Purgatory 101: Everything You Wanted To Know About Purgatory

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According to this theory, which is rejected by other Orthodox but appears in the hymnology of the Church, [79] "following a person's death the soul leaves the body and is escorted to God by angels. During this journey the soul passes through an aerial realm which is ruled by demons.

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The soul encounters these demons at various points referred to as 'toll-houses' where the demons then attempt to accuse it of sin and, if possible, drag the soul into hell. In general, Protestant churches reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory although some teach the existence of an intermediate state. Many Protestant denominations, though not all, teach the doctrine of sola scriptura "scripture alone" or prima scriptura "scripture first". The general Protestant view is that the Bible, from which Protestants exclude deuterocanonical books such as 2 Maccabees , contains no overt, explicit discussion of purgatory and therefore it should be rejected as an unbiblical belief.

Another view held by many Protestants, such as the Lutheran Churches and the Reformed Churches , is sola fide "by faith alone" : that faith alone is what achieves salvation , and that good works are merely evidence of that faith. However, most Protestants teach that a transformation of character naturally follows the salvation experience; others, such as those of the Methodist tradition inclusive of the Holiness Movement teach that after justification, Christians must pursue holiness and good works. Some Protestants hold that a person enters into the fullness of one's bliss or torment only after the resurrection of the body, and that the soul in that interim state is conscious and aware of the fate in store for it.

As an argument for the existence of purgatory, Protestant religious philosopher Jerry L. He lists some "biblical hints of purgatory" Mal ; 2 Mac ; Mat ; 1 Cor that helped give rise to the doctrine, [89] and finds its beginnings in early Christian writers whom he calls "Fathers and Mothers of Purgatory".

Rather his basic argument is that, in a phrase he often uses, it "makes sense. He documents the "contrast between the satisfaction and sanctification models" of purgatory. In the satisfaction model, "the punishment of purgatory" is to satisfy God's justice. In the sanctification model, Wall writes: "Purgatory might be pictured He believes the sanctification model "can be affirmed by Protestants without in any way contradicting their theology" and that they may find that it "makes better sense of how the remains of sin are purged" than an instantaneous cleansing at the moment of death.

While purgatory was disputed by the Reformers, some early patristic theologians of the Eastern Church taught and believed in " apocatastasis ", the belief that all creation would be restored to its original perfect condition after a remedial purgatorial reformation. Clement of Alexandria was one of the early church theologians who taught this view.


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Protestants have always contended that there are no second chances. However, for Lutherans a similar doctrine of what may happen to the unevangelized is expressed in the book titled What about those who never heard. Anglicans, as with other Reformed Churches , historically teach that the elect undergo the process of glorification after death. Walls and James B. Gould with the process of purification in the core doctrine of purgatory see Reformed, below. Purgatory was addressed by both of the "foundation features" of Anglicanism in the 16th century: the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion and the Book of Common Prayer.

The 19th century Anglo-Catholic revival led to restoring prayers for the dead. He highlighted the fact that it is the "Romish" doctrine of purgatory coupled with indulgences that Article XXII condemns as "repugnant to the Word of God.

The Fire of Purgatory Comes from Hell

As of the year , the state of the doctrine of purgatory in Anglicanism was summarized as follows:. Purgatory is seldom mentioned in Anglican descriptions or speculations concerning life after death, although many Anglicans believe in a continuing process of growth and development after death. Anglican Bishop John Henry Hobart — wrote that " Hades , or the place of the dead, is represented as a spacious receptacle with gates, through which the dead enter.

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Mitchell offers this rationale for prayers for the dead:. No one is ready at the time of death to enter into life in the nearer presence of God without substantial growth precisely in love, knowledge, and service; and the prayer also recognizes that God will provide what is necessary for us to enter that state. This growth will presumably be between death and resurrection. Anglican theologian C. Lewis , reflecting on the history of the doctrine of purgatory in the Anglican Communion , said there were good reasons for "casting doubt on the 'Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory' as that Romish doctrine had then become" not merely a "commercial scandal" but also the picture in which the souls are tormented by devils, whose presence is "more horrible and grievous to us than is the pain itself," and where the spirit who suffers the tortures cannot, for pain, "remember God as he ought to do.


