Catholic view of Purgatory ... Is it real?

michael_legna's picture

I am not sure we can proceed until we cover redemption

I trimmed this down a bit to try to shorten it, removing some of my previous statements and just including your responses and my answers and I hope it is still readable and we do not lose the flow of certain issues. It is still ridiculously long and for that I apologize, but I wanted to cover all of your points.

PastorDave said -
I have no problem with your definition of purification. Yet, my point still stands, it is the “works” that goes into the pot for purification and what is “not the foundation” is the dross. This verse does not say the Man is purified, it says the man’s “works” are.
So too in verse 15 of your original quote: “If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

I disagree, an item that is purified is an conglomerate of pure and impure substances. The individual flecks of gold themselves are never purified, they are already gold. The dross is not purified it is burnt away. It is just the rock that contains the gold that is properly referred to as purified. And it suffers loss, by being reduced in mass, by the removal of the dross. So too our works are either going to survive the fire or not. The good ones are not purified, and the bad ones are not purified; so it is not the works which are purified. It is we, who have had our personality and essential aspects of our existence shaped by these works (thus acting as the conglomeration), which is purified. That is how Catholics see the analogy.

The last line in your response is quite telling in this regard, but not because of the section your highlighted. It is because even though it is the works that are burnt away, it is because it tells us that it is the man who also goes through the fire, along with his works.

PastorDave said -
(I like the pun.) However, it IS the leaders/planters to whom Paul is referring to when he speaks of ‘adding to the foundation’ and ‘be careful’, so my interpretation is sound. Every man who adds to the foundation of what has been taught.

v.10 “like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.”

Who then is Paul talking about if not the men who “build” upon the foundation? The widow? The nursery worker? No. He’s talking to “foundation builders” and last time I checked that meant the leaders/planters.

No the foundation that is laid is Jesus, there are no foundation builders. Certainly not even the leaders/planters built the foundation. Now all of us who do works and build upon a foundation of some sort.

Mat 7:24-27 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
It is not just the planter who build upon the foundation of Christ, it is all who are saved.

PastorDave said -
However, there is still no penance involved here. This verse does not say there is room to make up the loss in Purgatory … or even in the Refiner’s fire. So to continue to use this section of verses seems to me to hurt the RCC position rather than help it.

I am not sure how you see this hurting the RCC position.

I get the sense that you think the RCC position includes performing penance in purgatory – is that it? That is not the case. I do not understand that RCC position to be talking about any works that are doable after death, only those that one does in life are discussed.

PastorDave said -
So now your eschatology is failing you. Those in hell will have resurrected bodies too so they will not be mere souls:

John 5:28-29 [Jesus said] “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.”

Furthermore, Hell, as a lake of fire, will not be opened until the Great White Throne Judgment.
The point you were refuting, then, still stands. If Hell is “the lake of fire” and that is after the Great White Throne Judgment, which is after the Resurrection, then the lost are more than spirit and can feel punishment (wailing and gnashing of teeth), but what of us in our spirit before the resurrection? I don’t think you answered that one completely.

No, while it is true that they have both body and soul, it is not true that just their bodies which are being tormented.

Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

I never denied it was possible to torment the body, I was just countering your argument that spiritual entities could not be punished in Purgatory, because they had no bodies.

Besides the devil and the fallen angels will also be in Hell and be tormented and they are strictly spiritual beings.

So it is absolutely possible to suffer in spiritual form, with or without a body.

PastorDave said -
I know, I was asking about those “who are alive and remain.” I understand the RCC position to be that those who “are dead in Christ” will have already gone through Purgatory. Answer the question for those “who are alive and remain” please.

I am sorry I misunderstood you. Those who are alive on earth at the second coming will be purified as they are given their glorified bodies. If you need to compare this to purgatory, think of it as a purification of the persons soul at the same moment their body is changed to their glorified body. Maybe it happens on the way up as they rise to greet Him in the sky.

PastorDave said -
So, we are agreed then that Purgatory (if a timeline could be used) would happen after physical death, and before the resurrection. And yet, you say purgatory would happen “where God exists” and that is “outside of time.” Thinking about your general argument, wouldn’t then Purgatory have to happen “within time” as the point of it is to become perfected before we enter the presence of God?

