The Reformation: Why Martin Luther Was Angry.

Last post we discussed the 503rd anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. (You may scroll down past this post to read last post) We saw that Martin Luther was infuriated by the selling of indulgences to the German people. Having begun to read the New Testament, he knew that salvation from sin was not for sale by God.

Following are statements from contemporary documents which reveal, to those who know their Bible, that this was all devilish. It caused people to put their trust in the Pope and his word instead of the Holy Bible and what it says about the finished work of Christ on the Cross for sinful man.


Luther wrote the following concerning the Dominican monk named Johann Tetzel who was selling the indulgences for Pope Leo X:

  1. “…with might and main he sold grace for money as dearly or as cheaply as he could.

2. He had grace and power from the Pope to offer forgiveness even if someone had slept with the holy Virgin Mary*, the mother of God, as long as a contribution will be put into the coffer.

3. Furthermore, The Red Cross of indulgences and the papal coat of arms on the flag in the churches was as powerful as the cross of Christ.

4. Moreover, even if Saint Peter were here now, he would have no greater grace or power than he (Tetzel) had.

5. Furthermore, he would not want to trade places in heaven with Saint Peter, for he had redeemed more souls with his indulgences than Peter with his sermons.

6. Furthermore, if anyone put money into the coffer for a soul in purgatory** the soul will leave purgatory** for heaven in the moment one can hear the penny hit the bottom.

7. Furthermore, it is not necessary to show remorse or sorrow or to do penance for sins when purchasing indulgences or a letter of indulgence.

8. He even sold indulgences for future sins.

9. Such abominable things he did abundantly, he was merely interested in money. ” 

Martin Luther, Wider Hans Worst, 1541 (WA 51, 538)

The sale of the indulgence for the construction of Saint Peter’s in Rome was regulated by a ‘Summary Instruction’ issued by Albert of Hohenzollen, Archbishop of Magdeburg and Mainz. Two details set forth in the instructions are:

  1. “The first of the four graces that could be obtained is the complete remission of all sins. Nothing can be called greater than this grace, since man, living in sin and deprived of divine grace, obtains complete forgiveness by these means an enjoys anew the grace of God. Moreover, through such forgiveness of sins the punishment which one is obliged to undergo in purgatory on account of the offense of the divine Majesty is all remitted and the pain of purgatory** altogether done away with.”
  2. “The 4th distinctive grace is for those souls which are in purgatory**, and is the complete remission of all sins, which remission the Pope brings to past through his intercession, to the advantage of said souls, in this wise: that the same contribution shall be placed in the chest by a living person as one would make for himself.” ( from Intructio Summaria (W. Kohler, Dokumente zum Ablasstreit, pp. 104-16.)

In closing, Martin Luther knew what Tetzel was doing for Pope Leo X was an abomination to Holy God.  God is not for sale and neither is His marvelous grace. And especially not the precious blood of Jesus that was shed for payment for our many, many sins.  You can not bribe or buy God off. 

**And I pray, Dear Reader, that you know there is no such thing as purgatory in the Bible.  Hebrews 10:27 says, “…It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgement.” Almighty God only recognizes the precious blood of Jesus as the payment for man’s sin.  The fires of this cooked-up purgatory is not going to purify anyone of their sins. The forgiveness of our sins had better be settled before we take our last breath on earth. Once we die, our permanent destination in the next world is set: heaven or the place of torment. There is no moving around.

Purgatory is a great money maker for the Roman Catholic Church but it was cooked up in hell and given to men who had seared consciences to deceive the unsuspecting (I Timothy 4: 1-3).

*Mary, the mother of Jesus, realized she need a Savior just like everyone else. She said “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God, my Savior (Luke 1: 46). She is blessed among women but she is not the co-redeemer of man and no one should be praying to her or other dead people. Read Deuteronomy 18: 10-14 where God forbids this.

Luther was just in being angry about all these lies. How we need a Reformation today, a Luther to rise up and expose these dangerous errors that still lead lost, religious man to eternal ruin!

Carl

Note: All quotations are from The Reformation – A Narrative History Related By Contemporary Observers and Participants by Hans Hillerbrand, Editor

The Reformation Born 503 Years Ago Today

In 1517 a Dominican Friar named Johann Tetzel had been selling indulgences near Wittenberg to raise money for constructing Saint Peter’s in Rome. According to Tetzel, those who purchased an indulgence would receive remission of purgatory. Indulgences could also be purchased on behalf of dead relatives and friends. The punchline of Tetzel’s sermon was, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”

The sale of these indulgences infuriated Martin Luther, the professor of biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg, and he decided to hold a disputation with other faculty members on the subject. A professor interested in holding a disputation would nail the theses to be discussed on the cathedral door. Luther posted his 95-Theses on the great wooden door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31st, 1517.

Some of Luther’s points for discussion were: (1) “Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ in saying, “Repent Ye”, intended that the whole life of believer should be penitence”. (32) “Those who believe that, through letters of pardon, they are made sure of their own salvation, will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.” (37) “Every true Christian, whether living or dead has a share and all the benefits of Christ and of the Church, given by God, even without letters of pardon”.  (62) “The true treasure of the Church is the Holy Gospel of the glory and grace of God.”

Luther knew from his own repentance and conversion that paying an indulgence could not achieve forgiveness of sins. Shortly before posting the 95- Theses, Luther had begun studying the Greek New Testament, and his studies persuaded him that the Greek word for repentance, metanoia, meant a change of heart, not mere performance of outward works, as theologians of his day defined it.

Luther wrote the 95-Theses in Latin, intending them to be discussed by scholars, not circulated among the populace. But as Luther himself acknowledged, “A fortnight they flew all over Germany.” Translated into German and sold as far away as Rome, the 95-Theses became much more than a University exercise.

For the next two decades, Luther enjoyed seeing the Reformation grow. Many regions in Germany accepted the evangelical doctrines that Luther and other reformers discovered in the Scriptures. Luther lived to see a second generation of evangelicals sing the hymns he had written, read his German translation of the Bible, and learn his catechism from their early childhood.

Throughout his life he preached and taught God’s promise of redemption to the repentant sinner. On his deathbed he prayed, “O Lord Jesus Christ, I commend my poor soul to Thee. O Heavenly Father, I know that, although I shall be taken from this life, I shall live forever with thee. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life. Father into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”

Luther died on February 18, 1546, at the age of sixty-two in Eisleben, the city where he was born. As word of his death spread to Wittenberg, bells tolled, and people crowded the streets, wanting to pay their last respects to their leader.

On Monday, February 22, 1546, accompanied by caravan that included his wife, Katie, his four children, and a throng of his followers, Luther’s casket was born through the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, on which, more than twenty-eight years before, the young monk had nailed his theses.

Reflection

Little did Martin Luther realize the forces that would-be set-in motion by the posting of his 95-Thesis. He merely felt it necessary to speak out against the error of his day. He was willing to stand up and be counted for truth and God used him to change the world. Do you ever feel that you should speak out against error? There is no predicting how God will honor your faithfulness.

They should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will believe the truth.     II Timothy 2:25

Source: The One Year Christian History – E. Michael and Sharon Rusten