Why do Protestant believe Purgatory is a 2nd chance?

It doesn’t matter how many times I explain it, they still come away with the thought that Purgatory is a second chance! WHY??? lol

The “why” is because the Catholic Church’s catechesis has been so poor in the past and therefor established a long running, ingrained misunderstanding through the generations. :sad_yes:

The question should be why don’t they open their minds to the true teachings and learn what the difference are in teachings vs. practices vs. bad catechesis?:shrug:


True, but even when you tell them and point it out in the CCC, they STILL believe it is a second chance lol.

You have to admit that since a person in purgatory is not in heaven or hell and can eventually be released from purgatory, people would just “assume” it is a second chance. Human nature always wants to label things and under the circumstances, with no regard for the true teachings, it would seem like a second chance even though it isn’t.

That’s what they heard in their own traditions while they were growing up. Some of us heard similarly ridiculous things pre VII, such as Protestants would all go to hell. That was a misinterpretation of the statement that salvation flows through the Catholic Church.

What people learn as children gets pretty ingrained, and a lot of people use it as their “default” position. To understand the concept of purgatory, someone would have to first understand the difference between mortal and venial sin. That distinction isn’t necessarily obvious to many Catholics (c.f. the number of “was this a mortal sin?” posts on this board,) and many Protestants never heard of it to begin with.

I’ve found, whenever I’ve tried to teach or explain anything, from something about the Faith to how to assemble a lawn chair, if the person doesn’t get the concept, it’s best to go back a step in the entire lineup.

In a way, though, purgatory IS (in part) a second chance, because we get to be purified of venial sin, pay off the compensation due for them, and purify our imperfections before being admitted to the the Presence of God for all eternity. We aren’t damned for venial sins and imperfections, the way some Protestants think people are. Obviously, there’s a lot more to it than that. But give them a little credit for getting it at least about a quarter right!

Express what we believe to the best of your ability and let the Holy Spirit change his/her heart.

Keep in mind that each of us has pre-conceived notions about many things that are hard to change when they have been ingrained from early upbringing etc. This applies not only to religion, but to all aspects of life.

I would have to respectfully disagree. It is really in no way a second chance. If you die in the Grace of God but not yet purified, you still died in the Grace of God. So therefore it is not a second chance in any part.

I couldn’t agree more. We, in no way, can change their minds. We have to plant the seed of truth and allow the Holy Spirit to do his wonders!

As an ex-Protestant I was told (in Sunday School) that purgatory was a Catholic teaching that was a half-way place for those who weren’t bad enough for hell, but not good enough for heaven. They wouldn’t experience the fires of hell nor would they experience the joys of heaven. Souls would remain there for all eternity. I was also told that Catholics prayed for the souls in heaven in the hope that God would change His mind and let them into heaven. It wasn’t until I found catholic.com that I learned the true teaching of the Church.

Interesting. I don’t know any protestants who have a belief in purgatory at all. At death it’s a yes or no proposition with no middle ground as it were.

Catholics like to bait protestants and protestants like to bait Catholics in this Why do they do… game. To me at the end of the day, it hardly matters because it is God’s Will. Not ours. But these why do the others do, really just is easy bait and it a bit sad when we think about in terms that if Jesus is in all Christians, then essentially it is Jesus that is being questioned is it not? Sad game to play in my book as it so easy to back up claims how ‘we’ do it better, whichever side of the fence sit on. Just like the politicians on TV who bait each other… this is no different.

Why can’t we accept that God wants us to Love Him and Why do we have so much more fun at tearing someone else apart rather than sharing the peace? That is my ‘why’ in this Why game though it would go for Everyone, not just of one particular denomination in one particular sector of the whole community. Why Cant we Love one another as Jesus Has Commanded us to do and apply the Gospel in how we Love one another… :blush:

That was not the question being asked.:wink:

Are you really going to go down that road? Ok…for conversation’s sake I will follow. It is not a bait question in anyway. I simply asked why a Protestant believes Purgatory is a second chance even after told otherwise. How is that a bait question? What you are doing is turning a simple question for converstation into a “let’s all love and make peace” kind of hijack.

Poor education in Catholic schools, frankly. I was taught that it was a second chance in my Catholic high school. The next year, I went off to college and got for a professor Dr. Sri, who had been my high school religion teacher’s professor literally the previous year. He set the class straight on the issue.

I knew the principle and the superintendant of my high school personally, so I went back a few years later and asked them why what I was taught about the church in high school turned out to be so wrong - they said that it was because they thought the full story was too complicated for a high schooler to understand, so it was “simplified”. I get the impression that it is like this all over.

