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Catholic view of Purgatory ... Is it real?

PastorDaveSallee's picture

hopping jroberts ...

Jroberts wrote -
In the Galatians 5:4, cited by Dave, I think Dave paid too much attention to the "redeemed" and "adopted as sons." Christ doesn't have any particular desire for whatever one would pick up in a marketplace. Christ came to make us sons of God. Look at Michael's baseball through window analogy. The son needs to be restored to being as a son, as a part of the family.

I can’t believe it would ever be possible to “pay too much attention” to redemption. For it is a pillar in scripture for our salvation, and a work that Christ Himself did.

And, there is nothing I said that meant he cares for what we “pick up in the marketplace.” I said the word means to purchase “as if out of a marketplace.” A great example I heard once was thinking of going back to the 1800’s and paying the price for a slave and setting him free. It’s a very similar concept. You paid the price and can do with him whatever you wish, so you set him free. As with Christ, he purchased us, and that purchase was to pay the price for all of our sins to set us free.

Also, this deal about the son needing to be restored as being a son is just silly. He was always the son, that relationship never changed. Only his action caused a penalty. Even the Parable of the Prodigal Son proves that … he left, but the father never severed the relationship.

Jroberts wrote -
The question about purgatory, and really why this thread will rapidly become circular, is what did Christ do? Historically, there've been three or four ways of looking at this* (depending on how you count) - Christ as ransom, Christ as satisfaction, Christ as making us sons of God, and Christ as mere exemplar. The first two is where the tension's at, and has always been (Christ as mere exemplar is an 18th/19th c. liberal protestant thing). From early on, Christ has been understand as ransom to free us from death. One of Fathers put it in fishing terms, with death as a fish and Christ as the bait, whereby God caught death and gutted it of its power. Satisfaction theory looks at Christ's death as paying God back what humanity owed. Deification theory looks at Christ as coming to restore us to sonship with relation to God**. Catholicism has tried with varying levels of success to hold all three of these theories together, but in tension.

This is a great history lesson in church development, and is also great to study. But, where’s your reference to what the Scripture says about what Christ did? I have mentioned plenty in both my posts to Michael, and I’m waiting for the Catholic sympathizers to add to 1 Cor and Mat 5.

You could add to your list: Christ as judge, and God as Justifier.

Yet Deification (and you mention this later) teaches a believer must be restored to sonship after conversion? This is not so, according to Scripture, regardless of what the great writers in RCC have written in the past. For we are now children of God:

John 1:12
“12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

1 John 3:1-3
“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. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will (I)see Him just as He is. 3And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.; …”

Jroberts wrote -
I would argue that the last one, sonship is key to making sense of the idea of purgatory. An emphasis on ransom or satisfaction, as done by Protestants, muddies the issue up.

What? Putting an emphasis on Scripture and the works of Christ muddies the issue? Surely this is not your true meaning. Even your pope quotes Scripture by the tons and never thinks doing so is muddying it up.

What muddies it up is to put an emphasis on the RCC’s teachings of Purgatory and the Sacrements, and not putting enough emphasis on Scripture.

Jroberts wrote -
That is, if Christ simply paid back what we owe to God or freed us from death, then what else could we do?

Nothing! (as far as salvation is concerned) That is the entire point. We are justified by faith, and faith is also given to us by God. We did nothing to deserve it, and will do nothing to keep it. It’s all God. What do you think “grace” means? Unmerited favor … nothing we do grants us favor with God beyond what He does for us. Look it up.

Jroberts wrote -
But, if Christ does more than that - makes us sons and daughters of God - then there is more for us to do. I have not yet met anyone who converted and all of a sudden became perfect (I have met recently "saved" people who've thought they were though...). This is the whole point of Catholic sacramental life, of works of mercy, of pretty much anything the Church promotes being done.

You see, here lies a foundational truth. It’s not that we become perfect or sinless or anything of the sort. We still sin; we still need forgiveness because we are sinners. But, we are sinners because of Adam, not because we have committed sins. Let me say that again … we sin because we are born sinners (flesh), we are not sinners because we have committed a sin. This is why we need forgiveness.

Once we are converted, we are justified … not sinless … not perfect … but, declared righteous even though we are sinners. This is the grace of God and why it is SO HUGE that the Scriptures teach words like sanctification and redemption and justification. IT’S ALL GOD. So if you are a believer, you can fall on your face to worship the God who has seen your sins and justified you anyway.

Jroberts wrote -
But, a lot of people die before quite getting there. They're there in the already-but-not-yet sort of way that a mustard seed is already like a mustard tree, but they've still got growing to do. This keeps on after death. That's purgatory.

But purgatory must end before the resurrection right? That’s what Michael established. He also established that it was probably (or at the very least, could be) instantaneous, so how much do we grow in an instant? And if it is just in an instant, why does the RCC put so much attention towards it?

And doesn’t the term “keeps on after” give the sense of time being applied? How much time? Michael doesn’t like to use the term time because it’s puny.

Jroberts wrote –
I hope I haven't violated any of the hot-thread rules. I just wanted to point that out about redemption.

Nope. Glad you posted. Hope I’m not being too insensitive in my “debate language” for you. I’m here to learn as much as teach.

Jroberts wrote -
If people with different soteriologies talk about purgatory, they'll never agree. Ever. No matter what. They could both be there, and still wouldn't disagree. Purgatory is actually a really superficial issue to the real question of soteriology, and I'm confident to a high degree that the rest of the thread will confirm that. If you're thinking in terms of just satisfaction or ransom without taking deification into account, it won't ever even begin to make sense. I have enough Protestant friends to know this.

You are exactly right on the money here, my friend. This is soteriology, but probably not a 101 class. Adding deification to ransom and sanctification without Justification will also keep the “making of sense” a futility.

Grace and peace to all,

Grace and peace to all,