Miyerkules, Pebrero 08 2012
One of the most controversial teaching of the Catholic Church is the existence of purgatory.The Protestants denied this teaching saying it’s not biblical.Granting that they are right but is this teaching a grave offence against God? Does God get provoked and condemn us (Catholics) in hell just because we believe and teach that He (God) cleanse us in purgatory before admitting us to heaven? Do devils welcome Catholics with arms wide open in hell just because of our belief that God cleanses us first? But is this teaching really not biblical?
My respect goes to Protestants for some of their teachings and their strict observance of the bible. We, Catholics, don’t say that Protestants will never be saved. It is written in the bible that God will judge man according to what he did (2Cor.5:10) not because you are a Catholic or because you are a Protestant. But we should know that Christ built one church (Matt.16:18-19 /acts 20:28) for the purpose of uniting all believers under Christ’s supervision being the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23 / Jonh10:15-16). That in His (Christ) Church alone we’ll find the fullness of the truth (1Tim.3:15). In understanding the bible we have to observe Jesus’ several ways of revealing the truth.There are truths that he expressed in explicit manner and others are implied (implicit). In the bible (John 3:16 ) it was stated that for God so love the world, he gave his only son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Then what is our understanding of this passage? Simple and that is that God loves his people. That He sent Jesus to us so that through believing in him we will be having eternal life. It seems we just re-stated what God has said. In this verses the truth was clearly emphasized (explicit). But in John 2:19 Jesus said “Destroy this temple,and in three days I will raise it up”. Jesus did not explain what kind of temple it is that will be destroyed, that’s why the Jews and even his disciples were confused. But much later they learned what Jesus meant and that is when he resurrected. John properly explained it in John 2:21-22. Also try to read John 2:20. While it is true that he (Jesus) will resurrect three days after his death, the crowd were confused what he really meant at that time, but the truth of His resurrection is already implied (implicit). To understand better let’s take on Jesus’ other teachings. In one of his sermons, He said that if your right eye causes you to sin,cut it off and threw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members, than that your whole body be thrown into hell…(Matt.5:29-30a) . Do Christians,specially Protestants literally follow this considering that this teaching is biblical? I don’t think so.
A case in point;
Victor work as a utility man in one of the beach cottages in Aligway, a beautiful island with white sand in Mindanao. It is approximately an hour ride via pump boat from Dipolog city. Tourists from Dakak Beach Resort (Dakak is in Dapitan City and is 30 minutes bus ride away from Dipolog) also visit this place. After several years Victor got ill ,and after a few weeks his Doctor told his parents that he will not survive his illness. So his father decided to summon a priest for Victor’s confession. Actually this is the problem of a non-indoctrinated Catholic, they do not know the real teaching and doctrine of the Church,they just go to confession when they think they are dying. When the priest came, he started conversing with Victor. Asking him how his Christian life is.
Priest: Do you read the bible?
Victor : Yes father, my cousin is an Adventist and he encouraged me to read the bible and join their church.
Priest : You join them?
Victor: No father there are so many things they try to avoid. (he..he..he… so it’s better to be a protestant than to be a catholic joke…joke…joke…)
Priest: Hmm.. What are your sins?
Victor : That’s my problem father, cause I had read in the bible that if your eye has sinned you have to take it out before entering heaven.
Priest ; Why ? what did you do?
Victor : I used to watch beautiful tourists in swimsuit in distance and when they take shower, I rush to the bathroom cause I already prepared a peep hole in every bathroom using my knife. It is my only chance to view their beauty closely when they remove their swimsuits and take shower. It’s so much fun father. But I used to watch them using my right eye only. So it’s only my right eye which has sinned and must be taken out.
Priest: No son, your hands had sinned also because you use it in drilling a peep hole.
Victor:You mean I have to cut my hands also?
Priest : Not necessarily because the desire is in your heart and your brain had told you to do act on it.
Victor : (In a very low voice with tears dropping slowly from his eyes) So it includes my heart and brain?Priest : Tell me more, what did you do when you saw naked ladies in bathrooms?
Victor : That’s another problem father because I used to pull out my dedication and using again my hand I dedicate something to their beauty.
Priest : So meaning, you have to cut also your dedication.
