The Pope Offers Mercy—Protestants Won’t Be Indulged

By Chris Castaldo and Gregg Allison

portrait_of_martin_luther_as_an_augustinian_monkOn December 8, 2015, Pope Francis opened the enormous bronze Holy Door in Saint Peter’s Basilica to launch the Year of Mercy. Normally cemented shut, the doorway symbolizes entrance into God’s presence where the faithful seek to obtain God’s mercy.

A central feature of the Jubilee Year is the dispensing of plenary indulgences. For many, the word “indulgence” conjures images of the 16th-century relics of Wittenberg, which boasted a sample of the Virgin Mary’s breast milk and a twig from the burning bush. We visualize woodcuts and frescoes depicting a family of languishing souls reaching out through purgatorial flames. We see indulgence preachers traversing the German countryside with wagons full of coins, coffers, and certificates endorsed by the pope. And we think of Martin Luther, who finally stood up and said, “Enough!”

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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