You might want to bolster that answer up a bit.

I will be glad to explain further - God and those going through Purgatory see it as outside of time, since they are in the spiritual realm. Those of us still stuck in the physical realm are also stuck thinking in terms of time, so we see events pass and thus try to place these events in a time order sequence. Thus we see Purgatory as occurring between death and the resurrection, while those involved in it do not make that distinction or the distinction of "events" and "ordered occurrences" at all.

PastorDave said -
I’ve already mentioned that Hell, as an existence, doesn’t exist until the Great White Throne Judgment, and that is after the 2nd Coming. So, “time” has to be a factor here. Those who are dead and lost are not yet in Hell. So puny or not, God will work within the laws of nature He created and wrote about. Nice try for you. :)

To us yes it all looks that way, but not to God. I understand why we have a hard time thinking of these things in any way other than in a time ordered sequence, but that does not mean that God has to do so. There is no time factor here, in the creation of hell or in Great White Throne Judgment – not to God, maybe to us, but that is just so we can get our puny little minds around it.

PastorDave said -
No. Redemption means that we were “bought at a price.” What price? The Sacrifice of the sinless Son of God. Redemption means that whatever price was necessary to be paid for us to enter the kingdom of heaven has already been paid.

No redemption not mean that whatever price was necessary to be paid for us to enter the kingdom of heaven has already been paid. The price that was paid was the price to make possible a change in our relationship with the Father. If the price was sufficient for us to enter the kingdom than all would enter the kingdom, and we know that is not true. We still have our part to play in the salvation of ourselves. We must have a living faith, perfected by works of loving obedience to the Gospel as a proper acceptance of the free gift as it is offered. Christ's sacrifice paid the penalty of our sins, that being eternal death and made possible the offering of the gift of salvation from the Father. We must still accept it. And we do that by working out our salvation with fear and trembling, sanctifying ourselves throughout our lives and going through a final purification to remove those works which are part of us when we failed.

PastorDave said -
I understand the RCC doctrine that only “believers” will go through it. But, stating that does not prove any point you might be trying to make about redemption.

The only point about redemption I was making here is that by being redeemed we do not suffer the death of the soul by being condemned to hell. You want to expand redemption to mean more than it does. I am not sure we can go further on the topic of purgatory until we resolve that issue, except to lay out precisely what the RCC position is and how it is based in a self consistent manner on the Catholic Church's understanding of redemption. But I will answer the rest of your objections in this post.

Michael wrote –
We have been redeemed from death, the punishment of damnation. This has nothing to do with purgatory. We were not redeemed from the obligation to make it up to people or God when we sin against them. We are forgiven but we still have to make restitution.

PastorDave said -
Yes it does! Redemption has virtually everything to do with countering the idea of purgatory. If Christ already paid the ransom price, the price necessary to “Justify” (we’ll get to that word later) the believer, then yes, we have been “declared righteous” and are not under any spiritual obligation to make restitution. (we will, of course, experience guilt and prodding by the Holy Spirit to ask forgiveness and offer something of penance to the afflicted if He indeed dwells within us)

Rom 8:30 “and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”

We are then glorified because we were justified. When? At conversion. And it remains a constant state of existence.

Notice that Paul is laying out the order of salvation – predestined, called, justified, glorified and if we include the previous verse we can insert foreknowledge. But notice that Paul leaves out sanctification, so we know that he is subsuming sanctification as part of justification. This makes justification a process which goes from the call all the way to glorification. So no I don't agree we are not just declared righteous, we are made righteous, when we accept Christ. This distinction is important because otherwise we fall into the error of once saved always saved, which I am assuming you hold to by your reference to it being a constant state of existence.

This gets back to us probably having to have a long debate over redemption, but for now I will say that by recognizing that we are made righteous and not just declared righteous we see that this righteousness can be effected by our lives and how we live them. If this were not so then all the verse that talk about working out our salvation with fear and trembling and enduring and persevering would be meaningless.

