Purgatory/Guild of All Souls

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by CFLawrence, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. CFLawrence

    CFLawrence Active Member

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    after the Marian Rosary thread I thought I would get my other question out of the way. I belong to the Guild of All Souls but I’m getting the feeling purgatory/prayer for the dead is also anathema in Anglicanism.

    Is this something else I need to purge from my prayer life?

    All responses are welcome.

    CF Lawrence
     
  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I don't have a problem with people praying for the dead (although I think it's futile for the deceased, it can feel comforting), so long as they don't try to talk to or with the dead. In O.T. days people were stoned for doing that.

    But then, I'm new to Anglicanism so I can't speak for anyone else here.
     
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  3. jschwartz

    jschwartz New Member

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    Praying for the dead has been part of Judaism and subsequently, the Church, since Her inception.

    Wesley taught the propriety of Praying for the Dead, practiced it himself, and provided Forms, that others might. These forms, for daily use, he put forth, not tentatively or apologetically, but as considering such prayer a settled matter of Christian practice, with all who believe that the Faithful, living and dead, are one Body in Christ, in equal need and like expectation of those blessings which they will together enjoy, when both see Him in His Kingdom. Two or three examples, out of many, may be given: — “O grant that we, with those who are already dead in Thy faith and fear, may together partake of a joyful resurrection.” (x.40.) “. . . that we all together with those that now sleep in Thee, may awake to life everlasting.” (p. 48.) “Bring us, with all those who have pleased Thee from the beginning of the world, into the glories of Thy Son’s Kingdom.” (p. 73.) “By Thy infinite mercies, vouchsafe to bring us, with those that are dead in Thee, to rejoice together before Thee,” &c.; (p. 77.) The Prayers passed through many editions, and were in common use among thousands of Methodists of every degree, who, without scruple or doubtfulness, prayed for those who sleep in Jesus every day that they prayed to the common Father of all.

    Likewise, in what Martin Luther regarded as his final confession of faith in his 1528 work against the Zwinglians, Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper, he wrote as follows:

    As for the dead, since Scripture gives us no information on the subject, I regard it as no sin to pray with free devotion in this or some similar fashion: ‘Dear God, if this soul is in a condition accessible to mercy, be thou gracious to it.’ And when this has been done once or twice, let it suffice.

    (Luther’s Works, Vol. 37, p. 369)

    Luther’s approval of prayers for the dead given out of free devotion was shared in Luther’s successor Philip Melanchthon’s apology to the Augsburg Confession (article XXIV, 94), where he wrote: Now, as regards the adversaries’ citing the Fathers concerning the offering for the dead, we know that the ancients speak of prayer for the dead, which we do not prohibit.

    The Book of Common Prayer is clearly at home with the concept of praying for the dead.

    While the term purgatory is not accepted by the universal Church, the Eastern Church does believe in an intermediate state between heaven and hell. Scripture is very clear when it says, “But nothing unclean shall enter [heaven]” (Rev. 21:27). Hab. 1:13 says, “You [God]… are of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look on wrong…” How many of us will be perfectly sanctified at the time of our deaths? I dare say most of us will be in need of further purification in order to enter the gates of heaven after we die, if, please God, we die in a state of grace.
    I Corinthians 3:11-15 may well be the most straightforward text in all of Sacred Scripture when it comes to Purgatory:

    For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble—each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

    No Christian sect I know of even attempts to deny this text speaks of the judgment of God where the works of the faithful will be tested after death. It says our works will go through “fire,” figuratively speaking. In Scripture, “fire” is used metaphorically in two ways: as a purifying agent (Mal. 3:2-3; Matt. 3:11; Mark 9:49); and as that which consumes (Matt. 3:12; 2 Thess. 1:7-8). So it is a fitting symbol here for God’s judgment. Some of the “works” represented are being burned up and some are being purified. These works survive or burn according to their essential “quality” (Gr. hopoiov – of what sort).

    What is being referred to cannot be heaven because there are imperfections that need to be “burned up” (see again, Rev. 21:27, Hab. 1:13). It cannot be hell because souls are being saved. So what is it?

