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yes, if he / she repents and becomes a Christian.
for people in remote parts of the world that don't know about Christianity, God judges, and always gives every person a chance to repent.
we are not sure exactly what happens with them, but everyone has a chance to find out about God (study Romans chapters 1 to 5 for details)
First of all let me apologise for not being very clear in several of my postsin this forum, and particularly this thread. You may know this already, butvery often I edit posts from my mobile, and that doesn't give me the time andspace to think clearly, post in abundance, or elaborate well (not that I can doit well either typing on the computer.. hehe.. but I will try). So, yes, you advise me that the Scriptures directly state this. I would like toask a very specific question, so that you show me with proof the answer - thespecific question is how do we know the prayers are "EFFECTIVE"?Where in the Scriptures does it promise EFFICACY of prayers. Please let's notforget that I am denying God's work through praying, or that praying is ineffectivemost of the time. Certainly this is not what I am alluding to, but I am onlyinterested in finding out what you believe is the definition of the word"effective". Please remember that St. Paul prayed for years for Godto remove his afflictions, but God did not! Is that effective prayer? To me itis - why? Because God takes heed of all our prayers, but His will may not beexactly the same like us. So that is also my understanding on praying for thedeceased. We pray that God grant them forgiveness, but that doesn't mean thatGod will, should He see that person having not repented fully. And yes, I amaware of the use of adverbs here, not for the purpose of emphasis, butindicating that salvation, repentance (and dare I say baptism too) arecontinuous processes, that could be fulfilled in part, or in full, and we hopeand pray that God accept our incompleteness (ad-libbing again)!!! I willelaborate further below.
Soyou said: "The fathers spoke about it. All other churchesbelieve there is some unfinished business in the afterlife and that prayers areeffective in some unknown manner."
Yougot that right of course (who would if you don't? hehe). The Coptic OrthodoxChurch doesn't follow other churches. That is to say the Coptic Orthodox Churchdoes not believe in purgatory, or things pertaining to such concepts. Thebelief, or the concept if you will, in the Coptic church is that youropportunity finishes when you leave the mortal body. There is no other chanceFULL STOP. Therefore abouna's prayers on the deceased are not a slam dunk inacquiring forgiveness, or we wouldn't have heard about saints in the church notknowing if they were accepted or not after their departure (by the way, thatdoesn't mean that they could have repented more, and I believe you know the storiesof those saints I am talking about - I think a big name that comes to my mindis Abu Maqar, but I may be completely mistaken).
Thistherefore leads me to the next point that I was unclear about in my response to@minasoliman - when does God hear our prayers for the departed? Right at thepoint of departure? Right at the point of the funeral prayers? During the commemorationprayers in the Liturgy after 40 days? When exactly? Again, I think this isa continuous process. God listens to our prayers even before the deceaseddeparts. We continue praying, not because He didn’t listen in the first place,but in order to TEACH our finite brains and hearts that we need to praycontinuously, as does God in listening continuously. That, however, doesn’t meanthat God MAY change His decision. Remember, He is as merciful as He is just. Solet’s not delude ourselves and focus on mercy, forgetting justice. But yes, Goddoes sometimes change His decision because of our prayers (not a given that wepray, therefore they are granted forgiveness). This takes me to pope Shenouda’sremoval of some prayers despite Scriptures saying the contrary. I am notdefending pope Shenouda, but I am only throwing my two pence. Some people inthe Coptic Church started misunderstanding the process as if God listens to ourprayers every time we pray (as though He is bound by the worldly temporalconstraints), and relieves the souls of the departed. This is not a Copticconcept. God has already decided, and the purpose of our prayers is to TEACH ourselvesagain and again, REMIND ourselves of God’s mercies and justices, and TRY TOchange His heart, if that is possible (which may have already happened duringthe funeral prayers, or in the yearly commemoration, or after 40 days, orwhenever). Once again, that is only my throwing two pence, as I don’t knowexactly if that is what pope Shenouda based his argument on, because againunsurprisingly I have not heard it. One more thing to say in this point, wepray in the litany of the departed the statement along the lines of “may Godgive relief, consolation, and respite to their souls, those who slept in theChristian faith, … etc” (sorry for my translation, as I don’t remember thewords in English), which reiterates the fact that it is a continuous process, Imean our prayers, and not just at any one point and that’s it. Please don’t beconfused as if I am saying that salvation could occur to them, or if their repentanceis incomplete they will still be forgiven through our prayers (MAYBE YES if Godso chooses), but this is not the norm. Otherwise, the church wouldn’t haverefused to pray for the souls of those who died deliberately rejecting theworks of the Holy Spirit, as in suicide for example as @minatasgeel mentioned. Ihope I am clearer this time in what I would like to convey, but please ask meany questions should I not have been…
Oujai qen P[c
There is no suffering for the chosen. It is EITHER OR. Either you enter the heavenly Kingdom (having awaited in paradise), or the eternal fire (having awaited in hades). There is no suffering at all, because YOU HAVE TO BE SURE that Christ's blood cleanses and purifies us WHOLLY, despite our iniquities, incompleteness, and imperfections in offering true repentance. No one is capable of doing that, but that doesn't mean that the whole humanity will suffer a little, or much, before entering the heavenly Kingdom. NO. Christ's blood is infinite. While you say you don't believe in purgatory, what this describes is some form of purgatory. That is wrong.
Another point as you rightly say, partaking of the Holy Communion is a must for forgiveness of our sins. This distinguishes us from other denominations, e.g. protestants.