Skip to comments.A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 12: Purgatory
Posted on 07/27/2007 3:53:18 PM PDT by NYer
“Have you had a grandfather, grandmother, mother, father die?”
One of the reasons that I have always been interested in the concept of purgatory is that an interesting thing happened to my mother after my grandfather died. (Now, the only thing I am about to tell you and everyone reading is that this is what she told me. I am not saying that I believe one way or the other on this...because I am undecided on what to make of this.)
Anyway, my grandfather (her father, whom we both loved greatly and who was the greatest influence on my life) died when I was a senior in high school. The entire family (and especially us) were badly shaken by the fall. I mean, my mother adored and loved her father almost to a fault.
Anyway (and I learned this a couple of months into this), she told me that she had been having dreams since his death. He was suffering greatly he said and begged her to get him out of “this place.” She had these dreams regularly (as I recall it had been at least once a week and I think it was multiple times). I think that she told me because she could no longer bear “the burden” of having to live with such a thing alone.
Needless to say, this was deeply disturbing to me, but I tried to forget it. I did, however, pray on his behalf. He was a very good man to us and I couldn’t stand the thought of him suffering because my initial view was that she was dreaming that he was in hell. I, of course, tried to talk myself out of thinking such a horrendous thing. Anyway, I prayed for him (I don’t recall how many times) even if I believed that it was of no use...I still prayed.
Some time later....within 3 months I guess, I asked her again about the dreams. She told me that she had not had a dream in a couple of weeks (not sure on the timing) or so. She said that she dreamed that he said, (paraphrasing) “I’ve made it to heaven [and don’t worry about me]” or something of that nature.
My mind immediately snapped to the idea of Purgatory.
So, while I don’t always trust dreams and visions as the truth, I have always had an open mind about this issue. Further, if the Apocrypha is canonical, there may actually be scriptural basis.
I would say, however, that he was a very good man (religious , but not overtly so) and extremely ethical so far as I knew. If the dreams were true, he spent 3-6 months in Purgatory. (I’m not saying the dreams were true and I will refuse to issue an opinion on such matters because of my ignorance. I am saying that I simply do not know.)
Thank you all for the wonderful discussion. It appears that many Roman Catholic beliefs (those that are distinct from Protestants, at least) hang on the validity of the Apocrypha. I intend to further study the validity of it further but, I must admit, I don’t think that I can definatively one way or the other. The very fact that the Apocrypha was rejected by the very same leaders who rejected the entire New Testament is food for thought if that is true, however. Still, I consider both Catholics and Protestants my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Peace be with you all.
Thank you for sharing your story and your mom’s story with us.
I’m going to let everyone judge for themselves, but I think that you know where my judgment already lies. You might enjoy one of the books by the author I posted about.
“Strong allusions to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the OLD TESTAMENT”
Luther was quite devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Also, there is a strong Calvinist/Puritan element in modern Protestantism which seeks to present a purified “stripped down” Christianity.
Where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise.
You either believe on Christ and become "born again" spiritually or you don't.
That's a direct contradiction to (2 Machabees 12:39-46) There's no inbetween
this state of being. Christ is the only one who could have been crucified to rid the
sins of the world, it would make absolutely no sense for people to hang out in
"Purgetory" waiting for further judgement or be prayed upon to rid their sins,
and there is no scriptural basis for it. The reason the early church rejected the
Apocrypha is because it was in direct contradiction to Christ's teachings.
You can't be seperated from God and then go and be temporarily punished
and become "born again" after that.
When it comes to spiritual matters, I'd rather follow the ignorance of the apostle Paul than the wisdom of the poet Gray. Or for that matter a church who has, over the years demonstrated an ability to extract a ton of doctrine from an ounce of ore.
Here is the entire quote:
"Of course I pray for the dead. The action is so spontaneous, so all but inevitable, that only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter me. And I hardly know how the rest of my prayers would survive if those for the dead were forbidden. At our age, the majority of those we love best are dead. What sort of intercourse with God could I have if what I love best were unmentionable to him?- C.S. Lewis, Letters To Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, Ch. 20, pp. 108-109
I believe in Purgatory.
Mind you, the Reformers had good reasons for throwing doubt on the 'Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory' as that Romish doctrine had then become.....
The right view returns magnificently in Newman's DREAM. There, if I remember it rightly, the saved soul, at the very foot of the throne, begs to be taken away and cleansed. It cannot bear for a moment longer 'With its darkness to affront that light'. Religion has claimed Purgatory.
