Indulgences Return? Indulgence Never Left

church-for-sale_jpg-copy“Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio,” it states on the website, “recently announced that parishioners in the Diocese of Brooklyn can receive plenary indulgences for participation in events connected with the 2008-2009 jubilee year of St. Paul the Apostle proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI in May.”

Paul Vitello writes an intriguing article about the return of plenary indulgence, and how one might earn them again, for the N.Y. Times.  Be mindful, there is a limit of one indulgence per day, per sinner.  You can still earn the forgiveness of sins for a deceased loved one, except it will cost you something other than cash.  Actually, you can still exchange cash for forgiveness but it needs to be defined as charitable giving.

The practice of selling indulgences was denounced by Martin Luther in 1517 while igniting the Protestant Reformation.  The main point being that Justification by faith alone on the authority of Scripture as God’s inspired Word is the gospel.  The gospel needs no amendments and the forgiving of sins can only be purchased by death, and that death for our debt of sin was paid in full by Jesus Christ on the Cross.

Until recently, I spent the better part of my life as a member of the Pentecostal or Charismatic church.  One of the reasons I am no longer a part of said churches is because of the lack of focus and reflection on the issues of the Reformation.  Quite frankly, I grew appalled at the thoughtlessness that I found to be present in myself and many of the leaders of the church.  I had  to think.  I needed to serve God with all my mind, and since I was caught thinking and that was so wrong, my departure was inevitable.

I would argue that the Charismatic church is also in the business of selling indulgences.  Certainly none in these circles would sell you the forgiveness of sin.  Short of that, whatever you want can be had for the right price, as I wrote in Rethinking What We Sell.   The entire healing line is available:  physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, marital and, yes, financial can all be had at the right conference for the right price.  I’m sorry, everything else is available for the right donation.  (I misspoke.)  Donations, of course, do benefit the lead “servants” and primary benefactors of these NON PROFIT organizations to a fault.  I’m still waiting for the congressional hearing on the over-compensation and excessive bonuses of many of these pastors whose collective greed is causing a recession in the souls of millions, and the local pastors who live just large enough to stay under the radar, while they do little to nothing for the common people or community.

The theology of Indulgence is rampant in the black church community.  You can even decide exactly what blessing you want and “plant a seed of faith” — translation:  give more money.  This  concept of the seed faith offering was invented by James Eugene Ewing, who has long run a scam known as St. Matthew’s Churches.

The reality is that the economy is in great shape compared to the great depression being experienced in the spiritual economy of our day.

People like being indulged.  They want to hear that they can have whatever they want.  Tell them they can, and they’ll do whatever you want, like pay for forgiveness and purchase houses that require two months’ salary for one mortgage payment.

People like prosperity.  They want to obtain whatever they want.  They’ll tell you whatever you want to hear for the right price, tithe, or offering.  Please don’t indulge me.

2 Timothy 4:3,4–”For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

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2 thoughts on “Indulgences Return? Indulgence Never Left

  1. Well said, brother. You are right – indulgences never went away, they were just “rebranded” as tithes, offerings, love offerings, first fruit, seed offering, jubiliee blessings offering, etc.”

    Of course, if you actually begin to study about the righteousness of God and salvation through Christ instead of how to get more “favor” from Him, then you might get kicked out of the church.

  2. This article on Indulgences is bloody good! I was only just thinking over the past couple of days about the selling of indulgences in Luther’s day (a person by the name of Tetzel was the best indulgence seller of his day, and invoked much fear in his listeners, who must have rushed up to pay. He was the person who coined the phrase “as the coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs”.
    I was born and raised Catholic, looked into other things such as new age, then got born again into a Pentecostal church in London. I’ve been born again about 12 years now…
    I really think today that the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement is falling for the prosperity gospel, which is the modern day version of the indulgences. I also find the Pentecostals in general do not walk in love. Seems to me that the Church of England walks in a lot more love/charity/kindness, which is starting to appeal to me more and more, so I dont blame you for walking away from Pentecostal/charismatic church. They may have more “charis/dunamis/dynamism/whatever” but the Bible clearly says in 1 Cornthians 13 that if we do not have love, we have nothing, and are nothing.
    Keep up the good work, Bro, you are doing well!
    God bless you richly

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