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Catholic Biblical Apologetics: Eschatology: The Last Things: Purgatory/Limbo ^ | 1985-1991 | Dr. Robert Schihl and Paul Flanagan

Posted on 05/21/2010 8:36:51 PM PDT by Salvation

Catholic Biblical Apologetics

Apologetics without apology!

What does the Roman Catholic Church teach about ...? ... and why?

This website surveys the origin and development of Roman Catholic Christianity from the period of the apostolic church, through the post-apostolic church and into the conciliar movement. Principal attention is paid to the biblical basis of both doctrine and dogma as well as the role of paradosis (i.e. handing on the truth) in the history of the Church. Particular attention is also paid to the hierarchical founding and succession of leadership throughout the centuries.

This is a set of lecture notes used since 1985 to teach the basis for key doctrines and dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. The objectives of the course were, and are:

The course grew out of the need for the authors to continually answer questions about their faith tradition and their work. (Both authors are active members of Catholic parish communities in the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Robert Schihl was a Professor and Associate Dean of the School of Communication and the Arts at Regent University. Paul Flanagan is a consultant specializing in preparing people for technology based changes.) At the time these notes were first prepared, the authors were spending time in their faith community answering questions about their Protestant Evangelical workplaces (Mr. Flanagan was then a senior executive at the Christian Broadcasting Network), and time in their workplaces answering similar questions about their Roman Catholic faith community. These notes are the result of more than a decade of facilitating dialogue among those who wish to learn more about what the Roman Catholic Church teaches and why.

Purgatory and Limbo

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: apologetics; catholic; catholiclist; purgatory
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To: Salvation
Good works — choosing life

I know I said that I wouldn't "gum up" your thread, but this quote confused me. Are you saying that "choosing life" is the same as believing in Jesus and that this choice is a "good work"?

If so, that contradicts this scripture verse:

Eph 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Exercising your faith by believing in Jesus is not a "work". "Work" is a physical undertaking, like eating, drinking, lifting, etc..

Besides, scripture also tells us that our righteousness or everything we do to be righteous (which includes "good works") is as filthy rags.

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

21 posted on 05/21/2010 11:18:22 PM PDT by ScubieNuc
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To: doc1019

The most convincing Sriptural passage I know of is 1Cor 3. I think it is v. 11 through 15 (but I am on my mobile so don’t have ready access to a Bible), where St.Paul talks about passing through a purifying fire which will burn away all the corruptible works of the Christian.He will be saved, but only as through fire.

22 posted on 05/22/2010 6:01:57 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: doc1019

You wrote:

“Just trying to understand ... if there is a purgatory, wouldn’t this negate the need for a savior (Jesus)?”

Nope. Only the saved go to Purgatory. Purgatory is NOT a second chance after death. It’s just a state of being where our attachment to sin is cleaned out of us by the purging fire of God’s love through the means of Christ’s hard won grace.

23 posted on 05/22/2010 6:54:11 AM PDT by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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To: doc1019

You wrote:

“Just trying to understand ... if there is a purgatory, wouldn’t this negate the need for a savior (Jesus)?”

Protestants often struggle to understand Purgatory because they have been taught to not believe in it. Hear me out for just a second:

What most Protestants are taught is this:

Jesus died for us.

When you come to Christ and have saving faith in Him you are instantly saved and cleansed of sin or your sins are at least covered over.

You have been given then salvation and you can not (some say you can) lose it.

Since you are already cleansed of sin or at least your sins are covered over no further cleansing is necessary - especially in Purgatory.

Catholics look at it this way: Only God can cleanse us of our sins - and He really cleanses us. He doesn’t just cover them over. In other words, we believe Christ works more powerfully in our lives than many Protestants do for their lives where they believe Jesus merely covers over sins. Since Heaven is perfection where we see the very face of God, we must be completely cleansed of sin and attachment to sin to enter it. Some of us die repentant and loyal but with an attachment to some sins. We need cleansing even at the point of death. Rather than condemn us to hell for that imperfection, God uses His grace to cleanse us so that we can enter into His joy in Heaven.

Purgatory works only because of Christ and His grace.

24 posted on 05/22/2010 7:08:30 AM PDT by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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To: boatbums

Its basically The Trip to Heaven. Anyone who goes to purgatory goes to Heaven. It’s the intermediate state. Maybe this will help:————
Elaboration Upon One Biblical Argument for Purgatory (Matthew 5:25-26)

In my first book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, I cited Matthew 5:25-26 and then St. Francis de Sales’ excellent commentary on it, in my chapter on purgatory. Here is that portion (pp. 129-130 of the current Sophia Institute Press edition, but the footnote numbers are different):

Matthew 5:25-26 [RSV] 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; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.

