Defending purgatory


#1

Okay how do I respond to these protestant objections to purgatory:

That what jesus said to man on the cross next to him “Today you will be in paradise” and that purgatory means that jesus’s blood doesn’t cover all sins and is ulseless or such…

help please…


#2

[quote=Valtiel]Okay how do I respond to these protestant objections to purgatory:

That what jesus said to man on the cross next to him “Today you will be in paradise” and that purgatory means that jesus’s blood doesn’t cover all sins and is ulseless or such…

help please…
[/quote]

You don’t . . . you just concede that he is correct.:o

Hey all, I am just kidding (sort of). I know that you were not asking me.:wink:

Michael


#3

How about the old broken window argument? If I trhow a rock through your window, you could vey well forgive me. However, the window is still broken, and I must repair it. In the same way, God forgives all sin if we repent, but sin still leaves damage, in the form of attatchment to sin and inordinate self love. The Bible says that nothing imperfect can enter the kingdom of Heaven. The Blood of Jesus certainly cleanses from sin those who repent, but they are not made perfect. The Bible also tells us to be perfect, as the Father in Heaven is perfect. So if we must be perfect as the Father in Heaven is perfect, and even forgiven sin leaves damage, it is at least reasonable that there would be a place of purification for those who are fogiven, but not yet perfect.

Maccabees says that it is a good thing to pray for the dead. If there is no place other than Heaven or Hell, it would be useless to pray for them. Since Protestants do not accept the books of Maccabees, they probably won’t entertain this one, but it is good to help a Catholic understand purgatory.

Yours, Jessica


#4

In the book of Numbers (Num 14:20 and
following) I think there are some strong indications that
the LORD speaks of purgatory.

Here is how I see it - We know Israel is God’s first born adopted son through Abraham, Issac and Jacob -
The son sinned gravely by failing to heed the LORDs
voice and do His bidding (not entering the land and
taking over because of fear which amounts to not
trusting the LORD Num 13:25 and following). This
was also the tenth time they tested the LORD. HE
forgives his son (v 20), but states, you shall not
enter the promised land, though you are forgiven,
until this generation, who tested me, is gone - in
fact not one of you who spurrned Me shall see it.
How is it that the son is forgiven, but cannot enter
the promised land? Could it be that this passage is
telling us forgiveness is not enough for paradise? We have to die (i.e. get rid of that which is evil in our lives) before we are worthy to enter the promised land. Israel could not enter the promised land until the last of that generation died (Moses in Deut 34)

What happens if we are forgiven, but did not completely get rid of the evil in our lives before we die? We might have forgiveness, which wipes away our sins, yet forgiveness in this instance still requires death (i.e. struggle, suffering, punishment…) before we can reach the promised lans. How can we struggle, suffer and rid ourselves of evil after death if we go straight to heaven?


#5

Purgatory doesn’t mean Jesus’ blood is useless. Like BecomeLowly stated, there is a need for us to be purified and perfected before we enter Heaven. This relates to a difference in understanding between Protestants and Catholics of what salvation is. In a Protestant understanding, salvation is an event. I think it was Martin Luther who said that those who are saved are like dunghills covered with snow–Jesus’ blood covers us, but we are the same inside. In Catholic understanding, salvation is a process whereby grace is infused into a person. This process is completed when a person is made perfect.

As far as the thief on the Cross, it is possible for a person to be purified in his acceptance of a painful death.

You could also point out other texts in Scripture that appear to imply that Purgatory exists.
Matthew 25-26 “Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” What is the prison? Clearly, it’s not earth, because people can and do die before they have reconciled with their accusers. It can’t be Hell, because the person can get out when the debt is paid. It can’t be Heaven, because in Heaven there would be no desire to get out, and getting out certainly wouldn’t be the consequence of having reconciled with others. It seems to imply some other place where people go until they have atoned for the temporal punishment of their sins. The eternal punishment is paid for by Jesus.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15 “the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.” Again, this isn’t earth because the passage talks about the Day of Judgment. It’s not Hell, because the one whose work is burned up is still saved. It’s not Heaven, because the builder can suffer loss. Again, it implies that there is another place where a person is perfected, with the good in a person surviving and the bad in a person being burned up.
1 Peter 3:18-20 “He [Jesus] was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey” As far as I know, most people do not believe this passage is referring to Purgatory; however, you can use it to show that it is possible for there to be a “place” after death that is neither Heaven nor Hell.

I hope that helped at least a little.


#6

A simple answer might be that purgatory is not always an absolute prerequisite for entrance into Heaven. The thief converted. He did not have access to water baptism, but baptism of desire. I don’t hear it mentioned very often, but in addition to all sin being removed by baptism, all temporal punishments (those are removed as well).

This why I was always puzzled when I heard people like Augustine I believe and others delayed baptism until an older age. It doesn’t make much sense UNLESS they believed in purgatory and wished to avoid it.

Scott


#7

A simple answer might be that 1. Purgatory does not necessarily take time in the temporal sense and 2. Purgatory is not always an absolute prerequisite for entrance into Heaven. The thief converted. He did not have access to water baptism, but baptism of desire. I don’t hear it mentioned very often, but in addition to all sin being removed by baptism, all temporal punishments are removed as well.

