Some Protestant interpretations...mini rant :)


#1

This is a mini rant. :slight_smile: First, I would like to say this LESS applies to the non-Catholics on this forum who I find FAR more intellectual as a whole compared to others around the internet.

But have any of you experienced this? I’m sure you have…this is nothing we all haven’t heard before. But I experienced it twice today in the same thread on another forum.

For example, I went through an explanation and exegesis of several verses of Scripture attesting to praying to saints. Two different rebuttals I got from people consisted of the profound counter-exegesis of “No, those verses don’t say that,” sometimes followed by new made-up criteria that would exclude those verses but no longer relate to them speaking of praying to Saints anyway.
(by the way, this could also happen to a thoughtful Protestant who received a poor response in reply to his claims or questions too)

What is peculiar to Protestants who have difficulty with such concepts as praying to saints (not trying to paint with a broad brush, I am talking about a specific kind of Bible interpreter) is the desperate need to see a teaching in Scripture in the form of a 21st century English declarative sentence— if it is for a teaching that comes from a Catholic or maybe Orthodox.

They cannot see concepts in Scripture. They know Christians on earth are saints from whom we are encouraged to ask for prayers. But since they do not see the spelled-out notion of praying to saints in heaven, who have the most perfect union with God possible, whose prayers as righteousness beings are the most possibly effective, they invent the anti-Scriptural concept that these members of Christ’s Body in heaven are effectively separated from His members on earth.

I don’t think I could sleep right at night if someone presented me with a concise, yet thought-out Scriptural challenge, and all I could muster for a reply over and over was, “No, that doesn’t say that” with no accompanying rationale for denying it.

I guess here’s to praying for all of us to make sure when we speak, we speak truth, and when we hear, we discern truth. Amen. :yup: :yup:


#2

I like to use the logic approach. Follow this line of thought:

  1. Is God’s word eternal (perhaps requiring explanation that if God’s word is truely perfect, then it is perfect for all time and… by extension… applicable at all times)?
    They again should answer yes.

  2. Is God’s word universal (explaining, if God’s word is perfect and true, it should be applicable throughout the universe and in all places, including heaven and hell)?

  3. If 1 and 2 are true, Then can we safely say that God’s word is good and holy and to be followed by ALL christians alive or dead (obviously we’re not allowed to stop following the will of God just because we’re dead and in heaven, right?)?

  4. Does God tell His followers to pray for each other fervantly and without ceasing?

  5. If 3 and 4 are true, then we KNOW the saints MUST be praying for us in heaven, as they are commanded to do so and, since 1 and 2 are true, then we know that that command extends both universally and eternally.

  6. Is it also acceptable for us to ask Christians around us to pray for our needs and wants?

  7. When we die, if we go to heaven are we still alive in Christ?

If 5, 6, and 7 are true, then by extension we arrive at one conclusion. 7 shows that saints are living participants in the Christians faith. 6 shows that it is acceptable to ask living participants who are following God’s command to pray for one another for specific prayers, and 5 proves that the saints fit perfectly into that category.

Thus by logical exegisis as well as scriptural one either affirms that the saints do pray for us in heaven, or that God’s word is not universally or eternally applicable (thereby one states that there is a flaw to God’s word, and therefore God’s word isn’t perfect). The ONLY logical conclusion is the catholic truth.


#3

Thanks promethius. You have some good points to raise in there. I also wonder where they get the teaching from Scripture that goes like this:

When we die, we are fully united with the Body of Christ, except not with those members of the Body who are still living on earth.

:rolleyes:


#4

When I was Protestant, I had massive problems with the view many Protestants have that when we die, we’ll just go to heaven and live in bliss, in a new world, no longer heeding what goes on at Earth at all. I knew that for myself, simply as a matter of conscience, I’d have to be interacting with people on Earth or at least praying for them. I couldn’t just enjoy paradise while my fellow believers suffer.

