"Purgatory", Biblical Fact Or Roman Catholic Fiction

This is an extract from Chapter Eighteen of “Undressing the Whore”, a book I wrote some time ago concerning the works of the spirit sometimes referred to as the whore of Babylon.

All Scriptural verse are given from the New King James Version, however here I have also added the verses from the New American Bible (1983 edition) by the Catholic Biblical Association of America and acknowledged by Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle D.D. Archbishop of Washington and Cardinal John Heenan, Archbishop of Westminster on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church ( 27th July 1970). This has been done so there can be no confusion concerning the possibility of translation conflicts as both versions illustrate the same message.

If anyone would like to read the entire book, it is available as a free download by clicking David Lazarus, under "files" at the bottom of the page.


Chapter Eighteen

….Another false teaching that has appeared in the Church of Rome is the dogma of “Purgatory”, a spiritual place of punishment where the souls of the departed pay off their debts and are cleansed of any imperfections, sins and faults. It is a place where the departed can make atonement for any unforgiven sins.

To begin I will mention that this notion did not appear within any Church until 1215 at the Lateran Council. The concept again arose in 1431 at the Leon Council and again at the Council of Trent sometime between 1545 AD and 1563 AD. Thus, it was not a doctrinal teaching of the original Church and is rejected by all apostolic Churches other than the Roman Church, which instigated the idea.

One scripture that has been used to justify the existence of “Purgatory” is 1 Corinthians 3:15, the Roman understanding appears to be that through the fires of “Purgatory” one’s faults are burned away leaving the person ready for heaven;

“If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:15 NKJV

“if a man’s building burns, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as one fleeing from the fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:10 NAB

However, if we read the verse in question in its full context we learn that it is the works done by the person that are tested by fire, not the person themselves. It continues to state that we receive a reward for those works that survive the fire, but even though some works built on the foundation may be burnt the person still survives though he will suffer loss, as he will not receive the reward. It in no way suggests that the person themselves will be exposed to the fire in question;

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 NKJV

“Thanks to the favor God showed me I laid a foundation as a wise master-builder might do, and now someone else is building upon it. Everyone, however must be careful how he builds. 11No one can lay a foundation other than the one that has been laid, namely Jesus Christ. 12If different ones build on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or straw, 13the work of each will be made clear. The day will disclose it. That day will make its appearance with fire, and fire will will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If the building a man has raised on this foundation still stands, he will receive his recompense; 15if a man’s building burns, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as one fleeing from the fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 NAB

There are many scriptures that contradict the entire concept of “Purgatory”, and demonstrate that it has no biblical foundation.

“No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:34 NKJV

“No longer will they have need to teach their friends and kinsmen how to know the Lord. All, from least to greatest , shall know me, says the Lord, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more” Jeremiah 31:34 NAB

If we have faith that Jesus Christ does not remember our sins as we read in the prophet Jeremiah, then it is inconsistent that the same Jesus Christ would make us suffer in “Purgatory” for an action that He will not remember.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2 NKJV

“There is no condemnation now for those who are in Christ Jesus. The law of the spirit, the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, has freed you from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2 NAB

Through baptism we are cleansed of the sins that we had committed prior and through the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist we are further cleansed of any sin we may do later provided we are truly repentant. By this, there is no condemnation to those that are in Jesus Christ.

“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25 NKJV

“Therefore he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he forever lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25 NAB

As Jesus Christ intercedes on our behalf and saves us to the “uttermost”, it is inconceivable that we should undergo a period of cleansing after our physical departure from earthly life. If it were so, the words “uttermost” and “always” (NAB) would have no meaning. In addition, it is said that we are saved due to His “intercession” alone, not through any atonement that we must take part in, such as “purgatory”, to suggest this, diminishes the atoning works of Jesus Christ.

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:7-9 NKJV

“But if we walk in the light, a he is in the light, we have fellowhip with one another, and the blood of his son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say, “We are free of the guilt of sin.” we deceive ourselves; the truth is not to be found in us. 9But if we acknowledge our sins, he who is just can be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong.” 1 John 1:7-9 NAB

These verses from the epistle of John state that it is the “Blood of Jesus Christ” that cleanses us of our sins and “all unrighteousness”, not the fires of “Purgatory” or any other introduced doctrinal belief, notice the only condition placed on us is that we confess our sins and repent.

The claim that there is a spiritual place were we most go to finish the cleansing of our sins has no biblical substance, contradicts the teachings of entire Body of Christ including over half the history of the Roman Church itself, and denies the complete forgiveness of sin promised by God. Based on these and many other arguments against the claim of “Purgatory” it would be unreasonable to accept this doctrine as truth and still claim to have faith in the Word that is Jesus Christ."


As a point of interest, the words "limosna para las benditas animas del purgatorio" are Spanish for,

"alms for the blessed ones you animate out of purgatory."

This leaves us with a question to which I have never been able to find an answer for, that being, "how much money does the Roman Catholic Church have to make before someone is "animated" out of purgatory?"

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