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Free Will? Liberal Christianity. Punished for Sins We Commit After We Become Christians? Tertullian and the Montanists, Part 3

by Karl Kemp  
4/17/2015 / Bible Studies

We continue with this paper here in Part 3.

SOME OF THE EARLY CHRISTIAN FATHERS HAD A VERY DIFFICULT TIME DEALING WITH SINS COMMITTED BY CHRISTIANS (POST-BAPTISMAL SINS), especially sins like murder, adultery/fornication, or apostasy (including during and after times of intense persecution). It is easy to criticize (and all the more so when you are not experiencing the things they were experiencing), but it seems clear that some of the early Christian Fathers sincerely, but substantially, confused the issue. Those Christians took very seriously the idea that Christians are not supposed to be sinning, and especially sins like those I mentioned, which is good and necessary, but some of them came up with some wrong ideas, ideas that are not Biblical. Every error hurts; some more than others; and some errors distort the gospel to such an extent that it cannot save. We need to be careful with God's Word and His Church.

When I started to write this paper, I didn't plan to include this section, which goes on for twenty-seven pages, but the more I got into this topic I could see that it is quite relevant to understanding the gospel, with its strong emphasis on the grace of God in Christ, and the topic of righteousness, holiness, and victory over sin. I didn't make an attempt to fully discuss this topic in this section. You could easily write a book or two on this topic and get into all the details regarding how procedures varied from one church Father to another, from one location to another, and from one generation to another, or how some individual church Fathers changed their views with time. I do believe, however, that I get into more than enough details in this section of this paper to demonstrate that many of the early Christian Fathers had a very difficult time dealing with the sins of those who had already become Christians and that some of those problems continued in Roman Catholic theology.

Some (including Tertullian, about AD160-240 [in his later writings, after he joined the Montanists], Hippolytus [AD170-236], and Novatian [died in AD 258]) argued that the Christian church didn't have the right to tell Christians who had committed sins like murder, apostasy, or adultery/fornication that they were forgiven (cf. Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-29). It seems clear to me that they were wrong. Also, there was widespread agreement among other Christian leaders that forgiveness for such sins could be granted, but only one time. We find that viewpoint taught in the "Shepherd of Hermas," for example, which probably was written about AD100-150.

Dealing with sin in the church can get complicated, and it is very important for us to go very slow here and do everything we can do to make sure that the will of God is done. (It is easy to come up with doctrines, ideas, and judgments that seem right from our point of view, and are widely accepted, but that God doesn't agree with. It is rather easy for born-again Christians to think in the flesh. How much more so for those "Christians" who haven't been born again by the Spirit.) The well being of the Christian church and the hearts and lives of God's people are very directly affected. It is easy to talk and make judgments, and it is easy to be wrong too.

We need to take this topic very seriously, which includes humbly and with faith looking to God for direction (He knows the hearts of all people; we don't; and He is the One who ultimately forgives or doesn't forgive), with an emphasis on being guided by the Scriptures, but the Scriptures do not answer every question. For one thing, sometimes we won't know if a person has repented. In cases like that we need to go very slow about passing judgments. In other cases, however, it is obvious (by their words and actions) that a person has not repented.

We must have discipline in the Christian church (cf., e.g., Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Thess. 3:6-15; 1 Tim. 1:19, 20). As I mentioned, God is the One who forgives, or doesn't forgive. The fact that some Christian leader tells a person they are forgiven doesn't guarantee that God forgives them. (And the fact that some Christian leader tells a person they are not forgiven doesn't guarantee that God doesn't forgive them.) What Jesus said in John 20:23 ("If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.") doesn't apply to all Christian leaders or to every judgment made by Christian leaders. For one thing, God will not (He cannot) allow into heaven those He knows to be unrepentant rebels in their hearts. They wouldn't want to be in heaven on God's terms, not that they will want the alternative.

GOD FORGIVES CHRISTIANS WHO SINCERELY REPENT, and He certainly desires the repentance of all Christians who need to repent. (God calls all people to repent and submit, in faith, to Him, His Son, and the gospel.) As I mentioned, God knows our hearts, and He knows who sincerely repents, or doesn't sincerely repent, but very often we don't know if a Christian is sincerely repenting. True repentance includes being sorry for our sins, but it doesn't include hating ourselves or attacking ourselves in various ways, as if that helps solve the sin problem - it doesn't; sometimes demons (in the name of religion) drive Christians to hate themselves and punish themselves. We are forgiven and restored through the unearned, undeserved grace of God in Christ through faith, even as we are enabled (and required) to walk in the truth, righteousness, and holiness of God by grace through faith.

