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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Is Purgatory Biblical?

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For many, whether purgatory is Biblical is something of a no-brainer. After all, the word "purgatory" appears nowhere in the Bible. Which puts it in the company of other words, such as "Trinity,""Incarnation," or even, that curious belief known as "the Rapture."

Although the word purgatory does not appear in the Bible, it refers to a concept that is Biblical. The Bible refers to a time where our works will be tested by fire. It is a time of purification, where our sins will be purged from our souls, so that we will enter heaven purified. Over time, this time of "purging" became known as "purgatory."

1 Cor 3:13-15: 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, he shall receive a reward.

If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

This indicates that even though a man's work was burned and he suffered loss, he was saved. This is not the all or nothing of heaven or hell, but a purification before entering heaven.

1 Peter 1:7: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ

Jude 23: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

So, if purgatory is Biblical, does it follow that our prayers make any difference to those are being purified?

2 Tim. 1:16-18 is an example of Paul praying for the dead, in this case, a man named Onesiphorus.

Praying for the dead was common practice among the Jews at that time. It has been the practice at least as long as the time of the Maccabees. 2 Maccabees 12:43–45 states "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 dead 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." These verses are the primary reason that the deuterocanonical books were removed from the Old Testament. They justified praying for the dead.

Praying for the dead remains the Jewish practice today. Orthodox Jews recite the Kaddish for eleven months after the death of a parent, to pray for their purification. Judaism 101 says "According to Jewish tradition, the soul must spend some time purifying itself before it can enter the World to Come."

While many contend that purgatory and praying for the dead was a medieval Roman Catholic invention, there is ample evidence that this was a belief of the early Christians. Visit the catacombs, and you find prayers for the dead scrawled on the wall in examples of graffiti dating to the first three centuries of Christianity.

Other writings of that era such as Acts of Paul and Thecla and the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity also attest to this belief.

The Early Church Fathers, who, being "early" predated Medieval times by quite a bit, also wrote on this topic. Tertullian, writes in the second century, "We offer sacrifices for the dead on their birthday anniversaries [the date of death—birth into eternal life]."

Gregory of Nyssa, writing in the late third century, says ""If a man distinguish in himself what is peculiarly human from that which is irrational, and if he be on the watch for a life of greater urbanity for himself, in this present life he will purify himself of any evil contracted, overcoming the irrational by reason. If he has inclined to the irrational pressure of the passions, using for the passions the cooperating hide of things irrational, he may afterward in a quite different manner be very much interested in what is better, when, after his departure out of the body, he gains knowledge of the difference between virtue and vice and finds that he is not able to partake of divinity until he has been purged of the filthy contagion in his soul by the purifying fire."

You can read more excerpts of these early Christian writers here.

So, to summarize Catholic teaching on purgatory in a Biblical way:

We must be spotless and pure in God's presence.
Rev 21:27
Matt 5:8

Christ promised there was punishment that exacted what was due but wasn't endless. (And Paul supported this teaching.)
Matt 5: 20-26
Matt 12:32
Matt 18:21-35
Matt 25:31-46
Luke 12:58-59
Heb 9:27
Psalm 99:8

This punishment isn't in Hell because you can't be saved through hellfire. Also, there's no punishment in Heaven.
1 Corinthians 3:10-16
2 Corinthians 5:9-11
Hebrews 12:6, 11

Those who are alive can pray for those who are dead (and vice versa).
1 John 5:16-17
Luke 16:19-31
2 Maccabees 12:38-46
Sirach 7:33

To end, I think a quotation from C.S. Lewis from Letters To Malcolm is in order.

"Of course I pray for the dead. The action is so spontaneous, so all but inevitable, that only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter me. And I hardly know how the rest of my prayers would survive if those for the dead were forbidden. At our age, the majority of those we love best are dead. What sort of intercourse with God could I have if what I love best were unmentionable to him?

I believe in Purgatory.

Mind you, the Reformers had good reasons for throwing doubt on the 'Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory' as that Romish doctrine had then become.....

The right view returns magnificently in Newman's DREAM. There, if I remember it rightly, the saved soul, at the very foot of the throne, begs to be taken away and cleansed. It cannot bear for a moment longer 'With its darkness to affront that light'. Religion has claimed Purgatory.

