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Catholic view of Purgatory ... Is it real?

michael_legna's picture

You attack strawmen instead of the real arguments of the RCC

DanFugett said -
I am not ignoring a reply and look forward to continuing this debate.

It sure looks like you are since you bring in your own statements as to what verses the Catholic Church uses to support the doctrine of purgatory and ignore the simple explanation I offer. That is called building a strawman attack and is invalid form of argument.

DanFugett said -
Having said that, and in keeping with my understanding of the rules of this debate, I am not limiting myself to prior postings of the debate answered and counter-answered by the participants for and against the existence of purgatory.

What rule in this debate allows you to build up your own weak representation of the other sides argument just so you can more easily knock it down?

DanFugett said
It is impossible to discuss purgatory without touching on salvation and the authority of scripture.

This is a claim made without any support proof and is meant only as a clear misrepresentation of the Catholic position on Purgatory. You have been corrected on this point numerous times and so you have no excuse for this behavior.

DanFugett said -
First, I have looked at the scriptures used to support purgatory, apart from the extra-Biblical interpretation of building on the interpretation of yet others. The pope and Catholic catechism quote from Aquinas who comments from Augustine. But when all is said and done, there is nothing that demonstrates the existence of purgatory from the plain exegesis of scripture. Here are some of them.

Then you should be willing to supply who uses, or tries to apply these verses as supporting the doctrine of Purgatory AND show their interpretations as to how they apply. Instead you offer only a claim that someone somewhere uses these verses and then you offer your own interpretation of them, completely out of context, thus avoiding ever facing the real position of the Catholic Church. Why don't you address the actual position of the Catholic Church?

DanFugett said -
Psalm 66:12 (NIV)
12 You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.

Please provide the Catholic source which used this verse and provide their interpretation and explanation of its relevance and then address that argument if you can.

Isaiah 4:4 (NIV)
4 The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.

And he does, ultimately, when the suffering Servant suffers in their place. In the OT, faith looked forward to Jesus to take all sins away, along with any and all spiritual consquences associated therewith. In Isa 53, Jesus cleanses the bloodstains with His own blood. All people, who havent accepted that sacrifice by faith (Jn 3:16-17) are still going to have to pay for the blood they have shed. Those who shed blood may still face human concequences.

Once again you avoid presenting the actual argument you claim to rebut. How can we judge the truth of which interpretation is better yours or the one you fear to provide, while simultaneously claiming to disprove it?

It is interesting to note that you admit they have to face consequences, which you try to identify as human - while the verse refers to them as spiritual - as in the spirit of fire. I suspect almost any interpretation would match more closely than yours.

Isaiah 6:5-7 (NIV)
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Atonement is declared by God in this passage. Why? Because Isaiah looks forward by faith to the cross of Christ of whom the Law and the Prophets prophesy (Romans 3:21). Faith in Christ's work at calvary brought salvation to the OT believer, and brings it to us as well.

The cleansing of his lips is a "type" of Purgatory. It is not meant as a proof of the doctrine. It is a symbol of it once one understands and accepts the doctrine. You are purposely arguing against the weakest supporting items of the doctrine, and avoiding those you cannot respond to.

DanFugett said
Micah 7:8-9 (NIV)
8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light.
9 Because I have sinned against him,
I will bear the Lord’s wrath,
until he pleads my case
and establishes my right.
He will bring me out into the light;
I will see his righteousness.

This gets even stranger, this time you not only don't offer the interpretation which shows how this verse is claimed to apply, but you don't even offer your interpretation of the verse!

DanFugett said -
Malachi 3:1-4 (NIV)
“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.

John the Baptist is referred to in the first part of this. The other part of this is eschatological and future oriented. OT prophetic passages often do not mention the time of the Gentiles or the Church age. John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ. In the future, Jesus will come again and Isreal will have its rightful place. For now, there is no other name under Heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved. That is, regardless of who declares it otherwise, all are sinners and the total righteous requirements of God are met in Christ for those who accept Him by faith: to the jew first and also to the Gentile. Again, Jesus is the only Way to God, no additonal works secure that ore make us more ready to meet Him.

What is your interpretation of the refining fire - the cleansing like a fuller's soap? You ignore the obvious ideas in the verse and do not even attempt an interpretation of them, let alone behave bravely enough to express the ideas of your opponent and try to directly refute them or compare your interpretation to theirs.

