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Catholic view of Purgatory ... Is it real?

michael_legna's picture

The difference is grace NOT regeneration.

ML said –
You have a mistaken understanding of Pelagianism. Pelagianism designates a heresy of the fifth century, which denied original sin as well as Christian grace.

The Church and I both hold that the ability to do good works, of loving obedience, is a result of grace, the grace than all men are given. A grace that makes it possible to seek God, but a grace that must be cooperated with.

This grace is not of the nature you envision. It is not some grace forced on just a few (who are saved) and withheld from others (who are therefore condemned).
It also is not the grace of justification, regeneration, or salvation. That grace comes later and is made available through the sacraments.

You need to understand the doctrine of the RCC and the heresies you try to compare it to a lot better before you express such ideas, because they are not the same. Do you not think the great theological minds of Catholicism would have missed this point over its 2000 years history if it were as you claim?!!

Dan Fugett said –
As to the question, could the "great" theological minds of Catholocism miss the point that their beliefs tend to Pelagianism?? Yes. As fallible human beings, they could have and perhaps did miss the mark and lead the RCC into Pelagianism.

All of them? Thousands of brilliant men over thousands of years and no one caught this? I don't think it is likely, especially since they include those who first fought this heresy

Dan Fugett said –
If, in light of Romans 3:9-18 (below), you are asserting that pre-regenerate individuals can cooperate with God for salvation by works of love, then I am asserting that is semi-pelagianism by definition.

No because the distinguishing aspect of semi-pelagianism is not regeneration but the presence or absence of grace,

Pelagianism denied the need for grace and the presence of original sin, and held that man has the capacity to seek God on his own.

According to semi-Pelagianism, man doesn’t have such an unrestrained capacity, but man and God could cooperate to a certain degree in this salvation effort: man can (unaided by grace) make the first move toward God, and God then completes the salvation process.

The Catholic Church and I both are talking about grace coming first, then cooperation. Both of the forms of Pelagianism deny the need for grace.

Dan Fugett said -
Rom 3 certainly does not describe a person who can do anything other than accept God's gracious gift by faith, does it. VV 21 "... the righteousness of God has been manifested ... 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe ..."

Once again one should not form doctrines based on verses in isolation, but should check to see if your interpretation is consistent and reconcilable with all other scriptures – and we both know I have shown verses which do teach that we can and must do things besides just accepting the free gift by faith alone.

So keeping this in mind we see that this chapter does not come out so strongly as supporting faith alone as you might think.

Romans 3:1-20 in general teaches that all have sinned against the letter of the Law

Romans 3:20 specifically refers to deeds of the law. This is referencing trying to fulfill the letter of the law to merit salvation. It does not speak against fulfilling the law through love which Christ taught as a proper acceptance of the free gift of salvation.

Romans 3:21-31 in general teaches that salvation is by faith which supports the spirit of the Law

Romans 3:23 specifically says that we do not deserve salvation. The only way we could be saved would be as a gift from God. No matter how good our works NOR how strong our faith we cannot be saved except through the grace of God offered as a free gift, undeserved favor. What isn’t discussed - and what people miss when they take verses in isolation - is how we accept that gift. The rest of scripture shows us that our way of accepting the gift is through faith, but not by faith alone, a faith that is perfected and enlivened by works, which is obedience to the Gospel.

Romans 3:27 goes on to talk about not boasting over salvation as a result of your works, and that we should not boast, because salvation is a gift and it makes no sense to boast over something that is free and you did nothing to earn. And thus, no one should boast, as if he had any part. All boasting is eliminated in salvation. But it is implied then that we should not boast of our faith either. The gift is offered freely to even those without faith, as we all start in such a state. Faith and works together determine if we accept the gift.

Romans 3:28 does not as some would argue teach that works can play NO part in salvation. This verse is about specific works of the letter of the law, it does not remove the responsibility of living up to Christ’s commandment to love one another and that is fulfilling the spirit of the law through love.
See James 2:24 and ask yourself how these two verses can be reconciled without limiting Paul's discussion to works of the letter of the law, while James talks about the works of love we do as followers of Christ. For believing in Christ must include Him as Shepherd, not just as a sacrificial lamb.

Dan Fugett said –
Receiving Christ is the pre-requisite to seeing the fruit of the Spirit in a person's life

Jn 1:12 "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right (exousia or authority) to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name"


This is talking about the grace of salvation, which is given once we begin our walk. Note that this grace is given after we do something – (we have to receive/accept Him prior to being given the right to become children of God) – so it does not support your claim that cooperating with grace is a form or Pelagianism.

Dan Fugett said –
1 Jn 3:1 "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. "

This does not address the process or timing at all, it only addresses the end result so it does not even hint at whether we can act before receiving grace (pelagianism), or after receiving grace (my position) or even later - after regeneration (as you claim).

Dan Fugett said –
To imply our obedience cooperates with God's grace to save us is at least semi-pelagianism.

No because as I pointed our even semi-pelagianism denies the need for grace, not just the need for regeneration as you claim.

Dan Fugett said –
Definition of semi-pelagianism from http://www.theopedia.com/Semi-Pelagianism
Semi-Pelagianism, a moderated form of Pelagianism, taught that man has retained the ability to seek God in and of himself apart from any movement of God's grace.

See even the definition you quote disagrees with your distinction based on regeneration instead of on grace.

Pelagianism denied any real effect of original sin on human nature. Semi-Pelagianism, admitted that man's nature was "injured" by original sin, but maintained that man still has free will and the ability to cooperate with God's grace in the salvation process.

Yes, and we do have the ability to cooperate with God's saving grace, but only after we receive the free gift of grace to even begin to seek him. That is the difference between the RCC doctrine and pelagianism.

Dan Fugett said –
Labels aside, is this not what the Roman Catholic Church is saying????

No, the difference is the requirement for grace (which is offered to all men – since He wills all men to come to the truth and be saved) before we can even seek Him.