Thursday, October 11, 2018

Did the New Testament church believe in Roman Catholic Purgatory?

Did the New Testament church believe in Roman Catholic Purgatory? 

No, and this is not taught in any of Scripture. Instead, Roman Catholic (the Eastern Orthodox tend to reject the Roman version) Purgatory is based upon a false premise, not only that there is a need for further atonement for some sins after death, but that justification is on the basis of actual  righteousness, which is first attained  via the act itself of baptism (and which for infants means without even having to repent and to believe on the Lord Jesus with all their heart, which is contrary to Acts 2:38; 8:36,37; 10:43–47- 15:7–9) effecting  "infused” righteousness, for in RC theology one is formally justified by their own righteousness. (Catholic Encyclopedia>Sanctifying Grace) 

However, since  since the unholy sin nature remains, then  after baptism unless the baptized is one of the very few who has become perfect in character in this life and dies in that state, then entering Heaven can only be attained  by attaining perfection of character ("by grace") thru postmortem “purifying punishments” and sufferings, commencing at death, in order to be with God.
But which is contrary to what Scripture most manifestly teaches, which is that of penitent faith  appropriating justification, with effectual faith being that purifies the heart (Acts 15:9) and is counted for righteousness (Romans 4:5) and renders one accepted in the Beloved (on His account) and positionally seated together with their Lord in Heaven. (Ephesians 1:6; 2:6
 From  where they positionally await the Lord's return and His final subduing of our "vile body," that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body," (Philippians 3:21)and which is the only transformative change after this life that the Scriptures speak of.

At which time is the judgment seat of Christ, which is the only suffering after this life, which does not begin at death, but awaits the Lord's return, (1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Timothy. 4:1,8; Revelation 11:18; Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Peter 1:7; 5:4) and is the suffering of the loss of rewards (and the Lord's displeasure) due to the manner of material one built the church with, which one is saved despite the loss of such, not because of. (1 Corinthians 3:8ff)

However, this saving justifying faith is a faith which effects obedience by the Spirit, (Romans 8:14) in word and in deed, in heart and in life, whereby "the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, (Romans 8:4) insofar as we do. 
 And since faith and works go together like light and heat, sometimes they are used interchangeably as to what they effect. And which obedience includes penitent confession when convicted of not pleasing the Object of his faith for salvation, the risen Lord Jesus.

The appeal to the believer is to produce fruit consistent with faith, as a consequence of being accepted in the Beloved (on His account), to be practically (in heart and deed) as they are positionally in Christ, to be as much conformed to the Lord Jesus in this life as we can be, and will be in the resurrection. (Philippians 3:7-21)

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

But which progressive practical sanctification is not the
cause of the sinner's justification and acceptance in Christ, but testifies to such being a believer, evidencing "things which accompany salvation," (Hebrews 6:9) and fit to be rewarded. (Revelation 3:4) For this faith, as manifested in said obedience, God will recompense (Hebrews 10:35) under grace, even though it is God who motivates and enables all obedience, (Philippians 1:12,13) while the only thing we can and must take credit for it our disobedience.

In contrast to this salvation by effectual faith, is salvation by grace thru works, as in Roman Catholicism, in which, to reiterate, it is taught that by grace one is actually made good enough to be with God via the act of baptism.
And which act itself is said to regenerate and render them good enough to go to Heaven, and formally justified by their own righteousness.

However, since the carnal nature remains - and in Catholic theology few successfully attain to complete victory over any attachment to sin and perfection of character which is said to be necessary to enter Heaven - then most baptized souls are sent to Roman Catholic (EOs trend to reject Rome's) Purgatory to endure purifying torments to atone for sins they sufficiently failed to provide for while on earth, and to become good enough to enter glory.

The Catholic Encyclopedia states, “whosoever comes into God's presence must be perfectly pure for in the strictest sense His "eyes are too pure, to behold evil" (Habakkuk 1:13).
The Catholic Encyclopedia also states that St. Augustine "describes two conditions of men; "some there are who have departed this life, not so bad as to be deemed unworthy of mercy, nor so good as to be entitled to immediate happiness" etc. (City of God XXI.24.)

And thus by the close of the fourth century was taught "a place of purgation..from which when purified they "were admitted unto the Holy Mount of the Lord". For " they were "not so good as to be entitled to eternal happiness".

One "cannot approach God till the purging fire shall have cleansed the stains with which his soul was infested." (Catholic Encyclopedia>Purgatory) 

CCC 1023: Those who die in God's grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ...(provided they were not in need of purification when they died, . . . or, if they then did need or will need some purification, when they have been purified after death, . . .)

"Every trace of attachment to evil must be eliminated, every imperfection of the soul corrected." - John Paul II, Audiences, 1999.
Catholic professor Peter Kreeft states,

"...we will go to Purgatory first, and then to Heaven after we are purged of all selfishness and bad habits and character faults." Peter Kreeft, Because God Is Real: Sixteen Questions, One Answer, p. 224

"The purpose of purgatory is to bring you up the level of spiritual excellence needed to experience the full-force presence of God." (Jimmy Akin, How to Explain Purgatory to Protestants).

