With Reformation Day looming, it behooves us to ask WWLD today? If Luther were alive right now, would he still be agitated enough to post 95 Thesis on a blog? I’ve encountered a sentiment among modern Protestants that of course the Reformation was necessary, since the Catholic Church of Martin Luther’s day has degenerated into a false religion. But today Catholics don’t believe all those erstwhile wacky “coin in the coffer” things that Tetsel was on about.
From October 1962 until December 1965, the Second Vatican Council was held to address the Catholic Church’s relationship to the Modern world (read: update God’s revelation to deal with the Pill, etc.) The authority of the documents published by this council—known in Catholic shorthand as “Vatican II”—are considered to be on par with Scripture. This would have been an ideal time to rectify some of the issues Luther had with his mother church. To help you decide if Protestantism is pertinacious or passé, I offer a few passages from the horse’s own vocal chords for your consideration.
Exhibit A: The section titled, “Apostolic Constitutions on the Revision of Indulgences” was dated 1 January 1967. This would be the most opportune place to denounce the crass practice of indulgences (manmade ways of expiating sin) which was addressed by Luther’s first thesis. Instead Pope Paul VI subtitles the first chapter “Indulgence are Founded in Divine Revelation” and writes, “If we wish to understand exactly the doctrine of indulgences and its benefits in practice, we must remember truths which the whole Church, enlightened by God’s word, has always believed. These truths have been taught by the bishops, who are the successors of the apostles…throughout the centuries to this day.” (Sect 6, chapt 1, para 1).
He goes on to explain, “Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries, trials of this life and, above all, through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments… The doctrine of purgatory clearly demonstrates that even when the guilt of sin has been taken away, punishment for it or the consequences of it may remain to be expiated or cleansed. They often are. In fact, in purgatory the souls of those who died in the charity of God and truly repentant, but who had not made satisfaction with adequate penance for their sins and omissions are cleansed after death with punishments designed to purge their debt.”( (Sect 6, chapt 1, para 3).
So, even the truly repentant sinner still needs to be punished, contra Rom 5: 6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…6: 10For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
“The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith…death through Eve, life through Mary,” (Para 56).
“In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the work of the Savior in restoring supernatural life tot souls,” (Para 61).
“Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside her saving office, but by her manifold intercession continues to bring gifts of eternal salvation…, Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and Mediatrix.” (Para 62).
Rom 5: 19For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
1 John 2: 1My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Methinks Martin Luther would in this modern era drive his VW Beetle (or other German car) straight to Home Depot, purchase a mallet and some 2 inch nails, and find the closest door to start pounding on. The Protestant church is hoarse from protesting the same issues for 500 years. But the YRR crowd are reviving a new generation of Reformers. And theCripplegate.com is one of many new Wittenberg doors.
Here’s to another year of Sola Christus, Sola Fide, Sola Gracia, Sola Scriptura, Sola Deo Gloria!