The following was a message I preached some months ago. Since then, I’ve made some corrections, and I’ve re-ordered the content. If you would like to listen to the audio, click here.
Who made the following statements?
BAPTISM: “It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.”
LORD’S TABLE: “The benefit which we receive from such eating and drinking is shown us by these words: ‘Given and shed for you for the remission of sins,’ namely, that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.”
Throughout this study, we are going look at a few things:
- What the reformation was
- Who Martin Luther was and what he said and did
- What the real reformation is
WHAT IS THE REFORMATION?
What is the Protestant Reformation? The reformation was the attempt of many discontented, yet unconverted Catholic monks to reform the Roman Catholic Empire (I try not to call it a church). This occurred in the mid 1500’s. The attempt failed. The empire was resilient to the reform and was too powerful, so the reformers began their own religions. The following quote is from theopedia.com:
As the hope of reforming the Roman church faded, the ‘protestants’ were forced to separate from Roman Catholicism resulting in Lutheran churches in Germany, Scandinavia and some eastern European countries, the Reformed churches in Switzerland and the Netherlands, Presbyterian churches in Scotland, and the Anglican church in England, and other diverse elements all of which have evolved into the Protestant denominations of today.
THE EVANGELICAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE REFORMATION
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America posts this on their website www.elca.org:
When Martin Luther posted his ‘Ninety-five Theses’ on the church door in Wittenberg in 1517, no one expected the breadth of evangelical reforms in Christian teaching and practice that followed. In every dimension of Christian faith a renewed trust in God’s forgiving mercy replaced a reliance on teachings and practices that, like the sale of indulgences, were vulnerable to abuse and corruption. Preaching a few years later, Luther said, ‘I opposed indulgences … but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. I did nothing; the Word did everything.’ When he began to propose reforms in worship, he wrote similar words. ‘This is the sum of the matter: let everything be done so that the Word may have free course.’
We are about to learn just how much of a lie these statements are.
The ELCA is cleverly deceptive, but either way, they are wrong.
Now, they denounce the use of indulgences. But listen to what they say about the Lord’s Table: “Every Sunday in worship ELCA congregations hear God’s word from the Scriptures, pray as Jesus taught and come to the Lord’s Table expecting to receive the mercies that the Triune God promises.” They are asserting that when you go to take the bread and wine, you receive mercy from God, according to his promises. That is exactly what Martin Luther taught. That is damnable.
On the Gospel Coalition’s website, I found a swell article written by a Southern Baptist in Name Only, Jeff Robinson. He gives five reasons to teach our children about the Reformation.
(1) I want them to know about God’s faithfulness to his church; (2) I want them to know the Reformation must continue; (3) I want them to know defending the Bible is dangerous but worth the risk; (4) I want them to know God does extraordinary things through ordinary people; (5) I want them to know the gospel is everything.
I have to admit these points are given but without the author’s full explanation of each point. But nonetheless, should we be surprised that a man who belongs to an apostate Baptist convention would glorify the “reformation” and its wicked reformers?
Now, in light of all this, we will look at the real Martin Luther and the reformation.
Let us consider what Martin Luther said and did to God’s people (and others):
MARTIN LUTHER AND HIS WICKED DEEDS
Martin Luther was an Augustinian Monk and university professor. In October 1517, he nailed his 95 Thesis on the door of Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany. What followed is known as the “Reformation” or the “Protestant Reformation.” The 500th a
anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is upon us, and many, many evangelicals are greatly anticipating it. Many today are so entranced with Luther’s revolutionary understanding of “Justification by Faith” and “Scripture Alone” doctrines. But they are ignorant of the truth. Therefore, they are doomed to follow this man and a false Christ.
Some quick research will uncover what this man believed; and we will see what spirit lead this man.
“Luther and the other Reformers violently denounced the Anabaptists for practicing every-member functioning in the church. The Anabaptists believed it was every Christian’s right to stand up and speak in a church meeting. It was not solely the domain of the clergy. Luther was so opposed to this practice that he said it came from the ‘pit of hell’ and those who were guilty of it should be put to death. The Anabaptists both believed and practiced Paul’s injunction in 1 Corinthians 14:26, 30-31 that every believer has the right to function at any time in a church meeting. In Luther’s day, this practice was known as the Sitzrecht—‘the sitter’s right’” (Peter Hoover, Secret of the Strength, Benchmark Press, 1999, pp. 58–59).
“Luther announced that, ‘the Sitzrecht was from the pit of hell’ and was a ‘perversion of public order . . . undermining respect for authority.’ Within 20 years, over 116 laws were passed in German lands throughout Europe making this ‘Anabaptist heresy’ a capital offense” (Peter Hoover, Secret of the Strength, Benchmark Press, 1999, pp. 59, 198).
