarized what they believed to be the essential and original teaching of Christianity as “The Five Solas”—that salvation was ‘sola gratia’ (by grace alone) ‘sola fide’ (by faith alone) ‘solus Christus’ (in Christ alone), ‘sola Scriptura’(on the authority of Scripture alone) and ‘sola Dei Gloria’ (for the glory of God alone). And these ‘five alones’ were not brought about by Luther alone! It would have been a different story were it for the students, the printing presses, the artists, the songs, the Duke of Saxony, his fellow priests and events that were outside his control, such as the financial crisis in Rome and the election of a new Emperor.
At the beginning of the 16th century, people were deprived of the Word of God. They were left to believe that God is a God who enables people to earn their salvation through religious observances, striving to do one’s best, yet never knowing if their ‘good’was ever ‘good enough’ to satisfy His demands. It is no wonder that Luther was called “The Nightingale of Wittenberg”. By proclaiming the good news through spoken words, printed books, and newly composed songs, he shattered the darkness. He championed the message of the New Testament that the righteousness of God is offered as a free gift on the basis of what Christ accomplished on behalf of sinners. He became our substitute. His righteous living, His atoning death and His victorious resurrection is credited to the account of those who believe (1 Corinthians 15:3-5; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
The New Testament consistently assures us that salvation is offered to whoever repents and believes in Him.” (John 3:16; 6:29, 35, 40; 11:25-2614:1-31;20:26-31; Acts 16:31; Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 10:9-10).
This story reminds us that truth can triumph through those who bind their consciences to the Word of God and sound reason. New Life Fine Arts Musical Theater is a self-supporting auxiliary ministry of New Life Community Church in Concord dedicated to producing “theater you can believe in at prices you can afford.”We rely upon the generous voluntary contributions of our donors to supplement any income from ticket sales to make this ministry possible.