Mount Zion BibleInstitute Course gs3 Lessons 1-12 (File gs3 1-12) (20 lessons in total) Contents



Download 0.55 Mb.
Page1/14
Date25.04.2016
Size0.55 Mb.
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   ...   14
A Glorious Institution:
The Church in History
Part Three: The Reformation and Its Aftermath (1517 - 1648)

&
Mount Zion BibleInstitute


Course GS3 Lessons 1-12 (File GS3 1-12)

(20 lessons in total)




Contents

page

Lesson 1 The Reformation Begins 3

Lesson 2 Upheaval! 9

Lesson 3 A New Way of Life for Luther and Lutherans 15

Lesson 4 The Reformation Reaches Beyond Germany 19

Lesson 5 Blood and Violence in the Body of Christ 25

Lesson 6 Reformation Faith Is Found in France 30

Lesson 7 John Knox and the Scottish Reformation 34

Lesson 8 The Reformation Comes to England 39

Lesson 9 Counter-Reformation and Continuing Conflict 44

Lesson 10 The Reformation in England Continues 49

Lesson 11 The Rise of New Expressions of Religion 57

Lesson 12 Changes in the Church Continue 61

Appendix 1: The Ninety-five Theses of Martin Luther, October 31, 1517
(included in its entirety) 65

Appendix 2: The Doctrine of Election 68

Appendix 3: The Doctrine of the Priesthood 69

Appendix 4: The Westminster Shorter Catechism (AD 1647)


(first page only) 70


Copyright 2001 Mount Zion Bible Institute

For these courses in print in the USA only, contact: school@mountzion.org

For supportive, follow-up, conservative literature, please contact: chapel@mountzion.org

Permission is expressly granted to reproduce this material provided:

1) the material is not charged for, and 2) this complete paragraph is included prominently.

Suggestions…
Please answer the questions below from the information given in the text. Each chapter in the text corresponds to the lesson you are doing. For example, the information you need to answer the questions from lesson one in this Study Guide, is found in chapter one in the text.
Before you begin the questions, please read the chapter for the lesson you are taking. Please read slowly enough so you understand what you read.
It is also always good to pray before each lesson, asking the LORD for wisdom to apply what you learn to your life, and to enable you to love Him with all your mind, heart, soul, and strength... for this is the first commandment (Mark 12:30).
Response questions are intended to support a basic understanding of what was happening at this point in the development of the church. These questions are required as the core part of the study.
Reflection questions go much deeper to ask you to evaluate and integrate the information with the scriptures and with overall trends. These questions are important: please make your best effort to answer them, but please also realize there are no right or wrong answers.
Making It Personal questions bring the biblical principles into practical application. The goal here is change in your own life toward godliness. Again, there are no right or wrong answers; only your honesty with yourself in personal commitments.
Accountability questions are designed to encourage discipline and faithfulness in completing the lessons. Any sort of self-study requires a personal commitment a) to finish, and b) to be regular and thorough (not "cut corners").


Part Three

The Reformation and Its Aftermath

1517 - 1648
(part three of this course uses chapters 1 - 12 of the book entitled

A Glorious Institution: The Church in History; Parts Three and Four)

Lesson 1 The Reformation Begins


Chapter 1

Around noon time on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther (1483-1546) nailed his 95 theses to the old wooden door of the Castle Church at Wittenburg, Germany. There is a lovely story which says that Frederick, Elector of Saxony, had a dream on the previous night. He saw a monk writing on the Castle Church in letters large enough to be read by the Elector of Schweinitz more than twelve miles away, and with a pen which appeared to reach as far as Rome where it unfastened the crown of the pope. Since this story cannot be traced back beyond 1591, it is probably a legend; but it satisfactorily pictures the early perception of many, that the simple act of a concerned monk would be used by God. It was the spark that ignited a series of events that ushered in a new age in world history, now known as The Reformation.

During this period, the power of Rome over the souls of individuals would be challenged. Individuals would rise to remove spiritual oppression and restore Christian liberty. Those who led the Reformation were people of faith and conviction. They had high intelligence and tremendous personal courage. Many died to preserve and protect the purity of the Gospel of grace.

The Reformation Era was an exciting and heroic epoch, as people followed their leaders despite all the dangers and sacrifices involved. And the Lord honored those who honored Him: the Reformation spread through Germany, Switzerland, France, The Netherlands, England, Scotland, Norway, and Sweden. God set His people free to worship Him "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23).


