The Protestant object that we should not pray for the dead. They claim that those dead who are in heaven, don’t need it. And those dead who are in hell, don’t want it. And they deny the existence of Purgatory.
How do we respond? Have you ever thought about why you pray for your beloved dead?
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The most beautiful response I’ve ever heard is from C.S. Lewis, he said:
Of course I pray for the dead. The action is so spontaneous, so all but inevitable, that only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter me. And I hardly know how the rest of my prayers would survive if those for the dead were forbidden. At our age the majority of those we love best are dead. What sort of intercourse with God could I have if what I love best were unmentionable to Him? . . .(Mere Christianity).
And I think, that should suffice. We pray for our beloved dead, because we love them.
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But Protestants want more than that. They don’t, generally, accept the Spiritual groanings of God:
Romans 8:26 King James Version (KJV)
26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
They live by the letter and not by the spirit:
1 Corinthians 2:14King James Version (KJV)
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
So, they claim that God has never permitted the living to intercede for the dead. And they have taken great pains to remove any vestige of such an idea from the Bible. The one book which has an explicit statement on the matter was removed because of that teaching. Luther said:
“I am so great an enemy to the second book of the Maccabees, and to Esther, that I wish they had not come to us at all, for they have too many heathen unnaturalities.”
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The so-called, “heathen unnaturalities” to which he refers are found in 2 Maccabees 12:41-46.
41 Then they all blessed the just judgment of the Lord, who had discovered the things that were hidden.
42 And so betaking themselves to prayers, they besought him, that the sin which had been committed might be forgotten. But the most valiant Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, forasmuch as they saw before their eyes what had happened, because of the sins of those that were slain.
43 And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection,
44 (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,)
45 And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them.
46 It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.
Notice several Catholic doctrines here confirmed. Read more