By What Standard Do You Examine Your Beliefs?


Ok. So you provided the verses which you stand upon to deny the existence of Purgatory. So, I’d like to go through a couple which we believe suggest the existence of Purgatory.

Here’s one.

1 Peter 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

Here we have some spirits in prison. Obviously, this is not an earthly prison. But it is a spiritual prison. We call that spiritual prison, Purgatory. Do you have a name for it?



No prob…I have time restrictions too…the work week is upon me again and I may not get to a response right away.


Tell them the truth about the way you feel.


De Maria, before I answer fully, could you let me know what is meant by dying in a imperfect state of grace according to scripture?



Actually, the Bible tells us very clearly that much more was done by Christ but not written down.
Indeed, Jesus lived on Earth during a time of very little literacy. Word of mouth tradition and readings would be much more valuable than what was written.
The Bible’s cannon wasn’t available for the first few centuries of Christianity. Sometimes they mixed in other book’s readings or didn’t include certain Biblical passages in their readings during Mass.
It was the Councils of Hippo and Carthage that determined the Canon of the Bible, of course by Catholics, for Catholics. Or rather, since it was the Church and heretics, for Christians by Christians.
The Protestant heresy came about ~500 years ago (500 years this year actually). I do hope you see the truth of the Church established by Jesus Christ.

Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism. As such, the visible Church (visible, as the Incarnation of Christ was visible) is ordered like the Jews’ religious authority. And Christ commanded His followers to listen to what they say, for they are on the seat of Moses, but not to do what they do, for they were hypocrites.
Naturally, the Church holds a similar organization, protected from error by Christ, as He promised to never let the gates of Hell prevail against the Church.

We believe we are not led astray in infallible teaching, as we are led by God the Holy Ghost, who does not lie and God does not change. Scripture of course is deemed infallible. Tradition is used to illuminate the scriptures, not something to compete with them. Church teaching does not fight against Scripture but is used to demonstrate it.

Do you believe in the Trinity? If so, have you ever heard of St Gregory the Wonder Worker?


Yes, we’ve got a false dichotomy here. We can’t interpret Scripture without the Church, yet doctrine cannot exist without first existing within Scripture. And the Apostles handed it all down in the first place, meaning once they were all gone we see the Church making appeals to their authority, which exists in both Tradition and their writings. To try to argue if Scripture (which for the very early church was the OT only) or Tradition held more sway is to create a dichotomy that simply didn’t exist (and, for Catholics, never has).


Nope. That terminology and it’s definition are part of Catholic Tradition. Just like Blessed Trinity. Scripture doesn’t say, “there are three Divine Persons in one God.” That’s the theological explanation of the Theological Doctrine known as the Blessed Trinity. And none of that is in Scripture, it is in Catholic Doctrine.

In the same way, you won’t find anything in Scripture that says, Purgatory is the place where people go if they die in an “imperfect state of grace”.

However, Scripture does confirm these Doctrines. For example, the Blessed Trinity is confirmed where Jesus says, “baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” (Matt 28:19-20).

And Purgatory is confirmed in the place where it says, “he will be saved as though by fire”. (1 Cor 3:15)

The theological explanations follow from there. Someone might ask, “what is that, father, son and holy spirit?” And the Church replied, “Three Divine Persons in one God”.

And someone might ask, “why is the poor fellow being saved as though by fire?” And the Church explains, because he died in an imperfect state of grace and therefore needed to be purified.

Remember, we don’t profess Sola Scriptura. We don’t believe, as you do, that everything that God wants us to know is in the Bible alone.


You’re welcome. Thanks for asking.


I would trust the preacher unless something is off. Then, for me, by Scripture alone. I would also investigate what the opinions of the Early Church Fathers and other theologians if possible but it’s rare due to time constraints.


So then feel free to let me know your Catholic view of what it means to “die in an imperfect stat of grace”. :slight_smile:

There’s a lot that needs to be said regarding 1 Cor. 3:15, but it definitely refers to what will happen on the Day of Judgement, not purgatory (v. 13). I also would agree with what is said here:


Welcome to the discussion. I would agree that the pure word of God is infallible. However, the traditions of man will sometimes disagree with what is said in scripture and I believe that’s the case with the doctrine of purgatory.