(see also Luke 12:58-59)
St. Francis de Sales:
Origen, St. Cyprian, St. Hilary, St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine say that the way which is meant in the whilst thou art in the way [while you are going with him to court] is no other than the passage of the present life: the adversary [accuser] will be our own conscience, . . . as St. Ambrose expounds, and Bede, St. Augustine, St. Gregory [the Great], and St. Bernard. Lastly, the judge is without doubt Our Lord . . . The prison, again, is . . . the place of punishment in the other world, in which, as in a large jail, there are many buildings; one for those who are damned, which is as it were for criminals, the other for those in Purgatory, which is as it were for debt. The farthing, [penny] . . . are little sins and infirmities, as the farthing is the smallest money one can owe.

Now let us consider a little where this repayment . . . is to be made. And we find from most ancient Fathers that it is in Purgatory: Tertullian,11 Cyprian,12 Origen,13 . . . St. Ambrose,14 St. Jerome15 . . . Who sees not that in St. Luke the comparison is drawn, not from a murderer or some criminal, who can have no hope of escape, but from a debtor who is thrown into prison till payment, and when this is made is at once let out? This then is the meaning of Our Lord, that whilst we are in this world we should try by penitence and its fruits to pay, according to the
power which we have by the blood of the Redeemer, the penalty to which our sins have subjected us; since if we wait till death we shall not have such good terms in Purgatory, when we shall be treated with severity of justice.16

11 The Soul, 100,10.
12 Epistle 4,2.
13 Homily 35 on Luke 12.
14 Commentary on Luke 12.
15 Commentary on Matthew 5.
16 St. Francis de Sales, CON [The Catholic Controversy], 372-373.

Recently, a Lutheran pastor wrote to me. He had read material from two of my books on purgatory (and is increasingly convinced of the truthfulness of it), and was asking about this passage in particular. He asked me:

If we could nail down what the full range of experience was concerning debtor’s prison in Jesus’ day then perhaps I would find the clincher here. What I’m seeing from writings on other periods of history though is that there was little if any expectation of persons gaining freedom from debtor’s prison. Couple that with Jesus’ words in these passages which sounds like a warning to avoid debtor’s prison (because by implication it doesn’t sound like a comforting place given Jesus’ comments) I’m not sure that one can put a positive spin on “ will not get out until you (the sinner) have paid the last penny.”

Here was my reply, in full:

My responses for now (without a great deal of additional study) would be the following:

1) First of all, there is an assumption by Jesus that it is possible to get out of this place: “you will never get out till . . . “ This motif of being able to get out of debtor’s prison is repeated by our Lord Jesus in Matt 18:30: “. . . put him in prison till he should pay the debt” (repeated in 18:34). This could not be said about hell at all, because no one can get out of hell. We wouldn’t say of, e.g., a corpse in a casket: “he will never get out of there till . . . “ To say such a thing presupposes the possibility of leaving the place. If one can’t leave, it wouldn’t be described in such a fashion. Therefore, if we apply the passage to the afterlife at all, it must refer to purgatory and not hell.

2) Secondly, purgatory is not all that “comforting.” It is a place of punishment for temporal sins, and purging. We have hope, of course, because everyone there is saved and not damned, and it may be even more pleasant than this life, for all we know, but that doesn’t make it all that “comforting” in an immediate sense, because we know from this life that purging ourselves of sins and sinful tendencies is not an easy process. We have plenty of analogies for purging in our earthly existence. So I don’t see how this is a disproof at all. If one was trying to apply the passage to heaven, I could see that, but not if it is said to be a description of purgatory.

3) As for Jesus warning us to avoid this place (purgatory, as we believe), that makes perfect sense. No one has to go to purgatory, if they achieve sufficient sanctity by God’s grace in this life. It is a good thing to avoid purgatory if we can. That’s what Jesus is saying.

4) It can’t apply to hell, either, because the “debts” are metaphorical for remaining sins on our soul. We don’t get saved from hell by paying off our debts (in Catholic theology, by penance for temporal sins). We get out by means of the redeeming work of Jesus on the cross on our behalf. It is sheer mercy, not a mere debt-paying process (because none of us could ever pay off the debt in that case). This is good Catholic theology, too, I assure you. We don’t gain salvation by our good works. That is the heresy of Pelagianism.

Jesus often uses the metaphor of “debt” for sins and the necessity of forgiveness (e.g., Mt 6:12-15, 18:23-35, Lk 7:36-50, 11:4). Therefore, it makes much more sense (granting these theological premises) that the passage refers to purgatory, since the “debts” are sins that we are still being purged of. We’re not being punished eternally in this instance for the sins, but having them purged from us because we are already saved. That’s why Jesus says that we can get out of the place or state. Again, we don’t gain heaven and eternal life by paying off debts ourselves, because this would never be sufficient. But we can gain the entrance to heaven (having already been saved by the cross and God’s mercy and forgiveness and election) by purging our sins entirely in purgatory by this painful process.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [a Protestant work], in its article on “Debt, Debtor” (vol. II, 814-815) states:

Debt and debtor are used in a moral sense also as indicating the obligation of a righteous life which we owe to God. To fall short in righteous living is to become a debtor. For this reason we pray, ‘Forgive us our debts’ (Mt 6:12).

