Problems with Purgatory: Part 2

13 05 2016

In the text given for Purgatory the sin they died committing was idolatry. According to Rome this is a sin for which there is no forgiveness after death. This invalidates this text as purgatory.

Often tradition is cited as the justification of a doctrine by Rome. Surely if the early believers or Jews held to it then it must be true. This is a grievous error that needs to be addressed. We will start as Scripture says with the Jews first.

The entire Old Testament is made up of stories of the mistakes and errors of the Jewish people. They were constantly caught up in idol worship, being carried captive, being returned, only to be carried away again. They had battle after battle many times having nations turned against them by God because of their waywardness. The prophets such as Hosea, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah preached a message of condemnation warning that the people had forsaken the LORD.

The Jews often strayed from the Scriptures and formed their own man made doctrines. They practiced these doctrines for years so when a new generation rose up they were taught that these “traditions” were just as valid as Scripture much like the modern day Romanist. Jesus had to rebuke them sharply for this.

“…Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophecy of you, saying, this people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15: 6b-9)

Jesus even confronted their traditions in Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, and 43-44. Each time He started His rebuke by saying, “Ye have heard it said by them of old,” and finished the correction with, “But I say unto you.” He was not correcting Scripture, He was correcting their human tradition, sometimes centuries old that deviated from or contradicted Scripture.

The greatest support for such a doctrine comes not from the accepted canon of Scripture but from the contested Apocrypha. I will likely cover that topic elsewhere but needless to say the Apocrypha was not accepted by the Old Testament Jews as Scripture, and the texts contained in the Apocrypha often contradict accepted Scriptures.

The early church fathers were never in agreement on which apocryphal books were to be included. When Trent needed them to support their doctrines (otherwise unsupported) the Council of Trent confirmed them as inspired. They were not considered as part of the canon prior to Trent at least not by the church officially.

The main apocryphal text use to support purgatory is 2 Maccabees 12:42-46.

And they begged him that this sin might be completely blotted out. Then, Judas, that great man, urged the people to keep away from sin, because they had seen for themselves what had happened to those men who had sinned. He also took up a collection from all his men, totaling about four pounds of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. Judas did this noble thing because he believed in the resurrection of the dead. If he had not believed that the dead would be raised, it would have been foolish and useless to pray for them. In his firm and devout conviction that all of God’s faithful people would receive a wonderful reward, Judas made provision for a sin offering to set free from their sin those who had died.”

This is the great proof text of the purgatory doctrine. In the passage all we see is Judas making an offering, and prayers for the dead. In the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church published in 2005, when asked question 211 on how we can help those in purgatory the answer is different. “Because of the communion of saints, the faithful who are still pilgrims on earth are able to help the souls in purgatory by offering prayers in suffrage for them, especially the Eucharistic sacrifice. They also help them by almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance.”

So the text said he made offering and said prayers for those already dead but there is no mention of indulgences or works of penance to aid the dead. These were added by the church. Even if this were inspired and a proof of purgatory they stray from the text and add to it their own doctrines.

The text emphasizes prayers and almsgiving yet in the catechism answer it says “especially the Eucharistic sacrifice.” The mass is not mentioned and yet they say it is especially beneficial. I was debating a man who was Rome-ward and he tried to say the mass is not the sacrificing of Christ but here we clearly see it is.

Another point in the text that I noticed was that Judas did these things it says to set them free. He seems at least from the passage to have that hope and yet no such hope exists in modern day Romanism. The faithful are told to say mass, light candles, do good deeds, and pay offerings in order to free their loved ones from purgatory and yet the Church has no power to declare when this task is completed.

They just keep doing those things until they die. After their death someone else does the same for them until they die and so on and so on. There is no point where the priest says, “enough is done, keep your money your loved one is now in Heaven.”

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