Fullness (The Word of God Encyclopedia Book 7)

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A number of Christian groups reject the doctrine of the Trinity, but differ from one another in their views regarding God the Father. The Father and Son are considered to have perfected, physical bodies, while the Holy Spirit has a body of spirit. They believe these three are united in purpose, but are not one being and are not equal in power. While the Witnesses acknowledge Christ's pre-existence, perfection, and unique "Sonship" from God the Father, and believe that Christ had an essential role in creation and redemption, and is the Messiah, they believe that only the Father is without beginning.

They say that the Son was the Father's only direct creation, before all ages. God the Father is emphasized in Jehovah's Witness meetings and services more than Christ the Son, as they teach that the Father is greater than the Son. Oneness Pentecostalism teaches that God is a singular spirit who is one person, not three divine persons, individuals or minds. God the Father is the title of the Supreme Creator. The titles of the Son and Holy Spirit are merely titles reflecting the different personal manifestations of the One True God the Father in the universe.

Although similarities exist among religions, the common language and the shared concepts about God and his title Father among the Abrahamic religions is quite limited, and each religion has very specific belief structures and religious nomenclature with respect to the subject. In Hinduism , Bhagavan Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita , chapter 9, verse 17, stated: "I am the Father of this world, the Mother, the Dispenser and the Grandfather", one commentator adding: "God being the source of the universe and the beings in it, He is held as the Father, the Mother and the Grandfather".

Unlike in Judaism, the term "father" is not formally applied to God by Muslims, and the Christian notion of the Trinity is rejected in Islam. There are some narratives of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in which he compares the mercy of God toward his worshipers to that of a mother to her infant child. Islamic teaching rejects the Christian father-son relationship of God and Jesus , and states that Jesus is a prophet of God, not the Son of God. Chapter of the Quran states:. Sura —4 , Yusuf Ali. In Judaism, the use of the "Father" title is generally a metaphor , referring to the role as Life-giver and Law-giver, and is one of many titles by which Jews speak of and to God.

According to Ariela Pelaia, in a prayer of Rosh Hashanah , Areshet Sfateinu, an ambivalent attitude toward God is demonstrated, due to his role as a father and as a king. Free translation of the relevant sentence may be: "today every creature is judged, either as sons or as slaves. If as sons, forgive us like a father forgives his son. If as slaves, we wait, hoping for good, until the verdict, your holy majesty. Usually the entire congregation will sing the last verse of this prayer in unison, which says: "Our Father, our King, answer us as though we have no deed to plead our cause, save us with mercy and loving-kindness.

The Guru Granth consistently refers to the creator as "He" and "Father". This is because the Granth is written in north Indian Indo-Aryan languages mixture of Punjabi and dialects of Hindi which have no neutral gender. Since the Granth says that the God is indescribable, the God has no gender according to Sikhism. God in the Sikh scriptures has been referred to by several names, picked from Indian and Semitic traditions.

He is called in terms of human relations as father, mother, brother, relation, friend, lover, beloved, husband. Other names, expressive of his supremacy, are thakur , prabhu , svami , sah , patsah , sahib , sain Lord, Master. For about a thousand years, no attempt was made to portray God the Father in human form, because early Christians believed that the words of Exodus "Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see Me and live" and of the Gospel of John "No man hath seen God at any time" were meant to apply not only to the Father, but to all attempts at the depiction of the Father.

In the early medieval period God was often represented by Christ as the Logos , which continued to be very common even after the separate figure of God the Father appeared. Western art eventually required some way to illustrate the presence of the Father, so through successive representations a set of artistic styles for the depiction of the Father in human form gradually emerged around the tenth century CE. By the twelfth century depictions of a figure of God the Father, essentially based on the Ancient of Days in the Book of Daniel had started to appear in French manuscripts and in stained glass church windows in England.

