Monday, November 09, 2009

Purgatorial musings

HT: Carrie, Acroamaticus

See the HT. I have been looking at interchanges on this subject. One thing that attracted me is this book:

Hungry Souls:
Supernatural Visits, Messages, and Warnings from Purgatory
By: Gerard J.M. Van Den Aardweg

What got my attention is that this is purported to be written by a Luther dude. It says:

After a week of hearing ghostly noises, a man is visited in his home by the spirit of his mother, dead for three decades. She reproaches him for his dissolute life and begs him to have Masses said in her name. Then she lays her hand on his sleeve, leaving an indelible burn mark, and departs...

A Lutheran minister, no believer in Purgatory, is the puzzled recipient of repeated visitations from "demons" who come to him seeking prayer, consolation, and refuge in his little German church. But pity for the poor spirits overcomes the man's skepticism, and he marvels at what kind of departed souls could belong to Christ and yet suffer still...

Hungry Souls recounts these stories and many others trustworthy, Church-verified accounts of earthly visitations from the dead in Purgatory. Accompanying these accounts are images from the "Museum of Purgatory" in Rome, which contains relics of encounters with the Holy Souls, including numerous evidences of hand prints burned into clothing and books; burn marks that cannot be explained by natural means or duplicated by artificial ones.

Now think about this for a moment. So, God allows souls in Purgatory to bop up and down, visit earth and speak to people like this Lutheran pastor? And rather than this Lutheran pastor going to Scripture and rejecting his experience, no, he gets to become and Enthusiast.

Precisely, what kind of departed soul who belongs to Christ and yet suffer still.

When Saul visited the Witch of Endor, Samuel apparently appeared to him. Consulting mediums is not something God approves. I guess my point is that this pastor should have gone with his first impression, that these are demons coming to help spread false doctrine.

I do not believe Purgatory is Biblical for a very simple reason - If Jesus did not pay it all, Jesus did not pay it at all. (J.K. you might recall this is a Baptist quote). No matter what RC teaching on it happens to be and how nuanced their presentation of it happens to be, it is a spurious doctrine that has immense impact on the doctrine of justification.


Acroamaticus said...

Interesting. Humanly speaking, belief in purgatory dovetails quite nicely with the belief that we contribute to our salvation but also with our contemporary fascination with the supernatural and the afterlife (Ghost Whisperer, etc). No wonder Benedict XVI once said, "If purgatory did not exist, we would haev to invent it". He had his finger on the pulse of modern humanity. You'll never starve by giving people what they want.

LPC said...

Indeed. The explanation I read is that both believer and unbeliever go there and the first gets fiery cleansed but the other experiences hell. The RC likes to pride himself that it has both/and. So let us try this...

They believe it is by faith alone and works also. Two headed monster.

We do not mind having two horns of a dilemma, if it is biblicallly sanctioned, but this theory of faith + works clearly does not have logical coherence per biblical data. Jesus paying for our sins and us paying for it ourselves even partially is slap at Jesus.


Steve said...

If Christ did not accomplish everything for me on that cross, then He didn't accomplish anything for me on that cross.

LPC said...


This the conclusion you get with Purgatory.


joel in ga said...

George MacDonald, who probably influenced C.S. Lewis' thinking on purgatory, seemed to favor the idea that in the hereafter we will have opportunity to make amends to those whom we have wronged in this life, similar to when salvation came to Zacchaeus and he promised to make restitution to his victims. Any thoughts on that?

LPC said...

Hi Joel,

Absence from the body is presence with the Lord, right?

Also the sin I commit against my fellow man is first a sin against God.

For the case of Zaccheus, he restored what he stole in his lifetime.

So by Jesus' death, he pays my sin against God and Man (which is again a sin against God).

That is my take on it. Anything that might going on in your mind?


joel in ga said...

Well, I suppose the strength of MacDonald's pious speculation is the analogy it makes between this life and how the salvation effected by Christ works out in our lives on a practical level and the life of the world to come. Of course, nobody on this side of glory knows how far such an analogy might apply, if at all.

LPC said...

Sorry for the late response Joel,

Been busy with the Maier discussion.

Agree indeed, our analogies fail, it only approximates. But here is the reasoning I have seen RC folk do, they make the analogy the reality!

So they posit that purgatory must be real on the basis of analogy.

On another note, if a sinner guilty of murder becomes a Christian, what could he restore? If restoration is life for life then where does that go, I ask?


joel in ga said...

That's a good question. One can only speculate. I might venture to say that applying capital punishment to such a murderer could give him the chance to make amends to his victim, if any can be made, sooner rather than later.