*BEST OF DTB #221* The Catholic Defender: Zephaniah’s glimpse of the Catholic Church

Posted by John Benko - October 10th, 2013

The ministry of Zephaniah took place during the reign of Josiah (640-609 B.C.) He is speaking out against the worship of the false gods. 

The people were worshiping the sun, moon, and stars. 

Through the influence of the Assyrians, the god “Milcom” of the Ammonites was worshiped in Israel.

“Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth, who have observed his law; seek justice, seek humility; perhaps you may be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger. But I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord: the remnant of Israel. They shall do no wrong and speak no lies; nor shall there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue; they shall pasture and couch their flocks with none to disturb them”(Zephaniah 2:3, 3:12-13). 

We are to seek the Lord through his Church! Jesus said “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21).

Luke 10:16 Jesus says, “Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me”.

Jesus identifies himself totally to his Church, Acts 9:3-6 says, “On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me’? He said, ‘Who are you, sir’? the reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do”.

What was Saul told to do? Acts 9:10-19 tells the story: “There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias’. He answered, ‘Here I am, Lord’. The Lord said to him, ‘Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, that he may regain his sight’. But Ananias replied, ‘Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name’. But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name’. So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, ‘Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit’. Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength”.
 
We are to seek the Lord with a humble heart as the Prophet Zephaniah proclaimed. St. Paul was knocked off his “high-horse” and brought low so that he would be made humble for the service of the Lord.

Jesus said Saul would be sent to reach out primarily to the Gentiles. Jesus teaching giving us the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who morn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3-10). 

A great question might be asked how does Christ voice through his Church remain perfect despite the fact that we many times do not fully live up to our teachings? Zephaniah says that The Church would do no wrong, speak no lies, no deceit is to be found, the flocks would be protected.

Yet, we have seen scandals, we have all fallen short, what can we take from this? The Church does not belong to the Pope, the Bishops in union with him, all the people of God. It belongs to Christ. It is Christ Church. We are his people.

It is the offices Christ established in the Church that gives it the foundation. Jesus commissioned the Church to go to all the nations teaching them his commands.

He administers his grace through his Church. It is the Holy Spirit that keeps the voice straight and free from falsehoods.
Being faithful to the Church, we are taking “refuge in the name of the Lord”.
 
By listening to the Church, we are listening to the voice of the Lord, “Thus saith the Lord”!
Consider Malachi 1:11, “For from the rising of the sun, even to it’s setting, my name is great among the nations”. 

The Catholic Church is sent by Christ to go to all the nations administering God’s grace through the Sacraments “everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering”!


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*BEST OF DTB #71* Purgatory- the show notes

Posted by John Benko - March 24th, 2011

These are the show notes for my debate with Dale McAlpine on the doctrine of purgatory. I invite you to listen to the show in conjunction with this article.

Here are my opening remarks;


The doctrine of purgatory is usually contested on 7 separate grounds.

The first ground is that it contradicts the finished work of Christ. Protestants will contend that purgatory casts aspersions on the sufficiency of Christ’s suffering and death. We contend, that they are confusing Christ’s Covenant Salvation with the false doctrine of imputed righteousness. (show notes- note 1).

Any Catholic would gladly concede that Christ’s sufferings at Calvary were sufficient to purchase the graces need to remit every sin. Nevertheless, Paul tells the Colossians and Romans that there is something lacking in those sufferings that is filled up by our sufferings through the ministry of the church. (show notes- note 2).

This is not an issue of insufficiency on Jesus’ part, it is insufficiency on our part if we fail to fulfill our part of the Covenant. Jesus covenant with us explicitly links our discipleship to following Him on the way of the cross. (note 3).

The second of the often raised objections is that Purgatory is a sort of ”back door” theology that provides an additional path to earning one’s way into heaven. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Catholics agree with most other denominations on three things:

1) That every soul will eventually end up in either heaven or hell
2) That the determination of that destiny will be made in our earthly life.
3) That a soul, after death, can do nothing for which it can earn merit for itself.

The assertion that purgatory is a second chance or “safety net” is just false. Purgatory is a place of temporal punishment and cleansing for souls that have already been saved from hell but are not yet clean enough for heaven.

The “safety net” accusation of protestants such as John McArthur is nothing but a straw man. We do not disagree that those who failed to choose Christ, of their own free will, will be lost. What we dispute is that the notion that those who failed to choose him perfectly will go straight to heaven. This is clearly disputed by Luke 12 and other scriptures. (note 4)

The third objection is that purgatory contradicts the mercy of God. This objection, again, contradicts Scripture.

The Bible does not treat all sin equal. If it did, the serial killer would be treated the same as the person trying to quit smoking. This notion is an affront to God’s goodness, His Justice and to basic common sense.
1 John Chapter 5 tells us that there are different degrees of sin and Luke 12 tells us that there are different punishments due to them. Only by ignoring these verses, and misquoting verses like Romans 3:10, can God be made into a monster who punishes everyone with eternal fire who commits even the smallest vice. It is only the notion that God requires absolute perfection from us, that makes imputed righteousness seem necessary, because none of us can meet that standard. This standard of absolute perfection is a protestant invention and is refuted by the clear words of Jesus in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
Further, Matthew 5 shows us that those who show mercy will be shown mercy and those who do not fully reconcile accounts with the accuser will be thrown in a prison until they have paid the last penny.

