Sola Scriptura and Purgatory



Q. What scriptures support the Doctrine of Purgatory?

A. You ask for this because you are convinced that the final authority for your beliefs is scripture. And I know you are sincere in this because I was also, when I was a Protestant. But this practice would never have caught on if it had not been invented 1500 years after Christ, after the canonization of the Bible, and also, after the invention of the printing press. Because most people could not even read let alone afford a Bible. See my post on Sola Scriptura.

I want to be very clear about a very fundamental difference between the Protestant Churches and the Catholic Church. Starting in the years after 1517 Protestants began to sit down with Sacred Scripture and REJECT ALL HISTORICAL CHRISTIAN BELIEFS they did not like or that they could not find explicitly in Scripture. They mistakenly believed that they were deriving their new religion OUT OF SCRIPTURE. But this is simply not the case. As can be seen by the following evidence.

“Luther removed seven OT books and five NT books. Not because he found a table of contents in scripture alone but because these books contradicted his new religion.

The Protestants kept the historic Christian doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation because they agreed with them and they were hinted at in scripture but not because they were stated clearly and unambiguously in scripture, the way Protestants demand scripture for Purgatory or the Immaculate Conception. As proof of this take the Jehovah’s Witnesses who reject the Trinity and Incarnation on the basis of scripture alone.

Luther and Henry VIII kept the doctrine of the Real Presence in the Eucharist based on their Interpretation of scripture alone but later reformers rejected this Historic Christian Doctrine based on their INTERPRETATION of scripture alone. And so the division of Christ’s Church began in earnest despite:

John 17:20-23“My prayer is …. 21 that all of them may be ONE, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. … I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be ONE as we are ONE: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete UNITY to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

…which Protestants ignore or interpret away despite their proclamation of Sola Scriptura. Once Sacred Scripture was unhinged from Historic Christianity anyone’s interpretation was just as good as anyone else’s. No final authority existed anywhere in Protestantism. So division was unavoidable.

So, regarding Purgatory I cannot give any scripture that categorically teaches the Doctrine of Purgatory that would satisfy a sola scriptura Protestant. I can show you verses that imply the doctrine HERE. I can show you writings of the early Church fathers from before the time when the Bible was canonized HERE or HERE at Catholic Answers. I can show you that the concept, of the need for purification before attaining Heaven, has roots in the Jewish Faith HERE.

If you are able to believe it is possible to sit down 2000 years after the birth of Jesus and read scripture and interpret it infallibly all by yourself, disregarding what Christians believed in the years immediately following the death of the apostles, you have more faith than I do. But, by what authority do you claim infallibility? Or does Luther claim infallibility? Or Calvin? Or any of the Protestant sects?

2 Responses

  1. Since this post piggy backs on another one, I will copy what I replied on the other post:

    We Protestants and Catholics have the same New Testament. It is the old testament canon that is in question. The 7 added books or apocrypha were written during a period in which the ‘prophetic voices’ were silent. There is a 400 year period from the writing of Malachi until the beginning of the N.T. in which God was silent hence no inspired writing could have possibly taken place. This conclusion came from the Jews themselves. The jews do not and have never considered the apocrypha inspired.

    Why not canonical? Unger’s Bible Dictionary states the reasons for being excluded from Hebrew canon are:
    1. They abound in historical and geographical inaccuracies and anachronisms
    2. They teach doctrines that are false and foster practices that are at variance with inspired Scripture
    3. They resort to literary types and displays an artificiality of subject matter and styling out of keeping with inspired Scripture
    4. They lack the distinctive elements that give genuine Scripture its divine character, such as prophetic power and poetic religous feeling (Unger, NUBD, 85)

    Do you know that neither Jesus Christ or the N.T. writers ever quoted anything from the apocrypha? Many great leaders of the early church spoke out against the apocrypha-Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Athanasius. Jerome rejected the apocrypha and would not include it into his Latin Vulgate translation. He eventually translated a few after being pressured by Augustine.

    It is apparent that even the early church leaders rejected the O.T. apocrypha. The apocrypha has not “always and everywhere been believed by historical Christianity”. Remember scripture backs scripture. Could God’s “chosen” people who never recognized the apocrypha as canon be wrong? I don’t think so.

    Adding to your current statement:
    *bfhu* Starting in the years after 1517 Protestants began to sit down with Sacred Scripture and REJECT ALL HISTORICAL CHRISTIAN BELIEFS they did not like or that they could not find explicitly in Scripture.*****

    I find this thinking insulting and request that you provide proof for your statement. My above statement in regards to the apocrypha explains that protestants did not remove scriputre, but kept it in the form with which God decided. You must understand that man is incapable of declaring books inspired or not. That is only God’s job. Men can counsel, they can defend their choices with almost any gathering, but in the end if what has been chosen does not line up with scripture already recognized as inspired, It just simply is not true.

    Is God perfect? Yes. Should those who supposedly represent God’s “true church” also reflect the likeness of God? Yes. I do not understand how some many Catholics can place their trust into a church that has lied and killed they way into existence. How can you trust a church like this? Would you trust a loved one whose character looks like that of the Catholic history? I wouldn’t. Is it possible if the Catholics lied and created false documents; pseudoisidorian documents for example, that they are lying about more? Yes. Is that what God’s church looks like? Could it be possible that they theoretically kidnapped Peter from history to further they self ambission? Yes. Woud God entrust the keys to HIS kindgdom to someone he called Satan? (Mark 8:32-33 & Matt. 16:22-23) No! Would God entrust the keys to his kingdom someone who required rebuking by Paul? (Galatians 2:11) No!

    *bfhun*If you are able to believe it is possible to sit down 2000 years after the birth of Jesus and read scripture and interpret it infallibly all by yourself, disregarding what Christians believed in the years immediately following the death of the apostles, you have more faith than I do. But, by what authority do you claim infallibility? Or does Luther claim infallibility? Or Calvin? Or any of the Protestant sects?*******

    Firstly, I do not read the writings of Luther or Calvin? My discussion with you is solely based upon what the word of God has taught me. What is more important, what christians believed after the death of the apostles or what they apostles taught? I absolutely without doubt believe that I am able to sit down and interpret scripture all by myself. I may not understand all of what I read, but I believe that as my life changes and I grow that those things will be revealed to me. God provides us with his Holy Spirit. Is the Spirit unable to work through us? I know for a fact that He is able. Where does the Bible say that scriputre is only understandable by a man made hierarchy of men who are fallible? What the teachings of R.C have done is put God in a box, they have single handedly taken away His grace and His omnipotence. This removal of his grace and power is only limited to the confines of R.C. I know that God is big enough, powerful enough and loving enough to offer me all of His grace, and through His Holy Spirit I am taught. Do you really believe that God would leave the world with the most important set of documents which teach us about Him, and not give us the ability to understand? 2 Cor. 4:2-4 ….we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of Go. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth PLAINLY we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it IS VEILED TO THOSE WHO ARE PERISHING. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. 2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” John 16:12-15……..15..All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. 1 Cor. 2:10 & 12 but God has reveled it to us by his Spirit…..We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 2 Peter 1:20-21 Above all you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
    “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13…But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into ALL truth.

    It is by the authority of God’s own word and his Holy Spirit that I claim the ability to interpret scripture for myself. You, if you are in Christ and Christ is in you, are also able to do so.

  2. My response to the first part of your comment is HERE. and HERE and HERE

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