Shortly after the death of Luther in 1546, Pope Paul the III entered into an agreement with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles the V. This agreement stipulated that Charles would go to war against everyone who opposed the Council of Trent. The main target of this agreement was the Smalkaldic League, a group of German princes who supported Luther’s Reformation.
The events of October 31st 1517, the day that Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, were not set in motion by a man’s ambitious vision to revolutionize the spirituality of the west. Nor were they set in motion by Luther’s iconoclastic vainglory that sought to topple the ancient powers of tradition and the papacy. Rather, Luther swung his hammer as a pastor. He cared for the eternal welfare of his flock.