Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Terminology Tuesday: Purgatory

Purgatory: In Catholic theology, the place of purification and maturation that one may need to enter after death before the perfected soul attains the "beatific vision"—that is, perfectly "seeing" and "knowing" the triune God. Protestants have generally rejected the concept as having no basis in Scripture and as denying the significance and finality of mortal life on earth.1

1. Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 97.


Anonymous said...

Purgatory is not a place, it's a process of purification after death before admittance into heaven: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P2N.HTM

Drew said...

Where does this process of purification take place, then?

mhssu said...

It's considered a part of heaven, I believe.

Anonymous said...

Some theologians said it was near hell. Some say it's in the air. Some say under the earth.
So it could be anywhere.
How do you avoid it? INDULGENCES!

Ex N1hilo said...

Worse than denying the significance and finality of mortal life on earth, the doctrine of purgatory denies the significance and finality of Jesus Christ's life of obedience to God's law and the sufficiency of his death on the cross to turn away God's wrath from those come to the Father through Him. The teaching of purgatory is a mockery of God's righteousness as revealed in Christ.

dgfisch said...

I have difficulty with the reality of purgatory in light of the repentant thief on the cross (Lk 23: 40-43). Here was a man who was snatched from condemnation heading for paradise.

To grant purgatory is to place an unnecessary curb on God's grace. Either the thief enters heaven directly (grace) or was ushered into probation (fudging on Christ's offer of grace to the thief).

Anonymous said...

Actually, there are a handful of prominent Protestant scholars who support the doctrine in some form or another. Jerry Walls is one of them. See his Purgatory: The Logic of Total Transformation (Oxford University Press, 2011). He is also the coauthor of Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality (Oxford University Press, 2011), a good defense of theistic metaethics.

Shekem said...

The councils of Florence and Trent based a portion of their belief in "Sacred Scripture" from the Book of the Maccabees. Problematic issues arise from that basis, as even the Hebrew/Jewish people themselves do not consider the Book of the Maccabees to be "Holy Scripture" but rather "History" of that time period. With that being stated, just because Judas Maccabee offered up prayers for the dead, doesn't mean it actually worked in regards to their purification.

They also based it on Job 1:5 where Job gave burnt offerings on behalf of his sons who may have sinned. The only problem with that line of thought and Purgatory, is that Job's sons were ALIVE when he said those prayers, not dead. And as head of the household, he had a duty to offer sacrifices on behalf of his family. Big difference between that at indulgences/prayer in relation to Purgatory.

And the verses about a "cleansing fire" are clearly taken out of context of scripture in order to fit them with the idea of purgatory. 1 Corinthians Chapter 3 is clearly talking about the fruit that our "works" here on earth bare forth, and has nothing to do with an "after death" experience. And 1 Peter 1:7 is referring to our faith being tried by the fire of "manifold temptations" and again has nothing to do with a purging after our deaths.

And finally, Mathew 12:31. Here, Christ in the beginning of his Ministry and still living by the Mosaic covenant, is referring to "this world" being the world under the Mosaic Covenant, and "the next world" being the New Covenant (post Christ's death/resurrection).

All that being said, I am not a Catholic Church hater/basher. But I dutifully believe we should rightly divide the word of truth, taking it for what it says "in context" and not simply take a verse here and a verse there and attempt to make the Bible fit my ideals instead of making my ideals fit the Bible.

Jason Engwer said...

The concept of Purgatory is widely contradicted by scripture and the church fathers. See here.

Anonymous said...

I believe St Bernard says something like God's grace does all, but we must make it our own by accepting grace and its working in our lives.

Hebrews 12:14 "Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord" (RSV) seems to suggest that believers should strive for an ongoing "sanctification" while still alive. The question is- is this necessary holiness given to us instantly after death (for the saved) or, if required, is there a purifying process (for the saved)?

Ken said...

The false dichotomies shown here are very easily refuted. Protestants often enjoy employing the "either Gods grace is sufficient or NOT" argument when discussing purgatory. In fact, purgatory does not diminish Gods grace in the slightest.

Unfortunately, this website does not offer much positive catholic material nor does it advertise Catholic apologists such as Tim Staples, Robert Sungenis, Scott Hahn, etc.

These links give the catholic prospective on purgatory from an apologetic standpoint.




God Bless!

Unknown said...

I really cant stand false doctrines that cause so much spiritual death, the purification process is now, in Holy Fire while living on earth, otherwise John the Baptist would not have said in

Matthew 3:11

1 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

This Holy Fire is also why we Go through Fiery tribulations that purifies and Refines us as Paul tells us to be Pure as He is pure 1John 3:3 and through Christ are Holy as He is Holy
1Peter 1:13-16. this is all going on now and not after death.God says after death then comes judgment not a purification process.1 Peter 1:7 Daniel 12:10 Daniel 11:35. through these scriptures purification by Gods Holy Fire is done now not when we are dead. if your in flames after your dead you took the wrong direction.

Anonymous said...

The concept behind purgatory is the temporal punishment due to sin. Protestants, while stating they rejecting this, paradoxically accept it implicitly lest they can offer an explanation as to why they still suffer death if Christ has forgiven their sins.

Death is the perfect example of the temporal punishment due to sin.

Unknown said...

"... the doctrine of purgatory denies the significance and finality of Jesus Christ's life of obedience to God's law and the sufficiency of his death on the cross ...." No, it does not. Paul says just that in Col 1:24. We Catholics believe we are all members of the body of Christ. What is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions is you and me, brother. The eternal God is not constrained by our concept of time and space. We crucify Him now by our sin, and yet by his endless mercy we are forgiven thanks be to God!

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