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Featured Doctrinal Origin from Pope Gregory I

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Swordman007, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. Swordman007

    Swordman007 Truth Seeker

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    I'm wondering if there's anyone who can explain the doctrine of purgatory?

    Given that the doctrine didn't even exist until Gregory I revealed it in about 593 AD, did purgatory not exist until that time, given that it was completely unknown to christendom before that time, so far as I can find, all the way back to the time of the apostles? I mean, if the apostles knew about it, then why did it not become a central doctrine until 593 AD?

    What are the authoritative definitions for that place, and who goes there, and by what criteria?

    I realize this has probably been asked many times, but reading through the posts, it appears there was application of all kinds of logical fallacies on both sides of the argument. Can anyone summarize the criteria for that place with a bird's eye view of that criteria without having to read through myriads of ancient literature?

    This captured my attention because of the thief on the cross who was told by Jesus that he would be with Jesus in paradise that very day as is recorded in the Greek texts.

    I noticed that some claimed the thief had done his suffering on his cross to negate his need for cleansing, while others claimed he had done his indulgence and prayer works for everything before his crucifixion, and the crucifixion itself purged his thefts. It seems like those explanations strain at imagination, with no adherents willing to admit that maybe the doctrine itself is flawed, or downright false, or even originating from one or more of the many religions of Rome at that time. The ancient Greeks and Roman religions spoke of a place in the afterlife called the Asphodel Fields, where dwelled a varied selection of human souls...those whose sins equaled their goodness, were indecisive in their lives, or were not judged. This is very similar to purgatory. The ancient Egyptian and buddhist religions also had a similar place in their belief systems.

    So I'm wondering how anyone can so easily make claimed assumptions about that thief without addressing only the known facts. I mean, it seems dangerous for anyone to not desire to test doctrines to see if they can withstand scrutiny rather than accepting it blindly; without question, just because someone in the ancient past claimed it's true who is not among the apostles who lived and walked with Jesus.
     
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  2. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    It is actually more complicated than most people suspect, even Catholics. But because this is a purely Roman Catholic doctrine, you might help yourself by taking your question straight to the Catholif forum here. "One Bread, One Body" is its name.
     
  3. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    Well, we can notice that the thief on the cross turned to Christ in faith only just shortly before his own mortal death, and thereby was forgiven all his sins in his life up until that very moment, and then did not have any opportunity to commit more sins or accumulate any new debt of sins after that baptism and cleansing of his up till that moment accumulated sins by Christ's Words....

    I've wondered about purgatory also, because of 2 passages that have raised the question. Make that 3 passages.

    Two passages in the gospel of Luke, and one passage in the 1rst epistle of Peter.

    First, the parable of Lazarus and the Rich man -- Bible Gateway passage: Luke 16:19-31 - New International Version

    After you read it, notice the verse: 25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony."

    2nd, the parable of the Unforgiving Servant -- Bible Gateway passage: Matthew 18:21-35 - New International Version

    Notice the verse: 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

    Here, the suffering continues until he has paid his debt.​

    3rd, the "spirits in prison" passage in 1rst Peter -- Bible Gateway passage: 1 Peter 3:18-20 - New International Version

    Notice that these sinners (who "filled the Earth with violence" -- Genesis chapter 6) are visited by Christ Himself after the crucifiction, where He proclaims to them! (!) They are going to get a chance to repent (!), to be saved, those that are willing to truly repent with faith.​

    In each instance, it seems as if souls that have already passed from this temporary mortal life are in a place of payment for their sins, where the time of paying for their sins might get completed, it seems, and/or be commuted for some (that is, those willing to truly trust Christ, in faith)! So, I suppose if one chose to call any of these 'purgatory' then evidently it would then definitely exist.

    Martin Luther famously objected in many of his 95 theses to various Catholic practices concerning 'indulgences', a reduction in time purgatory it seems. One scandal suggested by popular films is a depiction of traveling solicitors that would solicit payments of money from Catholics for indulgences. At least in these depictions, which seem to be very consistently portrayed in various films about Luther, the practice does seem scandalous, to purchase a remission of sins with mere money.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
  4. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    There might be someone that shows up with good answers, but meanwhile, I found this just now:

    All Christians agree that we won’t be sinning in heaven. Sin and final glorification are utterly incompatible. Therefore, between the sinfulness of this life and the glories of heaven, we must be made pure. Between death and glory there is a purification.

    Thus, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned” (CCC 1030–1).

    The concept of an after-death purification from sin and the consequences of sin is also stated in the New Testament in passages such as 1 Corinthians 3:11–15 and Matthew 5:25–26, 12:31–32.

