PURGATORY & PROTESTANT THEOLOGY
Purgatory was the entire foundation of the indulgence trade of Luther’s day; so no purgatory means no indulgences. Can the concept of purgatory be cleaned up once and for all?
Most recently there has been a renewed interest in purgatory among committed evangelicals. Why?
The Reformers agree that the doctrine of purgatory is “contrary to Scripture and antiquity.” “Scripture simply does not give us detailed information either way on this question.
The best we can do is lay out the view that seems most likely. It makes better sense of how the remains of sin are purged than the typical Protestant account that it happens instantly and immediately at or after death
ONLY PERFECTION IN HEAVEN
We know that there is only perfection in heaven. Though there is a debt to be paid, nevertheless, at death the soul still can be made perfect. Perfection can be received at the end of purgatory, rather than at the beginning. It would make more moral sense if the souls in purgatory experienced punishment and pain precisely because of their moral defects and blemishes as well as the guilt of their sins to expiate. Even when the guilt of sin has been taken away, punishment for it or the consequences of it may remain to be expiated or cleansed.
One does not suffer in purgatory to pay a moral debt or “complete penance in order to satisfy divine justice”. Rather, suffering occurs to grow one into perfection. The payment of debt is the means by which God cleanses the soul and makes it spiritually healthy. If lost sinners have multiple opportunities before death to repent, why not after death as well?
Despite all the previous arguments you may still affirm that Christ’s righteousness is “the gift of salvation because Christ pardons them of sin in such a way that they are no longer required to pay any sort of debt of punishment” So consequently you say that there is no purgatory.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU ARE WRONG?
Let us take a different tact. If what you believe is true, what would happen if you are wrong? I will explain the risk: your beloved ones who have died would be doomed to stay in purgatory without any hope of relief before eventually going to heaven. They await your loving prayers but to no avail, because you simply don’t believe in purgatory. Continue reading Can Purgatory be Cleaned up?