Purgatory versus the Bible

The Bible does not teach the Catholic doctrine that if you die in God's friendship that you may need purification in purgatory before you get into Heaven.  The purification is from venial sin and also any punishment for sin that you failed to do penance for.

The doctrine of Purgatory is at variance with the Bible. It is an invention of the Roman Catholic Church which borrowed it from paganism.

It appears that the only praying for the dead that the early Church did was so that Jesus would come soon and raise them up (page 4, Purgatory, Rev W E Kenny BD). Augustine said no more about Purgatory than that some in his day believed in it and that he would not argue against it for it might be true (De citivitate Dei, lib. XXI. C. 25). This tells us that Purgatory was not in Christian tradition when all it could get was a maybe. Augustine would have thought that if it did exist it was not something that was meant to be revealed or declared revealed by God and yet the Church declared it revealed by God in the second millenium.

Pope St Gregory the Great liked the idea of Purgatory and gave it his sanction in his The Dialogues about 590 AD. Gregory based his faith in Purgatory on stories about visions of the dead. He was the first to teach it. Catholics deny this saying that if he had just plucked this new doctrine out of nowhere there would have been schisms and brutal protests but there were not so it was believed by the Church all the time anyway. But there were several bizarre doctrines in the Church that were tolerated. In those days, Christians fought over serious disagreements on the divinity of Christ and the Trinity. Purgatory never became a dogma that had to be believed until 1438, the year of the Council of Florence. It and the doctrine of the need to make atonement for the dead were made infallible dogma at Florence and later Trent.

The Gospel of John says that he who believes in the Son will be saved and he who does not will be condemned. If belief in the Son means to boldly take the Son and adhere to him as

Biblical Christianity says, it follows that Purgatory is asking us to keep away from him and so brings us under the condemnation.

The thief must have had a lot of atoning to do and yet Jesus told him he would be in Paradise that very day (Luke 23:43). Some Catholics say that Purgatory is an instant nuclear blast of pain so it could be over in seconds or a few hours but is as bad as a lifetime of pain. That gets around this verse and the others which say it is better to be dead to be with God. Or does it? It implies that the suffering is not for purification but for retribution only. The nuclear blast idea is bringing in a new miracle to get around this verse. If you start doing that you will never interpret anything properly. For example, if the Bible said that the earth was the only planet you would end up saying that when the author wrote that it was true and the Lord made more planets since. You will end up gullible.

The Church says that those who have died in the Lord could be resting because they are out of Purgatory (Revelation 14:13). But this is not a straightforward interpretation.   

Paul was clear that us sinful people with faulty bodies would rise up into the air to meet the returning Jesus and be turned into holy beings with eternal life and glorified saved bodies and hearts.  He stressed it would happen in an instant.  Obviously if Jesus can change us so easily he is to blame for what Hitler did for why didn't he change him?  It implies that sin is some kind of legal fiction not a real malice if it can be dealt with like a deep quick clean.

Paul said in Philippians 1:23 that it would be better for him to die and leave this world to be with Christ. Catholics say that this would only be true if you died getting a plenary indulgence for if you had to go to Purgatory you would have been better off not dying at all for it is awful. There is no trace of indulgences in the New Testament and modern Catholics admit that they were created by the Church centuries after the New Testament was created and are disciplinary things that follow from the vicarious merit and Purgatory doctrines. Paul then did not believe in Purgatory for he expected leaving this world to bring him home to Jesus. He kept denigrating himself for his sins and called himself the worst sinner so he did not think that there was a Purgatory but he was too good to go to it. He would not boast for he forbade boasting, all the time.

Philippians 1:21 says that the death of a saint is gain. The Catholic Church says Purgatory is gain when it ensures that you will never be damned forever. This is mistaken because suffering on earth is better than suffering in Purgatory for it is milder. Also suffering on earth is meritorious and suffering in Purgatory is not. It is because there is no merit there that the souls have to suffer there to the end if nobody makes sacrifices for them. And the verse definitely has the idea of escaping suffering on earth by going to Heaven in mind. That is real gain. It makes no sense for Paul to want us to be free from suffering on earth if worse could face us after death. A bit later we read that to die is good for it will mean being with Christ which implies in its simplest sense that the dead who are saved go to Christ and not to Purgatory which is only a stop on the way to Christ. In this context, verse 21 does succeed in refuting Purgatory. Paul’s stress on humility means he wouldn’t have dared assume he would go straight to Heaven and none of the canonised saints did that for they believed their tiny sins were extremely bad and abhorrent.

God hates the holy souls if they have no venial sin and are only in Purgatory to pay back the debt of temporal punishment. There is something terribly amiss in a system that says you can get rid of venial sins quicker than all the punishment due to them. Logic says the sin should be the slowest to be cancelled for it is worse. Sin attacks a good God while punishment is your come-uppance. The souls would repent upon arrival for to stay in sin is a sin and there is no sin in Purgatory except what is lying on the soul from earth-life. If somebody forgives you for breaking their precious vase and still asks you to pay then the paying is temporal punishment. But the person needs the payment and God who is all-powerful does not. He does not ask for it to discipline us for the need for discipline does not require unnecessary demands. God does not forgive at all. He just lessens the punishment – he partially rewards or condones the crime which is evil. God hates the souls in Purgatory and they are not purified when they are becoming closer to such a hateful being. This aspect of Purgatory also exposes the malevolence of the doctrine.

