Date of Award
Dr. Matt Douglas
Dr. Tully Borland
Dr. Johnny Wink
Jerry L. Walls, in his book Purgatory: The Logic of Total Transformation, examines the different models of postmortem purgation that have been advocated over the years. After having assessed the value of satisfaction, sanctification, and mixed models, Walls proposes C. S. Lewis’s model as a type of “mere purgatory” that most Christians could get behind. He gives several reasons why Lewis’s account could prove most ecumenical:
1. Lewis is respected by believers from most all Christian traditions, including evangelicals;
2. his other views on the afterlife are already highly regarded;
3. his model is purely sanctification based while also allowing for pain, making it palatable for Protestants;
4. very strong view of human freedom (2012, 153-173).
Notice that the first three reasons are wholly practical in nature. The last, however, seems to be a plus for Walls because of his own theological leanings. While I am inclined to think that this is actually a strength of Lewis’s view, his tendency towards universalism and blurring of the line between Christian and non-Christian stemming from this could prove difficult for all traditional Christian groups, evangelicals in particular.
This project will not be conflicting or challenging the purpose of Walls’s book. In fact, I think the majority of his book is exactly correct in its assessments of the difficulties surrounding the doctrine of purgatory and the even greater difficulties if one denies it. If one is looking for a treatment of issues surrounding time, personal identity and how sanctification plays into the afterlife for the Christian, I suggest finding this book.
Douglass, Tucker, "The Search for Mere Purgatory" (2020). Honors Theses. 767.