“By 1531, Luther believed that blasphemy was punishable by death and he included “false teaching” into that definition. In 1536, Melanchthon drafted a memorandum demanding death for all Anabaptists and Luther signed it” (Christian History, Issue 39. [Issue 34 covers Luther’s early years.]).
The former quotes were taken from Frank Viola’s article “Shocking Beliefs of Martin Luther” found on patheos.com. The sources he used are listed after each respective quote. Citation of Mr. Viola does not imply endorsement of his ministry; neither do I necessarily believe any of his doctrine.
Whether or not the Anabaptists truly allowed every person to speak (women and children) is debatable, considering much of what the Anabaptists said and did was falsified in trial documents because they were sorely persecuted and hated by their persecutors. The fact is that Martin Luther, a “great” reformer and “man of God,” a man of sola scriptura (Scripture alone) CALLED FOR PUBLIC EXECUTION OF THOSE HE DEEMED HERETICS!
Despite the above quotes, which is enough to condemn the man, we should consult the very document itself that sparked this great reformation that many insist still continues to this day.
LUTHER’S 95 THESIS
While literally all of these points are garbage, I have bolded a few to highlight the heresy taught by this man. Remember, this is the catalyst to the “Great” and “WONDERFUL” Protestant Reformation. People will applaud this document. But, I wonder if anyone has actually read it! Well, here it is. SHAME on you if you’re too lazy to read this document. Don’t allow yourself to be deceived any longer. You’re without excuse!
- When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
- This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
- Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.
- The penalty of sin remains as long as the hatred of self (that is, true inner repentance), namely till our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.
- The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except those imposed by his own authority or that of the canons.
- The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring and showing that it has been remitted by God; or, to be sure, by remitting guilt in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in these cases were disregarded, the guilt would certainly remain unforgiven.
- God remits guilt to no one unless at the same time he humbles him in all things and makes him submissive to the vicar, the priest.
- The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to the canons themselves, nothing should be imposed on the dying.
- Therefore the Holy Spirit through the pope is kind to us insofar as the pope in his decrees always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.
- Those priests act ignorantly and wickedly who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penalties for purgatory.
- Those tares of changing the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory were evidently sown while the bishops slept (Mt 13:25).
- In former times canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.
- The dying are freed by death from all penalties, are already dead as far as the canon laws are concerned, and have a right to be released from them.
- Imperfect piety or love on the part of the dying person necessarily brings with it great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater the fear.
- This fear or horror is sufficient in itself, to say nothing of other things, to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.
- Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ the same as despair, fear, and assurance of salvation.
- It seems as though for the souls in purgatory fear should necessarily decrease and love increase.
- Furthermore, it does not seem proved, either by reason or by Scripture, that souls in purgatory are outside the state of merit, that is, unable to grow in love.
- Nor does it seem proved that souls in purgatory, at least not all of them, are certain and assured of their own salvation, even if we ourselves may be entirely certain of it.
- Therefore the pope, when he uses the words “plenary remission of all penalties,” does not actually mean “all penalties,” but only those imposed by himself.
- Thus those indulgence preachers are in error who say that a man is absolved from every penalty and saved by papal indulgences.
- As a matter of fact, the pope remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to canon law, they should have paid in this life.
- If remission of all penalties whatsoever could be granted to anyone at all, certainly it would be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to very few.
- For this reason most people are necessarily deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of release from penalty.
- That power which the pope has in general over purgatory corresponds to the power which any bishop or curate has in a particular way in his own diocese and parish.
- The pope does very well when he grants remission to souls in purgatory, not by the power of the keys, which he does not have, but by way of intercession for them.
- They preach only human doctrines who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory.
- It is certain that when money clinks in the money chest, greed and avarice can be increased; but when the church intercedes, the result is in the hands of God alone.
- Who knows whether all souls in purgatory wish to be redeemed, since we have exceptions in St. Severinus and St. Paschal, as related in a legend.
- No one is sure of the integrity of his own contrition, much less of having received plenary remission.
- The man who actually buys indulgences is as rare as he who is really penitent; indeed, he is exceedingly rare.
- Those who believe that they can be certain of their salvation because they have indulgence letters will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.
- Men must especially be on guard against those who say that the pope’s pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to him.
- For the graces of indulgences are concerned only with the penalties of sacramental satisfaction established by man.
- They who teach that contrition is not necessary on the part of those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessional privileges preach unchristian doctrine.