The Epistles say that when one member of the body suffers, all of the body suffers, and therefore when one member of the Body of Christ suffers, all suffer. Therefore people in heaven will feel pain and distress on behalf of people on Earth, and will care about what is going on down there. And if they have that much intimacy of experience with what is happening on Earth, why wouldn’t they at least pray?

The idea of some kind of disconnecting barrier between heaven and Earth made no sense to me. I didn’t go so far as to pray to saints, of course, but I did believe that they were praying for us.

Prayer is really just communication. When I’m praying to God, I’m just talking with him. When people in the scripture encountered angels and talked with them, that was also a form of prayer. No different from what I always did talking with God, anyway. I appealed for angelic protection, so in that sense I was already praying to angels, or at least for the protection of angels. Prayer to saints is no more peculiar than that. Like angels, they are also disembodied spirits serving God.

The main issue for some Protestants with this, I guess, is that the protocanonical scriptures don’t talk about praying to saints very explicitly. Except when Jesus talked with Moses and Elijah. There are other passages that imply it too, like Revelation 20, which says that during the millennium, the souls of the saints would receive life and would reign over the Earth with great authority. And Daniel 7 talks about saints in spirit form wielding authority on Earth in the time of Christ’s kingdom.

So there are proto-canonical scriptures that imply communion with saints after death. The deuterocanonicals are much clearer. But talking with angels is very present in both, and it’s really no different from prayer. You listen to an angel, you learn, and the angel protects you and intervenes in matters on the behalf of the saints. And you talk to your angel, which no one says there’s anything wrong in doing. You might ask the angel for their aid, which is also fine.

We need to know that prayer is just communication. It isn’t always worship, though one can worship while one prays. Many Protestants think that prayer automatically involves worship, but it doesn’t, any more than talking with an angel means you’re worshiping him.


#5

That is exactly what I’m talking about! The unity of the Body. This particular Protestant notion teaches the highly unscriptural “severed” Body theory.

So there are proto-canonical scriptures that imply communion with saints after death.

Some of them are rather explicit to me anyway. I will link here in organized fashion for my own reference too!

First is this one where you have a direct petition to a deceased person to return to her body:
Acts 9:36-37, 40 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha…she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room…Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.
The Psalmist calls on to angels and heavenly hosts to pray praise with him in Ps 148:1-2, Ps 103:20-21, and the people ask for the angel’s intercession in Zechariah 1:11-16, and the angel goes to God and God shows mercy on the people!

Revelation 5:8 the elders in heaven offering the prayers of the saints. Somebody must not have been “praying directly to God” !!! What are these guys doing passing on prayers of someone else!

And this is a good one on heavenly awareness:
1 Cor 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.

Paul admits his knowledge is dim. But “then” he will understand fully after he sees “face to face.” This is a reference to the beatific vision of seeing God face to face (Rev 22:4, et al) in heaven. Here his knowledge is limited. In heaven he will understand as [he] is fully understood. Anyone already in heaven is fully aware of those on earth fully, just as Paul says he is understood by those in heaven at the time he wrote. Couple that with our oneness in the Body of Christ and Paul asking others to pray for us. As I said in that other forum, there is no reason why anyone should claim it is inappropriate to ask those in heaven to pray for us because it is unscriptural to say otherwise. The saints are fully aware if we ask them to pray for us.


#6

Whatever they reply, just say, “That’s unbiblical”. Drives them nuts.

:smiley:


#7

And therein lies the rub. Many non-Catholic denominations have a Sunday Service that Consists of hymns, a spontaneous prayer, a sermon, and more hymns. Some occasionally throw in a communion service. Some of the Lutheran’s have a Sunday Service using the same three year scripture readings that Catholics use. Listen to them on the radio and you don’t tumble to the fact they aren’t Catholic till nearly the end of the service when things get different enough to tell. So then hymns, a few prayers, and a sermon becomes “worship” in their definition.

As Catholics our main worship of God lies in the celebration of Mass. Other prayers, hymns, and devotion to the Saints looks an awful lot like particular non-Catholic worship services. Who can then blame them for thinking we worship Mary and the saints?


