Tuesday, October 31, 2006
THE 95 THESES
by Martin Luther
1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, "Repent" (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
3. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.
4. 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.
5. The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except those imposed by his own authority or that of the canons.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to the canons themselves, nothing should be imposed on the dying.
9. 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.
10. Those priests act ignorantly and wickedly who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penalties for purgatory.
11. Those tares of changing the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory were evidently sown while the bishops slept (Mt 13:25).
12. In former times canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ the same as despair, fear, and assurance of salvation.
17. It seems as though for the souls in purgatory fear should necessarily decrease and love increase.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. Thus those indulgence preachers are in error who say that a man is absolved from every penalty and saved by papal indulgences.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. For this reason most people are necessarily deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of release from penalty.
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. They preach only human doctrines who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory.
28. 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.
29. 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.
30. No one is sure of the integrity of his own contrition, much less of having received plenary remission.
31. The man who actually buys indulgences is as rare as he who is really penitent; indeed, he is exceedingly rare.
32. Those who believe that they can be certain of their salvation because they have indulgence letters will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.
33. 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.
34. For the graces of indulgences are concerned only with the penalties of sacramental satisfaction established by man.
35. 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.
36. Any truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without indulgence letters.
37. 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.
38. 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.
39. 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.
40. 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.
41. Papal indulgences must be preached with caution, lest people erroneously think that they are preferable to other good works of love.
42. 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.
43. 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.
44. 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.
45. 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.
46. 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.
47. Christians are to be taught that they buying of indulgences is a matter of free choice, not commanded.
48 Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting indulgences, needs and thus desires their devout prayer more than their money.
49. 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.
50. 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.
51. 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.
52. 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.
53. 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.
54. 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.
55. 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.
56. The true treasures of the church, out of which the pope distributes indulgences, are not sufficiently discussed or known among the people of Christ.
57. That indulgences are not temporal treasures is certainly clear, for many indulgence sellers do not distribute them freely but only gather them.
58. 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.
59. St. 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.
60. Without want of consideration we say that the keys of the church, given by the merits of Christ, are that treasure.
61. For it is clear that the pope's power is of itself sufficient for the remission of penalties and cases reserved by himself.
62. The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.
63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last (Mt. 20:16).
64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.
65. Therefore the treasures of the gospel are nets with which one formerly fished for men of wealth.
66. The treasures of indulgences are nets with which one now fishes for the wealth of men.
67. The indulgences which the demagogues acclaim as the greatest graces are actually understood to be such only insofar as they promote gain.
68. They are nevertheless in truth the most insignificant graces when compared with the grace of God and the piety of the cross.
69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of papal indulgences with all reverence.
70. 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.
71. Let him who speaks against the truth concerning papal indulgences be anathema and accursed.
72. But let him who guards against the lust and license of the indulgence preachers be blessed.
73. Just as the pope justly thunders against those who by any means whatever contrive harm to the sale of indulgences.
74. Much more does he intend to thunder against those who use indulgences as a pretext to contrive harm to holy love and truth.
75. 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.
76. We say on the contrary that papal indulgences cannot remove the very least of venial sins as far as guilt is concerned.
77. To say that even St. Peter if he were now pope, could not grant greater graces is blasphemy against St. Peter and the pope.
78. 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].
79. 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.
80. The bishops, curates, and theologians who permit such talk to be spread among the people will have to answer for this.
81. 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.
82. 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.
83. 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?"
84. 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, because of the need of that pious and beloved soul, free it for pure love's sake?"
85. 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?"
86. 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?"
87. Again, "What does the pope remit or grant to those who by perfect contrition already have a right to full remission and blessings?"
88. 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?"
89. "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?"
90. 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.
91. 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.
92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Peace, peace," and there is no peace! (Jer 6:14)
93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Cross, cross," and there is no cross!
94. Christians should be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, death and hell.
95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations rather than through the false security of peace (Acts 14:22).
Soli Deo Gloria!
Thursday, October 05, 2006
are in Athens...I'll write more later. If you know me, you probably know that I'll at least have something to say towards the end of the month. Give you a hint. Start humming "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." Rock on, Brother Martin. Rock on.