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By this poem, Lewis wrote, "Religion has reclaimed Purgatory," a process of purification that will normally involve suffering. The Protestant Reformer Martin Luther was once recorded as saying: []. As for purgatory, no place in Scripture makes mention thereof, neither must we any way allow it; for it darkens and undervalues the grace, benefits, and merits of our blessed, sweet Saviour Christ Jesus. The bounds of purgatory extend not beyond this world; for here in this life the upright, good, and godly Christians are well and soundly scoured and purged.

Purgatory - Wikipedia

In his Smalcald Articles , Luther stated: []. Therefore purgatory, and every solemnity, rite, and commerce connected with it, is to be regarded as nothing but a specter of the devil. For it conflicts with the chief article [which teaches] that only Christ, and not the works of men, are to help [set free] souls. Not to mention the fact that nothing has been [divinely] commanded or enjoined upon us concerning the dead.

With respect to the related practice of praying for the dead, Luther stated: []. A core statement of Lutheran doctrine, from the Book of Concord , states: "We know that the ancients speak of prayer for the dead, which we do not prohibit; but we disapprove of the application ex opere operato of the Lord's Supper on behalf of the dead. Epiphanius [ of Salamis ] testifies that Aerius [ of Sebaste ] held that prayers for the dead are useless.

With this he finds fault. Neither do we favor Aerius, but we do argue with you because you defend a heresy that clearly conflicts with the prophets, apostles, and Holy Fathers, namely, that the Mass justifies ex opere operato , that it merits the remission of guilt and punishment even for the unjust, to whom it is applied, if they do not present an obstacle.

After the Judgment, the Righteous will go to their eternal reward in Heaven and the Accursed will depart to Hell see Matthew After death, Reformed theology teaches that through glorification , God "not only delivers His people from all their suffering and from death, but delivers them too from all their sins.

Purgatory is Not Real

MacArthur has written that "nothing in Scripture even hints at the notion of purgatory, and nothing indicates that our glorification will in any way be paintful. Jerry L. Gould have likened the glorification process to the core or sanctification view of purgatory [] "Grace is much more than forgiveness, it is also transformation and sanctification, and finally, glorification. We need more than forgiveness and justification to purge our sinful dispositions and make us fully ready for heaven.

Purgatory is nothing more than the continuation of the sanctifying grace we need, for as long as necessary to complete the job".

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , teaches of an intermediate place for spirits between their death and their bodily resurrection. This place, called "the spirit world," includes "paradise" for the righteous and "prison" for those who do not know God.

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Spirits in paradise serve as missionaries to the spirits in prison, who can still accept salvation. In this sense, spirit prison can be conceptualized as a type of purgatory. In addition to hearing the message from the missionary spirits, the spirits in prison can also accept posthumous baptism and other posthumous ordinances performed by living church members in temples on Earth. This is frequently referred to as "baptism for the dead" and "temple work. In Judaism , Gehenna is a place of purification where, according to some traditions, most sinners spend up to a year before release.

The view of purgatory can be found in the teaching of the Shammaites: "In the last judgment day there shall be three classes of souls: the righteous shall at once be written down for the life everlasting; the wicked, for Gehenna; but those whose virtues and sins counterbalance one another shall go down to Gehenna and float up and down until they rise purified; for of them it is said: 'I will bring the third part into the fire and refine them as silver is refined, and try them as gold is tried' [Zech. The Hillelites seem to have had no purgatory; for they said: "He who is 'plenteous in mercy' [Ex.

Still they also speak of an intermediate state. Regarding the time which purgatory lasts, the accepted opinion of R. Akiba is twelve months; according to R. Johanan b. Nuri, it is only forty-nine days. Both opinions are based upon Isa. During the twelve months, declares the baraita Tosef. The righteous, however, and, according to some, also the sinners among the people of Israel for whom Abraham intercedes because they bear the Abrahamic sign of the covenant are not harmed by the fire of Gehenna even when they are required to pass through the intermediate state of purgatory 'Er.

Islam has a concept similar to that of purgatory in Christianity.


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Barzakh is thought to be a realm between paradise Jannah and hell Jahannam and according to Ghazali the place of those who go neither to hell or to heaven. In some cases, the Islamic concept of hell may resemble the concept of Catholic doctrine of purgatory, [] for Jahannam just punishes people according to their deeds and releases them after their habits are purified.

A limited duration in Jahannam is not universally accepted in Islam. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Purgatory disambiguation. For the practice of cleaning the bodies of the recently deceased observed by various cultures, see Last offices. Main article: History of Purgatory.

Purgatory, by Peter Paul Rubens.