Now, again, in Catholic theology, this is sensibly spoken of penance and purgatory, not of hell or of salvation. The above description fits very nicely with the Catholic (and biblical) concept of purgatory. We “owe God a righteous life”; not in order to be saved (as both Protestants and Catholics agree that we can be saved while still possessing actual sinfulness and less than perfect sanctity), but in order to (already saved) enter heaven, where no sin is allowed (Rev 21:27; implied also by the tenor and content of Isaiah 6:1-8, where the prophet Isaiah comes in contact with God).

5) Jewish tradition held to the practice of forgiving debts every seven years (Deut 15:1 ff.; cf. Ex 23:10-11, Lev 25, Neh 10:31). This was not always heeded (Amos 2:6-8, 4:1), but nevertheless, it is an indication that the notion of a debtor’s prison was not always (or usually, it seems to me) a lifetime sentence. Otherwise, Jesus simply wouldn’t talk in this manner. We must assume that His thought here represents the common understanding of that time and culture. There was also the Jubilee Year, whereby all debts were forgiven every 50th year (Lev 25:9,13,28, Num 36:4). Even slaves (enslaved due to debt) were to be freed (Lev 25:10,39). Properties were also restored to their original owners (Lev 27:17-29, 48 ff., 27:19).

6) The fact that Israelites at various times became corrupt, or that the poor were excessively oppressed by the rich and powerful (condemnations throughout the prophets), or that the Jubilee Year was not always properly observed, does not eliminate the applicability of the metaphor. Every analogy to human existence will be flawed to some extent because of human sin, but that doesn’t wipe out the principle that our Lord was trying to put across by means of these metaphors. Men might oppress unduly (including debtor’s prisons) but we know that God is just, and He will let us out when we “pay” what we owe.

7) Tertullian wrote around 212 A.D., concerning this passage:

. . . it is most fitting that the soul, without waiting for the flesh, be punished for what it did without the partnership of the flesh . . . if we understand that prison of which the Gospel speaks to be Hades, and if we interpret the last farthing to be the light offense which is to be expiated
there before the resurrection, no one will doubt that the soul undergoes some punishments in Hades, without prejudice to the fullness of the resurrection, after which recompense will be made through the flesh also.

(The Soul, 58,1)

Hope that is helpful to you! I found it a very interesting study, myself. I love delving deeper into the Bible. It is always a great blessing and a further education.
May God abundantly bless the fruitfulness of your pastoral ministry, Dave
by Dave Armstrong

25 posted on 05/22/2010 8:40:20 AM PDT by johngrace
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To: boatbums

This might help-Here is another example. Paul is praying for a dead person. Why pray for the dead who go to Hell. He has to be praying for the souls in purgatory.——

Onesiphorus (2 Tim 1:16-18; 4:19): Explicit New Testament Example of the Apostle Paul Praying for the Dead (Explanations of Protestant Commentaries)

Philip Schaff (see #9)
2 Timothy 1:16-18 (RSV) May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiph’orus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains, [17] but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me — [18] may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day — and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

2 Timothy 4:19 Greet Prisca and Aq’uila, and the household of Onesiph’orus.

I have written about this issue in the past; notably in my book, The Catholic Verses, pp. 169-174, and in A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, pp. 141-143.

1) Alfred Plummer (1841-1926) (Anglican): The Expositor’s Bible (edited by W. Robertson Nicoll), The Pastoral Epistles, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1891, pp. 324-326:
Certainly the balance of probability is decidedly in favour of the view that Onesiphorus was already dead when St. Paul wrote these words. . . . he here speaks of “the house of Onesiphorus” in connexion with the present, and of Onesiphorus himself only in connexion with the past. . . . it is not easy to explain this reference in two places to the household of Onesiphorus, if he himself was still alive. In all the other cases the individual and not the household is mentioned. . . . There is also the character of the Apostle’s prayer. Why does he confine his desires respecting the requital of Onesiphorus’ kindness to the day of judgment? . . . This again is thoroughly intelligible, if Onesiphorus is already dead.

. . . there seems to be equal absence of serious reason for doubting that the words in question constitute a prayer. . . .

Having thus concluded that, according to the more probable and reasonable view, the passage before us contains a prayer offered up by the Apostle on behalf of one who is dead, we seem to have obtained his sanction, and therefore the sanction of Scripture, for using similar prayers ourselves. . . .

This passage may be quoted as reasonable evidence that the death of a person does not extinguish our right or our duty to pray for him: but it ought not be quoted as authority for such prayers on behalf of the dead as are very different in kind from the one of which we have an example here. Many other kinds of intercession for the dead may be reasonable and allowable; but this passage proves no more than that some kinds of intercession for the dead are allowable; viz., those in which we pray that God will have mercy at the day of judgment on those who have done good to us and others, during their life upon earth.
2) James Maurice Wilson (1836-1931) (Anglican): Truths New and Old, Westminster: Archibald Constable & Co., 1900, p. 141:
We have, therefore, the sanction of St. Paul for remembering inn our prayers, and interceding for, those who have now passed into the other world . . .
3) Sydney Charles Gayford (Anglican): The Future State, New York: Edwin S. Gorham, second edition, 1905, pp. 56-57:
. . . the most satisfactory explanation is that Onesiphorus was dead. . . .