The doctrine of temporal punishment gives no backing for Purgatory for temporal punishment is impossible to really believe. Even if it were not nonsense Jesus could atone for any that remains to be paid at death.

When a person is in Purgatory God is saying, “Keep away from me for you are impure and I am perfect.” In that case, the notion of God indwelling and having a relationship with venial sinners on earth and the holy souls in Purgatory is lies. If God is able to mystically unite with a venial sinner then he can let that person into Heaven sins and all for the only difference is that in Heaven you know that God exists and you sense him with your sight and other senses but you don’t experience him like that on earth. But the most important thing, having God in your heart is common to both.  The interior union or fellowship is the essential thing. It makes no sense to say that God unites with you intimately and then that you can’t see him in Heaven for seeing him is less important. So, the Purgatory doctrine is really insulting God and is denying that he dwells inside you. The Bible says that if God is not inside you in the sense of having a right relationship with you then you are not saved (Romans 8:9). Catholics are enemies of Jesus Christ and not real Christians.

The Roman Church claims that if you go to Purgatory, you are still in the Church. The Church says that the one true Church is made up of the people who are in Heaven. the members of the Catholic Church on earth and those who are in Purgatory. It calls this doctrine the communion of saints. What if there is no Purgatory? Rome reasons that there is probably more Catholics in Purgatory than there is on earth. So a branch of the Church that is more important in numbers and holiness than the Church on earth doesn't exist. The Church then cannot be the true Church. It is like claiming to be a member of the largest Church in the universe when the other members are supposed to be on non-existent planets. There is no Church at all never mind a true one! A Church that has non-existent members is not the true Church and cannot be guaranteed to teach without error.

Rome calls itself Catholic in view of being allegedly open to all nations and all people and being spread out over earth and in Purgatory and Heaven. If there is no purgatory then how could the Church be Catholic when there is no Purgatory for it to be in? The Catholicity of the Church depends on the existence of Purgatory. It is a grave sin then for a believer who knows this to support or affiliate with the Catholic Church.

The Bible teaches that salvation has been earned for us in full by Jesus and that all we have to do is believe and accept what Jesus did for us. This is salvation by faith alone. Tradition in the Clementine literature complains about Simon Magus teaching this doctrine. Simon Magus is a nickname the literature gave St Paul and has Simon and Peter contending in Rome without mentioning Paul indicating that Simon was what they were calling Paul. They couldn't name Paul for the bigger Church regarded him as a true apostle despite warping some of his teachings. Purgatory contradicts the idea that good works and holiness contribute nothing to your salvation.

Paul in Ephesians 2:8,9 says that we are saved by grace through faith and not of ourselves or our works. It says works not earnings. It would say earnings if it just tried to correct the notion that you can earn salvation. It is uttered to people who were saved some time before so the author is telling them that they are still justified by faith without good works. He is not saying you are saved by faith and repentance at the start and then after this gift and fresh start you have to work for your salvation. This seems to attack Purgatory. But even those who believe in salvation by faith alone still think that the purpose of earth-life is to improve the Christian and purge them from their sinful faults. So Ephesians does eliminate the idea of a Purgatory in which you earn your salvation or work for it. It eliminates the idea of a Purgatory where you have to make up for venial sin and atone for it. But it does not eliminate the idea of a Purgatory that is for making the saved behave better. It certainly eliminates the Catholic doctrine that you go to Purgatory to make up for sin.

Catholics ask that when there is a Purgatory for Christians on earth then why can't there be one after our time in this world? But this Purgatory would have to be for discipline not punishment while the Catholic purgatory is more about punishment than discipline. For example, the Church gives indulgences. Just kissing a relic can result in the whole punishment being cancelled by an indulgence and nobody thinks doing that counts as discipline and self-mastery. The indulgences do not discipline the sinner. Far from it. They remove, or at least reduce the amount of, the punishment you are due from God. So indulgences contradict the view that Purgatory is merely for discipline for they dispense you from the need to discipline yourself.

The Bible teaching of salvation by faith only infers that there can be no such place as a Purgatory that is for atoning sin.

Purgatory is based on the immoral idea that Jesus made enough atonement for all people but still expects people to atone for their own sins to a certain extent. That is ludicrous and unjust. Yet it is imagined to be supported in Colossians (1:24) where we are told that Paul tries to suffer for what is lacking in the sufferings of Jesus for the Church. But the line before and after speak of Paul being a minister so what he means is that Jesus did not preach the gospel in his suffering so somebody else has to suffer to do that.

Only false doctrine can be built on a foundation of error.


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