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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Reformation Day.
In 1514, Albrecht von Hohenzollern, perhaps better known as Albert of Mainz, became the Archbishop of the electorate of Mainz. Being the Archbishop of Mainz made one a member of the profoundly dignified and prestigious Electoral College: a group of seven members, three ecclesiastical rulers (the Archbishops of Mainz, Trier, and Cologne) and four secular rulers (the king of Bohemia, the Margrave of Brandenburg, the Count Palantine of the Rhine, and the Duke of Saxony) whose responsibility it was to elect emperors.

Obtaining such a position did not come without expense, and in order to finance becoming the Archbishop, Albert borrowed 21,000 ducats from a famously rich banker named Jacob Fugger ("the rich"). In order to pay off his debt, Albert obtained permission from Pope Leo X to collect alms in return for indulgences, provided that half of the money collected would be forwarded to the papacy in order to help finance the building of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. In 1517, Pope Leo X commissioned John Tetzel as the Commissioner of Indulgences for all of Germany.

To understand what an indulgence is, one must first understand Roman soteriology, that is one must first understand how a Catholic believes a person is justified.

Catholics believe that grace is a commodity that one can accumulate through faith empowered good works, and that justification is therefore a process by which you accumulate enough "grace" through faithful works to justify yourself. Being born again, according to Roman soteriology, is a process that begins at water baptism, and progresses until death, at which time you may or may not have any certainty about whether you had accumulated sufficient grace to avoid purgatory and go directly to heaven.

Purgatory, according to Rome's teaching, is the place where souls who didn't have enough grace in this life to be sufficiently cleansed from sin's stain, would suffer punishment. Even if a sin was confessed and forgiven by a priest, unless an "indulgence" was received from an ecclesiastical authority, one could expect to spend time in purgatory being punished for their sins at least until that punishment erased the guilt of their sin. Once the individual had been sufficiently punished in purgatory, his sins were purged, and he could continue on into heaven.

An indulgence therefore was a pardon or release from the expectation of punishment in purgatory, presuming of course that the sinner had been granted absolution by a priest already.

John Tetzel came to Wittenburgh Germany in 1517, generating money to pay off Albert's debt to John Fugger, and to build up Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, but when Tetzel began to sell these indulgences to the uneducated German on masses, it struck a nerve.

Tetzel had created a chart itemizing prices for various sins, and sloganeering with such crass slogans as "As soon as the gold in the casket rings - the rescued soul to heaven springs" and even claiming that the indulgences he sold could save a soul who violated the Virgin Mary.

So it was that on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther wrote a letter to Albert of Mainz protesting the sale of indulgences. Included in that letter was a copy of what has come to be called the 95 Theses, the same which were so famously nailed to the Wittenburgh Castle church door. The door was a regular bulletin board, being close to and facing the main road through Wittenburgh. It was not intended, I believe, to be an act of defiance, but rather an open invitation for scholarly discourse on the matter.

Whatever the case, the event had the effect of a catalyst - bringing to the forefront the profound need for reform in the Roman church. What we think of as the reformation, began as a bid from within the Catholic church for reformation - a bid to correct what had become a radical departure from historic Christian faith, and ultimately a bid that was rejected by the papal system, in favor of their present, perversion of the gospel - a money generating, works based soteriology whereby men depend upon the church rather than Christ for salvation. Those who refused to embrace this perversion were excommunicated.

The debt incurred by Albert's political ambition allowed John Tetzel to sell indulgences in Germany, and in doing so forced the church to examine what it had become, and to choose for itself whether to pursue God or mammon.

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posted by Daniel @ 12:15 PM  
14 Comments:
  • At 1:31 PM, October 31, 2007, Blogger Jim said…

    Well done Daniel. I recently finished the biography of Martin Luther and this lines up exactly with what I read.

    The original reformers had no intentions to leave the mother church. But God chose to separate his sheep from the treacherous wolves dressed in royalty.

    Much of the protestant movement centered around the kings of Europe wishing to throw off the yoke of the papacy.

    What transpired was the creation of varying branches of denominations still embracing much of the catholic liturgy and eccliastical heirarchy; the major difference being the correct teaching and preaching of salvation and many other doctrines. This has been widely lost in these same denominations of today.

    Hence the reason grace is again under attack and the simplicy of the gospel is being threatened.

    God bless,
    Jim

     
  • At 6:36 AM, November 02, 2007, Blogger mark pierson said…

    "Hence the reason grace is again under attack and the simplicy of the gospel is being threatened."

    Hmmm. I wonder what Jim means by that? :-)

     
  • At 6:46 AM, November 02, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    I assume he meant that some evangelical denominations have not entirely or sufficiently severed themselves from the Catholic perversion of grace, and it as such even in evangelicalism grace is again under attack and the simplicity of the gospel (saved by grace through faith) is being threatened because some are still teaching that with the mouth you are saved by faith, but only if you are saving yourself by works as you do so.

    I don't think it was a dig against the fact that the Holy Spirit must first convict a person of sin before that person can repent and believe, but rather was a commentary on how some in the evangelical world are really preaching a works based gospel.

    I could be wrong, Jim would have to speak for himself.

     
  • At 9:11 AM, November 02, 2007, Blogger Jim said…

    Mark,

    Thanks for making me smile today. You should have become a trial lawyer...you are good at cross examination. :)

    I imagine that sentence could be construed a number of ways. Let me flesh it out a bit more.

    We are saved by grace through faith alone...period.

    Whenever works are added to grace, it ceases to be grace. So therefore whenever we place a yoke of requirements upon others in order to come to Christ, we have in essence nullified the grace of God. Not that God's grace has been made ineffective, but we have made the hearer look to his own efforts as part of the solution to his sin problem.

