JonNC is absolutely correct. Again, I’m amazed by so much of what I’ve seen from scanning this thread. It is interesting that these apologists want non-Roman Catholic Christians to be fair in evaluating Roman Catholic positions and claims while they deal so haphazardly and uncharitably with the historical figures and positions of their non-Roman Catholic brethren. Simply put, anyone attempting to have a fair and balanced view needs to read Luther’s own writings rather than reading hatchet jobs loaded with out of context/spun “quotes” of Luther.
As I noted earlier–and as JonNC has noted far better in this thread–virtually every accusation against Luther falls under one of two categories:
- The category of subtle to blatant misrepresentation. For instance, the claim that Luther taught “faith alone” as a license for sin–far from it–Luther’s teachings on the absolute necessity of genuine sanctification, if anything, far outpaced those held by many of his Roman Catholic peers. Luther’s views on the necessity of genuine sanctification versus mere outward acts of penitence/piety were a driving force in countless sermons and works of Luther. And Luther’s frequent statements on sanctification became even more pointed in his later works as he combated the Antinomian heresy. The following passage is representative of what Luther notes throughout his works:
“The apostle refers to this subject in Romans 7: 5, 8, 23, and elsewhere, frequently explaining how, in the saints, there continue to remain various lusts of original sin, which constantly rise in the effort to break out, even gross external vices. These have to be resisted. They are strong enough utterly to enslave a man, to subject him to the deepest guilt, as Paul complains (Rom 7, 23); and they will surely do it unless the individual, by faith and the aid of the Holy Spirit, oppose and conquer them.
Therefore, saints must, by a vigorous and unceasing warfare, subdue their sinful lusts if they would not lose God’s grace and their faith. Paul says in Romans 8, 13: “If ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” In order, then, to retain the Spirit and the incipient divine life, the Christian must contend against himself.” Luther, Sermon on Romans 8
- The category of hypocritical condemnation. For instance, pointing out Luther’s antisemitic statements and works while ignoring the countless antisemitic actions and works of the Roman Catholic Church (e.g. 16th century Papal Bulls calling for vile acts of antisemitism) and those of leading representatives of the Roman Catholic Church in Luther’s day (e.g. Johann Eck’s antisemitic works).
As always, it may be a week or more before I have time to follow up on this thread.