Our souls demand Purgatory, don't they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, 'It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy'? Should we not reply, 'With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I'd rather be cleaned first.' 'It may hurt, you know' - 'Even so, sir.'

I assume that the process of purification will normally involve suffering. Partly from tradition; partly because most real good that has been done me in this life has involved it. But I don't think the suffering is the purpose of the purgation. I can well believe that people neither much worse nor much better than I will suffer less than I or more. . . . The treatment given will be the one required, whether it hurts little or much.

My favourite image on this matter comes from the dentist's chair. I hope that when the tooth of life is drawn and I am 'coming round',' a voice will say, 'Rinse your mouth out with this.' This will be Purgatory. The rinsing may take longer than I can now imagine. The taste of this may be more fiery and astringent than my present sensibility could endure. But . . . it will [not] be disgusting and unhallowed."

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27 comments:

Elena said...

Well done!!!

motherofmany said...

Hi! My answer won't fit here. so I'm gonna put it up on my page. ;0

Elena said...

I've only been using blogger comments for a short time my self - I'm a former Halo Scan user.

Nonetheless, I just tested out the comments and I know that they hold at least 5 pages of a word document and over 2,400 words. I have searched the blogger forums and if there is a limit to how big the comments can be, I haven't found it. In other words Amy, unless your comment is over 3000 words long it certainly should be able to fit in these com boxes.

motherofmany said...

"..and finds that he is not able to partake of divinity until he has been purged of the filthy contagion in his soul by the purifying fire."

What about "For the wages of sin is death..." Romans 6:23? The price for sin is death, not a purification period. Any sin that we have in us (blemish, impurity, whatever you want to call it) demands death. None of us can correct our own sins, which is why we needed Jesus to be the substitutionary sacrifice. To say that we then still must be purified makes his blood of no power (Hebrews 10:28-29).

The verse in 1 Corinthians 3 is out of context. If you start reading in verse 9, you will see that he is talking about the foundation that must be built for Christians, and how there is only one foundation that will last. Any man who builds upon a foundation of worldly things will suffer loss (though they may still be saved if their sins are covered), but those who build the foundation on Christ (verse 11) will reap a reward. In other words, when we live our lives as Christ desires, we will benefit both here and in heaven. If we misunderstand and try to build up a worldly 'kingdom', but we still believe, our work will be lost but we will still be saved.

The same for 1 Peter 1:7. If you read verse 6 it is obvious he is talking about the temptations we will face in our earthly lives while trying to follow Christ. He says first (beginning in the first verse) that we have a great deal to rejoice about because we have an inheritance which in not corruptible waiting for us in heaven. Then in verse 6 he says we may have to fave a season of heaviness on earth, as our faith is tested by the world, but that we should continue by holding on to that promise (verse 9).

Jude 1:23 also needs to be re-examined in context. This chapter talks about the prophesied heretics who would distort the message and follow after their own ways, but Jude says to keep living the way they should and some may be saved by their kindness (compassion) and some may be saved because they hear the truth and are afraid. The fire they are being saved from is Hell because they are not truly saved.

In 2 Timothy 1:16-18, Paul is speaking to Timothy about Onesiphorus and saying he hopes that mercy will come to the family of Onesiphorus because they had always welcomed and cared for him. He was very unpopular for his work, and they took him in anyway, so he is desiring that they be blessed for it and not persecuted. He instructs Timothy in 4:19 to greet the family, again showing that he is grateful for their care. This does not show Paul praying anywhere for a dead man. It doesn't even say that Onesiphorus had died!

We must be spotless and pure in God's presence. Rev 21:27, Matt 5:8

The verse in Revelations says only those who have their name in the book of life will enter, and we get our names there by believing on Christ. (Luke 10:20, Revelations 3:5, 20:15) Matthew 5:8 says the pure in heart will see God. We are told how to have our hearts purified (1 John 1:9, 1 Peter 1:20, Hebrews 10:22, Psalm 51:10)

Christ promised there was punishment that exacted what was due but wasn't endless. (And Paul supported this teaching.)

Matthew 5:20-26 Jesus is speaking here of his burning anger at the Pharisees and how they are completely void in their hearts of the love of God. He is saying we must be sincere in our faith, not just doing lip service, and he is condemning the actions of the Pharisees. It was not like a marker that they set and the rest of us have to reach. He was saying their religion was of no avail.