Friday, July 28, 2006
I’ve had more than one person ask me about my choice of MP3 player. Many people don’t even know about MiniDisc, and many of those who have heard of the format assume that it went the way of Betamax and DIVX (no, not the new one, the old one). Actually, I didn’t know until I started considering a MiniDisc player, but the format still has quite a strong following among musicians who find its features and capabilities suitable to recording concerts and practice sessions.
My introduction to the MiniDisc came sometime around 1994. I saw the Sony MZ-1 at the Incredible Universe at Gwinnett Place Mall (there’s another blast from the recent past for you technophiles). If you don’t remember, Incredible Universe was like Best Buy on crack and anabolic steroids. It was owned by Tandy (of Radio Shack fame, which ain’t doin’ so well itself these days) and was huge-most of them were over 100,000 square feet of electronic bliss. For readers in the area, the location I frequented (when my mom would take me) was where the Dave and Busters is at now over at Gwinnett Place-except Incredible Universe took up the whole building. D & B has only about half of that space leased out now, if that gives you any idea of the scale.
Well, now I’m fellin’ all nostalgic. Have you ever had the feeling when you see something at the store and, even though you can’t use it, you think “Man, I should buy this anyway”? That’s how I felt when I saw the pre-recorded MiniDiscs at Turtles and BestBuy and Circuit City around that time. When you can find them on eBay, they will cost you about fifteen dollars plus shipping-not a bad return on a piece of electronics that cost between nine and fifteen dollars fourteen years ago!
Anyway, the picture above is my model. It’s a “Hi-MD” recorder/player, which means that it accepts a 1GB Hi-MD disc instead of the original 160MB disc. It has a mic input, so I can record analog audio. With USB and digital (“TOSLINK”) interfaces, it also has the ability to record digital audio. It also works really well as a USB data drive. When I got the player (a little over a year ago) 1 GB flash drives were way expensive, and you couldn’t even think about expanding the size of the memory.
I don’t know about anybody else, but I would love to have an “80’s/90’s” room in my house full of technology from that period-a MD deck, a DCC deck and a portable player, a Videodisc player, and of course the game systems from that period. You may think it’s dorky, but that’s just fine with me.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Most anyone who reads this (well, I don’t guess you read it very often because I don’t write very often, huh?) probably knows about my Graceville days. It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since I graduated. A good number of my friends went straight into seminary following graduation, and many of them went to Southern (or, as we called it, New-Geneva-on-the-Ohio). As the U-Hauls all started heading north, I began wondering: “Why don’t I have a desire to go to seminary?”
Well, after serving in a church for 3 ½ years (and attending one for almost a year) I am finally resuming my formal education-in the school that I grew up wanting to attend, and later thought I never would.
About a year ago, I went to the website of the University of Georgia just to see what they offered in the way of Master’s Degrees. Somewhat surprised, I discovered that they offered a MA in Religion. To make a long story mercifully short, I began reconsidering UGA about six months ago, and was accepted to the program in June. The last six months have been full of planning, writing, emailing, etc.-hence, the scarcity of posts. In my daily Bible reading, I came to the verse above as I began to reconsider attending UGA. If you’ve never been to Athens, Georgia before, I can tell you that you don’t have to drive very far down Baxter Avenue or Broad Street before you begin to start feeling a little bit of what Paul felt as he walked the streets of that cosmopolitan city.
I am excited about our move to Athens, even if we have to both find jobs in the next three weeks. I see the move there as being an opportunity to witness and minister (the two are inseparable) in a city that is very much interested in “talking about and listening to the latest ideas” (Acts 17:21). Already, some ministry opportunities have presented themselves on the horizon, and only our Sovereign Father knows what will occur over the next year or so. Reading through the passage in Acts, we see that Paul engaged “his” Athenians in three arenas: the synagogue, the marketplace, and the Areopagus. Pray for us as we develop relationships in “our” Athens-in the congregation that God will lead us to, the jobs that He will provide for us, and in the University. Pray for us that we will be faithful with the opportunities that our Father has blessed us with and-above all else-that we will glorify Him.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Then there are those times when you wish you could dig a hole under Stone Mountain and hide.
