"I see that everything here [in Rome] can be bought from top to bottom. Intrigues, hypocrisy, adulation are highly honored, religion is debased; vulgarities occur without number; righteousness sleeps. Whenever I see the ruined monuments of antiquity, I deplore the fact that this famous city is ruled by a foreign race which under pious pretenses practices every deed of violence and other unheard-of outrages, and they wish thereby to be praised instead of the deserved censure. When I rebuke them they say that fate has ordained it!"
"Tetzel's indulgence also promised to free a soul from purgatory. This was quite a selling point. Imagine the chance to save one's father, mother, grandparents, or even child, from the terrors and misery of purgatory. To underscore this benefit to buyers, Tetzel prepared sermons containing vivid descriptions of the horrors of purgatory for parish priests to preach just before entered their towns. (Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses, p.12)"
"Every time a coin in the coffer rings,A soul from purgatory springs."
"He wished to elicit the truth about the burning question of indulgences, which he himself professed not to fully understand at the time, and which yet was closely connected with the peace of conscience and eternal salvation. He chose the orderly and usual way of a learned academic disputation." (History of the Christian Church, vol. 7, p.155)
1. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said "Repent", He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
2. The word cannot be properly understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, i.e. confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
3. Yet its meaning is not restricted to repentance in one's heart; for such repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh.4. As long as hatred of self abides (i.e. true inward repentance) the penalty of sin abides, viz., until we enter the kingdom of heaven.
"True sorrow must spring from the goodness and mercies of God, especially from the wounds of Christ, so that man comes first of all to sense his own ingratitude in view of divine goodness and thereupon to hatred of himself and love of the kindness of God. Then tears will flow and he will hate himself from the very depths of his hear, yet without despair. Then he will hate sin, not because of the punishment but because of his regard for the goodness of God; and when he has perceived this he will be preserved from despair and will despise himself most ardently, yet joyfully."
27. There is no divine authority for preaching that the soul flies out of the purgatory immediately the money clinks in the bottom of the chest.
28. It is certainly possible that when the money clinks in the bottom of the chest avarice and greed increase; but when the church offers intercession, all depends in the will of God.
32. All those who believe themselves certain of their own salvation by means of letters of indulgence, will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.
33. We should be most carefully on our guard against those who say that the papal indulgences are an inestimable divine gift, and that a man is reconciled to God by them.
34. For the grace conveyed by these indulgences relates simply to the penalties of the sacramental "satisfactions" decreed merely by man.
35. It is not in accordance with Christian doctrines to preach and teach that those who buy off souls, or purchase confessional licenses, have no need to repent of their own sins.
36. Any Christian whatsoever, who is truly repentant, enjoys plenary remission from penalty and guilt, and this is given him without letters of indulgence.
37. Any true Christian whatsoever, living or dead, participates in all the benefits of Christ and the Church; and this participation is granted to him by God without letters of indulgence.
45. Christians should be taught that he who sees a needy person, but passes him by although he gives money for indulgences, gains no benefit from the pope's pardon, but only incurs the wrath of God.
46. Christians should be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they are bound to retain what is only necessary for the upkeep of their home, and should in no way squander it on indulgences.
53. Those are enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid the word of God to be preached at all in some churches, in order that indulgences may be preached in others.
54. The word of God suffers injury if, in the same sermon, an equal or longer time is devoted to indulgences than to that word.
56. The treasures of the church, out of which the pope dispenses indulgences, are not sufficiently spoken of or known among the people of Christ.
57. That these treasures are not temporal are clear from the fact that many of the merchants do not grant them freely, but only collect them.
58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the saints, because, even apart from the pope, these merits are always working grace in the inner man, and working the cross, death, and hell in the outer man.
62. The true treasure of the church is the Holy gospel of the glory and the grace of God.
63. It is right to regard this treasure as most odious, for it makes the first to be the last.
64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is most acceptable, for it makes the last to be the first.
65. Therefore the treasures of the gospel are nets which, in former times, they used to fish for men of wealth.
66. The treasures of the indulgences are the nets to-day which they use to fish for the wealth of men.
92. Away, then, with those prophets who say to Christ's people, "Peace, peace," where in there is no peace.
93. Hail, hail to all those prophets who say to Christ's people, "The cross, the cross," where there is no cross.
94. Christians should be exhorted to be zealous to follow Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hells.
95. And let them thus be more confident of entering heaven through many tribulations rather than through a false assurance of peace.
- The doctrinal decline. [Doctrines that were once core to evangelicalism have been watered down and many things once considered outside the bounds are not considered legitimate (open theism, denial of justification by faith alone, rejections of imputed righteousness)]
- Spiritual apathy.
- Increased mystical approach to Christianity that does not center on the external Word of God but the internal.
- Commercialization of ministry and the spiritual.
- The squandering of wealth and affluence rather than serving the poor and needy.
- Increased focus of marketing and appearances of the outward rather than the inward.
- Immorality of Christian leaders.
- The identification of the church with politics.
- Increased emphasis on penance (the evangelical variety centers on 'methods of self-improvement' rather than the gospel).
- The pulpit is a place to pontificate on man and man centered doctrine rather than to herald the work of God in Jesus Christ.
What we need today is nothing less than continuing reformation. Soli Deo Gloria