In the 14th century the illustrated Naples Bible had a depiction of God the Father in the Burning bush. By the 15th century, the Rohan Book of Hours included depictions of God the Father in human form or anthropomorphic imagery. The depiction remains rare and often controversial in Eastern Orthodox art, and by the time of the Renaissance artistic representations of God the Father were freely used in the Western Church.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Jesus Christ. Jesus in Christianity Virgin birth Crucifixion Resurrection appearances. Bible Foundations. History Tradition. Denominations Groups. Related topics. General conceptions. Specific conceptions. In particular religions. Experiences Practices. Main article: God in Christianity. Main article: Nontrinitarianism. Main article: God in Hinduism. Main article: God in Islam.

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See also: Av. Main article: God in Sikhism. Main article: God the Father in Western art. Early Christian Creeds Longmans, pp. Archived from the original PDF on 17 December The Divine Heart of God the Father 2nd ed. The word "purgatory" has come to refer also to a wide range of historical and modern conceptions of postmortem suffering short of everlasting damnation [3] and is used, in a non-specific sense, to mean any place or condition of suffering or torment, especially one that is temporary. The Catholic Church holds that "all who die in God's grace and friendship but still imperfectly purified" undergo the process of purification which the Church calls purgatory, "so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven ".

It has formulated this doctrine by reference to biblical verses that speak of purifying fire 1 Corinthians and 1 Peter and to the mention by Jesus of forgiveness in the age to come Matthew It bases its teaching also on the practice of praying for the dead in use within the Church ever since the Church began and which is mentioned even earlier in 2 Macc According to Jacques Le Goff , the conception of purgatory as a physical place came into existence in Western Europe towards the end of the twelfth century.

That council's teaching on purgatory made no mention of these notions, [9] which are absent also in the declarations by the Councils of Florence and Trent at which especially the Catholic Church formulated its doctrine on purgatory. The Church of England , mother church of the Anglican Communion , officially denounces what it calls "the Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory", [13] but the Eastern Orthodox Church , Oriental Orthodox Churches , Methodist Churches , [14] and elements of the Anglican and Lutheran traditions hold that for some there is cleansing after death and pray for the dead.

Fullness of Time Definition and Meaning - Bible Dictionary

While use of the word "purgatory" in Latin purgatorium as a noun appeared perhaps only between and , giving rise to the idea of purgatory as a place [21] what Jacques Le Goff called the "birth" of purgatory , [22] the Roman Catholic tradition of purgatory as a transitional condition has a history that dates back, even before Jesus Christ , to the worldwide practice of caring for the dead and praying for them and to the belief, found also in Judaism, [23] which is considered the precursor of Christianity, that prayer for the dead contributed to their afterlife purification.

The same practice appears in other traditions, such as the medieval Chinese Buddhist practice of making offerings on behalf of the dead, who are said to suffer numerous trials. Over the centuries, theologians and others have developed theories, imagined descriptions and composed legends that have contributed to the formation of a popular idea of purgatory much more detailed and elaborate than the quite minimal elements that have been officially declared to be part of the authentic teaching of the Church. Shortly before becoming a Roman Catholic, [27] the English scholar John Henry Newman argued that the essence of the doctrine is locatable in ancient tradition, and that the core consistency of such beliefs is evidence that Christianity was "originally given to us from heaven".

Some denominations, typically Roman Catholicism , recognize the doctrine of purgatory, while many Protestant and Eastern Orthodox churches would not use the same terminology, the former on the basis of their own sola scriptura doctrine, combined with their exclusion of 2 Maccabees from the Protestant Canon of the Bible, the latter because the Orthodox Churches consider purgatory a non-essential doctrine.

The Catholic Church gives the name purgatory to what it calls the after-death purification of "all who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified". At the Second Council of Lyon in , the Catholic Church defined, for the first time, its teaching on purgatory, in two points:.

And to relieve punishments of this kind, the offerings of the living faithful are of advantage to these, namely, the sacrifices of Masses, prayers, alms, and other duties of piety, which have customarily been performed by the faithful for the other faithful according to the regulations of the Church [31]. A century and a half later, the Council of Florence repeated the same two points in practically the same words, again excluding certain elements of the purgatory of popular imagination, in particular fire and place, against which representatives of the Orthodox Church spoke at the council: [32].