And so we may hold with some confidence that we have in this passage the authority of an Apostle in praying for the welfare of the departed.
4) John Henry Bernard (1860-1927) (Anglican), The Pastoral Epistles, Cambridge University Press, 1899, p. 114:
On the whole then it seems probable that Onesiphorus was dead when St. Paul prayed on his behalf . . .
5) Donald Guthrie (1915-1992) (Anglican): The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, The Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2nd edition, 1990, p. 148:
Since it is assumed by many scholars that Onesiphorus was by now dead, the question has been raised whether this sanctions prayer for the dead. Roman catholic theologians claim that it does. Spicq, for instance, sees here an example of prayer for the dead unique in the New Testament. Some Protestants agree with this judgment and cite the Jewish precedent of 2 Macc 12:43-45 . . .
6) William Barclay (1907-1978) (Presbyterian / Church of Scotland), The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 3rd edition, 2003, p. 175:
. . . there are many who feel that the implication is that Onesiphorus is dead. It is for his family that Paul first prays. Now, if he was dead, this passage shows us Paul praying for the dead, for it shows him praying that Onesiphorus may find mercy on the last day.
7) J. N. D. Kelly (1909-1997) (Anglican): A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, London: A&C Black, 1963, p. 171:
On the assumption, which must be correct, that Onesiphorus was dead when the words were written, we have here an example, unique in the N.T., of Christian prayer for the departed. . . . the commendation of the dead man to the divine mercy. There is nothing surprising in Paul’s use of such a prayer, for intercession for the dead had been sanctioned in Pharisaic circles at any rate since the date of 2 Macc 12:43-45 (middle of first century B.C.?). Inscriptions in the Roman catacombs and elsewhere prove that the practice established itself among Christians from very early times.
8) John E. Sanders (evangelical / open theist): No Other Name, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1992, pp. 182-183:
Some scholars contend that 2 Timothy 1:16-18 contains a reference to praying for the dead; they contend that the person for whom Paul prays, Onesiphorus was dead.

Footnote 11: Among those commentators who understand Paul to be praying for the dead here are the following: W. Robertson Nicoll, The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Vol. 4 (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1951), p. 159; Henry Alford, The Greek Testament, Vol. 3 (Chicago: Moody Pres, 1958), p. 376 . . . J. E. Huther, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to Timothy and Titus (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1871), p. 263.
9) Philip Schaff (1819-1893) (Reformed Protestant), The International Illustrated Commentary on the New Testament, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1889, Vol. IV, The Catholic Epistles and Revelation, p. 587:
On the assumption already mentioned as probable, this would, of course, be a prayer for the dead. The reference ot the great day of judgment falls in with this hypothesis. . . . From the controversial point of view, this may appear to favour the doctrine and practice of the Church of Rome . . .
10) Charles John Ellicott (1816-1905) (Anglican): A New Testament Commentary for English Readers, London: Cassell & Co., Vol. III, 1884, p. 223:
There is but little doubt that when St. Paul wrote this Epistle Onesiphorus’ death must have recently taken place . . .

The Apostle can never repay now . . . the kindness his dead friend showed him in his hour of need; so he prays that the Judge of quick and dead may remember it in the awful day of judgment. . . .

This passage is famous from its being generally quoted among the very rare statements of the New Testament which seem to bear upon the question of the Romish doctrine of praying for the dead. . . . we here in common with Roman Catholic interpreters and the majority of the later expositors of the Reformed Church, assume that Onesiphorus was dead when St. Paul wrote to Timothy, and that the words used had reference to St. Paul’s dead friend . . .
by Dave Armstrong

26 posted on 05/22/2010 9:07:36 AM PDT by johngrace
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To: johngrace
Thank you for taking the time to respond so completely. I, however, remain unconvinced of this doctrine of "Purgatory" nor of even the need of an intermediate place for the redeemed by grace between this earthly life and our heavenly eternal home. This resistance, I hope you see, is not based upon a rejection of Catholic doctrine simply based on stubbornness, but a 40 year plus study of Scripture. This study included a degree from a Bible college, years in different ministries and continuing personal study.

My disagreement with this doctrine boils down simply to my understanding of the atonement, of grace, of the purpose of faith, the mercy of Almighty God and his promises from Scripture that repeatedly confirm our standing in Christ after our personal acceptance of him as savior. To me, to believe in any temporal place whereby a born-again believer in Jesus Christ must spend time to be cleansed from even minor sins - as if God really differentiates sin - is counter to the entire concept of the blood of Christ cleansing us from all sin. Either this scripture is wrong or it is truth. I don't see any wiggle room here. I think some of the early "Church Fathers" had too much time on their hands and delighted so much in their philosophical arguments with each other and the secular minds of the day that they missed the "simplicity that is in Christ".