Matthew 12:32 This is clearly a yes or no. If you blaspheme the Holy Spirit, their is not saving you. Period. It says nothing of a purification before heaven.

Matthew 18:21-35 This parable speaks of the immeasurable debt we owe that we can never pay, and how Christ paid it for us. We cannot therefore turn around and threaten someone who owes us anything because we have been pardoned of a debt we could not pay, and we ought to therefore forgive others of their small debts to us.

Matthew 25:31-46 Again, there is nothing in this verse that talks about purification. It is a matter of those who loved as Christ commanded being saved, and those who were merciless being condemned. Nothing in this parable that backs up purgatory. Read 1 Peter 2:24-25.

Luke 12:58-59 Again, how does the warning to the hypocrites about being trapped have anything to do with purgatory?

Hebrews 9:27 Just read the next verse. But for those who look for him, those who believe he is risen and coming again, he will appear and they will have no sins to account for, because as 1 John 1:7 says we have been cleansed from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 99:8 This verse talks about the punishment the Israelites had to endure (wandering in the desert) because of their unbelief. It says nothing that would back up the idea of purgatory.

I have not seen one verse here that even remotely supports the idea.

This punishment isn't in Hell because you can't be saved through hellfire. Also, there's no punishment in Heaven.

Amen to that. No argument with that statement (though I still don't follow your exegesis of these verses and how they apply to your stance).

Those who are alive can pray for those who are dead (and vice versa).

1 John 5:16-17 This is saying that we ought to pray for our brethren that they not die in their sins, not that we can pray for them after they have died. (read the rest of the chapter)

Luke 16:19-31 This text speaks of the warning to repent while we may (living) because once we are dead we have no more opportunity to change anything. Also, this man was in hell. Are you suggesting that the people in hell can get prayers through to God as well?

Psalm 115:17 "The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence."

What about Ecclesiastes 9:5-6? The dead do not know what is going on. How can they pray for you? Read this page and this page. I don't agree with everything they say, but this way I don't have to type out 23 more verses!

Also, the Bible says that punishments for sin are death. We are dead in our transgressions, etc. So purgatory, as a place of purification from sins, would be equated to death. And man has no power over death. Christ was the first and only to conquer death. If we have no power over it, how can our prayers be to any avail?

The Bible also clearly says over and over there is either death in the fires of hell, or eternal life, the gift from God. (1 John 2:2, Romans 8:1-4, John 5:24, etc., etc.) There is no scriptural backing for purgatory.

Sue Bee said...

Very well said Motherofmany!!!

motherofmany said...

Here are those pages (the links didin't copy)

http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/read/praying_for_the_dead

http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=130

motherofmany said...

Sorry! That copy and paste didn't work.

http://www.truthortradition.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=130

http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/read/praying_for_the_dead

Elena said...

Catholic Answers

How to Explain Purgatory to Protestants

Biblical overview of Penance, purgatory and indulgences.

All that said, I don't think the purpose of this fine post from Kelly is to convert Protestants into accepting the doctrine of purgatory. Rather I think it is more to give Protestants an understanding where this doctrine comes from, how it has come to us through the centuries, and the scripture that supports it.

You don't even have to agree that our interpretation of scripture has merit. I would be happy just to dispel the notion that it is un-biblical and completely fabricated. Other than that we can agree to disagree.

Kelly said...

Wow Amy, you must have spent a lot of time on this. I appreciate that you looked up all of those verses and gave me your thoughts on them.

I do understand that it is easy to take a single verse out of context. I did take the time to look up not only the verse, but also the entire chapter in context as I was writing the article. I used Bible Gateway, as I don't have a King James Bible, and I think most of our audience is KJO.

Probably not surprisingly, I agreed with the Catholic interpretation. I found the Corinthian verses particularly clear, although I agree that one or two of the others could be seen as a bit of a stretch.

As I've said before, I think the fact that so many Christians can pull so many different interpretations out of the same verses is an indication that God would have left us a means to interpret Scripture in a unified way.

So, in the end, I'll just have to echo Elena. You don't have to agree with the Catholic interpretation, but I hope I'm helping to move people from "They're making that up" to "Their interpretations are really off."

motherofmany said...