THE DAY GOD SHOOK THE WORLD

There are specific dates in the history of the world which are of unique importance. The events which transpire on these dates are remembered often in the centuries that follow. October 31, 1517 is such a date. Martin Luther used that day to make his views about certain religious abuses known to the public. Luther felt this could best be done by holding a scholarly debate in the open. He decided to make a civic pronouncement of his theological position. The Lord honored that decision and used it to shake the world.

The seeds of change had already been sown by others. Politically, the power of the papacy was being challenged. In Portugal, Spain, France, and England, national states were seeking to rise. Emperors felt the restrictions of religion on their decisions, and they wanted more freedom from the Church. Elsewhere, the followers of Mohammed continued to move against the borders of the Holy Roman Empire. After conquering Constantinople and the Eastern Empire in 1453, Islamic armies marched across Eastern Europe until they arrived at the gates of Vienna in 1529. The world was rapidly changing. Religion was not exempted. When Constantinople was conquered by the Mohammedan Turks, the central power of the Eastern Orthodox Church was lost, and national churches soon emerged.

Other important things were happening. Christopher (literal meaning: Christ-like) Columbus made his valiant voyage which led to the discovery of the New World. This, in turn, allowed a Spanish empire in the West. Ferdinand Magellan circum-navigated the globe. Meanwhile, the Portuguese claimed territory in Brazil, Africa, and the Far East.

Also during this period, advances were being made in knowledge. The scientific legacy of the Middle Ages includes the Hindu numerals, the decimal system, the discovery of gunpowder, and the inventions of the eyeglass, the mariner's compass, and the pendulum clock. The invention of moveable type at Mayence on the Rhine, in 1456 by Johann Gutenberg, ensured that learning would be widely encouraged and new ideas would be spread. It is significant that the first book printed by Gutenberg was 200 copies of Jerome's Vulgate Bible. Later, the printing press would be used to bring the Scriptures to the common person in a clear translation that all could read. Once people were able to read the Bible for themselves, many would realize that the Catholic Church had become far removed from the ideals of the New Testament.

As the printing press made the Scriptures available to a wider audience, so it made people more aware of secular concepts. Humanism would come to enjoy a wide following as specific ideas were articulated. One belief that found popular appeal was the humanistic teaching that individuals could be made better by moral reformation, apart from religious instruction by the Church. It was also contended that the world itself could be improved by creative thinking on the part of man. To discover how, an appeal was made to the literature of the Classical Age of the Greeks. It seemed that the past would be the key to the future. However, in order to understand the past, the ancient languages of Greek and Hebrew had to be seriously studied once more. The irony is that this led secular scholars back to the Bible, because the old manuscripts had to be mastered.

To enhance this renewed interest in learning, universities arose to educate a larger number of people. The educational process helped to instill an objective spirit of inquiry into the mind. Individuals were encouraged to challenge established authority, and to think in critical terms. Some of those who were religiously inclined, began to think critically about the state of the Church. It did not take much of a discerning mind to realize that a great deal needed to be changed. There was sin in the sanctuary. The sins of the saints included simony (the selling of Church offices), ecclesiastical arrogance, immorality among members of the clergy, and the selling of salvation and sanctification through indulgences.

These and other abuses caused spiritual unrest to concerned souls, which only added to the disturbance of a society experiencing social and economic unrest. People desired more personal freedom, more money, and more opportunities to be individually creative. Multitudes were crowding into towns in a desperate attempt to flee the harsh life under feudalism. There were differing degrees of independence and serfdom among the peasantry of Europe, but for all, it was a very hard way of existence. Life on the land had a regular, monotonous, repetitive pattern. In autumn pigs were killed, and in the spring, oxen were led out to plough. People wanted more.


ECCLESIASTICAL POWER OVER PEOPLE

Though there was renewed emphasis on classical learning, though there was a movement towards humanistic thinking, though emperors wanted more political strength, and though people wanted more personal autonomy, the Church still held a powerful grip upon the hearts of its hearers. This was possible because of specific doctrinal teachings which caused individuals to have hope in the pope, and in his spiritual power. No matter how corrupt the clergy became, nor how many unusual non-biblical theological concepts were conceived, the Catholic Church was able to influence the thoughts of multitudes. Hearts still wanted to know the way to heaven.


