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October 27, 2021 12:01 am
After depleting the treasuries of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Leo X devised a plan to save the church from bankruptcy: the selling of indulgences. Today, R.C. Sproul describes this episode as the backdrop behind Martin Luther's 95 Theses.
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The Roman Catholic system. Salvation is dependent on one's ability to become righteous. A person has to arrive at such a state of his or her life where she or he is inherently righteous.
If a person dies. With any blemish attached to their soul before they can get to heaven, they must first serve time in purgatory, which is the place of purging the problem is you never know how long will be in purgatory before you reach that state of righteousness. This is what was behind the sale of indulgences in the Roman Catholic Church by the Middle Ages. The system was abused even further. Unfortunately, the church of law signed Google view of salvation. In contrast with Martin Luther read his Bible, especially the book of Romans. He saw that only Christ righteousness can purchase salvation. Dr. RC's pronoun with more on Luther and the Reformation.
In our last session we looked at the crisis that Took Pl. in Luther's life and 1515 in the so-called our experience when he was awakened to a new understanding of the righteousness of God that righteousness of God which is by faith. The righteousness that God provides those who lack it, in and of themselves, and Luther later would say that once he saw that concept of understood the gospel from that perspective it began to say in virtually every page of the Bible and it is completely altered his whole understanding of theology and the Christian life. Meanwhile, back in Rome.
Things were taking place there of momentous import's during this time there were two popes that had been in power that are numbered even by Roman Catholic historians is two of the most corrupt popes in the history of the church. The first one being Julius the second who was known as the warrior hope that he was the head of his soldiers trying to annex lands to papal control and spill volumes and volumes of blood and that enterprise while he had in them vicious dream.
He wanted to build a new cathedral for the Roman bishop, a new basilica with a dome that would rival that of the Parthenon and that dome would cover this enormous church and give a suitable place to how those the bones of the apostles Peter and Paul which allegedly would be in the basement of this grand edifice, and so he began work on this project and very soon after the footers were laid for the building of St. Peter's Julius the second die and he was succeeded by the Mattice Pope Leo the 10th who one Catholic historian, described as a severe trial for the church because in the midst of his personal corruption. Leo the 10th also had depleted the treasuries of the Roman church spending the monies that have been gathered by previous popes, as well as what was there when he took power and so the church was on the brink of bankruptcy and the building of St. Peter's was basically halted after the footers have been established and weeds were over growing the bottoms structures of the building and it seemed for a while at least, that the building of St. Peter's would never be completed at the same time as there are in Rome. Leo the 10th was struggling with depleted finances in Germany. There was a young prince of the Hohenzollern line, whose name was Prince Albert of Brandenburger. Albert is also a pivotal figure for the Protestant Reformation. For this reason, even though he was too young by canon law to become a bishop anywhere.
He had already secured to bishoprics, one in Homer Stott and the other in modern the bird and of course he acquired these to bishoprics through the process. Let us called simony. I'll write that on the board. Simony, simony was the process by which people bought church offices may pave the Pope for the ecclesiastical structures enough money to be rewarded with these appointments as being bishops in the name simony goes back to the New Testament through the episode where the magician Simon Magnus tried to purchase the Holy Spirit from Peter when he saw Peter working his miracles to which Peter replied, may your money perish with you, which I think is a somewhat polite translation of what Peter said to Simon Magnus but in any case, simony became rampant in the Middle Ages, and particularly at this time. This is the kind of thing that Luther witnessed during this critical visit to Rome in 1510, where he saw the city given to so much corruption and so first of all, you weren't allowed to be bishop of more than one place. Second of all canon laws that you had be a certain age and Albert didn't qualify. In either case, she wasn't old enough, and he had to bishoprics and he purchased the two of these.
While his ambition was to be the most powerful cleric in all of Germany and there was an archbishopric that came vacant in the large city of Mainz and so now Albert's lost was inflamed. He knew that if he could capture that archbishopric of maintenance along with the other two seasonably already had.
