Hermann Sasse, in Sin and Forgiveness in the Modern World: Reflections on the approaching the 450th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Christianity Today, 11, March 3, 1967, p5.
Anyone who has read John Carroll's very interesting book The Wreck of Western Culture: Humanism Revisited will recognise that his view of the Reformation, set in a broad brush survey of the decline of western Christendom, exactly matches Sasse's contention that the Reformation was in its deepest nature an attempt to save the church from being secularised. I would contend that the Roman church is a sort of fatal compromise in this endeavour - Sasse's "Church become world". The crux of the differences between the distinctly Roman version of Christianity (which officially begins with Trent) and the Lutheran (and I suggest they are finally irreconcilable and competing versions) can be found in theological anthropology - how man is estimated.
Of course, Roman Catholics, even theologically educated and aware Catholics, seldom understand the differences here; we must increasingly ask whether Lutherans do either. It is revealing, for example, that an attempt was made to reach agreement on the doctrine of justification without first agreeing on theological anthropology. That, subsequently, a number of Lutheran pastors/theologians converted to Rome citing JDDJ as resolving the central issue of the Reformation confirms my suspicions that contemporary Lutherans are in danger of a kind of doctrinal reductionism, forgetting or not being aware that the doctrine of justification is like a brilliant jewel set within a cluster of jewels that serve to support and highlight it. Remove it from that cluster and its brilliance is diminished. Luther's saying that the church stands or falls according to the doctrine of justification is true, but the Lutheran doctrine of justifiction itself stands on its explication of the scriptural doctrine of man. It is not for nothing that Luther regarded The Bondage of the Will as his most important work.