So, purgatory, far from violating God’s mercy, is the very expression of it. For, if not for purgatory, even the smallest sin would mean hell.
(note 5)

The fourth objection is that Purgatory is a Catholic invention.

Protestants often contend that Catholics invented the doctrine of purgatory but cannot agree on when this supposedly occurred. Many contend that it happened during the reign of Pope Gregory the Great between 590- 604. Some even contend that it was invented in the period of time between 1274 and 1563 in councils at Lyon, Florence and Trent. Whatever date they assign, their case is wholly untenable.

Purgatory, as a word, dates back to about the 12th century. However, the established belief of a place of temporal purging goes back all the way to the infancy of the church and even further.

Whether or not one agrees with the Catholic Church that II Maccabees is inspired scripture is irrelevant because no one can credibly deny that it is an accurate historical book from the Second century BC and, as such, proves the doctrine of a place of temporal punishment to be at least 700 years older than protestant claims. The practice of praying for the dead still exists in Judaism today in the Mourner’s Kaddish.
Contrary to my opponent’s assertion that Catholics invented purgatory, it is actually the protestant reformers who invented a Christianity that doesn’t hold to this doctrine. There are even proofs of the belief in purgatory in the very catacombs of the infant church. This too, is in the show notes.

In addition to catacomb writings indicated above, we provide historical defenses of purgatory in the show notes from The Acts of Paul and Thecla (160Ad), The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity (202 AD),Tertullian (210), Cyprian (253), Lactantius (307), Cyril (350), Gregory of Nyssa (382), John Crysostom (402) and Augustine (411-421).

All of these writings predate the period of time were supposed to have invented purgatory.

In fact, it was not until the 16th century reformers that anyone even questioned the doctrine that it was proper to pray for the souls of the deceased. (note 6)

Objection 5 contends that praying for and/or to the dead is a pagan practice that violates the ban in set forth in verses such as Deuteronomy 18:9 that bans mediums or spiritists who commune with the dead.

Jesus made it very clear that the saints- even of His time on earth- are not dead but living. In fact, they are even more alive than we are. Further, asking the saints, or even the souls in purgatory, to pray for us is a simple recognition of the communion of saints that we see in verses such as Hebrews 12:1 and Revelation 5:8. (note 7)

Objection 6 claims that the doctrine of purgatory, or even of temporal punishment for sin, is not present is Scripture.

Scripture shows all of the elements that constitute the doctrine of purgatory- venial sins as opposed to mortal and the efficacy of both suffering and prayer for others, (note 8), temporal punishment for sin, and a place where this occurs, after death. (note 9) All of this exists in scripture.

In 1 Corinthians 3:15, Paul tells us that some will only be saved as through fire, though they themselves suffer. In Luke 12, Jesus contrast those who will be punished severely vs those who will be punished lightly. Again, these proof texts make no sense if this doctrine is false.

Finally, objection number 7 seeks to impugn the doctrine of purgatory because of the practice of selling indulgences during the dark ages and masses for the dead . In short, to imply that purgatory is nothing but a money maker. The accusation is that Catholics are attempting to sell the forgiveness of God. During this debate, I am not going to go into a broad discussion on the idea of indulgences. I will only say that Catholics concede the liturgical abuse that was the selling of indulgences but this, in no way, is selling the forgiveness of God, nor is it selling a license to indulge in sin, though the modern definition of the word does seem to imply this.

The selling of indulgences does not detract from their legitimate use and it certainly doesn’t detract from purgatory as a doctrine. Further, a Mass for the deceased nets the presiding Priest about $5. This is hardly going to make him rich. (note 10)
Now that I have outlined these 7 most common objections, let’s go a bit deeper.

For starters, belief in the doctrine of purgatory stands or falls on our understanding of Salvation. If one believes, as Catholics do, that God’s mercy must be reconciled with His justice in a way that demands we cooperate with His grace and work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phillipians 2:12) then seeing purgatory as a logical consequence of that is not difficult.

On the other hand, if we belief that salvation is by Christ alone, that it is something He imputes to us, then the notion of purgatory would make very little sense.

My opponent is obviously going to be arguing from a standpoint that assumes the latter perspective to be true. My standpoint assumes that his standpoint is false. In the end, we are not debating substitutionary grace vs participatory grace today directly, but we are doing so indirectly. For the arguments I am presenting today are from scripture and history and I intend to prove that Christian and Jewish scripture and history and tradition have, from the very start held to a place of temporal suffering for sin apart from the eternal place of suffering- hell.

For Luther and protestantism, the Biblical references to a temporal prison where souls are purified as through fire is quite a threat to his new and novel notion of an imputed salvation through faith alone. So, his motivation to deconstruct this theology and cast aspersions on it’s foundation are certainly understood.

