Saturday, June 8, 2019

Bad Catholic Apologetics On Luke 16:19-31 And Purgatory

  • Discussion:
          -This article is a rebuttal to a Roman Catholic commentary that attempts to justify the dogma of purgatory in light of difficult implications plainly set forth by the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Only a small section of that post will be consulted in this analysis, as that is the intended scope. The excerpt being dissected is presented here as follows:

          "Luke 16:19-31 – in this story, we see that the dead rich man is suffering but still feels compassion for his brothers and wants to warn them of his place of suffering. But there is no suffering in heaven or compassion in hell because compassion is a grace from God and those in hell are deprived from God’s graces for all eternity. So where is the rich man? He is in purgatory."

          The rich man was not evil, humanly speaking. He did recognize Abraham as a spiritual father, proving that he was indeed faithful in practicing Judaism. This man did have a concern for his five brothers who had potentially not yet heard of Jesus Christ (Luke 16:28). So purgatory would have been an ideal place for God to send the rich man. But the context plainly shows us that he was in hell (Luke 16:25). Moreover, the context does not leave room for some third place which is for the purification of souls. We read of a chasm that cannot be crossed (Luke 16:26). Where could purgatory possibly be? What purpose can it even serve? Upon death, Lazarus was sent directly to a place of paradise and comfort which the Jews called "Abraham's bosom."

          Jesus had the scribes and Pharisees in mind when He spoke these words. He was speaking from an eternal perspective. Christ was exposing the moral hypocrisy and corruption of the religious leaders of His day. He was rebuking them for closing the door to salvation for other people as they were leading them astray from the truth regarding His Messiahship. He was stressing the fact that God will not accept dead religion. The problem is that the hearts of the Jewish leaders had not been changed by God.

          Luke 16:19-31 is problematic for the Roman Catholic teaching on praying to Mary and the saints in general, as one portion of the text reads as follows:

        "And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Verses 27-31)

         Obviously, God has ordained as a general rule of thumb that the dead cannot have contact with the living (or visa versa). From this biblical principle follows implications that are dreadful for Roman Catholic theology. The credibility of Roman Catholic Marian apparitions has been injured. Prayer to saints and indulgences are rendered of no value. Moreover, Luke 16:29-31 is problematic in that it supports Sola Scriptura. If the witness of Scripture is not sufficient to convince an unbelieving heart, then nothing else is. The words of Scripture are the very words of God Himself.

         To make matters even worse here, the defense provided by the Roman Catholic apologist being critiqued is expressly contradicted by other Roman Catholic apologists. For example, Jan Wakelin of Catholic Answers says the following:

       "To say that the rich man must have been in purgatory because love cannot exist in hell is a conclusion based on an unsupportable premise. The Church does not teach that those in hell are bereft of all kinds of love. It is true that supernatural love of God cannot exist in hell, but a disordered love is involved in every mortal sin, and this perverse loving will remain."

         The Roman Catholic catechism also references to Luke 16:19-31 with the premise that the rich man went to hell. In other words, an interpretive tradition in regard to that passage from Luke has already been long established. Yet, we have a Roman Catholic apologist acting as his own pope! He is acting independently of Roman Catholic tradition. Moreover, this incident serves as a good illustration as to the hypocrisy of apologists for Rome who resort to the unity argument against Sola Scriptura. They themselves do not see eye to eye on many things.

         Of course, the claim that the rich man was in purgatory is untenable. The context does not warrant that assertion anywhere. In fact, this entire section of Scripture is in conflict with Roman Catholic theology. Luke 16:19-31 would have been an excellent place for Jesus Christ to make mention of purgatory, as the passage does give us a basic picture of the afterlife. But He does not. There is no opportunity to make amends for sin after death. Our fate is permanently sealed at the moment of physical death.

6 comments:

