Making A Buck on Sin
Last year celebrated five hundred years since the beginning of the Reformation when a humble priest, a professor at Wittenberg, shook up the Medieval World by stressing that an individual could read the Scriptures for themselves. If they understood it correctly, this held far greater authority than any bulls propagated by any religious leader, including the Pope.
Luther was especially upset that St. Peter’s in Rome was being built by the sale of indulgences. Preachers, like Tetzel, were telling the common people that their loved ones would be released from purgatory and their own salvation assured if they simply bought what he was selling. This meant that the more folks sinned, the guiltier they felt, and the more indulgences sold.
On October 31, 1517, Luther posted a letter, not on the Wittenberg door, but to Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz. He believed that his illustrious church leader would agree with him and immediately correct the dubious sales of indulgences. What he didn’t know is that Pope Leo and Albrecht had worked out a deal where Rome got half of the funds collected in Albrecht’s territory and the Archbishop got the other half—money he desperately needed to pay back the exorbitant loan he used to purchase his position four years earlier.
Whether it’s Rome or a Protestant church, we all know that religious leaders making money on the guilt of their people stinks, and long before Luther, the Jewish prophet Hosea confronted the priests of his day for not teaching God’s Word and making a buck on fear and guilt.
“Certainly, don’t let anyone be accusing or anyone be rebuking. But your people, O priest, are like those who contend. You stumble by day, and also a prophet stumbles with you by night. So I will destroy your mother.
My people are destroyed because there is no intimate knowledge of God, and there is no knowledge because you have rejected it. Therefore, I will reject you from being my priest. You have forgotten the Torah of your God. So I reject your sons. The more they multiplied, the more they sinned against me. Their glory they exchanged for shame. They are nourished by the sins of my people and they relish their wickedness.” Hosea 4:4-8
The glory of a man of God is to live and teach the Bible, but it’s shameful when he forgets to do this.
LORD, Hosea is a tough book, but give me the patience and diligence to carefully interpret what you are saying to your Old Testament people, to me, and then to others today. Powerfully encourage pastors who are studying your Word so that they can teach your people the truth when they gather on Sunday.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!