Nevertheless, the Gospels pronounce many times that we will all be repaid according to our works, and purgatory, for some, will be that consequence..



My friends, I hope these show notes will help you better understand the material covered in our debate. To that end, please allow us to expand on some of the thoughts presented in my opening statement in these show notes.



Note 1: Covenant vs Imputation

At the very heart of protestant misunderstanding of purgatory (and the larger issue of salvation) is that protestants see salvation as a substitutionary act of Christ alone, suffering and dying in our place. In this model, nothing is required of us but to accept His freely given salvation by a consent to faith.

This model is not Biblical .

First of all, the word Covenant appears in Scripture more than 160 times with almost 20 of them appearing in the New Testament. Of the most noteworthy are Luke 22:20 and Revelation 11:19-12:1 that show us that the Covenant is in a person and that person’s blood, namely Jesus Christ.

One cannot ignore what Covenant means. The word, itself, refutes the protestant understanding embodied in the five solas (Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, by Scripture alone, for His glory alone).

cov·e·nant

covenant pronunciation/ˈkʌvənənt/ Show Spelled[kuhv-uh-nuhnt] Show IPA

–noun
1. an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified.
2. Law . an incidental clause in such an agreement.
3. Ecclesiastical . a solemn agreement between the members of a church to act together in harmony with the precepts of the gospel.
4. ( initial capital letter ) History/Historical .
5.
Bible .
a.
the conditional promises made to humanity by god, as revealed in Scripture.
b.
the agreement between God and the ancient Israelites, in which God promised to protect them if they kept His law and were faithful to Him.
6.
Law .
a.
a formal agreement of legal validity, especially one under seal.
b.
an early English form of action in suits involving sealed contracts.
–verb (used without object)
8.
to enter into a covenant.
–verb (used with object)
9.
to promise by covenant; pledge.
10.
to stipulate.

A Covenant is an agreement requiring something from both parties. Protestants will often use the weak Jesus argument to suggest that if you must do anything, then your Jesus isn’t strong enough to save you. The truth is that the catholic Jesus is not a weak Jesus but a Sovereign Jesus and a Just Jesus

Protestants claim that salvation is a personal relationship with Jesus but any relationship with Jesus is on His terms, not on ours and anyone who says “I know Him” but doesn’t keep the commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him (1 John 2:4).

Protestants often misinterpret proof texts such as Romans 10:9 to mean that only a verbal and intellectual assent is needed for salvation but scripture clearly refutes such an interpretation;

Romans 2
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, whoever you are, when you judge another; for in passing judgment upon him you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who do such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 For he will render to every man according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.



Matthew 5

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8* “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10* “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
17 “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18* For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19* Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

James 2

8 If you really fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well. 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” said also, “Do not kill.” If you do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment.
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
18 But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21* Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23* and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25* And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.

These texts clearly show that salvation is not merely an issue of what Christ has done for us but of what we must do in return. that is a covenant relationship. The doctrine of imputed righteousness comes almost solely from a mistranslation of the King James version of the Bible of
verses such as James 2:23. Imputed righteousness is not Biblical because God cannot lie. God cannot simply declare clean that which is unclean, He must make clean that which is unclean. For no unclean thing can enter heaven. (Revelation 21:27). God makes us clean when we participate with His free gift of grace.



Note 2: What is lacking in the afflictions of Christ?


No protestant proponent of imputation theology can answer the challenge put forth by these two verses from Saint Paul to the Colossians;

Colossians 1

24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known,

In fact, these two verses of scripture demolish the entire protestant salvation model of faith alone. Let’s review;

1) Paul is rejoicing in his own sufferings as beneficial to others,
2) Paul’s sufferings complete something that cannot be completed by Christ’s sufferings alone.
3) That completion is of benefit to the entire church through Paul’s divine office.
4) Paul’s divine office is by God, for us, for the purpose of making God known to us.

Christ alone refuted. Personal relationship refuted. Faith alone refuted. Scripture alone refuted.

Christ’s sufferings do not prevent our sufferings, they give them value.

To see this, we must view scripture in context. We can simply quote Romans 5:1-2;

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

and claim that salvation is by “faith alone”, or we can be honest and read the rest of this citation

3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

Faith must be tested by fire. anyone can express faith in the sunshine. can your faith endure in the storm, that it be proved?



Note 3: Take up thy cross


Matthew 16
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?

Matthew 10

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. 37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.

Mark 8

34* And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35* For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? 37 For what can a man give in return for his life? 38* For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Luke 9

23* And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24* For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26* For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27* But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”


Luke 14
25 Now great multitudes accompanied him; and he turned and said to them, 26* “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27* Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace. 33* So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.


Note 4: A light beating?

In the 12th chapter of Luke’s gospel, Jesus talks about what will happen when “The Master” (Himself) returns. He says something that makes no sense whatsoever if you follow protestant theology;

42 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. 48 But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.

This is just more proof that protestant salvation theology just does not add up. It is simply impossible to reconcile the concept of a light beating with the eternal horror that is hell. This passage of scripture shows very clearly that each person will be rewarded or punished according to their own personal account and that some, who escape the eternal punishments of hell, will suffer the temporal pains of purgatory.



