Protestant-Catholic dialogue on Mary, Saints, Church authority, etc


#1

Hi edwinG, everybody,


Here’s a brief background to the thread. edwinG is a Protestant Christian, who has objections to Marian devotion, praying to the Saints, the authority of the Church, etc. Discussion on these matters did not suit the previous thread (“Praises to the Holy Spirit!!! Please tell your story!”, and before this, “Power of the Rosary—is this True?”), so a new thread was created here for that purpose. The quotes are from the previous thread on the Holy Spirit.

[quote=edwinG]The way I have understood the principle of Roman Catholics using intercessors, like the saints who have died to earth, is because of their powerfull intercessory prayers, which are needed because sometimes God turns His face away. Scripture supporting this is often praying to Moses when bitten by snakes.
If this is so, I ask you, who now have the strength of Christ and the Holy Spirit, why are you in a situation that God has turned His face away from you. Just give up that which is having Him turn his face away. Are you a dry catholic too? If you feel closer to Christ with Mary as your intercessor something is not right. Before Chirst died He told us to go and pray to the Father in His name. To start doing that now. Why do you disobey Christ? The curtain was torn to give you direct access. Can you imagine what you are doing? God, Yes God, sent His only begotton Son, to make a way for you to go directly to Him and you turn your back on this blessing and go to Mary or some person who is judged by men to be a saint. What are you doing? No wonder so many are dry.
…Christ is your intercessor in Heaven and the Holy Spirit is your intercessor on earth. You are saying they are not sufficient. You are saying God is insufficient, that you need to go to man to help God
[/quote]

Again, this shows the differences between the Protestant and Catholic understanding of sin, holiness, and salvation.

Often the Protestant understanding is that once you are saved, you are always saved, and that means that you have the infinite holiness of Christ in the eye of the Father.

The Catholic understanding is that holiness is a journey which takes a lifetime. It is inevitable that we fall from time to time and so, as St. Paul tells us, we “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”
(Philippians 2:12).

Let us study Luke 18:10-13:
"10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.' 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying,God, be merciful to me a sinner!’”

The Pharisee failed to see himself as a sinner, because of pride. He compared himself to man, and celebrated his righteousness, while forgetting that, in relation to an infinitely holy God, he was a sinner also. Therefore, admitting one’s sinfulness is a sign of humility - of looking realistically at oneself.

[continued…]


#2

We ask for the prayers of the Saints because their holiness has been recognized by those with authority to do so (more on this later), and furthermore, their perfected state in Heaven means they have nothing to block their prayers to God.

Let’s now look at James 5:16-18:
“The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. 17 Eli’jah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.”

In other words, prayer has a varying degree of effectiveness according to one’s state of holiness. It only makes sense. How could the Holy Spirit operate effectively if you are stained with Sin? So we try our best to increase in holiness, but it is also a sign of humility to admit that our prayers will never be as effective as they can be on our own. We need intercession of holy men and women, an example here being Elijah. So no, we are not in any way saying that God is insufficient, but that our prayers are not always as effective as those of people holier and hence closer to God than ourselves.

We also know that the Saints are alive with God. Let’s look at Matthew 22:32: “`I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living”. They are alive in the same way that the Christians are on Earth; in Christ.

The reason why we pray to Saints, aside from what I’ve mentioned above, is that they are a part of the Body of Christ. By being part of the Body of Christ, Christ allows us a share in his duty as “high priest for ever after the order of Melchiz’edek” (Hebrews 6:20). We share in Jesus’ priestly role as the “one mediator” (1 Tim 2:5), through our sharing of Jesus’ eternal priesthood as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9). This is why Christians can intercede for the world - because we are the Body of Christ. This is also why the Saints are interceding for us, because Jesus is interceding for us in eternity, and they are a part of His Body, Christ the eternal priest. And so those in Heaven, the Church Triumphant as the Catholic Church calls it, intercede for us, the Church Militant on Earth. This is why “we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1).

[continued…]


#3

Of course, we also pray everything in Jesus’ name. What does a Catholic do everytime he/she prays? Sign of the cross - “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen”. By the way, this is the same as praying in Jesus’ name. Take Acts 2:38, for instance, where Peter say to “be baptized… in the name of Jesus Christ”. We know that the formula that Jesus gave us is “into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). So praying “in Jesus’ name” means to pray with his authority, and in him. The sign of the cross helps us to do exactly this.

