From the website: http://www.pro-gospel.org, by Mike Gendron
The Deception of Purgatory
Purgatory comes from the Latin word “purgare,” which means to make clean or to purify. The Catholic Encyclopedia defines purgatory as “a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.” They must be purified of these “venial” sins before they can be allowed into heaven. Here we see Catholicism perpetuating the seductive lie of Satan by declaring “you will not surely die” when you commit venial sins (Gen. 3:4). The Council of Trent dares to declare that “God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin together with the guilt. God requires satisfaction and will punish sin…The sinner, failing to do penance in this life, may be punished in another world, and so not be cast off eternally from God.” (Session 15, Can. XI). Those Catholic Bishops had the audacity to declare that the suffering and death of God’s perfect man and man’s perfect substitute was not sufficient to satisfy divine justice for sin.
He correctly quotes the Catholic Encyclopedia, and then notice what he does: He inserts his own meaning into that quote. He decides, based on his bias towards, and hatred of, the Catholic Faith, that the Catholic teaching on Purgatory means that we are agreeing with the devil when he told Eve, “You will not die,” if she ate of the fruit of the tree that God told her and Adam not to eat from.
First of all, I am not following the logic here. How is saying that you need to be completely purified of even the smallest sins before you enter Heaven, the equivalent of telling the same lie as the devil told Eve in the Garden? That makes no sense. Is Mr. Gendron saying that we don’t need to be purified of venial sins before we enter Heaven? If so, then he is saying that something unclean can get into Heaven, which is contrary to Rev 21:27, which states that nothing unclean shall enter it? Who should we believe, the Bible or Mr. Gendron?
Or, is he saying this because he contends that Catholics are wrong to teach that venial sins will not cause one to lose their salvation? If so, then again he goes contrary to Scripture which states very clearly, “There is sin which is mortal [unto death (KJV)]…All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal [unto death].” The Bible makes it very clear that there is sin which does not lead to death, or loss of one’s salvation. Is Mr. Gendron denying this? Well, he seems to be. So, who should we believe, the Bible or Mr. Gendron?
He then goes on to quote the Council of Trent when it said that God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin along with the guilt of that sin. And what does he do after he quotes a Catholic source? He injects his own personal, fallible, biased, and bigoted interpretation into what that source said. He marvels that the Catholic bishops at the Council of Trent would have the “audacity” to “declare that the suffering and death of God’s perfect man and man’s perfect substitute was not sufficient to satisfy divine justice for sin.”
Uhmm, Mike…that’s not what they said. Those are your words, Mike, not those of the Council of Trent. When the Council of Trent said that God does not always remit the “whole punishment” due to sin along with the “guilt” of that sin, all they were doing was verbalizing a pretty obvious fact found in the Bible. For example, when Moses disobeyed God, he was subsequently forgiven by God, right? But, was all of the punishment due to that sin remitted at the moment Moses’ was forgiven? According to Mr. Gendron beliefs it had to have been, but the Bible tells us no, it was not. Moses was punished by God, even after being forgiven by God, by not being allowed to enter into the Promised Land. So, even though the whole guilt of Moses sin was fully forgiven, the whole punishment was not remitted at the same time the guilt was forgiven, just as the Bishops at the Council of Trent stated.
Another example is David’s affair with Bathsheba and the murder of Bathsheba’s husband. We see in 2 Samuel 12:13-18 that God “puts away David’s sin,” which means that David was fully forgiven of his sin. So, according to Mr. Gendron, the whole punishment due to David’s sin was remitted at the very moment David was forgiven by God. Yet, in the Bible, we see that the whole punishment due to David’s sin was not remitted at the same time the guilt was forgiven, just as the Bishops at the Council of Trent stated. Mr. Gendron, do you have these stories in your Bible?
Also, has the full punishment due because of Adam’s original sin been remitted? According to Mr. Gendron, it has. Which is why we are all right now back in the Garden of Eden, right?! Not quite. Read God’s words to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:16-19. Is woman still bringing forth children in pain? Is man still having to toil to eat of the produce of the ground? Oh yes they are.
Another thing to consider, the New Testament tells us that by bringing someone back from the error of their ways, and that through love, we will “cover a multitude of sins,” (James 5:19-20; 1 Peter 4:8). I doubt Mr. Gendron has ever considered those passages, or if he’s even seen them. How can our love “cover a mulitude of sins,” if the whole punishment due to sin is remitted at the exact same time the sin is forgiven? In what way, Mr. Gendron, can we cover our sins, or “hide” them as the King James Version (KJV) states in James 5:20, if we play no role whatsoever in the remission of the punishment due to our sins? Hey, that sounds like a good question for my “Questions Protestants Can’t Answer” series.
The Catholic Bishops at the Council of Trent did not teach then, nor has the Catholic Church ever taught, “that the suffering and death of God’s perfect man and man’s perfect substitute was not sufficient to satisfy divine justice for sin,” as Mr. Gendron falsely claims. Christ paid the full price for the guilt of our sins. He is the only one who could ever pay that price for our sins. However, Divine Justice demands that we contribute what we are able, by the grace of God, to the remission of the punishment that is due to those sins, either in this life or in the next.
We do not obtain forgiveness of our sins through our efforts – Jesus is the only one Who can do that for us – but we can contribute to the remission of the punishment due to our sins. This is why Scripture says that we can indeed cover a multitude of sins through our love, or through bringing someone back from the error of their ways. And, we can say, as Paul said, that we “rejoice in our sufferings” and that “in [our] flesh we complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the church,” (Colosssians 1:24). Was something “lacking” in Christ’s suffering? Not in and of itself, but what is lacking is our participation in that suffering. That is why we have to pick up our cross daily to follow Him (Luke 9:23).
That’s it for now, I’ve got to go catch a plane. More on Gendron and Purgatory in the next issue…