Note 5: Not released until you pay?


Luke 12

57 “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the very last copper.”

This cannot refer to hell. If it did, Jesus would make no pretense that you would ever be released.



Note 6: The early church believed in the doctrine of purgatory.


II Maccabees 12
39 On the next day, as by that time it had become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kinsmen in the sepulchres of their fathers. 40 Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was why these men had fallen. 41 So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; 42 and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. 43 He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. 44 For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45 But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. 46 Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.

That the Christian Church,from it’s very earliest days, believed in a place of temporal punishment after death is a historical fact that cannot be credibly disputed. The oldest prayers for the dead inscribed on the walls of the catacombs been positively dated to 71 AD,with many others dated from that time, forward to the 5th century.

Further, there are many other writings of the early church supporting this doctrine;

The Acts of Paul and Thecla

“And after the exhibition, Tryphaena again received her [Thecla]. For her daughter Falconilla had died, and said to her in a dream: ‘Mother, you shall have this stranger Thecla in my place, in order that she may pray concerning me, and that I may be transferred to the place of the righteous’” (Acts of Paul and Thecla [A.D. 160]).

Abercius

“The citizen of a prominent city, I erected this while I lived, that I might have a resting place for my body. Abercius is my name, a disciple of the chaste Shepherd who feeds his sheep on the mountains and in the fields, who has great eyes surveying everywhere, who taught me the faithful writings of life. Standing by, I, Abercius, ordered this to be inscribed: Truly, I was in my seventy-second year. May everyone who is in accord with this and who understands it pray for Abercius” (Epitaph of Abercius [A.D. 190]).

The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity

“[T]hat very night, this was shown to me in a vision: I [Perpetua] saw Dinocrates going out from a gloomy place, where also there were several others, and he was parched and very thirsty, with a filthy countenance and pallid color, and the wound on his face which he had when he died. This Dinocrates had been my brother after the flesh, seven years of age, who died miserably with disease. . . . For him I had made my prayer, and between him and me there was a large interval, so that neither of us could approach to the other . . . and [I] knew that my brother was in suffering. But I trusted that my prayer would bring help to his suffering; and I prayed for him every day until we passed over into the prison of the camp, for we were to fight in the camp-show. Then . . . I made my prayer for my brother day and night, groaning and weeping that he might be granted to me. Then, on the day on which we remained in fetters, this was shown to me: I saw that the place which I had formerly observed to be in gloom was now bright; and Dinocrates, with a clean body well clad, was finding refreshment. . . . [And] he went away from the water to play joyously, after the manner of children, and I awoke. Then I understood that he was translated from the place of punishment” (The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity 2:3–4 [A.D. 202]).

Tertullian

“We offer sacrifices for the dead on their birthday anniversaries [the date of death—birth into eternal life]” (The Crown 3:3 [A.D. 211]).

“A woman, after the death of her husband . . . prays for his soul and asks that he may, while waiting, find rest; and that he may share in the first resurrection. And each year, on the anniversary of his death, she offers the sacrifice” (Monogamy 10:1–2 [A.D. 216]).

Cyprian of Carthage

“The strength of the truly believing remains unshaken; and with those who fear and love God with their whole heart, their integrity continues steady and strong. For to adulterers even a time of repentance is granted by us, and peace [i.e., reconciliation] is given. Yet virginity is not therefore deficient in the Church, nor does the glorious design of continence languish through the sins of others. The Church, crowned with so many virgins, flourishes; and chastity and modesty preserve the tenor of their glory. Nor is the vigor of continence broken down because repentance and pardon are facilitated to the adulterer. It is one thing to stand for pardon, another thing to attain to glory; it is one thing, when cast into prison, not to go out thence until one has paid the uttermost farthing; another thing at once to receive the wages of faith and courage. It is one thing, tortured by long suffering for sins, to be cleansed and long purged by fire; another to have purged all sins by suffering. It is one thing, in fine, to be in suspense till the sentence of God at the day of judgment; another to be at once crowned by the Lord” (Letters 51[55]:20 [A.D. 253]).

Cyril of Jerusalem

“Then we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition; next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and, to put it simply, of all among us who have already fallen asleep, for we believe that it will be of very great benefit to the souls of those for whom the petition is carried up, while this holy and most solemn sacrifice is laid out” (Catechetical Lectures 23:5:9 [A.D. 350]).

Gregory of Nyssa

“If a man distinguish in himself what is peculiarly human from that which is irrational, and if he be on the watch for a life of greater urbanity for himself, in this present life he will purify himself of any evil contracted, overcoming the irrational by reason. If he has inclined to the irrational pressure of the passions, using for the passions the cooperating hide of things irrational, he may afterward in a quite different manner be very much interested in what is better, when, after his departure out of the body, he gains knowledge of the difference between virtue and vice and finds that he is not able to partake of divinity until he has been purged of the filthy contagion in his soul by the purifying fire” (Sermon on the Dead [A.D. 382]).

