“We are all Catholic here, Catholic means universal, it doesn’t mean Roman, so how many of us here are born again? You see, we are all Catholics, so the Protest is over now.” ~excerpts from Bishop Tony Palmer
Martin Luther, a German monk and priest of the Catholic Church in the early 1500’s, was of honest heart and searching for the truth in Jesus Christ. “By a recent decretal, an indulgence had been promised by the pope to all who should ascend upon their knees ‘Pilate's staircase,’ said to have been descended by our Saviour on leaving the Roman judgment-hall, and to have been miraculously conveyed from Jerusalem to Rome. Luther was one day devoutly climbing these steps, when suddenly a voice like thunder seemed to say to him, ‘The just shall live by faith.’ ~Romans 1:17. He sprung upon his feet, and hastened from the place, in shame and horror. That text never lost its power upon his soul. From that time he saw more clearly than ever before the fallacy of trusting to human works for salvation, and the necessity of constant faith in the merits of Christ. His eyes had been opened, and were never again to be closed, to the delusions of the papacy. When he turned his face from Rome, he had turned away also in heart, and from that time the separation grew wider, until he severed all connection with the papal church.” ~Great Controversy p125
This monk was of great intellect and as this doctrine became a reality to him, he decided to resist the teachings of Rome, which had for so long held the populace in ignorance and darkness for so many ages - hence the Dark Ages. At last, he became so resistant to Rome and her dogmas, that he wrote his theses and nailed them to the church doors in Wittenberg, Germany, declaring his findings based upon Scripture. This of course created a storm in the church of the day, resulting in Luther being excommunicated for his heretical theories and doctrines.
This storm resulted in a division in the church, allowing for the progress of the Protestant Reformation in the then religious world, on its steady incline in Europe. This Protestant movement continued and became far reaching, going with the people in their explorations across the Atlantic, and into the South Seas to become what is known today as the Western world. It maintained its hold upon society, forming Protestant communities with Protestant values; forming a capitalistic government and its middle class society. Those principles were strongly embraced and have been maintained even up until as late as the 1960’s, when we saw a decline in church attendance and a strong upsurge in materialism, unbelief, infidelity, decline in moral and family values, and so the list goes on, until it has developed into what we see in our world in this our very day.
500 Years On
Interestingly, 2017 is the 500th anniversary of Luther’s protest and his nailing of his turbulent theses to that Church door in Wittenberg. As the world has started to voice the 500th anniversary of Luther, it seems the Roman Catholic Church wants to be in on this celebration and make it a super happy occasion and draw the followers of Luther back into the fold. After much dialogue and compromise, the knot was tied in 1999 and the straying Lutherans finally saw their mistake and signed a treaty to unite back with the Roman Catholic Church.
Just this year - 2014 - just three years before the 500th year anniversary of Luther’s protest, Bishop Tony Palmer addressed a whole convention of church leaders and brought a ‘wonderful’ address from Pope Francis to soften the barbs between the Luther protest and the Roman Catholics.
But hang on! Something’s wrong. Tony Palmer, who gave the address is not a Lutheran, the convention he addressed was not a Lutheran convention. The leader of the convention was not a Lutheran, and the country he gave the address was not in Luther’s native country of Germany. Let’s have a closer look.
Tony Palmer who gave the address - Anglican
Kenneth Copeland, leader of the convention – Evangelical
Convention held for Evangelical leaders for religious leadership training
Location of convention – USA – a Protestant nation – (was!!!)
Unity Unity Unity
But never mind!!! The most important aspect of all this is to try to bring everyone together to celebrate this wonderful event together and leave all the past behind, which was really all just a misunderstanding, after all 500 years is a long, long time ago and its most probably irrelevant anyway – and besides everyone has changed. Obviously the Catholics, Anglicans, Evangelicals and even the whole nation of USA have all matured, and there is just no need to continue this Protest anyway. We will all be able to celebrate this wonderful anniversary now both the Catholics and Lutherans can finally see, “The Just shall live by faith to bring about good works”, according to Tony Palmer. Really, it’s all done and dusted. Let’s put all this behind us and get on with the celebrations!!!
But Wait! There’s More
When Luther nailed his thesis to the church doors in Wittenberg, October 31 1517, there was far more than just “The just shall live by faith.” There were 94 others! The one dogma of the Catholic Church was to employ a character by the name of Johann Tetzel to go throughout the community calling upon the people, selling indulgences. As soon as the money was heard to hit the bottom of the tin, the individual’s sins were all of a sudden wiped off the records and they were free from the abyss of hell fire. This incensed Luther and was more the reason of his resistance to the Roman system than the doctrine of the just being justified by faith rather than works.