    This teaching of works righteousness is of course the backbone of all Catholic dogma. The daughters of Catholicism never fully exorcised this wicked teaching and now today it is fully prevalent again. The mainline churches are prime examples of the liberal teaching of a grace plus theology.

    The flip side of the same coin is the ugly head of fundamental legalism. In this system, the adherent is taught that salvation is part grace, and part keeping of a multitude of laws. Failure to do so could cause them to lose what they had in the beginning, or possibly never had at all.

    This is really nothing less than the offering of Cain in a self-centered attempt to please God; the oldest religion in the book, and to a greater or lesser degree we all smell of this filthy rag.

    Only as we behold the glory of the Lord are we truly changed into His likeness. Grace becomes more precious as the sinfulness of our pride and rebellion are revealed.

    Anyways, I hope I didn't muddy the waters here more than before.

     
  • At 9:45 AM, November 02, 2007, Blogger mark pierson said…

    James, would a "traditionalist" be one of those who, well, you know, "place a yoke of requirements upon others in order to come to Christ"? Just a wonderin'.

     
  • At 10:36 AM, November 02, 2007, Blogger Jim said…

    Mark,

    Growing up two words were anathema to me; tradition and orthodox.

    Near to where I lived we had a huge "Greek Orthodox" church building. The eastern orthodox religion is basically the same as the RCC.

    Tradition similarly had the same connotations as one who practiced forms of ritualism in worship.

    Now, I realize that orthodox can also mean a correct understanding of doctrine that is in line with the agreement of many godly men.

    Tradition on the other hand has been a tough word for me to use in conjunction with the preaching of the gospel. However, we are creatures of habit and as such are prone to creating traditions, whether they be good or bad.

    You would have to define what you mean by "traditionalist".

     
  • At 10:49 AM, November 02, 2007, Blogger mark pierson said…

    Jim said...
    Antonio, obviously John 3:16 is still valid and applicable in the gospel presentation.

    It has been the focus of much ridicule by athiests, and traditionalist's alike.

    Perhaps before the offer of grace can be made though, there needs to be some groundwork laid; a foundation on which to rest the doctrine of free grace.

    Until a person sees their lost state as a hopeless sinner before a holy and just God, and trembles at the wrath abiding upon them, they will do one of two responses.

    1. They will either attempt to justify themselves by good works and reformation, or...

    2. They will see the grace of God as a license to sin with full immunity.

    Therefore we are remiss to offer the gift to a person who has not demonstrated a conviction from the Holy Spirit. Otherwise why would a man believe in Jesus, unless he sees his utter hopeless apart from Christ.

    Why do we need a Saviour if we do not realize we are lost? These verses grant us the assurance that our salvation is based on the promise of God's word alone and not our efforts at holiness or any such thing.

    God bless,
    Jim

    October 30, 2007 7:06 AM

     
  • At 10:58 AM, November 02, 2007, Blogger Jim said…

    Mark,

    ¿Qué usted está diciendo? What is your point?

     
  • At 11:34 AM, November 02, 2007, Blogger mark pierson said…

    The word "traditionalist's" and that blog's history with that term. IOW, I'm trying to figure out if you are refering to, well, you know, bibli... err, I mean, Calvinists.

     
  • At 12:04 PM, November 02, 2007, Blogger Jim said…

    Mark,

    There are many believers who wear the label of Calvinism. Do some of them not understand grace? Most definitely. Does that mean they are teaching a grace + salvation? Highly probable.

    From what I have read of my brother Dan here, a self proclaimed Calvinist, I would say he understands the matter of grace quite well. He has been blessed with the ability to make difficult passages understandable.

    But I think of traditionalism as more ritualistic in nature. It is the kind of thing you can practice in your sleep. There are those who go through the motions of religion but have no idea why. That is a dead tradition.

    Mark,

    Could you define for me what exactly you mean by "traditionalist"?

     
  • At 12:53 PM, November 02, 2007, Blogger mark pierson said…

    I don't like, nor do I use, the term.

    "There are many believers who wear the label of Calvinism. Do some of them not understand grace? Most definitely. Does that mean they are teaching a grace + salvation? Highly probable."

    Can you give me specific examples please of both the names of the Calvinists who do not understand grace and what it is that they teach as far as, you would say, "they are teaching a grace + salvation? Highly probable."

    Please answer this, James.

    (It'll be tomorrow before I see it as I'm going to work now, thanks.)

     
  • At 10:58 PM, November 02, 2007, Blogger mark pierson said…

    My perception of the term "traditionalist" is that it applies to anyone who consults any exposition of scripture, or commentary on scripture, that is not endorsed by the GES.

     
  • At 8:53 AM, November 03, 2007, Blogger mark pierson said…

    Centuries of protestant theology got it all wrong until the GES came along to correct all the ill's. Pretty heady stuff.

     
  • At 11:12 AM, November 03, 2007, Blogger Jim said…

    "My perception of the term "traditionalist" is that it applies to anyone who consults any exposition of scripture, or commentary on scripture, that is not endorsed by the GES."

    Mark,

    I think you are being facetious with me. :)

    It would be foolish to hold such an opinion, there is obviously much truth in the centuries of protestant theology.

    Lets take John Wesley for example. He was a powerful preacher and used mightily of God. We can learn much from him. However, he held to some incorrect notions about the security of the believer. Does this mean I throw him out as a heretic? Absolutely not! I simply take what I can and leave the rest.

    Similarly, Luther and Calvin brought amazing changes to the Church. Does this mean every word they spoke and wrote was gospel truth? For sure not, but we take what we can and leave the rest.

    I take what I can from each christian blogger I can.

    You make a good point about not making an accusation without evidence. I will try to keep that in mind for further comments.

    In Christ,
    Jim

     
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