John Chrysostom

“Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice [Job 1:5], why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them” (Homilies on First Corinthians 41:5 [A.D. 392]).

“Weep for those who die in their wealth and who with all their wealth prepared no consolation for their own souls, who had the power to wash away their sins and did not will to do it. Let us weep for them, let us assist them to the extent of our ability, let us think of some assistance for them, small as it may be, yet let us somehow assist them. But how, and in what way? By praying for them and by entreating others to pray for them, by constantly giving alms to the poor on their behalf. Not in vain was it decreed by the apostles that in the awesome mysteries remembrance should be made of the departed. They knew that here there was much gain for them, much benefit. When the entire people stands with hands uplifted, a priestly assembly, and that awesome sacrificial Victim is laid out, how, when we are calling upon God, should we not succeed in their defense? But this is done for those who have departed in the faith, while even the catechumens are not reckoned as worthy of this consolation, but are deprived of every means of assistance except one. And what is that? We may give alms to the poor on their behalf” (Homilies on Philippians 3:9–10 [A.D. 402]).

Augustine

“There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for other dead who are remembered. It is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended” (Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]).

“But by the prayers of the holy Church, and by the salvific sacrifice, and by the alms which are given for their spirits, there is no doubt that the dead are aided, that the Lord might deal more mercifully with them than their sins would deserve. The whole Church observes this practice which was handed down by the Fathers: that it prays for those who have died in the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, when they are commemorated in their own place in the sacrifice itself; and the sacrifice is offered also in memory of them, on their behalf. If, then, works of mercy are celebrated for the sake of those who are being remembered, who would hesitate to recommend them, on whose behalf prayers to God are not offered in vain? It is not at all to be doubted that such prayers are of profit to the dead; but for such of them as lived before their death in a way that makes it possible for these things to be useful to them after death” (ibid., 172:2).

“Temporal punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by some after death, by some both here and hereafter, but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But not all who suffer temporal punishments after death will come to eternal punishments, which are to follow after that judgment” (The City of God 21:13 [A.D. 419]).

“That there should be some fire even after this life is not incredible, and it can be inquired into and either be discovered or left hidden whether some of the faithful may be saved, some more slowly and some more quickly in the greater or lesser degree in which they loved the good things that perish, through a certain purgatorial fire” (Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Charity 18:69 [A.D. 421]).

“The time which interposes between the death of a man and the final resurrection holds souls in hidden retreats, accordingly as each is deserving of rest or of hardship, in view of what it merited when it was living in the flesh. Nor can it be denied that the souls of the dead find relief through the piety of their friends and relatives who are still alive, when the Sacrifice of the Mediator [Mass] is offered for them, or when alms are given in the Church. But these things are of profit to those who, when they were alive, merited that they might afterward be able to be helped by these things. There is a certain manner of living, neither so good that there is no need of these helps after death, nor yet so wicked that these helps are of no avail after death” (ibid., 29:109).

[source: Catholic Answers]


Note 7: The great cloud of witnesses

Matthew 22

29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels * in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, 32* ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” 33* And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.

Hebrews 12

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,

Revelation 5

8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints;


Note 8: Elements of the purgatory doctrine in scripture

1John 5
16 If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.

Since the Catholic concept of both mortal and venial sin is proved from Scripture, so both the concepts of eternal and temporal punishment are shown as well, because, as we said before, Jesus promised that each man will be repaid according to his deeds.

Further, this proof text also shows that a person can be loosed from the consequences of non-mortal sins, by the prayers of another person. This ratifies the exact claim made in II Maccabees chapter 12.


Note 9: The temporal prison

Those who die saved from hell, but with their entrance to heaven incomplete, must spend time in a temporal place of imprisonment. Jesus and Peter both alluded to this place;

Jesus:

Matthew 5
21* “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother * shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults * his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell * of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25* Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; 26 truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.

Peter:
1 Peter 3

18 For Christ also died * for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20* who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.
These verses make a complete mockery of Luther’s doctrine of ‘faith alone’ -and yet- here they are straight from the pages of Holy Scripture. The reason is clear- Salvation, as James 2:24 makes woefully clear, is not by Faith alone and all men, as Romans 2:6 shows will receive the just reward or punishment for their works.
The doctrine of purgatory is a necessary and unmistakable consequence of Scripture and Scripture makes it very clear that some will only be saved as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3

12 Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw– 13 each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.


Note 10: The stipend and the matter of indulgences. A source of wealth for the Church?

A Stipend for a funeral mass is voluntary and will usually net the Priest around $5. He is entitled to one such stipend a day. Hardly a big money maker for the church.

As for the matter of indulgences, they fall under the church’s power to bind and loose as enunciated is scripture (Matthew 16:19, 18:18).

The term Indulgences falls unfortunate victim to the modern English definition of Indulge.
Of course, in our modern lexicon, To indulge means to give into one’s own will and the connotation is often to give in to a sinful desire.

Some suspect that, knowing this, Catholics are being willfully dishonest or deceptive in representing what an Indulgence is. It would be very easy to conclude, given the modern definition, to conclude that an Indulgence is a license to commit….to indulge in…sin.