    The doctrine of purgatory, or the final purification, has been part of the true faith since before the time of Christ. The Jews already believed it before the coming of the Messiah, as revealed in the Old Testament (2 Macc. 12:41–45) as well as in other pre-Christian Jewish works. Orthodox Jews to this day believe in the final purification, and for eleven months after the death of a loved one, they pray a prayer called the Mourner’s Kaddish for their loved one’s purification.
    ...
    What the Early Church Believed: Purgatory

    Ah, this has some passages we can look up to test the suggested meaning in this article to the meaning as suggested when read in a more full context! :)

    The "until you have paid the last penny' is is actually the first wording that came to mind as I read your OP question, though I mentioned others above (so I had 4 in mind at some level actually) --

    25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
     
  5. Michie

    Michie Human rights begin in the womb. Supporter

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  6. Swordman007

    Swordman007 Truth Seeker

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    Just so you know, I'm pretty much in agreement with Dr. John Barnett when he said that it's better to read only the black and red spaces than to try and fill in all the massive amounts of white space around the letters with personal and/or borrowed meanings not supported specifically by the text and the context.

    I don't get these passages as being a parallel given that they speak specifically of fires that test what works are good and what are bad at the judgement. If that was a reference to a purging of sin, one would think such a concept would be clearly defined in the text.


    The chapter five reference is an allegory of an earthly scenario of one facing their adversary on the way to court. I don't see in the context that a place called purgatory is even hinted at. In chapter 12, that too seems a big stretch to force purgatory into that one, as if He's being intentionally cryptic to the point that we must figure out His meaning as a reference to some place called purgatory.



    I can say that I personally subscribe to Jewish thought and beliefs. That's a hard one to swallow when we also take into the panorama the many other beliefs they harbor that we as Christians reject outright.

    None of this gets me past the fact that it wasn't introduced into the RCC as official doctrine until the latter part of the sixth century, like the celibacy of their priesthood not being declared as an official requirement until 1079 AD, and indulgences until 1190 AD, which is supposedly tied directly to purgatory. So, when I look at all the doctrines that came in so much later, way past the time of the apostles, their Peter seemed to be quite remiss at introducing all the establishments of the many doctrinal additions that took place; sometimes a century or more later. Purgatory wasn't even declared a dogma until 1439 AD. That's remarkable.

    One may argue that they all were always established beliefs, only to be protected later by decree against alleged onslaughts of challenges. I don't see any of that throughout their history, but purgatory seems to be a central thread to them all that demands that the blood of their Jesus was insufficient to have cleansed them of all their sins.

    This all is just a curiosity to me since I have lots of time to ponder things while out exercising without earbuds or any other distractions. It's just something to hit me today as I'm always exploring deeper thought to work my way toward absolute truth as best I can.
     
  7. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    It should be said, however, that this is just the newer, more palatable version of Purgatory that the Church is currently promoting. The historic doctrine holds that Purgatory is a place of purgation, punishment that's no less painful than what's suffered by the souls in Hell. And it is not just for unforgiven sins, but for sins that have already been forgiven! That is to say, even the saved must "pay" for having sinned in the first place, even if they've been forgiven of them in Confession or some other way and are, therefore, assured of Heaven. In other words, Purgatory is for nearly everyone who is bound, ultimately, for Heaven.

    Modern Catholics naturally are unwilling to believe such Medieval stuff, so the Church has unofficially begun to redefine Purgatory...and the section you quoted exemplifies this new approach.

    Instead of purgation, the word used is "purification," even though it's the first one of these usages that gives its name to the place. This new approach has been called the "celestial washroom" because it posits a Purgatory that is a quickie re-orientation prior to the soul entering into Heaven. So it's no longer time-consuming or painful, therefore who could dispute that or fear it?

    The reason for all this subterfuge may need to be understood also. Unlike Limbo (unbaptized infants), which the Church disposed of a few years ago, Purgatory was the creation of a church council, so dumping it cannot honestly be explained away in the way Limbo's expiration is explained--"well, it never was official, you know."

    Purgatory will continue to be taught, but the "Purgatory" that is referred to now is not the Purgatory of the previous 600 or so years of Church history.


    .................................................................................................

     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
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  8. Swordman007

    Swordman007 Truth Seeker

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    That's interesting. So, what the roman catholic Jesus did was decrease the amount of time they spend in their purgatory? In other words, when it was written Luke 24:47 "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem," it doesn't mean what it says? The Greek word translated "remission," within its grammatical and contextual definition, is "release, forgiveness, pardon, the letting them go, remission of their penalty," according to the Greek lexicon.

    That seems a rather large pill to swallow, especially given that it has roots in deepest paganism before Roman Catholicism was ever known to the world, although the pagan versions had variations throughout.
     
