Why do Protestants object to Purgatory?

Why do Protestants object to Pergatory when it is a Biblical concept. It was also believed by the Jews of Jesus day.In that snese belief in Purgatory was not created by the CC but inherited from it’s earliest roots of Judaism. There is no evidence that the Lord refuted this teaching. So why do Protestants not accept it?

It is not a Biblical concept for Protestants because it is not in their Bible, or at least not clearly enough.

Also, because it looks as though it obscures or denies the finished & all-sufficient work of of Christ on the Cross.

I suspect that is part of a larger issue (such as how justification is considered to occur)

Not that past abuses in the preaching and application of indulgences have helped either.

Because protestants believe that once you are saved, you are in an express train to heaven. As it is an express train, it won’t stop at purgatory station :smiley:

Yea, that’s what I was told. my protestant friends told me that they believe that once you join their religions, you’ll go to heaven/hell.

Despite the caricatures given here there are two reasons:

  1. Any biblical support for the doctrine is, at best, obscure, and

  2. It seems to undercut the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice since it implies that some satisfaction for sin beyond that of the cross remains to be made.

Isn’t it a mockery of the sacrifice of Christ to say ‘I am free to hurt my brother and it doesn’t matter because I am saved’.

The CC teaches that it is wrong to receive the Bread of Life [the Eucharist] if we are in a state of grevious sin. Does the Protestant definition say ‘it is ok because I am saved’?

First, protestant don’t have the doctrine of Real Presence,
Second, protestant only need to do confession to God only,
Third, Blood of Christ is enough to cleanse all sins, why there should be purgatory? purgatory means Blood of Christ isn’t enough to clean the sin of the world. :slight_smile:

Because it contradicts scripture and it denies the sufficiency of Christ’s atonement.

Sacred Scripture says quite clearly 'whosoever comes into God’s presence must be perfectly pure for in the strictest sense His “eyes are too pure, to behold evil” (Habakkuk 1:13)

The tradition of the Jews is put forth with precision and clearness in II Maccabees. Judas, the commander of the forces of Israel,

The tradition of the Jews is put forth with precision and clearness in II Maccabees. Judas, the commander of the forces of Israel,
It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins. (2 Maccabees 12:43-46)

A further argument is supplied by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 Every man’s work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in 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 burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire."

Matt. 12:32 – Jesus says, “And anyone who says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but no one who speaks against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven ]either in this world or in the next.” Jesus thus clearly provides that there is forgiveness after death. The phrase “in the next” (from the Greek “en to mellonti”) generally refers to the afterlife (see, for example, Mark 10.30; Luke 18.30; 20.34-35; Eph. 1.21 for similar language). Forgiveness is not necessary in heaven, and there is no forgiveness in hell. This proves that there is another state after death, and the Church for 2,000 years has called this state purgatory.

Luke 12:47-48 - when the Master comes (at the end of time), some will receive light or heavy beatings but will live. This state is not heaven or hell, because in heaven there are no beatings, and in hell we will no longer live with the Master.

Luke 16:19-31 - in this story, we see that the dead rich man is suffering but still feels compassion for his brothers and wants to warn them of his place of suffering. But there is no suffering in heaven or compassion in hell because compassion is a grace from God and those in hell are deprived from God’s graces for all eternity. So where is the rich man? He is in purgatory.

1 Cor. 15:29-30 - Paul mentions atoning for sins of the dead. They cannot be in heaven because they are still with sin, but they also cannot be in hell because their sins can no longer be atoned for. They are in purgatory. These verses directly correspond to 2 Macc. 12:44-45 which also shows specific prayers for the dead, so that they may be forgiven of their sin.

Phil. 2:10 - every knee bends to Jesus, in heaven, on earth, and “under the earth” which is the realm of the righteous dead, or purgatory.

2 Tim. 1:16-18 - Onesiphorus is dead but Paul asks for mercy on him. There is no need for mercy in heaven, and there is no mercy given in hell. Where is Onesiphorus? He is in purgatory.

Heb. 12:14 - without holiness no one will see the Lord. We need final sanctification to attain true holiness before God, and this process occurs during our lives and, if not completed during our lives, in the transitional state of purgatory.

Heb. 12:23 - the spirits of just men who died in godliness are “made” perfect. They do not necessarily arrive perfect. They are made perfect after their death. But those in heaven are already perfect, and those in hell can no longer be made perfect. These spirits are in purgatory.