His protest fuelled and propelled the Reformation forward and has held for many a year. How can a few men in 2014 come to the conclusion that it is all ‘done and dusted’ over one doctrine of Luther and overlook the other 94?
Not 1 But 95
Not many of us would have any idea of the whole of Luther’s protest. Friends, its about time we did know what he protested about, because any time now, we may be called to give an account of our Protestant heritage or we might just finish up in the queue of these Evangelicals because we simply don’t know our history or heritage.
Because of space in this publication, following is a selection of his 95 theses. While Martin Luther was a Catholic in heart and intended to stay that way, and wanted to reform the church he loved. He took issue with more than just the one point Tony Palmer has brought to light in 2014. This is shown from this selection of 25 articles from the 95.
1) When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Matthew 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.
5) The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except those imposed by his own authority or that of the canons.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
50) Christians are to be taught that if the pope knows the exactions of the indulgence preachers, he would rather that the basilica of St. Peter were burned to ashes than built up with 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.
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.
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. (Matthew 20:16)
64) On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.
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 to 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.
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?”
90) To express 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 their spirit and intention of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved. Indeed, they would not exist.
The full 95 theses are available upon request, or you can find them online at www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/luther95.txt
Are We Free From Trouble?
As a church, we were built upon a foundation solidly Protestant. The Great Controversy book is one of the most powerful tools that exposes this antichrist system and it would seem logical that as Tony Palmer states the Protest is over, we should be foremost in reacting to this prophetic fulfilment by the very opposite – to Protest. But we also must be aware that any hint of Protestantism in any institution on this earth, will be visited with discontent and malice by the long arm of Romanism.
Upon investigating any association of the SDA denomination and the Roman system, there is room for sincere concern. An article directly from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity states that there is dialogue with some churches and Ecclesial Communities of the West. The list includes Anglican Communion, Lutheran World Federation, World Methodists Council, World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Baptist World Alliance, Christian Church – disciples of Christ, Pentecostal Churches, World Evangelical Alliance and Church of Seventh Day Adventists.
On this website, the author comments that there have been many positive results from dialogue with Reformed, Methodists, Mennonites and new dialogues that are being started, with the example of Seventh Day Adventists. Further, the Evangelical and Pentecostal churches are growing very fast, while the traditional Protestant churches are shrinking. The author continues to comment that there are good committed Christians who take seriously their faith, with the Godhead of Jesus Christ and the commandments of God, and with some of them the Catholic Church has good dialogues and firm friendships, or promising contacts. He goes on to say that their goal is not the unity of the church, but overcoming misunderstandings, better mutual understanding and friendship where possible. These dialogues can have a maieutic (acting as a midwife) function to question and clarify their own identity.
All I include this section for, is to offer a signal of warning, to be alert to the serious implications this may have on the spiritual life, the work and the salvation – both to the church and to us as individuals.
One Body Changes, The Other Doesn’t
Upon conclusion, may we let inspiration give some serious and very clear warnings as we see this union of churches and faiths take place.
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. ~II Thessalonians, Chapter 2
“When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near.” ~Test. 5 p451
“The Lord has pronounced a curse upon those who take from or add to the Scriptures. The great I AM has decided what shall constitute the rule of faith and doctrine, and he has designed that the Bible shall be a household book. The church that holds to the word of God is irreconcilably separated from Rome. Protestants were once thus apart from this great church of apostasy, but they have approached more nearly to her, and are still in the path of reconciliation to the Church of Rome. Rome never changes. Her principles have not altered in the least. She has not lessened the breach between herself and Protestants; they have done all the advancing. But what does this argue for the Protestantism of this day? It is the rejection of Bible truth which makes men approach to infidelity. It is a backsliding church that lessens the distance between itself and the Papacy.” ~Signs of the Times, February 19, 1894
I rest my case here. Please don’t just shrug this admonition off as just another letter. The time is just about out for us. Judgment is to be completed so soon. The signs are blatantly obvious.
Yes, the Protest is about finished, but only because time is about finished. Come on dear ones, may this statement of Tony Palmer that the Protest is over, only stir us to Protest strongly. Souls are at stake, your own soul is at stake, now is the time for real Protestants to stand up and be counted. Will the real Seventh-day Adventist Please Stand Up at such a time as this?