  9. Swordman007

    Swordman007 Truth Seeker

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    Another thing that comes to mind is where Paul discusses the taking up of believers who are still alive after the dead in Christ are resurrected.

    [1 Cor. 15:51-54] 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

    Paul, being as precise as he always was, left out any intermediary place of purging...either that, or he had gone soft in the head with memory problems. Of course, some might jam it into that text white space area on the basis of what they think is implied in other places.

    It just seems strange to me that Paul and other of the apostles would leave out exact and unmistakable declarations for a purging if it were real. The Jews are notorious for embracing pagan thought on numerous things throughout the centuries when we recall how many pagan beliefs they polluted themselves with when having bound themselves to foreign, pagan systems of idol worship and beliefs.

    I guess what I'm getting at is that I try to keep myself free from the "powers of suggestion." The human mind can be swayed to believe just about anything when given over to such. What makes that power even more effective is when one or more religious leaders, who believe something patently false, demand the efficacy of even a false belief, therefore leading most others astray who have stars in their eyes for such leaders, the masses never doing what Paul said, which is to "PROVE ALL THINGS."
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
  10. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    But remember that the idea is that the Cross remitted the ETERNAL punishment for sins. Those who believe (and do the good works, etc.) will be saved. Purgatory is not for those who are lost; they go to Hell.

    BUT Purgatory is supposed to be where the saved are sent to suffer for 1) lesser sins that would not deprive a person of salvation AND ALSO 2) them having committed more grievous sins that were later forgiven (in Confession, for example).

    That's right. The doctrine of Purgatory is old but not that old. It's not something that the Apostolic Church believed, for instance.
     
  11. Valletta

    Valletta Active Member

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    Celibacy for priests is not "doctrine." It is a discipline. Sometimes teaching is made official through councils and the popes due to heresy and is then clarified--that does not mean it never previously existed.
     
  12. Valletta

    Valletta Active Member

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    The Apostles taught from the Greek Septuagint and taught that prayers for the dead (and thus the concept of purgatory) as in Maccabees were the Word of God.
     
  13. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    But more than that, it is a requirement. However that only applies to the Latin rite and not entirely there, either, to the extent that married priests in Anglican and Lutheran churches are now permitted to convert, become Catholic priests, and remain married.
     
  14. Valletta

    Valletta Active Member

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    Yes, you are right. It was required for all, then it was changed. Another example of a discipline is not eating meat on Fridays in Lent.
     
  15. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    We need to get that passage from Maccabees correct. Whether or not it belongs in the Bible, it does not recommend praying for the dead.

    What is reported there is that certain Jews did pray for the souls of their dead. There is no indication as to whether this was right to do or not. There are many bits of information in Scripture about practices or beliefs engaged in by some, a few, or most Jews of the OT period, and it certainly is not the case that all of these are right for Christians.
     
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  16. Valletta

    Valletta Active Member

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    This was first Jewish belief and then Christian belief from the early centuries to today, but that belief was discarded by Protestants during reformation times.
     
  17. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    No, that's not so. There was no conception of Purgatory until well into Christian history when it was simply invented along with all the rest that makes it what it is supposed to be--Indulgences, the Treasury of Merit, Temporal Punishment, etc.
     
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  18. Valletta

    Valletta Active Member

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    The purification spoken of in the Bible takes place before we enter Heaven, and nothing unclean can enter Heaven. We call this purification purgatory..we call purgatory.
    Mt 12:32
    And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
    2 Mc 12:42-46
    Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.
    “We offer sacrifices for the dead on their birthday anniversaries [the date of death—birth into eternal life]” (The Crown 3:3 [A.D. 211]).Tertullian

    “A woman, after the death of her husband . . . prays for his soul and asks that he may, while waiting, find rest; and that he may share in the first resurrection. And each year, on the anniversary of his death, she offers the sacrifice” (Monogamy 10:1–2 [A.D. 216]). Tertullian
    “Then we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition; next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and, to put it simply, of all among us who have already fallen asleep, for we believe that it will be of very great benefit to the souls of those for whom the petition is carried up, while this holy and most solemn sacrifice is laid out” (Catechetical Lectures 23:5:9 [A.D. 350]). Cyril of Jerusalem
     
  19. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Well, for at least 600 years before this, the church did NOT call it that. The church did not consider it to be what Purgatory was all about, either. I explained all that in an earlier post.
     
  20. Swordman007

    Swordman007 Truth Seeker

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    Where does that distinction come from, because I don't see any of the verses speaking of the redemptive power of the Blood of Christ Jesus as not having the cleansing ability for lesser sins. I don't even see the scriptures differentiating sins as having levels...except one, which is when the pharisees accused Jesus of doing His miracles by the power of Beelzebub.

    What is the apostolic church? Is that one of many denominations?
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
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