The Council of Trent repeated the same two points and moreover in its 4 December Decree Concerning Purgatory recommended avoidance of speculations and non-essential questions:.


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Since the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Spirit, in conformity with the sacred writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers in sacred councils, and very recently in this ecumenical Synod, has taught that there is a purgatory, and that the souls detained there are assisted by the suffrages of the faithful, and especially by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar, the holy Synod commands the bishops that they insist that the sound doctrine of purgatory, which has been transmitted by the holy Fathers and holy Councils, be believed by the faithful of Christ, be maintained, taught, and everywhere preached.

Let the more difficult and subtle "questions", however, and those which do not make for "edification" cf. Likewise, let them not permit uncertain matters, or those that have the appearance of falsehood, to be brought out and discussed publicly. Those matters on the contrary, which tend to a certain curiosity or superstition, or that savor of filthy lucre, let them prohibit as scandals and stumbling blocks to the faithful.

Catholic doctrine on purgatory is presented as composed of the same two points in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church , first published in , which is a summary in dialogue form of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It deals with purgatory in the following exchange: [35]. According to the doctrine of the Catholic Church , those who die in God's grace and friendship imperfectly purified, although they are assured of their eternal salvation, undergo a purification after death, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of God.

Unless "redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness", mortal sin , whose object is grave matter and is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent, "causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. Venial meaning "forgivable" sin, while not depriving the sinner of friendship with God or the eternal happiness of heaven. This purification frees one from what is called the 'temporal punishment' of sin".

A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain. This purification from our sinful tendencies has been compared to rehabilitation of someone who needs to be cleansed of any addiction, a gradual and probably painful process.

It can be advanced during life by voluntary self-mortification and penance and by deeds of generosity that show love of God rather than of creatures. If not completed before death, it can still be a needed for entering the divine presence. Whoever wishes to enter, does so. An all-merciful God stands there with His arms open, waiting to receive us into His glory. I also see, however, that the divine presence is so pure and light-filled — much more than we can imagine — that the soul that has but the slightest imperfection would rather throw itself into a thousand hells than appear thus before the divine presence.

A person seeking purification from sinful tendencies is not alone. Because of the communion of saints : "the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin".

Some Catholic saints and theologians have had sometimes conflicting ideas about purgatory beyond those adopted by the Catholic Church, reflecting or contributing to the popular image, which includes the notions of purification by actual fire, in a determined place and for a precise length of time. Paul J.

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Griffiths notes: "Recent Catholic thought on purgatory typically preserves the essentials of the basic doctrine while also offering second-hand speculative interpretations of these elements". Rather it is the inwardly necessary process of transformation in which a person becomes capable of Christ, capable of God, and thus capable of unity with the whole communion of saints". The speculations and popular imaginings that, especially in late medieval times, were common in the Western or Latin Church have not necessarily found acceptance in the eastern Catholic Churches , of which there are 23 in full communion with the Pope.

Some have explicitly rejected the notions of punishment by fire in a particular place that are prominent in the popular picture of purgatory. The representatives of the Orthodox Church at the Council of Florence argued against these notions, while declaring that they do hold that there is a cleansing after death of the souls of the saved and that these are assisted by the prayers of the living: "If souls depart from this life in faith and charity but marked with some defilements, whether unrepented minor ones or major ones repented of but without having yet borne the fruits of repentance, we believe that within reason they are purified of those faults, but not by some purifying fire and particular punishments in some place.

Accordingly, the agreement, known as the Union of Brest , that formalized the admission of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church into the full communion of the Roman Catholic Church stated: "We shall not debate about purgatory, but we entrust ourselves to the teaching of the Holy Church". Fire has an important place in the popular image of purgatory and has been the object of speculation by theologians, speculation to which the article on purgatory in the Catholic Encyclopedia relates the warning by the Council of Trent against "difficult and subtle questions which tend not to edification.

