Martin Luther was called to appear before the Diet of Worms because of his "teaching and books."  He appeared before Emperor Charles V. and his brother Archduke Ferdinand and a host of other rulers in the Holy Roman Empire.  Luther was asked whether or not he wrote the books that were placed on a table in the hall.  He did acknowledge them as his books.  Then Luther was asked:  "Are you prepared to retract these books, and their contents, or do you persist in the opinions you have advanced in them?"  On April 18, 1521 at 4:00 p.m. Luther gave his answer:  "Since your most serene majesty and your high mightinesses require from me a clear, simple, and precise answer, I will give you one, and it is this: I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the councils, because it is clear as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other.  Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning, - unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, - and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience."  And then, looking around on this assembly before which he stood, and which held his life in its hands he said:  "Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me!  Amen!

A few days later The archbishop of Treves arranged for the lawyer Jerome Wehe, chancelor of Baden, to speak to Luther:  "We have not sent for you to dispute with you, but to exhort you in a fraternal tone. . . That enemy of mankind has excited you to publish many things contrary to true religion.  Reflect on your own safety and that of the empire.  Beware lest those whom Christ by his blood has redeemed from eternal death should be misled by you and perish everlastingly. . . .Do not oppose the holy councils."

Luther replied:  "Most serene princes, I thank you for your solicitude on my account;  for I am but a poor man, and too mean to be exhorted by such great lords.  I have not blamed all the councils. . . .It is said my teaching is a cause of offence.  I reply that the gospel of Christ cannot be preached without offence.  Why then should the fear or apprehension of danger separate me from the Lord and from that Divine Word which alone is truth?  No!  I would rather give up my body, my blood, and my life!"

 Sola Scriptura, Scripture alone, was the formal cause of the 16th century Reformation.  It was grounded on the “Divine Word which alone is truth.”  Unfortunately the church that emerged from the 16th century Reformation is no longer being reformed by the Word of God.  Today it is said by many “I know what the Word of God says, but…”  Luther was not a “but” theologian. His response would be “I would rather give up my body, my blood, and my life!"