Our souls demand Purgatory, don't they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, 'It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy'? Should we not reply, 'With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I'd rather be cleaned first.' 'It may hurt, you know' - 'Even so, sir.'
I assume that the process of purification will normally involve suffering. Partly from tradition; partly because most real good that has been done me in this life has involved it. But I don't think the suffering is the purpose of the purgation. I can well believe that people neither much worse nor much better than I will suffer less than I or more. . . . The treatment given will be the one required, whether it hurts little or much.
My favourite image on this matter comes from the dentist's chair. I hope that when the tooth of life is drawn and I am 'coming round',' a voice will say, 'Rinse your mouth out with this.' This will be Purgatory. The rinsing may take longer than I can now imagine. The taste of this may be more fiery and astringent than my present sensibility could endure. But . . . it will [not] be disgusting and unhallowed."
Early on, Luther was in close contact with a Jewish fellow & it probably influenced his view about the Old Testament. I believe the Apocrypha was written during the height of the power of the scribes. The Catholic Church calls them Deuterocanical, which means second canon. Whether or not they were important to be included in the canon wasn't as clear cut as the books included in the first canon.
Don't take anyone's word for it. Read them for yourself. If you think they add anything, give you greater understanding about your salvation or your Christian life, let me know.
Must be something like taking a shower. The dirt comes off you & goes down the drain. While it's washed away, it doesn't cease to exist.
I don't believe we have to go reclaim all of our dirt, cuz that would be like God holding our trespasses against us...
No, not when a man of his learning and devotion is so obviously off the mark. Now I like C.S. Lewis. I have learned much from him over the years. The Chronicles of Narnia (The Magicians Nephew is best read as book six and not book one), the Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, Till We have Faces, and others have been challenging and instructive, but I dont have to agree with him particularly when his belief in purgatory is based primarily on opinion, it would seem, since he cites a poet for support rather than scripture.
Take this, for instance, from your quote:
There, if I remember it rightly, the saved soul, at the very foot of the throne, begs to be taken away and cleansed. It cannot bear for a moment longer 'With its darkness to affront that light'.
The main problem is this:
the saved soul begs to be cleansed
The apostle John wrote in 1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
A saved soul is cleansed
He took on our unrighteousness so that we could take on His righteousness. That is the only way we can be acceptable to a holy God. When we stand at the throne, we will be clothed in His righteous garments and not our own filthy rags. To grovel at the thrown begging for more cleansing is telling the Father that the blood of His Son just wasn't quite good enough.
As I said, I would hesitate to simply dismiss someone that we all know to be a serious scholar, a man learned in Scripture, and a devout Christian, just because his personal interpretation disagrees with yours. Is everything he brings to the table worth nothing?
“Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.”
“prison” = purgatory
“thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” = purgation of debt (sin)
According to our Lord and scripture Hell exists:
“5:29. And if thy right eye scandalize thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is expedient for thee that one of thy members should perish, rather than thy whole body be cast into hell.
5:22. But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
This explanation is incomplete. The definition of “apocrypha” depends on who is doing the defining. For Catholics, “apocrypha” would consist of those books not found in the 73-book Bible. The seven Deuterocanonical books are NOT apocryphal to Catholics. For many Protestants, however, their “apocrypha” consist of any books not found in their 66-book Bible, including the Deuterocanonicals.
So, for Catholics, apocryphal works are such things as the Gospel of James, the Gospel of Thomas, etc. For Protestants, their apocrypha would include those things and also (for many Protstants, anyway) the deuteros.
Hope this helps
Did I say that? I believe I said I had learned much from Lewis over the years. What I am dismissing is not Lewis but his belief in purgatory based on the scriptures I cited. He apparently believed in it because it seemed reasonable and to support that belief, he references a poem. That may be the perfect scholarly thing to do, but it's not theologically sound. Because of that unsoundness, I'm not going to give him a pass just because he's very scholarly and very devout.
As far as J.H. Newman is concerned, I haven't heard much of him. An Anglican minister with a Calvinist persuasion sounds like rather an odd duck. His Calvinism is perhaps more of a 'lean' than a 'persuasion' otherwise, he wouldn't have slidden off into catholicism.
Many of the replies to this thread would indicate that it might be time to start caucusing these catechism excerpts. Matthew 7:6 and all that. It is not right to subject holy things and God’s providential plan for mankind to unnecessary attack. None of the topics treats to non-Catholic denominations, so the series is perfect for a caucus designation. I hope you consider it.
Ok, I'm really confuse now. There is only 66 books in the bible?
The Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, JHCN. (February 21, 1801 August 11, 1890.
Just about every university at one time had a “Newman Center” for its Catholic students. Many have one today and it’s the connection between what is Godly on campus and what is secular.
These are the terms you've used (accurately) to describe these men and give them creditability, but that doesn't mean their opinions are to be accepted without challenge.
Kingsley, though a gifted man 'was sympathetic to the idea of evolution, and was one of the first to praise Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species...(and) stated that he(Kingsley) had 'long since, from watching the crossing of domesticated animals and plants, learnt to disbelieve the dogma of the permanence of species' so on that ground alone I'd be suspicious of any of his theological musings.
If Kingsley's attack on Newman was more personal than theological, he should have been blasted out of the water. Newman's personal honesty, I think, is demonstrated by his eventual move to the Catholic church rather than remaining a 'Calvinist Anglican'.
Whatever descriptives that can be attached to these men or any of us, whether scholar, devout Christian, Cardinal, or Pope, if our beliefs do not square with the scriptures then we are just simply wrong no matter how 'reasonable' or comforting those beliefs may be.
Just about every university at one time had a Newman Center for its Catholic students. Many have one today and its the connection between what is Godly on campus and what is secular.
Good, may there be more of them.
Occasionally, I will worship with some friends who are Native Americans. Their worship traditions are a good bit different from my European ancestors but they are nonetheless deep from within their hearts. They're love for the Lord is obvious.
I have had the opportunity to worship with friends from many other traditions as well ranging from Orthodox and Catholic to Pentecost[I do draw the line if rattlesnakes are involved :-) ]What I have learned from all this is that whatever we are in the flesh, we are one in the spirit. We all are of two bloods. By birth, we share the blood of Adam with the sin and all the physical failings that go with it. And we also share, through the unfathomable mercy of God, the shed blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from all of our unrighteousness.
The Catholic Bible has seven more books than the Protestant versions. In addition to the 66 books in, for example, the King James Bible, Catholics also consider 1 and 2 Maccabees, Tobit, Wisdom, Baruch, Judith and Ecclesiasticus (a.k.a. Sirach) as Scripture. From our way of looking at things, these are not “extra” books, rather, the 16th Century Protestants removed these 7 books from their rightful place in the canon of Scripture.
The 7-book discrepancy remains to this day.
I was in a church where there was no final authority (ECUSA) and of course it has simply degenerated into pitiful warring factions, most of which have forgotten Scripture and Tradition entirely.
A very fine Catholic priest, a true gentleman, threw us a lifeline into that wreckage.
Well, this is the first I've ever heard of this. I guess I've been going under the false assumption the council at nicean affirmed what the early church recognized as the 66 book canon. Although, I will say Catholics do introduce extrabiblical doctrine that does not exist as part of scripture. ie: Purgatory...there is no way you can justify being "Born Again" and praying for the dead's salvation. This is a direct contradiction, unless Catholics believe you can become "unborn again"?
A truly Christian thing for him to do. I'm certainly glad you've gotten back on some solid ground. It's never pleasant to have one's church hijacked by those who think "thus sayeth the Lord" is a little too narrow minded for today's sophisticated society.
But what about “backsliding” and “stumbling”? You’re not “unborn”, but you do run the risk of rejecting the grace given at baptism . . . .
I guess it's been inevitable since Bishop Spong was NOT tried for heresy back in the 60s. The radicals in ECUSA just kept pushing the envelope and pushing the envelope . . . .
'S why H.H. Benedict XVI is a breath of fresh air to me. He is not ashamed of Christ or the Gospel.
What? Everybody backslides and stumbles, that exactly why Christ's death was the santifiying act for all of us to satisfy God's decree. Look, it is more simple than you or I could probably imagine, but if you are born again spiritually then you are an inherited child of God and NO ONE CAN SNATCH YOU OUT OF HIS HAND, period. End of story. You are eternally saved.
Those who think you can lose you're salvation always use this irrational logic about continued sin, and I believe these same do not understand grace properly. Those who think you can lose salvation completely disregard Christ's message about building up good things for heaven. If you're going to be irresponsible or take advantage of your salvation, then you probably will here about from DAD in heaven! The good thing is he will always be your DAD, no matter what trouble you try to get in too and you will forever have a home waiting for you.
The question Christians who wilfully sin need to ask themselves is, not how am I going to live away from God in my sin, but rather how am I going to live WITH him in my sin, because he isn't leaving, and you aren't getting away...