- Any truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without indulgence letters.
- Any true Christian, whether living or dead, participates in all the blessings of Christ and the church; and this is granted him by God, even without indulgence letters.
- Nevertheless, papal remission and blessing are by no means to be disregarded, for they are, as I have said (Thesis 6), the proclamation of the divine remission.
- It is very difficult, even for the most learned theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the bounty of indulgences and the need of true contrition.
- A Christian who is truly contrite seeks and loves to pay penalties for his sins; the bounty of indulgences, however, relaxes penalties and causes men to hate them — at least it furnishes occasion for hating them.
- Papal indulgences must be preached with caution, lest people erroneously think that they are preferable to other good works of love.
- Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend that the buying of indulgences should in any way be compared with works of mercy.
- Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better deed than he who buys indulgences.
- Because love grows by works of love, man thereby becomes better. Man does not, however, become better by means of indulgences but is merely freed from penalties.
- Christians are to be taught that he who sees a needy man and passes him by, yet gives his money for indulgences, does not buy papal indulgences but God’s wrath.
- Christians are to be taught that, unless they have more than they need, they must reserve enough for their family needs and by no means squander it on indulgences.
- Christians are to be taught that they buying of indulgences is a matter of free choice, not commanded.
- Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting indulgences, needs and thus desires their devout prayer more than their money.
- Christians are to be taught that papal indulgences are useful only if they do not put their trust in them, but very harmful if they lose their fear of God because of them.
- Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the indulgence preachers, he would rather that the basilica of St. Peter were burned to ashes than built up with the skin, flesh, and bones of his sheep.
- Christians are to be taught that the pope would and should wish to give of his own money, even though he had to sell the basilica of St. Peter, to many of those from whom certain hawkers of indulgences cajole money.
- It is vain to trust in salvation by indulgence letters, even though the indulgence commissary, or even the pope, were to offer his soul as security.
- They are the enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid altogether the preaching of the Word of God in some churches in order that indulgences may be preached in others.
- Injury is done to the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or larger amount of time is devoted to indulgences than to the Word.
- It is certainly the pope’s sentiment that if indulgences, which are a very insignificant thing, are celebrated with one bell, one procession, and one ceremony, then the gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.
- The true treasures of the church, out of which the pope distributes indulgences, are not sufficiently discussed or known among the people of Christ.
- That indulgences are not temporal treasures is certainly clear, for many indulgence sellers do not distribute them freely but only gather them.
- Nor are they the merits of Christ and the saints, for, even without the pope, the latter always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outer man.
- Lawrence said that the poor of the church were the treasures of the church, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.
- Without want of consideration we say that the keys of the church, given by the merits of Christ, are that treasure.
- For it is clear that the pope’s power is of itself sufficient for the remission of penalties and cases reserved by himself.
- The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.
- But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last (Mt. 20:16).
- On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.
- Therefore the treasures of the gospel are nets with which one formerly fished for men of wealth.
- The treasures of indulgences are nets with which one now fishes for the wealth of men.
- The indulgences which the demagogues acclaim as the greatest graces are actually understood to be such only insofar as they promote gain.
- They are nevertheless in truth the most insignificant graces when compared with the grace of God and the piety of the cross.
- Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of papal indulgences with all reverence.
- But they are much more bound to strain their eyes and ears lest these men preach their own dreams instead of what the pope has commissioned.
- Let him who speaks against the truth concerning papal indulgences be anathema and accursed.
- But let him who guards against the lust and license of the indulgence preachers be blessed.
- Just as the pope justly thunders against those who by any means whatever contrive harm to the sale of indulgences.
- Much more does he intend to thunder against those who use indulgences as a pretext to contrive harm to holy love and truth.
- To consider papal indulgences so great that they could absolve a man even if he had done the impossible and had violated the mother of God is madness.
- We say on the contrary that papal indulgences cannot remove the very least of venial sins as far as guilt is concerned.
- To say that even St. Peter if he were now pope, could not grant greater graces is blasphemy against St. Peter and the pope.
- We say on the contrary that even the present pope, or any pope whatsoever, has greater graces at his disposal, that is, the gospel, spiritual powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written. (1 Co 12[:28])
- To say that the cross emblazoned with the papal coat of arms, and set up by the indulgence preachers is equal in worth to the cross of Christ is blasphemy.
- The bishops, curates, and theologians who permit such talk to be spread among the people will have to answer for this.
- This unbridled preaching of indulgences makes it difficult even for learned men to rescue the reverence which is due the pope from slander or from the shrewd questions of the laity.