This why I was always puzzled when I heard people like Augustine (I believe) and others delayed baptism until an older age. It doesn’t make much sense UNLESS they believed in purgatory and wished to avoid it.

Scott


#8

[quote=Valtiel]Okay how do I respond to these protestant objections to purgatory:

That what jesus said to man on the cross next to him “Today you will be in paradise”
[/quote]

The thief had perfect contrition and had received “baptism of desire”, in other words he desired baptism, but was physically prevented from attaining it. His sins had been washed away and he had not had time or opportunity to commit many more. As such, like many of the Heavenly Saints, he may have been able to miss purgatory, or spend very little “time” being purified there.

and that purgatory means that jesus’s blood doesn’t cover all sins and is ulseless or such…

No. All are saved by Jesus’s redemption. Jesus’s blood pays the price for our sins. However although the price has been paid, we **still ** retain the desire and the capacity to sin. We are still impure to that extent.

**Can we enter into heaven, still with the predisposition to sin? ** Wouldn’t that mean we would inevitably sin again - or desire to sin again? And God can have no sin in His presence. So, before we can enter God’s presence in heaven, we need to be **cleansed of the stain of sin and tendency to sin ** that we still possess. This happens in purgatory. There has to be such a cleansing beyond death for us to live without trace of sin in heaven.


#9

Just say “How could I, who might someday enter heaven by the skin of my teeth, get there as fast as Billy Graham?”


#10

posted by Axion

The thief had perfect contrition and had received “baptism of desire”, in other words he desired baptism, but was physically prevented from attaining it. His sins had been washed away and he had not had time or opportunity to commit many more. As such, like many of the Heavenly Saints, he may have been able to miss purgatory, or spend very little “time” being purified there.

I have never heard this explanation, but it makes complete sense. Since Baptism actually does something, remove original sin as well as personal, it would follow that baptism of desire does as well.

The explanations I have heard are that paradise is not heaven as well as that purgatory is not a place but a state or a process, one that can be instantaneous.

But I think the baptism of desire washing away all his sin after true repentence is the most logical one I’ve read. Thanks.

Maria


#11

posted by Axion

The thief had perfect contrition and had received “baptism of desire”, in other words he desired baptism, but was physically prevented from attaining it. His sins had been washed away and he had not had time or opportunity to commit many more. As such, like many of the Heavenly Saints, he may have been able to miss purgatory, or spend very little “time” being purified there.

I have never heard this explanation, but it makes complete sense. Since Baptism actually does something, remove original sin as well as personal, it would follow that baptism of desire does as well.

The explanations I have heard are that paradise is not heaven as well as that purgatory is not a place but a state or a process, one that can be instantaneous.

But I think the baptism of desire washing away all his sin after true repentence is the most logical one I’ve read. Thanks.

Maria


#12

It’s hard to defend purgatory, because there are so many ideas of it. I think it’s just a cleansing process we go through as we pass through the light before we enter heaven. Think of it as a car wash. God removes all inbred sinful tendencies. I don’t believe Christians are tormented in fire for umpteen hundreds of years. That’s just how I feel.


#13

[quote=Valtiel]Okay how do I respond to these protestant objections to purgatory:

That what jesus said to man on the cross next to him “Today you will be in paradise” and that purgatory means that jesus’s blood doesn’t cover all sins and is ulseless or such…

help please…
[/quote]


Absolutely! The word “Purgatory” is not mentioned in the bible but the word “Trinity” is not mentioned in the bible either yet protestants and catholics alike believe in it. It is not important that the word “Purgatory” be mentioned in the bible.

Matt 5:25-26 says, " Be at agreement with thy adversary betimes, whilst thou art in the way with him: lest perhaps the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into PRISON.5:26. Amen I say to thee, THOU SHALT NO GO OUT FROM THENCE TILL THOU REPAY THE LAST FARTHING." Notice: This is part of the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus is telling the disciples first about the quality of souls of the just (the Beatitudes) and then goes on to describe the souls of the lost (v21-22)but then he speaks about the souls in “Prison”. In context, He cannot be speaking about a physical prison where inmates stay, rather, it is Purgatory. Here’s why: The Greek word here for “Prison” is “Phulake” or “Phulaken” (Strong’s #5438).Notice too that the next verse says, “…THOU SHALT NO GO OUT FROM THENCE TILL THOU REPAY THE LAST FARTHING.” So here you see the souls do eventually get out. Ok, now, go to 1 Pet 3:18-19 which says, “Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh,
but enlivened in the spirit,In which also coming he preached to those spirits that were in PRISON:” This “Prison” is the same as the one in Matt 5 because the same Greek word “Phulaken” is used. Notice: Verse 18 speaks about Christ dead and then what? He goes and speaks to the souls in “Prison”! Catholic teaching doesn’t include where Purgatory exists only that it does exist


#14

The spirits that were in prison in I Peter 3 were not souls of our day, but rather from th “days of NOAH” Even Josephus stated these were the fallen angels. This verse has been abused so much by Catholic apologists as referring to purgatory that it is silly.


