In the struggles of early 1522, Luther preached a famous sermon on March 10 which contains one of my favourite quotations, revealing the secret of Luther’s Reformation success:
In short, I will preach it [the Word], teach it, write it, but I will constrain no man by force, for faith must come freely without compulsion. Take myself as an example. I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.
There you have it: the success of the Reformation depended upon the sheer power of God’s Word. And, of course, on the quality of Wittenberg beer. Not sure how much ground for optimism that gives for the ongoing reformation among the Southern Baptists — perhaps sweet tea has a similar effect — but I hope it is of encouragement to more than just the Lutherans out there.
– Dr. Carl Trueman, Reformation 21, “To be tired of Luther…”