This pastor is, I’m afraid, confused on what Luther did and didn’t do, teach and create on his own and what was the reformation. Anyone can read or teach history from an a priori position. Martin Luther coined the phrase “sola scriptura” which is something neither the Church fathers nor anyone prior to the reformation had ever heard.
Luther’s view on “faith alone” (sola fide), justification was NOT that of St. Augustine’s nor the early Church fathers.
“We are commanded to live righteously, and the reward is set before us of our meriting to live happily in eternity. But who is able to live righteously and do good works unless he has been justified by faith?” (*Various Questions to Simplician *1:2:21 [A.D. 396]).
“He bestowed forgiveness; the crown he will pay out. Of forgiveness he is the donor; of the crown, he is the debtor. Why debtor? Did he receive something? . . . The Lord made himself a debtor not by receiving something but by promising something. One does not say to him, ‘Pay for what you received,’ but ‘Pay what you promised’” (*Explanations of the Psalms *83:16 [A.D. 405]).
“What merits of his own has the saved to boast of when, if he were dealt with according to his merits, he would be nothing if not damned? Have the just then no merits at all? Of course they do, for they are the just. But they had no merits by which they were made just” (*Letters *194:3:6 [A.D. 412]).
“What merit, then, does a man have before grace, by which he might receive grace, when our every good merit is produced in us only by grace and when God, crowning our merits, crowns nothing else but his own gifts to us?” (ibid., 194:5:19).
This quote sounds much like Matthew 25 where …those who do good [works (under Gods grace)] unto the least of these (the poor, weak outcast etc.) have done it to Me [Jesus]…
That’s why St. Augustine could say " when God crowning our merits, [reward] crowns nothing else but his own gifts to us?"
When we cooperate with Gods grace He crowns His own works in us.
All of our works are because of God’s grace, in fact, every good that we do is first because of His grace. Catholicism DOESN’T teach that we earn our way to heaven like the pastor is implictly saying; that was the heretical position of the pelagians and semi-pelagians who the council of Orange 529 condemned. Click here: The Council of Orange - 529 A.D.
Our own works in and of themselves do nothing and are nothing to God and only bring death, (Eph 2:8-10) only can we do good first by His grace which verse 10 in Ephesians concludes. In the Catholic theological sense, merit means reward not in the strict sense of earning (only Christ can earn any good in the strict sense, since He is God and always does perfect good).
However, we can do good under and by His grace as Matthew 25 mentions when God will separate those who have done good (under Gods grace Gal 5:6) and those who were doing their own works which aren’t worth a thing and only bring death.
Perhaps Luther should have considered St. Augustine’s position and submission to the Papacy:
“There are many other things which rightly keep me in the bosom of the Catholic Church. The consent of the people and nations keeps me, her authority keeps me, inaugurated by miracles, nourished in hope, enlarged by love, and established by age. The succession of priests keep me, from the very seat of the apostle Peter (to whom the Lord after his resurrection gave charge to feed his sheep) down to the present episcopate [of Pope Siricius]” (*Against the Letter of Mani Called “The Foundation” *5 [A.D. 397]).
“[On this matter of the Pelagians] two councils have already been sent to the Apostolic See [the bishop of Rome], and from there rescripts too have come. The matter is at an end; would that the error too might be at an end!” (*Sermons *131:10 [A.D. 411]).
This pastor says the Scriptures are the only authority?
You should ask him what is the pillar and foundation of truth?
Ask him to look up 1 Tim 3:15:
"But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth."
christi simus non nostri