I hope I'm helping to move people from "They're making that up" to "Their interpretations are really off."

I understand what you are saying here, but again, Biblical would mean that it is found in the Bible, and there is no scripture that supports the idea of purgatory. There are, in fact, too many verses that are completely contrary to the idea of punushment after death for those who are born again. Even the ones that are stretched to maybe mean that if you really want it to do not provide a basis for the ideology in the first place. So for me it is still someting that is made up and not someting that is simply interpreted differently.

Elena said...

Purgatory is in no way an unbiblical doctrine. Rather, it is completely biblical on both implicit and explicit grounds. Implicitly, it can be derived from the biblical principles that we still sin till death but that there will be no sin in glory. Thus between death and glorification must come purification.

Explicitly, we not only have the witness of passages such as 2 Maccabees 12, but also the witness of passages describing our accounting before Christ in the particular judgment, including the especially vivid depiction of one escaping through the flames in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.

Jesus himself adds to this when he speaks in Matthew 12:32 of a sin which will neither be forgiven in this age nor the age to come, implying that some sins (venial ones of which we have not repented before death) will be forgiven when we repent the first moment of our afterlife.

Furthermore, in Matthew 5:25-26, Jesus tells us: "Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny."

In this parable God is the Judge, and if we have not reconciled with our neighbors before we see God, God will hold us accountable for the wrong we did to them. This is what the Bible means when it says that God will take our revenge for us, so we should not take it ourselves, because God will defend the cause of the poor and uphold the case of the widow. Whenever a poor person or widow (or anyone else) is oppressed or wronged, God will hold the oppressor accountable for what he did -- unless the wronged person freely chooses to forgive the offender. In that case, God will not hold the offender accountable for the wrong he did on a human level (i.e., against the human he wronged), but unless he has obtained forgiveness from God for the wrong he did against God, he will still be held accountable for that.

Thus in our sins against others they are two dimensions -- the human, by which we sin against our neighbor in the act, and the divine, by which we sin against God in the act. Thus theft is a sin against our neighbor from whom we stole and a sin against God, whose law we broke. We must obtain forgiveness from God for the divine aspect of our sin, but, as Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:25-26, we must obtain forgiveness for the human aspect of our sin from the human we sinned against. If we do not, God will hold us accountable.

Of course, since humans are finite beings, our sins against them can only merit finite punishment (compared to our sins against God, who is an infinite being, so our sins against him can merit infinite punishment). Because this punishment is finite, it must be temporary (for an eternal punishment is infinite since involves the reception of pain over an infinite period of time). But if this punishment we will receive when we are judged by God (according to Jesus' parable) is temporary, then it's purgatory. Thus Jesus says, "You will not get out until you have paid the last penny," because there is a time when your finite punishment due to the finite, human dimension of your sins will be over.

In any event, more than enough has been said to show the inaccuracy of the charge that purgatory is an unbiblical doctrine. In reality, it is very firmly rooted in Scripture.

Kelly said...

Very well said, Elena!

motherofmany said...

But a Biblical truth cannot be based on inferences or reading between the lines. We are told many times that when we are in Christ, he removes all blemish. I do not know what judgment you are referring to, but in Revelations it is specified that the elect will not face judgment because they are washed by the lamb's blood. Scriptural means it is found in scripture, and purgatory is not. The Bible cannot contradict itself.

Elena said...

But a Biblical truth cannot be based on inferences or reading between the lines.

Sola scriptura anyone? No where does it say in the bible that the bible alone is to be your sole authority for what you are to believe as a Christian, yet Protestant Christians infer that all of the time!!

Kelly said...

But a Biblical truth cannot be based on inferences or reading between the lines.

How about the Rapture then?

motherofmany said...

The Bible does say that it is sufficent for teaching, and says many times not to follow the traditions of men. You are beginning with a presupposition and trying to mold the scriptures to fit around it.

What about the Rapture?

Exactly! That's why I said the Rapture cannot be called a fundamentalist teaching. And that is why there are so many opinions as to when it would happen.

Faithful Catholic said...

motherofmany,

"Sufficient for teaching" does not mean that it is all that is needed. It means that it can be and should be used for teaching but, it is not all-inclusive of the teachings of Christ.