PastorDave said -
Additionally, the Protestant defines “death” as “separated from God.” We do this because of the reference in Revelation that calls the action of those who are lost being thrown into the lake of fire “the 2nd death.” (Rev 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, 21:8). The 1st death is the physical death caused by the Fall of Adam. The believer will only experience that one.

So, when you equate death with the punishment of damnation, you are in error. Death is caused by the Fall of Adam, the second death is the punishment of damnation. The believer is then “redeemed” from the second death.

How can I be in error by equating death with the punishment of damnation when you yourself say it is in reference to Revelation calling the action of those who are lost being thrown into the lake of fire “the 2nd death.” Is this not the act of damnation being described here?

PastorDave said -
My point then stands firm that redemption has everything to do with whether or not Purgatory is real.

Yes, your view of redemption would impact the doctrine of purgatory. But I hope you realize that it is not even held by all Protestants, let alone by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. I will continue to express the answers to your objections and highlight the differences between our two views of redemption to aid us in either understanding the consistency of the Catholic position or as a stepping off point for a discussion of salvation in a new thread or possibly to serve for both.

PastorDave said -
Redemption doesn’t mean it’s God responsibility to pay for my sins, it means that through Christ’s death on the cross, that debt has already been paid.

But that debt applies only to the penalty of eternal death of the soul/damnation in hell. It does not mean that everything that has to happen for us to go to heaven has been done. Everything that has to be done for us to merit heaven has indeed been done, but our faith and the works of love that perfect and enliven that faith do not merit us salvation they are merely the means taught to us by Christ to properly accept the free gift which has now been offered.

PastorDave said -
I believe the RCC position is confused here. I am not confusing what Christ’s FULL work on the cross was with “eternal punishment.” For Christ’s work was FULL, not PARTIAL. He either paid the price for all of my sins, or he only made the way for my sins to be paid for … and makes me do it. I trust the Protestant position is more Scripturally supported.

No because then all would be saved if we had nothing we had to do. I trust the Catholic position is more scripturally supported, but that is for another debate and thread. The doctrine of purgatory is admittedly inconsistent with your view of salvation (though again I would refrain from calling it the Protestant one since there are many) but it is consistent with the Catholic view of redemption and salvation.

PastorDave said -
And once again you come close to breaking the rules of this post. You just argued the “point of purgatory” against Heb 10:14 “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Where is your Scripture counterpoint? I’m hoping to see, in Scripture, how you can defend against “He has perfected forever” with a verse like “but you must be tried first.” Something, anything beyond rhetoric would be accepted.

I am sorry I did not include a scriptural counterpoint to Heb 10:14, I was trying to stay on topic and not get this side tracked into a debate on redemption, but I see now that we will have to cover that first before you can come to accept the doctrine of purgatory.

I will start by saying that Heb 10:14 is not to be taken literally as it is clear we are not perfect, only God is perfect. The fact that we still sin and must seek forgiveness proves we are not perfect (1 John 1:9).

Next I would point out that we are to note right in Heb 10:14 that we are being (present tense) sanctified, which means that the non-literal adjective "forever" must at best begin at some future time, if we complete the sanctification.

PastorDave said -
Also, “completing the act of sanctification” is not the work of man. It is the work and will of God using both the Redemption of our souls due to the cross, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

No, it is ourselves who work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Php 2:12). When was the last time you ever knew the Holy Spirit to do anything with fear and trembling?

PastorDave said -
Just like God did with Israel in Num 8:17 “"For every firstborn among the sons of Israel is Mine, among the men and among the animals; on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for Myself.” So too, He does for us as in 1Cor 6:11 “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

Sanctified has several meanings and applications. In these two verses it referes to being set aside for the use of the Lord. But it also means to make holy or to purify. The second meaning is a process. We are indeed initially made holy when we accept Christ and are baptized into Him. But then we go on and lead our lives and we stumble and fall and sin and our holiness is affected, which is why we are told to repent and seek forgiveness, which He will faithfully do.

PastorDave said -
And, I don’t know if I should mention your words, and so we have our works tested by fire (but I will). Seems to me you’re getting on board with the “works” being tested, not the “man.” I could be wrong.

