At any rate, below is Petillo's response to my article, and my response to this one...
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Mr. Petillo, in another article posted Thursday, October 11, 2012, goes on about the cleansing from sin and, though he does not mention the name, "Purgatory" as well. Whereas his article is relatively short and a comment response on his blog would have been sufficient - he does not allow for comments on his blog. I'll discuss that in another posting myself.
The Bible does not teach purgatory. There is no mention of it in the Old and New Testaments.Well, actually - as my previous post demonstrates, the Bible DOES teach Purgatory, not by name, but by description, for sure. I refer you back to that posting for the litany of scriptural references.
I do not allow comments because I would rather just post my material.I guess that’s a difference in our approach to apologetics. I encourage readers to engage me and what I’ve had to say. If I’m wrong on a topic, I am not afraid or ashamed to have that pointed out to me - or if I’ve somehow not been clear and a reader takes my message wrongly, he/she can challenge what I’ve said and I then have the opportunity to explain myself better - or amend my words, if necessary. To just post what you have to say without a direct interchange is not really apologetics - it’s preaching. Preaching is fine, IMHO, in a limited capacity - that is, IF one is presenting dogma which is absolutely irrefutable - then preach away. In the case of the Petillo blogs - where false information is being “preached” it is a travesty to the truth.
I would like to inform Petillo that my response is posted - but until/unless I run into him in chat or he happens across this article on his own, I cannot - since he does not permit comments/responses on his blog.
Yes, and it is Jesus who cleanses us through the "fires of Purgatory" too. It is still Jesus who presents us to the Father, now "free of reproach and blame."Petillo then asserts:
That's your personal insight but it is not the position of the Bible.The purgatorial fires are most certainly referred to in Scripture, for those who have eyes to see - it is quite clear.
You can lose the state of grace by one mortal sin, but in the Reformed faith justification can never be lost. It is a better deal altogether.Changing topics now, I see. The subject was not on OSAS (Once Saved Always Saved), it was about whether or not a soul which is stained can enter heaven - and secondarily it was about forgiveness of sins, and - as your original topic/title askes, "Who Cleanses Us From Sin?" This is not about "better deal" - and your "better deal" is just a lie, but we can discuss OSAS further if you wish in a separate article/response - or, I invite you to the Catholic Debate Forum (CDF) to present your defense of OSAS. CDF is a public forum, anyone can read it, but you have to be a member of it to post to it. Click here to join. There are several able Catholic apologists with me there ready and willing to respond.
Your church invites this doctrine of "purgatory" because she refuses to live up to the holy godliness of the Bible. You can't say whether your are saved or have assurance of salvation,
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13 NASB).What Petillo seems to be ignorant of is the fact that ALL those in Purgatory ARE SAVED! Not a single one of those in Purgatory will be lost, none can be snatched from His hand at that point for they have already been judged as SAVED.
Back to Petillo’s response:
Yes, and we know that nothing unclean can enter heaven - so when we have sins which we have not confessed - these must be cleansed before we are allowed "in."
That's is the hypocrisy I am talking about. Thomas Watson on Roman Catholicism wrote,
9. The ninth popish error, is their purgatory fire. There is, said Bellarmine, an infernal place in the earth called purgatory in which the souls which were not fully cleansed in this life, are purged there by fire, before they can be received into heaven. Purgatory fire the papists make satisfactory for sin; which much derogates from the virtue and benefit of Christ's sufferings, "who Himself has purged our sins," Hebrews 1:3.Purgatory, again, is only for those who are already judged as "saved." Every single soul in Purgatory IS saved. The price HAS been paid for ALL sins. However, if one dies with unconfessed venial sins (mortal sins separate us from the state of grace completely, and thus one who dies in a state of mortal sin is not saved and is not in Purgatory) then that stain of those sins needs to be "purged" for "nothing unclean can enter Heaven." Rev 21:27. Watson here demonstrates that he (as well as Mr. Petillo) does not understand what the REAL teaching on Purgatory is and rather than listen to reason, they will cling to anti-Catholic propaganda and bigotry. I'd like to be proven wrong here and see Mr. Petillo repent of his false accusations - but I'm not holding my breath on that. Petillo continues quoting Watson:
The Scripture nowhere asserts this doctrine of purgatory. It mentions no middle place. The wicked, at death, go immediately to hell. Luke 16:23, "The rich man was buried—and in hell he lift up his eyes in torment."I respond:
"Luke 23:43 – many Protestants argue that, because Jesus sent the good thief right to heaven, there can be no purgatory. There are several rebuttals. First, when Jesus uses the word "paradise,” He did not mean heaven. Paradise, from the Hebrew "sheol," meant the realm of the righteous dead. This was the place of the dead who were destined for heaven, but who were captive until the Lord's resurrection. Second, since there was no punctuation in the original manuscript, Jesus’ statement “I say to you today you will be with me in paradise” does not mean there was a comma after the first word “you.” This means Jesus could have said, “I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise” (meaning, Jesus could have emphasized with exclamation his statement was “today” or “now,” and that some time in the future the good thief would go to heaven). Third, even if the thief went straight to heaven, this does not prove there is no purgatory (those who are fully sanctified in this life – perhaps by a bloody and repentant death – could be ready for admission in to heaven)." Quoted from: http://www.scripturecatholic.com/purgatory.html
Petillo continues quoting Watson:
Believers, at death, go immediately to heaven. Luke 23:43, "This day you shall be with Me in paradise." Christ was to be instantly in heaven, and the penitent thief was to be with Christ that very day. So that he was in no such place as purgatory—but went immediately from the cross to paradise.I've already presented several passages which at least imply, if not directly speak to Purgatory - though I grant, none by that name (Scripture does not use the word "Trinity" either, but it is clearly Christian teaching and scripturally based). Matt. 5:26,18:34; Luke 12:47-48; Luke 12:58-59; Matt. 5:48; Matt. 12:32; Luke 16:19-31; 1 Cor. 15:29-30; Phil. 2:10; 2 Tim. 1:16-18; Heb. 12:14; Heb. 12:23; 1 Peter 3:19; 4:6; Rev. 21:4; Rev. 21:27; Gen. 50:10; Num. 20:29; Deut. 34:8; Baruch 3:4; Zech. 9:11; 2 Macc. 12:43-45 - these and more, with explanations, can be found here: http://www.scripturecatholic.com/purgatory.html - these were also quoted in my earlier article on the subject here.
