Reinhold Niebuhr was one of the most influential theologians and ethicists of the 20th century. This brief documentary gives an overview of his life and the way that his sometimes controversial convictions were shaped by the events of that era, including two world wars and the Civil Rights Movement.

Perhaps Niebuhr’s most well-known legacy is the “Serenity Prayer” that eventually became part of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs. But his influence was much wider. The film gives personal reflections on him and his influence on culture from such people as Stanley Hauerwas, Cornel West, and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter. The scope of his impact demonstrates the depth of his intellectual and theological gifts.

If you already know Niebuhr, this is an interesting biography. If you don’t, the film might pique your interest in learning more. Showing on some PBS stations during April and May, it is also available on DVD. (Journey Films)

About the Author

Kristy Quist is Tuned In editor for The Banner and a member of Neland Ave. CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.