Is there a biblical purgatory?
Caller: I have a simple question, I think. I was raised in a certain denomination and my father was a different one. He’s always told me about purgatory and I don’t remember seeing that in any scripture. I was just wondering. I don’t understand where they get that term—you know, you’re not good enough for heaven but not bad enough for hell, so you kind of like stay in limbo ?
Pastor Doug: I’ll just be brutally honest with you, there is no scripture that mentions purgatory, and there is no scripture or any chain of scriptures that really teaches that once a person dies that they can be saved after death by virtue of what people in this life are doing. And the teaching of purgatory, that the priests can pray or someone can make a donation to the church and get someone out of hell really grew up about a thousand years after Christ and it became, quite honestly, it became a scheme for the church to basically capitalize on controlling salvation, or trying to capitalize on the idea that they control salvation.
It comes from the word ‘purge’ and supposedly, you’re not quite good enough for heaven yet, but you’re going to go through a little bit of burning to get any little sin that might be left burned out, or boiled out, and how long you boil might not only depend on how bad you were but how people are praying for you. Well, that is so contrary to the teachings of the Bible. Once you die you take your record with you. People are not rewarded based on how others are praying for them once they die. People take their record with them to their grave that they’ll meet in the resurrection and the judgment, and purgatory is just not found in Scripture. It is really a teaching that came from pagan tradition .