DanFugett said -
Matthew 5:25-26 (NIV)
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

http://www.scripturecatholic.com/purgatory.html says
The word “opponent” (antidiko) is likely a reference to the devil (see the same word for devil in 1 Pet. 5:8) who is an accuser against man (c.f. Job 1.6-12; Zech. 3.1; Rev. 12.10), and God is the judge. If we have not adequately dealt with satan and sin in this life, we will be held in a temporary state called a prison, and we won’t get out until we have satisfied our entire debt to God. This “prison” is purgatory where we will not get out until the last penny is paid.

Finally you offer a source and their interpretation - at least this argument is handled properly. Now if you interpretation makes as much sense as theirs we may have a real discussion of the relative merits of each side.

dan says:
I dont think so. The entire portion of Matt 5:21-26 is Jesus Sermon on the Mount dealing with His version of Do not Murder. Christ considers our obligation to each other to be such that we need to clear matters up with each other before offering gifts to God and way before the law gets involved. He says nothing that imlies the believer will or will not be immediately present with the Lord upon leaving this body on the basis of whether the person is in debtor's prison or not.

But alas handling the argument properly does not help if you offer no rebuttal other than "you don't think so".

If you cannot see Christ as using this real world punishment as a type of the treatment we will receive in front of the most just judge then you are purposely ignoring the reason why Jesus brings these issues up.

DanFugett said -
Luke 12:58-59 (NIV)
58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

Same as above

Same intentional blindness you exhibited above.

DanFugett said -
Matthew 12:32 (NIV)
32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

The phrase “in the next” (from the Greek “en to mellonti”) generally refers to the afterlife (see, for example, Mark 10.30; Luke 18.30; 20.34-35; Eph. 1.21 for similar language). Forgiveness is not necessary in heaven, and there is no forgiveness in hell. This proves that there is another state after death, and the Church for 2,000 years has called this state purgatory.

Dan says - actually I dont see the term purgatory until late in the game. Please demonstrate this term in the first 5 centuries of the church.

This attempted argument is called a red herring - meant to side track the issue and is also an invalid form of argument. But it is easily handled - note that the arguer (who you once again fail to identify) did not say the idea was "called" purgatory for the entire 2000 years. They said the idea had been known for the full 2000 years. Whether it was officially named anything or not is completely irrelevant.

DanFugett said -
Also, the fact Jesus says the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in the age to come: now or in eternity. Again, it takes a considerable leap of imagination to get purgatory from this scripture.

Perhaps you would be able to see it if you read more on the subjhect because many other Catholic sources explain that this verse makes it clear that the the mere mention of the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit not being forgivable even in the age to come implies that other sins can be forgiven in the age to come. In other words it makes no sense to refer to forgiveness or the lack thereof in the age to come if it is in now way possible. It would be equivalent to saying you cannot get to Shambala by car when that place did not even exist. The verse simply makes no sense if their is not some form of forgiveness possible in the age to come. Once again this is just an example of you ignoring the arguments of the opponent to build up your own weak arguments to put in place of theirs. It is not a very honest or valid way to proceed in a search for the truth.

DanFugett said
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (NIV)
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

Any sin (sin is sin) that is done in the light that it is sin needs to be confessed to God Who forgives (1 John 1:7, 9) because the blood of Christ washes it away. No other purgation or satisfaction is needed or required by God.

I know this is your position, but in a debate merely restating your opinion does not rebut the position of your opponent.

Once again you don't address my interpretation of these verse or even any other Catholics interpretations of them - and in so doing you avoid facing the arguments offered by the other side of the debate. Your response offers nothing to the discussion.

DanFugett said -
I dont think the debate thus far has leaned toward the existence of purgatory from the standpoint of debate form in here. Scripture as proof and others at witness as not clearly and simply demonstrated the existence of purgatory in any sense of the word.

That might be more impressive a claim if you had made any attempt to address the interpretations offered by those who take the other side of the argument. Since you have not you have merely participated in a oneside conversation - your own. This has not been a response to the other sides points but merely a stating of your own claims and so your opponents points have remained untouched.

DanFugett said -
A truly repentant heart will want to make restitution to those hurt by sin, which is a responsibility between that believer and the person he/she hurt. In no way does scripture speak to temporatl punishment, or any suffering, for restitution not performed here on earth.

Then offer an alternative interpretation of the symbolism in 1 Cor 3:11-15 and not just gloss over it with a general interpretation of the verses. Dig into the word of God and study it deeply, stop being superficial and actually study to show yourself approved.

DanFugett said -
Second, simply put, the doctrine of purgatory drives a wedge between the believer and the completed swaving work of Christ.

