Sola Scriptura and Purgatory


Q. What scriptures support the Doctrine of Purgatory?

A. You ask for this because you are convinced that the final authority for your beliefs is scripture. And I know you are sincere in this because I was also, when I was a Protestant. But this practice would never have caught on if it had not been invented 1500 years after Christ, after the canonization of the Bible, and also, after the invention of the printing press. Because most people could not even read let alone afford a Bible. See my post on Sola Scriptura.

I want to be very clear about a very fundamental difference between the Protestant Churches and the Catholic Church. Starting in the years after 1517 Protestants began to sit down with Sacred Scripture and REJECT ALL HISTORICAL CHRISTIAN BELIEFS they did not like or that they could not find explicitly in Scripture. They mistakenly believed that they were deriving their new religion OUT OF SCRIPTURE. But this is simply not the case. As can be seen by the following evidence.

“Luther removed seven OT books and five NT books. Not because he found a table of contents in scripture alone but because these books contradicted his new religion.

The Protestants kept the historic Christian doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation because they agreed with them and they were hinted at in scripture but not because they were stated clearly and unambiguously in scripture, the way Protestants demand scripture for Purgatory or the Immaculate Conception. As proof of this take the Jehovah’s Witnesses who reject the Trinity and Incarnation on the basis of scripture alone.

Luther and Henry VIII kept the doctrine of the Real Presence in the Eucharist based on their Interpretation of scripture alone but later reformers rejected this Historic Christian Doctrine based on their INTERPRETATION of scripture alone. And so the division of Christ’s Church began in earnest despite:

John 17:20-23“My prayer is …. 21 that all of them may be ONE, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. … I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be ONE as we are ONE: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete UNITY to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

…which Protestants ignore or interpret away despite their proclamation of Sola Scriptura. Once Sacred Scripture was unhinged from Historic Christianity anyone’s interpretation was just as good as anyone else’s. No final authority existed anywhere in Protestantism. So division was unavoidable.

So, regarding Purgatory I cannot give any scripture that categorically teaches the Doctrine of Purgatory that would satisfy a sola scriptura Protestant. I can show you verses that imply the doctrine HERE. I can show you writings of the early Church fathers from before the time when the Bible was canonized HERE or HERE at Catholic Answers. I can show you that the concept, of the need for purification before attaining Heaven, has roots in the Jewish Faith HERE.

If you are able to believe it is possible to sit down 2000 years after the birth of Jesus and read scripture and interpret it infallibly all by yourself, disregarding what Christians believed in the years immediately following the death of the apostles, you have more faith than I do. But, by what authority do you claim infallibility? Or does Luther claim infallibility? Or Calvin? Or any of the Protestant sects?

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