I need a quick and simple answer to rejection of purgatory


I need a simple, quick answer to give my friend who does not believe in purgatory. Here is the question he asks:

“Where does the idea of purgatory come from biblically? I’ve never seen reference of it in scripture. It’s always been Heaven and Hell.”


Whoa, whoa! Where does the idea of looking for all Christian doctrines only in the Bible comes from? I’ve never seen reference of it in scripture.


try this out:


Here are some verses listed: catholic.com/thisrock/2006/0602btb.asp
However, if somebody insists on one’s personal interpretation of the Scripture to be the (only) valid one, you won’t have much luck, since most Protestants usually dismiss an interpretation of the Bible if it contradicts their personal interpretation.


How interesting…I came here to post this exact thread. Thank you to those who replied. I found the links helpful.

I am the Catholic spouse of a mixed marriage. I attend mass Sunday mornings and my wife’s service in the evening. I also participate in a weekly Bible study lead by her Pastor. This week he is preaching about “Where the dead go,” and in service he said that a state of limbo is not Biblical. We will certainly discuss this in this week’s study, so I want to make sure that I can respectfully and knowledgeably retort.

All help is much appreciated.


Limbo (that is, where unbaptized babies go if they die) is indeed not Biblical - in the sense that the Bible doesn’t talk about it. Also, the Church is neither for nor against it. It is a theological speculation, that for a time was quite popular, yet never officially supported; today there is more inclination that we just don’t know much about it.
Purgatory, on the other hand, is a Biblically and historically supported teaching. If you are to debate it with Protestants, I’d suggest to focus more on its support by the Early Church Fathers (HailMary gave a good link). In my personal experience, you can show Bible verses supporting purgatory, but Protestants will not accept them, because they’ve taught a difference interpretation. If you can show that their personal interpretation doesn’t line up with what the early Christians believed, that can be more fruitful. (After all, if those Christians who lived within a few generations after Christ got it wrong, how can one guarantee that he or she gets it right? Do we have more of the Holy Spirit today than in the first couple centuries?)


It is correct that Limbo of the infants is not mentioned in the Bible. The Scriptures only state that “No unbaptized person can enter the Kingdom” and that “those who believe and are Baptized will be saved, those who do not believe will be condemned.” It does not say anything about those who believe but are not Baptized. the Scriptures speak about those condemned by their actions to Hell. It says nothing about those who are not Baptized , but also have no condemning personal acts. I guess that that we will need to simply leave the issue in limbo until the end of time. Pun intended.


It comes from the very scriptural realities that (a) we are all sinners and inclined to sin, even those who will be saved, and (b) nothing impure (that is, sin and inclination to sin) can enter heaven. So without being changed from an imperfect state to a perfect state after death, just about nobody can ever enter heaven.

I never cease to be amazed that people don’t get this.

Just tell your friend that without the process of purgation he will never enter heaven, and let him take it from there.


Thank you. Although that was by no means a quick answer, it looks to be a very helpful site.


quickest answer:
2 Macc. 12:46
It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.

Probably an interesting route to take since he or she most likely won’t even have this book so you’ll have something else to talk about too!


Quick answer:
a. We are prone to sin as earthly beings. (1 John 1:10, etc.)
b. In heaven, sin-prone beings do not enter (Rev. 21:27, etc.)
c. So God must effect a purification of our Spirit to perfect us when we die to make us suitable for heaven (Heb. 12:23, etc.)


Philippians 2:10 That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are

  1. in heaven,
  2. on earth, and
  3. under the earth:

Apocalypse 5:3 And no man was able, neither

  1. in heaven,
  2. nor on earth, nor
  3. under the earth, to open the book, nor to look on it.


Hehe, he’s now like “I still can’t believe that. It’s all interpretation.”


Great, now move into the heart of it all: authority.


Ask him will god let any thing with sin or the stain of sin on it into heaven

If he understands even basic Christianity, he will say no

Ask him Does he think he will die without having any stain of sin on his soul

If he says No… as almost all of us will die with SOME level of sin on the soul, Ask hi how then will he get into heaven if he dies with some level of sin…

He will undoubtedly say something like "I will be covered by the blood of Christ… " or “I will be Clothed in a white robe…” or “I will be hid in Christ…”

Say… Amen… I agree… Thats what the Catholic Church believes… When we die with even a small amount of sin BUT STILL IN GODS GRACE, we are covered with his blood, clothed in a white robe, and hid in Christ… One… Last… Time…

Then just tell him that the WORD purgatory is used to sum up all of that into one, simple word…

Purgatory is a process, NOT a place… Saying you are in purgatory is like saying you are in Labor
Purgatory is NOT a second chance… If you are in purgatory, you are effectively in heaven…

If he just doesn’t like the word and wont agree with it because of the word… go back and say

“Do you agree that if you die with some small level of sin, but still in his grace, we will be covered with his blood so that we may enter heaven…”

If he says yes, like he should… Say that he believes in Catholic purgatory, regardless of what he THINKS purgatory means…

Purgatory is BECAUSE of Gods grace, not in spite of it…

In Christ


I agree with the previous posters that it is hard to believe that Protestants don’t accept Purgatory. The dirty little secret is that most Bible-only Christians (at least the well-informed ones) *do *believe in Purgatory, they just wouldn’t call it that because the term is too Catholic.

My father is a Baptist minister (who certainly doesn’t have a great love for the Catholic Church), and when I was growing up, I actually heard him preach a number of sermons about how only what we’ve done for the glory of God will last and that we will be cleansed of all the fruits of our sins and our faults by God, who is “a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:29; I Cor. 3). I also very distinctly remember him pointing out that some people will get into heaven “with the seat of their pants on fire”, referring to I Cor. 3:15 which says in the KJV, “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

I’ve tried to tell him in recent years that that is exactly what the Church means by the Final Purification, traditionally called Purgatory, but he has yet to embrace the fact that he is a Purgatory-believin’ Baptist. :yup:


At least if he listened, you may well have planted a seed. :slight_smile:
I try not to make my goal to “convince”…the other person has a role to play in that himself. :smiley:


Tell him the truth that it is not in Scripture and that it comes from the “Sacred Tradition” of your church.

As an ex-Catholic, I can testify that telling folks that Purgatory is taught in Scripture is a recipe for disaster and an invitation to not be taken seriously after they do their homework.

The desperate insistence of much of modern RC apologetics to find support of every possible Catholic doctrine in Scripture is only a fast pass to irrelevancy.


Here are several resources;




and something else that may be helpful;


1030 All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.[604] The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:[605] As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.[606]

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: “Therefore Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.”[607] From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.[608] The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead: Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.[609]



Oddly enough, it does came from Scripture. Before the Reformation, many Bible had the 2 Maccabees which show Jews praying for the dead. It was not until 1600 that Protestants pull the Deutrocanonical Books because those books so Scriptural proof text of justifying praying for the dead.

As an ex-Catholic, I can testify that telling folks that Purgatory is taught in Scripture is a recipe for disaster and an invitation to not be taken seriously after they do their homework.

Unlike, Ex-Catholics, I actually done the homework on the history of Christianity in general. I found the Early Christian Church is the Catholic Church, and this Church also gave us the Bible through Church Councils Synod of Hippo and Carthage.

The desperate insistence of much of modern RC apologetics to find support of every possible Catholic doctrine in Scripture is only a fast pass to irrelevancy.

I observe more insistency with modern Protestant Apologists. I see they fall short in their Biblical exegesis to support their case.

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