That is just your opinion and it has been shown to be contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church and so you are arguing against your own private doctrine regarding purgatory and not against the actual position of the Catholic Church. Why you would choose to do this I cannot imagine. I can only assume that it is because it makes it easier for you to argue against it. This need to hold onto the prejudice and bias toward the Catholic Church at the expense of being honest and truthful about its teachings is disturbing.

The Catholic Church is clear that those who go through Purgatory are only those who are already saved. That is because only those who built upong the foundation of Christ are mentioned as going through the purification. So Purgatory comes to late to impact salvation or drive a wedge between us and the saving work of Christ since we rely on that work to even make it into Purgatory.

DanFugett said -
Of course, the extra-biblical idea of purgatory is futher built on the extra-biblical idea of sins being split into two kind: mortal and venial.

Another personal claim made without support or any attempt to offer or address the supporting arguments of the opposing side. Perhaps you might want to explain the following verse which shows that there are sins unto death and other sins which are not:

1Jn 5:16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

Perhaps if you researched some of these ideas before you prejudged them you might be able to better address the ideas.

DanFugett said -
Further, it seems totally illogical to argue the existence of purgatory from the standpoint of a "thing" that doesnt exist in time and space, and make the argument heaven doesnt exist in time and space. If Paul is present with the Lord when absent from the body, that is time and space.

Is a state of existence a thing? I think it is. So there is not need for Purgatory to be a place or time in our physical universe.

Catholic catechism online says
1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.

Dan says,
the Bible speaks of philosophy of the world. I wonder whether teaching there are degrees of sins falls into that category, and is related to the notion of purgatory.

No it would be based on scripture as I showed above when you first bring this complaint up.

DanFugett said -
Also, the statement that something wont happen in eternity does not support the notion that it could happen in eternity or the age to come.

No but it shows that it is possible for other things to happen in the age to come, since otherwise it makes no sense to make such a claim about the first issue, just as I proved above with regard to the nonsense of mentioning the possibility of forgiveness in the age to come if it were not at all possible for any issue. Again if you had done a proper amount of research you would know the arguments in favor of these interpretations and would not have to argue against strawmen.

Catholic catechismn online says
1498 Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory

Dan says,
No proof offered demonstrating existence of temporal punishment by God vs eartly consquences of sis. RCC claims this has nothing to do with or to obscure the work of Christ. Actually, the doctrine of purgatory is consistent with a philosophical system that teaches the extra-biblical notion of venial vs mortal sins coupled with the extra biblical notion of salvation by grace through faith and works. Both those are foreigh to Eph 2:8 and pretty much the whole book of Romans.

You criticize the Catechism for offering no proof and then you also make claims with no proof offered. The Catechism offers supporting proof in other areas preceeding the paragraph you take out of context, but you have done nothing to support your claims.

Catholic catechism online says
1475 In the communion of saints, "a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things." In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.

Jesus is the propitiation and expiation for ALL our sins.
ἱλασμός, οῦ m; ἱλαστήριονa, ου n: the means by which sins are forgiven—‘the means of forgiveness, expiation.’
ἱλασμός: αὐτὸς ἱλασμός ἐστιν περὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν ‘(Christ) himself is the means by which our sins are forgiven’ 1 Jn 2.2.
ἱλαστήριονa : ὃν προέθετο ὁ θεὸς ἱλαστήριον διὰ τῆς πίστεως ‘God offered him as a means by which sins are forgiven through faith (in him)’ Ro 3.25
Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996, c1989). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (1:503). New York: United Bible societies.

And the Catholic Church does not deny that Christ paid the punishment of eternal death for our sins, ALL our sins. These sins are indeed forgiven, but that does not mean that we do not have to make restitution for them, and it does not mean that these sins do not have to be burnt away, when they are tried as by fire, just as scripture describes them to be.

DanFugett said -
Again, what the RCC doctrine of degrees of sins does coupled with faith + works coupled with Bible + extra-biblical authority leads to a theological system that confuses people about God's requirements (salvation by grace through faith alone Eph 2:8) and eternity (believer separated from God while purgatorial works accomplished - believer not in God's hand and is the object of cleansing wrath at same time so believer is separated from love of God by death contra to Ro 8:38)

Those who have made a real effort to interpret 1 Cor 3:11-15 or address the interpretations offered by others such as myself are not confused. It is only those like yourself who have avoided facing these interpretations who cannot grasp that their prejudged opinions are in error and so remain confused.

Now maybe you can finally face the interpretations I offered regarding 1 Cor 3:15 and make this a real debate instead of dodging the hard issues in favor of serving yourself up softballs.