I recall hearing John Gerstner explain that one of the best scholars on Jonathan Edwards wasn't even a Christian, or even a theist. I've always found that fascinating - a person would choose to be an expert on a historical personage in whom he personally disagreed with on a basic presuppositional level.
I'm not an expert on the life and work of Martin Luther by any means, though I do share something similar with this gentleman. I'm a non-Lutheran that has a keen interest in Martin Luther. That is, I've studied Luther from a non-Lutheran perspective.
I've explained this before, but yet, I'm still viewed with deep suspicions from Lutherans and probably even some of my Reformed brethren (when my back is turned). I'd probably have a lot more Lutheran support if I were Lutheran. I'd probably have a lot more Reformed support if I didn't spend the time on the subjects I do. But this blog is not about climbing to the top of the theological food chain. It's about providing a source for the truth about obscure quotes and facts that get thrown around the Internet as propaganda. Will a lot of people read it? No, probably not. But those people that read some sort of outrageous Luther quote, wonder about it, and take two seconds to do a little further digging, will be pleasantly surprised at what they find. Reformation History has never been a close friend of the current batch of pop-Roman Catholic apologists. They've written enough on Luther to keep me busy for years.
Typically Roman Catholics don't trust me, but for much different reasons. In dialog recently with a Roman Catholic, it was stated, "Please stop with the spin and give a straight answer." Some Roman Catholics think any defense or counter evidence on Luther's life is a deceptive ploy. They think I'm so dedicated to the original Protestant that every ounce of his being gets a free pass, and I'm the master spin doctor. Then there was this comment left recently on this blog:
I do recognize you normaly [sic] refuse to take a position on what a particluar [sic] quote DOES mean (to you), but prefer only to put yourself in a position to criticize what other people say about it. You depict yourself as being someone who knows A LOT about Luther, and no doubt you do, so why not take a stand in regards to what you actually believe about the man?
So, if I discuss the historical facts of Luther's life, I'm a spin doctor. If I simply post something Luther said out of interest, I'm not taking a stand as to what my opinion is of his words. With the former, my hero must be protected by all means possible. With the later, I'll do whatever it takes to avoid contradicting the depth of wisdom of my hero. I assume most people wouldn't arrive at these conclusions. Indeed, they are ravings without substance.
Roman Catholics try to deflect the guilt of their church’s abuses and doctrinal confusion that Luther rightly fought against. Instead of dealing with the blatant abuses, need for reform, and muddled theology inherent in the sixteenth century church, the tactic is to discredit Luther by any means possible. Simply because Luther was wrong on say, something like his attitude toward the Jews does not necessarily mean he was wrong on the need for church reform, the proclamation of the gospel of justification by faith alone, or sola scriptura. No serious or sane Protestant argues that Luther was an infallible interpreter, divine authority, or immaculately conceived. We realize Luther was a man of many faults. Yet when he proclaims the gospel, he is absolutely correct because the Bible clearly teaches it. When he speaks out against the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church he is right because history shows this was the case. When he makes terrible statements, he’s not right (or wrong) because he was somehow a Protestant pope or the originator of Protestantism, he’s wrong because a clear exposition of the Scriptures do not support such terrible statements.
There are plenty of theological areas I disagree with Luther on. Always keep in mind, I'm a Calvinist, really. There are also things Luther said or did that I think were sinful, but then again, this is the plight of all mankind. When I defend Luther's life, in some instances it's not to simply give him a free pass, it's to point out the argument being employed by a Roman Catholic (or whoever) is usually flawed, a double standard, or historically inaccurate.