The works are tested, but it is the man who is purified. Sorry, we have to be precise in our language if we are going to come to a proper understanding of the doctrine.

PastorDave said -
Understood. Your point is clear, however, I think “no condemnation” means “no condemnation at all.” Not just in death, but also in a required penance. If I’m right, there is no need for Purgatory then.

I don't think there is any support for the idea that no condemnation means no required penance. Perhaps you could provide a verse to support that idea. The idea that we are to make restitution is clearly supported in the following verse.

Mat 5:23-24 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

PastorDave said –
It means that our flesh was crucified with Christ. Our “old man” and all the sins that he has done or will do, otherwise “crucified” should have been written as “only once crucified upon conversion, the rest is not crucified”.

Yes, but what does it mean that they were crucified, what does the analogy mean? I contend that it means the penalty that we deserve for those sins, is paid for. It does not mean that they do not affect us or our character or that we remain undefiled by them. Otherwise there would be no need to repent of them or seek forgiveness. We are not as Luther described mounds of dung covered by a fresh layer of snow hiding our sins from God. We are converted, the dung is made clean, no longer dung at baptism but we go on living and any new dung we accumulate must be addressed; and it can be through the relationship we have with the Father because of the sacrifice of Christ. But we must utilize that, we must repent and seek forgiveness. It is not automatic.

PastorDave said -
What? Where do you get baptism out of this verse?

Because it is at baptism that we accept Christ as our savior, otherwise the requirement for Baptism in order to be saved is meaningless.

Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

PastorDave said -
And let’s pull in verse 10 of the same passage, shall we?

V.10 “By this will we have been (S)sanctified through (T)the offering of (U)the body of Jesus Christ (V)once for all.”

Does the RCC wish to add to the offering of the body … trial by fire in Purgatory? This verse clearly says only “the body of Jesus” and it says “once for all.” Nothing about baptism in this or verses 10-14. And again, sanctification is God’s work in us, not our works toward Him.

First the sanctification that is being referred to here is the initial sanctification, or making holy, by the sacrifice of Jesus that occurs when we accept Him at baptism. To push your interpretation to its logical consequence we would have it that all men were sanctified by His sacrifice and so all were saved, since we do nothing in our own salvation.

Second the offering of the body is not something that happens in the trial by fire in Purgatory. It is merely the renewal of this sanctification (if necessary), which was lost due to sins in our lives.

PastorDave said -
I’m fine with this as a retelling of your doctrine, yet you are offering no additional support via Scripture beyond a reusing of 1 Cor, which I dealt with before. I also agree with the most of it, besides the need for a temporal punishment in purgatory.

I have responded to your interpretation of 1 Cor above and do not agree with your limiting it to planters.

I was trying to focus on the doctrine of purgatory, but I more and more see we will need to first start a thread about redemption itself if we are to progress.

Michael wrote –
Sure it does, the cleansing discussed in both of these verses occurs at Baptism and at that time we are made righteous by the blood of the lamb, infused with His grace and righteousness. The graces we receive at Baptism (and through the other sacraments) also assist us in leading a life of service to the Lord abandoning dead works as a way of life, but it does not mean we never fail. After Baptism we go on to lead our lives and we fail and we sin and we must repent and seek forgiveness. Repentance includes the willingness to make things right with those we have wronged.

PastorDave said -
Aha! I am saying that the blood “cleanses” us and meaning also “purifies” us. You are not seeing that point, and I’m just now realizing I have not spelled it out.
Additionally, you are mentioning the Sacraments, namely Baptism, as a point in time where we are saved. (here is the “soteriology” statement above by jroberts.) Saying they “assist” us?! Christ’s work on the cross is more than just “assistance” … it is FULL and COMPLETE. He Himself said, “It is complete.” What did he mean? That the pathway to His “assistance” is now complete. Certainly not!

It is not complete in the sense that we have no role in our own salvation. It is complete in the sense that He paid the full price to repair the damaged relationship with the Father. What he meant when He said "It is finished" is that the penalty of eternal death of the soul had been paid and a new relationship with God was established. It is no long one of Judge and Accused, but one of Father and sons/heirs. We now are no longer judged by the letter of the law, which we could never fulfill, instead God sees us through the eyes of a loving father and in turn judges our love, which can fulfill the intent of the law. Anything else makes a mockery of all the instructions in scripture which express things that need to be done to be saved.

