Updated: Aug 1, 2019
In Christian history, the church has gone through two different reformations. The last reformation is what we all know as The Reformation, which took place in the 1500s. This started out as an attempt to reform the Catholic Church of its abusive practices, which included selling indulgences, which is where the parishioner would pay a priest in order to have them spend less time in purgatory paying the penalty for their sins. As if a financial transaction could dictate to God how long you’d spend in purgatory before He lets you into Heaven! On a side note, this was also a compromising of the Gospel by the Catholic Church on many levels. However, the most glaring example is the fact that Catholics don’t believe that Jesus’ death on the cross was enough to save us. It’s almost as if He paid for a portion of our sins, but then to actually get into heaven, we’ll have to pay for the other portion in purgatory. So it negates the payment of our sins on the cross by Christ and makes His payment not enough. In fact, the Catholic Church still believes in indulgences, although it’s often times simply doing a good deed to earn your indulgence. For example, the current Pope had offered indulgences based upon your Twitter habits! The Guardian had an article in 2013 on this decree where they explained:
“Indulgences these days are granted to those who carry out certain tasks – such as climbing the Sacred Steps, in Rome (reportedly brought from Pontius Pilate's house after Jesus scaled them before his crucifixion), a feat that earns believers seven years off purgatory.
But attendance at events such as the Catholic World Youth Day, in Rio de Janeiro, a week-long event starting on 22 July, can also win an indulgence.
Mindful of the faithful who cannot afford to fly to Brazil, the Vatican's sacred apostolic penitentiary, a court which handles the forgiveness of sins, has also extended the privilege to those following the "rites and pious exercises" of the event on television, radio and through social media.
"That includes following Twitter," said a source at the penitentiary, referring to Pope Francis' Twitter account, which has gathered seven million followers. "But you must be following the events live. It is not as if you can get an indulgence by chatting on the internet.”
In its decree, the penitentiary said that getting an indulgence would hinge on the beneficiary having previously confessed and being "truly penitent and contrite”.
Praying while following events in Rio online would need to be carried out with "requisite devotion", it suggested.”
Again, this idea that you can earn your way out of purgatory and make up for sins by doing good deeds to following someone on Twitter is absurd and has the potential for abuse, which is what Martin Luther fought the church on when he posted the 95-theses.
Another abuse that was occurring at that time was that the Bible was only written in Latin. This allowed the priests to control what the congregations were taught and allowed for many abusive practices within the church. The followers of the Catholic Church could not be like the Bereans, because they had no way to verify that what they were being taught because only the priests were trained in reading Latin. Then along comes a guy named William Tyndall who translated the Bible into English so that the everyday common man could read and understand God’s Word.
That’s the fascinating thing about Christianity: God never intended the church to be run by well-educated religious elite. When Jesus chose His disciples, they were the common man. Blue Collar workers w/ little to no educational background. He didn’t choose the religious elite, the Pharisees or the scribes to establish His church. He chose simple-minded men.
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption…” 1 Corinthians 1:27-30