Also, the Traditions (capital T) of the Catholic Church are not the "traditions of men" but, inspired by God. Nothing found in Sacred Tradition contradicts Sacred Scripture. Sacred Tradition is Divine Revelation, the word of God just as is Sacred Scripture.

How do you think the first Christians received the word of God? The Bible was yet to be written and canonized at that time. The answer is that Jesus Christ chose His apostles and inspired them with His word, Himself and commissioned them to spread the gospel. Initially, they did that by word of mouth, preaching, orally. He chose the apostles Himself. He taught them His teachings by teaching them of Himself. He and His word, oral and written, are one. They witnessed Him as they witnessed His teachings and they passed the teachings on through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

Elena said...

The Bible does say that it is sufficent for teaching, and says many times not to follow the traditions of men.

No where in the bible does the bible say that it alone is sufficient for teaching. The Bible says also to hold fast to the traditions that were taught.

Kelly said...

Exactly! That's why I said the Rapture cannot be called a fundamentalist teaching. And that is why there are so many opinions as to when it would happen.

Sorry, I must have missed that.

Elena said...

Ok, but I haven't seen Candy or Amy call the Rapture a man-made doctrine or churches that hold to it "false."

I still see double standard here big time.

motherofmany said...

Faithful Catholic (and I guess everyone who has written here ;),
suf•fi•cient səˈfɪʃ ənt[suh-fish-uh nt] Pronunciation Key
–adjective
1. adequate for the purpose; enough

So when Paul says the scriptures are sufficient, he means they are enough or adequate. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says the same thing, that the scriptures are all we need to equip us. Why call something sufficient if it is not?

“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelations 1:3

The things that were passed on orally were for those who could not read, but they were still written down so as to be preserved from the faulty memory of man. WHY would they write down one set of instructions and give another orally?!?

2 Thessalonians 2:15 further demonstrates that what people had others read to them, and what they read for themselves, were the same. The Bible does not predict that a prophet would arise out of every generation to deliver the message of God. Instead, the originally chosen prophets and apostles were given God’s inspired words, which the church was then to guard and pass down (Greek paradosis means deposits, as you have mentioned, but it further means hand over or put in the HANDS OF- it was written).

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 1 Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

The beginning of our faith is hearing the Word, not oral traditions. We do not have the apostles here to tell us orally, but they have preserved their words for us in the New Testament.

John 5:39 says “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”

Jesus never said that the oral traditions or the teachings of men pointed to him as being the Messiah. He said the written word proved who he was. He in fact was vehemently against the Pharisees because they taught people things that were not written in the scriptures (like their own rules for the Sabbath) and said that we ought to listen when they teach in the Synagogs, because they were required to teach from the scriptures, but not when they were living their own lives because they were not within the will of God (Matthew 15:1-7).
1 Corinthians 14:37 and Acts 1:22, 17:11 Paul says that we know a true Apostle because what he says lines up with the scriptures. No where does he say the apostles will be known because their teachings line up with oral traditions. In fact, he warns against believing anything that will not be written down as the inspired word of God, “1 Corinthians 4:6 (An apostle had to be one commissioned specifically by Christ, and we are to adhere only to the teachings of the apostles, so the pope has no authority to give new teachings) The Apostles warned against those who would teach oral traditions, rather than saying we ought to hold to the oral traditions of anyone who does not teach exactly what the scriptures say. Colossians 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” The truth of Christ was revealed to those he called. SO even if you want to argue that we ought to follow the oral traditions of the Apostles, that ability ceased to exist when they died. That is why their words were written down and passed along. Hebrews 1:1-2 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” The instructions of God were completed after the men chosen by Christ to write his words and life were deceased.
Jude 1:3 tells us that even in his time the truth had been given. Period. There was no further truth to follow by means of an oral tradition. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

John 20:30 does say that Jesus did many other things that were not written in the Bible. But verse 31 says that what was inspired as scriptures was what we needed for salvation, as does Psalm 19 (7-11). We would all love to know everything Jesus did, but it will be something to learn in heaven, as the earth cannot hold all the books that would be written. Clearly the Bible is stated as our authoritative guide for salvation in this verse. And yes, I feel to add oral tradition to it is saying it is not adequate when we are told it is. I believe this is what is being stated in Deuteronomy 4:2 as well, that what is really important is committed to writing that it may be preserved.