Michael wrote –
Mat 5:23-26 23 … The scripture plainly tell us if we have wronged another we are to make it right before we come before God seeking forgiveness. It also says if we do not do this then we risk them crying out to Him and He will make sure we have made restitution.

This making restitution is what Catholics refer to as the temporal punishment for the sin. The eternal punishment (which is spiritual death) is paid for by Christ's sacrifice, but we must still be ready to pay the temporal punishment.

PastorDave said -
Who is Jesus talking to here? Believers? Or the masses? I will not make a mockery of His words in the least, but I don’t think there is a good argument made here for believers who are sanctified, justified, and redeemed to go through Purgatory. Especially, since His work on the cross had yet to occur.

I agree with the message, however. And I think it is very true that even the believer, while still in this life, must do accordingly.

If you agree with the idea as being applicable to Christians as well as all men then how is it you can continue to hold on to the idea that His sacrifice did it all? And how do we accomplish restitution for those sins we do not even repent of?

PastorDave said -
But, there is no foundation for Purgatory or an afterlife temporal punishment. Any discipline would all occur during our lifetime.

How can there be no foundation for the concept of Purgatory in this if you admit restitution is required? Are we just given a free pass for those sins we do not repent of and therefore never made restitution? Or do we only have to make restitution for the sins we repent of? Where is the justice in that approach?

Michael wrote –
No, hardly. The fact that He is our High Priest points specifically to there being other lower Priests. The establishment of the sacraments in the New Testament point to the need for those to administer them, as liturgical priesthood (as in the elder specifically being called to anoint the sick). So your one statement hardly nullifies the position of Deacons, Presbters, Elders and Bishops (all of which are clearly laid out in a specific hierarchy in the New Testament).

PastorDave said -
I would not nullify deacons, Presbyters, Elders, and so on. My point for nullification, is the RCC version of priests, bishops and popes. For if we are “one with Christ” are we not also “priests according to the order of Melchizedek?” (Heb 7).

No more so than we are all the second person of the Trinity by being one with Christ. You shouldn't push an association too far unless you have a reason or basis for doing so. I find nothing in Hebrews 7 that says all members of the body of Christ are Priests under the order of Melchizedek.

PastorDave said -
Yes we need overseers. Yes, we need pastors. Yes we need elders to fight heresy and minister and teach. The statement I made was meant to show that we do not need to “confess” to a Catholic priest, who then confesses to a Bishop, then Cardinal, then pope (or however it works). We have Christ, who is the head of the church making intersession for us.

When we confess to a Priest it is because we are following the method Christ Himself established

John 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

…and thus we submit to Him, by following His sacraments, rather than saying we want to have it on our own terms.

PastorDave said -
You assume correctly. The “need” then is to be in “fellowship” with God. As we would need to be with our own earthly father, or wife, or best-friend. It is a “coming clean” of sorts and is prompted by the Holy Spirit. If we don’t know remember, or forget, there is no need in that forgiveness has already been applied. God does not give a “free pass” beyond the Sacrifice of His Son Jesus, who paid the ransom price for ALL of my sins.

But not all the consequences of sin, just the consequence of spiritual death, otherwise there would be no need to worry about any consequences of not making restitution, or even of not repenting at all.

PastorDave said -
Even the Old Testament teaches the concept of a guilt offering, and even Yom Kippur … the annual sacrifice for the atonement of sins. This is NOT NEW. Study up on the Law of Moses.
We enter heaven after being “declared righteous” which is the definition of “to justify.” When a judge here on earth declares someone innocent, it’s because the prosecution did not have a strong enough case to convict. So too, our defense counsel is Christ Jesus.

I have studied the Law of Moses and those things were just that, offerings/sacrifices, which by your claiming of Jesus sacrifice fulfilling all our debt should not be needed. Yet you have gone so far as to compare the restitution we make to these sacrifices. You cannot have it both ways.