Petillo continues quoting Watson:
Christ's blood is purgatory in this life, 1 John 1:7. If men are not purged by Christ's blood, there is no purging by fire.The purging CAN take place in this life, on that we agree! The purging IS by Christ's blood, on that we agree! That there is no purging fire is contradictory to Scripture, as presented previously and above. More from Scripture Catholic: 1 Cor. 3:15 – “if any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” The phrase for "suffer loss" in the Greek is "zemiothesetai." The root word is "zemioo" which also refers to punishment. The construction “zemiothesetai” is used in Ex. 21:22 and Prov. 19:19 which refers to punishment (from the Hebrew “anash” meaning “punish” or “penalty”). Hence, this verse proves that there is an expiation of temporal punishment after our death, but the person is still saved. This cannot mean heaven (there is no punishment in heaven) and this cannot mean hell (the possibility of expiation no longer exists and the person is not saved). http://www.scripturecatholic.com/purgatory.html
Petillo continues quoting Watson:
Not only the Scripture but the Fathers were against purgatory. We do not read of two fires, said Augustine, only of hell-fire, not purgatory-fire. But this imaginary fire of purgatory, makes for something to sell in the pope's kitchen. For when men are about to make their will, if they leave good sums of money to the pope and his priests—they tell them that they will pray for them that they may be speedily released out of the pains of purgatory!Again Petillo expresses his ignorance, this time in the teachings of the Early Church Fathers. While he makes ONE uncited and not even fully quoted out of context reference to St. Augustine (very poor scholarship) he seems wholly ignorant of the numerous quotes from other ECFs. Rather than reinvent the wheel again, I will present many references also found on Scripture Catholic's website, pardon the number - but I feel I must squash Petillo's false statement completely. Note as well, several come from St. Augustine but unlike Petillo's undocumented quote are not only quoted but primary sources are cited.
"And after the exhibition, Tryphaena again receives her. For her daughter Falconilla had died, and said to her in a dream: Mother, thou shaft have this stranger Thecla in my place, in order that she may pray concerning me, and that I may be transferred to the place of the just." Acts of Paul and Thecla (A.D. 160).
"Abercius by name, I am a disciple of the chaste shepherd...He taught me…faithful writings...These words, I, Abercius, standing by, ordered to be inscribed. In truth, I was in the course of my seventy-second year. Let him who understands and believes this pray fro Abercius." Inscription of Abercius (A.D. 190).
"Without delay, on that very night, this was shown to me in a vision. I saw Dinocrates going out from a gloomy place, where also there were several others, and he was parched and very thirsty, with a filthy countenance and pallid colour, and the wound on his face which he had when he died. This Dinocrates had been my brother after the flesh, seven years of age? Who died miserably with disease...But I trusted that my prayer would bring help to his suffering; and I prayed for him every day until we passed over into the prison of the camp, for we were to fight in the camp-show. Then was the birth-day of Gets Caesar, and I made my prayer for my brother day and night, groaning and weeping that he might be granted to me. Then, on the day on which we remained in fetters, this was shown to me. I saw that that place which I had formerly observed to be in gloom was now bright; and Dinocrates, with a clean body well clad, was finding refreshment. And where there had been a wound, I saw a scar; and that pool which I had before seen, I saw now with its margin lowered even to the boy's navel. And one drew water from the pool incessantly, and upon its brink was a goblet filled with water; and Dinocrates drew near and began to drink from it, and the goblet did not fail. And when he was satisfied, he went away from the water to play joyously, after the manner of children, and I awoke. Then I understood that he was translated from the place of punishment." The Passion of Perpetua and Felicitias, 2:3-4 (A.D. 202).
"Accordingly the believer, through great discipline, divesting himself of the passions, passes to the mansion which is better than the former one, viz., to the greatest torment, taking with him the characteristic of repentance from the sins he has committed after baptism. He is tortured then still more--not yet or not quite attaining what he sees others to have acquired. Besides, he is also ashamed of his transgressions. The greatest torments, indeed, are assigned to the believer. For God's righteousness is good, and His goodness is righteous. And though the punishments cease in the course of the completion of the expiation and purification of each one, yet those have very great and permanent grief who are found worthy of the other fold, on account of not being along with those that have been glorified through righteousness." Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, 6:14 (post A.D. 202).
