Defending Purgatory

“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.” – Luke 12:57-59

Can this verse, like Matthew 18:21-35, possibly be used as a scriptural defense of purgatry, or is the debt to be understood as an unpayable one (thus making the prison hell rather than purgatory)?

Comments 23

  1. Tom Smith wrote:

    Since no one leaves Hell, no matter how many pennies they pay, I’d say that it represents Purgatory.

    Posted 23 Oct 2005 at 6:02 pm
  2. dlw wrote:

    Is there anything in the cotext of the passage to sugest Jesus is talking about the afterlife?

    I thought the basis for Purgatory was from Deuterocanonical sources?

    dlw

    Posted 23 Oct 2005 at 6:50 pm
  3. Tom Smith wrote:

    Actually, upon reading the post again (as well as dlw’s comment), I don’t actually think that there’s any reason to believe that the text refers to the afterlife, though I may be wrong.

    dlw,
    the basis for our belief in Purgatory, like everything we believe, is founded upon Tradition as supported by Scripture and defended by Magisterium. One of the benefits of this arrangement is that the defining of religious doctrine does not become an exercise in archaeology, as it is with those who limit themselves to just one of the three (Protestants with the Scriptures, and Orthodox with Tradition). The commonly cited Purgatory Scripture references are from, I believe, 2 Maccabees.

    Posted 23 Oct 2005 at 11:34 pm
  4. Funky Dung wrote:

    Um…it seems fairly clear to me that God is the judge and the prison sentence relates to eternal judgment. My only question was whether the debt to be paid was unpayable (like 100,000 talents) and thus referring to hell or payable in time and thus referring to purgation. C.f. the parable of the unforgiving servant.

    Posted 24 Oct 2005 at 1:50 am
  5. Tom Smith wrote:

    But who would the accuser be?

    Posted 24 Oct 2005 at 9:58 pm
  6. Funky Dung wrote:

    The Church, perhaps? The Holy Spirit? Does it matter?

    Posted 25 Oct 2005 at 3:08 am
  7. Jerry Nora wrote:

    The Devil is often portray as the Accuser. He tempts us and then promptly points the finger at us. Contrast this with the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete or Advocate, a defense attorney like no other.

    Posted 25 Oct 2005 at 3:31 am
  8. Tom Smith wrote:

    I think the character of the accuser seems to tell us whether or not this passage refers to the afterlife. Since the devil doesn’t accuse us, but rather tempts us in order to get to Hell of our own accord, I don’t think that the accuser is the devil. If this did refer to the afterlife, the only person who I could see being the accuser would be Christ (who, incidentally, would also be the defense lawyer and the judge and jury). I just think that it’s, perhaps, a little too murky and inapplicable to real death (yuk yuk) to count as a reference to the afterlife, though I may be way off.

    Posted 25 Oct 2005 at 11:47 pm
  9. dlw wrote:

    I think we should avoid allegorical interpretations of the text and refer to experts and the surrounding passages(or cotext) to try to get a handle on it.

    That’s why I don’t think it means to set out a doctrine for the nature of the afterlife, something that Jesus didn’t talk a gehenna alot about. 😉

    Tom:the basis for our belief in Purgatory, like everything we believe, is founded upon Tradition as supported by Scripture and defended by Magisterium.

    Tradition is not accepted as the one true base by protestants and those of us who have studied a thing or two about Church history would note that it has nearly always been Traditions, not Tradition.

    The ways Theology got politicized starting in the 4th ctry as the church began to get Constantinized is not exactly something we should be proud of as Christians. It was nationalistic divisions among Christians that abetted the rise of Islam that, in turn, eventually led to the excess concentration of ecclesial governance in the church of Rome, after they lied about the Donation of Constantine to seize political power.

    One of the benefits of this arrangement is that the defining of religious doctrine does not become an exercise in archaeology, as it is with those who limit themselves to just one of the three (Protestants with the Scriptures, and Orthodox with Tradition). The commonly cited Purgatory Scripture references are from, I believe, 2 Maccabees.

    Well, we could use a lot more careful anthropological analysis of scripture, as I understand it. Archaelogy is of far less importance. And one can allow for traditions within a Protestant Pietist tradition, inasmuch as the Priesthood of the Believers also extends to the saints of the past, who can and should have a voice in present ecclesial decisions via tradition.

    dlw

    Posted 26 Oct 2005 at 12:56 am
  10. Funky Dung wrote:

    If settling debts doesn’t refer to repentance for sins, what in Heaven’s name does it refer to?!? I think the Holy Spirit is the accuser, Christ is the jailer, and the Father is the judge. There is no defense lawyer. Our sins speak for themselves.

