Catholic Saints in Anglicanism and Lutheranism?

Hello everyone, for those who are Anglicans or Lutherans, or those who have experience or knowledge with these denominations, I have a question to ask.

So I’ve been scrolling around articles of saints on Wikipedia (Now, I know when I say “wikipedia” I know everyone’s going to say “oh, that inaccurate website.” but bear with me) and in a lot instances where I would search up Catholic saints, a lot of times, along with the Catholic Church, the article would say that the saint is also honored in the “Anglican Communion” and “Lutheranism.” What do they mean?

From when I started to learn about religion, I always had the impression that venerating saints in Protestantism is a no-no. No matter what. You pray to God (Father/Son/Holy Spirit) and that’s it. But I have seen the whole concept of saints being wielded into Anglicanism and Lutheranism as well. Anglicans and Lutherans do both say the creed and talk about the communion of saints but what is that like?

In Roman Catholicism, a saint is someone who is in Heaven, we can pray to this person, so they can pray to God for us. What do Anglicans and Lutherans believe about this, I’m confused :confused:

They probably mean that various Anglican and Lutheran church bodies observe the days of particular saints in their liturgical calendars. :slight_smile: My favorite saint is Francis of Assisi, by the way. He wanted to live according to the Gospel and wholeheartedly turned to God. Saints are wonderful examples to follow and perhaps they even pray for us who are on earth, but you’re right about ( at least Lutherans) having only one Mediator between God and Man, Who is Jesus Christ. lcms.org/page.aspx?pid=506

We honor many saints, most of them biblical personages, some not. We don’t pray to them. Here is from our Smalcald Articles:

Of the Invocation of Saints.

25] The invocation of saints is also one of the abuses of Antichrist conflicting with the chief article, and destroys the knowledge of Christ. Neither is it commanded nor counseled, nor has it any example [or testimony] in Scripture, and even though it were a precious thing, as it is not [while, on the contrary, it is a most harmful thing], in Christ we have everything a thousandfold better [and surer, so that we are not in need of calling upon the saints].

26] And although the angels in heaven pray for us (as Christ Himself also does), as also do the saints on earth, and perhaps also in heaven, yet it does not follow thence that we should invoke and adore the angels and saints, and fast, hold festivals, celebrate Mass in their honor, make offerings, and establish churches, altars, divine worship, and in still other ways serve them, and regard them as helpers in need [as patrons and intercessors], and divide among them all kinds of help, and ascribe to each one a particular form of assistance, as the Papists teach and do. For this is idolatry, and such honor belongs alone to God. 27] For as a Christian and saint upon earth you can pray for me, not only in one, but in many necessities. But for this reason I am not obliged to adore and invoke you, and celebrate festivals, fast, make oblations, hold masses for your honor [and worship], and put my faith in you for my salvation. I can in other ways indeed honor, love, and thank you in Christ. 28] If now such idolatrous honor were withdrawn from angels and departed saints, the remaining honor would be without harm and would quickly be forgotten. For when advantage and assistance, both bodily and spiritual, are no more to be expected, the saints will not be troubled [the worship of the saints will soon vanish], neither in their graves nor in heaven. For without a reward or out of pure love no one will much remember, or esteem, or honor them [bestow on them divine honor].

29] In short, the Mass itself and anything that proceeds from it, and anything that is attached to it, we cannot tolerate, but must condemn, in order that we may retain the holy Sacrament pure and certain, according to the institution of Christ, employed and received through faith.

The Apostle’s Creed as understood in Luther’s Small Catechism:

The Third Article

SANCTIFICATION

*I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean? I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith*. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.

I have always understood saints by what Luther teaches in the Small Catechism. When I come to the point in the Creed where we state “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints,” as a statement that all believers on Earth are saints whom He calls, enlightens me, and sanctifies all." We consider those who have died in the faith as saints as well - and He encourages us that He has sanctified those who have passed before us, continues to do that with us, and will continue to do so until He returns for us all.

