Sunday, April 15, 2018

Disemboweling Catholic Answers' Logical Case For Purgatory

  • Following Is A Syllogism Provided In An Article From Catholic Answers Titled The Logical Case for Purgatory, Which Was An Attempt To Demonstrate The Reasonableness Of Purgatory:
         "There will be neither sin nor attachment to sin in heaven. We (at least most of us) are still sinning and are attached to sin at the end of this life. Therefore there must be a period between death and heavenly glory in which the saved are cleansed of sin and their attachment to sin."

         The underlying problem with such reasoning is that it completely ignores a quintessential truth of the gospel, namely that our Lord Jesus Christ paid the full penalty for our sin via atonement on the cross at Calvary. In other words, He has already accomplished purification for sin on our behalf. Christ is the one and only remedy for the problem of sin. He is our Purgatory. We are made complete in Him. His expiatory work is absolutely sufficient in itself. He cleanses us from every sin. God does not impute sin to believers. He does not count sin against those who have been forgiven in His sight. The blood of Christ is applied to believers by faith:

          "By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified." (Hebrews 10:10-14)

          If we truly must make amends for any of the sins that we have committed in this lifetime, then how does it not follow that Christ's work was insufficient to atone for the sins of mankind? How is that the forgiveness of sin? The Scriptures clearly teach justification by faith, apart from the merit of all works:

          "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

         Our Lord Jesus Christ once said of His atonement sacrifice, "It is finished" (John 19:30). This utterance certainly must bear significance, considering that the Greek word for this phrase is tetelestai. During New Testament times, this message would be imprinted on business records and receipts whenever a transaction would be completed successfully. The Greek term tetelestai simply indicates the full payment of a bill. Respectively, that is what Jesus affirmed regarding the completion of His earthly mission. He paid our sin debt in full, thereby enabling us to enter directly into the Father's presence. It is impossible for man to make reparation for sin. We can neither compliment nor supplement what He has accomplished on our behalf. We are healed by Christ's wounds. It is solely by the grace of God that we can be saved from eternal condemnation. Thus, the Romish doctrine of purgatory utterly misunderstands the nature of the biblical atonement. It can only make sense in a works-based justification theological framework, which is flatly contradicted by Scripture.

          The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus presents to us a handful of insights as to what happens to souls in the afterlife (Luke 16:19-31). Lazarus immediately entered Abraham's bosom upon death, whereas the rich man woke up in the torment of literal flames at his appointed hour. Upon pleading for water to sooth his burning tongue and begging to be resurrected from the grave to warn relatives of their upcoming spiritual fate, the rich man was denied access. There also exists a great chasm that cannot be crossed (Luke 16:26). Hence, we learn that the moment of physical death seals our eternal destiny. There are no chances to receive God's forgiveness after death. Either heaven or hell will be the set eternal destiny of every person, according to Scripture. It mentions no third place for souls to enter after death for a time of purification. Interestingly, our Lord Jesus Christ made no mention of purgatory to the repentant thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43).

          The reasoning comprising the logical syllogism employed by Catholic Answers is deceptive at best. It is highly fallacious, for it draws a conclusion that simply does not follow from the two mentioned premises. This is known as a non-sequitur. Catholic Answers is guilty of presenting a false dilemma. It presents to unsuspecting readers a false dichotomy, assuming that purgatory must be the only logical conclusion. But that is simply not true. It has no scriptural backing. The blood of Christ cleanses believers from all sin. This is a perfect example of philosophy gone wrong:

           "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8)

           The Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory developed gradually over time:           

           “. . . the early church believed deceased Christians to be residing in peace and happiness and the nature of the prayers offered for them were that they might have a greater experience of these . . . these prayers often used the Latin term refrigerium as a request of God on behalf of departed Christians, a term which means ‘refreshment’ or ‘to refresh’ and came to embody the concept of heavenly happiness. So even though the early Church prayed for the dead, it does not support the concept of a purgatory for the nature of the prayers themselves indicate the Church did not believe the dead to be residing in a place of suffering.” (William Webster, Roman Catholic Tradition: Claims and Contradictions, p. 63-64) 


  1. I think the disagreement is on what constitutes the full debt, what included in the debt paid by Jesus.....does it include death no we are still dying up to now, does it include sickness no because we continue being unhealthy the list goes on and on. But what we know it includes forgiven sins but it excludes the concequences of those sins. What does that mean, if we sin even after forgiveness the attachment to sin remains therefore its not part of the full debt paid

    1. No, rather, it is solely by the blood of Christ that all our transgressions be washed away. It is strictly by God's grace through our faith in the sacrificial work of His Son that we are redeemed. His grace is completely unmerited. Salvation is a gift that we do not deserve. It cannot be earned. Jesus is our Purgatory. God sent His only begotten Son into this world to die on a cross so that we could inherit eternal life. That's the simple message of the biblical gospel (Romans 1:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

    2. Come on. It is not as though I would respond to a comment without first reading it. That would be absurd. I'm speaking of Christ "paying the full debt" in the sense that He made amends for our sin. As a result, God can forgive us. Now He can save us. He can let us enter His kingdom. And yes, He will eventually restore everything back to a perfect order. You are overcomplicating matters here.

  2. So you read and ignored that could be a posdible explanation, anyway What do you mean by the full debt if you read what i said? Dont we still die? Dont we still remain attached to the effects of sin? Does craving for sinful things cease? Those are things you are ignoring, are they part of the full debt or they are not part of it? If the full debt includes everything then we should not be dying.

    1. Aquinas:
      Hebrews 9:27. You die and face judgement. No such thing as purgatory to purge sins after death.

      Here's my article destroying the totally unbiblical idea of purgatory:

  3. I feel so sorry all those poor Catholics who follow blindly all these traditions of men. Many of whom will have to hear those dreadful words I never knew you, depart from me ye that work iniquity.(paraphased).

    1. The last statement may or may not have been a paraphrase. I think I just quoted part of the verse, but may have messed up on punctuation.