Victor : So what is left from me for heaven are my stomach, feet and the left eye.
Priest : Not unless your feet is also responsible of taking you there.
Victor : Oh My God! So there are only my stomach and left eye left of me to heaven. And if my cousin is right that eating pork is a sin then what’s left of me is only my left eye. Please Father cover my left eye before it will sin so I could have something left in heaven.
Priest : Don’t you worry son, God is so merciful, his work and plan are so wonderful. I know what’s in your mind. You know what, one of Jesus’ apostle asked before,”Then in that case who will go to heaven? Jesus replied that God has done it for you.What is impossible to man is made possible by God (Mark 10:24-27). God will restore your body pure and clean. That is after He (God) cleanse it in the purgatory.
Victor : Is it true father?
Priest: Yes my son. Jesus did sacrifice and died for our sin. This is God’s plan of salvation. What is left is man’s participation in the process of salvation. Because salvation is not as easy as getting directly into heaven everything should be in order according to his plan. We must suffer also the consequences of our sins. Jesus’ sacrifice is a great manifestation of God’s love. But it does not mean that we are already free to do anything thinking that God will just forgive us. (dawat limpyo).
Victor: Thank God and thank you father. It’s good that I did not become an Adventist because they don’t have purgatory there otherwise I could have only my stomach in heaven. he…he…he…joke…joke….joke..(To the Adventists , my salute and admiration of your practice and discipline.)
Purgatory is from the latin word“purgatorium” in spanish “porgatorio” . It is a place (for) or state of cleansing. Is it biblical? Yes. First, there is the word wash and the concept of washing of sins : “When the Lord shall have washed the filth of the daughters of sion…..and by the spirit of burning.( Isa.4:4 a,b ) . Second, the word fire : And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried : They shall call on my name , and I will hear them: I will say , it is my people : and they shall say the Lord is my God. (.Zechariah 13:9 ) Mark 9:49 For every one shall be salted with fire ,and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt .In Paul’s letters to the Corinthians (1 cor.3: 13-15 ) he said, ” Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire ; and the fire shall try every man,s work of what sort it is .If any man,s work abide which he hath built thereupon, shall recieve reward. If any man,s work shall be burend, he shall be saved ; yet so as by fire .In Rev. 21:27 God said no one who has sinned and lied can enter heaven and yet everyone has sinned and lied with a few exceptions for those whom he has specially chosen. Then who will go to heaven? Protestants will answers that God has forgiven us ( Protestants ) and wiped away our sins.Yes it’s true, but God’s forgiveness has a condition and the verses I quoted showed that man will also suffer the consequences of their sins before the absolution. Do Protestants believe that the love that he (God the Father) has for men is more intense than that of his love for his only son, Jesus Christ? That He allowed his son to suffer while man is to do nothing but merely ask forgiveness and he shall be in heaven afterwards? Does it sound right ? Remember God is just (Psalms 7:11).If you sin less ,then you’ll have less punishment,but if you have a lot of sins then your punishment is heavier. In Luke 12:47-48, Jesus stated that if you sin and have been given proper judgement then you will be placed to prison and serve your sentence till it is over.In Matt.5:26 it was shown that when it’s over, then you’ll be free again.Purgatory is like that and it is biblical. Protestants should not encourage their followers to just merely ask the Lord’s forgiveness for their sin thinking that it ends there and they will have heaven as their reward. It’s wrong for the more you sin, the more you’ll be punished. In Luke.12:48, it was shown that parents should always forgive their children but in forgiveness there is always a condition. Sometimes it include reasonable punishment, reminding how they love them.For punishment is love (Heb.12:5-6)
My challenge to Protestants is to explain Jesus Christ’s teaching in Matt 5:29-30 and if your counter argument is biblical then you were right in accusing Catholics of none biblical teaching about purgatory.But if your explanation is based only on how your personal interpretation and is not found in the bible ,then why do you keep on accusing us of none biblical teachings? You always give assurance (your teachings) to your followers that they are already saved. We, Catholics, teach them to struggle with the grace of God and also with faith. Read :1 Peter 5:8 /Ephesian 6:11-18/ Matt.24:13.
Posted by: Bro.Nicholai Lucenos,CFD,PDR