Atheists can make great historians but not great theologians for the same reason that mutes can make great listeners but not great speakers. Again, atheists can make great historians but not great biblical scholars for the same reason that mutes can make great listeners but not great speakers.
In 1532 Luther lectured on Psalm two on the following dates: March 5, April 9, April 16, May 27, May 28, June 8, July 5. He took his time with the text (obviously) and in the course of those lectures snidely remarked
That the kings and rulers rage against us at the present time, that Zwingli, Carlstadt, and others cause disturbances in the church, that burghers and peasants condemn the Gospel, is therefore nothing new or unusual.
Münzer stirs up an uproar in Thuringia. Carlstadt and Zwingli stir up horrible disturbances in the church when they try to persuade others that in Communion the body and blood of Christ are not received orally, but only bread and wine. Others join them, and gradually this pernicious doctrine fills France, Italy, and other nations.
“These things have happened through no fault of mine, therefore let the authors of these evils torture themselves. Not I. I shall do and I shall indeed try everything I can to alleviate these evils somewhat, but if I am unable to do so, I shall not on that account consume myself in sorrow. If one Münzer, Carlstadt, or Zwingli is not enough for Satan, he may stir up many more. I know that the nature of this kingdom is such that Satan cannot bear it. He labors with hands and feet with all his might that he may disturb the churches and oppose the Word.”
And several other times as well. That Luther lumps Zwingli with the Radicals is no surprise. What is surprising is his willingness to speak so ill of the dead. Indeed, of the dead not long dead!
Luther: he was a real jerk. (He’s been dead long enough one can say so without any twinge of guilt).
People who leave the church or academia because of something are the same as people who leave their boy/girlfriend: their comments about their ‘ex’ are completely untrustworthy.
It was 5 March, 1545 that Luther published the first collection of his works, in Latin. After a long preface in which he recounts his history, he remarks
I relate these things, good reader, so that, if you are a reader of my puny works, you may keep in mind, that, as I said above, I was all alone and one of those who, as Augustine says of himself, have become proficient by writing and teaching. I was not one of those who from nothing suddenly become the topmost, though they are nothing, neither have labored, nor been tempted, nor become experienced, but have with one look at the Scriptures exhausted their entire spirit.
To this point, to the year 1520 and 21, the indulgence matter proceeded. Upon that followed the sacramentarian and the Anabaptist affairs. Regarding these a preface shall be written to other tomes, if I live.
Farewell in the Lord, reader, and pray for the growth of the Word against Satan. Strong and evil, now also very furious and savage, he knows his time is short and the kingdom of his pope is in danger. But may God confirm in us what he has accomplished and perfect his work which he began in us, to his glory, Amen. March 5, in the year 1545.*
Amen, and amen.
*Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 34: Career of the Reformer IV. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 34, p. 338). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.