Though this mistaken interpretation is understandable, it most definitely is not correct.In fact, it is precisely the misunderstanding of just what an indulgence is that has led to the modern (and historically incorrect) definition.

The word Indulgence comes from the Latin indulgeo which is a word meaning to be kind or merciful.

Mercy can only be granted when it is sincerely sought by a penitent heart. To commit a sin, believing in advance that it is forgiven, is to commit the sin of presumption (Romans 2:4).
The concept of Indulgences presupposes no such thing. No one can give someone permission to sin and no one can presume forgiveness for someone who has sinned, lest they repent with sincerity.

An Indulgence does neither of these things.

True, to believe in the concept of Indulgences, you must be predisposed to a belief in the doctrine of purgatory.That being said, if you are to reject the concept of Indulgences, at least reject what they are and not what someone has falsely claimed them to be.

It has been alleged that when Indulgences were sold during the middle ages, this amounted to selling the forgiveness of God. That is a bit of a reach on the part of our detractors.

An Indulgence, as the true definition indicates, is a remittance of some or all of the punishment due sin. It is a reduction of the time a soul would have to spend in prison, so to speak.

There are two kinds of Indulgences; Partial and Plenary. Indulgences are usually given for some charitable work and are perfectly consistent with the principle that love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)



Note 11: James 2:14-26



14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
18 But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23* and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.



Note 12: The mad man that was Martin Luther


That Martin Luther, the founder of protestantism was a vulgar, misogynistic, anti-Semitic mad man almost goes without saying Here is one link to some of his mad ravings, including wanting to throw the Epistle of James into the stove.

Note 13: For by Grace you have been saved


Calvinists assert that salvation is by faith alone and that works are no component of it whatsoever. There are perhaps a dozen or so scriptures that Calvinists will use to support this contention. Among their favorites is Ephesians 2:8-9;

2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; 2:9 it is not from works, so no one may boast.

At face value, Calvinists make these verses seem to support exactly what they claim. How? By wrenching the passage from it’s context and redefining the key words; Grace, faith and works.

First, let’s examine the context;

2:1 You were dead in your transgressions and sin
2:2 in which you once lived following the age of this world, * following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient.
2:3 All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest.
2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us,
2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ * (by grace you have been saved),
2:6 raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
2:7 that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
2:9 it is not from works, so no one may boast.
2:10 For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.

The context is key. Let’s work through it and I will explain how Calvinists actually define the words differently, to their own detriment.

2:1 You were dead in your transgressions and sin

That is, by your own works/deeds. Your choice to act in disobedience to God.


2:2 in which you once lived following the age of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient.
2:3 All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest.

So, we used our own free will (a concept rejected by Calvinists) to live according to our own selfish desires.


2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us,

Mercy? What need is there for mercy if we were not justly condemned? and how could we be justly condemned if we were not culpable for our choices? and how can we be culpable for our choices if we did not have the ability to choose to make them or avoid making them?

If we are to be condemned for our wrong choices, does this not presuppose a natural ability to make the right choices?

This is where the Calvinist doctrine of total depravity comes apart at the seams. This doctrine suggests that man is totally depraved, incapable of any good thing. There is no difference between a Mother Theresa and an Adolph Hitler. No distinction between Ghandi and Nero. Curse your own lying eyes for suggesting otherwise. Unless you have formally accepted Christ as your Savior, you are evil through and through, irredeemable, indistinguishable from Hitler.

The view is so abberant that it is borderline cult theology. Certainly sin has deformed us and alienated us from God. However, total depravity theology makes us all little hitlers, incapable of anything but evil. Actually. on second thought, Orthodox Christianity demands the belief that even Hitler could have repented…even Judas!

Orthodox Christianity allows for the belief of only one totally depraved person; Anti-Christ. In fact, the very thought of a human being with zero contrition, zero empathy, zero compassion, zero genoursity, and zero love should be enough to make your skin crawl. This is what makes the idea of Anti-Christ so frightening.

The doctrine of Total depravity juxtaposes those traits on every unsaved person.

The assertion is absurd on it’s face and turns the narrative of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) on it’s ear. This is to say nothing of the fact that human beings, with simple observation, can see how ludicrous this doctrine is. All of you, in your life, have seen good and bad in every station of life.

Yes, all human beings have the capacity to choose bad but all, likewise, have the capacity to choose good. Only the damned lack this capacity. If man were totally depraved, he could not confess his sins, repent and choose Christ.

Catholic theology recognizes, in each person, both the light of God and the concupiscence of the flesh. Your salvation is decided by which of those two opposing forces becomes your master.

Remember, we are created in the image and likeness of God, not Satan.

So, tell me, Calvinists, how do you evangelize to a totally depraved person? Imagine trying to get a demon to accept Christ. There is a difference between an unsaved person and an unsavable person. A person who is totally depraved cannot feel remorse for he is so completely sociopathic as to worship himself.

