21 October, 2006

What the Bible says about "Purgatory"

The Roman Catholic church teaches that the souls of God's people may go to a place called 'purgatory' after death, which is a half-way house between 'heaven' and 'hell'. They teach that it is a place of purging, in which the soul will suffer for a while before being fit to gain salvation in heaven. The prayers, candle-burning and financial gifts to the church of a person and his friends is supposed to shorten the length of time that the soul suffers in 'purgatory'. The gross error of such ideas should be established from the following:

• The Bible is silent concerning the existence of such a place.

• The soul refers to our body, rather than to some immortal element within us.

• 'Hell' is the grave rather than a place of punishment.

• The righteous are never promised salvation in heaven. The granting of salvation will be at the judgment seat at Christ's return, rather than at some time after death when we supposedly leave 'purgatory' (Matt. 25:31-34; Rev. 22:12).

• All the righteous receive their rewards at the same time, rather than each person gaining salvation at different times (Heb. 11:39,40; 2 Tim. 4:8).

• Death is followed by complete unconsciousness, rather than the activities suggested by the doctrine of purgatory.

• We are purged from our sins through baptism into Christ and developing a firm faith in his work during our present life, rather than through some period of suffering after death. We are told to "purge out therefore the old leaven" of sin in our lives (1 Cor. 5:7); to purge ourselves from the works of sin (2 Tim. 2:21; Heb. 9:14). Our time of purging is therefore now, in this life, rather than in a place of purging ('purgatory') which we enter after death. "Now is the day of salvation...now is the accepted time" (2 Cor. 6:2). Our obedience to God in baptism and development of a spiritual character in this life, will lead to our salvation (Gal. 6:8) - not to the spending of a period in 'purgatory'.

• The efforts of others to save us through candle-burning and other donations to the Catholic church, will not affect our salvation at all. "They that trust in their wealth...none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him...that he should still live for ever" (Ps. 49:6-9).


Blogger Moneybags said...

Only prayers can help us in purgatory. Money counts as nothing!

The Bible teaches that there is a purifying necessesary for some to be worthy to enter Heaven. Purgatory is more of a process instead of a place.

"All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven" (CCC 1030).

The Bible does reference a "purification":

1 Corinthians 3:14–15
"If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire."

Nothing impure can enter heaven (Rev. 21:27) so it is necessary that we be purified before we enter. Also, the Bible also mentions a waiting place other for souls heaven-bound (1 Peter 3:19–20).

October 21, 2006 5:20 PM  
Blogger Jason said...


I've already posted a reply to this same comment on your blog. Here it is again:
1 Cr 3:15. This verse reads "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." This is proof for purgatory? The Catholic Encyclopedia says this "While this passage presents considerable difficulty, it is regarded by many of the Fathers and theologians as evidence for the existence of an intermediate state in which the dross of lighter transgressions will be burnt away, and the soul thus purified will be saved."

First of all, 1 Cor 3:15 says absolutely nothing about:
1. A temporary afterlife location.
2. A purification of the elect or a soul
3. Sins
4. Dross.

Furthermore, if this verse was talking about purgatory, we run into something of a problem: Zec 13:9. Both of these verses talk about people being tried by fire but Zechariah is an unfulfilled prophecy concerning the Jews and the return of Christ, NOT a prophecy of God's people suddenly being killed and thrown down to purgatory by Christ at his coming.

Also, the fire in 1 Cor 3:15 "saves". Does purgatory itself "save"? Hardly. Based on Scriptural references to fire, it's quite apparent that fire is a symbol of testing on earth. As in Zech 13, salvation awaits all those who make it through this period of testing. This testing occurs here, during our lives, not in some ethereal afterlife.

Psa. 66:12, Isa 43:2, Isa 48:10, Jer 9:7, Jer 23:29, Mal 3:1-3, 1 Pet 1:7, 1 Pet 4:12

Finally, it’s quite interesting to note the following: If the burning up of the "wood, hay, stubble," (:12) is the purging of man's soul of all that is unworthy, then a man in purgatory should be glad to get rid of these impurities. But Paul says he "shall suffer loss…” (:15). Since when is having sins purged considered suffering a “loss”?

October 23, 2006 9:02 AM  
Blogger Moneybags said...

Does purgatory itself "save"?

Yes, it saves a soul from all stains of sin through purification.

October 23, 2006 8:27 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

And baptism does what, exactly?

October 23, 2006 9:57 PM  
Blogger Moneybags said...

It erases all sins that occurred before that point. The child becomes a child of God with sanctifying grace.