Such has been the case for about the past week. The clown-Cynthia McKinney (who calls herself "representing" Georgia's Fourth District)-struck a Capitol Hill Police Officer after she (1) walked around a metal detector, and (2) failed to wear any identification as a member of Congress. First of all, I think they all should have to walk through the metal detectors and ride DC's mass transit system too, while they are at it-but I digress. Not surprisingly to Georgians, McKinney did not waste much time in throwing down the "racial profiling" card. McKinney, to those of you who do not know about her, is kind of like the crazy member of the family. You know who I'm talking about. The one that nobody wants to own, but since they have the same last name there is not much you can do about it. You want to talk about racial profiling? What do you think would happen if I-a white, Protestant, Republican-walked around the metal detector and kept going after a police officer told me to stop? That's right. My mamma would be coming to see me in whatever dungeon under the Capitol building they have for idiots who do such stupid things.
I also loved the comment from Comrade Nancy Pelosi (Socialist Representative from the 8th District of the Soviet Socialist Republic of California): "I would not make a big deal of this." What a riot. Sure you wouldn't, darlin'. You would like to forget about the family idiot just like you would like to forget about Slick Willy's Intern Training Program, Teddy's little ride into Lake Chappaquiddick, and pretty much Jimmy Carter's entire time in office (he should have been building Habitat houses the whole time, and in case you were wondering, no-most of us don't claim him either...). But, much to Comrade Pelosi's dismay, McKinney will make much bigger a deal of this than any Republican will ever have to-and the reason? Her childish pride has been hurt, and she just may have to face the fact that for all her psychotic rants as a representative, she is just not all that important outside of DeKalb County.
Friday, March 17, 2006
I'm A Baaaad Blogger! Yes, I know. It's been a while since I've posted anything (that's the reason for the whole "undetermined frequency" thing, see?). I've been a little obsessed with my computer lately. Trying to upgrade the processor on it and tinkering with it and fuming and getting mad at a box full of chips and boards and transistors.
I'm really itching to get back in school, by the way…
Nesbit (if you're reading), get your guitar ready. I've got a lot of stuff…oh yeah, and bring the X-Box too...
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Now, one thing that I like is that Mark Dever has been suggested as a possible nominee for President. There's a couple of things I like about this. First, Dever has not started a program at his church that Lifeway is likely to mass-produce, shrink-wrap, and force on everybody as the method for…well, you know where I'm going with that, so let's just move on... Second-and more importantly-his vision for moving Capitol Hill Baptist Church to an elder-led structure is one that needs to be shared with other churches in the Convention (and you will not have to shell out $350/head to…okay, I'm over it!). Seriously, though, Dever is-in my opinion-an ideal choice for SBC leadership because he clearly understands the need for change in certain aspects of congregational life (leadership, cultural awareness) while recognizing the necessity of renewing interest in other areas-namely, discipleship, biblical and doctrinal preaching and teaching (among the leadership), and biblical and doctrinal literacy (among the leadership and membership).
The IMB issue is one that I am not as "caught up" on. I think that there is Scriptural evidence to suggest that since the gift of tongues was given for the edification of believers that it is still in use today, particularly in areas where congregations are under persecution. One thing that I'm not a sure about is the idea of a private prayer language. Honestly, I was not aware that this was a commonly accepted practice among SBC missionaries. It is an area that I need to study up on, and I need your help! Have you read anything that explains it and/or defends or refutes it? Obviously I know that the use of a private prayer language is not the real issue, but this has really got me thinking. Your comments, rants, arguments, and contentions are hereby welcomed and solicited.
Your servant and His,
Friday, February 24, 2006
Well Rick has just given his seal of approval to this site, and he knows his stuff, so 'looks like I'll be posting here from now on. I sure won't miss the stupid ads at the top of the xanga pages (I don't give a rat's little rear end what Eminem's real name is. He's still going to be a little whipping boy for the dems no matter what name he uses. Anyway...
You can still go to my old site to see the articles I've written previously.
Speaking of which; Rick just posted a reply there. I will reply to that here. I have always found the Dutch Reformed Church intriguing, although I remember reading in Robert Schuler's biography (yes, I did) that he began as sort of a church planter for the Dutch Reformed Church. Actually, though, what I would like to see is the use of Psalms alongside of hymns and choruses. I'm actually working on some tunes for some Psalms right now. Hopefully I can work on them with my brothers when I'm up in the ATL next time. I agree with your thoughts on the roller coaster; too many people are going to churches that are culturally relevant but are devoid of any doctrine, and I'm afraid that they have a false sense of security as a result. I think that churches can-and must-have both cultural adaptability and doctrinal strength. One tells us how to communicate the message; the other gives us the message.