Bible Proofs for Purgatory / Penance .... for Protestants

I’ve challenged Catholics to prove to Protestants that the Catholic Church is right on Purgatory & Penance doctrines … in several other threads. Ideas were being presented that almost made the case to me, a former Protestant. Still, I needed more proof. Then I came across Christ teaching on these doctrines, in scripture. For me, this was the final PROOF TEXT, the coup de theater, the sine qua non, that I needed to hear from Christ. I’d read this account many times before … but, never seen in light of Catholic doctrines. This time it hit me right between the eyes.

Luke 19:1-10 He [Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector, and RICH. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not, on account of the crowd, because he was small of statue. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I MUST STAY AT YOUR HOUSE TODAY.” So he made haste and came down, and RECEIVED HIM JOYFULLY. And when they saw it they all murmured, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “BEHOLD, LORD, THE HALF OF MY GOODS I GIVE TO THE POOR; AND IF I HAVE DEFRAUDED ANY ONE OF ANYTHING, I RESTORE IT FOURFOLD.” And Jesus said to him, “TODAY SALVATION HAS COME TO THIS HOUSE, since he is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Recall also that Christ taught it was ‘nigh impossible’ for a RICH MAN to enter heaven. The ‘Eye of Needle’ teaching of Christ. Here we have Zacchaeus obtaining SALVATION, by doing Penance … giving up his wealth, [both the ill-gotten & the excess ‘worldly’ baggage].

For me, this makes secure & true the Catholic Doctrines on Penance and Purgatory. Yet, if a Protestant needs additional testimony from Christ … immediately after this Penance paid by Zacchaeus, which brings about his salvation, Christ reinforces this teaching with the PARABLE OF THE POUNDS [Luke 19:11-26].

The Catholic Church is always FAITHFUL AND TRUE, and can be trusted in all doctrines. :thumbsup: Catholic ‘Good Works’ are only done at the request of Christ to us. Those works he ‘graces’ to us. Protestants should not fear them [or us]. They need to embrace doctrines of Penance / Purgatory too.

Wow. I’m Catholic and I never saw the parable in this light. Interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing!


In general, what is Protestant theology concerning the righting of wrongs done to God and to neighbor?

Thank you, Barb

I don’t know how it works in all Protestant churches, but here’s how it worked in my former church. If we had done wrong, we were to confess it to the Lord in prayer and that was it. No penance, no anything. I remember a pastor in a church of like faith. He was said to have gotten into pretty notorious sin that was the talk of the entire city. When it came up later, he announced he was forgiven and that was it.

In the invitation part of many of the services, people were asked to “lay it on the altar” even though we had no altar. They were encouraged to come to the front and to tearfully confess to backsliding. That, however, was in no way required. It was seen as something done only by the most pious.

The belief was that repenting of a sin and saying a prayer totally freed the sinner of the sin and of any future consequences. There was no concept of Purgatory or of other punishment. The two steps having been taken, the sinner was thought to have been washed in the Blood of the Lamb.

All people in that Fundamentalist faith are thought to be saved forever once they have “gotten saved.” They need never go to church again to see Heaven. Believers are thought, one and all, to go straight to Heaven upon death. They do not at all believe in any further cleansing.

Proof of Purgatory would have to be blinding to be accepted in that faith practice.

brb3, I definitely see the example of penance in Luke 19… not too sure about purgatory? Also, could someone explain the parable later in this chapter? thanks.

The Parable of the servants and the coins (talents) is summed up in verse 26:
“I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
The first 2 servants multiplied what had been given them, according to the master’s will, while the third hid what had been given him. He was lazy and did not do his master’s will.

The same can be said of the Gospel message. We are supposed to go out and spread the word, converting those who - not hiding our light under a bushel (Matt. 5:14-16, Mark 16:15). Jesus said that we are salt and light of the world and when salt loses its flavor, it is to be trampled underfoot (Matt. 5:13).

The reason Jesus taught this after what Zacchaeus had done is because of his public example. Much had been given to Zacchaeus and he did much with it.

This was the same issue with the church I used to go to, and a very good point. This is also why I was having a difficult time and had the feeling of being torn when I was considering converting to Catholicism.

It clicked in my head after a while (while also reading several scriptures that I cannot recall at the moment) that repentance should be more formal, in a sense. There’s no concept of the different types of sins with protestants (or at least the one I was with), and that truly frustrated me. I felt that there should be more “punishment” ? (for lack of a better term) when it comes to forgiveness.

It was the same way at my former church too. I remember sitting through a sermon in which the preacher asserted that all sins were equal in the eyes of God. I could never follow that one. If you took him at his word, the preacher was saying that taking a pen out of the office was the same level of sin as murder.

It never made much sense to me then or now that all I had to do was to pray a sinner’s prayer and I was absolutely pure again. It also didn’t work that I would always be saved no matter what I did.

I am a bible believing catholic as well,but I’ve read nothing that makes me believe there is a purgatory.I think the protestants have it right!

More reading is in order. :stuck_out_tongue:

Articles on Purgatory


By Rev. William G. Most


Is Purgatory Found in the Bible?
By Christine Pinheiro and Kenneth J. Howell

Purgatory? Where Is That in the Bible?
By Mark P. Shea

Explaining Purgatory from a New Testament Perspectiveby Victor R. Claveau

How to Argue the Existence of Purgatory
By Jason Evert

How to Explain Purgatory to Protestants
by James Akin

Yes, that’s also what / how my Protestant ‘ecclesiastical group’ believed / lived.

Can continue on living as a ‘chief of sinners’, since we made that ‘thief on cross’ Confession on First Belief, which is good til eternity. Purgatorial was seen as trying to ‘work’ our way to heaven. Faith alone … was paramount teaching.


What scripture backs you up … What scripture are you reading ?

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