TRUE REPENTANCE includes making things right as far as possible (including returning things that have been stolen, for example, where possible, and asking people to forgive us where this can be done in a way that doesn't make the problem worse). And true repentance requires making it a top priority to walk in the truth, righteousness, and holiness of God, with the victory over sin (all sin), through the saving, sanctifying grace of God in Christ, which includes all the work of the indwelling Righteous and Holy Spirit of God. For many this will require making it a top priority to learn what the New Testament teaches on this topic: We are called, enabled, and required to walk with the victory over sin (all sin) by God's sufficient grace, but we cannot appropriate and cooperate with God's saving, sanctifying grace until we know for sure in our hearts - in faith - that this is what the New Testament teaches. And after we know for sure in our hearts that this is what the New Testament teaches, we still must walk in the truth, righteousness, and holiness of God on a continuous basis, by grace through faith, against the opposition of the world, the flesh (the old man who wants to continue to sin), and the devil and his hosts, BUT THE GRACE OF GOD IS SUFFICIENT!

WE MUST UNDERSTAND AND PUT THE EMPHASIS ON THE FACT THAT GOD FORGIVES AND RESTORES CHRISTIANS WHO REPENT THROUGH THE SAME ATONING DEATH OF THE LAMB OF GOD THROUGH WHICH WE BECAME CHRISTIANS (1 JOHN 2:1, 2). I believe we seriously confuse the issue if we say that GOD REQUIRES CHRISTIANS TO BE CHASTENED/PUNISHED (to do penance, to suffer, to hate themselves [on a temporary basis], to torture themselves, etc.) IN ORDER TO BE RECONCILED TO HIM for their after-they-became-Christian sins (especially referring to the more serious sins) SINCE WE HAVE DISHONORED HIM AND HIS JUSTICE REQUIRES IT. This idea surfaced (and then grew) in the early Christian church. I'll include some excerpts from Tertullian (about AD160-240) as we continue. I BELIEVE THIS IDEA GIVES A VERY WRONG IMPRESSION OF GOD AND SIGNIFICANTLY DISTORTS THE GOSPEL OF HIS GRACE. It is easy to distort the gospel. It has been distorted in just about every conceivable way it is possible to distort it. Many have distorted it to such an extent that it can no longer save. We must make it a top priority to believe the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches, which includes rejecting every wrong teaching or tradition that we have picked up one way or another.

I agree, of course, that it is much more serious for us to sin after we become Christians than before we became Christians because of the truth, enabling grace, etc. that God has given us. I should mention that there is a gigantic difference between being under the old covenant and under the new covenant. The incarnation, sinless life, atoning death, resurrection, ascension and present ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ has made a gigantic difference. How could these things not make a gigantic difference?

It may seem too good to be true, but THE SAVING, SANCTIFYING GRACE OF GOD IN CHRIST REALLY IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, BUT IT IS TRUE - with its GRACE upon GRACE. The triune God paid an infinite price in the Sacrifice of the Lamb of God to provide this GRACE upon GRACE. The Lord Jesus Christ bore the punishment for our sins (along with the guilt), including (according to 1 John 2:1, 2) any sins we commit after we become Christians. If a Christian stole something, for example, they may go to jail, but if they have truly repented and been forgiven by God on the basis of the atoning death of the Lamb of God there is no basis for Him to punish them. I BELIEVE IT IS A VERY WRONG IDEA TO THINK THAT SINCE GOD'S HONOR HAS BEEN DEFAMED BY OUR SIN, HIS JUSTICE REQUIRES HIM TO CHASTEN/PUNISH US AFTER WE HAVE CONFESSED OUR SINS AND TRULY REPENTED. But we do have to truly repent, which includes making it a top priority to walk in the truth, righteousness, and holiness of God (by grace through faith) on a continuous basis (which is a great privilege, not a burden [cf. 1 John 5:3]); and we must be aware of the fact that believers can become unbelievers if we start leaving room for sin. Sin (and the devil and his hosts) is a powerful destructive force. It's much safer to play with rattlesnakes than with sin.

