When Tetzel sold his indulgences in Germany in the 16th century, Martin Luther couldn’t take it! Was forgiveness really being sold by his church?! See how indulgences destroy the doctrine on which the church stands or falls – justification. What is justification? Objectively it is simply stated that God saved the world from sin in Jesus. That objective fact, becomes ours through faith in Jesus as our Savior. The Romans Catholic church added steps to justification when it created the system of penance. To be forgiven a person needs three things: contrition (sorrow over sin), confession (admitting your sin to a priest), and satisfaction (some token action to make up for your sin). It is this third part, satisfaction, where indulgence falls. God does not require this three step system to be forgiven. While, technically, it is not the sale of forgiveness, it is not a very long jump in logic to reach the thought, “I can buy satisfaction; Jesus will forgive me anyway.” Watch Reformation Remembrance – Indulgences for more information on this important topic.
Please click here for the Smalcald article on indulgences.
Please click here for the Bible Class slides.