  1. Well done! Purgatory is an invention of man and nothing more.

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  2. First of all the rich man is clearly not in purgatory. He is in hell. Now the initial premises and conclusions that rebuttal included is a paradox so some of the premises must be wrong, and were shown to be wrong. There are disordered loves involved with sins. The rich man may have had ill motives in desiring his brothers to be converted. That hell is a place derived of the grace of God does need to be re-examined for it is a mercy and a grace for God to keep a person in existence given that existence is greater than non existence. So the initial argument has problems.
    I actually do not think that this passage should be used to argue for purgatory. There are in general not many passages to be used to argue for purgatory. There is the one in Corinthians in reference to the builder being saved while his work is destroyed. Another, Matt 5:26, telling us that we will not be released from our sin 'til each penny is paid. But I think Purgatory is generally a logical conclusion.
    No one dies perfect, free from all ill will and animosity. All men have sinned. We are justified by Christ, but our wills are not aligned with His, which is what I believe is part of heaven. So naturally we must be perfected. Our wills and hearts must be turned to God, and given the natural human condition, we will experience pain as the sores and pox are ciphened from us by the Great Physician. Purgatory is the perfecting of ourselves after death before we go before our God. I think it is difficult to believe that the extracting of the sinful nature from ourselves will be without pain.
    You decide to confront prayers to saints as well. Per usual, I admit that many Catholics take this concept to the brinks and perhaps idolatry itself. But the concept is not disproven because of the ill practiced of those who claim to adhere to it.
    First, has God prohibited contact with the dead? Before we answer this question, I think it is important to clear a misunderstanding in semantics. Saints are not dead, they are very much alive with God. A saint is in somewhat of the same situation as an angel, but even closer and more enveloped in the power of God. Now if saints are frequently sent by God to spread his message and convince people of the said message, it would be absurd to contend that someone greater than an angel would be prohibited by God. In the passage Jesus does not say that a sign won't be given when the Rich man asks for a resurrection. A resurrection does take place. Jesus is testifying at the near hopelessness of the Pharisees situation. Pride has taken them and caused them to be blind to God's grace.
    So will a human in perfect union with God appear to us at points of time to aid us? It is certainly plausible. Angels have appeared. So have Moses and Elijah. Jeremiah was seen praying for the Israelites in Maccabees. I see no contradictions.

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    Replies
    1. Sean,
      Purgatory is totally unbiblical and made up by a pope. Not even hinted at in the Bible:
      http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2010/06/unbiblical-catholic-sin-purgatory-and.html

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  3. But we have just covered saintly apparitions. What of communication with the saints? To that I would say, what of communications to your fellow sinful man? Do we not pray for others and likewise ask them to pray for us? What difference is there besides the saints even greater intimacy with God, which could do nothing more than assist the prayer? If we contend that we should pray directly to God, I would have no problem with that, but if that is the only way to go, I must ask you to stop requesting prayers from others, despite Jesus's command to Peter, "pray for your brothers!" There is nothing sinful of asking a saint to pray for you, especially when they live in a much greater union with God.
    Finally, it is suggested that we don't see a purgatory in the passage, and that the presence of an impassable chasm aids in disproving purgatory's existance. I do not see this. Purgatory is a temporary state, definitively placed on the side of heaven. That is the problem with C.S. Lewis's interpretation in the Great Divorce. There is no divide between heaven and hell. But purgatory is not a connection, it is just a temporary place before heaven, time we are made to a perfect being, for nothing not perfect can stand before the Lord. In Luke we are looking at the final resting places of the two individuals. This is why Purgatory is not seen.

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    Replies
    1. Sean,
      I recommend you put your research to the Bible and learn that praying to saints, i.e. praying to the dead, is unbiblical. The dead would have to be omniscient to hear prayers from around the world. The idea is totally unbiblical as well as illogical.
      http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2010/06/catholic-iconography-and-saints.html

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  4. Sean,

    "There is the one in Corinthians in reference to the builder being saved while his work is destroyed. Another, Matt 5:26, telling us that we will not be released from our sin 'til each penny is paid."

    I have addressed your proof texts in this article:

    https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2017/02/biblical-refutation-of-purgatory.html

    "But I think Purgatory is generally a logical conclusion. No one dies perfect, free from all ill will and animosity. All men have sinned."

    I have already examined your thesis in this article:

    https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2018/04/disemboweling-catholic-answers-logical.html

    "Per usual, I admit that many Catholics take this concept to the brinks and perhaps idolatry itself. But the concept is not disproven because of the ill practiced of those who claim to adhere to it."

    Prayer to the saints is wrong in of itself because such should be directed to God alone. Prayer is an act of worship.

    "Saints are not dead, they are very much alive with God. A saint is in somewhat of the same situation as an angel, but even closer and more enveloped in the power of God."

    I have addressed these issues thoroughly in these articles:

    https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2017/09/praying-to-departed-saints-is-unbiblical.html

    https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2019/07/debunking-proof-texts-roman-catholics.html

    "If we contend that we should pray directly to God, I would have no problem with that, but if that is the only way to go, I must ask you to stop requesting prayers from others, despite Jesus's command to Peter, "pray for your brothers!"

    Nice try buddy, but the Roman Catholic Church actually teaches that we are to pray to Mary and the saints. The vast majority of the prayers dedicated to them go far beyond simply asking them to pray on our behalf.

    https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2018/10/roman-catholicism-and-charges-of_3.html

    "There is no divide between heaven and hell."

    Then you are obligated to explain what Abraham meant when he spoke to the rich man in Luke 16:26.

    "But purgatory is not a connection, it is just a temporary place before heaven, time we are made to a perfect being, for nothing not perfect can stand before the Lord."

    But the rich man would have been a perfect candidate for purgatory. If that place really does exist, then why did his soul not end up there instead of hell?

    "In Luke we are looking at the final resting places of the two individuals. This is why Purgatory is not seen."

    The problem with this argument is that out of all the passages in the New Testament describing the intermediate state, nowhere is purgatory alluded to.

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