2:6 raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
2:7 that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
2:9 it is not from works, so no one may boast.
2:10 For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.
Verses 2, 7 and 10 are so important in providing context and Paul is saying so much more here than our Calvinist friends suggest. The whole meaning of these verses can only be determined by how these words and phrases are defined. Catholics define them correctly, Calvinists do not.

First, Grace. A Calvinist offers that Grace means only unmerited favor. They offer that Grace is nothing more than God’s disposition to save us- his kindness, if you will. Catholics offer that the Grace described here is something much more and misunderstanding that means misunderstanding the whole passage.

Grace is a thing, not a disposition to give a thing. Otherwise, verse 2:7 would literally be saying;
…..he might show the immeasurable riches of his kindness in his kindness…..

V7 clearly tells us that Grace is something given to us according to His kindness. It is not the kindness, itself. Grace is something we receive from God. Something that dwells inside us and, in which we are able to stand.

JN 1:16 From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace,

JN 1:17 because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

ACTS 6:8 Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people.

ACTS 11:23 When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,

ACTS 13:43 After the congregation had dispersed, many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.

ACTS 15:11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they.”

EPH 1:7 In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace

EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

EPH 2:7 that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

EPH 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;

EPH 3:2 if, as I suppose, you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit,

EPH 3:7 Of this I became a minister by the gift of God’s grace that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power.

EPH 3:8 To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,

EPH 4:7 But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

EPH 4:29 No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.

2:8 For by grace you have been saved

For by Grace…. Grace is what has saved you. So what is Grace? How does it save you? Grace is a supernatural substance, given to us by God. It Sanctifies us and removes sin and makes us stronger. In short, it makes us able to grow in holiness- something we cannot do of our own effort.

through faith,
Faith is the means by which you have received the Grace. Read it again. BY Grace, THROUGH faith. What is Faith? Is it just Verbal assent? This is what Calvinists say. However, you will see that that view does not hold up.

Now pay close attention…
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
2:9 it is not from works, so no one may boast.



Closing remarks

I am hopeful that those who listened to today’s debate found it entertaining and informative. My strong suspicion is that there are many who came in predisposed to a viewpoint and left, still convinced of the same view point.

Nevertheless, I am convinced that those who did come, firm in a viewpoint, and left, less so, moved in our direction.

The leaders, on the other side of this theological divide, want very much for you to believe that the doctrine of purgatory was created out of whole cloth by the Catholics of the middle ages, for some nefarious purpose. It is my contention that the opposite is true. It is the first protestants who invented the rejection of purgatory for their own ends.

After listening to this debate, you must now have at least some doubts about the protestant claims that the Catholics created this doctrine out of nothing. You must have at least a suspicion that the Catholics just might possibly have something here.

It does not matter that this doubt may be but a flicker, as on a match stick. A flicker can be fanned into a fire and a fire into a towering inferno. Many Catholic conversions have started from such a small spark.

You have to be at least admitting that the Protestant reformers did indeed have a strong motive for dismissing this doctrine, that goes beyond simple Biblical exegesis.

It is this motive that I will be focusing on during these closing remarks and you now have a moral obligation to investigate if what I say is true or not.

I have already shown you- in the case of Indulgences- how redefining a word changes the understanding of the concept that word is meant to ennunciate. I would argue to you, my friends, that protestantism has attempted to redefine the words faith and belief and how that draws a straight line back to their rejection of purgatory.

Covenant Faith and Belief are fused with action in the same way that fire is fused with heat. True, you can have heat without fire but you cannot have fire without heat. In the same way, you can have the faithless works condemned by Paul and you can have the work-less faith condemned by James but both of these constitute a false faith. True faith is started by assent and completed by action.

Romans 10:9 does tell us that if we “confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts” then we will be saved but, in reading this, some fatal errors.

A true exegetical examination of this passage indicates that this denotes someone making a confession of faith to the truths revealed to us. Further, it reveals, not just a mere professed belief in God but a complete submission to His lordship. That is true faith, that is saving faith.

The term translated to believe in your heart is pisteusēs and denotes believing in, trusting in and leaning on. This is what separates how protestants define belief and how Catholics define it.
Even the demons believe Christ is Lord and they shudder (James 2).

Simply accepting as true what God has done is not faith but Intellectual assent. Confessing this with your mouth is not faith but Verbal assent. Although Intellectual assent is the beginning of faith and Verbal assent is the pronouncement of faith, works are the completion and perfection of faith. Therefore, faith is shown by works, completed by works, perfected by works and active with works. Therefore, it is dead without works. My protestant brothers and sisters should take pause in the fact that the only scripture that exists containing the term faith alone is one that explicitly refutes this doctrine. Faith alone, in this context is referring exactly to Intellectual and Verbal assent that dies without the action that completes it as true saving faith.

I ask my protest brothers and sisters to truly read what James has to say in the 2nd chapter of his epistle, verses 14-26. show notes note 11 . Ponder especially the question he poses What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? It certainly can not.

After you have pondered these things, ponder why Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, proponent of Sola Fide and reject-or of Purgatory, said, of the Epistle of James, that he would like to throw Jimmy into the stove and that the Epistle of James was probably written by some Jew who had heard of Christians but never actually encountered one. These quotes are well documented and can easily be found in an online search. We provide one link to these and other spurious Luther quotes in the show notes Note 12 .