A SYSTEM OF SACRAMENTS

According to the Church in medieval times, entrance into heaven was based upon merit. In order to merit eternal life in the presence of God, there first had to be a cleansing by fire after death in a place called purgatory. In addition, there had to be evidence of having lived a worthy life. In order to help professing Christians live a worthy life of merit, which would reduce time spent in purgatory, the Church developed a system of sacraments.

The philosophical undergirding for sacraments is the recognition that man has a mind and a body. He is both physical and spiritual. In like manner, the world is experienced on two levels, the physical and the spiritual. It is obvious that God has ordained that man be touched and helped through material objects and visible means, in addition to faith. There is the fact of the Incarnation, in which God was manifested in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:1,14).

Taking these biblical truths further, the Catholic Church began to teach about a number of other outward and visible signs. These signs, it said, were indicators of an inward and spiritual grace, given and ordained by Christ Himself, as a means by which individuals might receive heaven's blessings and be assured of eternal life. These signs of grace were called sacraments. In each sacrament there are certain elements which are constant, including the matter and the form. The grace or benefit of the sacrament is given objectively, but apprehended subjectively by 'virtuous faith'. Medieval tradition recognized seven sacraments.


BAPTISM. In the act of baptism, it is declared that original sin is removed, and the soul is incorporated into the Church. In this way, the doctrine of baptismal regeneration is embraced (cp. 1 Peter 3:21).

CONFIRMATION. The completion of baptism is confirmed by the laying on of hands. During this ceremony, it is believed that the Holy Spirit is conferred upon a person so that they are empowered to live out the ethics of the Christian life (cp. John 14:16,17; Acts 2:1-4).

PENANCE. Realizing that even Christians sin, the Church made provision for penance by confession of sins in the presence of a priest, who was able to declare God's forgiveness and absolve the soul of all transgressions. Outward acts were expected to be displayed by the penitent, manifesting contrition and faith (cp. 1 John 1:9; Mark 2:7).

HOLY EUCHARIST. In the taking of the Lord's Supper, the soul is strengthened and refreshed. Union with God is found by assimilation of Christ, who is believed to be literally present in the two elements: bread and fruit of the vine (cp. Matt. 26:26-30; 1 Cor. 11:23-30).

HOLY ORDERS. Select individuals are conferred with spiritual power and the privilege of ministry (cp. Rev. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:9).

HOLY MATRIMONY. This outward ritual was designed to enhance a life-long monogamous union between a man and a woman. The benefits of marriage include grace to find help in life, companionship, enjoyment of the act of marriage, procreation, and the ability to maintain sexual honor (cp. Gen. 2:24; Heb. 13:4; Eph. 5:25).

UNCTION. As the sick and dying were anointed with oil, a prayer for grace was offered (cp. James 5:14-15).
A NON-SALVATION OF PENANCE

Of particular importance was the sacrament of penance. Daily, people sinned, and daily they needed to know if they could be forgiven. The Church taught that the priest had the power to pardon sins, in the name of Christ, and to release any soul from the eternal punishment which is visited upon sin. However, those who received the sacrament of penance had to express contrition, after an honest confession to a priest. Then, there had to be satisfaction. The priest determined what satisfaction the erring penitent had to make, in order to display outwardly a heart of contrition. It was not uncommon for the priest to instruct the penitent to fast, recite a specific number of prayers, give alms to the poor, go on a pilgrimage, visit a shrine, or even take part in a religious crusade to the Holy Land. The focus of attention was upon doing something to merit the grace and goodness of God, rather than recognizing by faith what God had done and had given to us in Christ's completed sacrifice on the cross, apart from our own works (cp. Rom. 5:1-2; Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 8:28-29).


INDULGENCE

Although the system of penance was developed to assist concerned souls in finding comfort after sin, abuse and corruption emerged. The Kingdom of Christ found itself able to make money. Guilt-laden individuals were willing to pay for peace of mind and favor with God. The decision was made to allow a monetary gift to be given to the work of the Lord, through the Church. The impersonal contribution of money would replace outward forms of penitential acts of contrition. And so gold began to replace grace, and the congregation of the righteous became unrighteously greedy. In order to encourage more money to come into its coffers, the Church went so far as to provide the penitent an official document of indulgence, declaring that the power and pollution of sin was broken, and the soul was under no further obligation to perform acts of contrition as a penalty. The iniquity of selling indulgences had begun.


