Baptist purgatory

J.D. Faust writes in The Rod, Will God Spare It? that Kingdom Exclusion is not a type of “Baptist” purgatory, but he does little to explain the distinction. He does not say what purgatory is, nor does he explain how KE is not simply a reworking of the Catholic idea of purification and purgation.

Certainly, KE and purgatory are not the same, but they are not very different either. Both propose that carnal Christians will be purified/punished before attaining full salvation. Faust believes this will be realized in the millennial kingdom; the Catholic Church in purgatory. The nature of that experience and its duration varies, but beyond that, the ideas are the same.

The modern Protestant form of purgatory appears to originate with Watchman Nee (I can find no earlier proponent of the teaching). He held that carnal Christians will be purified in the lake of fire (cf. Rev. 20 — though that text does not mention carnal Christians, but unbelievers). Arlen Chitwood holds a similar view, except he sees exclusion as a form of punishment, not purification. Faust holds that exclusion is punitive, but that carnal Christians will be beaten with a celestial rod, not cast into the lake of fire.

(For an analysis of Nee’s view, visit http://www.bcbsr.com/topics/lc.html#purgatory.)

Strangely, exclusionists like Faust, Chitwood and Nee would have a stronger position if they adopted the Catholic stance, for, as it stands, they possess the idea, but no real evidence for it. KE/Purgatory is not represented in the canonical texts, but it is attested in some of the writings of the church fathers. Without those witnesses, KE rings hollow.

© 2008, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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