    Posted 26 Oct 2005 at 2:55 am
  11. Tom Smith wrote:

    When you separate human traditions from Holy Tradition, you’re only making the same bifurcation that Catholics do. Can you give an example of dogmatic problems arising from the confusion of the two? Although I’ve never studied church history formally, it’s probably my favorite hobby. I am well aware of the charges leveled against the Church on the grounds that it is the fruit of some perversion in the Constantinian period. But no one has ever demonstrated (to my knowledge, anyway) that there was a change in the fourth century of which Emperor Constantine was the architect or efficient cause.

    Posted 26 Oct 2005 at 5:14 pm
  12. Funky Dung wrote:

    “the devil doesnt accuse us”

    Are you aware that “satan” means “adversary”, i.e., a plaintiff/accuser in a court of law? C.f. “who will accuse me?” in the suffering servant psalms in Isaiah.

    Posted 28 Sep 2006 at 4:49 pm
  13. Tom Smith wrote:

    When you think of the word “adversary,” is the first thing you think of really a courtroom accuser?

    My point is that “accuser” is merely one of many definitions of “adversary.” More broadly speaking, “adversary” refers to one’s opponent, be he an accuser or not.

    It seems silly to assume that the meaning of the word “Satan” is “accuser” merely because that is one possible (and very narrow) definition of the word.

    Posted 28 Sep 2006 at 7:43 pm
  14. Funky Dung wrote:

    That “narrow” definition is, AFAIK, the accurate one based on the meaning of the Hebrew word.

    Posted 28 Sep 2006 at 10:03 pm
  15. Tom Smith wrote:

    If that’s the case, then “Satan” doesn’t mean “adversary,” it means “accuser.”

    Posted 29 Sep 2006 at 4:44 pm
  16. Funky Dung wrote:

    Wikipedia: Satan

    The nominative satan (meaning “adversary” or “accuser”), and the Arabic shaitan, derives from a Northwest Semitic root ?n, meaning “to be hostile”, “to accuse”.[1] In the New Testament, Satan is a proper name, and is used to refer to a supernatural entity who appears in several passages.

    The most common synonym for Satan, “the Devil”, entered Modern English from Middle English devel, from Old English d?ofol, from Latin diabolus, from Late Greek diabolos, from Greek, “slanderer”, from diaballein, “to slander” : dia-, dia- + ballein, “to hurl”[2]. In Greek, the term diabolos (????????, “slanderer”), carries more negative connotations than the Hebrew satan (??????, “accuser”, “obstructer”).[3]

    Posted 01 Oct 2006 at 8:22 pm
  17. Mofe wrote:

    If purgatory does exist (in whatever form), why do we say “May His Soul RIP” to the dead?

    And indeed if at the end of time Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead why would he have to judge the dead if they have already been sent to heaven or hell at the point of their death? Does he really have to judge the dead twice i.e at the point of their death and at the end of time?

    Posted 14 Aug 2009 at 3:50 am
  18. Mofe wrote:

    it shud have been doesnt!!!

    Posted 14 Aug 2009 at 3:51 am
  19. chris wrote:

    I believe the passage is further saying that the process of cleansing one’s soul is a painful process and you will pay in full for the ability to enter Heaven.

    Posted 17 Aug 2009 at 10:49 am
  20. Eric Williams wrote:

    “If purgatory does exist (in whatever form), why do we say “May His Soul RIP” to the dead?”

    I don’t see a contradiction. Why should we wish that a soul rest rest in peace if we know he/she is already in heaven?

    Posted 17 Aug 2009 at 11:19 am
  21. chris wrote:

    Eric, it’s just my opinion but I believe if a soul is has not entered Purgatory, that soul is in limbo, or the edge of hell. When I wish for a soul to ‘rest in peace’, I pray that soul has made it past limbo.

    Posted 17 Aug 2009 at 1:37 pm
  22. chris wrote:

    Sorry, my grammar is a bit off. I meant to say if a soul has not entered Purgatory, or not passed through Purgatory, that soul is in limbo. I believe we pray for that soul to rest in peace to pass through Purgatory.

    Posted 17 Aug 2009 at 1:48 pm
  23. Eric Williams wrote:

    Chris,

    I think you might have your terms confused.

    Limbo
    Purgatory

    Posted 17 Aug 2009 at 1:55 pm

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