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DVD Review - Reformation Overview

As Christians living in lands where we enjoy religious freedom we are apt to forget the price that so many have paid for their faith. As Christians with a great wealth of theology at our disposal, we also forget that the faith as we know and love it has been bought with the price of much blood. The history of the church is filled with stories of men and women who advanced our understanding of the Scriptures only at great cost to themselves. Even those who did not sacrifice their lives often paid a terrible price as they were despised and rejected by their peers. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those whom God chose to use in this way.

Reformation Overview provides brief, half-hour overviews of some of the men who were used by God to carry-on the faith. Based on the Gateway Films/Vision Video church history video series, this DVD combines narration from Dr. Ken Curtis, President of the Christian History Institute, with clips from the film series. Divided into six equal segments, the series examines several of the most prominent Reformers: John Wycliffe, John Hus, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin, The Anabaptists and William Tyndale. Dr. Curtis brings narration directly from many of the scenes that are so important to church history - the pulpit where John Wycliffe preached his final sermon; the monument that marks the spot where Jon Hus’ was burned; the door of the Wittenburg Cathedral; the room where William Tyndale translated the Scriptures into English. History comes to life not only through a glimpse of these locations, but through the films.

The lessons the viewer will learn from this series are clearly beneficial. He will learn of the conflict that has always followed God’s people as they sought to understand the Scriptures and spread the gospel message. He will learn of the price that so many Christians have been privileged to pay for their beliefs. He will learn of the great faith displayed by so many faithful servants of the Lord. Ultimately he will have his faith strengthed and hopefully understand how important it is that we remain students of history. The old adage that “those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it” seems especially significant in the church, which so often seems set on erasing its collective memory of the past. There is church history past 1972 and it is critical to our faith that we maintain a link with the great Christians of days past.

Included on the DVD are two PDF files, one of which is a 24-page student workbook, and the other a 48-page leader’s guide and optional Bible study. This adds great value to the presentation and makes it useful for Bible studies or part of a home schooling curriculum. This series is a perfect addition to a church or school library. If your local public library allows donations, consider adding this to their collection.

Reformation Overview is a wonderful little series and one that was beneficial to my faith. I watched much of it with my son, who, although only five years of age, enjoyed it as much as I did. It provided us many opportunities to discuss how deeply Christians ought to love God and how deeply Satan despises this faith. It was an opportunity to grow for both child and adult.

  Evaluation Support
Theology/Accuracy
Quite strong throughout. A few times there seemed to be a slightly soft attitude towards Catholicism.
Special Features
Nothing flashy, but the DVD includes a complete study curriculum and leader’s guide.
Uniqueness
Quite a unique format.
Importance
We can’t underestimate the importance of studying the Reformation and the history of the church.
  Overall
A solid, interesting presentation that I highly recommend.
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