Roman Catholics also invoke the exhortation of Matthew 5:48: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48) as a requirement to be with God, actually presuming that that they can attain the perfection of God in this life or in RC purgatory
There is some wiggle room as regards the conditions of purgatory since what this suffering actually entails, and how long, for such are are not dogmatically taught, but while salvation by grace thru faith as in sola fide means it is effectual faith being imputed for righteousness that justifies, salvation by grace thru works means that by grace one is actually made good enough to be with God, which premise either requires perfection of character in this life (and which merely being made clean in baptism would actually not effect) or postmortem purifying torments.
However, wherever Scripture clearly speak of the next conscious reality for believers then it is with the Lord, (Lk. 23:43 [cf. 2Cor. 12:4; Rv. 2:7]; Phil 1:23; 2Cor. 5:8 [“we”]; 1Cor. 15:51ff'; 1Thess. 4:17) Note in the latter case all believers were assured that if the Lord returned, which they expected in their lifetime, so would they “ever be with the Lord,” though they were still undergoing growth in grace, as was Paul. (Phil. 3:7f)

And the next transformative experience that is manifestly taught is that of being like Christ in the resurrection. (1Jn. 3:2; Rm. 8:23; 1Co 15:53,54; 2Co. 2-4) At which time is the judgment seat of Christ, which is the only suffering after this life, which does not begin at death, but awaits the Lord's return, (1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Timothy. 4:1,8; Revelation 11:18; Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Peter 1:7; 5:4) and is the suffering of the loss of rewards (and the Lord's displeasure) due to the manner of material one built the church with, which one is saved despite the loss of such, not because of. (1 Corinthians 3:8ff)

In addition, the whole premise that suffering itself perfects a person is specious, since testing of character requires being able to choose btwn alternatives, and which this world provides. Thus it is only this world that Scripture peaks of here development of character, such as "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations." (1 Peter 1:6)

And even in making the Lord "perfect" as in experiencing testing, being "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin," (Hebrews 4:15) then it was in this world: "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." (Hebrews 2:10)

For support,  Catholics cite 2 Maccabees  12;44-46 (atonement for the dead to free them from sin ).

However, of what support is that of praying for men whom the text clearly stated were slain for their idolatry, which is a mortal sin? Meanwhile believing this book was Scripture proper was not required until after Luther died, almost 1400 years after the last book was penned.

Other texts which Catholic  often attempt t use for support are as follows:
•  1 Peter 3:18-20;4:6 ( Peter preaching to the spirits in prison ) ,

Which was to the lost souls like those of Noah's day, "wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water," and it is obvious they had not attained to perfection of character. But with His resurrection (Matthew 27:52) the Lord set free those in Abraham's bosom, (Ephesians 4:8,9) which is not purgatory but OT paradise (Luke 23:43) which is now Heaven. (2 Corinthians 12:4)

1 Cor 15:29-30  (baptizing the dead)

Which text Mormons also use in attempting to support their false teaching,  and it supports nothing than was it was invoked for, that of their being a resurrection which some ("they," says Paul, not "we") thought postmortem baptism would effect, but with nothing inferred as purgatory. And which the Holy Spirit would never fail to clearly teach on, if it indeed was of Catholic importance. 

1 Cor 3:15 (saved through fire)

Utterly invalidated as explained below in bold, by God's grace.

Mt 5:26 (where you will not be released until you pay the last penny)

So you must resort to dark sayings. Rather than Matthew 5:25-26 being "explicit about Purgatory" as Staples imagines this either refers to this life, or punishment in Hell, which is the context of Matthew 5:24-25 (Matthew 5:22; Matthew 5:27-29; cf. Mark 9:43), and Caths argue (Mt. 1:25) that "until" need not mean a terminus is inferred.

And here this story cannot be analogous to purgatory, since that is for forgiven souls who have some expiation to make for venial sins, but in Matthew 5:22-26, rather than a mere venial sin, the description here is of a "mortal sin." And neither was this man forgiven, but was damned, and given the vast amount he had to pay, i think "Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing" (Matthew 5:26) is saying he never will come out,
Mt 12:32 (sin is forgiven in this age or the next)

That is simple, except Rome rejects the 1,000 year reign of Christ in which there will be sin and forgiveness of sins, as Ezekiel shows in his many chapters which defy then as being mere allegory.
1 John 5:16-17 (degrees of sin distinguished)

Which refers to apostasy, and there are degrees of sin, and of accountability and guilt, thus degrees of punishment, (Matthew 11:20-24) but which description are only about Hell, not some interim place.

Mark 9:49 (all will be salted by fire)

Which is simply another example of the egregious extrapolation you must resort to in order attempt to postulate some sort of support for what you can only wish Scripture manifestly taught, but which it does not!
Here the only postmortem reality that is seen in the context is that of Hell: "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:48) and otherwise it speaks of salt (Mark 9:49,50; cf. Lev. 2:13; Eze 43:24) which represent holiness, which works for peace, and one either has it or they are good for nothing, (Mt. 5:13) and and there is nothing that infers purgatory in order to get it or more of it, though this would be one of many places we could expect to see it if it were true.