However, through mortal sin, we lose this grace. Through any sin, we distance ourselves from God. Since Jesus in the Bible said nothing impure can enter Heaven, it's clear that something has to happen to cleanse a soul that dies or else only a few perfect people would enter Heaven. The answer is that there is a purficiation, which is referenced in 1 Corinthians 3:14–15. That refers to purgatory.

October 28, 2006 11:14 PM  
Blogger Moneybags said...

Also, I'd like to direct you to another Catholic blogger. He's very knowledgable and is in college. I've just started, so he knows a lot more than I do. He would be someone that I think would be beneficial to talk with on theology:

October 29, 2006 5:08 PM  
Blogger Jason said...


Please read my comments on 1 Cor. 3:14. Let's discuss this section before blindly claiming it's proof of purgatory.

October 29, 2006 10:01 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

As for forgiveness of sins, I'm afraid you're discounting the mercy and forgiveness of God:

1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (see also Lev 26:40-42, 2 Chron 6:37-38, Neh 1:6, Job 33:27-28, Psa 32:5, Psa 51:1-5,

Our cleansing comes from forgiveness. Pretty straightforward is it not?

Further to this, Jesus, in his instruction to the disciples in how to pray, includes "And forgive us our sins..." (Luke 11:4).

There's no doubt that through repentance and faithful supplication to God, He will forgive our sins as often as we ask. Because our sins are forgiven in this many, we now have the opportunity to be judged worthy when Christ returns. And then:

1 Cor 15:52 "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." This 'change' is the final, ultimate cleansing which will give us entrance into God's holy Kingdom. It's the casting off of mortality and a putting on of immortality.

October 29, 2006 10:26 PM  
Blogger Moneybags said...

Why do you think you can interpret the Word of God. I can't and you can't. The only one that can truly know the Word of God is God Himself. And the Holy Spirit works through the Church to teach us the meanings.

The Church and my common sense both point to 1 Cor. 3:14-15 referring to Purgatory.

October 31, 2006 7:39 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Tell me, what would be the point of God giving us Scripture if He’s the only one who can actually understand what He wrote? Scripture can be interpreted by us for the simple reason that God asks us ALL to use it to teach and correct and instruct and prove. If Scripture can’t be interpreted, then instructing and learning from it is a pointless exercise.

“If you believe what you like in the Gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.” Is this not the quote you posted on your site? You. The Gospel. The only two parties mentioned. Scripture never asks us to rely on the teachings of others to interpret Scripture. Why are you?

2Ti 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God…”

In the Acts of the Apostles, those who practiced Bible study are commended. Contrasting the habits of the Thessalonians with the Bereans, “These (the Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore, many of them believed…" (Acts 17:11, 12).

These people didn’t just accept what they were told, they found out from Bible Study if it was true.

But there's still been no rebuttal for my comments on why 1 Cor. 3:14 isn’t referring to purgatory. If your common sense says this section is obvious, explicit proof of purgatory, answer these questions:

1. Does 1 Cor. 3 mention a temporary afterlife location, a purification of the elect or a soul, sins or dross? Yes or no.

2. Does the parallel reference in Zech 13 allude to souls in an afterlife location? Yes or no.

3. Do any of these verses, talking about purification and fire, allude to souls in an afterlife location that require our prayers: Psa. 66:12, Isa 43:2, Isa 48:10, Jer 9:7, Jer 23:29, Mal 3:1-3, 1 Pet 1:7, 1 Pet 4:12? Yes or no.

4. Is it ‘common sense’ for Paul to refer to the purging of sins as “suffering” a “loss”? Yes or no.

5. Does Scripture ever instruct anyone to pray for the dead? Yes or no.

6. Why is there only one reference to purgatory in the whole Bible?

7. Does Scripture teach one judgment or two?

8. Why is David not in heaven?

9. Most importantly, what happens when we die? I’d be happy to look at the so-called ‘immortal soul’ here with you if you’re up for it.

You can claim common sense all you want but I'm afraid any serious Bible scholar would admit this isn’t a defense in light of the glaring facts that quite obviously show that purgatory is an invention of the Church.

As an exercise, if you don’t want to read the whole chapter, at least read 1 Cor. 3:9-17. Understand the context of the verses you keep referring to. Does purgatory logically fit? Consider what the chapter is talking about: the influence of man vs. the influence of God. Carnal vs. spiritual. Wisdom vs. foolishness. It doesn’t fit why Paul would suddenly launch into a description of a temporary afterlife location for souls. Would you not agree? Think about it for a bit. Ignore what the Church says. What is really being said here?

October 31, 2006 10:09 AM  

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