SUPEREROGATION

The theological justification for the granting of an indulgence was grounded in the concept of works of supererogation. Technically, such works went beyond the demands of God's law and earned a reward. It was believed that Jesus had lived a life of purity and holiness that went far beyond what was necessary to secure the salvation of sinners. Therefore, He must have stored up a rich treasury of merits in heaven that could be appropriated by others.

In like manner, the saints have stored up merits in heaven. Such a storehouse of spiritual treasure is needed because the Gospel comes to men demanding a certain measure of perfection (Matthew 19:21). According to Catholic dogma, if the Rich Young Ruler (Matt. 19:16-22) had honored the admonition of Christ, he would have performed the works of supererogation, and so would have merited great reward, leading to eternal life. [While the Rich Young Ruler failed in his spiritual obligations, others have not. There are saints who have sold their goods, given their wealth to the poor (or better yet the Church), and by so doing, have laid up treasure in heaven.] To continue the thought, a treasure necessitates a treasurer. As Christ's vicar on earth, the pope must be the one best qualified for this position. Based on this assumption, the Catholic Church began to teach that at his discretion, the pope could credit to a person's account whatsoever merits were needed to ensure salvation.

It is hard to believe that this speculative and scriptureless theology found a wide audience of acceptance, but it did. There was something about these concepts that appealed to Church leaders, and to their congregations. It appealed to the innate pride of self-effort present in all men. The common people were quick to perceive that it is much easier to buy an indulgence, than to endure the process of sanctification, involving the mortification of fleshly desires. The people realized that it might be easier to pay money, in order to help a departed soul out of purgatory, than to pray a person into heaven.

As the common people liked the concept of indulgences, based upon superficial acts of repentance, so the Church leaders quickly grew to like the results of their religious thinking, because money began to pour into the coffers. But as the Church grew rich, its monetary appetite became insatiable. There is a wonderful legend associated with Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). As the story goes, one day Thomas came upon Pope Gregory X counting coins after a worship service. "Look Thomas," cried the pope, "no longer can the Church say 'Silver and gold have I none.' "And neither," replied Thomas, "can the Church say, 'Rise up and walk.'"
JOHN TETZEL: A MASTER OF DECEIT

In the quest for more gold for the Church, official spokesmen were sent into the countries of Europe to raise money. One of the best of these "gospel hucksters" was a man named John Tetzel, an eloquent Dominican Friar. Legend has it that Tetzel would tell audiences, with a flair for the dramatic, "Whenever a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs!" John Tetzel did not realize that the day was soon coming when he would have to give an account for his actions. First Tetzel, and then the world, were about to hear of the holy displeasure Martin Luther possessed, against all who were making merchandise of the Gospel.


A MAN NAMED MARTIN

Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, Germany, on November 10, 1483, to devout parents, John and Margaret. His father valued education and made it possible, through hard work in the mining industry, for Martin to attend college in Erfurt. The University of Erfurt was the most celebrated in all Germany.

Luther arrived at this university in 1501, when he was eighteen years old. Two years later, while browsing in the school's library, Luther made an amazing discovery. As he opened books at random to learn the name of the author, his eye was attracted to one in particular. And as he read the title, his excitement only grew. It was a complete Bible, something almost unknown in those times. As Luther began to study the Scriptures, he was astonished that there was so much more than the select passages from the Gospels and Epistles that the Church allowed to be read on Sundays. Here was a volume the young student was determined to devour.

Always a brilliant scholar, Luther received a Master's degree in 1505. Wanting to please his parents, Luther next took up the study of law in the same university. However, six months later he suddenly changed his mind and entered the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. The change in direction came because of a religious awakening Luther experienced one day when he was caught in the midst of a thunderstorm.

In the summer of 1505, Luther had decided to visit his parents who were living in Mansfeldt. The vacation proved to be stressful, and Luther returned to school. As he neared Erfurt, he was overtaken by a violent storm. The clouds clapped out thunder, and a tremendous lightening bolt flashed at his feet! Luther threw himself upon his knees believing that he was going to die. Sudden destruction, judgment, and eternity, with all their terrors, appeared before his eyes. Encompassed with the anguish and horror of death, Luther made a vow. If the Lord should deliver him from this danger, he would leave the world and devote himself entirely to God.
A RELIGIOUS AWAKENING

When Luther's father learned that his son had given up the study of law, he was more than disappointed: he was outraged. Still, Martin withstood the pressure to reverse his decision about pursuing a religious life. Within six months, Luther had taken the vows of a monk. After studying theology, Luther was ordained a priest in 1507. The following year he was assigned a tutoring position in the University of Wittenburg. While there, Luther obtained the Bachelor of Bible degree in theology.