If Mary was “Judged” to be holy, it is the Holy Spirit who does so, through the scriptures and the Church. More on this later, but for now it’s worth noting too that Luther was a devout Marian. A couple of examples on what he had to say with regard to her Immaculate Conception:

“It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of MaryÕs soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with GodÕs gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin” (Sermon: “On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God,” 1527).

“She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sinÑsomething exceedingly great. For GodÕs grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil.” (Personal {“Little”} Prayer Book, 1522).

As you can see, Luther would have had no problems in admitting Mary’s holiness. The Catholic Church professes that Mary is the greatest of all the Saints, being entirely free of sin, and one who is dearest to Jesus, being his mother. This is why, we believe, her prayers are so powerful.

No TTM,
I honor Mary and I need her for what she is, a blessed member of Christ body…

What we sought was the truth on a particular subject, Mary.
MariaG asked me to pray. I listened to her request and did this. This is not holding to a pre-conceived idea. This is inviting God in Christ to help me. Now He told me to fast. So I fasted. and my answer was One God, He alone.

I guess I do doubt where your “answer” came from, particularly because you showed a lack of openness and a whole series of preconceptions. Allow me to quote you from The Rosary thread:

[quote=edwinG]How could any Christian say, “All our efforts would be of little use” Where is the Holy Spirit. Why would this Saint Faustina so ridicule the Holy Spirit. I pray to God you do not know what you are doing. Can you hear what you are saying. The Holy Spirit is of no use. Only Mary, what rubbish. what utter rubbish. If she had to go through some Mary because the Holy Spirit would not help her she was in touch with satan. There can be no doubt about this. Read her words. She just denied God saying He was useless and she had to go through Mary.

You are the model and star of my life. Is this worship?
What are you doing? again I ask " what are you doing to yourself?
Tell me truly that God is the model and star of your life, in Jesus Holy name. God is love and so should we be. Read your words, please.
Then this saint says that Mary is the provider. What blasphemy!!!
Look at the position of these people in Holy Scripture. God, Jesus, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, David, Solomon, Noah, Job, Daniel, Moses, Elijah.
Mary does not have any where the prominence in the Holy Scripture that these people do.
Men have elevated her, not Holy Scripture, and not the Holy Spirit. How many catholics say how long it takes them to love Mary unconditionally. This is because they are fighting against the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit was for this aspect that man has forced on poor Mary then the acceptance would be immediate. You are doing harm to the real Mary. If you are really obtaining spiritual help, this is outside God.
If you can not see this it must be because God has blinded your eyes. your words create a depression in my spirit.
Christ be with you
walk in love
edwinG:(
[/quote]

[continued…]


#4

Now, you said:

Now if you from your heart really are interested in the truth, seek it, for your own benefit. What am I to do? go back to God and say, “Sorry God TTM and a group of catholics don’t believe, they think you are wrong”? The other alternative is that it was not the Holy Spirit who gave this to me. I ask you, I dont pray to, worship, or meditate on anyone else except God, Christ and the Holy Spirit, one God. Who has the authority to overcome Him when I am fasting for His truth. Now for yourself, you pray to a multitude of saints. Tell me is their more chance of a mistake in thousands or in One.

Yes, I do seek the Truth. Nothing is more important to me. If Catholicism, or even Christianity turn out to be false religions, I am ready to leave - because Truth is God himself.

I’d like to put the same question to you. Are you really interested in the truth, from the heart? Do you really seek it, or do you allow your own preconceptions to get in the way of finding it?

As I said, I do have doubts about where your “answer” came from. You ask who has the authority to overcome him when you are fasting for His truth. The answer is, yourself. If you are going to be stubborn in this matter, God will not intervene, out of respect for your free will. Now, I’m not going to make a judgement, but I feel that I ought to point this out.

[continued…]


#5

[quote=TTM]Also, the “charism” of infallibility rests only on the authority that Jesus set up, which is on Peter and the Apostles:
Matthew 16:18-19
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

This rock is all of the prophets and all of the apostles. Not a solitary Peter.

[quote=TTM]This is why unity is so important - because God sets up certain Earthly authorities to follow. How else would we know truth for sure?