God will exhort, warn, discipline, and even severely discipline/chasten Christians (in love) to help wake them up and motivate them to repent when it is needed ((cf., e.g., 1 Cor. 5:1-13, especially verse 5; 11:29-32 [1 Corinthians chapter 11 is discussed verse-by-verse in a paper on my internet site]; 1 Tim. 1:19, 20; Heb. 12:3-17 [This passage includes the idea of God's disciplining/chastening Christians, as required, that we may repent and "share His holiness" and righteousness (12:10,11, and 14)].)). However, God's disciplining His children to motivate, etc. them to repent is something very different than His requiring them to suffer, etc. after they have repented because His honor has been defamed through their sin and His justice requires that they be punished. (I'll demonstrate as we continue with this topic that some clearly speak of our being chastened/punished, etc. after repenting and being forgiven because God's justice requires it.) In Revelation chapters 2 and 3 the Lord Jesus called large numbers of born-again Christians to repent or forfeit their salvation. However, there was no suggestion that He would punish them if they repented. (God knows our hearts. He knows if we truly repent, or not.) That is an idea foreign to me and to evangelicals in general. (Revelation chapters 2 and 3 are discussed in a paper on my internet site, and see my paper, "Once Saved, Always Saved?" [Google to Karl Kemp Teaching].)

We must understand that the fact that Christians are in trials (hard places) doesn't demonstrate that they are being chastened by God, although sometimes that is the case (see the preceding paragraph). The most faithful Christians (including the apostle Paul for example) frequently were in difficult trials (cf., e.g., Acts 14:21, 22; Rom. 5:3-5; 2 Cor. 4:7-18; 11:22-33). We are involved in warfare, whether we like it or not, and God clearly will let us be tempted and tested, but He always provides the grace for us to stay faithful as we make Him the top priority in our hearts and lives (cf. 1 Cor. 10:13).

I'LL INCLUDE SEVERAL EXCERPTS FROM TERTULLIAN'S "ON REPENTANCE," chapters 5-12, written about AD 203, where he included the idea that Christians must be chastened, suffer, do penance, etc. for having offended the honor of God (by sinning against Him; that is, by sinning against Him after they became Christians; he was dealing with sins like murder, adultery/fornication, and apostasy); Vol. 3 of the "Ante-Nicene Fathers" by A. Roberts and J. Donaldson [Eerdmans, 1986 reprint], pages 660-666. ((Tertullian wrote this when he was a Roman Catholic, before he had become a Montanist. These chapters by Tertullian include, for one thing, the things that must accompany the second (and supposed only other) repentance available to Christians who sinned (the first repentance took place when they became Christians). He made it very clear in this writing that Christians should not sin after they become Christians; there is no excuse; but he does speak of the fact that "that most stubborn foe (of ours) never gives his malice leisure; indeed, he is most savage when he fully feels that a man is freed from his clutches;..." (page 662). After Tertullian joined the Montanists he denied this second repentance. I'll say a lot about the Montanists as we continue with this paper)):

"You have offended [God], but can still be reconciled. You have One whom you may satisfy, and Him willing" [footnote: "to accept the satisfaction"] (chapter 7, page 663).

"... repentance [which here includes the chastening, suffering, doing penance, etc.; and these things often continued for lengthy periods] God is appeased. And thus "exomologesis" [this Greek word refers to the chastening, suffering, doing penance, etc. required (according to Tertullian and very many others in his day) to make things right with God] is a discipline for a man's prostration and humiliation, enjoining a demeanor calculated to move mercy. With regard to the very dress and food, it commands (the penitent) to lie in sackcloth and ashes, to cover his body in mourning, to lay his spirit low in sorrows, TO EXCHANGE FOR SEVERE TREATMENT THE SINS WHICH HE HAS COMMITTED [my emphasis], moreover, to know no food and drink but such as is plain, - not for the stomach's sake, to wit, but the souls; for the most part, however, to feed prayers on fastings, to groan, to weep and make outcries unto the Lord your God; to bow before the feet of the presbyters, and kneel to God's dear ones [referring to the leaders of the church]; to enjoin on all the brethren to be ambassadors to bear his deprecatory supplication (before God). All this 'exomologesis' (does), that it may enhance repentance; may honour God by its fear of the (incurred) danger; may, by itself pronouncing against the sinner, stand in the stead of God's indignation, and by temporal mortification (I will not say frustrate, but) expunge eternal punishment. [In other words, it was either do these things or suffer "eternal punishment" in hell.] Therefore while it abases the man, it raises him; while it covers him with squalor, it renders him more clean; while it accuses, it excuses; while it condemns, it absolves. The less quarter ["mercy"] you give yourself, the more (believe me) will God give you" (chapter 9, page 664).