So it’s no wonder that, for example, an ex-Catholic protestant, whose Catholic education ended in high school, would be convinced it is a second chance - because that is, unfortunately, exactly what they were taught.

I would say in some cases it is about Loving one another why it happens, or at least starts. All Christians should seek Truth in Jesus Christ. And knowing what Jesus taught his apostles as Truth is key to continuing to seek Truth. By continuing to seek Truth (instead of being comfortable), you are continually seeking after Christ, which is a good thing. Catholics, in my biased opinion, look to the past of what was taught and talked about during the times of Jesus and after to see what the early Christians believed, including what the leaders and teachers of the Church taught. Many Protestant denominations stick to the Bible as the final authority, and some only stick to the Bible, for doctrine, which (again, in my biased opinion) is dangerous when seeking the ultimate Truth because personal interpretation of a not-always-so-obvious Truth, can lead to misinterpretation, and therefore bad doctrine. So, I feel if one really wants to seek Truth, he has to be able to investigate all the claims, and based on which one holds the most water based on understanding and authority of those that proclaim it, is most likely true.

Just my opinion.

In my descriptions of purgatory to Protestants, mainly Evangelicals, they listen to what I have to say (maybe it’s the way I explain it), but they always seem to then respond with the classic, “Doesn’t that limit the power of Jesus”. And because I typically don’t have resources in my hand at the time, I’ll simply respond with, “It’s because of Jesus that it can even exists”, essentially saying that it is part of Jesus’ power, and since it is within His power, it doesn’t limit His power. But, I’m trying better to remember all that I can so that I can create better allegories and responses to help people better understand.

I went to Catholic HS and I was never taught it was a second chance. I guess it would depend on the school and the person teaching. All four years of HS I had Nuns for religion class.

Sadly I agree that it is a lack education. I was in a bible study with Catholics and Protestant and a gal mentioned it being a second chance. I was like, “No no no no! Either you die in the God’s Grace or you don’t.” Even the Catholics there thought it was a second chance.

When my wife went through RCIA, she said they never even mentioned Purgatory in the class.

Sort of.
There’s no middle ground for Catholics, either. Purgatory is preparation for Heaven, essentially. If you’re in Purgatory, you’re going to Heaven.
Lutherans believe that we are purged, cleansed, prior to entering Heaven, but do not hold to the idea of a state/place. The Lutheran reformers’ biggest concern was the practices that grew up around the belief in Purgatory - indulgences and the like.


Purgatory is never a second chance for it is a state of being that is occuring in this life. God continues your Purgatory after death if there is necessary Graces still to be received. If there is a second chance I would rather see people who have committed serious mortal sins of given the possibilty as repenting so that there is a second chance or even a third chance. If you have never committed any mortal sins in your life and if you are still in a state call Purgatory at death then God continues your Purgatory until it is no more. God only continues what is there (at the moment of your death).

The Protestants tend to believe in no Purgatory thinking all you need for salvation is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. However what they do not think about is precisely about the Justice of God. I teach that God has two attributes. One is His Justice and the other is His Mercy. God uses both attributes to save us. The Roman Catholic Church offers teachings on Purgatory for she developed it because of her understanding of God’s attribute on Justice. In a way of defining Purgatory one can say that it is God’s saving Justice in action. God can save us through His Justice and Mercy.

What Protestants cannot understand is that our God has this discipline to give out to us. A good indication of how Purgatory can save someone is the Gospel story of how one man who was forgven a great debt would then grab another person who owed a small debt and demanded justice. The King became upset and send his servants to put that man in jail until he pays to the last penny. Since this prison is only temporal it must refer to God’s Justice in action which we can call Purgatory.

Since God has both His Justice and Mercy available it is interesting He can save us by offering both of His attributes. Once He told St. Maria Faustina about Purgatory when He said “My Mercy does not want this but My Justice demands this.” If we can explain to our Protestant brethern this concept of God’s Discipline I think they will be better open to its teachings. While Purgatory is real I often teach Purgatory will always be taken care of when you love God and put that love into practice. Purgatory is a great answer for all the “lazy” ones who will not put God’s love into practce. And it is also the answer for those who need to spend some more time after they have died so as to complete the necessary Graces for their eventual beautific vision.

However, since only those who are perfect (as opposed to being in a state of grace) were admitted to heaven at the particular judgment, then it could be argued that purgatory is a second chance to achieve that state of perfection before being admitted to the Beatific Vision. I suppose I should have made myself more clear, but your point is well-noted. Thank you.

That’s kinda what I thought.

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