After one year in Wittenberg, Martin was transferred back to Erfurt, where he received his second degree in theology, after which he was given a prestigious teaching position. At the tender age of twenty-six years, Luther was appointed to teach the Sentences of Peter Lombard, the standard textbook of theology.

In the year 1510, Luther was provided an opportunity to travel to Rome as a companion to an older brother in the Augustinian Order. His heart was thrilled at the great privilege of making a holy pilgrimage. Once in Rome, Luther moved from place to place in religious excitement. "I remember," he wrote, "that when I went to Rome I ran about like a madman to all the churches, all the convents, all the places of note of any kind. I implicitly believed every tale about all of them that imposture had invented."

Luther climbed on his knees the Scala Santa, believed to be the stairs (transported from Jerusalem) which Jesus once climbed to reach Pilate's judgment hall. As he climbed the stairs, praying a pater noster on each step (a standard Catholic prayer), doubt crept into Luther's mind. When he came to the top step, he stood up and silently asked, "Who knows whether this is true?"

While many of his religious experiences in Rome were exciting, as Luther continued to tour the historic city, what he saw and heard shocked his spiritual sensitivity. There was open graft, corruption, and immorality. The holy city was not holy at all. Though he remained a loyal Catholic for the time, the seed was sown in Luther's mind that the Church needed radical reformation. After being in Rome, Luther was prepared to say, "If there is a hell, Rome is built over it."

Luther returned to Wittenberg to lecture on the Bible in the University. He taught and preached, meanwhile continuing his personal pursuit of knowledge until he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity.

In 1515, Luther began to speak in the parish church. While the parishioners heard him gladly, they did not know that Dr. Luther was still searching for his own personal salvation. Part of the search involved a life of strict asceticism. In a small cell in the tower of the Black Cloister (a residence for monks and nuns), Luther tried to earn salvation by good works. Cheerfully did he perform the most menial tasks. Happily did he pray and fast. With grim determination, Luther flogged himself until he fainted from the self-inflicted pain. Because of this religious ordeal, his body deteriorated until Luther looked like a skeleton. His cell remained unheated despite harsh winters. He maintained all night vigils and only rarely would he sleep on a mat for comfort.


SALVATION IN A SOLITARY CELL

And yet, despite all of his efforts, Luther was still burdened with a sense of shame and guilt. His soul was in the deepest depths of despair because, no matter how hard he tried, he knew he had not done enough to merit salvation. Later, looking back on this period of his life, Luther wrote the pope a letter and said, "I often endured an agony so hellish in violence, that if those spells had lasted a minute longer, I must have died then and there."

Finally, in matchless mercy, God sent comfort to Luther through several sources. One source was the spiritual writing of Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). Bernard knew something about the free grace of Christ for salvation. A second source of spiritual help came from the kindness of the vicar of Luther's monastic order. Johann von Staupitz was able to temper and encourage his zealous monk during the days when Luther's religious zeal bordered upon madness. But most of all, there was the gift of the Holy Spirit. God was pleased to visit Luther with the gift of redeeming grace (John 3:7-8; Titus 3:5).

One day, toward the end of the year 1515, Luther was alone in his cell with a Bible. The Scriptures were opened to Paul's letter to the Romans. Luther's eyes rested upon verse seventeen in chapter one which declares that, "The just shall live by faith." Suddenly, the sunshine of radiant, Gospel truth broke through the dense clouds of spiritual darkness. "The just shall live by faith!" In a moment of Divine illumination, Luther understood. He had been trying to earn salvation by works. But "the just shall live by faith!"

