Pastor Gregg Kohlhepp — — ph 814- 857-2987
Our Permanent Priest
Over 500 years ago, Martin Luther took a stand against the Roman Catholic Church, setting off a Christian reformation throughout Europe. With the anniversary of Luther’s initial protest each fall, it reminds me of the challenges and changes the church has undergone.
The tipping point for Luther was the sale of indulgences. Now, indulgences have always been an important part of Roman Catholic theology. Basically, indulgences were “a way to reduce the amount of punishment one has to undergo for sins.”
Traditionally, these indulgences were granted through some type of act, such as the saying of prayers or the doing of good works. But, eventually, corruption entered the picture with the commercialization of indulgences.
Luther and fellow reformers protested the financial gain from the sale of indulgences, using it as a jumping off point for a litany of theological concerns and objections that had arisen over the years with the workings of the Roman Catholic Church. In fairness, the Roman Catholic leaders also objected to the sale of indulgences but were unable to put an end to the practice.
The Protestant Reformation, the founding of the Church of England, and the split engineered by John and Charles Wesley, along with their mother Susanna, bring Methodism to us, established upon the permanent priesthood of Jesus.
…because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:24b-25)
Our church is not based on the sale of indulgences. Our church is based on the foundation of an unchangeable priesthood. Jesus will never die. He reigns as our eternal Priest, continuing forever – remaining a servant to all humankind.
While the Reformation and the fallout should remind us all of the pliability of denominational ministries, we should, in a changing world, always strive to remain faithful to our Messiah. Our High Priest promises to intercede for us – not as a matter of satisfying an angry God or the continual offering of prayers. He represents us before his Father so that we can grow closer and closer to Him. For our High Priest, that boundless love and service are simply not for sale.