"[T]hat allegory of the Lord which is extremely clear and simple in its meaning, and ought to be from the first understood in its plain and natural sense...Then, again, should you be disposed to apply the term 'adversary' to the devil, you are advised by the (Lord's) injunction, while you are in the way with him, 'to make even with him such a compact as may be deemed compatible with the requirements of your true faith. Now the compact you have made respecting him is to renounce him, and his pomp, and his angels. Such is your agreement in this matter. Now the friendly understanding you will have to carry out must arise from your observance of the compact: you must never think of getting back any of the things which you have abjured, and have restored to him, lest he should summon you as a fraudulent man, and a transgressor of your agreement, before God the Judge (for in this light do we read of him, in another passage, as 'the accuser of the brethren,' or saints, where reference is made to the actual practice of legal prosecution); and lest this Judge deliver you over to the angel who is to execute the sentence, and he commit you to the prison of hell, out of which there will be no dismissal until the smallest even of your delinquencies be paid off in the period before the resurrection. What can be a more fitting sense than this? What a truer interpretation?" Tertullian, A Treatise on the Soul, 35 (A.D. 210).
"All souls, therefore; are shut up within Hades: do you admit this? It is true, whether you say yes or no: moreover, there are already experienced there punishments and consolations; and there you have a poor man and a rich...Moreover, the soul executes not all its operations with the ministration of the flesh; for the judgment of God pursues even simple cogitations and the merest volitions. 'Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.' Therefore, even for this cause it is most fitting that the soul, without at all waiting for the flesh, should be punished for what it has done without the partnership of the flesh. So, on the same principle, in return for the pious and kindly thoughts in which it shared not the help of the flesh, shall it without the flesh receive its consolation. In short, inasmuch as we understand 'the prison' pointed out in the Gospel to be Hades, and as we also interpret 'the uttermost farthing' to mean the very smallest offence which has to be recompensed there before the resurrection, no one will hesitate to believe that the soul undergoes in Hades some compensatory discipline, without prejudice to the full process of the resurrection, when the recompense will be administered through the flesh besides." Tertullian, A Treatise on the Soul, 58 (A.D. 210).
"As often as the anniversary comes round, we make offerings for the dead as birthday honours." Tertullian, The Chaplut, 3 (A.D. 211).
"[A] woman is more bound when her husband is dead...Indeed, she prays for his soul, and requests refreshment for him meanwhile, and fellowship (with him) in the first resurrection; and she offers (her sacrifice) on the anniversary of his falling asleep." Tertullian, On Monogamy, 10 (A.D. 216).
"For if on the foundation of Christ you have built not only gold and silver and precious stones (1 Cor.,3); but also wood and hay and stubble, what do you expect when the soul shall be separated from the body? Would you enter into heaven with your wood and hay and stubble and thus defile the kingdom of God; or on account of these hindrances would you remain without and receive no reward for your gold and silver and precious stones; neither is this just. It remains then that you be committed to the fire which will burn the light materials; for our God to those who can comprehend heavenly things is called a cleansing fire. But this fire consumes not the creature, but what the creature has himself built, wood, and hay and stubble. It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works." Origen, Homilies on Jeremias, PG 13:445, 448 ( A.D. 244).
"For to adulterers even a time of repentance is granted by us, and peace is given. Yet virginity is not therefore deficient in the Church, nor does the glorious design of continence languish through the sins of others. The Church, crowned with so many virgins, flourishes; and chastity and modesty preserve the tenor of their glory. Nor is the vigour of continence broken down because repentance and pardon are facilitated to the adulterer. It is one thing to stand for pardon, another thing to attain to glory: it is one thing, when cast into prison, not to go out thence until one has paid the uttermost farthing; another thing at once to receive the wages of faith and courage. It is one thing, tortured by long suffering for sins, to be cleansed and long purged by fire; another to have purged all sins by suffering. It is one thing, in fine, to be in suspense till the sentence of God at the day of judgment; another to be at once crowned by the Lord." Cyprian, To Antonianus, Epistle 51 (55):20 (A.D. 253).
"Let us pray for our brethren that are at rest in Christ, that God, the lover of mankind, who has received his soul, may forgive him every sin, voluntary and involuntary, and may be merciful and gracious to him, and give him his lot in the land of the pious that are sent into the bosom of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, with all those that have pleased Him and done His will from the beginning of the world, whence all sorrow, grief, and lamentation are banished." Apostolic Constitutions, 8:4,41 (3rd Century).
"The same divine fire, therefore, with one and the same force and power, will both burn the wicked and will form them again, and will replace as much as it shall consume of their bodies, and will supply itself with eternal nourishment: which the poets transferred to the vulture of Tityus. Thus, without any wasting of bodies, which regain their substance, it will only burn and affect them with a sense of pain. But when He shall have judged the righteous, He will also try them with fire. Then they whose sins shall exceed either in weight or in number, shall be scorched by the fire and burnt: but they whom full justice and maturity of virtue has imbued will not perceive that fire; for they have something of God in themselves which repels and rejects the violence of the flame." Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, 7:21 (A.D. 307).
"Then we commemorate also those who have fallen asleep before us, first Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, that at their prayers and intercessions God would receive our petition. Then on behalf also of the Holy Fathers and Bishops who have fallen asleep before us, and in a word of all who in past years have fallen asleep among us, believing that it will be a very great benefit to the souls, for whom the supplication is put up, while that holy and most awful sacrifice is set forth. And I wish to persuade you by an illustration. For I know that many say, what is a soul profited, which departs from this world either with sins, or without sins, if it be commemorated in the prayer? For if a king were to banish certain who had given him of-fence, and then those who belong to them should weave a crown and offer it to him on behalf of those under punishment, would he not grant a remission of their penalties? In the same way we, when we offer to Him our supplications for those who have fallen asleep, though they be sinners, weave no crown, but offer up Christ sacrificed for our sins, propitiating our merciful God for them as well as for ourselves.” Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 23:9,10 (c. A.D. 350).
