09 April 2005

Purgatory

Okay, purgatory is probably one of the most misunderstood, least researched teachings of the Church by its opponents. What I had heard of purgatory before hearing the truth, was totally false and not supported by one iota of evidence. Some of those myths are:
  • The Catholic Church invented the doctrine in the 1500's as a source of income.
  • There is no Scriptural proof for purgatory.
  • The doctrine belittles Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

If these myths were true, the Catholic Church would be in huge trouble! However, the Church can only teach true doctrine, thanks to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. To a Catholic, that is enough to know that it is sound doctrine. Though for Protestant Christians, these accusations must be investigated and put to rest. So I researched the history of the doctrine, what early members of the Church said about it, and if there was any Biblical support for it.

I put together the results of my research into a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. All the myths are debunked, the questions are answered, and there are even some links to more information. You can get the slide show here: http://www.geocities.com/catholicboy930/Purgatory.ppt

If you do not have Microsoft PowerPoint, you can download, for free, the PowerPoint Viewer. That file is at Microsoft's website: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=428d5727-43ab-4f24-90b7-a94784af71a4&displaylang=en

I hope the slide show is informative and helpful. If you have any other questions, e-mail me at CatholicBoy930@yahoo.com or leave a comment.

God bless,
Jon

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me again. I just downloaded what I needed so I could watch the show. You did a good job--I am very impressed. I know that Christ is very pleased with you. As am I.
Love,
Catholic Mom

May 29, 2005 10:10 PM  
Blogger David Ketter said...

Ach, Jon...

I will not attempt to change your mind, not today. Let it be known, though, that I pray for your return to the Truth every day. I do not speak of "Protestant truth" or "Catholic truth" for the Day of Judgment shall show them both flawed, but there is yet the Truth.

I might point out that 2 Maccabees was not part of the ACCEPTED canon until much later. Eusebius did not consider it to be canonical, which is part of the reason why it is deutero-canonical, and, thus, does not hold the same weight as the inspired Scriptures. (Another debate for another time).

I might ask though, is Christ's blood not sufficient to atone for ALL sin? I mean, I believe it atoned for original sin universally. But it also atones for the committed sins of those who come to salvation. When we repent our sins, "he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins."

Until He Comes Again (and He will),
David

June 15, 2005 9:28 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

Thank you both for your comments!

David, I'm sure you'll be glad to know that I too pray every day that God's truth will be revealed... to everyone.

The deuterocanonical books, including 2 Maccabees are deuterocanonical because they were definitely canonized later than the other books. I believe it was the heretic Marcion who first proposed his idea of a canon. It was the second century and he denounced the OT, all gospels but Luke, and most of the epistles. The church fired back with the first canon of the four gospels. It is interesting to note that Eusebius doubted Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2-3 John, Revelation, and Jude. The synod of Carthage in 397 still was undecided over those books. The Council of Trent defined the present canon as Catholics know it today. Also know that the Jews did not have a set canon until Jamnia in the year 92. This would be after the birth of the Church and their use of the Septuagint, so we have no reason to accept that council's canon.

Christ's sacrifice on the cross is sufficient to redeem all of us. The concept behind purgatory is that though we can be forgiven our sins, we must be purified. This is in line with Christ's sacrifice and Scripture, which speaks of a purging fire. You must believe we will be purged by fire, as that is a direct quote from Scripture. Our redemption comes from the cross, no Christian can deny that. The concept of purgatory does not deny that.

June 20, 2005 6:50 PM  
Blogger David Ketter said...

It is interesting to note that Eusebius doubted Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2-3 John, Revelation, and Jude.

I'm not saying that Eusebius was inerrant, but that there was reasonable doubt - which was also the case with the above-listed books. However, I can provide verification for most of them:

Polycarp and his successor (the name escapes me now) testified concerning the books written by the Apostle John - 2 & 3 John, and Revelation. Other Apostolic Fathers (such as Origen, Justin Martyr, etc.) testified concerning James, 2 Peter, and Jude. Augustine, however, made the case for Hebrews (which, for lack of a signature, was the hardest to verify).

Also know that the Jews did not have a set canon until Jamnia in the year 92. This would be after the birth of the Church and their use of the Septuagint, so we have no reason to accept that council's canon.

Does the Truth require a council? It was well-known which books of the Old Testament were inspired by God - Jesus, in fact, referred to them: The Law (Torah), the Prophets (Nevi'im), and the Writings (Kethuvim). Jamnia may have been the major event for Jews in exile, but the Palestinian Jews (who used a Palestinian Targum OR the Hebrew originals) knew, from word revealed to Ezra, which books were among the canon. I have more information regarding the composing of the Hebrew Scriptures if you wish it...

The concept behind purgatory is that though we can be forgiven our sins, we must be purified.

We must be purified, but that purification begins on earth and is completed at the End of Days by God Himself. The verse you quoted from Peter does not refer to a spiritual place, but to the trials we face on earth...the tribulations, the persecutions that we battle here. Only faith can survive them for sure - material things can not.

June 20, 2005 8:24 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

However, I can provide verification for most of them:

Ah, following the traditions of men? :P Since several men came out with ideas of which books were canonical, there needs to be a decisive canon. Do I understand correctly that you follow tradition by deciding which books are part of the inspired Word of God? Especially considering that St. Augustine was born some 300 years after Christ's death. By asking that, I'm not calling into question these great early fathers. Rather, I see how that further supports the Church's place in canonization of the books. Councils have held much authority, ever since Jerusalem in the infant years of the church. An ecumenical council such as Trent holds very high authority. How people can follow Luther's idea of a canon over church councils and early church fathers baffles me.

