Protestant argument against Purgatory

To a Catholic, Jesus did not pay for all of our sins. The Catholic must work off some of his own sins. To a protestant, Jesus paid for ALL sins.

That’s not a quote, but summary of statements I must refute from some of my Protestant friends. I’m having trouble responding. Obviously we don’t believe Jesus’ sacrifice was insufficient, but how do you explain that we must be “purged” even though Jesus died for our sake?

note that they are not anti-Catholic or think Catholics go to hell or something, we just get in lots of heated debates over all kinds of topics, religious or otherwise.

It is absolutely false that the Latin Catholic Church teaches that Christ did not pay for all our sins.

The Latin Church teaches that Christ paid for all our sins, but that we participate in our own redemption in the process of sanctification. In other words, the Grace that Christ obtained on the Cross is not merely applied to us as a covering, but actually changes us to the very core of our being. The Grace of good works or penitential acts is that Grace of Christ’s Sacrifice at work in our persons at the most intimate level.


The simple analogy that I use is that Christ paid the SALVIFIC price for all sin. There is no sin that can keep anyone out of Heaven. However, the world is filled, absolutely filled, with non-salvific suffering caused by sin.

Tim Staples has a new CD set on Purgatory, etc.

I have only been through it one time and didn’t get all of the arguments. Also covers indulgences.

A short version can be found here:

The purgatory section is about 7 minutes long at the end of the Mary MP3 - it’s a good Intro.

The power of Purgatory is drawn off Christ’s sacrifice. They assume the purification is done by some other means and are wrong to assume that.

They would also admit that they still sin and that quality will have to be removed from their soul before they can enter heaven in which there is no stain or blemish of any kind.

Purgatory is about making us “perfect” which Christ’s sacrifice does not cause in the lives of Christians here on earth automatically. Your friends would admit they still sin and their Christian peers still fall from time to time. Hebrews 12 is a good example of God disciplining his “sons” (v7) for the purpose of their “holiness” (v10). If your Protestant peer were consistent, he would have to criticize the author of Hebrews for saying that Christians need further sanctification.

The Bible speaks of two types of salvation: eternal and temporal.

We all know what eternal salvation is, and Jesus paid the full price of this for us.

An example of temporal salvation in the Bible is God saving the Hebrews from their enslavement in Egypt. See Exodus 14:13-14.

Jesus alone saves us from the eternal consequences of our sins. However, we can atone for the temporal consequences of our sins. See Col. 1:24 and Prov. 16:6.

I recommend *The Salvation Controversy *by James Akin for more on this.

Off topic, but does this book cover atonement theories? Like penal substitution, propitiation, ransom, etc…?

Well, just a quick glance at the index shows listings for atonement, limited atonement, and temporal atonement. Expiation and propitiation seem to be covered as well.

You might want to check out the reviews on Amazon here:

Amazon is stating they ship it in one to two weeks, which means they don’t have it in stock. However, I checked the publisher, and to my surprise discovered this is put out by our own Catholic Answers and appears to be still available here.

Over the centuries, the church has raked in a lot of money in order to free the poor souls from the fires of this place. In earlier times, entire fortunes were handed over to the church in the hopes of ending the suffering of deceased family members. These days, not so much.

I find it very odd that such an important teaching isn’t addressed even once in the New Testament letters concerning church doctrine.

FiberZilla, you’re mixing apples and oranges, hopefully, just out of ignorance. It was never a teaching of the Church to sell indulgences.

Historically, when the plagues hit Europe and killed millions, most of the trained, educated priests were killed also, because they were usually one of the first ones called to minister to the sick, etc. This devastated the Church in that she had almost no priests left. In order to fill the gaps, they began ordaining men to the priesthood who weren’t nearly fully trained or formed. Some couldn’t even read or write and had to memorize the Mass in Latin to be able to say Mass. This opened the door for many different types of abuse, among which was the selling of indulgences. This practice, however, was never a doctrine of the Church. Indulgences are, but not the selling thereof.

If you really want to find out where indulgences come from, read the article in the following link:

Thanks! :o

The church still to this day takes a “stipend” in order to have a Masses said to free souls who suffer in Purgatory. This practice is centuries old and at one time was a tremendous source of income. Modern day income from this practice is probably quite modest from a historical perspective.