He could fulfill his ambition of being the most powerful cleric in Germany so he undertook negotiations with Rome and with the Pope with Leo in order to acquire this new archbishopric and so the haggling started off where the Pope demanded a payment of 12,000 gold ducats in exchange for the archbishopric of Mainz and Prince Albert countered with an offer of 7000 gold ducats. The Pope and said he wanted 12,001 for each of the 12 apostles and Albert countered by offering 7000 1000 for each of the seven deadly sins and and so finally, a compromise was reached by which Albert was able to secure the archbishopric of Mainz for the tidy sum of 10,000 gold ducats thousand for each of the 10 Commandments but then where the plot thickens had to do with how this whole process was going to be financed as wealthy of the princes Albert was. He didn't have 10,000 gold ducats at his disposal to purchase the archbishopric of Mainz and so he undertook the process of borrowing the money from the fugue or bankers in Germany and they agreed to loan him the 10,000 gold ducats, which he and then pass on to the Pope and now to sweeten the deal, the Pope gave another benefit to Albert Brandenberg.
He gave him permission to be in charge of the distribution of indulgences through out Germany in whatever areas or provinces. It was permitted politically and the agreement was this for the money that Albert was able to raise through the distribution of papal indulgences.
50% of it would go to Rome for the building of St. Peter's and the other 50% would be going then to pay off his debt to the German bankers and so this began this process of the widespread sale of indulgences in Germany not understand how this worked there. Some things we need to clarify. First of all, it was understood by the Roman Catholic Church that as the successor to Peter and as the Vicar of Christ on earth. The Pope possessed the keys of the kingdom. He had what was called the power of the keeps going back to apostolic days when Jesus said to the disciples, whatsoever things you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven and whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven that Jesus in this manner gave the keys of the kingdom, not just to the disciples in general. But to Peter, in particular, and that pet trying authority and ownership of the keys of the kingdom was then passed down to all of the successors of Peter from the first Pope all the way down now to the 16th century to Leo the 10th know what was so important about the keys of the kingdom is that the keys of the kingdom was the key.
Basically, to the most important treasury that the church possessed not the vault that contained gold ducats, but rather that treasury that contained what the church then and now called and still calls the treasury of merit and the treasury of merit is that depository where all of the merits that were earned by Jesus Christ our deposit. In addition to the merits deposited by Jesus.
There are also the deposits of the marriage of Mary of Joseph, of the original apostles and of the great saints throughout the ages. And so the treasury of merits.
Is this bass some of merits that have been amassed through the centuries through the work of Christ through the work of the apostles and through the work of the great saints in order for somebody to go to heaven in the Roman Catholic scheme of things which we will examine separately later, a person has to arrive at such a state in his or her life where she or he is inherently righteous. Where there is not only no mortal sin tarnishing their character or their behavioral performance but also note venial sin no blemish whatsoever.
If a person dies.
With any blemish attached to their soul before they can get to heaven, they must first serve time in purgatory, which is the place of purging. It purges blemishes from the soul like a crucible purchase the draws from your goal. And as we've same.
A person's time in purgatory can range from a few days millions of years depending on how much blemish you carry with you and to purgatory, and so people who lack merit to get into heaven have to find a way to if possible, diminish the time that they are spending in this place of purging now only a handful of people historically have achieved enough merit by which they go directly to heaven when they die, and the Roman Catholic Church distinguishes amongst three types of merit and this distinction becomes at the very center of the controversy in a very short period of time during the Reformation. The three types of merit or the first is what is called condign CON DIG and condign merit or in the Latin America room decor on big no condign merit is merit that is so virtuous that it imposes an obligation of justice upon God to reward it. If a person possesses that kind of merit God would be unjust if he didn't give an appropriate reward for a course in the church believe that the merit of Jesus that he achieved was condign merit. But not only did Jesus achieve condign merit but also other of the saints in history as well. The second type of merit is called congruous merit or merit someday congruent and congruous merit is not as high or as meritorious as conduct merit but nevertheless it does have some sense of merit associated with it. Congruous merit is merit that is sufficient to make it fitting or congruous for God to reward it and that will come into play very very significantly in the Roman Catholic churches doctrine of the sacrament of penance and when we look at the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification will see where congruous merit comes in to play.