"Yet most men either shun this work ["exomologesis"], as being a public exposure of themselves, or else defer it day to day. I presume (as being) more mindful of modesty than of salvation.... It is intolerable, forsooth, to modesty to make satisfaction to the offended Lord [by this second repentance, which includes the "exomologesis"; Tertullian uses a lot of sarcasm]! to be restored to its forfeited salvation! ... Is it better to be damned in secret than absolved in public? But you say 'It is a miserable thing thus to come to "exomologesis" ': yes for evil [having done evil] does bring a misery; but where repentance is to be made, the misery ceases, because it has turned into something salutary. Miserable it is to be cut and cauterized, and racked with the pungency of some (medicinal) powder: still, the things which heal by unpleasant means do, by the benefit of the cure, excuse their own offensiveness, and make present injury bearable for the sake of the advantage to supervene" (chapter 10, pages 664, 665). " make satisfaction for injury or insult to the offended Lord!" (chapter 10, page 664).

"What if, besides the shame [that came with "exomologesis"] which they make the most account of, men dread likewise the bodily inconvenience; in that, unwashen, sordidly attired, estranged from gladness, they must spend their time in the roughness of sackcloth, and the horridness of ashes, and the sunkenness of face caused by fasting? Is it then becoming for us to supplicate for our sins in scarlet and purple? ... ...let him say, I have sinned against God and am in peril of eternally perishing: and so now I am drooping, and wasting and TORTURING MYSELF, THAT I MAY RECONCILE GOD TO MYSELF, WHOM BY SINNING I HAVE OFFENDED [my emphasis]. ..." (chapter 11, page 665).

"If you shrink back from 'exomolgesis,' consider in your heart the hell, which 'exomologesis' will extinguish for you; and imagine first the magnitude of the penalty [hell], that you may not hesitate about the adoption of the remedy. ... Therefore, since you know that after the first bulwarks of the Lord's baptism there still remains for you, in 'exomologesis' a second reserve of aid against hell, why do you desert your own salvation? Why are you tardy to approach what you know heals you? ..." (chapter 12, page 665).

I don't know all the details, but based on what I have read on this topic, this intense public "exomologesis" did not continue; it disappeared for several reasons in the 300s. However, the idea that Christians who sin have offended the honor of God and His justice requires that they must make satisfaction through penance (which includes "temporary punishment" and other such expressions) did not disappear. Some of the excerpts that follow in this paper will demonstrate this point.

I read some thousand pages of Tertullian when I was in seminary (about 1970) for a paper on apologetics, and I was impressed with much that he said, but this is one place where he seriously confused the issue. He communicated the idea that we can in part pay off the debt we owe to God for sinning against Him after we became Christians. To the extent we could pay off the debt by suffering or anything else, we wouldn't be saved by grace. Tertullian was a lawyer, and it seems that his idea of justice among men intruded itself here. As I mentioned, some early Christian Fathers had a very difficult time dealing with post-baptismal sins like apostasy. However, WE MUST PUT ALL THE EMPHASIS ON THE FACT THAT OUR BEING FORGIVEN AND RESTORED IF WE SIN AFTER WE BECOME CHRISTIANS COMES TO US THROUGH THE ALL- IMPORTANT ATONING WORK OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH, WHEN (IF) WE REPENT (not at all through our being chastened, suffering for sins that the Lord Jesus has borne for us). Some never do repent. As I mentioned, God knows if we repent.

I'll Quote A Small Part Of What Philip Schaff Said Under "Church Discipline" dealing with the time period AD100-311 in his "History of the Christian Church," Vol. 2 (Eerdmans, original copyright 1910 by Charles Scribner's Sons), page 189. "... Tertullian conceived the entire church penance as a 'satisfaction' paid to God. This view could easily obscure to a dangerous degree the all-sufficient merit of Christ, and lead to that self-righteousness against which the Reformation raised so loud a voice." It would be self-righteousness to the extent we earned, deserved, merited it through things WE have done. We do have to repent by grace through faith, but that has nothing to do with earning, deserving, or meriting God's forgiveness and restoration. We are simply (humbly, thankfully, and by faith) receiving God's forgiveness and restoration that have already been paid for at an infinite price (1 John 2:1, 2).

