Actually that’s not fair at all, and I don’t think that’s helping the OP or is it fair to his wife. It’s easy to be dismissive until it’s someone you love on the other side. My mind is my own, and my rule of faith is Scripture. By contrast it’s hard talking to a Catholic about religion because you are required to submit intellect and will to the magisterium.
[quote=ClearWater]Martin Luther changed the 10 commandments to read, “Thou shalt make no graven images”, but we have it as, “Thou shalt have no strange gods before me”.
I’m afraid this simply betrays a strong prejudice. The Catholic numbering of the 10 Commandments follows Augustine’s. Reformed Christians number the 10 Commandments like the Septuagint, which is older. Lutherans actually number the commandments exactly like Catholics, only swapping 9 and 10 around.
ClearWater, in what sense was the bronze serpent a proto-relic? The context of the command for Moses to make the snake must be emphasized. God was judging the Israelites for their rebellion. Perhaps the bronze snake symbolized to them their own deserved punishment (death) and at the same time God’s own mysterious provision for their atonement. Based on Jesus’ teaching, the bronze snake was obviously a foreshadowing of the substitutionary death of Christ in behalf of sinners. However, in their original situation, the Israelites - who had been dying in large numbers because of snakes sent to punish them - could hardly have thought of the bronze snake as a positive ‘visual representation of God’ (CCC 2130). Veneration would have been impossible in this instance. Viewed in this manner, the bronze snake was not a exception that somehow opened the way for a new economy of images in the New Testament. And even if over time you say it became a ‘visual representation of God’, the good and righteous King Hezekiah destroys the snake when the Israelites idolise it. 2 Kings 18:4-5. In its original context the snake was no icon, and if it became one later it was destroyed because of it.
And in what sense is the Ark a proto-relic? The cherubim were not representations of God. Rather, God decided to meet with Moses there “between the two cherubim that are over the ark.” This was a special privilege that God gave to Moses, and through him to the Israelites. But it was a private affair not shared with the common people. As the OT records make abundantly clear, the ark of the covenant was a symbol of the utter holiness of God. Consequently, the ark was kept away from the people. It was normally hidden from view within the Holy of Holies. Even the high priest only entered once a year (Hebrews 7:9). During transport, it was covered by a shielding curtain (Numbers 4:4-5) and the people followed it from a distance of a thousand yards (Joshua 3:3-4). No one was allowed to touch it. These days, Catholics are invited to venerate relics - indeed the whole point of a relic is veneration - which is the antithesis of how the ark was treated.
You evidently want to make the case that God permitted exceptions to His own prohibition, so that you can make exceptions too. Except the Catholic church make exceptions to such a point it overthrows the prohibition altogether and reduces what God said to nothing.
Catolico_Romano, the key doctrine on which everything hangs is how you define the “Church”. Authority is a big issue, so we Protestants have to prove that sola scriptura was the practice of the early church. And that is easily done. The pop-apologetic retort from Catholics that “sola scriptura contradicts itself, because it is not taught in the Sacred Scriptures” is a straw man. The full sense of sola scriptura is the application of the formal sufficiency of Scripture to a time in which there are no other sources of direct propositional revelation: for example, a time when the prophets are dead and Jesus is ascended. And the early church certainly believed in the formal sufficiency of Scripture. Catholicism denies it.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.