27 posted on 05/22/2010 12:35:03 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to him.)
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To: boatbums

Coming from a your background I thInk that was one of the most honest evaluations I have ever read on this website. I believe you to be a fairly honest person.

28 posted on 05/22/2010 2:35:19 PM PDT by johngrace
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To: Salvation; boatbums
*Maccabees - which was not accepted Scripture ** Not in the Protestant Bible But in the Catholic Bible. Luther took it out for this very reason.

LOL Sal, Luther did not "remove it" the jews , that were the oracles of God for the OT NEVER had it in their canon as inspired ..the Catholic church ADDED it as it was the only book that spoke of prayers for the dead . Even St Jerome did not have it in the inspired part of the canon, he had in a separate reading section

God never gave the NT church permission to change or add to the scriptures He gave to the Jews.. it may make you feel good to blame everything on Luther.. but the Protestants have the same canon as the Jews..

Maccabees was not an official part of the RC canon til trent declared it so.. and that just might have something to do with Luther outing the abuse of indulgences

29 posted on 05/22/2010 3:43:24 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: vladimir998

Wow I like that!

30 posted on 05/22/2010 3:58:52 PM PDT by johngrace
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To: RnMomof7

Well you are right about St Jerome. But Trent council did not add anything but confirmed what was already there Note:

The “Apocrypha”: Why It’s Part of the Bible

(Bible verses: RSV)

The Old Testament in Catholic Bibles contains seven more books than are found in Protestant Bibles (46 and 39, respectively). Protestants call these seven books the Apocrypha and Catholics know them as the deuterocanonical books. These seven books are: Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (or, Sirach), and Baruch. Also, Catholic Bibles contain an additional six chapters (107 verses) in the book of Esther and another three in the book of Daniel (174 verses). These books and chapters were found in Bible manuscripts in Greek only, and were not part of the Hebrew Canon of the Old Testament, as determined by the Jews.

All of these were dogmatically acknowledged as Scripture at the Council of Trent in 1548 (which means that Catholics were henceforth not allowed to question their canonicity), although the tradition of their inclusion was ancient. At the same time, the Council rejected 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasses as part of Sacred Scripture (these are often included in collections of the “Apocrypha” as a separate unit).

The Catholic perspective on this issue is widely misunderstood. Protestants accuse Catholics of “adding” books to the Bible, while Catholics retort that Protestants have “booted out” part of Scripture. Catholics are able to offer very solid and reasonable arguments in defense of the scriptural status of the deuterocanonical books. These can be summarized as follows:

1) They were included in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament from the third century B.C.), which was the “Bible” of the Apostles. They usually quoted the Old Testament scriptures (in the text of the New Testament) from the Septuagint.

2) Almost all of the Church Fathers regarded the Septuagint as the standard form of the Old Testament. The deuterocanonical books were in no way differentiated from the other books in the Septuagint, and were generally regarded as canonical. St. Augustine thought the Septuagint was apostolically-sanctioned and inspired, and this was the consensus in the early Church.

3) Many Church Fathers (such as St. Irenaeus, St. Cyprian, Tertullian) cite these books as Scripture without distinction. Others, mostly from the east (for example, St. Athanasius, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Gregory Nazianzus) recognized some distinction but nevertheless still customarily cited the deuterocanonical books as Scripture. St. Jerome, who translated the Hebrew Bible into Latin (the Vulgate, early fifth century), was an exception to the rule (the Church has never held that individual Fathers are infallible).

4) The Church Councils at Hippo (393) and Carthage (397, 419), influenced heavily by St. Augustine, listed the deuterocanonical books as Scripture, which was simply an endorsement of what had become the general consensus of the Church in the west and most of the east. Thus, the Council of Trent merely reiterated in stronger terms what had already been decided eleven and a half centuries earlier, and which had never been seriously challenged until the onset of Protestantism.

5) Since these Councils also finalized the 66 canonical books which all Christians accept, it is quite arbitrary for Protestants to selectively delete seven books from this authoritative Canon. This is all the more curious when the complicated, controversial history of the New Testament Canon is understood.

6) Pope Innocent I concurred with and sanctioned the canonical ruling of the above Councils (Letter to Exsuperius, Bishop of Toulouse) in 405.

7) The earliest Greek manuscripts of the Old Testament, such as Codex Sinaiticus (fourth century), and Codex Alexandrinus (c.450) include all of the deuterocanonical books mixed in with the others and not separated.

8) The practice of collecting these books into a separate unit dates back no further than 1520 (in other words, it was a novel innovation of Protestantism). This is admitted by, for example, the Protestant New English Bible (Oxford University Press, 1976), in its “Introduction to the Apocrypha,” (p.iii).