"I think that the noble athletes of God, who have wrestled all their lives with the invisible enemies, after they have escaped all of their persecutions and have come to the end of life, are examined by the prince of this world; and if they are found to have any wounds from their wrestling, any stains or effects of sin, they are detained. If, however they are found unwounded and without stain, they are, as unconquered, brought by Christ into their rest." Basil, Homilies on the Psalms, 7:2 (ante A.D. 370).
"Lay me not with sweet spices: for this honour avails me not; Nor yet incense and perfumes: for the honour benefits me not. Burn sweet spices in the Holy Place: and me, even me, conduct to the grave with prayer. Give ye incense to God: and over me send up hymns. Instead of perfumes of spices: in prayer make remembrance of me." Ephraem, His Testament (ante A.D. 373).
"Useful too is the prayer fashioned on their [the dead’s] behalf...it is useful, because in this world we often stumble either voluntarily or involuntarily."Epiphanius, Panarion, 75:8 (A.D. 375).
"When he has quitted his body and the difference between virtue and vice is known he cannot approach God till the purging fire shall have cleansed the stains with which his soul was infested. That same fire in others will cancel the corruption of matter, and the propensity to evil." Gregory of Nyssa, Sermon on the Dead, PG 13:445,448 (ante A.D. 394).
"Give, Oh Lord, rest to Thy servant Theodosius, that rest Thou hast prepared for Thy saints....I love him, therefore will I follow him to the land of the living; I will not leave him till by my prayers and lamentations he shall be admitted unto the holy mount of the Lord,to which his deserts call him." Ambrose, De obitu Theodosii, PL 16:1397 (A.D. 395).
"Other husbands scatter on the graves of their wives violets, roses, lilies, and purple flowers; and assuage the grief of their hearts by fulfilling this tender duty. Our dear Pammachius also waters the holy ashes and the revered bones of Paulina, but it is with the balm of almsgiving." Jerome, To Pammachius, Epistle 66:5 (A.D. 397).
"Weep for the unbelievers; weep for those who differ in nowise from them, those who depart hence without the illumination, without the seal! They indeed deserve our wailing, they deserve our groans; they are outside the Palace, with the culprits, with the condemned: for, "Verily I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven." Mourn for those who have died in wealth, and did not from their wealth think of any solace for their soul, who had power to wash away their sins and would not. Let us all weep for these in private and in public, but with propriety, with gravity, not so as to make exhibitions of ourselves; let us weep for these, not one day, or two, but all our life. Such tears spring not from senseless passion, but from true affection. The other sort are of senseless passion. For this cause they are quickly quenched, whereas if they spring from the fear of God, they always abide with us. Let us weep for these; let us assist them according to our power; let us think of some assistance for them, small though it be, yet still let us assist them. How and in what way? By praying and entreating others to make prayers for them, by continually giving to the poor on their behalf." John Chrysostom, Homilies on Phillipians, 3 (ante A.D. 404).
"If the baptized person fulfills the obligations demanded of a Christian, he does well. If he does not--provided he keeps the faith, without which he would perish forever--no matter in what sin or impurity remains, he will be saved, as it were, by fire; as one who has built on the foundation, which is Christ, not gold, silver, and precious stones, but wood, hay straw, that is, not just and chasted works but wicked and unchaste works." Augustine, Faith and Works, 1:1 (A.D. 413).
"Now on what ground does this person pray that he may not be 'rebuked in indignation, nor chastened in hot displeasure"? He speaks as if he would say unto God, 'Since the things which I already suffer are many in number, I pray Thee let them suffice;' and he begins to enumerate them, by way of satisfying God; offering what he suffers now, that he may not have to suffer worse evils hereafter." Augustine, Exposition of the Psalms, 38(37):3 (A.D. 418).
"And it is not impossible that something of the same kind may take place even after this life. It is a matter that may be inquired into, and either ascertained or left doubtful, whether some believers shall pass through a kind of purgatorial fire, and in proportion as they have loved with more or less devotion the goods that perish, be less or more quickly delivered from it. This cannot, however, be the case of any of those of whom it is said, that they 'shall not inherit the kingdom of God,' unless after suitable repentance their sins be forgiven them. When I say 'suitable,' I mean that they are not to be unfruitful in almsgiving; for Holy Scripture lays so much stress on this virtue, that our Lord tells us beforehand, that He will ascribe no merit to those on His right hand but that they abound in it, and no defect to those on His left hand but their want of it, when He shall say to the former, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom," and to the latter, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.'" Augustine, Enchiridion, 69 (A.D. 421).
"During the time, moreover, which intervenes between a man's death and the final resurrection, the soul dwells in a hidden retreat, where it enjoys rest or suffers affliction just in proportion to the merit it has earned by the life which it led on earth." Augustine, Enchiridion, 1099 (A.D. 421).
