Purgatory


#1

What is the problem with believing in Heaven and Hell only? I read somewhere that this either/or mentality causes problems not only scripturally but that it does not make sense. Can you help make sense of it for me so I can explain this clearly to a Fundamentalist friend?


#2

Biblical and Jewish Traditional Beliefs About Purgatory

Maybe that will help.


#3

How to Explain Purgatory to Protestants

Scott


#4

Thank link’s great, Scottgun.

I don’t follow the problem with Purgatory. Venial sins etc. don’t send you to hell, but no sin is allowed in heaven. You’ve got to clean up SOMEHOW, don’t you?

It’s just common sense to me and there’s enough in the Bible to support it, too. Of course the teaching of the Church, too. :wink:


#5

But there was a commentary that I came across which explained the logic behind the illogic of the either/or perspective of believing that only Hell and Heaven exists.

Can anyone elaborate here?


#6

One of the things that you’ll sometimes see pointed out is the fact that Catholicism is not so much an either/or religion as it is a both/and.

Where the modern post reformation n-Cs are very much either/or in their teachings, we Catholics, have (IMO) a both/and thinking with regard to Christianity.

Just a pretty cursory look at most of the websites of n-C faith communities will show you what I mean, and a prize winning example is this very topic.

They will say that either it’s spelled out in the Bible, or it’s not for Christians to believe, whereas I will respond that it is indeed taught both, in the Bible and in Jewish scripture and tradition and therefore has a very valid place in Christian belief.

Does that help any?


#7

Ok. Thank you very much.


#8

Purgatory was not taught in the RCC until Pope Gregory the Great at earliest 540 AD. Beforehand, no Christians had any idea of Purgatory, so it can clearly be seen that the idea of Purgatory, even if true, is not a necessary part of the Christian Experience, otherwise you have over 500 years of bad Christians.

Furthermore, the only teachings in Judaism about a “purgatory” come from the deuterocanonical books, which were regarded as only good history books, but not divinely insipired texts (read Against Apion by Josephus). The belief in purgatory also came over a confusion among Jewish clergy on matters of Eschatology. Before the coming of Christ, there were unsettled disputes over whether one went somewhere immediately upon death, or merely slept until the resurrection, or whether the resurrection was literal, or just a figurative term. I wouldn’t trust the Jews on Eschatology if I were you.

And finally, Catholics will tell you that the Deuteros were considered by the Jews to be inspired (but can come up with no proof of this), and will say that is why they were included in the Septuagint. The flaw in that argument is that 1 and 2 Esdras and Prayer of Manasseh was also in the Septuagint, all three of which are considered apocryphal by the Catholic Church.

Why did the Jews not believe them to be inspired? check 1 Mac. 4:45-46. The last of the prophets had died, and there was no one to speak on behalf of God. If God wasn’t speaking to his people, then how could any text written during that time be the Word of God? (This is also the problem with Baruch, as it was not written by the man it is titled after, but by an unnamed jew circa 70BC)


#9

catholic.com/library/purgatory.asp


#10

I read the article on catholic.com, but there seem to be a few problems with that:

If you read St. Augustine’s prayer for his mother in Confessions, you see no mention of a purifying fire, but in fact, he makes the statement:

“And, I believe, Thou hast already done what I ask” (Confessions, Book IX, Chapter XIII)

Early Christian prayers for the dead follow much in the same vein.

“May God have mercy on their soul”

Which is not the least bit contradictory to any Protestant position. Much the opposite, actually. In all cases, either explicitly by the person praying, or as a feasible interpretation, they seem to be praying for something to have already happened, or as a Protestant would explain:

We pray to a God who exists outside of time, who can answer our prayers for the dead by acting retroactively.

Purgatory as a doctrine still did not appear until Gregory

Oh, and by the way, do you know where Gregory came up with that doctrine? He had a dream, in which an angel showed him the souls suffering in purgatory…but yet, scripturally we are warned against accepting doctrines from angels…curious…

"The Bible warns against receiving false doctrine from supposed angels: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8). Paul makes this warning because he knows that there is a possibility of deception. He says, “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (1 Cor. 11:14). Similarly, the lying prophet who deceived the man of God in 1 Kings 13 claimed, “An angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying “Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water’” (1 Kings 13:18). Yet the text of Scripture immediately adds in the same verse, “But he lied to him””

-Systematic Theology by Wane Grudem


#11

Hi Afterburned,

You made a similar assertion on another thread, although you gave the date as 300 AD (a couple centuries too early to be Pope Gregory). I speculated that you may have gotten that date from the ridiculous Boettner list, which cites 300 AD as the “origin” of prayers for the dead. I am glad to see that you have corrected the date. But there are still some other points to clear up on that previous thread if you care to: click here

Back to this thread:

I don’t think you have properly dealt with St. Augustine yet, who in his work The City of God writes

But of those who suffer temporary punishments after death, all are not doomed to those everlasting pains which are to follow that judgment; for to some, as we have already said, what is not remitted in this world is remitted in the next, that is, they are not punished with the eternal punishment of the world to come. Book 21, Chapter 13

Augustine wrote The City of God in the early 400’s – more than a century before your date of 540. So, at least some christians had an idea about purgatory before then. I think that we could find a few more notables who also held the the idea (and I’m sure some of the the other forum members could provide us with quotes.)

