Martin Luther once wrote,
The chief cause that I fell out with the pope was this: The pope boasted that he was the head of the church, and condemned all that would not be under his power and authority; for what he said, although Christ be the head of the church, yet, notwithstanding, there must be a corporeal head of the church upon the earth. With this I could have been content, had he but taught the gospel pure and clear, and not introduced human inventions and lies in its stead. Further, he took upon him power, rule, and authority over the Christian Church, and over the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God; no man must presume to expound the Scriptures, but only he, and according to his ridiculous conceits; so that he made himself lord over the church, proclaiming her at the same time a powerful mother, and empress over the Scriptures, to which we must yield and be obedient; this was not to be endured. They who, against God’s Word, boast of the church’s authority, are mere idiots. The pope attributes more power to the church, which is begotten and born, than to the Word, which has begotten, conceived, and born the church.
We, through God’s grace, are not heretics, but schismatics, causing, indeed, separation and division, wherein we are not to blame, but our adversaries, who gave occasion thereto, because they remain not by God’s Word alone, which we have, hear and follow.
When our Lord God intends to plague and punish one, He leaves him in blindness, so that he regards not God’s Word, but condemns that same, as the papists now do. They know that our doctrine is God’s Word, but they will not allow of this syllogism and conclusion: When God speaks, we must hear Him; now God speaks through the doctrine of the gospel; therefore we must hear Him. But the papists, against their own consciences, say, No; we must hear the church.