Fire has never been included in the Catholic Church's defined doctrine on purgatory, but speculation about it is traditional. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people'; and they will say, 'The LORD is my God'", [56] a verse that the Jewish school of Shammai applied to God's judgment on those who are not completely just nor entirely evil. To enter afterwards then into the holy lands with your wood and with your hay and stubble so that you may defile the Kingdom of God?

But again do you want to be left behind in the fire on account of the hay , the wood , the stubble , and to receive nothing due you for the gold and the silver and precious stone? That is not reasonable. What then? It follows that you receive the fire first due to the wood , and the hay and the stubble.

For to those able to perceive, our God is said to be in reality a consuming fire. Gregory the Great also argued for the existence, before Judgment, of a purgatorius ignis a cleansing fire to purge away minor faults wood, hay, stubble not mortal sins iron, bronze, lead. Gregory of Nyssa several times spoke of purgation by fire after death, [62] but he generally has apocatastasis in mind.

Medieval theologians accepted the association of purgatory with fire. Thus the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas considered it probable that purgatory was situated close to hell, so that the same fire that tormented the damned cleansed the just souls in purgatory. Ideas about the supposed fire of purgatory have changed with time: in the early 20th century the Catholic Encyclopedia reported that, while in the past most theologians had held that the fire of purgatory was in some sense a material fire, though of a nature different from ordinary fire, the view of what then seemed to be the majority of theologians was that the term was to be understood metaphorically.

Pope Benedict XVI recommended to theologians the presentation of purgatory by Saint Catherine of Genoa , for whom purgatory is not an external but an inner fire: "The Saint speaks of the soul's journey of purification on the way to full communion with God, starting from her own experience of profound sorrow for the sins committed, in comparison with God's infinite love. Catherine asserts that God is so pure and holy that a soul stained by sin cannot be in the presence of the divine majesty.

We too feel how distant we are, how full we are of so many things that we cannot see God. The soul is aware of the immense love and perfect justice of God and consequently suffers for having failed to respond in a correct and perfect way to this love; and love for God itself becomes a flame, love itself cleanses it from the residue of sin. In his encyclical Spe salvi , Pope Benedict XVI, referring to the words of Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians —15 about a fire that both burns and saves, spoke of the opinion that "the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour.

The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves.

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All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation.

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His gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation 'as through fire'. But it is a blessed pain, in which the holy power of his love sears through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God. In this way the inter-relation between justice and grace also becomes clear: the way we live our lives is not immaterial, but our defilement does not stain us for ever if we have at least continued to reach out towards Christ, towards truth and towards love.

Indeed, it has already been burned away through Christ's Passion. At the moment of judgement we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves. The pain of love becomes our salvation and our joy. It is clear that we cannot calculate the 'duration' of this transforming burning in terms of the chronological measurements of this world. The transforming 'moment' of this encounter eludes earthly time-reckoning — it is the heart's time, it is the time of 'passage' to communion with God in the Body of Christ.

Detail of altar in Lutheran church in Auhausen , Bavaria. Purgatory, drawing by unknown artist from Strasbourg. Stained-glass window in Puerto Rico Cathedral. Miniature by Stefan Lochner showing souls in purgatory. Azulejo of souls in purgatory, Seville , Spain. Previously, the Latin adjective purgatorius , as in purgatorius ignis cleansing fire existed, but only then did the noun purgatorium appear, used as the name of a place called Purgatory.

The change happened at about the same time as the composition of the book Tractatus de Purgatorio Sancti Patricii , an account by an English Cistercian of a penitent knight's visit to the land of purgatory reached through a cave in the island known as Station Island or St Patrick's Purgatory in the lake of Lough Derg , County Donegal , Ireland. Le Goff said this book "occupies an essential place in the history of Purgatory, in whose success it played an important, if not decisive, role". Le Goff dedicates the final chapter of his book to the Purgatorio , the second book in Dante 's fourteenth-century La divina commedia The Divine Comedy.