- Such as: “Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love and the dire need of the souls that are there if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a church?” The former reason would be most just; the latter is most trivial.
- Again, “Why are funeral and anniversary masses for the dead continued and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded for them, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?”
- Again, “What is this new piety of God and the pope that for a consideration of money they permit a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God and do not rather, beca use of the need of that pious and beloved soul, free it for pure love’s sake?”
- Again, “Why are the penitential canons, long since abrogated and dead in actual fact and through disuse, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences as though they were still alive and in force?”
- Again, “Why does not the pope, whose wealth is today greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build this one basilica of St. Peter with his own money rather than with the money of poor believers?”
- Again, “What does the pope remit or grant to those who by perfect contrition already have a right to full remission and blessings?”
- Again, “What greater blessing could come to the church than if the pope were to bestow these remissions and blessings on every believer a hundred times a day, as he now does but once?”
- “Since the pope seeks the salvation of souls rather than money by his indulgences, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons previously granted when they have equal efficacy?”
- To repress these very sharp arguments of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies and to make Christians unhappy.
- If, therefore, indulgences were preached according to the spirit and intention of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved. Indeed, they would not exist.
- Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Peace, peace,” and there is no peace! (Jer 6:14)
- Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Cross, cross,” and there is no cross!
- Christians should be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, death and hell.
- And thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations rather than through the false security of peace (Acts 14:22).
Wow…he really stuck it to the Pope, didn’t he!?
THE REAL REFORMATION ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE
Hebrews 9 is where we can learn about the TRUE Reformation:
1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
2For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.
3And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
4Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
5And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
6Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
7But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
8The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
9Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
10Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
11But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
13For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
According to the BIBLE, the time of reformation was when Christ became an high priest of good things, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle. The Bible says this time of reformation was “by his own blood” and that is how eternal redemption was made for us.
Eternal redemption is not in the bread and wine!
Eternal redemption is not in the waters of baptism!
Eternal redemption is not in indulgences or the pope!
Eternal redemption is not in the church!
Eternal redemption is not won by works!
Eternal redemption is truly only by Jesus Christ and him crucified, buried, and raised again!
REFORMATION didn’t come because a man named Martin Lucifer nailed a “Dear John” letter on the door of a castle.
REFORMATION is the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST and HIM ALONE.
So in light of this, I have my own five reasons to teach my children about the Reformation.
MY FIVE REASONS TO TEACH MY CHILDREN THE REFORMATION
(1) I want them to know about God’s faithfulness to his church
God’s church, the local, visible assemblies that began with that first one in Jerusalem, cannot be prevailed against. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The church did not spring out of the Catholic Apostate Whore. The church existed prior to that system with Jesus and His 12 disciples. These people (TRUE Anabaptists) predate Catholicism and Protestantism. Even through the horrendous persecutions of the Catholics and Protestants, we exist today. We are few, but we remain.
(2) I want them to know the reformation is over
Jesus was the reformation. The NEW covenant, which is the gospel, saves men from their sins and death in hell. The reformation I love and will defend is the one on the cross because that is where Jesus’ blood was shed.
(3) I want them to know defending the Bible is dangerous but worth the risk
Many of God’s people, known as Anabaptists—in the strict sense, only those whose doctrine is found to be Scriptural—went to their deaths. They were tortured, beheaded, burned alive, buried alive, hunted like animals, and exiled. But through it all, they were mostly faithful, and today many Baptists enjoy a freedom hard fought for. THESE people are the preservers of the manuscripts used to give us the King JESUS Bible (King James, by the way, murdered Anabaptists). We don’t need his name on the Bible for it to be God’s word…
(4) I want them to know God does extraordinary things through ordinary people
The ordinary people that come to my mind at this moment are men like Obadiah Holmes who was whipped at the stake, on United States soil, by Protestants because he refused infant baptism. Men like John Clarke, who stood with Mr. Holmes and was fined for a similar “crime.” Unknown men and women who have a testimony similar to this: “A.D. 1536.—Fourteen Anabaptists were burned. Latimer says, ‘They went to their death cheerfully as to a banquet, and says that so went the Donatists before them.’ ‘Well, let them go,’ added the bishop.” Certainly, God does do extraordinary things through ordinary people. Through people like this, his church has been perpetuated.
(5) I want them to know the gospel is everything
Truly, the gospel is everything. Anabaptists knew this and treasured the plain Gospel teaching, even unto death. This cannot be said of any catholic or protestant for they were the persecutors of the gospel. Oh, why do we fail to remember these things? Why do we fall into Satan’s trap—the Reformation—and side against history? May it no longer be so.