But there's 1/3 kind of merit that's most important for our consideration here and that is what's called super derogatory merit achieved by works of supererogation not irrigation supererogation works of supererogation are meritorious works that are above and beyond the call of duty. They are merits but are achieved beyond what God requires of obedient Christians. For example the martyrs by their martyrdom were able to earn super derogatory merit in the great saints of the ages, people like Jerome like St. Francis of Assisi, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas these great saints were so virtuous in their life that not only did they achieve or acquire enough condign merit to get into heaven directly without having to go through purgatory.they had more merit than they needed. They had a certain surplus of merit gain through. As I mentioned a moment ago works of supererogation and so the surplus merit earned by the saints is deposited in the treasury of merit.
So do you see the picture.
This treasury contains the merit of Christ. The merit of this holy family. The merit of the apostles and the merits of the saints and all the surplus merit is there, and may be used and distributed at the disposal and the judgment of the Pope with the power of the keys and what an indulgence is is a papal grants by which so much merit is taken out of the treasury of merit and applied to somebody who is deficient in merit, lacking in merit so that they can shorten their time in purgatory and go to heaven.
And so the gaining of indulgences was something that was extremely important. Then and now in the Roman system of salvation there certain RNAs that are associated with that that I'll look at further later because this involves a kind of imputation. I kind of designation of one man's merit for another persons merit because of their efficiency. Now to acquire an indulgence and gain the application of this merit from the treasury of merit certain things had to take place that were associated as I will go into more deeply later with the sacrament of penance, but one of the elements of the sacrament of penance in which the contrite sinner comes to confession confesses there send to the priest receives priestly absolution and then is required to do certain works of congruous merit such as saying so many Hail Marys are our fathers who giving restitution.
One of the things that was delineated in order to fulfill the requirements of penance was the giving of all so that if a person gave all out of a genuine sense of repentance that all homes that were paid could gain the transfer of indulgences to their account again. The canon law, the church made it clear that this was not to be understood as a crass selling of forgiveness whereby people could just write a check and get their relatives out of purgatory or throw a coin in the cattle and achieve the same end, but the way in which this was carried out, particularly in Germany became the scandal that provoked Luther's reaction and the 95 theses that he posted on the wall on the whole St. Steve in 1517. But the whole thing is related to the almsgiving process and the Pope was using this process to gain the finances he needed to build the church.
I can be sympathetic with the Pope because I know what I had to go through here to build this church and the and I wish I would've had the treasury of merit to draw from in order to encourage people to give to the building of Satan and this is what started the issue exploded. Then in section with the sale of indulgences by the papal representative Which Will Look at the Next Day We Will Look Forward to That Tomorrow. We Do Hope You'll Join Us in the Don't You Appreciate That Dr. Sproles You Were in the All of This.
Martin Luther Was Shocked by the Corruption That He Was Witnessing the Church. They Were Literally Selling Eternity to People but He Refused to Accept Their Authority Because He Saw That There Is Only One Sure and Certain Basis of Authority and That's the Word of God. The Series Rearing This Week Goes through Many of the Events Leading up to Martin Luther's Historic Stand and We like to Send You a Copy of Dr. Sproles Companion Paperback Book Titled Luther of the Reformation, along with the Two DVD Set of the Series Will Be among the First to Receive This Book.
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You'll Find Articles by Today's Leading Reform Pastors and Theologians Plus Daily Guided Bible Studies. If You Never Subscribe before You Can Receive a Free Three Month Trial Subscription When You Go to Try Table Talk.com. I Hope You'll Check It out Tomorrow. RC Will Describe the Crux of Martin Luther's Complaint against the Catholic Church in a State of Anger. Luther Wrote down in Clear First Language 95 Theses of Protests against the Corruption That Was Involved in the Sale of These Indulgences Join Us for a Lesson Titled the Indulgence Controversy Thursday Here on Renewing Your Mind