#15

I’ve heard the following is a reference to purgatory too:
“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:10), with “under the earth” being purgatory. I’m not too keen on explaining the passage, so someone else can take a crack at it.

Also, did Jesus really bring people back to life? If they were really dead, that implies a third state, because if they were already judged, then they would be either in hevean or hell. For we know “It is appointed that human beings die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27), except those who Jesus resurrected had not yet been judged, probably in a state of purgatory.

Dei gratia,
Greyhawk


#16

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen gives a great metaphor of the Catholic understanding, comparing the soul to the finest piece of wood. At Baptism, the board is unmarked and flawless. Sin is like a nail, which is driven into the wood. Then, with forgiveness, through the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, the nail is removed. To this point Catholics and Protestants are basically in agreement. But Catholicism acknowledges one more necessary step. We realize that, even though the nail has been removed, the board is not back in its original state, for where the nail once was, now there is a hole. And this hole is filled by our actions; patiently enduring suffering and by self-mortification; by works of love.

Comparing a human soul to a piece of finest wood, we could say that a man is saved by the removal of the nails. He is saved therefore through the merits of Jesus Christ. However, even though this soul may be saved from damnation, it still is unworthy of heaven, because it still bears the stains of sin (the “holes” remain).

St. Paul said “I rejoice now in the sufferings I bear for your sake; and what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ I fill up in my flesh for His body, which is the church” (Col 1, 24). Now obviously Paul does not mean to suggest Jesus’ work was incomplete. Rather he is expressing that we still have our part to do, for the remission of sins.

We read in Revelations 21, 27 that nothing unclean will enter into Heaven. Until all the ‘holes left by the nails’ are filled, or until reparation has been made for all our personal sins, we cannot say that our souls are pure, perfect and therefore worthy of Heaven. This is why Catholics believe in Purgatory, a place of final preparation, final purification for the soul prior to entry into the presence of God. The Protestant teaching can be compared to putting on a cloak. The soul is not perfect at death, but the Protestant can wear the “cloak” of Christ, which covers the soul so that any imperfections would not be seen by God.

There are only a few possibilities as to how one may enter Heaven. Of course one could die in such a way as to prove oneself worthy of Heaven, like the Martyr Stephen, but for the majority of humankind, there are only three possibilities. (1) The soul might be miraculously perfected by the act of dying, as some propose, but for which there is no evidence, scriptural or logical. (2) The soul may be permitted to enter Heaven though impure (which seems contradictory to scripture…Rev 21, 27) by wearing the “cloak of Christ” as I described above. Or (3) the soul, if imperfect at the time of death, would enter into a state in which it would be purified prior to entering Heaven. Which makes the most sense? The Catholic Church teaches the latter, and there is Scriptural evidence to support this teaching, as has been presented in the preceding posts.

Jesus says a sin against the Holy Spirit “will not be forgiven him, either in this world or in the world to come” (Matt 12, 32). Why would He make the distinction here, unless some sins can be forgiven in the world to come?

Someone said “The existence of Purgatory allows for the perfect justice of God.”

For God to allow souls still bearing the mark of sin, the cause of His Son’s Death, into His Kingdom, would not be just. Justice dictates punishment for wrongdoing. God’s mercy allows for a place like Purgatory, a second chance after death to become perfect. Our love of God encourages us, though, to make amends and seek perfection, as much as it is humanly possible, while we are here on earth.


#17

[quote=Chris W]Jesus says a sin against the Holy Spirit “will not be forgiven him, either in this world or in the world to come” (Matt 12, 32). Why would He make the distinction here, unless some sins can be forgiven in the world to come?
[/quote]

I believe this one refers to the unforgivable sin. The sin against the Holy Spirit, where one refuses to acknowledge their sin and therefore unwilling to accept forgiveness from God.


#18

[quote=jdnation]I believe this one refers to the unforgivable sin. The sin against the Holy Spirit, where one refuses to acknowledge their sin and therefore unwilling to accept forgiveness from God.
[/quote]

Agreed. The point is that Jesus makes the point of saying in this world or in the world to come, thus inferring that some sins (not this sin)* could* in fact be forgiven in the world to come.

Peace,
Chris


#19

Thanks to Grace and Glory for quoting I Corinthians 3:13-15. As a child, I don’t recall hearing much about Purgatory. When I joined a Protestant church in my early 20’s and mentioned to others that I was raised Catholic, they would question certain Catholic beliefs (as if I knew!) and this was one of the most common ones. I admit, that even until recently, I questioned the existence of Purgatory too. However, as I started reading this thread, I was thinking, “Isn’t there a ‘trial by fire’ verse in the New Testament?” And there it was! I have to say, when I questioned my Protestant friends about this text (and it has been a few years, so again, I’m no expert!) they could never explain how and where/when this trial by fire would occur. And truly, it makes sense that there has to be something between Earth and entrance into Heaven!

So - thanks! I love it when the lightbulb goes on and something makes sense to me again!

=)
Fiz


#20

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