1 Peter 3:19; 4:6 - Jesus preached to the spirits in the “prison.” These are the righteous souls being purified for the beatific vision.

Rev. 21:4 - God shall wipe away their tears, and there will be no mourning or pain, but only after the coming of the new heaven and the passing away of the current heaven and earth. Note the elimination of tears and pain only occurs at the end of time. But there is no morning or pain in heaven, and God will not wipe away their tears in hell. These are the souls experiencing purgatory.

There is more, I could go on but think there is enough evidence above. The Protestants accept doctrines with far less evidence. Why not accept this one?

All I am looking for is a reason why Protestants do not accept all the teachings of Sacred Scripture, but only some of them!

No it doesn’t. Otherwise by this exact same logic, the very fact that you supposedly must confess your sins to God means that the blood of Christ isn’t enough to clean the sin of the world!

By the way, Catholics believe that all sin that is forgiven is forgiven by grace. It is simply a matter of the vehicle of that grace in which we disagree. Catholics believe that the Sacraments of Baptism and Confession (also Communion and Anointing, probably), purgatory and private confessions to God can all be these vehicles of grace. The Protestants described in this thread believe that the vehicle of the grace is faith in Christ and private confession only.

And it also tells us that we’re made perfect in Christ, so there is no need for the mythical Purgatory.

A further argument is supplied by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 Every man’s work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in 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 burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire."

This is referring to reward in Heaven, not salvation.

Matt. 12:32 – Jesus says, “And anyone who says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but no one who speaks against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven ]either in this world or in the next.” Jesus thus clearly provides that there is forgiveness after death.

The phrase “in the next” (from the Greek “en to mellonti”) generally refers to the afterlife (see, for example, Mark 10.30; Luke 18.30; 20.34-35; Eph. 1.21 for similar language). Forgiveness is not necessary in heaven, and there is no forgiveness in hell. This proves that there is another state after death, and the Church for 2,000 years has called this state purgatory.

It doesn’t prove that at all.You’re simply reading Roman Catholic dogma into the scriptures.

Luke 12:47-48 - when the Master comes (at the end of time), some will receive light or heavy beatings but will live. This state is not heaven or hell, because in heaven there are no beatings, and in hell we will no longer live with the Master.

This is a parable, not a literal account of a real event. Nor does it say anything about Purgatory.

Luke 16:19-31 - in this story, we see that the dead rich man is suffering but still feels compassion for his brothers and wants to warn them of his place of suffering. But there is no suffering in heaven or compassion in hell because compassion is a grace from God and those in hell are deprived from God’s graces for all eternity. So where is the rich man? He is in purgatory.

Again, you’re reading your own beliefs into the text.

Remember, it’s an illustration, not a literal account of a real event.

1 Cor. 15:29-30 - Paul mentions atoning for sins of the dead.

You’re right he does “mention” atoning for the sins of the dead. But what you neglect to mention is that he writes that it is futile because once they’re dead, any opportunity for atonement has passed.

Phil. 2:10 - every knee bends to Jesus, in heaven, on earth, and “under the earth” which is the realm of the righteous dead, or purgatory.

If they’re righteous, then why do they need to be in Purgatory, when the Bible tells us that Heaven is the home of the righteous.

2 Tim. 1:16-18 - Onesiphorus is dead but Paul asks for mercy on him. There is no need for mercy in heaven, and there is no mercy given in hell. Where is Onesiphorus? He is in purgatory.

Nowhere in this verse does it say anything about Purgatory. How could Paul know that this man was in Purgatory?

Remember, Paul is the same one who told us that we’re perfected in Christ, and that we’re saved “once and for all”.

So, not only does he not say anything here about Purgatory, but for him to teach that there is a place where we are saved apart from Christ’s atonement would contradict things he’s taught earlier.

Heb. 12:14 - without holiness no one will see the Lord. We need final sanctification to attain true holiness before God, and this process occurs during our lives and, if not completed during our lives, in the transitional state of purgatory.

Or so you assume. Nowhere in this verse, nowhere even in the chapter, do we see anything at all about Purgatory.

