History shows us that Martin Luther never did figure out what the Bible really teaches about salvation. By throwing out the baby with the bathwater, he ended up believing and teaching a treacherously false doctrine that is still leading millions astray, today.
We desperately need a reformation of The Reformation.
I transcribed this years ago from: Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, by Roland H. Bainton, 1978, p. 259-261.
Luther read the New Testament in light of the Pauline message that the just shall live by faith and not by works of the law. That this doctrine is not enunciated through the New Testament with equal emphasis and appears to be denied in the book of James did not escape Luther, and in his preface to the New Testament of 1522 James was stigmatized as “an epistle of straw.” Once Luther remarked that he would give his doctor’s beret to anyone who could reconcile James and Paul. Yet he did not venture to reject James from the canon of Scripture [not true – editor], and on occasion earned his own beret by effecting a reconciliation. “Faith,” he wrote, “is a living, restless thing. It cannot be inoperative. We are not saved by works: but if there be no works there must be something amiss with faith.” This was simply to put a Pauline construction on James. The conclusion was a hierarchy of values within the New Testament. First Luther would place the Gospel of John, then the Pauline Epistles and First Peter, after them the three other Gospels, and in a subordinate place Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation.
I reconcile James and Paul in Who-Goes-To-Heaven Scriptures — Narrow is the Way.
Luther also couldn’t even reconcile Paul with Paul—the earlier, introductory chapters of Paul’s letters with the straightforward meat Paul introduces later in the texts.
What Luther did is what theologians call having “a canon within the Canon”—”a group of books or a body of texts within the Bible to which great authority or dominance is to be ascribed.” Most Bible teachers, today, don’t subordinate entire books of the Bible, but rather, they subordinate significant parts of most of the books of the New Testament in order to continue teaching false doctrines as fact.
Luther also misunderstood the distinction between works of the law (old covenant—which Paul warned against in Gal. 3, for example) and the necessity of being led by the Spirit or abiding in Christ (new covenant). Jesus didn’t replace the works of the law with nothing. Salvation isn’t “faith plus nothing,” as Luther taught. In fact, Jesus didn’t do away with the law (Mt. 5:17-20). Now we are to be led by the Holy Spirit—God in us—given at Pentecost. Now we are equipped/enabled/graced to fulfill the law’s requirements in a purer, deeper way which supercedes the works of the law. Paul said in Romans 8 [Gal. 5 is somewhat similar]:
(4) that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (13) For if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God.
What the Bible teaches about salvation is very clear when we accept the entire canon of Scripture—not subordinating anything.
[WordPOWER!] James on Salvation – chapters 1 & 2: We will be judged by the law of freedom, “You shall LOVE your neighbor as yourself.” • “FAITH apart from WORKS is dead.” • ”BLESSED is the man who endures temptation, for WHEN HE HAS BEEN APPROVED he will receive the CROWN of LIFE….”
Who-Goes-To-Heaven Scriptures — Narrow is the Way (Where Paul is reconciled with James — and with Hebrews and 1 John — and with Jesus. It all works!)
Reverse-Christian LUTHER: “To Kill a Peasant is Not Murder… Crush them! Cut their throats! … To kill a peasant is to destroy a mad dog! If they say that I am very hard and merciless, mercy be damned. Let whoever can: stab, strangle, and kill them like mad dogs” • “Like the mules who will not move unless you perpetually whip them with rods, so the civil powers must drive the common people. Whip, choke, hang, burn, behead and torture them, that they may learn to fear the powers that be”
Hating, unforgiving, James-3 cursing, Biblically disqualified MARTIN LUTHER: “When I die, I want to be a ghost…So I can continue to pester the bishops, priests and godless monks until that they have more trouble with a dead Luther than they could have had before with a thousand living ones.”
The Protestant Reformers Were Frauds: By their Fruits You Will Know Them — Martin Luther was a false teacher, a racist, a persecutor and a murderer! John Calvin was a false teacher, a deranged tyrant, a persecutor and a murderer!