Different interpretation of scripture relating to purgatory

Last Friday, I went to my friend’s house to talk to him about purgatory (he is a protestant). He told me he went to a camp where they said purgatory is a lie. I showed him the biblical evidence for purgatory, 1 Corinthians 3:13-15
Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
1 Peter 4:6
For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. [Comment: These dead could not have been in Hell; there’s no escaping Hell. They couldn’t have been in Heaven. So where were they?
Matthew 12:32
And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come
Luke 12:58-59
"As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the very last copper."
I Peter 3:16-19
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

all he did was say I have the wrong interpretation. All he did was say that my interpretation was wrong and ignored it. How do I prove to him my interpretation is correct? That it indeed does relate to purgatory. Thanks!!**

Well, in general, the lack of an objection must serve as proof that none exists. In other words, until he can tell you WHY your interpretation is wrong, you, I, and the rest of the world have to assume that he CAN’T tell you why, because there is no reason.

If he can tell you a reason, then your arguements and his have to be weighed to see which have more merits.

Now understand that over 400 years, Protestants have come up with a lot of ways to reinterpret different verses that Catholics use to prove their information. Each specific Protestant arguement has it’s own answer, so unless I knew what he was saying, I couldn’t tell you why it’s wrong.

From what you say though, it sounds as if your friend went to this camp, was filled with a bunch of teachings, some of them good, some of them bad, and has now come back feeling very high on them. Because of that, he is going to have the same attitude about everything that he has about purgatory. For instance, if an atheist tried to show him that some verse said Jesus was not God, your friend would probably just say that HIS interpretation was wrong too without an answer. He is just feeling high on what he thinks is truly Christ now, and when you tell him something against that he is going to get defensive.

Pray for him, and pray for guidance. Wait a bit. He may have gone off to try to get answers to why they are not true. Depending on where he does, he may be filled with very circular arguements that are almost impossible to convince someone they are wrong of. If this happens, then the issue will expand, because you will have to prove Sola Scriptura is wrong before he will listen to anything. If you need to do that, try lazerliek42.tripod.com/sola.htm

If you try talking to him again about this, you might ask him how he knows HIS interpretation is right. This is a trap you can catch him in. He almost certainly learned at this camp that, supposedly, the Holy Spirit will guide every believer to understaning the truth of the interpretations of the Bible. If that is so, then ask him how the Holy Spirit guided two people to different interpretations? The answer is that it didn’t because Jesus never said the Holy Spirit would do that, in the Bible or anywher else. He will have to either accept you are right or say you don’t have the Holy Spirit, which would be saying you’re not a Christian! But, if he does this, ask him this:

There are 23,000 different Christian denominations in the US according to the United Nations, which did a study on it in 1989. But, just take 4. Take the Lutherans, the Methodists, the Southern Baptists, and the Presbyterians, who all interpret the Bible differently. Each of those denominations has millions of members. If the Holy Spirit will guide true believers to the truth, then that means that out of all these millions of people in these 4 denominations, only a few are true believers! Think about it: out of the millions in each denomination, probably at least a few hundred thousand in each are really, really, really strong Christians who completely take Christ seriously. Even if each denomination only had 100,000 people REALLY taking Jesus for and really trying to do his will, then saying the Holy Spirit will guide true believers to the truth means that all the 100,000 strong believers in 3 of these groups aren’t really believers at all, because if they were, the Spirit would have led them to the other denomination which really “has it right.”

Try not to refer to it as your interpretations because it will only go back and forth. You used a couple of passages but gave no explination to it.

1 Cor 3:15 must be defined to him. Look at it this way. No soul can be saved in hell and there is no soul that will ever suffer in Heaven. So where must these imperfect souls go? That is where Purgatory comes into play. What you may have to do is defend the doctrine instead of the name. You may also define purgatory to him, because sounds like he only knows the word and not the meaning. Purgatory is a temporary state of cleaning for the imperfections that we all have. Maybe someone can help more with the definition. Good luck. :wink:

If he thinks “your” interpretation is incorrect, it is his burden to disprove it. In addition, he must offer his own reason for disbelieving a doctrine that has been taught by the Catholic Church from the beginning. If he is unable or unwilling to do each of these things, then he really has no reason for disbelieving purgatory.

I get something similar with Protestant family members on
Mathew 16:18 “Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will Build my church”. They will say that “has to be reconciled with other verses” and change the subject.

I tried using the “but that is your interpretation” explanation to my brother and he said that everyone else is wrong! I was so surprised I really had no response to that.
What really had me floored is that he sincerely believes that everyone else has the wrong interpretation except his denomination which was started I believe by Rod Parlsey!
I guess the Holy Spirit decided to wait about 1950 or so years to reveal the truth.

It has been a while since we have had some dialogue on religion, hopefully we can get further next time this comes up.

God Bless
Scylla

[quote=scylla]I tried using the “but that is your interpretation” explanation to my brother and he said that everyone else is wrong! I was so surprised I really had no response to that.
What really had me floored is that he sincerely believes that everyone else has the wrong interpretation except his denomination which was started I believe by Rod Parlsey!
I guess the Holy Spirit decided to wait about 1950 or so years to reveal the truth.

It has been a while since we have had some dialogue on religion, hopefully we can get further next time this comes up.

God Bless
Scylla
[/quote]

Pray! It’s about all you can do if that’s his attitude…

I get something similar with Protestant family members on Mathew 16:18 “Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will Build my church”. They will say that “has to be reconciled with other verses” and change the subject.

Ask them which verses? Also point out that the Greek grammar used does not even come close to allowing any interpretation other than the Catholic one. (You can get more details on this from Catholic.com)

Also tell them you believe it has to be matched with other verses too, where Jesus tells Peter ALONE (as the Greek shows) His faith will not fail and where Jesus tells Peter ALONE (as the Greek shows) that he shall be given the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever he binds on earth is bound in heaven and what he loses on earth is losed in heaven.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.