December 13, 2021

Eric Metaxas, "Martin Luther" on Indulgences

As soon as the coin in the coffer rings,
the soul from purgatory springs.

[Martin] Luther was certainly bothered that money was being sucked away from those who had so little, but it bothered him more that the church via this practice of indulgences was actually leading the faithful away from Christ. That was the far greater scandal, and someone must speak out. Luther did not imagine doing so in any grand way. He was a priest with a pulpit, and that was the forum God had given him.  So in February 1517, Luther preached on the subject on indulgences, and then in March he did so again.  He was far from the first priest to do so, and he explained to his flock that the paper they purchased meant nothing if they were not genuinely contrite for any sins they had committed. And if they were genuinely contrite, the paper still meant nothing, because God forgave their sins anyway.