Heb. 12:23 - the spirits of just men who died in godliness are “made” perfect. They do not necessarily arrive perfect. They are made perfect after their death. But those in heaven are already perfect, and those in hell can no longer be made perfect. These spirits are in purgatory.

Again, this is referring to the righteous Jews of the OT who were already accounted as righteous by faith. It says nothing at all about the mythical land of Purgatory.

1 Peter 3:19; 4:6 - Jesus preached to the spirits in the “prison.” These are the righteous souls being purified for the beatific vision.

No, these are the righteous Jews of the OT who look forward to Christ’s sacrifice.

Rev. 21:4 - God shall wipe away their tears, and there will be no mourning or pain, but only after the coming of the new heaven and the passing away of the current heaven and earth. Note the elimination of tears and pain only occurs at the end of time. But there is no morning or pain in heaven, and God will not wipe away their tears in hell. These are the souls experiencing purgatory.

And if you had bothered to quote this verse in it’s proper context, you would have seen that the previous three verses tell us that this is Heaven, not Purgatory.

There is more, I could go on but think there is enough evidence above. The Protestants accept doctrines with far less evidence. Why not accept this one?

Because it isn’t taught anywhere in scripture.

All I am looking for is a reason why Protestants do not accept all the teachings of Sacred Scripture, but only some of them!

We do. We just don’t accept Roman Catholic fairy tales.

Not just one but several posters have pointed out that the justification for such a doctrine is scripturally very weak or non-existent–one has to bring the notion of such a concept to the Scriptures to tease-out any plausible support whatever for such a doctrine. Moreover, the doctrine appears to suggest that the atoning and sanctifying work of Christ is incomplete, that there remains some portion of salvation or sanctification which remains for the individual believer to accomplish–giving to human beings something of which they could boast. The Reformational understanding of the matter is that both salvation and sanctification are all of Christ and none of man, that Christ has done all on our behalf that is needful to make us perfect in Him.

This aside: Protestants generally, especially in recent decades, believe that there will be different sorts of rewards in Heaven for those who display various sorts of uncommon virtue. These most commonly are spoken of as different sorts of ‘crowns’, though one would hope that this is clearly understood as a figure of speech. Such notions are not so far removed as one might think from the idea that one might receive some form of demerit for being less than fully valorous in one’s service to Christ.

[quote=Atreyu]. . . Otherwise by this exact same logic, the very fact that you supposedly must confess your sins to God means that the blood of Christ isn’t enough to clean the sin of the world!
[/quote]

Atreyu: Christians do not confess their sins in order to atone for them but only as an act of obedience, seeing that it is God Himself Who has decreed that we are to confess our sins before Him. The sins of the Elect are already atoned for–since before all time–but the Elect manifest their calling before God by conforming to God’s means to achieve His ends.

By the way, Catholics believe that all sin that is forgiven is forgiven by grace. It is simply a matter of the vehicle of that grace in which we disagree. Catholics believe that the Sacraments of Baptism and Confession (also Communion and Anointing, probably), purgatory and private confessions to God can all be these vehicles of grace. The Protestants described in this thread believe that the vehicle of the grace is faith in Christ and private confession only.

More perfectly: Protestants understand that grace is a verb and not a noun, that it is an act of God and not a substance which He imparts through some sort of ‘vehicle’.

Steadfast,
As to point number 2 that you made I would disagree. Purgatory does not undercut Christ’s sacrifice but is a means (not a necessity for everyone) for those who died in God’s grace to participate in Christ’s sacrifice. Some brave soles (Pope JPII, may have obtained this participation on this journey).

Too many keep saying that Purgatory denies Christ sacrifice, but nothing could be further from the Truth. Purgatory is Christ giving us the opportunity to participate in His sufferings so as to achieve holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

Protestants reject Purgatory because the best scriptural evidence found for it is contained in the book of 2nd Maccabees, one of the books that Martin Luther, drawing on his gift of hermaneutical infallibility, decided wasn’t canonical and ergo ripped it out of the Bible.

Purgatory also stipulates that the penalty for venial sins has to be paid for before the soul enters heaven, which is a concept that shoots Luther’s novel invention about “salvation through faith alone” to pieces.

They also reject Purgatory because they totally misunderstand what it does, and who’s behind it. They think it’s a repudiation of Christ’s salvational and redemptive efforts on the Cross (it isn’t), or else a “second chance at salvation” (it’s not); they also seem to think it’s something that man does on his own, and is ergo “salvation by works” (not even close).