In an interview Le Goff declared: "Dante's Purgatorio represents the sublime conclusion of the slow development of Purgatory that took place in the course of the Middle Ages. The power of Dante's poetry made a decisive contribution to fixing in the public imagination this 'third place', whose birth was on the whole quite recent.

Dante pictures purgatory as an island at the antipodes of Jerusalem, pushed up, in an otherwise empty sea, by the displacement caused by the fall of Satan, which left him fixed at the central point of the globe of the Earth. The cone-shaped island has seven terraces on which souls are cleansed from the seven deadly sins or capital vices as they ascend. Additional spurs at the base hold those for whom beginning the ascent is delayed because in life they were excommunicates, indolent or late repenters.

At the summit is the earthly paradise , from where the souls, cleansed of evil tendencies and made perfect, are taken to heaven. The Catholic Church has not included in its teaching this idea of purgatory as a place, any more than it has sealed with its authority the idea of a Limbo , which also has been postulated by some theologians. Those who, after death, exist in a state of purification, are already in the love of Christ who removes from them the remnants of imperfection as "a condition of existence".

Similarly in , Pope Benedict XVI , speaking of Saint Catherine of Genoa — in relation to purgatory, said that "In her day it was depicted mainly using images linked to space: a certain space was conceived of in which purgatory was supposed to be located. Catherine, however, did not see purgatory as a scene in the bowels of the earth: for her it is not an exterior but rather an interior fire. This is purgatory: an inner fire. While the Eastern Orthodox Church rejects the term purgatory , it acknowledges an intermediate state after death and offers prayer for the dead. According to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America :.

The moral progress of the soul, either for better or for worse, ends at the very moment of the separation of the body and soul; at that very moment the definite destiny of the soul in the everlasting life is decided. There is no way of repentance, no way of escape, no reincarnation and no help from the outside world. Its place is decided forever by its Creator and judge. The Orthodox Church does not believe in purgatory a place of purging , that is, the inter-mediate state after death in which the souls of the saved those who have not received temporal punishment for their sins are purified of all taint preparatory to entering into Heaven, where every soul is perfect and fit to see God.

Also, the Orthodox Church does not believe in indulgences as remissions from purgatorial punishment. Both purgatory and indulgences are inter-corelated theories, unwitnessed in the Bible or in the Ancient Church, and when they were enforced and applied they brought about evil practices at the expense of the prevailing Truths of the Church.

If Almighty God in His merciful loving-kindness changes the dreadful situation of the sinner, it is unknown to the Church of Christ. The Church lived for fifteen hundred years without such a theory. Eastern Orthodox teaching is that, while all undergo an individual judgment immediately after death, neither the just nor the wicked attain the final state of bliss or punishment before the Last Day, [72] with some exceptions for righteous souls like the Theotokos Blessed Virgin Mary , "who was borne by the angels directly to heaven.

The Eastern Orthodox Church holds that it is necessary to believe in this intermediate after-death state in which souls are perfected and brought to full divinization , a process of growth rather than of punishment, which some Orthodox have called purgatory. Among the latter, such souls as have departed with faith but "without having had time to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance The state in which souls undergo this experience is often referred to as " Hades ".

The Orthodox Confession of Peter Mogila — , adopted, in a Greek translation by Meletius Syrigos, by the Council of Jassy in Romania, professes that "many are freed from the prison of hell The Church never maintained that which pertains to the fanciful stories of some concerning the souls of their dead who have not done penance and are punished, as it were, in streams, springs and swamps. The Eastern Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem declared: "The souls of those that have fallen asleep are either at rest or in torment, according to what each hath wrought" an enjoyment or condemnation that will be complete only after the resurrection of the dead ; but the souls of some "depart into Hades , and there endure the punishment due to the sins they have committed.

But they are aware of their future release from there, and are delivered by the Supreme Goodness, through the prayers of the Priests and the good works which the relatives of each do for their Departed, especially the unbloody Sacrifice benefiting the most, which each offers particularly for his relatives that have fallen asleep and which the Catholic and Apostolic Church offers daily for all alike. Of course, it is understood that we do not know the time of their release.