"For our part, we recognize that even in this life some punishments are purgatorial,--not, indeed, to those whose life is none the better, but rather the worse for them, but to those who are constrained by them to amend their life. All other punishments, whether temporal or eternal, inflicted as they are on every one by divine providence, are sent either on account of past sins, or of sins presently allowed in the life, or to exercise and reveal a man's graces. They may be inflicted by the instrumentality of bad men and angels as well as of the good. For even if any one suffers some hurt through another's wickedness or mistake, the man indeed sins whose ignorance or injustice does the harm; but God, who by His just though hidden judgment permits it to be done, sins not. But temporary punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by others after death, by others both now and then; but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But of those who suffer temporary punishments after death, all are not doomed to those everlasting pains which are to follow that judgment; for to some, as we have already said, what is not remitted in this world is remitted in the next, that is, they are not punished with the eternal punishment of the world to come." Augustine, City of God, 21:13 (A.D. 426).
"But since she has this certainty regarding no man, she prays for all her enemies who yet live in this world; and yet she is not heard in behalf of all. But she is heard in the case of those only who, though they oppose the Church, are yet predestinated to become her sons through her intercession...For some of the dead, indeed, the prayer of the Church or of pious individuals is heard; but it is for those who, having been regenerated in Christ, did not spend their life so wickedly that they can be judged unworthy of such compassion, nor so well that they can be considered to have no need of it. As also, after the resurrection, there will be some of the dead to whom, after they have endured the pains proper to the spirits of the dead, mercy shall be accorded, and acquittal from the punishment of the eternal fire. For were there not some whose sins, though not remitted in this life, shall be remitted in that which is to come, it could not be truly said, "They shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, neither in that which is to come.' But when the Judge of quick and dead has said, 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,' and to those on the other side, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels,' and 'These shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life,' it were excessively presumptuous to say that the punishment of any of those whom God has said shall go away into eternal punishment shall not be eternal, and so bring either despair or doubt upon the corresponding promise of life eternal." Augustine, City of God,2 1:24 (A.D. 426).
"If we neither give thanks to God in tribulations nor redeem our own sins by good works, we shall have to remain in that purgatorian fire as long as it takes for those above-mentioned lesser sins to be consumed like wood and straw and hay." Ceasar of Arles, Sermon 179 (104):2 (A.D. 542).
"Each one will be presented to the Judge exactly as he was when he departed this life. Yet, there must be a cleansing fire before judgment, because of some minor faults that may remain to be purged away. Does not Christ, the Truth, say that if anyone blasphemes against the Holy Spirit he shall not be forgiven 'either in this world or in the world to come'(Mt. 12:32)? From this statement we learn that some sins can be forgiven in this world and some in the world to come. For, if forgiveness is refused for a particular sin, we conclude logically that it is granted for others. This must apply, as I said, to slight transgressions." Gregory the Great [regn. A.D. 590-604], Dialogues, 4:39 (A.D. 594).
In short, to state “the Fathers are against Purgatory,” especially naming St. Augustine, is absolutely false!
Back to Petillo's response:
If we are walking with the Church He founded and seeking forgiveness from the successors of the men whom He empowered to forgive or retain sins - then yes. John 20:23 - "If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (NIV)
Peter is not the rock and the Roman Church is not founded by Jesus Christ. No can forgive sins except God alone and the Jews knew this in ancient Israel. 1 John 1:9 speaks of forgiveness by God through His Son by His Spirit but devoid of the Roman church,
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 NASB).Note again, Petillo is trying to change the subject. We are not discussing whether or not Peter is the rock, but tangentially we are discussing whether or not the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ and therefore those whom He (Jesus Christ) empowered in John 20:23 can indeed forgive sins, and those whose sins they do not forgive are not forgiven them. Petillo answers a question which wasn't asked, but let me ask him a question - if it was not the Catholic Church that Jesus Christ founded, which church was it? Anything even remotely resembling that which Petillo would call his church did not exist for over 1500 years - does he believe (or expect you to believe) that Jesus waited that long to build/found His Church? Again, I would invite Petillo (or anyone else interested) to join us in CDF to further discuss St. Peter and “the Rock” debate.
Now, that being said, Petillo specifically DENIES SCRIPTURE when he claims "No (one) can forgive sins except God alone." It was God Himself, through Jesus Christ, who gave specific MEN the authority to forgive or retain sins in John 20:23! Either Jesus Christ is a liar, or Michael Petillo is - let the reader decide.
The astonishing thing which Petillo should be aware of is that he is making the EXACT argument against the Catholic Church as the Jews made against Jesus Christ! (Mark 2:6,7; Luke 5:21) Did Jesus have the authority to forgive sins? Did Jesus have the authority to pass this authority on to others, as in John 20:23? Within the same context (John 20:21) Jesus said that as the Father sent Him, so also He was sending the Apostles. So He empowered them, then they too were to go out and empower others - which is how and why Apostolic succession is so important AND proof that the Catholic Church is THE Church which Jesus Christ founded.
