From Here to Forever


How False Doctrines Came In

Prominent among these was the belief in man's natural immortality and his consciousness in death. This doctrine laid the foundation upon which Rome established the invocation of saints and the adoration of the Virgin Mary. From this sprang also the heresy of eternal torment for the finally impenitent, which was early incorporated into the papal faith. HF 38.3

The way was prepared for still another invention of paganism—purgatory, employed to terrify the superstitious multitudes. This heresy affirmed the existence of a place of torment in which souls of such as have not merited eternal damnation suffer punishment for their sins, and from which, when freed from impurity, they are admitted to heaven. (See Appendix) HF 38.4

Still another fabrication was needed to enable Rome to profit by the fears and vices of her adherents: the doctrine of indulgences. Full remission of sins, past, present, and future, was promised to all who would enlist in the pontiff's wars to punish his enemies or to exterminate those who dared deny his spiritual supremacy. By payment of money to the church, people might free themselves from sin and also release the souls of deceased friends who were confined in the tormenting flames. By such means did Rome fill her coffers and sustain the magnificence, luxury, and vice of the pretended representatives of Him who had not where to lay His head. (See Appendix) HF 38.5

The Lord's supper had been supplanted 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, on pain of death, to avow their faith in this Heaven-insulting heresy. HF 39.1

In the thirteenth century was established that most terrible engine of the papacy—the Inquisition. In their secret councils Satan and his angels controlled the minds of evil men. Unseen in the midst stood an angel of God, taking the fearful record of their iniquitous decrees and writing the history of deeds too horrible to appear to human eyes. “Babylon the great” was “drunken with the blood of the saints.” See Revelation 17:5, 6. The mangled forms of millions of martyrs cried to God for vengeance upon that apostate power. HF 39.2

Popery had become the world's despot. Kings and emperors bowed to the decrees of the Roman pontiff. For hundreds of years the doctrines of Rome were implicitly received. Its clergy were honored and liberally sustained. Never since has the Roman Church attained to greater dignity, magnificence, or power. HF 39.3

But “the noon of the papacy was the midnight of the world.”2 The Scriptures were almost unknown. The papal leaders hated the light which would reveal their sins. God's law, the standard of righteousness, having been removed, they practiced vice without restraint. The palaces of popes and prelates were scenes of vile debauchery. Some of the pontiffs were guilty of crimes so revolting that secular rulers endeavored to depose them as monsters too vile to be tolerated. For centuries Europe made no progress in learning, arts, or civilization. A moral and intellectual paralysis had fallen upon Christendom. HF 39.4

Such were the results of banishing the Word of God! HF 40.1