"There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures."—2 Peter 3:16
Martin Luther and his fellow "Reformers" turned Christendom upside-down by rejecting the authority of the Church that Jesus founded and claiming instead that personal interpretation of Scripture is to be our rule of faith. This infamous principle of sola scriptura—the “Bible alone”—created 500 years of doctrinal chaos and sectarian division.
But that awful aftermath is not the only legacy of sola scriptura.
In Twisted Unto Destruction, Donald J. Johnson (Convinced, Unprotected) shows how ditching the Church in favor of private Bible interpretation has also enabled some of the modern world's worst crimes and vices.
Once an Evangelical Protestant who took sola scriptura for granted, Johnson came to realize that setting ourselves up as little Magisteriums—whose opinions on the Bible's meaning have to be as valid as anyone else's—not only leads to endless splintering, but makes it possible to use Scripture to justify anything.
Like puppeteers, Christians could make the words of the Bible dance on command, inventing "biblical" endorsements of violence, greed, racism, abortion, sexual depravity, and more. Without an authoritative Church to hold the line, and long removed from a practical consensus, Protestantism has been unable to resist the tide of modern errors.
In fact, as Johnson shows, in many cases, it has endorsed and expanded those errors.