It is not my intention, in these remarks to do a hack job on martin Luther and it is not within the scope of this debate to refute the doctrine of Sola Fide.

Yet, here I am, debating directly, the doctrine of purgatory as a measure of God’s divine Justice which my opponent deems as anti-Biblical. So, I must point out that my opponent follows the tradition of a man who removed 7 books from the canon of Scripture on dubious grounds and tried to remove James and the Book of Revelation as well. These are historical facts that cannot be plausibly denied.

What Luther missed is that salvation does not consist in declaring Christ Lord of your life but in making Him Lord of your life. The Bible says in 1 John, chapter 2, that he who says I know Him and keeps not His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in Him. If you do not know him, you cannot obey Him and if you cannot obey Him, He cannot save you. Jesus cannot declare the unjust person justified, Jesus must make the unjust person justified. You must become a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

How does this tie into purgatory? It’s very simple.

The protestant notion of sanctification and justification is expressed by Luther’s rather crude analogy of a snow covered pile of dung.

As Protestant RC Sproul puts it;


For Rome, God both makes just and declares just. For Protestants God both makes just and declares just — but not in the same way. For Rome the declaration of justice follows the making inwardly just of the regenerate sinner. For the Reformation the declaration of justice follows the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the regenerated sinner.

The protestant model is false. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he declares “be not deceived, God is not mocked”. Every sin, at some level, is a rejection of God that calls for His Divine Justice. Grace does not cover the sinner externally, it changes him internally but only if he, through faith, cooperates with it. You cannot serve two masters.

What the Bible says of grace, clearly agrees with the Catholic understanding. Note 13

If Actual Grace, as we assert, enables the sinner to conquer his vices and Sanctifying grace, as we assert, cleanses the sinful soul, then the whole Jesus did it all for me argument collapses under it’s own weight. You choose to serve Christ, by his grace, and of your own free will and are rewarded or you choose to sin against Christ, rejecting His grace, of your own will and are punished.

It is your choice.

Deuteronomy

Chapter 30

19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death , blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live,

The notion that salvation is substitutionary is what makes purgatory seem null. But salvation is not substitutionary and the Bible tells us very clearly that each man will be repaid according to his deeds. Some will go straight to heaven, some will receive lessor punishments and some will, unfortunately, receive the horrible sentence of eternal hell.

My opponent asserts that all sin is equal and that all souls, upon death, will go straight to heaven or straight to hell but that does not agree with scripture, it does not agree with what the church has believed since it’s foundation, it does not agree with common sense and it does not agree with the perfect Justice of our Lord who searches every heart and measures good against bad, struggling sinner against unrepentant sinner.

My opponent cannot adequately explain why one sin is mortal and one is not, as I have shown. He cannot explain how one sinner receives a light beating while another receives a severe beating, as I have shown. He cannot explain, outside of heaven and hell what prison our Lord went to after death, as I have shown. He cannot explain where the souls who rose from the grave rose from when Our Lord died upon that Cross. He cannot explain how some sinners are saved as through fire. Finally, he cannot explain why history is not kind to his assertion that the early church rejected this doctrine.

In fact, at the end of the day, my opponent’s entire case rests with the conclusions and assertions of an unquestionably sinful man who actually claimed that a man could commit adultery a hundred times a day and as many murders with no affect on his salvation. A man who called the epistle of James an epistle of straw and the Book of Revelation a book of riddles.
At the end of the day, however, I am not asking you to form your conclusion based on the character of Luther alone, nor on the error of his conclusions, nor on the lack of historical support for his claims, nor on the numerous scriptures that support the Catholic Church’s position.

I ask you to weigh all these things along with common sense and one thing further. In Luke 10:16, Jesus says to His apostles “He who hears you hears me, He who rejects you, rejects me”. In Matthew 16:19 and 18:18, He says “what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven”. In 1 Timothy 3:16, Paul says that the church is the Pillar and foundation of all truth and in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 he commands us to obey what the church teaches whether oral or written.

One of the strongest pillars of my opponents case is that the term purgatory is not found in scripture. The term Trinity is not found in Scripture nor is the term Incarnation nor even the term Bible. Yet, the term Church appears more than 100 times in the New Testament including Acts 9:31 where it is rendered by the Greek Ekklessia Kath Olos which is literally translated- The Catholic Church. It is that church that gave us the bible, in the 4th century and against whom Jesus promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail.

I believe I have proven to you the doctrine of purgatory today by scripture and by history and by logic. In proving it true, I hope I have started a journey in you. For if the doctrine of purgatory is possibly true as I know you must now suspect, further investigation should lead you to see that the church who defends this doctrine, does so by the Divine office Paul speaks of in Colossians 1:24-25.

Anyone wishing to read the show notes for this program can find them at deepertruthblog.com under best articles, under the Debate heading in an article called Purgatory Debate show notes.

Thank you for your time and God bless you.


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