The verse you quoted from Peter does not refer to a spiritual place, but to the trials we face on earth...the tribulations, the persecutions that we battle here.

The verse I quoted from 1 Corinthians does speak of a refiner's fire. The Catholic Church teaches that suffering, trials, tribulations here or in purgatory help us. And once Christ returns, purgatory will be emptied.

June 21, 2005 2:05 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

Here's a little excerpt from an article on Purgatory from Catholic Answers. The link to their home page can be found in my 'links' section.

"It is entirely correct to say that Christ accomplished all of our salvation for us on the cross. But that does not settle the question of how this redemption is applied to us. Scripture reveals that it is applied to us over the course of time through, among other things, the process of sanctification through which the Christian is made holy. Sanctification involves suffering (Rom. 5:3–5), and purgatory is the final stage of sanctification that some of us need to undergo before we enter heaven. Purgatory is the final phase of Christ’s applying to us the purifying redemption that he accomplished for us by his death on the cross."

I think this is a good way to look at the question. I'm wrapping up a little commentary on the identity of the great wonder of Revelation 12. It should be finished (and hopefully uploaded) by tomorrow.

June 21, 2005 2:25 PM  
Blogger David Ketter said...

Ah, following the traditions of men?

Not that I consider myself to be on the same level as Paul, but I will use something of his in this case: "To the Jews, I became a Jew and to the Greeks, a Greek." Because of the Roman Catholic reliance on traditions, I virtually "became Catholic" in the sense that I used a support that is veritable to the Catholic theology. If I were debating this with Presbyterians, I would naturally not put as much emphasis on it. ;)

Do I understand correctly that you follow tradition by deciding which books are part of the inspired Word of God?

No, it was not men that said what belonged in the Word of God, but the Scriptures spoke for themselves. Peter in his epistle acocunted for the writings of Paul...the writings of James, Jude, Peter, John, in addition to the Gospels, were accounted for by their distinct relationship with the Christ (and even Paul, to some extent, could claim the same of his epistles).

In regards to the purgatorial quote (no pun intended, but that is a very dry explananation - no fire there [my bad, another pun]), there is no SOLID, EXPLICIT Biblical evidence for purgatory. If there is such a state, why is there no such reference to it? Heaven and Hell are noted throughout the Scriptures... Even Abraham's Side (which was only in use from the time of Adam until the resurrection), is mentioned (no by that name, but as Hades, "the grave," etc.) has a much stronger case than purgatory.

On Revelation 12...I don't see why we shouldn't accept it as it is. I have an idea of what you're going to say, but, don't worry, I'm already workin' on my response. ;)

Your brother in the faith,
David Ketter

June 21, 2005 3:14 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

I see your point. The way I look at it is that with all these different lists going around, certain people would be claiming certain canons as correct. For all we know, every book could be a forgery! What a mess that would be. I have faith that the Church accurately determined which books had the marks of the inspired Word.

We can think up some other doctrines that aren't explicitly taught in the Scriptures. The Trinity, for example. We don't see much of the relationship between the three persons to go by. Pretty much just seeing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together in one place, (i.e. Christ's baptism.) And did Jesus ever say He was God? The name Immanuel implies it, but did he ever claim it?

I'm going to have to put off the Rev. 12 commentary til probably by the end of the week. We must take a look at it. It's Revelation, full of symbolism and meanings as you well know. I'm looking forward to your response, though. Maybe we will agree on a few things, you never know.

God bless,
Jon

June 22, 2005 2:06 PM  
Blogger David Ketter said...

Jesus did indeed claim to be God....

"I and the Father are One."

"If you have seen me, you have seent the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father' ? Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? ... Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least believe upon the evidence of the miracles themselves."

"In the beginning, was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning...And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us."

Most of these are from John...sorry for the lack of references but this is really stuff I've memorized.

I think that if the Scriptures had been forged, then modern scholars (always the skeptics) would have jumped on it as quickly as possible. Even the hint of it would have got them, ironically, on a crusade against the Christian claims of inerrancy.

Looking forward to Rev. 12...I might not be able to answer it until next week though because I'll be out of town from Fri-Sun (at least...maybe Fri to the Sun AFTER that).

Namarië toronamin e' Eru!*

*Farewell my brother in God

June 22, 2005 9:53 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

Ah, of course. It makes sense that most would be found in John, since the fact that Jesus is God is a major focal point in that book.

There have been many critics of the validity of Scripture. The Jesus Seminar voted that 18% of the sayings of Jesus and 16% of the deeds of Jesus as found in the Bible actually happened or were probable. Crazy, isn't it? There are still debates in the Christian community over the authorship of some of the books, as you know.

Right now I'm looking through all our luggage for a floppy disk... The commentary is complete, but I don't feel like retyping nine pages with all the accented Greek words and the like. *rolls eyes* If I can't find/get one by Sunday, I'll bring the laptop here to the library and retype it.

June 24, 2005 4:13 PM  
Blogger David Ketter said...

Good point about John.....However, Matthew has a fair share of it (I know, it's major focal point is about Jesus as the Messiah and Savior) too.

Once again, lookin' forward to what you have to say.

July 02, 2005 7:12 AM  

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