I never mentioned indulgences. The abuses of indulgences was a whole different issue and was the driving force behind the reformation.

yeah, a whopping stipend of 5-20 dollars tops that isn’t required and most people don’t pay because of either ignorance or in some cases poverty. Not to mention that money doesn’t go to the Church, just the church (that is, the local parish). And it isn’t a free pass for someone out of purgatory, you can’t buy that as mentioned earlier.

FiberZilla, you surely need more fiber in your spiritual diet!

The Catholic Church’s teaching concerning Purgatory has nothing to do with money, it’s like saying that because Judas took 30 pieces of silver, then Jesus was not our Savior!

"Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel” (Mt 27:9)

So your protestant pastors don’t take stipends, they don’t accept money, SILVER? They work for free?

It seems like there are more “millionaire protestant preachers” everyday,like Joel Osteen, Rev. Wright (Obama’s former pastor now living in a Million $$$$ mansion in a white neighborhood on a golf course in Chicago,!), Benny Hinn…, giving valuable ammunition to the non-believers!

You are sadly falling for the devil’s oldest trick, to confuse the weak minded, “divide & conquer”.

The Truth of Jesus Christ is not diminished in any way by the sins of people!

Let’s stop attacking our brother Christians & call for a rededication to poverty & service to others, as Jesus taught us!

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!


FiberZilla, wrong again. A stipend is not necessary to have a Mass said. They will not refuse to say a Mass, if requested, because you don’t give a stipend. It is given much along the lines like we give tips at restaurants, except that it’s not based on level of service. None of that makes any sort of theological point, however, since none of it has anything to do with Catholic doctrine. There is not one iota of Catholic doctrine requiring a stipend. Your thinking has been clearly influenced by anti-Catholic bigotry.

Of course our pastor must take in revenue. But this revenue is not generated through the promotion of an unbiblical doctrine.

Do you doubt that fortunes have been handed over to the Church in the hopes that it will reduce temoral punishment in Purgatory? Are you telling me that this was never a source of revenue for the church?

Benny Hinn and Joel Osteen are not preaching the gospel that is found in scripture. They are false teachers spreading lies from the pit of Hell. Osteen in particular does not address sin and repentence. I am not familiar with Jeremiah Wright’s theology.

The only thing I know about Wright is that the media keeps looping his famous “G.D. America” rant. Yes, “God Bless America” sounds a lot nicer, but do you really think this country deserves God’s blessing after we have legalized the murder of 40 million babies since 1973? I think this nation is under God’s curse for it’s disobedience. It is my prayer that she repent from her immorality and become a godly nation.

The devil’s oldest trick is not divide and conquer. His oldest trick is deception. It started in the garden. False doctrine will always cry the loudest for tolerance and unity. It is to be rejected and rebuked. The Bible calls us to discernment, not compromise. We will have to agree to disagree.


Please document “fortunes”. When you throw $2, or $5, or $20 into the collection plate, is that a fortune?

*Myth 3: A person can “buy forgiveness” with indulgences. *

The definition of indulgences presupposes that forgiveness has already taken place: “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven” (Indulgentarium Doctrina norm 1). Indulgences in no way forgive sins. They deal only with punishments left after sins have been forgiven.

*Myth 4: Indulgences were invented to money for the Church. *

Indulgences developed from reflection on the sacrament of reconciliation. They are a way of shortening the penance of sacramental discipline and were in use centuries before money-related problems appeared.

*Myth 6: A person can buy indulgences. *

The Council of Trent instituted severe reforms in the practice of granting indulgences, and, because of prior abuses, “in 1567 Pope Pius V canceled all grants of indulgences involving any fees or other financial transactions” (Catholic Encyclopedia). This act proved the Church’s seriousness about removing abuses from indulgences.

