It is uncertain concerning what many people think of the church reformer, Martin Luther. At times, it appears that people hold him up as a saint. Others would suggest that he was a devilishly crude mad man. What cannot be denied, at least as far as the protestant movement is concerned, is that he did a remarkable work for the glory of God.
It is important that believers do not exalt certain gifts inside of the church above others. It has fascinated me that it is quite often the case that those who embrace a simple faith will often demean those who put deeper thought into the matters of God (through science, philosophy, theology, or other intellectual disciplines). Likewise, those who have a very thought-out faith will demean the faith of those who are not as interested in some of the more sophisticated mysteries of the universe and God. Those who contend for the faith are often seen as dividers, while those who live quiet, Christian lives are seen as role models for the church, and stalwarts of the faith.
It seems like only a select number of front line warriors are accepted by their Christian brethren. Most of them are viewed as controversial, and their gifts are viewed as unnecessary in the church. Martin Luther is probably one of the most controversial Christian figures inside of the church since Jesus. He often employed harsh language when battling those who had corrupted sound doctrine of the faith. His number one opponent happened to be the Pope, the leader of the worldwide church at the time.
Here is one example of the scathing comments that Luther used against the Pope: " What devilish, unchristian thing would you not undertake? You are an extraordinary creature, being neither God nor man. Perhaps you are the devil himself. Even if the Antichrist appears, what greater evil can he do than what you have done and do daily?"(Why the Books of Pope Were Burned from Vol. 31 of Luther's Works).
Luther did not pad his words when he pointed out the evils happening at the highest levels of church leadership. Was it always justified when he spoke brashly? Many people would say "no" and would be right in so doing. Nonetheless, this does not make Luther a reprobate, but an imperfect sinner who was trying to fulfill a very difficult mission assigned to him by God.
Luther's counterpart and good friend was Philip Melanchthon. Melanchthon. Melanchthon was renowned for his quiet demeanor, his ability to please people, and his love for the natural world. Looking at Melanchthon's personality, he and Martin Luther would have been the last people you would have picked to be friends. However, they appreciated one another's callings in life and understood that God was using them both uniquely to fulfill a specific task for His glory.
Contending for the faith is not a pretty thing at times. We as Christians prefer the peaceful melody of Amazing Grace over the war march nature of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. The reality is that both need to be embraced. Those who put themselves on the front lines will not only face scrutiny by their fellow man, but attacks from the devil, as well.
Martin Luther needed Melanchthon to encourage him to continue his fight against the corrupt teachings being promoted inside of the church. Philip Melanchthon, in return, needed Martin Luther to continue the march onward against the forces of wickedness. Melanchthon could edify those who had been damaged by cruel and unjust doctrines enforced by the politicized church. The Church of God needs to embrace those who are its own. It is true that there may have been better ways to address the evils back in the days of Luther, but, then again, maybe not.