I am really puzzled by the seeming obsession some Catholics display in attacking Martin Luther, as if somehow it will undo the Reformation: He was insane, he was the devil’s spawn, he was this, that, manic depressive, whatever. Somehow people seem to think they are going to get somewhere with all that. As I am more in the Reformed camp, Luther really was incidental. I shrug my shoulders.
This thread is not about his person or even about Luther at all. This thread is about why some Catholics seem to think that they will get somewhere by destroying him. I wish to make several points as to why I think this tactic is a bad idea.
One, Lutherans REPEATEDLY have stated that they do not elevate his teachings to the level of doctine. Lutheranism is not Luther and he is not their pope or prophet. What is called Lutheranism has been digested and percolated over the last 500 years and is not contingent on anything in Martin Luther’s person or even thoughts. I would venture to say the man might very well disagree with a lot of what passes for Lutheranism. Lutherans say this was a fine example of God using a sinner for His purposes. Paul was a murderer, Peter betrayed Christ, Luther may have been nuts. I really don’t care about his psychological profile. Really!
Secondly, I wonder at the idea that if they show that Martin Luther is so bad, they will then become Catholic. This is certainly a negative tactic that suggests that those pursuing this agenda really have no better arguments for Catholicism than that Luther was bad, so therefore Lutherans should become Catholic. I find this extremely unconvincing. Isn’t there anything good in Catholicism? Did these Luther-bashers really become Catholic because they took a dislike to Luther? That is like preferring God to Satan because you don’t like Satan - never mind what God is like. Faint praise, there.
Thirdly, Catholics embrace the argument that it does not matter what Church leaders have done, it is the teaching of the Catholic Church that is important. But then they turn around and say that it is not what Luther taught that is important, but what a crazy little blockhead he was, as if his teaching does not matter. It seems logically contradictory.
Fourthly, I suspect these Luther-bashers have not taken the time to study what Luther believed, or what Lutheranism developed into, because all they seem able to do is to attack Luther. It gets boring. BORING. BORING. Reading post after post of unremitting negative information about someone gets boring. These are the kinds of people you move away from at parties and are not the sorts of people I enjoy interacting with. People who are negative all the time are no fun. Luther had his good points and these sorts of patterns of posts suggest personal problems or distortions in themselves that make me question them from the get-go. Luther DID have his good points. It is off-putting, to say the least.
That is my 2 cents.