Indulgences couldn't possiblly have been taught?


Men are fallible, however, and some things were ascribed to the Apostles that couldn’t possiblly have been taught by them (like indulgences).

couldn’t possiblly have been taught ???


I may be wrong on this one. But I believe the practice of indulgences came into being in the middle ages and really became corrupt during Martin Luther’s revolt against Rome for taking money from the poor and promising them exemption from purgatory on a written piece of paper. It also made Rome rich. :slight_smile:


What follows is from the site below. Perhaps that will help answer your question

Principle 2: Punishments are Both Temporal and Eternal

The Bible indicates some punishments are eternal, lasting forever, but others are temporal. Eternal punishment is mentioned in Daniel 12:2: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

We normally focus on the eternal penalties of sin, because they are the most important, but Scripture indicates temporal penalties are real and go back to the first sin humans committed: "To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children (Gen. 3:16).

Principle 3: Temporal Penalties May Remain When a Sin is Forgiven

When someone repents, God removes his guilt (Is. 1:18) and any eternal punishment (Rom. 5:9), but temporal penalties may remain. One passage demonstrating this is 2 Samuel 12, in which Nathan the prophet confronts David over his adultery:

“Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ Nathan answered David: ‘The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin; you shall not die. But since you have utterly spurned the Lord by this deed, the child born to you must surely die’” (2 Sam. 12:13-14). God forgave David but David still had to suffer the loss of his son as well as other temporal punishments (2 Sam. 12:7-12). (For other examples, see: Numbers 14:13-23; 20:12; 27:12-14.)

Protestants realize that, while Jesus paid the price for our sins before God, he did not relieve our obligation to repair what we have done. They fully acknowledge that if you steal someone’s car, you have to give it back; it isn’t enough just to repent. God’s forgiveness (and man’s!) does not include letting you keep the stolen car.

Protestants also admit the principle of temporal penalties for sin, in practice, when discussing death. Scripture says death entered the world through original sin (Gen. 3:22-24, Rom. 5:12). When we first come to God we are forgiven, and when we sin later we are able to be forgiven, yet that does not free us from the penalty of physical death. Even the forgiven die; a penalty remains after our sins are forgiven. This is a temporal penalty since physical death is temporary and we will be resurrected (Dan. 12:2).

Principle 5: God Remits Temporal Punishments through the Church

God uses the Church when he removes temporal penalties. This is the essence of the doctrine of indulgences. Earlier we defined indulgences as “what we receive when the Church lessens the temporal penalties to which we may be subject even though our sins have been forgiven.” The members of the Church became aware of this principle through the sacrament of penance. From the beginning, acts of penance were assigned as part of the sacrament because the Church recognized that Christians must deal with temporal penalties, such as God’s discipline and the need to compensate those our sins have injured.

In the early Church, penances were sometimes severe. For serious sins, such as apostasy, murder, and abortion, the penances could stretch over years, but the Church recognized that repentant sinners could shorten their penances by pleasing God through pious or charitable acts that expressed sorrow and a desire to make up for one’s sin.

The Church also recognized the duration of temporal punishments could be lessened through the involvement of other persons who had pleased God. Scripture tells us God gave the authority to forgive sins “to men” (Matt. 9:8) and to Christ’s ministers in particular. Jesus told them, “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. . . . Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:21-23).

If Christ gave his ministers the ability to forgive the eternal penalty of sin, how much more would they be able to remit the temporal penalties of sin! Christ also promised his Church the power to bind and loose on earth, saying, “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 18:18). As the context makes clear, binding and loosing cover Church discipline, and Church discipline involves administering and removing temporal penalties (such as barring from and readmitting to the sacraments). Therefore, the power of binding and loosing includes the administration of temporal penalties.


Here are some instances where the idea of indulgences were illustrated prior to the Middle Ages.

When the Church, therefore, by an indulgence, remits this penalty, her action, according to the declaration of Christ, is ratified in heaven. That this power, as the Council of Trent affirms, was exercised from the earliest times, is shown by St. Paul’s words (II Cor., ii, 5-10) in which he deals with the case of the incestuous man of Corinth. The sinner had been excluded by St. Paul’s order from the company of the faithful, but had truly repented. Hence the Apostle judges that to such a one “this rebuke is sufficient that is given by many” and adds: “To whom you have pardoned any thing, I also. For what I have pardoned, if I have pardoned any thing, for your sakes have I done it in the person of Christ.” St. Paul had bound the guilty one in the fetters of excommunication; he now releases the penitent from this punishment by an exercise of his authority – “in the person of Christ.” Here we have all the essentials of an indulgence.