    John Henry Hobart, an Anglican bishop, writes that "Hades, or the place of the dead, is represented as a spacious receptacle with gates, through which the dead enter."[97] The Anglican Catechist elaborates on Hades, stating that it "is an intermediate state between death and the resurrection, in which the soul does not sleep in unconsciousness, but exists in happiness or misery till the resurrection, when it shall be reunited to the body and receive its final reward."[98] This space is divided into Paradise and Gehenna "but with an impassable gulf between the two,"[7] Souls, with exception of martyrs and saints, remain in Hades until the Final Judgment and "Christians may also improve in holiness after death during the middle state before the final judgment."[99][100]

    As such, the Book of Common Prayer includes prayers for the dead, both that they may be "purged" of "defilements . . . contracted" in their "earthly life" and that they may increase in the "knowledge and love" of God.[101]
     
  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Jschwartz, I agree completely that nothing forbids praying for the dead. But since Paul intimated that, for the redeemed Christian, being absent from the body was tantamount to being present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8), it is my opinion that such prayers only help the feelings of the praying party.

    As for 1 Cor. 3:11-15, have you noticed that the fire only tests (and perhaps burns) the works? It does not suggest that the person is subjected to fire. But RC theology teaches that purgatory is a place where the deceased person lingers for an undetermined length of time in painful, purifying fire... as if suffering in a fire will somehow burn the badness out of him. So it seems plain to me that 1 Cor 3:11-15 does not refer to purgatory at all, at least not in the sense that the RCC teaches it. Instead, it's saying that good works done in keeping with God's will and enablement will result in rewards in heaven (some call them 'crowns of glory' while other works get burned up, and a Christian who loses all his deeds in the fire just goes into eternal life without accolades. This is in keeping with the way the Greeks conducted their bema (judgment seat) at sporting events and such; the victor who played properly and won fairly was called to the platform to receive a laurel wreath on his head; the judge handed out these rewards, but no one was punished at the bema.

    Moreover, 1 Cor. 3 is figurative and should not be taken as literal fire. Look at verses 11 and 12. In our lives we build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ with "gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble." Are those things literal or figurative? Aren't they a figurative representation of the quality of our works? (For examples, did we give out of love or out of a sense of obligation? Did we treat our neighbor kindly because we wanted to honor Christ or because we wanted to keep our neighbor mollified?) So if these things are figurative, why wouldn't the fire be figurative as well? After all, God doesn't need literal flames to burn up bad motives, does He?

    The error the Roman Catholics fell into with their interpretation lies in their overarching sin-consciousness and concomitant lack of righteousness-consciousness. Read the first 2 chapters of Ephesians, which is written to all believers (v.1 - "to the faithful in Jesus Christ"). It says that the faithful (those who have faith in Jesus as their source of complete and total redemption) have received grace by which He has (past tense, it's done) accepted us in beloved Jesus. God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings (complete forgiveness of every single misdeed is a spiritual blessing) in heavenly places (the spirit realm), and has chosen us faith-filled believers to be holy and blameless in God's eyes (v. 3-7). Because we believed and placed our complete trust in Jesus, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit, and He acts as the earnest (down payment) guaranteeing God's intention to make our redemption complete after our bodies quit functioning (v. 13-14). Chapter 2 tells us God has quickened us, made us spiritually alive in new birth, even though we were (past tense) dead in sin. But no longer are we dead in sin; we're alive in Christ. He has also raised us up with Jesus and made us sit together in the spirit realm by the power of Jesus Christ our Savior and brother. For we are not saved by grace through faith plus time spent in purgatory. Nor by grace through faith plus penance. Nor by grace through faith plus regular receipt of Eucharist. Nor by grace through faith plus works of any kind, "lest any man should boast." No one will be able to brag in heaven, "I did more to help win my own salvation than you did," because none of us can do anything to supplement the complete, total redemptive power of the sacred blood of Jesus. The 10th Chapter of Romans teaches us much the same. Romans 3 says we receive, by faith in Christ, God's righteousness. And Hebrews 10:10-23 backs this up:
    10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
    11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
    12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,
    13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
    14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
    Thanks to Jesus who paid the penalty for our sins, we will not have to serve one moment in a place of after-death suffering. Since we have been (and simultaneously are being) sanctified and perfected in God's eyes (Jesus' righteousness having been imputed to us), there is no reason to believe in purgatory as the Roman Catholics teach it.
     
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  5. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    I think I have a sturdy case about why the purgatory doctrine is pious fiction.

