Love Under Fire


How False Doctrines Came In

One such major teaching was the belief that we are immortal by nature and are conscious in death. This doctrine laid the foundation for Rome to establish prayer to the saints and the adoration of the Virgin Mary. From this sprang also the heresy of eternal torment for those who refuse to repent. This belief became part of the papal faith in the church's early years. LF 28.3

This opened the way for still another invention of paganism—purgatory, which the church used to terrify the superstitious people. This heresy claimed that a place of torment existed in which souls of those who do not deserve eternal damnation suffer punishment for their sins, and from which, when they are freed from impurity, they are admitted to heaven. (See Appendix.) LF 28.4

Rome needed still another lie to be able to profit from the fears and vices of her followers: the doctrine of indulgences. The church promised full remission of sins past, present, and future to all who would enlist in the pope's wars to punish his enemies or to exterminate those who dared to deny his spiritual supremacy. By paying money to the church, people could free themselves from sin and also release the souls of friends who had died and were being kept in the tormenting flames. In ways like these Rome filled her treasuries and sustained the magnificence, luxury, and vice of the pretended representatives of Jesus, who had nowhere to lay His head. (See Appendix.) LF 28.5

The Lord's Supper had been replaced by the idolatrous sacrifice of the mass. Papal priests pretended to convert the simple bread and wine into the actual “body and blood of Christ.”1 With blasphemous presumption, they openly claimed the power of creating God, the Creator of all things. Christians were required to confess their faith in this Heaven-insulting heresy or face death. LF 28.6

In the thirteenth century, the church established the most terrible weapon of the papacy—the Inquisition. In its secret councils Satan and his angels controlled the minds of evil men. Unseen in the midst of them stood an angel of God, taking the dreadful record of their evil decrees and writing the history of deeds too horrible for human eyes to see. “BABYLON THE GREAT” was “drunk with the blood of the saints” (see Revelation 17:5, 6). The mangled bodies of millions of martyrs cried to God for vengeance on that apostate power. LF 28.7

The papacy had become the world's despot. Kings and emperors bowed to the decrees of the Roman pontiff. For hundreds of years people accepted the doctrines of Rome without question. They honored her clergy and sustained them liberally. Never since has the Catholic Church attained to greater dignity, magnificence, or power. LF 29.1

But “the noon of the papacy was the midnight of the world.”2 The Scriptures were almost unknown. The papal leaders hated the light that would reveal their sins. Because God's law, the standard of righteousness, had been removed, they practiced vice without restraint. The palaces of popes and other church leaders were scenes of vile immorality. Some of the popes were guilty of crimes so revolting that secular rulers tried to depose them as monsters too evil to be tolerated. For centuries Europe made no progress in learning, arts, or civilization. A moral and intellectual paralysis had fallen on Christendom. LF 29.2

Such conditions were the results of banishing the Word of God! LF 29.3