In regard to the Reformation it might be said that the whig fallacies of secular historians have had a greater effect over a wider field than any theological bias that can be imputed to Protestant writers. And the tendency is to magnify the Reformation even when it is not entirely complimentary to the Protestants to do so. It is easy to be dramatic and see Luther as something like a rebel against medievalism. It is pleasant to make him responsible for religious toleration and freedom of thought. It is tempting to bring his whole movement into relief by showing how it promoted the rise of the secular state, or to say with one of our writers that without Martin Luther there would have been no Louis XIV. It may even be plausible to claim that Protestantism contributed to the rise of the capitalist; that in its ethics were evolved the more than seven deadly virtues which have helped to provide the conditions for an industrial civilization; and then to bring this to a climax in the statement: “Capitalism is the social counterpart of Calvinist Theology.” So we complete the circle and see Protestantism behind modern society, and we further another optical illusion – that history is divided by great watersheds of which the Reformation is one. Sometimes it would seem that we regard Protestantism as a Thing, a fixed and definite object that came into existence in 1517; and we seize upon it as source, a cause, an origin, even of movements that were taking place concurrently; and we do this with an air of finality, as though Protestantism itself had no antecedents, as though it were a fallacy to go behind the great watershed, as though indeed it would blunt the edge of our story to admit the working of a process instead of assuming the interposition of some direct agency. It is all an example of the fact for the compilation of trenchant history there is nothing like being content with half the truth.
– Herbert Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History (1931). A contemporary work like Brad Gregory’s The Unintended Reformation is simply the mirror image of the Whig interpretation, and depends on the same false reifications.