9) Protestantism, following Martin Luther, removed the deuterocanonical books from their Bibles due to their clear teaching of doctrines which had been recently repudiated by Protestants, such as prayers for the dead (Tobit 12:12, 2 Maccabees 12:39-45 ff.; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:29), intercession of dead saints (2 Maccabees 15:14; cf. Revelation 6:9-10), and intermediary intercession of angels (Tobit 12:12,15; cf. Revelation 5:8, 8:3-4). We know this from plain statements of Luther and other Reformers.

10) Luther was not content even to let the matter rest there, and proceeded to cast doubt on many other books of the Bible which are accepted as canonical by all Protestants. He considered Job and Jonah mere fables, and Ecclesiastes incoherent and incomplete. He wished that Esther (along with 2 Maccabees) “did not exist,” and wanted to “toss it into the Elbe” river.

[Later clarifying note, added on 9-13-07: the red words I no longer agree with, as stated, based on subsequent in-depth research that I have undertaken since 1994, when this was written (perhaps it was written as early as 1991). Like any careful, conscientious researcher, I sometimes (gladly) modify — even sometimes reverse — earlier understandings with further study. For my current opinions on Luther and the canon, see:

Luther’s Outrageous Assertions About Certain Biblical Books

Did Martin Luther Deny the Canonicity of Esther? ]

11) The New Testament fared scarcely better under Luther’s gaze. He rejected from the New Testament Canon (”chief books”) Hebrews, James (”epistle of straw”), Jude and Revelation, and placed them at the end of his translation, as a New Testament “Apocrypha.” He regarded them as non-apostolic. Of the book of Revelation he said, “Christ is not taught or known in it.” These opinions are found in Luther’s Prefaces to biblical books, in his German translation of 1522.

[Later clarifying note, added on 9-13-07: Luther softened or rejected these more radical opinions in later, revised prefaces, some 20 years later, so that I would write this portion of my first book differently today, in light of my research done since 1994]
12) Although the New Testament does not quote any of these books directly, it does closely reflect the thought of the deuterocanonical books in many passages. For example, Revelation 1:4 and 8:3-4 appear to make reference to Tobit 12:15:
Revelation 1:4 Grace to you . . . from the seven spirits who are before his throne. {see also 3:1, 4:5, 5:6}
Revelation 8:3-4 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.

{see also Revelation 5:8}

Tobit 12:15 I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One.

St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:29, seems to have 2 Maccabees 12:44 in mind. This saying of Paul is one of the most difficult in the New Testament for Protestants to interpret, given their theology:

1 Corinthians 15:29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?
2 Maccabees 12:44 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.

This passage of St. Paul shows that it was the custom of the early Church to watch, pray and fast for the souls of the deceased. In Scripture, to be baptized is often a metaphor for affliction or (in the Catholic understanding) penance (for example, Matthew 3:11, Mark 10:38-39, Luke 3:16, 12:50). Since those in heaven have no need of prayer, and those in hell can’t benefit from it, these practices, sanctioned by St. Paul, must be directed towards those in purgatory. Otherwise, prayers and penances for the dead make no sense, and this seems to be largely what Paul is trying to bring out. The “penance interpretation” is contextually supported by the next three verses, where St. Paul speaks of “Why am I in peril every hour? . . . I die every day,” and so forth.
As a third example, Hebrews 11:35 mirrors the thought of 2 Maccabees 7:29:

Hebrews 11:35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life.
2 Maccabees 7:29 Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God’s mercy I may get you back again with your brothers.

{a mother speaking to her son: see 7:25-26}

13) Ironically, in some of the same verses where the New Testament is virtually quoting the “Apocrypha,” doctrines are taught which are rejected by Protestantism, and which were a major reason why the deuterocanonical books were “demoted” by them. Therefore, it was not as easy to eliminate these disputed doctrines from the Bible as it was (and is) supposed, and Protestants still must grapple with much New Testament data which does not comport with their beliefs.
14) Despite this lowering of the status of the deuterocanonical books by Protestantism, they were still widely retained separately in Protestant Bibles for a long period of time (unlike the prevailing practice today). John Wycliffe, considered a forerunner of Protestantism, included them in his English translation. Luther himself kept them separately in his Bible, describing them generally as (although sub-scriptural) “useful and good to read.” Zwingli and the Swiss Protestants, and the Anglicans maintained them in this secondary sense also. The English Geneva Bible (1560) and Bishop’s Bible (1568) both included them as a unit. Even the Authorized, or King James Version of 1611 contained the “Apocrypha” as a matter of course. And up to the present time many Protestant Bibles continue this practice. The revision of the King James Bible (completed in 1895) included these books, as did the Revised Standard Version (1957), the New English Bible (1970), and the Goodspeed Bible (1939), among others.

15) The deuterocanonical books are read regularly in public worship in Anglicanism, and also among the Eastern Orthodox, and most Protestants and Jews fully accept their value as historical and religious documents, useful for teaching, even though they deny them full canonical status.

