There is a theology of purgatory, that led to the selling of indulgences during the early renaissance. In short:
- In the next age, in heaven, it will be glorious and there will be no evil. (Isaiah 4 is but one of many passages that teach this).
- However, we are fallen, imperfect, and broken. We are not worthy to be before God.
- We therefore need to be punished, purged, pay the penality, then we may be able to enter paradise.
- Since the church can let you into heaven and not for they own the keys to the kingdom, a pope or bishop can grant an indulgence to minimise this time. Your acts of contrition cut down the penalty.
- This exists still in Roman theology, but it is acts, not pennies in the box for building St. Peter's as it was in the time of Luther.
I do not believe in purgatory, for our sins are too great. Our heart is desperately wicked, and only the act of Christ, dying on the cross in my place, is sufficient.
The evangelical faith -- Protestantism and the Reformed -- come because of the cross, and the cross alone. Our salvation is not our doing, it can never ben our doing.
But in this life, we are never perfect. The besetting flaw of the reformed is a belief that they are elect, uncorruptable, and need not repent. The Romans know better.
We always need to repent. The New Jerusalem will be perfect, true, but it will not be our doing.
2 In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. 3 And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, 4 when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. 5 Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. 6 There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.
5 And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, 6 “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 7 And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” 8 And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. 9 And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”
10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. 13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name's sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives
What does it mean that not a hair on your head will perish? Christ is not talking about our lives: in the previous verse he has said that some will become martyrs. He has said that we will be denounced to the authorities by our friends, our siblings, even our parents.
Our witness will be their salvation, or their damnation, for they heard the word of God and chose not to take that path.
In times now long past, missionaries were sent to the pagan tribes of England and Europe. Some from Rome, true: but some from the Christian Britons, in what we now call Wales, Cornwall and Scotland. Those older kings and princes listened and were converted.
In times not so distant, English missionaries went to the tribes of the South Pacific. Some were killed. Some were rejected. But the net result was that the tribes of Melanesia and Polynesia -- at the uttermost part of the world -- were evangelized.
In these fallen times Samoan and Fijian missionaries are being sent to the West. The west has, generally rejected Christ.
With this rejection has come a functional disestablishment of any form of the Church that does not converge with the ways of this world. The church is being purged: it is self separating into the liberals, who love the praise of this world, and will join in the campaigns against those who offend the elite.
You can tell them because they preach acceptance of abortion and damn those who love their own people as racists, or oppose abortion as sexists. They think that intersectional Christianity exists when it is an oxymoron.
And they will not be persecuted: instead they will damn those of faith.
The church is being purged of such, for their apostasy is becoming obvious, and the non apostate are no longer welcome in polite society.
These apostates are damned. Do not be them. Do not be like them.