After skimming through this discussion, I’d like to offer some general comments about church history and Luther.
In regard to the use of the “Fathers,” I recommend, A Treatise on the Right Use of the Fathers in the Decision of Controversies Existing at This Day in Religion by John Daillé (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1856). I have not come across any of today’s Roman apologists dealing with the content of this book (if someone knows of any current defender of Rome dealing with Daillé’s argumentation, please PM me). The book is an eye opener in terms of assumptions about the existing record of church history and the use of the Fathers in establishing doctrine. After reading Daillé carefully, one comes to realize the danger in using any historical period as an historical norm. The Roman church today does not believe the same things that the church of the early centuries did. Simply look for some of the key teachings of the current Roman church in the early church: indulgences, purgatory, the absolute primacy of the Roman papacy, Mary’s bodily assumption, and even such a thing taken for granted as the correct number of sacraments, and one quickly realizes that something isn't quite right when one of Rome’s apologists presumes that the early church is the property of Rome. Some of Rome’s best scholars realize the lack of unanimous consent among the fathers in regard to basic scriptural interpretation:
As I've read Luther, he likewise doesn't appear to me to think any period of church history should function as infallibly normative either. Since history is a beast in flux, Luther strove to direct the church to an infallible standard by which to evaluate doctrine, practice, and development. Lo and behold, the Christian faith has just that: the infallible words of God recorded in Sacred Scripture.
If one studies the early period of Luther’s conflicts with Rome’s defenders, it becomes quite comical: They quote this or that father or council and Luther responds back with Sacred infallible Scripture. David Bagchi showed quite convincingly that Luther's earliest Roman opponents failed in their efforts against him because while Luther argued primarily with Scripture, his detractors used a different approach: