Luther is talking about purgatory quite often in the Ninety-Five Theses. Let’s consider what the Roman Catholic Church was teaching concerning purgatory.

The idea that purgatory is a physical place of fiery punishment where you must “purge” any results of your sin before you go to heaven is developed in the Roman Catholic Church by the 11th century. The Catholic Church believed that the living can help those whose purification from their sins is not yet completed not only by praying for them but also by gaining indulgences for them as an act of intercession.

There is no biblical support for the doctrine of Purgatory. The Roman Catholic Church added books to their Bible that are between the Old and New Testaments, called, “The Apocrypha,” where there is an example pf praying for the dead that they may have sins forgiven after they are dead (2 Maccabees 12:41-46). ” Luther included these books in his Bible translation separately but did not consider them Scripture. He said “these are books which are not consider equal to the Holy Scriptures, but are useful and good to read.”

The Nine-Five Theses are written in 1517 and Luther still thinks there is a purgatory. He will change his thinking within the next ten years. In the 1522 version of Luther’s Personal Prayer Book he has this petition: “Have mercy upon all poor souls in purgatory.” In his 1524 edition of the same book this petition is taken out.  Formally, Luther rejects purgatory in 1528 in his writing, Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper. 

OK, now let’s look at Theses 11-20

11) Those tares of changing the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory were evidently sown while the bishops slept (Mt 13:25).

The parable of the wheat and tares concerns an enemy of a farmer who plants weeds (tares) amongst the good seed (wheat). Luther is saying there is no basis for teaching punishment for sin after death. It must have become Catholic teaching while those who oversee the teaching were sleeping (a bit of Luther’s sarcasm).

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.

The dead can’t be held to earthly ways of dealing with punishment for sin once they are dead.

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.

It is penalty enough for those who dying that they are in despair concerning the torment of purgatory. You don’t need to add other penalties on top of this.

16) Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ the same as despair, fear, and assurance of salvation.

Hell brings despair, purgatory brings fear, and heaven brings assurance. You can see where this way of thinking is going to lead Luther when he no longer holds to the doctrine of purgatory. In dying there is pure grace and assurance.

17) It seems as though for the souls in purgatory fear should necessarily decrease and love increase.

Why would those in purgatory have an increase in fear when supposedly they are being “purged” of their sin?

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.

It is not proven in Scripture that there is a purgatory, but if there is then love ought to increase during people’s in-between time.

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.

How do those in purgatory know the penalty for their sins are being lessened or purged clean by the action of the living who are praying for them and using indulgences?

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.

If God is imposing penalties after death, only God can redeem people from these penalties. The pope can’t.

(My comments are in parentheses)

(Introduction)

Out of love and zeal for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following theses will be publicly discussed at Wittenberg under the chairmanship of the reverend father Martin Lutther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and regularly appointed Lecturer on these subjects at that place. He requests that those who cannot be present to debate orally with us will do so by letter.

 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

(Notice how Luther spells his name.)

(No one actually responded to his invitation. Of course with this being the first viral best seller there would be plenty of feedback. 14 K copies sent out in 12 different languages- in one month!)

Theses 1-10

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.

(To “repent” is to think at a higher level or think again, so it is always related to sin. For Luther this means always being honest before God with our whole life and think deeply.)

2) This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy. 

(Luther couldn’t stand the practice of confession he is put through as a monk. Jesus and his disciples didn’t practice this kind of repentance so why should he?)

3) Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.

(Luther wants to see action as a result of repentance and so he mentions mortification of the flesh.  How about whipping yourself, sleeping naked on the freezing brick floor or, even worse, out in the snow? Luther did all of those things in the past,  but now that he is clear on the gospel of grace I wonder if Luther is still doing these things?)

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.

(In Catholic teaching there is a difference between the penalty of sin and the guilt of sin.)

5) The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except those imposed by his own authority or that of the canons.

(The canons are the laws of Catholicism and are level with the Bible. Not for Luther!)

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.

(To “remit” guilt is to cancel it.)

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.

(A vicar is a representative to the bishop.)

8) The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to the canons themselves, nothing should be imposed on the dying.

(No confession after you are dead.)

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.

(Luther speaks kindly about the pope.)

