Could Martin Luther have envisioned what happened when he began his activism against the Catholic Church? Could Marcion of Sinope? Could John Calvin? Or William Tyndale? Or Uldrich Zwingli? Or John Wycliffe? I don’t know. Luther probably hoped that there would be a mass exodus, no pun intended, from the Catholic Church to his church. And there was.
But history has proved Martin Luther to be a charlatan. To be fair, Luther was very likely correct about some abuses occurring within the Catholic Church — mostly over the practice of indulgences. And he was not the first to bring up many of the issues covered in his 95 Theses.
But Luther’s Bible, like Tyndale’s Bible which helped spawn the Jehovah’s Witness cult, was flawed. It lacked books such as I and II Maccabees and the Book of Wisdom, Daniel and Esther were heavily edited, and even the New Testament was not spared Luther’s eraser. Romans 3:28 originally stated that: “For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” (NAB). Martin Luther added the word “alone” between “faith” and “apart”. It changed the entire meaning of the passage and gave birth to the lie of Sola Fide (“faith alone.”) And where there was a passage that said Scripture was not a matter of private interpretation, as in the Epistle of James, Luther disputed it. He called the Epistle of James “an Epistle of straw” because it refuted his flawed logic. His response to critics would seem to indicate that Luther had a beef with the Catholic Church that went well beyond Scripture and customs:
“You tell me what a great fuss the papists are making because the word ‘alone’ is not in the text of Paul. If your papist makes such an unnecessary row about the word ‘alone’, say right out to him: ‘Dr, Martin Luther will have it so.’ And say: ‘Papists and asses are one and the same thing.’ I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word ‘alone’ is not in the Latin or the Greek text; it was not necessary for the Papists to teach me that.”
I think he actually reveled in insulting the Church and everything connected to her.