Yes, I do believe in the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but no, I haven’t heard of St Gregory the Wonder Worker.


Ah, I am glad you accept so far.
Yes, the traditions of man may contend with what God desires.
However, that is not the same thing as the Tradition of the Catholic Church. You see, we have traditions which don’t have to be believed, but then we have Tradition which is Sacred and undoubtedly should be believed.
You should believe the apostles and teachers whether it be by letter or by word.
In a sense, the Bible is also Sacred Tradition, but it is simply written and not spoken.

What you are probably speaking about comes from when Jesus told them they were simply doing tradition when it came to washing their hands (this was in a communal bucket, so many people would have their hands washed in it, so it’s not like it would have been very sanitary either).
I want you to note the differences between this act and sacred Tradition. It was simply something they were doing due to tradition, and they were chastising them for not doing it. Think of it like, if I were to see you not put up a tree at Christmas, and then I tried to use religious authority to say that it was bad and against the Law of God to not put up a Christmas tree.
On the other hand, Sacred Tradition is that which is believed and important to the Faith to believe. Regular tradition (lower case t) is fine to believe, but is not as important.

But then I also want you to notice what Jesus said about the religious authority of the time. Even though they tried the hand washing stuff I just described and even though they were hypocrites and a den of vipers, Jesus told His disciples to listen to them, for they sit on the Seat of Moses, just to not do what they do, as they were hypocrites.

You should really learn about St Gregory the Wonder Worker, he was given a statement of the Trinity from Heaven before it was solelmnly defined by the Church.


Sorry, I thought I had. But maybe its not as evident to you as it is to me.

To be in a state of grace is to be united to God. This is what happens to us when we convert and turn to God. Our first state is imperfect because we still in our sins. We have not yet been washed of our sins in Baptism. So, if we take for example, St. Paul. This is the time between when he was knocked off his horse and his Baptism.

But then, he was baptized.

Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

His sins were washed away and he was born again a child of God. This is a perfect state of grace. Because there is no sin remaining in our soul at that time. However, he might commit sin again:

Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

So, if he succumbs to the temptation, he falls back. But if it is a venial sin, he remains in a state of grace, but imperfect.

1 John 5:16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. …

If he should die at this point, he is in an imperfect state of grace and must go to purgatory to be perfected.

Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Now, if he goes to Confession, or to any Sacrament, his sin is removed:

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

But, he must still pay for the temporal effects of the sin, in purgatory. Unless, he purifies it by doing good works before he dies:

Luke 11:41 But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.




There’s a lot in there with which we agree. The main difference is that we believe that it applies to all men, not just the teachers:

12 Now if any man build…13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest:

So, we differ in that perspective. Also, we differ in that he says that some can fall away and be lost in that explanation. But we don’t believe that is the explanation that is going on in 1 Cor 3:10-15. It does say that in 1 Cor 3:17, though.

but it definitely refers to what will happen on the Day of Judgement, not purgatory (v. 13).

We believe that Purgatory occurs at the Day of Judgment. Well, some of us. You see, this is not one of the details that has been pinned down yet. The Holy Spirit is still moving the Church towards all truth. And, those of us who believe that Purgatory happens at the Day of Judgement, believe that the Day of Judgement is outside of time. Scripture says:

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.


Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.


All orthodox Christians regardless of tradition background rely upon the Catholic Church for the canon of Scripture, for their theology (doctrine of the Trinity and incarnation). Even fundamentalist scripture only Christians that don’t know it. These early Catholics battled for centuries against heretics to hammer out these doctrines because of their instruction to protect the deposit of faith. The Spirit of God was promised to guarantee their success. The Scriptures were written between 50-125sh and were based on the oral Tradition within the early Church and Paul’s personal testimony even though he wasn’t and eyewitness during Jesus’ 3 year ministry. The Catholic Church existed before a single NT letter was written. At a very minimum every orthodox Christian uses the Catholic Church as a standard to examine their Christian beliefs.


For you and anyone else who may be awaiting a reply from me, I’m sorry but I need to put my efforts elsewhere for awhile. See you in the New Year, Lord willing.


No problem. Just got back myself.


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