*Myth 7: A person used to be able to buy indulgences. *

One never could “buy” indulgences. The financial scandal around indulgences, the scandal that gave Martin Luther an excuse for his heterodoxy, involved alms-indulgences in which the giving of alms to some charitable fund or foundation was used as the occasion to grant the indulgence. There was no outright selling of indulgences. The Catholic Encyclopedia states: “*t is easy to see how abuses crept in. Among the good works which might be encouraged by being made the condition of an indulgence, almsgiving would naturally hold a conspicuous place. . . It is well to observe that in these purposes there is nothing essentially evil. To give money to God or to the poor is a praiseworthy act, and, when it is done from right motives, it will surely not go unrewarded.” *

To discern truth from error requires infallibility, which you must admit you don’t have, and thus will argue that no one else has it either. Therefore you have no way of discerning what a false doctrine is, so you must say the bible is perfectly clear, and tells us truth from error. Since there is no verse that gives so much as the concept of perfect clearness of Scripture, you are blindly following a false unbiblical doctrine, and sometimes, declare falsehoods based on opinion.

*A killer proof for the Scriptural nature of Purgatory can be found by comparing Luke 16:19-31 with Luke 23:43. In Luke 16, Jesus speaks of the poor man Lazarus being taken up to the “Bosom of Abraham.” However, despite what is commonly presumed, this cannot be Heaven, since souls did not enter Heaven at this time (not even according to Jewish theology), but awaited Jesus’ death, Resurrection, and Ascension for this. Until the Lord opens the gates of Heaven (“I go to prepare a place for you”), it was not possible for humanity to enter into the Presence of God. Rather, the God-man needed to do this first in order to make a place for humanity before the Throne of the Father. Rather, this “Bosom of Abraham” in Luke 16 is what Jewish oral tradition refers to as “the Paradise of the Fathers” --the Garden of Eden, which was withdrawn from the earth; the Jewish equivalent to the Greco-Roman/pagan idea of the “Ellesian Fields” --a pleasant place, but part of Sheol/Hades/Death nonetheless. *

*Now, … To show that this is the case, one only need to look at Luke 23:43, where Jesus tells the Good Thief, " This day you will be with me in Paradise. " Notice, here, that Jesus does not say, " …in Heaven." …And this is because, as we all know, Jesus did NOT go to Heaven THAT DAY. Rather, Jesus spent 3 days in the tomb! …Not rising until Sunday morning. …And we know from Scripture (e.g. 1 Peter 3:19 & 4:6) that Jesus’ soul spent that day AMONG THE DEAD in Sheol. …And, as John 20:17 hammers home for us, EVEN ON SUNDAY MORNING, Jesus had STILL “not yet ascended to the Father.” So, the “Paradise” Jesus is talking about in Luke 23 is **absolutely **not Heaven itself. Rather, He is talking about the Paradise of the Fathers, and he is promising the Good Thief (a justly-condemned Jewish criminal) that, far from being condemned to Gehenna, he will be with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the righteous patriarchs (models of Judaism) in the Paradise of the Fathers. And this would have been enough for this Jew to die in peace --saved from hell, yet not fully-sanctified so as to immediately enter Heaven. *

Fiberzilla, which part of this explanation of purgatory is unbiblical, or would you at least admit your understanding of purgatory was a misconception?

That was the answer I was looking, for I already have the scriptural bases and whatnot for purgatory, I needed to know how to respond to the specific query of Jesus paying for all sins and yet purging being needed. Thank you mardukm :slight_smile: And thanks anyway to the others who tried to help :thumbsup: but didn’t technically answer my question ( my own fault, I’m bad at explaining things :blush:)

As for this debate, I have nothing to offer myself but it is fascinating, feel free to carry on

I guess the writer of this article missed one important fact, that being that Lazarus was “comforted” (vs.25). When you see the contrast, that the rich man was in torment and Lazarus “comforted” then one realizes that he wasn’t in a “purgatory.” Now, Jesus did tell the thief that he would be in paradise and Scripture uses “paradise” as pertaining to Abraham’s Bosom AND to Heaven. Abraham’s Bosom was the realm where the Old Testament saints resided before the Ascension. They could not enter heaven because Christ is the only way to the Father. But as for Abraham’s Bosom being “purgatory”, even RC sources say that it is “limbus patrum” (the limbo of the fathers) and NOT purgatory.


Dear addictedkoala,

I recently made some citations from the Council of Trent that has relevance for your questions. Check it out:


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