[/quote]

Surely the Holy Spirit. TTM to think that the Holy Spirit is not capable of doing this work, is denying God’s ability. Why do you let hypocrits affect your judgement of His ability. You see a hypocrit and then say, No God can’t work this way, because hypocrites are too wise for Him. The church is His body, not the denominational church.
May Christ fill you TTM
walk in love
edwinG

This is an issue concerning the authority of the Church. We Catholics believe that Jesus established his Church under the Chief Shepherd, Peter. Again, Jesus himself is the Good Shepherd, but Peter shares in Jesus’ Shepherd-ship. Jesus, the Davidiac King, establishes in Peter a Prime Ministerial role. Again, the type for Peter can be found for this in Eli’akim:

Isiah 22:16-22
"Thus says the Lord GOD of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him: 16 What have you to do here and whom have you here, that you have hewn here a tomb for yourself, you who hew a tomb on the height, and carve a habitation for yourself in the rock? 17 Behold, the LORD will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you, 18 and whirl you round and round, and throw you like a ball into a wide land; there you shall die, and there shall be your splendid chariots, you shame of your master’s house. 19 I will thrust you from your office, and you will be cast down from your station. 20 In that day I will call my servant Eli’akim the son of Hilki’ah, 21 and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”

Here, two things are clear. The Key of the house of David signifies both the authority given to him within the Kingdom, and also the succession of office. With this, he is given the authority to bind and loose - rabbinic term signifying the authority to forbid and permit; to give the final word. In the same way, the Kingdom of Heaven has its Heavenly King, Jesus, who bestows his authority on his Earthly representative, Peter and his successors, who have been given the authority to give the final word.

This is only possible because of the Holy Spirit’s guidance. So, as you see, I am not denying Holy Spirit’s capability (that is a presumption on your part), but I am saying that the authority rests upon Peter’s successors and those in communion with him. It only makes sense. Through this unity, Christians - for 1500 years - affirmed, for example, the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Now, there are well over 1000 (that is the most conservative estimate I could make) denominations, who disagree on such a fundamental doctrine. They all claim to be led by the Holy Spirit. It seems clear to me that the Holy Spirit can not guide them in that particular way, because that particular charism rests upon Peter, the Apostles, and their successors.

Hope this helps. God bless,
TTM
[/quote]


#6

Originally Posted by edwinG
The way I have understood the principle of Roman Catholics using intercessors, like the saints who have died to earth, is because of their powerfull intercessory prayers, which are needed because sometimes God turns His face away.

“God turns His face away”? First I’ve ever heard this. It’s funny how people who object to Catholic practice and doctrine can’t seem to actually start by objecting to actual Catholic practice and doctrine.

– Mark L. Chance.


#7

If the protestants want to continue this ridiculous objection to intercessory prayer - then they better get consistent and quit asking for their pastor/family/friends to pray for them!!

Catholics do not believe - as protestants do- that those who have undergone physical death are incapable of intercessory prayer.
The Book of Revelation supports the catholic position on this as it portrays the martyrs interceding before God on behalf of those on earth.

I have a daughter in heaven and I ask her to pray for us, just as I would ask my other children to pray for us.
We ask the saints to pray for us - so what?
I see protestants flocking in droves to see ministers who they believe to be very holy hoping they get a chance for those ministers to pray for them.
Why don’t they just skip the holy minister and go straight to Jesus?


#8

[quote=Lorarose]If the protestants want to continue this ridiculous objection to intercessory prayer - then they better get consistent and quit asking for their pastor/family/friends to pray for them!!

Catholics do not believe - as protestants do- that those who have undergone physical death are incapable of intercessory prayer.
The Book of Revelation supports the catholic position on this as it portrays the martyrs interceding before God on behalf of those on earth.

I have a daughter in heaven and I ask her to pray for us, just as I would ask my other children to pray for us.
We ask the saints to pray for us - so what?
I see protestants flocking in droves to see ministers who they believe to be very holy hoping they get a chance for those ministers to pray for them.
Why don’t they just skip the holy minister and go straight to Jesus?
[/quote]

Hi Lora,I believe the problem lies in the understanding of Gods Word. God does not speak in error. I disagree with you on that the book of revelation proves that the saints in heaven are praying for us. My understanding is that those Saints in heaven are Gods servants,like the Holy angels.I believe that there days in heaven are now spent worshipping and praising God. The job of praying is for earthly saints. The heavenly Saints only collect them and bring them into the throne room. In that aspect they are interceeding because they are presenting the prayers collected from the earthly saints.I do not see anywhere in scripture that the heavenly saints are themselves praying. Unless you can prove to me that I am in error I retain my belief. God Bless. P/s There are many christians who chase a person for healing rather then to look for the HEALER,Our Lord Jesus Christ.