We know and believe that there is deliverance for such from their direful condition, and that before the common resurrection and judgment , but when we know not. Some Orthodox believe in a teaching of " aerial toll-houses " for the souls of the dead.

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According to this theory, which is rejected by other Orthodox but appears in the hymnology of the Church, [79] "following a person's death the soul leaves the body and is escorted to God by angels. During this journey the soul passes through an aerial realm which is ruled by demons. The soul encounters these demons at various points referred to as 'toll-houses' where the demons then attempt to accuse it of sin and, if possible, drag the soul into hell.

In general, Protestant churches reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory although some teach the existence of an intermediate state. Many Protestant denominations, though not all, teach the doctrine of sola scriptura "scripture alone" or prima scriptura "scripture first". The general Protestant view is that the Bible, from which Protestants exclude deuterocanonical books such as 2 Maccabees , contains no overt, explicit discussion of purgatory and therefore it should be rejected as an unbiblical belief. Another view held by many Protestants, such as the Lutheran Churches and the Reformed Churches , is sola fide "by faith alone" : that faith alone is what achieves salvation , and that good works are merely evidence of that faith.

However, most Protestants teach that a transformation of character naturally follows the salvation experience; others, such as those of the Methodist tradition inclusive of the Holiness Movement teach that after justification, Christians must pursue holiness and good works. Some Protestants hold that a person enters into the fullness of one's bliss or torment only after the resurrection of the body, and that the soul in that interim state is conscious and aware of the fate in store for it.

As an argument for the existence of purgatory, Protestant religious philosopher Jerry L. He lists some "biblical hints of purgatory" Mal ; 2 Mac ; Mat ; 1 Cor that helped give rise to the doctrine, [89] and finds its beginnings in early Christian writers whom he calls "Fathers and Mothers of Purgatory".

Rather his basic argument is that, in a phrase he often uses, it "makes sense. He documents the "contrast between the satisfaction and sanctification models" of purgatory. In the satisfaction model, "the punishment of purgatory" is to satisfy God's justice. In the sanctification model, Wall writes: "Purgatory might be pictured He believes the sanctification model "can be affirmed by Protestants without in any way contradicting their theology" and that they may find that it "makes better sense of how the remains of sin are purged" than an instantaneous cleansing at the moment of death.

While purgatory was disputed by the Reformers, some early patristic theologians of the Eastern Church taught and believed in " apocatastasis ", the belief that all creation would be restored to its original perfect condition after a remedial purgatorial reformation. Clement of Alexandria was one of the early church theologians who taught this view. Protestants have always contended that there are no second chances.

However, for Lutherans a similar doctrine of what may happen to the unevangelized is expressed in the book titled What about those who never heard. Anglicans, as with other Reformed Churches , historically teach that the elect undergo the process of glorification after death. Walls and James B. Gould with the process of purification in the core doctrine of purgatory see Reformed, below.

Purgatory was addressed by both of the "foundation features" of Anglicanism in the 16th century: the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion and the Book of Common Prayer. The 19th century Anglo-Catholic revival led to restoring prayers for the dead. He highlighted the fact that it is the "Romish" doctrine of purgatory coupled with indulgences that Article XXII condemns as "repugnant to the Word of God.

As of the year , the state of the doctrine of purgatory in Anglicanism was summarized as follows:. Purgatory is seldom mentioned in Anglican descriptions or speculations concerning life after death, although many Anglicans believe in a continuing process of growth and development after death.

Anglican Bishop John Henry Hobart — wrote that " Hades , or the place of the dead, is represented as a spacious receptacle with gates, through which the dead enter. Leonel L. Mitchell offers this rationale for prayers for the dead:. No one is ready at the time of death to enter into life in the nearer presence of God without substantial growth precisely in love, knowledge, and service; and the prayer also recognizes that God will provide what is necessary for us to enter that state.

This growth will presumably be between death and resurrection.



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