Tag Archives: purgatory

Possibilities of the Reunion of East and West.

In the past half-century, relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church have been growing ever closer and oriented ever more toward possible reunion. Perhaps the greatest hope of the late Holy Father John Paul II, of happy memory, was the reunion of these two oldest Churches of Christendom. In his many efforts to bridge the doctrinal and cultural divides which separate the Churches, he was successful in fostering much greater mutual respect, if not any actual reunification. Understandably, the steps taken by the Holy Father’s predecessor have excited much hope for reunion. However, it is my belief that the steps taken, on each side, toward the noble goal of rebuilding the single pre-schism Church, truly amount to little more than window-dressing, with no substantial gains made.

Not to be a party-pooper, but there is a huge list of very important things that need to be cleared up before reunion can be effected.

In compiling this list, I have provided a brief summary of each point. In order to shorten this article to a readable length, I have eliminated source citations. If you would like a citation on a particular point, please let me know in the comments section or via e-mail.

I invite your commentary.

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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)?

Purgatory Pickle Redux

A fellow by the name of Charles recently commented on an old purgatory post of mine that has long since sunken below the horizon. He says:

“Why do Catholics use 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 to prove Purgatory? It couldn’t be plainer in the text that the fire will reveal all works on ‘the Day’. The Day of Christ at judgment. ‘ The Day’ is too obvious but surprisingly overlooked by Catholics.”

My first reaction would be to say that Catholics believe in two judgments, personal and universal. We are faced with personal judgment when we die. The universal comes when Christ returns to Earth to judge all of mankind. On “the Day”, that is the day of our judgment, our works are tested by fire. That fire is not literal, of course, but suffering of some kind is implied. I see no contradiction whatsoever regarding purgation and judgment.

What are your thoughts?

Protestant Defends Purgatory

Those following the discussion about purgatory, might find this Musings of a Pertinacious Papist post interesting.

"Jerry L. Walls is not a Catholic. He is professor of philosophy and religion at Asbury Theological Seminary, a conservative evangelical Methodist seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He teaches an annual C.S. Lewis seminar, which is one of the school's most popular offerings. Thirteen years ago he published a widely-discussed book entitled Hell: The Logic of Damnation (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992). Ten years later, he has published Heaven: The Logic of Eternal Joy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), which has also been receiving wide attention, among other things for his treatment of Purgatory."

Purgatory Pickle

There is a very common misunderstanding among Evangelicals regarding purgatory.
Earnestly Contending (which, for reasons unknown has no commenting capability) post
a quote from Charles Spurgeon, represents well.

“But shall I tell you who the gentlemen are who generally raise objections to the glorious privilege of assurance? There are, first of all, the adherents of the Pope of Rome. Of course, the Papist does not like full assurance. And why? The Pope and his priest would have a lean larder if full assurance were well preached. Only conceive my brethren, if the Roman Catholic could get the full assurance of salvation, surely the Cardinals would hardly find money enough to buy their red hats. For where were purgatory then? Purgatory is an impossibility, if full assurance be possible. If a man knows himself to be saved, then he is not to be troubled with a silly fear about waiting in the intermediate state, to be purified with fire, before he can enter into heaven. Purgatory is only acceptable to those poor trembling souls who know of no sure salvation here, and are glad of this deceptive hope of a salvation to be wrought in the world to come. Purgatory being thus builded upon a lying imposition — on the fears of ignorant consciences, becomes what brave old Hugh Latimer used to call it, ‘Purgatory Pick-purse,’ to the poor sinner, and ‘Purgatory Fillpurse’ to the vagabond priest. Once let full assurance be given to all Christian men — first make the Romanist a Christian, and then let him be fully assured of his interest in Christ, and away goes purgatory, and there will never be a soul found to tremble at it any more.” – Charles H. Spurgeon; from a sermon on Sunday, April 28th, 1861(emphasis mine)

There is no salvation to be wrought after death, in purgatory or elsewhere. Even if Catholics believed in full assurance, they could believe in purgatory. Purgatory is not a destination, but a lay-over. Only those who are saved experience purgation, i.e cleansing. Nothing imperfect can enter the presense of God in heaven. Humans are certainly far from perfect. By the end of our lives, we have accumulated spiritual scar tissue that sin produces. Also, even the most saintly of individuals is not entirely conformed to Christ and His commands at death. Therefore, all stain of sin and its waste products must be purged from us before we enter the beatific vision.

UPDATE: Steve, a faithful reader, has provided some Scripture to support the need purgation.

“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 till you have paid the very last copper.” – Luke 21:58-59

“According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 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.” – 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

“And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6

“But nothing unclean shall enter [heaven], nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” – Revelation 21:27

Catholic Anwers has an excellent defense of purgatorian doctrine that readers might enjoy. Apologist Mark Shea (a former Evangelical) wrote one, too. C.S. Lewis, a Protestant author and a favorite of mine, tossed in his two cents as well.