A non-Catholic co-worker claims there were early Christian councils that upheld the 66 books of the Old Testament, but the Catholic Church suppressed them, and it was Martin Luther who finally stood up to the Church and reclaimed the true Bible for Christians. Is there any truth to his statement?
No. There were no early councils that endorsed the 66 books Protestants honor (check the facts in your local library). The current canon of Scripture was affirmed at the Council of Rome in 382 under Pope Damasus, which included all and only the seventy-three books Catholics honor today. This canon was repeated at Hippo and at Carthage (A.D. 393 and 397, respectively) and has been repeated ever since.
It was Martin Luther who tossed out the seven books considered canonical since the beginning of Church history. He also rejected the epistle to the Hebrews and the book of Revelation. He also called the epistle of James “an epistle of straw” because James 2:14–26 conflicted with his personal theology on good works. He also added the word (in his German translation) only in Romans 3:20 and Romans 4:15, and he inserted the word alone in Romans 3:28.