When we first commit them? While I think that is possible, I would say it is not typical. Repentance tends to come after reflection - though I could see it happening as the sin is committed. Repentance is one thing, forgiveness is another. God provided us with the means of getting our sins forgiven through men whom He empowered to do so.Petillo asserts:
I think once someone repents of their sins to God they are forgiven. CH Spurgeon wrote,
Repentance is the inseparable companion of faith. All the while that we walk by faith and not by sight, the fear of repentance glitters in the eye of faith. That is not true repentance which does not come of faith in Jesus; and that is not true faith in Jesus which is not tinctured with repentance. Faith and repentance, like the Siamese twins, are vitally joined together. Faith and repentance are but two spokes in the same wheel, two handles of the same plow. Repentance has been well described as a heart broken for sin and from sin, and it may equally well be spoken of as turning and returning. It is a change of mind of the most thorough and radical sort, and it is attended with sorrow for the past and a resolve of amendment in the future. Repentance of sin and faith in divine pardon are the ways and woof of the fabric of real conversion.The quote from Spurgeon makes no reference to sins committed AFTER one repents! We're ALL sinners, we ALL sin, and often repeatedly. Certainly with faith comes repentance, but that does not mean we never sin again! That does not mean we never need to repent again! That does not mean that because we're forgiven once that we never need to be forgiven again! If it were impossible for man to falter, then why did St. Paul so repeatedly teach us that we must "persevere" and "run to win" and that even he himself, "after preaching the Gospel I myself am disqualified."? Clearly, where sin remains so must repentance and forgiveness - from those whom God has empowered to forgive sins.
D.M. Lloyd Jones wrote,
So the Cross does not merely tell us that God forgives, it tells us that that is God’s way of making forgiveness possible. It is the way in which we understand how God forgives. I will go further: How can God forgive and still remain God? – That is the question. The Cross is the vindication of God. The Cross is the vindication of the character of God. The Cross not only shows the love of God more gloriously than anything else, it shows His righteousness, His justice, His holiness, and all the glory of His eternal attributes. They are all to be seen shining together there. If you do not see them all you have not seen the Cross.Jones misses the point of the Cross. It is not so much the Cross but the Resurrection which conquered sin and death. The Cross shows us the culmination of the Passion and suffering of Jesus Christ, but without the Resurrection - the Cross would only show His defeat. Yes, it shows His love and compassion for mankind, but without Easter Sunday, Good Friday becomes "Bad Friday." Further, Petillo's use of Jones here is a distraction to what we're discussing. Jesus empowered MEN to forgive sins (John 20:23) and just before that (John 20:21) He said to them, "As the Father has sent Me, so also I send you." God gave His Church the means of forgiveness.
We strive to live holy lives because we wish to please our Lord, our Savior and God. If it is judged that we must be further purified before entering Heaven, then sobeit - God is sovereign.
How these verses shut the gates of purgatory! It is held that there are some who die who are believers, but who are not quite purified from sin, and in an after state they must undergo a purgatorial quarantine to be purged by fire, so that they may become quite complete. Beloved, when the thief died on the cross he had but just believed, and had never done a single good work, but where did he go to? Well, he ought to have gone to purgatory by rights, if ever anybody did, but instead of that the Savior said to him, "Today you shall be with me in Paradise." Why? Because the ground of the man's admission into Paradise was perfect. The grounds of his admission there was Christ's work, and that is how you and I will get into heaven, because Christ's work is finished. The thief did not go down to purgatory, nor, blessed be his name, neither shall you nor I if we trust in the finished work of the Lord Jesus.Spurgeon does not seem to understand that when the thief on the cross next to Jesus he was at that moment forgiven of all his sins by Jesus Christ Himself! True, the "good thief" didn't DO anything more after confessing to Jesus - and he didn't sin anymore either! Yes, it is quite within the teachings of Purgatory that this man went straight to Heaven. The quote from Spurgeon also does not deal with my statement “If it is judged (by God) that we must be further purified before entering Heaven, then sobeit - God is sovereign.” I would add, just because someone like Petillo and/or Spurgeon denies Purgatory - that does not change the reality of it.
Now, to the verses cited by Spurgeon:
"The death he died, he died to sin once for all..."
Romans 6:10There is no denial of Purgatory here. All faithful Catholics agree that Jesus death on the Cross was once, for all - and all time.
"He sacrificed for their sins once for all when
he offered himself." Hebrews 7:27
Same response as above.
"He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his
own blood, having obtained eternal redemption."
"But now he has appeared once for all at the end
of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice
of himself." Hebrews 9:26
"so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the
sins of many people...." Hebrews 9:28Again, no denial of Purgatory here! It is through Christ's death and resurrection that He conquered sin and death, once and for all, and for all time. This is really a different subject as it speaks to the general authority Christ has over sin and death and not to the forgiveness of individual sins - which IS directly referenced in John 20:23.
"we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the
body of Jesus Christ once for all." Hebrews 10:10Once more, faithful Catholics would agree that Jesus was sacrificed once for all. This is not a statement against Purgatory.
If there were no such thing as purification after death, or sins being forgiven in the next life, then why does Scripture make mention of such things?
Yes! May we? I hope we do and I hope we objectively look at what has been said and consider the following too...
It does not. It is simply your tradition being placed upon the text of Scripture. May I say that the Lord does not like "Catholic theologians" to write about His Word. It is safe to say that the Lord is angry with you by what you teach, but I call you to repentance.Petillo should be ashamed of himself for usurping the mind of God and unequivocally stating God's mind. Now, what is "safe to say" is that my Church has been teaching these things for nearly 2000 years and it would be equally "safe to say" that God didn't wait 1500 plus years to establish His Church. What we teach is what He taught us to teach!
Matt. 5:26,18:34; Luke 12:58-59 – Jesus teaches us, “Come to terms with your opponent or you will be handed over to the judge and thrown into prison. You will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” The word “opponent” (antidiko) is likely a reference to the devil (see the same word for devil in 1 Pet. 5:8) who is an accuser against man (c.f. Job 1.6-12; Zech. 3.1; Rev. 12.10), and God is the judge. If we have not adequately dealt with satan and sin in this life, we will be held in a temporary state called a prison, and we won’t get out until we have satisfied our entire debt to God. This “prison” is purgatory where we will not get out until the last penny is paid.