I'll quote part of what Justo L. Gonzales said under the heading "The Development of Private Penance" in his book, "A History of Christian Thought," Vol. 2 (Abingdon Press, 1971), pages 135, 136. "In the first volume of this 'History,' we repeatedly saw that post-baptismal sins posed a serious problem to the nascent church. What was to be done about them? ... [They couldn't be baptized again. Some postponed baptism so they wouldn't sin after being baptized, but that clearly isn't a biblical idea. The primary answer they came up with] to cleanse post-baptismal sins was through repentance and penance. This was the origin of the penitential system of the Church.

Although during the patristic [referring to the Fathers of the early Christian church (the first few centuries)] period there were several debates as to which sins could be forgiven and how [He has a footnote referring to Vol. 1 of his History: pages 236-238, 241.], there were two points of general agreement: penance was to be public, and it was not to be repeated [that is, they could only repent once for serious sins]. By the fourth century [the 300s], there also was a general agreement that all sins could be forgiven through penance. [He has a footnote: "Council of Nicea, canon 13."]

Penance was the sense that the sinner was publically excommunicated [which is a big deal] and [eventually] publically reconciled with the church. ... ...the sinner then became a penitent, wearing a distinctive garb and sitting in a special section in church. When he was reconciled - usually after a long period of penance... - he knew that if ever he would sin again, he could not have recourse to a second penance. Naturally, this rigor applied only to grave sins. The believer could be cleansed from minor sins through the practice of daily penance - fasting, praying, and helping the needy.

... [Some postponed using this one repentance until later in life, or on the deathbed.] Another development was that seclusion in a monastery became acceptable as an act of penance...."

Some eventually came up with the idea of purgatory for those Christians who didn't do sufficient penance (receiving temporal [not eternal] punishment [eternal punishment means hell]). It was clearly taught by Augustine (AD354-430), but as we will discuss, although Tertullian (AD160-240) taught some things that helped prepare the way for purgatory, he (based on what I have read) did not teach purgatory. Much later the ideas of penance, merit (and treasury of merit), and purgatory led to the idea of indulgences. (I'll comment further on purgatory and indulgences as we continue.) Protestants typically reject all of these ideas in that none of them are taught in the New Testament (the few verses that are used to try to substantiate these ideas are quite insufficient) and go against things that are said in the New Testament.

The apostle Paul (in Phil. 1:21, 23; 2 Cor. 5:1-10) shows that for true Christians to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (cf., e.g., Luke 23:43 [Jesus said to the repentant man on the cross next to Him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise"]). When the believers from Old Testament days died they went to the righteous compartment in Hades/Sheol, sometimes called Paradise or Abraham's Bosom (cf. Luke 16:19-31). (See under Eph. 4:8, and see under the heading "A Discussion on the Meaning of the Word 'Hades' in Acts 2:27, 31; the Meaning of 'Paradise' in Luke 23:43; and the Meaning of 'Abraham's Bosom' in Luke 16:22" on page 41 of my paper that includes Ephesians chapter 4 on my internet site [Google to Karl Kemp Teaching]). After His resurrection (after He had overthrown spiritual death, physical death, sin, and Satan through His atoning death), Jesus took those believers to heaven (cf. Heb. 11:39, 40; 12:22, 23 [These verses are discussed in my book "Holiness and Victory Over Sin," for one place.]). True Christians are literally united with the Lord Jesus Christ (in a very real sense we have already been raised up with Him [cf., e.g., Rom. 6:3-11; Eph. 2:5; Col. 3:1-11]), and we (as long as we continue to be true Christians) are indwelled by the Holy Spirit of life. We are not about to go to Hades/Sheol, which is part of the kingdom of death, if we die before the Lord Jesus returns. Those who disagree (it seems to me) do so because they haven't seen the full glory of the GRACE upon GRACE incorporated in new-covenant salvation, which includes the problem of thinking that Christians must be punished for sins they commit after confessing those sins and repenting, which we discuss in this paper.