PastorDave said -
God justifies us (verses have already been quoted above) by declaring us righteous. Not because we are guilt-free, but because we are chosen to be. John 6:37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” (But, again I am at risk of furthering my soteriology beyond purgatory.)

And I have addressed those verses to show that no where do they say we are merely declared righteous for all time without regard to the lives we live after accepting Christ. We are made righteous, but we are not stripped of our free will in the process and so to continue this righteousness we must proceed in faith to obey the Gospel.

I am not concerned with your soteriology at this point, but I don't think you can avoid revealing your salvation doctrine at this point any more. I am only guessing but it appears you believe in deterministic predestination, which means you have some serious errors in your understanding of salvation and you will have a lot more work in responding to scriptures which speak against it than I have had refuting your interpretations of the ones you have offered here.

Michael wrote –
Catholics do see ourselves as being washed at Baptism, but it is not just a mere covering up of sins (like Luther's analogy of a snow fall covering a mound of dung) it is a real changing of us internally so that by God's continued graces we can be not just declared righteous, but that we can by cooperating with the guidance of the Holy Spirit actually be righteous. (Note: this gets into the whole imputed or infused righteousness debate which may be too broad for this topic, but we may have to tackle anyway). This righteousness is in our opinion entirely necessary to enter into heaven where nothing that is defiled can enter and thus be with God.

PastorDave said -
No. You will need Scripture to say we are not declared righteous. For I have already quoted many that say we are justified by God … which means “declared righteous.” Not after we do something, not after we are purged or purified, we just are. That is God’s own choosing, and His work entirely.

First the word justified does not mean declared righteous. Second, I said we were not JUST declared righteous. We are made and declared righteous at Baptism/our acceptance of Christ, but this is not a mere legal declaration it is a conversion of us, and as such we can change that status by sinning again after this. Fortunately we can repent and seek forgiveness, which only makes sense if we have already healed the damaged relationship with God at some point previously (as Catholic doctrine holds), and makes no sense at all if we cannot sin to the point of making our salvation insecure as your doctrine holds.

PastorDave said -
You are right about imputation vs infusion, so I will leave my statement above alone for the time being. However, consider John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” Can there then be a possibility that because we are born again, spiritually, that we are already spiritual, righteous, sanctified, and justified? For it is God’s work to do all those things, not man’s.

Your proposing it as a possibility hardly merits a response if you are not willing to support this supposition. John 3:6 is merely referring to the fact that when we are born of the Spirit we are then focused on the spirit. We certainly are not anymore spirit after that event than we are before, as any casual observation reveals.

Based on your objections to Purgatory being based exclusively in your redemption doctrine I don't think we can avoid the issue of imputed and infused righteousness any longer. It is God's work to make us righteous, to give us the gift of salvation (once we ask for it of course otherwise if it is forced on us our faith is meaningless and so is our love for Him). But after this initial salvation, it is our work to hold onto the gift. We do this by perfecting the living faith we used to ask for it, with works of loving obedience to the Gospel. Admittedly, all done in cooperation with the Holy Spirit and God's graces, but still done by us.

PastorDave said -
Are you implying that purgatory could be instantaneous? Or that we could be immediately with Jesus when we die? What’s the penance in that? I agree with your logic, but this does not sound like the Purgatory I’ve heard about. Especially praying for the dead (which we agreed to not make too much mention of yet). But, come on … why would you pray for the dead, even perform penance, when they’re already out of Purgatory due to its being instantaneous?

Yes, purgatory could very well be instantaneous (whatever that means) in the spiritual realm, but since the concept of time has no meaning I am not sure instantaneous does either. But once again you seem to want to equate penance with purgatory. I don't see anything in the Catholic doctrine that talks about those in purgatory doing penance.

PastorDave said –
Time does have meaning as I mentioned before. We’ve agreed that if a Purgatory existence were real, it would have to be after our physical death and before the 2nd Coming of Jesus. So, between now and then something is happening, or has already happened in the blink of an eye.

No time only has meaning to us in the physical plane, so our prayers and penance that occur as time ordered events in this realm can certainly be applied in the spiritual realm to someone in purgatory, or who is even alive today and will someday (in our physical perspective) be in purgatory.