10) Those priests act ignorantly and wickedly who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penalties for purgatory.

(Confession after you are dead and in purgatory? Not for Luther.)

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The Jewish Festival of Sukkoth just finished yesterday. This is a harvest festival where the Jewish people celebrate God’s presence with them in the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.

When Jewish people celebrate this feast, they build a booth or tabernacle, a tented area, like an outdoor eating and living space, in their backyard. Here they will eat meals, and some people even sleeping outside. Sukkoth is the most festive celebration of the year.

Jews still celebrate Sukkoth in Jerusalem. The culmination is the night called Simchat Torah which means, “Rejoicing in the Law,” and is a celebration of God giving the Law to Moses. The Temple area will be lit and there will be parades and dancing.

Now, we remember Jesus is in Jerusalem for the Sukkoth festival. It is now the end of the festival and Jesus has been teaching. In today’s passage, Jesus is at the Temple Treasury which is at the entrance located in the Court of Women. It is called that, because men and women are separated for worship and this is as far as women could go. Both men and women are there, just the boundary for women, as it were.

Here people give their offering. This its also a place of prominence for the Sukkoth Festival. In this replica of the Temple, notice the four big lights in the Treasury area. Each candelabra had four branches, and at the top of every branch there was a large bowl. Four young men bearing 10 gallon pitchers of oil would climb ladders to fill the four golden bowls on each candelabra. And then the oil in those bowls was ignited.

So picture sixteen beautiful blazes leaping toward the sky from these golden lamps. Remember that the Temple was on a hill above the rest of the city, so the glorious glow was a sight for the entire city to see. In addition to the light, musicians played their harps, lyres, cymbals and trumpets to make joyful music to the Lord. What a glorious celebration! The light was to remind the people of how God’s Shekinah glory had once filled His Temple. But in the person of Jesus, God’s glory was once again present in that Temple. And He used that celebration to announce that very fact. He was teaching right here at Simchat Torah time, maybe standing right next to those magnificent candelabras when He declares to all who were gathered there,

“I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

ME

Read about Sukkoth and watch some travelogue clips of the festival in Jerusalem.

Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked.

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They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”

Nicodemus is the Pharisee who visited Jesus at night to ask him questions. When Jesus told him, “You must be born again…”

Now, Nicodemus is showing integrity because he does know the law and is calling the way the other Pharisees are attacking Jesus into question. Here we see the case where someone sympathetic to Jesus and his teachings is willing to give him an opportunity to support his claims.

But the Pharisees are resorting to ridicule and sarcasm again.

“Are you from Galilee, too?”

Of course they know where Nicodemus is from, he is a key Jewish leader.

Then they use a blatant lie.

Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”

This is the worst offense. These guys have memorized the whole Bible. Of course prophets come from Galilee. Like Jonah. Or Hosea. They are just boldly lying to Nicodemus’ face, except that he is also a Pharisee and he knows that they know they are lying!

When you seek the truth it takes courage. There is always the chance you will be attacked, ridiculed, and held in contempt. But the truth will not be stopped.

To be a Christian, however, also means you have consideration for others who oppose the truth. You don’t use the same weapons of attack, ridicule and contempt. These are people created in the image of God and precious in his sight. And you don’t need to use false and disrespectful ways, anyway. The truth always wins out, when it comes from Jesus.

The Pharisees seem to know what is right, they just don’t want to lose the upper hand. They don’t want to lose their power. They are threatened by Jesus, because many of the people are starting to listen to him and some are believing in him.

But, we know that other Pharisees and leaders of the Jewish people will eventually be persuaded and courageous after Jesus raises from the dead. After all, the earliest Christians all come out of Judaism!

Jesus doesn’t need us to defend him, he calls us to live his life. We are never surprised when people try to use logical fallacies to oppose Jesus. We are not shocked when ridicule and lying are used against us. When you worship Jesus and you follow him, the only person’s opinion about you that really matters is, “What does Jesus think about me?”

He thinks you are someone unbelievably special…

ME

Jesus is always watching you. When, especially does he have a smile on his face when he is watching you?

Walk for Life

Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic is one of the outside ministries LIFEhouse supports with our offering benevolence dollars. This non-profit ministry is local and brings such a wonderful service to our local community.