Hmmmmm:hmmm: I don’t know about all cases. I, for one, am not praying for something to have already happened. I am praying for the Holy Souls in purgatory. Maybe we should take a vote about what our intentions are when we pray for the dead? In any event you seem to be making quite a sweeping statement.

I wasn’t aware that Pope Gregory himself had a dream about and angel who showed him purgatory. Do you have any sources for that assertion? You really ought to provide one, especially since you use this allegation and scripture (!) to cast suspicion on Pope Gregory.

VC


#12

and when Paul mentioned it, you denied.

1 Corinthians 3:14–15: “If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

Does it need to say “through purifying fire” for you to accept? :smiley:

2 Maccabees 12: 43
And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection

Too bad, somebody took out the book.

Are you praying for the dead?

It’s been in the Bible.
uh, the Bible alone never came up until 1500 years later.

are you miracle-phobia? :smiley:


#13

First, how is that purgatory? it mentions no purging, or purifying,

Second, you still haven’t dealt with the fact that someone’s work can be “burned up,” but still saved…don’t they have to do some works?

2 Maccabees 12: 43
And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection

Too bad, somebody took out the book.

1 Maccabees 4:45-46
And they thought it best to tear it down, so that it would not be a lasting shame to them that the Gentiles had defiled it. So they tore down the altar, 46and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until a prophet should come to tell what to do with them.

Too bad God didn’t have any representatives on earth to write the Maccabees (i.e. PROPHETS!!!)

Are you praying for the dead?

Yes, and I can do so purgatory-free

It’s been in the Bible.
uh, the Bible alone never came up until 1500 years later.

As a doctrine, still not mentioned

are you miracle-phobia? :smiley:

No, just afraid of the LDS and Muslims, who also got their holy texts from angelic revelation…

As for the 300AD date, I mistakenly thought that was the reign of Gregory the Great…I think i misread that from a book I was reading by Martin Luther. I apologize for the typo, but I meant Gregory

As for the statement about interpretations of prayers. I don’t suppose you could ask what the early christians meant by their inscriptions over tombs, could you? I wasn’t referring to your personal prayers. I could pray to an apple in my fridge if I wanted to, it doesn’t make it right.

As for the additional Augustine quote, we would need to ask him a few more specifics to see whether or not that was purgatory he was talking about. Like, does this take place immediately after death? or after the resurrection? “The Eternal Punishment of the world to come” refers to the Lake of Fire on the New Earth, not the after-death hell


#14

Yeah… right…

A Catholic “Invention”?

Fundamentalists may be fond of saying the Catholic Church “invented” the doctrine of purgatory to make money, but they have difficulty saying just when. Most professional anti-Catholics—the ones who make their living attacking “Romanism”—seem to place the blame on Pope Gregory the Great, who reigned from A.D. 590–604.

But that hardly accounts for the request of Monica, mother of Augustine, who asked her son, in the fourth century, to remember her soul in his Masses. This would make no sense if she thought her soul would not benefit from prayers, as would be the case if she were in hell or in the full glory of heaven.

Nor does ascribing the doctrine to Gregory explain the graffiti in the catacombs, where Christians during the persecutions of the first three centuries recorded prayers for the dead. Indeed, some of the earliest Christian writings outside the New Testament, like the Acts of Paul and Thecla and the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity (both written during the second century), refer to the Christian practice of praying for the dead. Such prayers would have been offered only if Christians believed in purgatory, even if they did not use that name for it. (See Catholic Answers’ Fathers Know Best tract The Existence of Purgatory for quotations from these and other early Christian sources.)

Furthermore, the only teachings in Judaism about a “purgatory” come from the deuterocanonical books, which were regarded as only good history books, but not divinely insipired texts (read Against Apion

by Josephus). The belief in purgatory also came over a confusion among Jewish clergy on matters of Eschatology. Before the coming of Christ, there were unsettled disputes over whether one went somewhere immediately upon death, or merely slept until the resurrection, or whether the resurrection was literal, or just a figurative term. I wouldn’t trust the Jews on Eschatology if I were you.I’d suggest that you talk to some orthodox Jews and actually listen to what they say before trying to tell others what they believe and why…

And finally, Catholics will tell you that the Deuteros were considered by the Jews to be inspired (but can come up with no proof of this), and will say that is why they were included in the Septuagint. The flaw in that argument is that 1 and 2 Esdras and Prayer of Manasseh was also in the Septuagint, all three of which are considered apocryphal by the Catholic Church.

better check again…Our Eastern rite brethren accept them.

Why did the Jews not believe them to be inspired? check 1 Mac. 4:45-46. The last of the prophets had died, and there was no one to speak on behalf of God. If God wasn’t speaking to his people, then how could any text written during that time be the Word of God? (This is also the problem with Baruch, as it was not written by the man it is titled after, but by an unnamed jew circa 70BC)

This is not true. This is non-Catholic rhetoric concerning the DCs and if asked to provide proof, Afterburned will only be able to cite anti-Catholic sources.
5 Myths about 7 Books:shrug:


#15

I refer you to the sentence in The City of God, Book XXI, Chapter 13, immediately prior to the one I quoted above:

But temporary punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by others after death, by others both now and then; but all of them before that last and strictest judgment.

That seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? Perhaps you should retract your earlier statement that “no Christians had any idea of Purgatory” before 540 AD?

Also, could you please provide a source which states that Pope Gregory the Great came up with doctrine of purgatory after being visited by an angel in a dream showing him those suffering souls? Perhaps you wish to retract that statement as well?

VC


#16

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