2 Peter 3:15-17 warns of those who would misinterpret the scriptures and therefore be carried away by false teachings. They were to study the scriptures diligently to know the truth and NOT lean on the teachings of men (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 1 Corinthians 2:5, 1 Thessalonians 2:5). Also, verse 16 shows that the epistles were already equated with scripture, for those who have asked in the past how 2 Timothy 3 can be applied to the New Testament.

John 14:26 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” I know there was a question of why they waited so long to write their accounts. They were not meant to until instructed, and when the time was right, the Holy Spirit would remind them of what to say.

Paul taught only that which was inspired of God and did not think it his position to make changes to the teachings on his own, such as the church councils claim to be allowed to do (Galatians 1:11-12). He received it from God directly. Early church writers cannot claim such. He is also making a statement against receiving teachings form men, which is what oral traditions would have to be.

But going back to the original point, Elena, you said purgatory was scriptural, and I said it wasn’t because it isn’t found in the Bible, and you said sola scriptura was wrong, but that isn’t the point of this discussion. You may believe purgatory is a sound teaching, and it may be backed by traditional writings, but it cannot be called biblical or scriptural if it is not found in the Bible, and it is not.

http://www.bible.ca/sola-scriptura-apostolic-fathers.htm

motherofmany said...

Rapture is just a term used to describe when Christ will take his church to heaven. The part that is not clear is when it will happen: pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib. But the teaching itself is scriptural (1 Thessalonians 4:17). We can say that the Bible says Christ will come back and take us to heaven. What we cannot say for sure is when.

Faithful Catholic said...

motherofmany,

You have done an excellent job of stating your case, and I appreciate that. I'd like to go back through and address each of your points but, at the moment I am dealing with a very minor health emergency with my elderly mother. I will come back to this as soon as I can. I want to add that discussing these issues with you is very helpful to me and I appreciate that you are willing to respond and do it with such a civil tone. Thank you.

Off the top of my head, I think what this really comes down to is that we read different translations of the Bible and we interpret our translations differently. I don't know that this will or could ever change but, I do appreciate the opportunity to understand your beliefs and the basis for them.

I'll write again soon. Thanks again!

Kelly said...

Paul says that we know a true Apostle because what he says lines up with the scriptures. . . (An apostle had to be one commissioned specifically by Christ, and we are to adhere only to the teachings of the apostles, so the pope has no authority to give new teachings)

But there were only twelve apostles, plus Paul, who were commissioned specifically by Christ.

This would mean that we wouldn't want to read the Gospel of Luke or Acts, since Luke wasn't an apostle, nor was St. Mark.

Paul also sometimes exhorts the receivers of his letters to heed the words of other non-apostles, such as Barnabas, Phillip, or Timothy. These men had valid apostolic succession, and so their doctrine could be trusted.

Mark Shea writes:
" . . .there is a distinction between material and formal sufficiency.

What's the difference between material and formal sufficiency? It is the difference between having a big enough pile of bricks to build a house and having a house of bricks. Catholic teaching says written Sacred Tradition (known as Scripture) is materially sufficient: all the bricks necessary to build its doctrines are there in Scripture. But because some things in Scripture are implicit rather than explicit, other stuff besides Scripture has been handed down from the apostles. This other stuff is unwritten Sacred Tradition (which is the mortar that holds the bricks of the written Tradition together in the right order and position) and the Magisterium or teaching authority of the Church (which is the trowel in the hand of the Master Builder). Taken together, these three things are formally sufficient for knowing the revealed truth of God."

http://www.mark-shea.com/tradition.html

Elena said...

The National Catholic Council of Bishops bible on line doesn't use the word "sufficient." It uses "useful"

The Douay-Rheims Bible says "profitable."

NIV says "is useful."

Of the English bibles on line that I checked only the KJV uses "sufficient." Only a fraction of all of Christiandom hold to a KJV-only view.

Elena said...

Rapture isn't a biblical term. In fact it's not even an ancient term. It was a term "coined" in the late 19th century. It's man made and not biblical.

Erika S. said...

Elena,
I am so glad you made the comment about the use of the word sufficient not being used in other translations. I was going to make that point also but didn't get to it.
Also thank you for asking me to be a contributor to this blog.
Peace be with you,
Erika