What was the central issue of the Reformation of 1517?
James White says, according to Luther himself, it was "God's absolute freedom and man's absolute dependence..."
Quoting Luther's Bondage of the Will:
For if we believe it to be true, that God fore-knows and fore-ordains all things; that He can be neither deceived nor hindered in His Prescience and Predestination; and that nothing can take place but according to His Will, (which reason herself is compelled to confess;) then, even according the the testimony of reason herself, there can be no "Free-will" - in man, - in angel - or in any creature!...In this, morevover, I give you (Erasmus) great praise, and proclaim it - you alone in pre-eminient distinction from all others, have entered upon the thing itself; that is, the grand turning point of the cause; and have not wearied me with those irrelelvant points about popery, purgatory, indulgences, and other like baubles, rahter than causes, with which all have hitherto tried to hunt me down, - though in vain! You, and you alone saw, what was the grand hinge upon which the whole turned, and therefore you attacked the vital part at once; for which, from my heart, I thank you. (emphasis added)
The "cause"...the "whole", James White suggests, is the Reformation!
Oh, then he quotes this from one of Spurgeon's sermons...it's great!
There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles, they believe that Sovereignty hath ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children of God ought more earnestly to contend than the dominion of their Master over all creation—the kingship of God over all the works of his own hands—the throne of God, and his right to sit upon that throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings, no truth of which they have made such a foot-ball, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on his throne. They will allow him to be in his workshop to fashion worlds and to make stars. They will allow him to be in his almonry to dispense his alms and bestow his bounties. They will allow him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends his throne, his creatures then gnash their teeth; and when we proclaim an enthroned God, and his right to do as he wills with his own, to dispose of his creatures as he thinks well, without consulting them in the matter, then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on his throne is not the God they love. They love him anywhere better than they do when he sits with his sceptre in his hand and his crown upon his head. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon his throne whom we trust.
[Both quotations found in James White's, The Potter's Freedom, 2000 Calvary Press]