Purgatory and 1Co. 3:

This cannot refer to Purgatory due to the facts that,

1. The judgment event of 1Co. 3 is the judgment seat of Christ, with its giving of rewards and loss thereof, which does not occur until the Lords return and the believers resurrection. (1Cor. 3:8ff; 4:5; 2Tim. 4:1,8; Rev.11:18; Mt. 25:31-46; 1Pt. 1:7; 5:4) versus purgatory, which (typically prolonged) suffering commences at death in order to enable souls to enter Heaven.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; (2 Timothy 4:1)

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)
The judgment of 1 Cor. 3:15 will reveal what manner of workmanship they were building church with, for “Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire,” and while saving faith is one that characteristically walks in the obedience of faith, (Heb. 5:9) believers may suffer loss of rewards due to their manner of workmanship.

The fire burns up the fake stones, which like the tares of Mt. 13:40 at the end, are represented here as wood, hay or stubble, while the precious stones with fire-tried faith (1Pt. 1:7) endure, and gain rewards for the instruments of their faithfulness. Thus Paul says to the Thessalonians, "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? " (1 Thess. 2:19; cf. Rv. 3:11) And to the Corinthians, “we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 2Cor. 1:14) And to the Philippians, that being “my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” (Phil. 4:1)

2. Wherever NT Scripture manifestly deals with the next life location for believers, it is to be with the Lord . (Phil 1:23; 2Cor. 5:8 [“we”]; Heb, 12:22,23; 1Cor. 15:51ff'; 1Thess. 4:17)
Not only did the penitent criminal go to "paradise" at death (Lk. 23:43; cf. 2Cor. 12:4; Rv. 2:7) as did Stephen, (Acts 7:59) but so would Paul and co. be with the Lord once absent from the body (Phil. 1:23,24) - even though Paul told the Philippians that was he not “already perfect.” (Phil. 3:12). Likewise he stated to the Corinthians, "We [plural] are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:8) and so would every believer if the Lord returned in their lifetime: “to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1Thess. 4:17; 1Cor. 15:51ff - even though many believers were in need of greater holiness. (2Cor. 7:1)
Paul confessed he was not already practically perfect, (Phil. 3:12) but he earnestly desired to become as much in this life (to "know him, and the power of his resurrection, being made conformable unto his death" - Philippians 3:10) as he would via the resurrection, yet he knew that if he died before that then he would be with the Lord.

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight). We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6-8)

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: (Philippians 1:21-23)

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (Philippians 3:14-15)

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (Philippians 3:17)

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)

3. And as expressed in that verse and others, the resurrection is the only transformative event the believer manifestly looks forward to after this life (Rm. 8:23; 2Co. 5:1-4; Phil 3:20,21; 1Jn. 3:2) — not purgatory, which suffering commences at death in order to enable souls to enter Heaven.

4. Furthermore, Scripture only reveals growth in grace and overcoming as being realized in this world, with its temptations and trials, (1 Peter 1:6-7; 1Jn.2:14; 5:4,5; Rv. 2.7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21) where alternatives to submitting to God can be made (suffering itself does not make one mature) and thus it was here that the Lord Himself was made “perfect,” (Heb. 2:10) as in being “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15)

Thus what Scripture teaches is that it is on earth that testing and overcoming takes place, and that the elect go to be with the Lord upon death, or at His return, whichever comes first, and then they are judged as to the manner of works, reflecting their faith, and rewarded or suffer loss of rewards.

While perfection of character in this life. Mt 5:48 is invoked in support of this perfection being needed to be with God (which in context refers to treating your enemy benevolently), yet this does not teach that the achievement of absolute moral perfection in this life is a perquisite for salvation, which idea requires redefining salvation as to mean progressing to a state of being just enough by moral perfection to be with the Lord, and that being absent from the body means present in purgatory, not with the Lord, contrary to what is expressly stated. And which is akin to placing one under the Law, (Gal. 3:10) versus justification by imputed righteousness (justifying the unGodly by faith: Rm. 4:5) appropriated by a faith, but a faith which effects holiness.

For while salvific faith is one which characteristically effects the “obedience of faith” toward its Object (which faith in any moral authority will do), and which is an overcoming kind of faith, (Rv. 2,3), and grows towards the maturity which is called perfection, (Col. 1:28; 4:12; Ja. 1:4; 3:2; 1Jn. 4:17) and which faith has “great recompense of reward,” (Heb. 10:35), yet Scripture states that believers (being of true faith) are presently saved (Titus 3:5), and positionally perfect (Heb. 10:14) and seated in Heaven. (Eph. 2:6) And thus Christ can dwell with them now - "Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27) - and as shown, they can and will go to be with the Lord at death, or at the Lord's return.

Finally, this RC interpretation of 1Co. 3 is not one which is even officially taught by Rome as requiring assent, and is contradicted by the notes in the official RC Bible which notes  state,

The text of ⇒ 1 Cor 3:15 has sometimes been used to support the notion of purgatory, though it does not envisage this. -$4AC  ^

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