To me, this is a truly powerful statement as it encourages me on my spiritual walk with Jesus.

ourshepherd.org/Small_Catechism.pdf

In Christ’s love,
Rita

Praying to Saints is allowable in Anglicanism. The Anglican Breviary has a section on commemorating The Saint of the Day which mainly reflects the early 1900’s RC calendar.

Due to the Protestant nature of Anglicanism, invocation of the Saints in the manner which most RC’s are familiar is less widely practiced.

I would have gone with “the motley nature of”, but otherwise agree thoroughly: I know quite a few Anglicans who pray to various saints, and others who would never dream of doing so.

Good to know. :):thumbsup:

God bless.

Reuben

Indeed.

GKC

One intresting thing is that Luther himself was much more “catholic”/high church in his theology than the common belief recognize today. For example, he adressed the holy virgin as “queen of heaven”, which of course is a rightous title of hers, but I can’t imagine many protestants of today using those words!

Do Lutherans honour any post schism saints of the Eastern church?

Of the Invocation of Saints.

25] The invocation of saints is also one of the abuses of Antichrist conflicting with the chief article, and destroys the knowledge of Christ. Neither is it commanded nor counseled, nor has it any example [or testimony] in Scripture, and even though it were a precious thing, as it is not [while, on the contrary, it is a most harmful thing], in Christ we have everything a thousandfold better [and surer, so that we are not in need of calling upon the saints].

26] And although the angels in heaven pray for us (as Christ Himself also does), as also do the saints on earth, and perhaps also in heaven, yet it does not follow thence that we should invoke and adore the angels and saints, and fast, hold festivals, celebrate Mass in their honor, make offerings, and establish churches, altars, divine worship, and in still other ways serve them, and regard them as helpers in need [as patrons and intercessors], and divide among them all kinds of help, and ascribe to each one a particular form of assistance, as the Papists teach and do. For this is idolatry, and such honor belongs alone to God. 27] For as a Christian and saint upon earth you can pray for me, not only in one, but in many necessities. But for this reason I am not obliged to adore and invoke you, and celebrate festivals, fast, make oblations, hold masses for your honor [and worship], and put my faith in you for my salvation. I can in other ways indeed honor, love, and thank you in Christ. 28] If now such idolatrous honor were withdrawn from angels and departed saints, the remaining honor would be without harm and would quickly be forgotten. For when advantage and assistance, both bodily and spiritual, are no more to be expected, the saints will not be troubled [the worship of the saints will soon vanish], neither in their graves nor in heaven. For without a reward or out of pure love no one will much remember, or esteem, or honor them [bestow on them divine honor].

How sad, and they don’t even have the Valid Consecration. Prayers and God Bless, Memaw

There are quite a few of us, though many of us, including me, do not use the term ‘protestant.’*

  • The reason is that ‘protestant’ used to be a fairly straight forward word, used to describe those who protested, not against the Roman Catholic Church herself, but against the Holy Roman Empire, at the Second Diet of Speyer in 1529, because the Empire’s enforcement of the Edict of Worms. It was basically a protest again a specific governantal ban on religious practice. This definition did not include, for instance, the Anabaptists, and it would not now include, say, Pentecostals. Now, on the other hand, many people use it to mean just about any Christian who is not Orthodox or Roman Catholic. I therefore choose not to use it.

The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod has a calendar of saints and their commemoration days here. I did a quick look and didn’t see any post-schism Eastern saints. I suppose that is to be expected as Lutherans are part of the Western Church.

I confess my own ignorance of your saints :blush:

I agree. Protestantism is such a broad term. I would rather use labels such as “High Churches” and “Low Churches”. Of course, the term high church originally referred to Anglicans whose practices and beliefs were nearly identical. Recognition of the Pope was the only significant difference. Many of them have decided that Henry was a bad egg, and returned to the Papist church. :smiley: Now, maybe high church Lutherans will decide that Luther was a nut-case.