Christ’s sacrifice was total and all-encompassing. The soul being cleansed in Purgatory is undergoing the last stage of that sacrifice, which started with baptism and continued on with the souls’ pilgrim journey on earth. Purgatory is part of Christ’s work, not man’s—so it’s certainly not a “work”; nor is it voluntary. You don’t choose to go to Purgatory; if God decides you need to go to Purgatory, to Purgatory you will go, whether you want to or not.

I said, “It seems”. I purposely did not take a position. I know you disagree. I’d be very surprised if you didn’t.

All I did was answer the question.

That some of you have decided to be indignant just tells me that you shouldn’t have asked the question if you expected anything different.

But the point of my comment was that while accepting the sacrifice of Christ was all embracing, there is usually something in every human being that is not worthy of God.

It is that which the Scriptures, the blessed apostles of the Lord and the Lord’s OWN teaching which says must be cleansed before a person can enter into the beatific vision. Jesus said ‘nothing defiled can enter heaven’ and ‘no man is without sin’. So He is either saying ‘no one goes to heaven’ or there is some process by which a person can be purified.

Allowing for Luthers view on Maccabee’s, St’s Paul, Peter, Timothy, Clement, Linus, Cletus, Mark, Luke and Matthew all agreed in and wrote about the ‘forgiving of sins’ and ‘purification’ and ‘atonement’ in the next life before a person enters Heaven.

Surely they cant all be wrong and the Protestants be right?

John at the end of his gospel argues that ‘nothing must be added to the sacred teachings’. So why did Luther add by dismissing the concept of Purgatory which is clearly evidenced throughout the New Testament by about every writer in there?

Exactly. Which is why Luther and the Reformers stress that Christ’s sacrifice IS all-embracing (more precisely, ‘all-sufficient’) and covers all vestiges of sin.

It is that which the Scriptures, the blessed apostles of the Lord and the Lord’s OWN teaching which says must be cleansed before a person can enter into the beatific vision. Jesus said ‘nothing defiled can enter heaven’ and ‘no man is without sin’. So He is either saying ‘no one goes to heaven’ or there is some process by which a person can be purified.

False dichotomy. Christian teaching is that it is Christ, by His atonement which purifies the believer. The believer does not and cannot purify himself. It is all of Christ and none of man.

Allowing for Luther’s view on Maccabees’s, St’s Paul, Peter, Timothy, Clement, Linus, Cletus, Mark, Luke and Matthew all agreed in and wrote about the ‘forgiving of sins’ and ‘purification’ and ‘atonement’ in the next life before a person enters Heaven.

Surely they cant all be wrong and the Protestants be right?

The Gospel and Apostolic writers do not teach what you infer them to say. Nor, for that matter, is Maccabees such an overwhelming proof for the Catholic position. For one thing, Jewish theology did not teach anything vaguely suggestive of Purgatory. For another, the souls for whom the Maccabean text commends prayer had committed a mortal sin (idolatry), for which they would have been consigned not to Purgatory but to Hell. One suspects that your application of the teaching of early church fathers is as rotten with eisegesis as your approach to Scripture.

John at the end of his gospel argues that ‘nothing must be added to the sacred teachings’. So why did Luther add by dismissing the concept of Purgatory which is clearly evidenced throughout the New Testament by about every writer in there?

Neither ‘added’ nor ‘taken away’ is the precise admonition given by John. Purgatory, when Scripture is compared with Scripture and rightly divided, neither appears explicitly in the text nor can be derived by a valid exegesis of the text. It is, contrariwise, in clear opposition to what Scripture teaches as the nature of the Atonement of Christ and inserts alongside that all-sufficient Atonement, the merits of human beings. Hence the decision of the Reformation Christians to exclude the doctrine of purgatory as being something added to the corpus of received Christian teaching.

Luther became obsessed with knowing whether or not he was going to heaven. Granted, this largely came as a result of the abuses of the Catholic clergy at the time. Still, one cannot help but question the decision to scrap the doctrine of purgatory.

Also, it seems clear that the opponents, 1) do not completely understand purgatory, which is why they believe it to conflict with Christ’s sacrifice, and 2) are not convinced by the scriptural references that Catholics site.

What did the Early Church Fathers have to say about purgatory? Anything?

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