These essentials persist in the subsequent practice of the Church, though the accidental features vary according as new conditions arise. During the persecutions, those Christians who had fallen away but desired to be restored to the communion of the Church often obtained from the martyrs a memorial (libellus pacis) to be presented to the bishop, that he, in consideration of the martyrs’ sufferings, might admit the penitents to absolution, thereby releasing them from the punishment they had incurred. Tertullian refers to this when he says (Ad martyres, c. i, P.L., I, 621): “Which peace some, not having it in the Church, are accustomed to beg from the martyrs in prison; and therefore you should possess and cherish and preserve it in you that so you perchance may be able to grant it to others.” Additional light is thrown on this subject by the vigorous attack which the same Tertullian made after he had become a Montanist. In the first part of his treatise “De pudicitia”, he attacks the pope for his alleged laxity in admitting adulterers to penance and pardon, and flouts the peremptory edict of the "pontifex maximus episcopus episcoporum “. At the close he complains that the same power of remission is now allowed also to the martyrs, and urges that it should be enough for them to purge their own sins – sufficiat martyri propria delicta purgasse”. And, again, “How can the oil of thy little lamp suffice both for thee and me?” (c. xxii). It is sufficient to note that many of his arguments would apply with as much and as little force to the indulgences of later ages.


The rest:

During St. Cyprian’s time (d. 258), the heretic Novatian claimed that none of the lapsi should be readmitted to the Church; others, like Felicissimus, held that such sinners should be received without any penance. Between these extremes, St. Cyprian holds the middle course, insisting that such penitents should be reconciled on the fulfillment of the proper conditions. On the one hand, he condemns the abuses connected with the libellus, in particular the custom of having it made out in blank by the martyrs and filled in by any one who needed it. "To this you should diligently attend ", he writes to the martyrs (Ep. xv), “that you designate by name those to whom you wish peace to be given.” On the other hand, he recognizes the value of these memorials: "Those who have received a libellus from the martyrs and with their help can, before the Lord, get relief in their sins, let such, if they be ill and in danger, after confession and the imposition of your hands, depart unto the Lord with the peace promised them by the martyrs " (Ep. xiii, P.L., IV, 261). St. Cyprian, therefore, believed that the merits of the martyrs could be applied to less worthy Christians by way of vicarious satisfaction, and that such satisfaction was acceptable in the eyes of God as well as of the Church. After the persecutions had ceased, the penitential discipline remained in force, but greater leniency was shown in applying it. St. Cyprian himself was reproached for mitigating the “Evangelical severity” on which he at first insisted; to this he replied (Ep. lii) that such strictness was needful during the time of persecution not only to stimulate the faithful in the performance of penance, but also to quicken them for the glory of martyrdom; when, on the contrary, peace was secured to the Church, relaxation was necessary in order to prevent sinners from falling into despair and leading the life of pagans. In 380 St. Gregory of Nyssa (Ep. ad Letojum) declares that the penance should be shortened in the case of those who showed sincerity and zeal in performing it – "ut spatium canonibus praestitum posset contrahere (can. xviii; cf. can. ix, vi, viii, xi, xiii, xix). In the same spirit, St. Basil (379), after prescribing more lenient treatment for various crimes, lays down the general principle that in all such cases it is not merely the duration of the penance that must be considered, but the way in which it is performed (Ep. ad Amphilochium, c. lxxxiv). Similar leniency is shown by various Councils–Ancyra (314), Laodicea (320), Nicaea (325), Aries (330). It became quite common during this period to favor those who were ill, and especially those who were in danger of death (see Amort, "Historia ", 28 sq.). The ancient penitentials of Ireland and England, though exacting in regard to discipline, provide for relaxation in certain cases. St. Cummian, e.g., in his Penitential (seventh century), treating (cap. v) of the sin of robbery, prescribed that he who has often committed theft shall do penance for seven years or for such time as the priest may judge fit, must always be reconciled with him whom he has wronged, and make restitution proportioned to the injury, and thereby his penance shall be considerably shortened (multum breviabit poenitentiam ejus). But should he be unwilling or unable (to comply with these conditions), he must do penance for the whole time prescribed and in all its details. (Cf. Moran, “Essays on the Early Irish Church”, Dublin, 1864, p. 259.)


A little clarification is in order. I started this thread because it came up in another thread.

I had hoped the one who posted it would come here and explain. He has not come.

I believe that the source for indulgences came with the words of Jesus :
What ever you loose on earth…


The classic text from 2 Maccabees in support of purgatory also supports indulgences: prayers and pious actions which alleviate the temporal punishment of the dead.

“For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin” (2 Macc. 12:44-45).


[quote=aridite]The classic text from 2 Maccabees in support of purgatory also supports indulgences: prayers and pious actions which alleviate the temporal punishment of the dead.

“For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin” (2 Macc. 12:44-45).

This is a great point. The catacombs of the early Christians also contain prayers for the dead. A prayer for the dead is the most basic form of an indulgence.:thumbsup:


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