Well, Luther was never head of any Lutheran church.

That is an interesting perspective. I have read some of John Wesley’s works, and enjoy what he had to say. Not real fond of Luther’s writings.

The Apology of the Augsburg Confession probably answers many of your questions for most Lutherans.

4] Our Confession approves honors to the saints. For here a threefold honor is to be approved. The first is thanksgiving. For we ought to give thanks to God because He has shown examples of mercy; because He has shown that He wishes to save men; because He has given teachers or other gifts to the Church. And these gifts, as they are the greatest, should be amplified, and the saints themselves should be praised, who have faithfully used these gifts, just as Christ praises faithful business-men, 5] Matt. 25:21, 23. The second service is the strengthening of our faith; when we see the denial forgiven Peter, we also are encouraged to believe the more that grace 6] truly superabounds over sin, Rom. 5:20. The third honor is the imitation, first, of faith, then of the other virtues, which every one should imitate according to his calling. 7] These true honors the adversaries do not require. They dispute only concerning invocation, which, even though it would have no danger, nevertheless is not necessary.

8] Besides, we also grant that the angels pray for us. For there is a testimony in Zech. 1:12, where an angel prays: O Lord of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on 9] Jerusalem? Although concerning the saints we concede that, just as, when alive, they pray for the Church universal in general, so in heaven they pray for the Church in general, albeit no testimony concerning the praying of the dead is extant in the Scriptures, except the dream taken from the Second Book of Maccabees, 15:14.

Moreover, even supposing that the saints pray for the Church ever so much, 10] yet it does not follow that they are to be invoked; although our Confession affirms only this, that Scripture does not teach the invocation of the saints, or that we are to ask the saints for aid. But since neither a command, nor a promise, nor an example can be produced from the Scriptures concerning the invocation of saints, it follows that conscience can have nothing concerning this invocation that is certain. And since prayer ought to be made from faith, how do we know that God approves this invocation? Whence do we know without the testimony of Scripture that the saints perceive the prayers of each one? 11] Some plainly ascribe divinity to the saints, namely, that they discern the silent thoughts of the minds in us. They dispute concerning morning and evening knowledge, perhaps because they doubt whether they hear us in the morning or the evening. They invent these things, not in order to treat the saints with honor, but to defend lucrative services. 12] Nothing can be produced by the adversaries against this reasoning, that, since invocation does not have a testimony from God’s Word, it cannot be affirmed that the saints understand our invocation, or, even if they understand it, that God approves it. Therefore 13] the adversaries ought not to force us to an uncertain matter, because a prayer without faith is not prayer. For when they cite the example of the Church, it is evident that this is a new custom in the Church; for although the old prayers make mention of the saints, yet they do not invoke the saints. Although also this new invocation in the Church is dissimilar to the invocation of individuals.

Note here the largest concerns. 1st is the complaint that the reformers felt that invocation was required, and required despite a lack of scriptural reference: no command, no promise, no example. Basically, no certainty regarding it.
My personal view is that the practice of invocation is so much a part of the universal Church both east and west, we Lutherans should be reticent in condemning it.

Jon

:tsktsk: “Thou shalt not steal” - Seventh Commandment. (Good thing we’re so forgiving. :))

Do you mean post-Ephesus or post-Chalcedon?

:confused: Steal? We have the same heritage as any ancient Christian Church and we do claim some of the same saints that the Catholic and Anglican Churches claim… of course we regard Dr. Martin Luther as a Doctor, Confessor and Reformer of the Church and we went our own way after the mid- sixteenth century, but we claim the same doctors, saints and Early Church Fathers that any Western Liturgical Christian Church body would. We merely acknowledge our own heritage… I don’t think any* theft *was intended. We also respect and honor martyrs such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer. No offense was meant, I’m sure…
Luther wasn’t Calvin or Menno Simons… he just wanted to get back to the basics and retained those things not expressly forbidden by Scripture… hence the crucifixes, artwork and chalices…

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