Open Arms offers these professional services at no cost:

  • Medical Grade Urine Pregnancy Testing
  • Ultrasound to Confirm Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Options Information
  • Pregnancy and Parenting Skills Classes
  • Support For Men and Families
  • After-Abortion Support

You can find out more about Open Arms here.

One of their main fundraisers each year is a walk-a-thon to raise funds and awareness in the community. This year the Walk for Life will begin and end at LIFEhouse. The walk will take place from LIFEhouse to the Open Arms offices at 9535 Reseda Boulevard and back.

From their website:

“The Walk for Life is a peaceful, positive event giving people a way to apply their pro-life convictions, raise support and increase awareness in our community.

During the walk,there will be an interactive educational experience to help you understand the situations and emotions our clients are facing and how Open Arms helps them.

For those who are unable to do the walk portion of the event, there will be a gentle fitness class offered.

After the walkers return, we’ll enjoy a burger lunch (available for purchase at the event for $7) and we’ll have lots of fun activities for the kids.”

You are invited to support and participate in this great event!

Luther-DVD-front

Join us in the Hall as we sum up our Luther and the Reformation study with a special showing of a travelogue specifically developed for the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation. “Luther and The Reformation” is produced and hosted by popular TV personality, Rick Steves! This is an excellent travelogue of the life and locations of Martin Luther and the Reformation. Here is what Rick Steves says about his production:

“The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In 1517, the German monk Martin Luther collected 95 points to stoke discussion about the corruption of the medieval Church. He then nailed his famous “95 Theses” to the door of his hometown church in Wittenberg. With that small, symbolic act, Luther unleashed a storm of change, kicking o the most important religious event of the last millennium—the Protestant Reformation…With this documentary, I’m honored and thankful to make a small contribution to the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Thanks for your interest in this fascinating and important chapter in both the history of the Christian Church and the story of our Western Civilization. I hope you enjoy the show.”

Come and join us Thursday October 12@ 6:30 p.m.

 

Our Oktoberfest will not look like this, but we will still have loads of fun!

Our Oktoberfest will not look like this, but we will still have loads of fun!

 

Saturday October 21 4-7 p.m.@ LIFEhouse!

We are celebrating the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation with our own Oktoberfest!

Since we weren’t all able to go the Germany for the festival, we will bring Germany to LIFEhouse!

Food, Drinks, Music, Games, Photo Booth and a Chili Cook-off! We will enjoy the ambience of our own Luther’s Biergarten and the gemütlichkeit of family and friends!

Tickets are $10 per person, $5 12 years and under. Food, soft drinks, photo booth and games are all included. Beer and Wine tickets will also be available for extra.

Please note: This is not a fundraiser and you will not get years taken off of Purgatory… 

 

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John 7

“Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked.

“Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him?

This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!”

The Pharisees are using three classic examples of false logic to try to gain advantage.

The first logical fallacy is the ad hominem attack.

This means attacking the person rather than their position. Using sarcasm and ridicule to attack the motive and character of the person, rather than showing the weakness of their argument. If your position has strong enough evidence and support, it shouldn’t be necessary for you to use sarcasm and ridicule. When you resort to cleverness to try to gain power over another’s thinking, it is generally a sign that your position is weak, or at least that’s what you think.

The second logical fallacy is called an appeal to the masses.

If the majority of people think the position is correct, then it is valid. The Pharisees are saying since so all of us are opposed to Jesus and his teaching, he must not be legitimate.

This is wrong on two levels. First, as the Pharisees will soon find out, many Jewish leaders do believe in Jesus. But, second, even if no one believes in Jesus, he might still be telling the truth.

The third logical fallacy is appeal to authority or expertise.

The Pharisees are saying they have the academic credentials and so their opinion is more valid that those who aren’t educated in the proper schools.

No, it doesn’t matter how much education you have or what schools you went to, your position must support itself. And someone who doesn’t have as much education as you may be more knowledgable.

ME

What are ways Christians experience ad hominem attack?

The woman caught in adultery. This event in the life of Jesus is one of the favorites for anyone who wants to make sure no one who is a Christian is “judgmental.” You can’t speak against someone else’s behavior as wrong because we all know, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Is this what Jesus really means?
Far from it…

God Time October 2