#9

[quote=SPOKENWORD]Hi Lora,I believe the problem lies in the understanding of Gods Word. God does not speak in error. I disagree with you on that the book of revelation proves that the saints in heaven are praying for us. My understanding is…
[/quote]

Emphasis added.

Exactly right. The problem does lie in the understanding of God’s Word. This problem is particularly pronounced in people who put their understanding of Scripture above the authoritative understanding of the Church founded by Christ Jesus.

– Mark L. Chance.


#10

[quote=mlchance]Emphasis added.

Exactly right. The problem does lie in the understanding of God’s Word. This problem is particularly pronounced in people who put their understanding of Scripture above the authoritative understanding of the Church founded by Christ Jesus.

– Mark L. Chance.
[/quote]

Hi Mark, They also thought the world was flat. :smiley: God Bless


#11

[quote=SPOKENWORD]Hi Mark, They also thought the world was flat. :smiley: God Bless
[/quote]

Irrelevant. Also inaccurate. Educated people in the Mediterranean area have known that the Earth is round since the time of Eratosthenes of Cyrene (circa 220 B.C.).

– Mark L. Chance.


#12

[quote=mlchance]Irrelevant. Also inaccurate. Educated people in the Mediterranean area have known that the Earth is round since the time of Eratosthenes of Cyrene (circa 220 B.C.).

– Mark L. Chance.
[/quote]

Like I said its our human understanding. No one is exempt. :confused: God Bless.


#13

[quote=SPOKENWORD]Like I said its our human understanding. No one is exempt. :confused: God Bless.
[/quote]

:confused: is indeed an accurate observation. You’re very nearly completely incoherent, and yet people are supposed to believe your understanding of Scripture is somehow infallible.

– Mark L. Chance.


#14

[quote=mlchance]:confused: is indeed an accurate observation. You’re very nearly completely incoherent, and yet people are supposed to believe your understanding of Scripture is somehow infallible.

– Mark L. Chance.
[/quote]

That confusion symbol was really addressed to everyone for I am not exempt,BUT God did give me a brainand with His help I use it. God Bless.


#15

[quote=SPOKENWORD]That confusion symbol was really addressed to everyone for I am not exempt,BUT God did give me a brainand with His help I use it. God Bless.
[/quote]

Let it be recorded to my credit that I had a clever and biting response to this post, but forebore to use it.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon12.gif


#16

What scripture verses in Revelation say that the saints in heaven can pray for us?

Thanks,
Sheri


#17

[quote=sherilo]What scripture verses in Revelation say that the saints in heaven can pray for us?
[/quote]

Revelation 5:8 and Revelation 8:3-4. See also Matthew 5:44 and 1 Timothy 2:1–4 (for the necessity of intercessory prayer), James 5:16–18 (for the effectiveness of a righteous person’s prayers), and Hebrews 12:22-23 (to show that Christians in Heaven are thoroughly righteous).

Now, what verses of Scripture say that the saints in Heaven cannot pray for us?

– Mark L. Chance.


#18

I don’t know. I am just coming in to the faith, and that question was not a challenge–it was just a question. Thanks.

Sheri


#19

[quote=vern humphrey]Let it be recorded to my credit that I had a clever and biting response to this post, but forebore to use it.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon12.gif
[/quote]

:amen: Me too… :rotfl:


#20

[quote=mlchance]Revelation 5:8 and Revelation 8:3-4. See also Matthew 5:44 and 1 Timothy 2:1–4 (for the necessity of intercessory prayer), James 5:16–18 (for the effectiveness of a righteous person’s prayers), and Hebrews 12:22-23 (to show that Christians in Heaven are thoroughly righteous).

Now, what verses of Scripture say that the saints in Heaven cannot pray for us?

– Mark L. Chance.
[/quote]

NONE! :thumbsup:


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