Jerome and Augustine commented on these verses and never mentioned purgatory (Ancient Christian Commentary On Scripture, New Testament Ia, Matthew 1-13, pg. 106-107).An argument from silence does not make a valid argument. That being said, I've quoted both Sts. Jerome and Augustine above making reference to Purgatory. I am not optimistic that Petillo will directly respond to these references.
Petillo responds to Matt. 5:48:
Matt. 5:48 - Jesus says, "be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect." We are only made perfect through purification, and in Catholic teaching, this purification, if not completed on earth, is continued in a transitional state we call purgatory.
This verse has no reference to purgatory. It refers to sanctification but later Christians are glorified.
Jesus says to be perfect - are you perfect? Do you still sin? It is a calling to be perfect, for nothing imperfect can enter into Heaven.
I do not see how any of these support purgatory.I will quote those verses again, and highlight in red where the explanations are and in blue where I've added explanations:
Matt. 12:32 – Jesus says, “And anyone who says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but no one who speaks against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven either in this world or in the next.” Jesus thus clearly provides that there is forgiveness after death. The phrase “in the next” (from the Greek “en to mellonti”) generally refers to the afterlife (see, for example, Mark 10.30; Luke 18.30; 20.34-35; Eph. 1.21 for similar language). Forgiveness is not necessary in heaven, and there is no forgiveness in hell. This proves that there is another state after death, and the Church for 2,000 years has called this state purgatory. Luke 12:47-48 - when the Master comes (at the end of time), some will receive light or heavy beatings but will live. This state is not heaven or hell, because in heaven there are no beatings, and in hell we will no longer live with the Master.
Luke 16:19-31 - in this story, we see that the dead rich man is suffering but still feels compassion for his brothers and wants to warn them of his place of suffering. But there is no suffering in heaven or compassion in hell because compassion is a grace from God and those in hell are deprived from God's graces for all eternity. So where is the rich man? He is in purgatory.
1 Cor. 15:29-30 - Paul mentions people being baptized on behalf of the dead, in the context of atoning for their sins (people are baptized on the dead’s behalf so the dead can be raised). These people cannot be in heaven because they are still with sin, but they also cannot be in hell because their sins can no longer be atoned for. They are in purgatory. These verses directly correspond to 2 Macc. 12:44-45 which also shows specific prayers for the dead, so that they may be forgiven of their sin.
Phil. 2:10 - every knee bends to Jesus, in heaven, on earth, and "under the earth" which is the realm of the righteous dead, or purgatory.
2 Tim. 1:16-18 - Onesiphorus is dead but Paul asks for mercy on him “on that day.” Paul’s use of “that day” demonstrates its eschatological usage (see, for example, Rom. 2.5,16; 1 Cor. 1.8; 3.13; 5.5; 2 Cor. 1.14; Phil. 1.6,10; 2.16; 1 Thess. 5.2,4,5,8; 2 Thess. 2.2,3; 2 Tim. 4.8). Of course, there is no need for mercy in heaven, and there is no mercy given in hell. Where is Onesiphorus? He is in purgatory.
Heb. 12:14 - without holiness no one will see the Lord. We need final sanctification to attain true holiness before God, and this process occurs during our lives and, if not completed during our lives, in the transitional state of purgatory.
Heb. 12:23 - the spirits of just men who died in godliness are "made" perfect. They do not necessarily arrive perfect. They are made perfect after their death. But those in heaven are already perfect, and those in hell can no longer be made perfect. These spirits are in purgatory.
1 Peter 3:19; 4:6 - Jesus preached to the spirits in the "prison." These are the righteous souls being purified for the beatific vision. Heaven is not "prison" and Jesus would not be preaching to souls in Hell, these souls are in Purgatory.
Rev. 21:4 - God shall wipe away their tears, and there will be no mourning or pain, but only after the coming of the new heaven and the passing away of the current heaven and earth. Note the elimination of tears and pain only occurs at the end of time. But there is no morning or pain in heaven, and God will not wipe away their tears in hell. These are the souls experiencing purgatory.
Rev. 21:27 - nothing unclean shall enter heaven. The word “unclean” comes from the Greek word “koinon” which refers to a spiritual corruption. Even the propensity to sin is spiritually corrupt, or considered unclean, and must be purified before entering heaven. It is amazing how many Protestants do not want to believe in purgatory. Purgatory exists because of the mercy of God. If there were no purgatory, this would also likely mean no salvation for most people. God is merciful indeed.
Luke 23:43 – (quoted earlier, so won't do it again)
Gen. 50:10; Num. 20:29; Deut. 34:8 - here are some examples of ritual prayer and penitent mourning for the dead for specific periods of time. The Jewish understanding of these practices was that the prayers freed the souls from their painful state of purification, and expedited their journey to God.Back to Petillo's response, now quoting others again:
John Napier wrote,
The god of Roman Catholic doctrine is not the God of the Bible; therefore, that leaves only one alternative, the “god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4).An empty assertion which at best begs the question - but really has nothing to do with our current discussion.
Thus, the vast majority of those in the Roman Catholic Church are lost.A false conclusion based upon a faulty premise - and again, not related to this debate/discussion.