It is apparent, then, that the Catholic “case” for these scriptural books carries a great deal of weight, certainly at the very least equal to the Protestant view.
Written in 1996 by Dave Armstrong. Included in A Biblical Defense of Catholicism: pp. 259-264.

31 posted on 05/22/2010 4:21:14 PM PDT by johngrace
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To: johngrace
I am right about Jerome..BUT trent just confirmed what was already there ???

Sounds a bit contradictory to me.

All of these were dogmatically acknowledged as Scripture at the Council of Trent in 1548 (which means that Catholics were henceforth not allowed to question their canonicity), ,

As I said they became canonical at trent

When was authority over the Old testament ever given to the new testament church?

32 posted on 05/22/2010 4:28:49 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7

It speaks for itself Read it again. If you do not agree. I guess you disagree.

33 posted on 05/22/2010 4:43:42 PM PDT by johngrace
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To: johngrace

) The Church Councils at Hippo (393) and Carthage (397, 419), influenced heavily by St. Augustine, listed the deuterocanonical books as Scripture, which was simply an endorsement of what had become the general consensus of the Church in the west and most of the east. Thus, the Council of Trent merely reiterated in stronger terms what had already been decided eleven and a half centuries earlier, and which had never been seriously challenged until the onset of Protestantism.

34 posted on 05/22/2010 4:53:00 PM PDT by johngrace
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To: markomalley
The most convincing Scriptural passage I know of is 1Cor 3. I think it is v. 11 through 15 (but I am on my mobile so don’t have ready access to a Bible), where St.Paul talks about passing through a purifying fire which will burn away all the corruptible works of the Christian.He will be saved, but only as through fire.

1Cor. 3:10-15 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

A couple of things to note about the above scripture vs. what Catholicism teaches about what "purgatory" is.

Catholicism teaches: ◦our prayers help the souls in purgatory.

The Bible mentions no such thing. It just tells us that our works will be judged.

The Catholic Church: Council of Lyons II (1274) We believe ... that the souls, by the purifying compensation are purged after death.

The Bible doesn't say this judgment "purifies" us. You either receive a reward or you don't. We are "purified" or cleansed through the blood of Jesus when we accept him as our savior and when we confess our sins. 1 Corinthians says nothing about confessing of sins.

1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The Catholic Church teaches that "purgatory" is a state of limbo. It is often associated, in a religious context, with some state of being in neither heaven nor hell, therefore on the fringe of either.

1 Corinthians doesn't say where this judgment of works goes on, but it doesn't say that it isn't in Heaven in the presence of God. Again, 1 Cor. is talking about the judgment of our works not the judgment of our sin. Jesus paid the penalty for our sin on the cross. When we accepted Jesus, we accepted his payment for our sin, and our sin penalty was paid IN FULL!

Catholicism teaches:The poor souls in purgatory still have the stains of sin within them. This means two things. First, it means that the souls have not yet paid the temporal penalty due...

The Bible says that the penalty for sin is DEATH. Jesus paid that penalty, once for all. We who are believers in Jesus will not pay the penalty for sin.

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom 6:10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Catholicism teaches:The important thing to understand is that it (purgatory) is a state or condition in which souls undergo purification.

The Bible says:

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

The word translated to "purged" is the same Greek word for "purify". Note that the verse also says that Christ did this "by himself". There is NO one else that can or needs to do anything else to purify us from sin.

One last little thing, the idea in Catholicism is that Purgatory is or can be a long drawn out process. 1 Corinthians says "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it." It makes no differentiation for different Christians. It says "Every man's work".

So in other words, no matter whether you acted and preached like the Pope or Billy Graham, or you acted and talked like most common Christians, your judgment of your works will be done in a day.
35 posted on 05/22/2010 4:55:15 PM PDT by ScubieNuc
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To: ScubieNuc

Thank you for that input.

And I am so happy for you that God has managed to cleanse you from all unrighteousness that you no longer even have any desire to sin in any regard. Blessed be God for the tremendous gift He has given you.

Please pray for the rest of us who, like the apostle Paul, still have a struggle with our flesh.

36 posted on 05/22/2010 5:00:22 PM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley
And I am so happy for you that God has managed to cleanse you from all unrighteousness that you no longer even have any desire to sin in any regard. Blessed be God for the tremendous gift He has given you.

Please pray for the rest of us who, like the apostle Paul, still have a struggle with our flesh.

One sure way to avoid the truth is to side track the discussion with a falsehood. You know that I did not say anything like "I have no desire to sin." I can see what you are trying to do.

My job is to study the Word and apply it to my life. I am also to preach the Word of God. What you decide to do with God's Word is between you and God. You can cling to your unscriptural beliefs if you want, but I wont buy into something that isn't supported by Scripture.

37 posted on 05/22/2010 5:15:44 PM PDT by ScubieNuc
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To: johngrace

Thank you. You have blessed me with your comments.

