What if anything should we do when someone (may not even know it) but is addressing Catholic vs. non-Catholic beliefs? Usually that's noted and someone is told to take that Q or A away from BH-SE, or it's put on hold.

Twice today, on 2 different questions, I decided to write this comment:
"Actually, this question on purgatory could easily have Catholics referencing one specific book in our Bible. However, that book is no longer in many other Christian Bibles. Thanks"

Not everyone knows that.

Anyway, I wrote that comment under a question that was put on hold. https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/q/8948/2873 Then I cross-referenced it for someone's answer on another question. What is the context of Luke 12:47-48?

  • Sometimes it's the way of phrasing our questions that determine their response. If you talk about 'Purgatory', and the practice of buying "Indulgences" to secure souls from such a place, you will raise the hackles of the vast majority of users on this site before the hammer comes down. If you ask whether or not 1 Cor. 3:15/1 Cor. 15:23-28/Luke 12:47-48 relate to a time or place of 'purgation', there is a cross section of Christianity that has a divergence of opinion.
    – Tau
    Apr 22, 2014 at 14:53
  • @user2479 Right, because if your question is about why the Catholic church believes in Purgatory, then you have a question about Christianity and it belongs on C.SE. If you have a question about whether 1 Cor. 3:15 is talking about Purgatory, then you have a question about the Bible and it belongs on this site.
    – Soldarnal
    Apr 22, 2014 at 15:44
  • @user2479 I was reading more after posting a question two days ago (i.e. hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/q/11575/2873 ). A book I kept seeing as a cross-reference to that is in the Catholic Bible, yet no longer in many others. Iā€™d read very little of the 2 Maccabees book before. This time I read in it about the expiation of the dead, which is the general idea behind Catholics and Purgatory (2 Maccabees 12:38-45). biblegateway.com/passage/… Thanks. Jul 2, 2014 at 11:42
  • @Soldarnal Please see my comment above to user2479. Thanks. Jul 2, 2014 at 11:45

1 Answer 1


Questions pertaining to systematic theology are off-topic for this site. The reason the question about Purgatory was put on hold has nothing to do with differing ideas of canon. The issue is that the question is about Purgatory, not about the Bible (however that might be defined).*

Notice the tagging on the question - , , - and yet the question doesn't ask anything about any verse in any of those books. If the question instead asked about what 1 Corinthians 3 means when it talks about "escaping as one through the fire", that would be on-topic. Likewise, if the question was about itself and the meaning of a verse, I think it would be likely to stick even though it isn't in the 66 books of the protestant canon.

I hope that clarifies things. Our goal is not to restrict this site to a particular group's canon per se. But we do draw lines around how far from the examination of the Bible one is allowed to get, and questions about theology proper are outside those lines.

I will note that a number of the more active people here are protestant and might not have as much expertise or familiarity with the books accepted in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions. It might take longer to get an answer on questions about some of those books. However, asking those questions might also be a good way to attract wider attention so that this site does become a place where people get good answers on those questions in a timely manner as well.

* (Also, we've decided that the site is not a crowd-sourced Bible search engine, and so we have said that questions asking for "where the Bible talks about x" are off-topic as well.)

  • 1
    Technically, "Calvinism", "Covenant", and "Dispensationalist" are theologies; however they are also classified as "hermeneutics" and have been applied in many of the questions on BHSE. However, I agree that questions should start from the text, and answers should address the text in question. The "framework" one uses is clearly part of how we evaluate the text.
    – Tau
    Apr 22, 2014 at 15:01

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