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Scripture and Tradition? Where does Tradition stand?

Loutzenhiser's picture

We will continue the 2 Tim and 1 Thess here. I will bring the last posts from each thread here.

Let me define the thread subject here. We all agree that Scripture is foundational to the church, but where does tradition stand and what tradition.

Some questions -

Is a tradition considered to be apostolical even though it is announced and defined at a later date?

Must a tradition have some other supporting evidence or is the church's "word" good enough for it to be considered canonical?

Is Dogma tradition or just a church's view?

What support must a tradition have to be canonical? (such as multi-church support?)

Are views and teachings about a tradition also tradition or just a church's opinion?

michael_legna's picture

You really aren't addressing the primary issue here

Robert said -
1 Cor 3 is clearly referring to man and his works here on earth. If they are of God then God will reward you in the afterlife. If they are of man/self then your works will be burned up and you will not be rewarded (suffer loss) but the man will be saved.

Robert said -
This is of course a very concise summation of a great book on faith and the works that are produced from faith.

It is even a very concise summation of this whole section which is why perhaps it would be better to do a detailed analysis of the section before coming to a conclusion.

The word Purgatory is based on the root word purge. The Catholic Church uses the term Purgatory to refer to the purging of our works which do not measure up to the standards of heavenly existence. It comes in part, but not completely, from the reference to the burning away of our works in 1 Cor 3:10-17
1 Cor 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
Note that this is referring only to those who have accepted Christ, this is shown by the statement in verse 12 that these individuals built upon the foundation of Christ. These are Christians, those who are saved and have been determined as saved at the judgment. Next we see that there are different qualities of our works which we did on earth. Some are gold and silver making us vessels suitable for the masters use, and others are imperfect and will be revealed as unsatisfactory works and which will be burnt away when they are tried/tested. If we have any of our works survive, in other words if we properly accepted the free gift of salvation through works of loving obedience we shall receive a reward (crowns in heaven).

1 Cor 3:13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

In verse 13 Paul writes about God revealing the quality of each man's work by fire and purifying him, this purification relates to his sins (not just his good works). Protestants, in attempting to disprove the reality of purgatory, argue that Paul was only writing about rewarding good works, and not punishing sins (because punishing and purifying a man from sins would be admitting that there is a purgatory).

1 Cor 3:14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

Verse 14 explains that purgatory thus reveals the state of righteousness

1 Cor 3:15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
If some of our works were of unsatisfactory nature they will be burnt away and we will suffer because of that loss. But we, ourselves will be saved, not because of our works, good or bad, but because we built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ.

Verse 15 explains that those in purgatory are in a state of venial sin, they have not mortally wounded their relationship with Christ. Paul says though he will be saved, "but only" through fire. The phrase "but only" in the Greek is "houtos" which means "in the same manner." This means that man is both rewarded and saved by fire. When Paul teaches that those whose work is burned up will suffer loss, the phrase for "suffer loss" in the Greek is "zemiothesetai." The root word is "zemioo" which also refers to punishment. This means that there is an expiation of temporal punishment after our death, which cannot mean either heaven (no need for it) or hell (expiation no longer exists).

1 Cor 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1 Cor 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

In verse 17 we see the destruction of those who defile the Temple of God with back works (not building on the foundation of Christ) occurring at this same judgment that the suffering loss and rewarding for good works occurs. The only place final condemnation occurs is at the judgment seat after death so we can conclude the loss and rewards also occur after death.

In summary works are judged after death and tested by fire. Some works are lost, but the person is still saved. Paul is referring to the state of purgation called purgatory. The venial sins (bad works) that were committed are burned up after death, but the person is still brought to salvation. This state after death cannot be heaven (no one with venial sins is present) or hell (there is no forgiveness and salvation).

Of course I had provided this all before but it was never really addressed then, so since you brought it up and seem interested I will give you a chance to address it in a detailed manner.

I do agree with you when you say it is "clearly referring to man and his works here on earth". These are referring to our works here on earth. But the testing of these works does not occur here on earth.

I also agree that if these works "are of God then God will reward you in the afterlife. If they are of man/self then your works will be burned up and you will not be rewarded (suffer loss) but the man will be saved". But of course these works that are of God are not of Him alone, we are the one doing the works, they are of God in the sense that they match his will. He works through us, if we cooperate with His grace, but it is still us working out our salvation with fear and trembling.

You do address the issue of where the works are done and how they measure up or don't, but you do not address how these works are tested by fire, and that is the entire point of purgatory. So you really haven't addressed purgatory at all.