I am not making an attempt in this paper to fully discuss what Roman Catholics have taught and now teach on this topic; I mostly just want to demonstrate that the idea has continued in Roman Catholic theology that after Christians have repented and been forgiven (forgiven in the sense they will ultimately make it to heaven) there remains a debt that must be paid, one way or another, in this life or in purgatory. (Roman Catholics believe that it is only Christians who will ultimately make it to heaven that will be in purgatory.)

I'll quote several sentences from the article "The Sacrament of Penance," under the sub-heading "Satisfaction" in the "Catholic Encyclopedia" on the internet: "As stated above, the absolution given by the priest to a penitent who confesses his sins with the proper disposition remits both the guilt and the eternal punishment (of mortal sin). THERE REMAINS, HOWEVER, SOME INDEBTEDNESS TO DIVINE JUSTICE WHICH MUST BE CANCELLED HERE OR HEREAFTER [my emphasis] (see Purgatory). In order to have it cancelled here, the penitent receives from his confessor what is usually called his 'penance'.... ... In theological language, THIS PENANCE IS CALLED SATISFACTION [my emphasis] and is defined, in the words of St. Thomas [Aquinas]: 'THE PAYMENT OF THE TEMPORARY PUNISHMENT DUE ON ACCOUNT OF THE OFFENSE COMMITTED AGAINST GOD BY SIN.... IT IS AN ACT OF JUSTICE WHEREBY THE INJURY DONE TO THE HONOUR OF GOD IS REQUIRED, SO FAR AT LEAST AS THE SINNER IS ABLE TO MAKE REPARATION [my emphasis]...; it is also a preventive remedy, inasmuch as it is meant to hinder the further commission of sin. ...."

I'll quote a few sentences from the six-page article on purgatory in the "New Catholic Encyclopedia," Vol. 10 [McGraw-Hill,1967], pages 1034-1039. "According to the teaching of the Church, the state, place, or condition in the next world, which will continue to the last judgment, where the souls of those who die in the state of grace, but not yet free from all imperfection, MAKE EXPIATION FOR [atone for] UNFORGIVEN VENIAL SINS OR THE TEMPORAL PUNISHMENT [the temporal punishment that must be borne by the sinner] DUE TO VENIAL AND MORTAL SINS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN FORGIVEN [my emphasis; these sins were clearly not "forgiven" in a full sense with this point of view] and, by so doing, are purified before they enter heaven.

Although the doctrine of purgatory is not explicitly stated in the Bible, belief in its existence is intimately related to the Biblical doctrines of divine judgment [see JUDGMENT, DIVINE (IN THE BIBLE) (their capitalization here and in the next bracket)], the forgiveness of sins [see FORGIVENESS OF SINS (IN THE BIBLE)], the mercy of God, and THE TEMPORAL PUNISHMENT DUE TO SIN [my emphasis]. ..." (page 1034). As I mentioned, Protestants don't believe in purgatory, because it isn't taught in the Bible and it doesn't fit what the Bible does say.

I'll quote a little from what this article says under "In Theology." "The Church also teaches that the punishment due to sin, whether mortal or venial, is not always and necessarily forgiven along with the guilt of sin; HENCE THE PUNISHMENT IS TO BE PAID BY THE SINNER EITHER IN THIS LIFE OR IN THE NEXT BEFORE HE CAN ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN [my emphasis] (Denz 1580, 1712). ... [The following excerpt is under a further sub-heading, "Magisterial Statements"] ...the Council of Trent reiterated the revealed character of the existence of purgatory against the reformers who had denied that there was any basis for it in Sacred Scripture (Denz 1580, 1820). Since there is no solemn statement of the Church about the existence of the guilt of venial sin in purgatory, THE ONLY THING CERTAIN IS THAT AT LEAST THE PUNISHMENT DUE TO FORGIVEN SIN IS EXACTED FROM THE SOUL [my emphasis]. ..." (page 1035).

I'll quote one sentence from the ten pages that Charles Hodge has in "Arguments Against the Doctrine [of purgatory]" in Vol. 3 of his "Systematic Theology" [Eerdmans, 1986 reprint, written in 1871-1873], page 757. "... There is nothing more absolutely incompatible with the nature of the Gospel than the idea that man can 'satisfy divine justice' for his sins." The God-man, who didn't have any sin, satisfied divine justice for all who submit (on a continuous basis, on God's terms) to the gospel of new-covenant salvation.

We will continue this study in Part 4.

Copyright by Karl Kemp Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.

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