Is it wrong to mention the arch-villain from the Superman comics and the founder of Protestantism in the same breath? Hardly. Both are scoundrels. While we’re at it, we might as well throw in Henry VIII, probably the only serial killer to start his own religion.
While our separated brethren prepare to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s revolt, Roman Catholics around the world have absolutely nothing to celebrate, and should think twice about joining in on the festivities.
Martin Luther was a heretic. Contemporaries of Luther who willingly followed him in his errors are heretics as well. The rending asunder of Christendom which Luther initiated has continued unabated for five centuries, so that now the number of protestant denominations and sects number in the tens of thousands. There’ll probably be a couple new ones out by the time you read this. The two dozen folks who break away from the Maple Avenue Four-Square Bible Rock of Salvation Church in order to found the Reformed Four-Square Bible Rock of Salvation Church of Birch Street will consider themselves a church every bit as legitimate as the one which Christ Himself founded two millennia ago. They’ll come up with their own particular interpretation of the Bible, perhaps form a new doctrine or two, and continue merrily along until a handful of their congregation get pissed about something and break away to form yet another church.
Gee…thanks Luther. Thanks a bunch.
Has the Church Christ founded required course corrections periodically? Yes, and at every critical juncture the Holy Spirit has raised up men and women of heroic virtue who remained loyal and enacted needed reforms within the Church, keeping her intact. These reforms were not doctrinal in the sense that the Church had developed a false doctrine. The reforms had to do with practices, procedures, and norms which had gotten out of kilter due to the errors of sinful men and women. The mechanics of the Church require fine tuning and occasionally, even a complete overhaul from time to time, but the bedrock of the Magisterium requires no such tinkering.
Luther’s big mistake (and it was a whopper!) was not the pointing out of practices requiring reform, but rather his determination that the Roman Catholic Church was in and of itself utterly defective and requiring abandonment and replacement with a church of Luther’s own invention.
That act of hubris on Martin Luther’s part, and the ensuing sorrow and chaos it created, the number of souls it led astray…well nothing Lex Luthor could accomplish with mere kryptonite could even come close.