For centuries Protestants have rejected the doctrine of purgatory, claiming that it’s taught nowhere in Scripture and that it actually undermines crucial doctrines related to Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice. Because he suffered in our place and died for our sins “once for all” (Heb. 10:10), Christians have no need of any additional purging or purification. So how and when did the doctrine of purgatory develop, and what sort of changes is this doctrine currently undergoing in the world of Catholicism? Shane Rosenthal discusses this issue with Michael McClymond, author of The Devil’s Redemption.
Michael McClymond: I don’t see how you can say that Christ makes satisfaction for my sins and that “I” make satisfaction for my sins. If Christ did make satisfaction for my sins, would not God be unjust in requiring me to make satisfaction, as well? These are completely at odds with one another. If you believe in Purgatory and that idea of making satisfaction, what you are really saying is that Christ “kind of” died for us or for some of them, or maybe the really bad sins — but the little venial sins, we take care of ourselves.
Term to Learn
We distinguish between [the canonical books] and the apocryphal ones, which are the third and fourth books of Esdras; the books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Jesus Sirach, Baruch; what was added to the Story of Esther; the Song of the Three Children in the Furnace; the Story of Susannah; the Story of Bell and the Dragon; the Prayer of Manasseh; and the two books of Maccabees.
The church may certainly read these books and learn from them as far as they agree with the canonical books. But they do not have such power and virtue that one could confirm from their testimony any point of faith or of the Christian religion. Much less can they detract from the authority of the other holy books.
(The Belgic Confession, Article 6)