#8

You could also try a metaphysical logic approach–

The Bible explicitly says the Church is the mystical body of Christ, and again, We are one body with Christ as the head. It also states explicitly that Christ is God (one with the Father) and the God is eternal, transcending all time. If you follow these two things to their logical conclusions you get this:

Church = Body of Christ = One with Christ (as He is the head)

AND

Christ = God (Trinity) = eternal and infinite (“I am He who am”) = transcending all time

Therefore, the Church (one with Christ) also transcends all time, meaning we (the Church) are one with the Saints who have gone before us, as well as those who will come after us.

And therefore, praying to a Saint in heaven for their intercession is no different than asking the intercession of a saint in the making here on earth.

It may not convince them, but if they learned anything in geometry class, it should work. (if A= B and B=C, then A must = C)


#9

Now I don’t mind the “That’s not what that verse says…” argument nearly as much as I mind the “The Holy Spirit has led me to understand…” argument.

Chuck


#10

They would probably not concede as you know. They would counter by demanding to see the A=C spelled out in kindergarten-sentence form in Scripture. :slight_smile: Like I said in the OP, if it’s a Catholic teaching, there is no deductive logic allowed…it must be spelled out!! But I have long ago let go of trying to get a concession…at this point I can only hope to plant a seed. :slight_smile: I guess that’s why by God’s grace I don’t ever really get into long hostile exchanges anymore. :o

Fear not, I have said this to them…not so much to drive them nuts…but because it’s true. :slight_smile:


#11

I have seen that used on others, but I don’t think anyone has tried to play that card on me specifically. :slight_smile: What is your response at that point?


#12

Well usually, I start to type “Oh yeah, well my Holy Spirit can beat up your Holy Spirit” but usually I delete that and go down the path of…

So you are an infallible interpreter of scripture then.

“Well no, I didn’t say that!”

If the Holy Spirit is leading you to the correct interpretation then you must be.

“Well no not on all things, I didn’t say that.”

Then how do you know your right on this particular interpretation?

“Well because I know”.

Then you are an infallible interpreter of scripture then.

“No I’m not I didn’t say that.”

Repeat until they concede that they could be wrong about their interpretation of that particular verse and then proceed with the discussion at hand….

For some reason these folks are perfectly comfortable saying that they “know” their interpretation is correct because “the Holy Spirit is leading them” but as soon as you define that process as “Infallibility”, they want to run from the word like it’s the plague.

Chuck


#13

Logic doesn’t really work. If it did you should be able to pray to a saint who hasn’t been born yet.


#14

In theory, that could be possible, although it’s not something I’ve ever seen recommended. In any case, we don’t know their names.

I have sometimes thought of praying to myself in Heaven, but I think that would be presumptuous, to simply assume that I’m going to be in Heaven in Eternity. :smiley:


#15

Oh my gosh…I seriously wrote almost that exact same response, but I wanted to see what you were going to say first!!!
:rotfl:


#16

Actually, John Martingogni (sp?) and a priest had a debate w/ a couple of nonCatholics (one was an exCatholic, big surprise :rolleyes: ) using that same argument, and one of them actually admitted that he is indeed infallible! :eek: . I guess it was that or admit that he may have been wrong and John (i.e, the Catholic Church) may have been right in the interpretation of Scripture. I guess he thought that claiming infallibility was the lesser of 2 evils. The exchange was in one of John’s newsletters, Apologetics for the masses. You may be able to access it at biblechristiansociety.com.

In Christ,

Ellen


#17

I remember that newsletter!! :o


#18

I see an idea for a bumper sticker…:smiley:


#19

Well, I would think actually that you could, if you knew who they were, which we don’t.

Once we leave this life in this finite universe, and, hopefully, enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (which as God’s dwelling must exist outside the confines of time) will the veil over our hearts, minds, and eyes not be removed? Will we not also be able to see all that is, including past, present, and future?

Just thought I’d throw that idea out there…


#20

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