Purgatory is not a doctrine in Protestant Christianity and is only in Catholic doctrine. It is not even that purgatory plays a minor role in Protestant – it is non-existent.
Why do Protestant Christians not believe in purgatory? They reject it as unbiblical and (therefore) see no basis of faith for the existence of purgatory.
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This is why Protestants do not believe in purgatory
This is the reason: evangelical Christians reject the doctrine of purgatory because they consider the redemption of Jesus Christ on the cross as complete and only fulfillable and fulfilled by him. Whoever belongs to Jesus is considered righteous by God, even though he is still able to sin.
Catholic teaching, however, assumes that man is not considered righteous (and thus sinless) but actually is. Simplified, the Catholic system goes something like this: There are people who live simply “perfect” lives and have no sin (the saints) and people who have committed too many or great sins (keyword: mortal sins). In between are most baptized Catholics who are neither saints, nor hell-bound.
However, they still have some sins on their “account”. For these sins, the faithful Catholics then still have to go to purgatory, so that these sins can still be “burned off” by them. When the remaining sins have been paid for, they too go to heaven.
In the Protestant there is no such “middle part”. It is either heaven or hell. Either he is sinful or he is not.
Now comes the difficult part: evangelical Christians assume that man cannot be good and sins constantly. I.e. one sin is enough for hell – which means: all people end up in hell.
When Jesus saves a person, God declares that person sinless (the professional says “righteous”) – this assurance is for all time. Even the past and future. Since God chose the person for all time when saving him, he cannot lose his place in heaven.
But his fleshly body remains sinful. The Holy Spirit comes into the person and helps to live a life that is more sinless – as a glorification of God.
Is there a biblical basis for purgatory (Protestant view)?
If you ask an evangelical Christian: No. The entire teaching about purgatory comes from the Apocrypha and from tradition. Evangelicals take their faith purely from the Bible and reject the Apocrypha as a canonical part of the Bible.
However, in some editions of Luther they are found – for whatever reason. Luther calls them “good for spiritual edification”. The exact theological reason why the Protestant communities do not accept the Apocrypha is… complicated and beyond the scope of this article.
In any case, without this text there is no biblical basis. Supposedly, 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 is where it is said to be. Nevertheless, in my research I have not found a translation that is clearly not a paraphrase of the type of salvation (“painful”).
Summary: Why is Purgatory not Protestant?
Why is purgatory not evangelical? Evangelical Christians consider the nature of man to be so corrupt that he cannot help but sin. Moreover, for even one sin to go to hell. Therefore, it requires the sacrifice of Jesus to declare a believer righteous for all time. The purgatory would be needed only if the person dies and this despite sins not directly in heaven, but only in purgatory would land.