Reformer of a corrupt Church?
Certainly not. No, because Luther was not a reformer of customs but doctrines. The theory that the moral decandence of Church, under the Reinassance Popes, had reached an intolerable point and that Luther led Protestants against that situation, calling for a Reformation IS FALSE and NO present historian can support it. Amongst other reasons, because the very Luther rejects that interpretation of his work in numerous explicit declarations:
I don't impugn bad customs but "godless" doctrines
Luther combatted the doctrine of Catholic Church with all his might. To start with, he destroyed the Bible, since leaving it at the mercy of the "free study", he changed the infallible and only God's word for an innumerable and contradictory variety of fallible human words. He rode roughshod over apostolic succession, ministerial priesthood, bishops priests and the doctrine of fathers and councils. He removed Eucharist as a sacrifice of redemption. He destroyed the devotion and worship to the Holy Virgin, saints, vows and religious life and the beneficial function of ecclesiastical law.
He reduced the seven sacraments to one and a half. He stated, from the total corruption of man by the original sin, that
reason is the Holy big bitch of the devil, a bitch consumed with scabies and leprosy.
And for the same reason, as much as passionately, he denied man's freedom, deeming that it would be"the safest and most religious" thing if the very term "free will" disappeared of language. As a logical consequence, he also denied the necessity of good deeds for salvation. Ah well, with his "correct answers" he practically shattered all Christianity, ruining Christendom too.
He was the greatest insulting person of the Kingdom:
All Pope's Church is church of bitches and hermaphrodites.
and the very Pope is a
furious madman, a forger of history, a liar, a blaspheme, a bastard, an idiot and every papal act is sealed with the shit of the devil and written by the farts of the dummy-Pope.
Innumerable pages could be filled with similar or worse sentences. The Catholic theologians of Luther's time rejected their theories, earning the foreseeable descriptions on his part.
The Faculty of Paris is the doomed synagogue of the devil, the most abominable intellectual prostitute that has lived under the Sun.
And the theologians of Leuven are
vulgar arses, damn pigs, bellies of blasphemies, epicurean slobs, heretics and idolaters, damn hell stock.
And he added
It is me that declares it, Doctor Martin Luther, speaking in behalf of the Holy Spirit (...) I don't accept that my doctrine can be judged by anybody, not even the angels. Whoever that doesn't listen to my doctrine can't be saved.
On the occasion of the peasants' uprising, who demanded, first persuading nicely, then by force, what they thought that their rights were, Luther writes an extremely hard invective:
Rebels have to be stamped out, throttled and killed in a private or public way, since there is not anything more venomous, damaging and evil than an instigator of seditions.
Very mild he was though to the porwerful German princes with the aim of sighting their favours. The results of Luther's preaching were devastating in people's morality and he himself admits it:
Since the Pope's tyranny is over for us, they have spurned pure and salubrious doctrine. We don't look like men anymore but like real brutes.
Of his followers he asserted:
They are seven time worse than before.
He is horrified whe he writes to Zwinglio:
It' frightening to see where there was only peace before, now there are only sects and factions (...) I am obliged to confess it: my doctrine has caused many scandals. Yes, I can't deny it, such things frequently terrify me.
And he still forsaw bigger disasters. One day he confided his friend Melanchton:
How many different masters will emerge in the next century? Confusion will get far.
So did it. And has it gone all that way -with not stop- as far as the great apostasy of the former Catholic nations.