PastorDave said -
At least I am giving you Scriptures to interpret. So far you’ve given me Catholic dogma and 1Cor. Please support at least a few of your comments with Scripture rather than opinion. I don’t mind either, but tell me why Scripture has led you to these conclusions … not the RCC.
You’ll obviously note that I approve and agree to a verse-by-verse counterpoint.

I will do more of that in the future. If you remember I said I was starting out giving a definition of the doctrine so that we would all be talking about the same belief and not go off attacking something we might think is the doctrine of purgatory and not really the doctrine of purgatory. Now that I know your objections to it lie in the issue of our differences in redemption and salvation I will be better able to address them with relevant scripture.

PastorDave said -
What constructs did we create or invent for time? The calendar? So? Did not God create the Sun and the Moon and separate them? Did then, not God create the 24 hour day? Where were we when this was taking place? All we did was jot down how often things occurred and saw the pattern.

It was God also who told Moses when the new year would start (which for us is April). This idea of yours (or the RCC’s) to eliminate time as a debate topic needs to remember who created it in the first place. God is NOT (I also said this early) in the business of breaking the laws of nature to which He established to begin with. And don’t go saying “what about the miracles, and virgin birth”. They were not outside of time, they were within God’s own plan.

God did this for our sakes, as we lived in the physical world. He did not need them as He existed for eternity prior to the creation of the sun and moon. Do you think He couldn't keep track of things before then? No, of course not. In the spiritual realm the concept of time is unneeded.

Michael wrote –
I agree, but what of the sins we have not confessed or even repented of during our life or just before our death? If they were not sins unto death, (what Catholics refer to as a mortal sin) and thus have not separated us from God (and so not threatened our salvation) do they not have to be purged?

PastorDave said -
I’ve already mentioned my answer to this in my rebuttal of redemption. They do NOT have to be purged by way of a Purgatory existence, for they have already been dealt with on the cross. We agree that these sins (as you name mortal) are not sins unto damnation and so keep our salvation secure.

No I think you misunderstood me, mortal sins are sins that severe our relationship with God to the point that our salvation is not secure. They are the ones referred to as sins unto death as are spoken of in 1 John 5:16. It is venial sins which are not sins unto death. But this is just a misunderstanding of terms and I see from my post with all the double negatives in it how you may have misunderstood me.

I do disagree with you that all the consequences of all our sins were dealt with on the cross. But that is for another debate or thread on redemption and salvation.

In summation I don't think you are prepared to discuss Purgatory at all until we resolve the differences in our view of salvation.

You have not shown any errors in the Catholic interpretation of specific issue surrounding 1 Cor 3.

For instance the idea that it is our works that are purified and not us is faulty when one considers the true meaning of purification.

The idea that the planters build the foundation (which is Christ) is faulty, so it is every man who's works are tried just like the scriptures say.

You seem insistent on inserting the issue of penance by those who are going through Purgatory into the discussion when it is not part of the Catholic doctrine, nor was it in my definition of the concept.

You mistakenly claim that those in the spiritual realm cannot suffer unless they have a physical body.

You suggested a difficulty with those who remain at the second coming but the answer was quite obvious and easily provided.

Similarly the issue of the time aspect as viewed from those in the physical compared to those in the spiritual realms.

The rest of your objections rest on your misunderstanding of redemption and the process of salvation. So we really need to discuss those first unless you want to limit your questions to the internal consistency of the Roman Catholic position. We will definitely have to get into the issue of imputed and infused righteousness.

But even within your doctrine of redemption you admit the need for restitution to make for true repentance, but then you leave no avenue for this restitution for the sins we fail to repent over or do not get the opportunity to repent of. This not only is this self-inconsistent, but it contradicts your position on Christ's sacrifice being sufficient for all things.

You use the Old Testament guilt sacrifices as a model for the need for this restitution, even though again this contradicts your claim that Christ's sacrifice suffices for all.

You also rail against the Priesthood as the Catholic Church practices it, even though admitting the role of Deacons, Presbyters and Bishops and not bothering to state how it is that the Catholic Church differs from these roles.