    It was mostly because the bible doesn't necessarily explain what works merit exactly what kind of rewards. If they are supposed to be some kind of motivator to get me to do some kind of work over another, it would be helpful, but I don't think that is true, since the bible does not really compare earthly pleasures to the kind of joy in heaven. Doing so would be erroneous. The 'many mansions' are a place of rest, not a place to play pool or invite pretty women to play poker. It should not be taken to be a carnal or material reward. All the Catholic 'types' of works, and such does is say you either get less time in purgatory or that and also a reward.

    1 Corinthians 3:15 is closely connected to the converts and people being ministered to in the church. I believe something like the consequence of certain works is something that would logically be meant to be understood within scripture since the behavior it motivates is relevant to this life. However, what relevance it has to the next is also erroneous in other ways. To miss some proper reward in heaven might suggest being imperfect before God and to see someone else with that reward would no longer make heaven a place of peace for the 'lazier', 'inferior' Christians who made it there, but also inspire jealousy which God will not allow before him. The point of purgatory is to remove such passions before someone enters heaven. I've heard some in the Catholic spectrum say that the rewards in heaven are a sort of expanding graces that continue after death that are not necessary for salvation or entry into heaven or to be considered perfect, but all that means is that we can worry about them later because we would already be in heaven theoretically. It doesn't inspire any urgency. The ninth chapter of Corinthians also describes the people receiving ministry as the works of the apostles.

    'The day of the Lord' is a term that can mean punishment in this life for certain disobediences or even in the next life, or the end of time. To be saved as through fire is to be saved through a burning building i.e. the church or body of Christ of sound vs. unsound faith, either in the immediate lifetime of the individuals in question (and possibly more than once) or at the end of time. It is shown in prophecies that happened in the OT within the prophet's lifetime and sometimes afterwards.

    2 Thessalonians does not distinguish between those who simply do some bad while supposedly saved and those who completely reject the gospel in earning eternal damnation in destructive hellfire. This does not mean we have to be perfect saints to get into heaven but rather what rejecting/accepting the gospel is must be understood in a much broader sense.

    There is also the works mentioned at the Book of Life judgement. many works are judged, but like plenty of the rewards alluded to in the bible, only one kind of crown or reward is given. With multiple works judged, why only one reward? We might explain it in that certain virtues are comprised of a conflation of other virtues. So, in some sense, two fruits may combine to create another distinct but whole kind of virtue or spiritual fruit and the most prominent in that person's service to God merits the appropriate crown.

    Also, to receive a prophet's reward or a righteous man's reward, can be taken as an earthly consequence of aiding someone in ministry. So, not a reward in heaven but just the earthly commission in general.
     
  6. Fidei Defensor

    Fidei Defensor Active Member

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    Purgatory Challenged by Scripture:

    “Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment, so also Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await Him.” (Hebrews 9:27-28, Holy Bible)

    “Therefore we are always confident, although we know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:6,8)

    “I am torn between the two. I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better indeed.” (Philippians 1:23)

    19Now there was a rich man dressed in purple and fine linen, who lived each day in joyous splendor. 20And a beggar named Lazarus lay at his gate, covered with sores 21and longing to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
    22One day the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. And the rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham from afar, with Lazarus by his side.
    24So he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. For I am in agony in this fire.’
    25But Abraham answered, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things. But now he is comforted here, while you are left to suffer. 26And besides all this, a great chasm has been fixed between us and you, so that even those who wish cannot cross from here to you, nor can anyone cross from there to us.’
    27‘Then I beg you, father,’ he said, ‘send Lazarus to my father’s house, 28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them so they will not also end up in this place of torment.’
    29But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let your brothers listen to them.’
    30‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone is sent to them from the dead, they will repent.’
    31Then Abraham said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-31)

    Notice Abraham says rise from the desd (Luke 16:31) which is what Jesus our Lord did (John 20), what Jesus did to Lazarus Brother of Mary and Martha (John 11:1-44), and etc. Abraham says raise from the dead; as in a person coming back to life and their body via resurrection (Matthew 27:52-53, Revelation 20:11-15) power, not the false imitations of necromancy and divination. Prayers for the dead are then ineffectual according to Jesus in this parable of Lazarus in hell.
     
  7. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    Your arguement carries even more weight when you realise your pericope about Lazaus is not said to be a parable.
     
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