Modern Debate About Hell: Standing Room Only … Or Virtually Unpopulated?


…It does not require an advanced degree in sociology to understand that, to remove the unambiguous biblical teaching on the very real and possible outcome of Hell, is to remove strong motivation to seek a Savior and salvation. It is therefore no surprise that as the teaching on Hell has been largely set aside by the modern world, that recourse to the sacraments, prayer, Church attendance and any number of spiritual remedies have suffered significant declines during the same period.

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Purgatory – Biblical and Reasonable


The Catholic teaching of Purgatory is one of the teachings of the Church that today many struggle to understand. Non-Catholics have generally rejected this teaching, calling it unbiblical. Actually, it is quite biblical and the biblical roots of the teaching will be shown in this reflection. Many Catholics too, influenced and embarrassed by the protests of non-Catholics have been led to downplay, question or even reject this teaching. The task of this reflection is to set forth the Catholic teaching on Purgatory as both biblical and reasonable. It is perhaps best to begin with a description of the teaching on Purgatory, then show it’s biblical roots. Finally it will be good to show why the teaching makes sense based on what God has said to us about holiness and heaven.

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Some Questions About Prayer

Q: How would the prayers from other Christians make a difference and why?

A: Prayers from others … particularly the saints in Heaven … facilitated by the Holy Spirit, and empowered by God’s grace … are capable of transcending time and space. That means prayer has the potential to change everything.

Q: If God is almighty and willing to help, why would He not be doing anything to help us, and “wait until” someone prays and asks him for help? In a sense, hasn’t God become passive?

A: Prayer is our way of giving God permission to interfere in our lives.

Absent very special circumstances, it remains up to us to accept the abundant grace that God FIRST provides to all … and then subsequently make a free-will choice to cooperate with that grace. Prayer is just one of the ways we affirmatively RESPOND to God’s grace. God is ALWAYS the “prime mover” … whether we recognize it or not.

Q: What is the “theology of prayer” being developed from the Old Testament to New Testament?

A: Because man was estranged from God due to sin, there was little actual grace extant in Old Testament times, and (almost) no sanctifying grace at all, which means that Heaven was off limits.

Until Jesus took on flesh, atoned for sin, and destroyed Satan’s evil dominion over mankind, ANY good works or acts of love and/or charity in the world were primarily due to the natural law that God initially “wrote” into the hearts of all human beings, rather than any free-will response to grace.

Of course, God reigns supreme, and he does make some exceptions. Those exceptions are chronicled in biblical accounts of the patriarchs, prophets, and kings that we can read, from Genesis to Matthew.

Today, Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Satan’s evil dominion has been destroyed. Heaven is open, and sufficient grace is available freely to all.

Empowered by the superabundant grace that Jesus obtained for us on the cross, our prayers and our good efforts are supported by God, along with all the saints in Heaven, who have already been perfected in Jesus Christ, and who are now ruling and reigning with him, just as he promised.