However, those in Roman Catholic churches who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ alone and do not embrace the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church in their heart may be saved. (Charismatic Challenge by John Napier, Providence House Publishers, 2003, p. 177. Used by permission. All rights reserved).Yet another example of someone usurping God's role. Again, it is also an off-topic (red herring) discussion in this debate.
RC Sproul says,
At the moment the Roman Catholic Church condemned the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone, she denied the gospel and ceased to be a legitimate church, regardless of all the rest of her affirmations of Christian orthodoxy. To embrace her as an authentic church while she continues to repudiate the biblical doctrine of salvation is a fatal attribution. (Is the Reformation Over? September 2009, Tabletalk, p. 7. Used by Permission).Again Petillo appears to be attempting to draw us off-topic, this time with the subject of sola fide, which Scripture, in the ONLY place the words "faith" and "alone" are used together, explicitly DENIES the concept of sola fide. I would be quite willing to engage this topic - but for THIS discussion (forgiveness of sin and Purgatory) it is nothing more than a diversionary tactic.
He states the non-canonical books of the Bible,
The Jews receive the Old Testament in 22 books, according to the number of their letters, dividing them into three sections: Law, Prophets, and Hagiographa...There is a fourth section of the Old Testament among us, whose books are not in the Jewish canon. First of these is the book of Wisdom; second Ecclesiasticus; third Tobit; fourth Judith; fifth and sixth the books of Maccabees; which although the Jews separate among the Apocrypha, the Church of Christ honors and preaches among the divine books. (http://christiantruth.com/articles/Apocrypha3.html).And yet another diversionary topic! We're not discussing the Canon of Sacred Scripture here! That being said, the quote Petillo refers to here states that the Christian Church DOES recognize these other books of the "second canon" or "deuterocanonical" ARE "among the divine books." He's actually hurting his own cause with this quote! That being said, Petillo did not state who was speaking there - and it would appear that it was a continuation of R.C. Sproul. In reality it is quoted from William Webster's website (which Petillo does cite) and is a quote from seventh century Isidore of Seville.
Now back to Petillo's own words again:
I do not change the subject and I do not have a weak apologetic.I am quite willing to let the reader decide the strength of his apologetic - and the FACT that he changes the subject is wholly undeniable - he's done it several times in this response!
I can talk about that you mix the two natures of Christ in the Eucharist because you lack the Spirit of God to teach you about your total inability and total depravity (without making it a personal attack).That is all fine and good, and I would not take such as a "personal attack" so long as they remain impersonal. It is not hard to see the Calvinism in Petillo's apologetic, and I would take such comments as representative of Calvinist teachings/statements. Interestingly though, right after stating he "can" talk about subjects without making it a personal attack, he gets personal:
I suggest to you that Satan can easily deal with you, because you lack biblical divine truth.I would suggest Petillo sticks to what I have SAID to him and debate the facts of THIS debate on the merits, or lack thereof, and avoid the pitfalls of the invalid ad hominem attacks.
By the way, you call me "Mr. Petillo" when I have an earned doctorate of theology. I earned it at the age of 24 in 2004: it was a 531-page dissertation on the Reformed doctrines of the Bible.I apologize for the "Mr." - which college/university did you receive your doctorate from? How was this done at such an early age? Most typical students would just be getting the bachelors degree at 22, a masters by 24 and at the earliest a doctorate somewhere about 28-30. Just curious. I'm working my way there too, but taking a much slower route!
But I pray for you (I really do) that you would embrace the doctrines of the Bible before it is too late.
I appreciate your prayers and concern, I really do.
I stood before Jesus (going to Mass everyday) and He said it did not matter.Going to Mass everyday is not a requirement, though is a nice means of attaining actual grace everyday to strengthen ones soul. That being said, participation in the Mass, at least weekly, is not optional. He established the form of the consecration and He commanded it be done that way until He returns. We're straying off-topic again here though. What DOES apply to the topic we're discussing is the necessity to go to one whom He has empowered for forgiveness of sins (John 20:23).
He must stand in Him in His unified IMPUTED righteousness through a forensic declaration.Aside from the Calvinist spin and terminology, we're not far apart on this matter. Calvinists like to make a big deal about this, but it's really more about semantics than substance.
I said that Mary did not suffer redemptively and Jesus does not accept her in that way because He is the only One the Father said He was well-pleased with.Noting first, this is another change of subject... All that this demonstrates is that Petillo does not understand redemptive suffering. We can ALL participate in redemptive suffering! When we offer up our suffering for the benefit of others - that can be redemptive suffering. The Blessed Virgin suffered in ways none us could even imagine. She watched her Son grow from infancy to childhood, adolescence, teenager and into an adult. These, however joyful, made the pain and suffering of watching her Son tortured and forced to carry His Cross through the via crucis, then watching as they nailed His hands and feet to the Cross and lifted Him up to die the agonizing death of crucifixion. Any parent who has lost a child and watched helplessly as they died right before them knows a taste of that suffering (I held my daughter in my arms a little over a year ago as she breathed her last) and can relate, in a small way to the suffering the Blessed Mother went through. Any suffering which can help lead another to Christ is redemptive suffering.
Go to Jesus alone! I call you to repentance.There is nothing wrong with going to Jesus directly, I certainly do so often myself! I appreciate the "call to repentance" and Petillo can be assured, I will go to one whom has been entrusted with the authority to actually grant absolution.
May God richly bless and guide all who read this,
PS: Comments to this article/response are not only allowed here - but are encouraged!