38 posted on 05/22/2010 5:18:42 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to him.)
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To: boatbums

Why the Apocrypha is rejected as inspired Scripture:

1. These books existed before New Testament times, yet there is not one single quotation from the Apocrypha is in the New Testament. Jesus quoted from twenty four of the Old Testament books, and the New Testament quotes from thirty four books of the Old Testament. Introductory phrases like “it is written” or “thus says the Lord” are totally absent from the books and therefore the books themselves do not claim to be inspired of God.

The books of 1st and 2nd Maccabees have historical significance, but when they are compared to the Bible they shown to not be the inspired Word of God. Even though they have some historical value these books are clouded by the contradictions found in their text. For example, in 1st and 2nd Maccabees, Antiochus Epiphanes is made to die three different deaths in as many different places.

2. Although some of the early church fathers quoted from these writings, and even accepted them as inspired, this does not mean they were inspired. The majority of the early church writers rejected these books as being inspired. Clearly in the Second Century and afterward there were many false teachers and heretics. It is important to know that Jesus nor any of the Apostles quoted from or mention any of these books.

3. Some early Greek manuscripts contain the Apocrypha, along with the Septuagint.(the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament). The Septuagint was translated in Alexandra, Egypt which was a hot bed of heresy. From Alexandra also came the corrupted manuscripts of Alpeh, A, B upon which all modern English translations are based (the Westcott-Hort text). They including of several of these books in the LXX, (Septuagint) was the natural result of the spirit of heresy and false teaching in Egypt. However, none of these books were ever included in the Hebrew Bible and were never accepted by the Jews. Further no Greek manuscript contains the apocryphal books as does the Roman Catholic Bible. Moreover, not a single ancient manuscript contains all of the apocryphal books. Lastly, only four of the apocryphal books are found in copies of the LXX and these manuscripts date to the fourth century A.D. No copy of the Septuagint before that time has any Apocryphal books included which reflect the progression of heresy in Egypt.

4. The Jews are the ones who canonized the Books of the Old Testament and they did not include them. They have always excluded these Apocryphal books because the material in these books is heretical and contains gross doctrinal errors. Some of these gross doctrinal errors are; prayers for the dead. ( 2 Macc. 12:45-46) and salvation by works. (Tobit 12:9). Praying for the dead is not biblical as Hebrews 9:27 plainly states, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” There is no second chance after death. Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly states that salvation is not by works or merited by man. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

The stories in the Apocryphal books are extra biblical, fanciful and clearly pure fiction. For example the story of Bel and the Dragon is clearly a fairy tale. The tale says that a pagan priest of Bel tried to deceive Daniel by using a trap door to consume food left for the idol Bel. This pagan priest was seeking to convince Daniel that Bel was a real god who ate and drank everyday. Another fanciful tale relates that Daniel was miraculously fed by the prophet Habakkuk, who was caught up by an angel in Judea, and taken to help Daniel in the lion’s den in Babylon. Daniel lived hundreds of years before this spurious book titled “Bel and the Dragon” was written.

Another such tale is found in Tobit. Tobit, a blind father who supposedly lived in Nineveh, sends his son Tobias on a journey to collect a debt. On a journey Tobias is led by an angel in disguise named Raphael. The angel leads him to the house of a virgin who had been married seven times, but whose husbands were all slain by a demon on their wedding night. Tobias marries the girl and drives away the demon by burning the heart of a certain fish in the bedroom, with the help of Raphael. He returns home with the money and his bride, and then heals his father’s eyes with the fish’s gall.

Some of the teachings in these books are colored and some are immoral. In Judith 9:10,13, it says that God, assisted Judith in the telling of lies. The Apocryphal books of Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom teach that morality is based on expedience. In other words, according to these books it is right to sin in some situations.

The Book of Wisdom 11:17 teaches that God made the universe out of pre-existing matter instead of “ex nihilo” (out of nothing) as Genesis 1:1-2, John 1:1-3 and Hebrews 11:3 plainly state.

There are also historical errors Tobit claimed that he was alive when the Assyrians conquered Israel in 722 B. C. and when Jeroboam revolted against Judah in 931 B. C. However it records his total life span as 158 years. These two events were actually 859 years apart. Judith also mistakenly states that Nebuchadnezzar reigned in Nineveh instead of Babylon. There are many other gross historical errors as well.

It is important to note that these books came into existance during the Inter-testamental Period. This period of four hundred years began with God giving the last book of the Old Testament which was Malachi. The Inter-testamental period ended with the coming of Christ and the writing of the New Testament. During this four hundred years God sent no prophets to Israel and was silent giving no written revelation.

39 posted on 05/22/2010 6:02:36 PM PDT by ScubieNuc
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To: boatbums

You wrote:

“... an intermediate place...”

“To me, to believe in any temporal place whereby a born-again believer in Jesus Christ must spend time...”

Purgatory is not a place. It is not a temporal place. There is no time there at all.

40 posted on 05/22/2010 6:20:08 PM PDT by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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