Romans 1:17 became to Luther the gates of Paradise. After years of trying to merit the merits of Christ, Luther was finally converted. Immediately, he cast himself upon Jesus Christ, and trusted in Him for salvation, forgiveness, and freedom from the power and pollution of sin (Acts 16:31).
NINETY-FIVE THESES

One can only imagine that instance of indescribable joy which came to Martin Luther in the small, cold cell of the Black Cloister in Wittenberg. In a moment of glory, Luther met the Master. He came to know Jesus Christ personally. His soul was suddenly filled with peace, hope, and joy unspeakable. He was a different person (2 Cor. 5:17).

As a new creature in Christ Jesus, Luther began to see the Church in a new way. What he saw horrified him to the point that he could not keep quiet. An enemy had come and sown seeds of moral corruption in the Church of the living God (Matt. 13:25)!

Luther soon discerned that most of the spiritual abuse in the Church could be traced to the system of penance and the selling of indulgences. He rightly perceived that precious souls, for whom Christ had died, were being deceived. Luther was determined to expose the putrid system he found, and hopefully, to change it for the better.

One day, after returning to his cell in the tower, Luther picked up his pen, and recorded his views about indulgences in ninety-five theses, which are statements or propositions. It is not hard to imagine Luther writing rapidly, vigorously dipping his pen in the inkwell time and again, in order to record as quickly as possible the words that burned in his breast. Having put his thoughts on paper, Luther looked over the statements one last time before descending the stairs that led him down to the massive oak doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. There he nailed his document for all to see. Little did Luther realize, as he turned away from the Church door, that he would be used of God to turn the world upside down (cp. Acts 17:6). He was only thirty-four years old.

When Luther nailed his theses to the door of the Castle Church, he was not doing anything uncommon. The door of the Castle Church served as a public place for gathering information for the University. By putting his document in this public place, Luther was simply inviting a scholarly debate on the merits of his proposition. This was the custom of the period. [Note: the full text of Luther's Ninety-five Theses is available in the corresponding Study Guide.]


INITIAL RESPONSE TO LUTHER

While Luther may have anticipated some general excitement, he had no comprehension that God would use something so small to ignite a religious bonfire that would consume the world (notice Zech. 4:8-10). Within four weeks the Ninety-five Theses, which had been written in Latin, was translated into many languages, printed and carried with incredible speed to every country of western Europe. People immediately wondered what would happen to Dr. Luther! And they also wondered what would happen to the selling of indulgences!

The archbishop of Mainz wanted to build a new cathedral with some of the proceeds from the sale of indulgences by Tetzel. He certainly did not like the frontal attack Luther had launched against a profitable "doctrine". With great indignation he sent a copy of the theses to Pope Leo X (1513-1521) in Rome. The pontiff was not happy at what he had to read. Many of the propositions challenged papal authority.

While the highest Church official in Rome considered how to deal with the exploding situation, Tetzel enlisted help to publish a set of counter theses defending the sale of indulgences. Other loyal Catholics took up the cause as well, such as the Dominican monk named Mazzolini. Mazzolini was serving as an inquisitor in Rome. He wrote a book condemning the conclusions of Luther, as did John Eck, a theology professor.

Having boldly issued a challenge to the Church regarding the selling of indulgences, Luther was forced to defend his position. It would not be easy spiritually, physically, or psychologically. Luther found himself almost alone. Friends he thought he could count on to agree with him, had withdrawn their support--deciding that he had been too rash.

The atmosphere was tense in April, 1518 when the monasteries associated with the Augustinian Order convened in Heidelberg. As expected, the Ninety-five theses soon became the major topic of discussion. When the convention was over, Luther was more encouraged. Though there had been some intense discussions, they all seemed to be friendly. Luther went back to Wittenberg to write a general answer to his critics in a book called Resolutions. Addressing it to the pope, Luther made a point by point defense of his propositions.

Upon receiving Resolutions, the Pope was discerning enough to realize the far reaching implications of Luther's arguments, if left unchallenged. For one thing, the immense income the Church received from the revenues indulgences produced would be severely curtailed. How then, would St. Peter's Cathedral at Rome be rebuilt, not to mention other costly projects?

Even more alarming, the theological foundation of Catholicism would be undermined. The Church had taught the people to believe that only the priest could administer the sacraments, which were the means of receiving God's grace. It was basic Catholic theology that, without the sacrament of penance, without absolution and indulgences, there could be no hope of salvation. How then were souls to be saved? Martin Luther would have to be answered. He had struck a severe blow at the foundation of the Roman Catholic Church.





Share with your friends:
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   ...   14




The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2020
send message

    Main page