They helped shape Christianity, yet most protestants don’t care about them…Yes most devotion should be on Jesus, but you must talk about the wise words of those who came before you.
I absolutely agree. Lutherans ought to be doing a lot more in this area. The confessions say:
*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. *
How can we offer this three-fold honor if they go unmentioned?
There is something called Paleo-Orthodoxy which heavily leans on the writings of the ECF’s. There was an Evangelical Orthodox Church, but they joined the Antiochian Orthodox Church in the Eastern Orthodox Communion.
Modern-day evangelical Protestants do not teach anything about the saints. Growing up, the only “saint” I ever heard of was St. Francis, because so many people have statues of him in their gardens. I had two Catholic readers ((Streets and Roads), and I read of several saints in these books–I loved those stories!
I think the main reason for why evangelical Protestants don’t teach about saints is that they disagree so very very extremely strongly with the Catholic practice of “praying to the saints” or “petitioning the saint to pray for them.”
Evangelical Protestants do not believe that those in heaven are able to see/hear us, as they are now with Jesus and are no longer interested in things of this earth. So they consider praying to the saints akin to the sin of attempting to communicate with the dead, or even with the sin of idolatry. Therefore, they stay away from teaching about the saints lest anyone be tempted to imitate the Catholics and pray to the saints.
I think another reason why evangelical Protestants don’t teach anything about the saints is that all the saints are Catholic!! After all, we Catholics don’t teach about Protestant heroes of the faith, do we?
Finally, I think that a lot of evangelical Protestants believe that much of the information about the saints is spurious, based on legend rather than fact. Evangelical Protestants tend to stick with “just the facts.”
But they do teach a lot about the great missionaries; e.g., Hudson Taylor, Adoniram Judson, Cameron Townsend, William and Catherine Booth, etc.
They also teach a lot about great preachers, teachers, revivalists, and evangelists; e.g., Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finley, Billy Sunday, A.W. Tozer, Billy Graham, etc.
They also tend to get caught up in adulating current modern-day Christians “celebrities.” In my youth and younger years, these included Dr. James Dobson, Chuck Swindoll, J.I. Packer, Gary Smalley, Chuck Colson, Billy Graham, Corrie ten Boom, Evelyn Christenson, Anne Graham Lotz, Ann Kiemel, Joni Earickson, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. Some of these are still around and are very much respected and admired, and I personally admire several of them even though I am now Catholic.
The only current modern-day celebrity that I am following is John Ortberg, because I grew up with him in my church. Many times, I played the piano for him when he sang (wonderful singing voice). We all knew that someday he would grow up to be a “Billy Graham,” and we were right! Great guy and I wish him well and I pray that he will seriously consider Catholicism!
And of course there are the Christian entertainers. In my younger years, these were Amy Grant, Sandi Patty, Michael W. Smith, the Wynans, Petra, 2nd Chapter of Acts, etc. I’m really dating myself here! I have not paid any attention to contemporary Christian entertainers in many years. But evangelical Protestants still get very caught up in buying their albums and promotional products, going to their concerts, etc.
Sometimes things backfire for evangelical Protestants when they lift up a modern-day celebrity, because the modern-day celebrity is caught in a serious sin and/or crime. The one that comes to mind is Ted Haggard, who was the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals.
I hope this is helpful in answering the OP’s query.
What I like about many of the Saints is many were great sinners as us. But God turned their life around so much.
It goes to show us how we are all called to be Saints.
And it seems the ones who were the worst before their conversion, became the best Saints and its makes it easier for us as sinners to relate to them better.
My Protestant friends don’t really acknowledge saints at all. You should see the reaction I get when I tell them that we can ask them to intercede for us! To them, they were just ordinary people. They died. That was the end of it. I really feel they are missing out on something special.
how do you think they would respond to saying they are examples of faith to us?
I’ve told my evangelical friends this. One of them told me that while he didn’t believe it, it was okay because it was an “extra thing” and that as long as i loved God and Jesus that i was “saved” Another friend told me that it was worshiping false idols, and another asked my why we pray to them when we could pray to God. That leads me to another question, how would I explain how saints intercede to us. Everytime I bring it up people say I should bring it to Christ alone or ask why we need a saint to intercede for us. Why do we need a saint to intercede for us?
btw as far as the only jesus response I say there isn’t anything that says we can’t go through others to get to Jesus
look at it like this
You pray to Mary, Mary goes to Jesus, Jesus goes to the Father
or You pray to peter, peter goes to Jesus, Jesus goes to the father
or you ask your friend to pray, your friend prays to mary, mary goes to Jesus, Jesus goes to the Father.
Jesus is still the one mediator but there isn’t only one way to get to Christ.
I’ve heard of most of the speakers you are referring to. In my Protestant days I also like John McArthur. As for the entertainers. I like those and would include Point of Grace to my list. I saw Sandi Patti in concert. Her voice is amazing.
When I was growing up I learned about a few of the Saints at church. It was usually in Sunday school. They were held up as good Christian examples and martyrs for their faith. It was usually in the context of how we should be willing to sacrifice all for Jesus. We were also told that because they are dead there is no reason to try to talk to them. They can’t hear us or help us.
**I absolutely agree. Lutherans ought to be doing a lot more in this area. The confessions say:
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. **
What a TERRIFIC POST !!
With one exception, however. #7) in the CONFESSIONS above, is a falsehood. It states,
“These true honors the adversaries do not require. They dispute only concerning invocation…” The adversaries here are clearly the Catholics and by extension the Eastern Orthodox, as outside of Lutheranism (and now high-church Anglicanism) the RC’s and EOs were the only ones who openly honored the Saints and only the Catholics, strictly speaking, were “adversaries” to the Lutherans at the time of the writing of the Confessions.
Statement #7 is grossly false. Read any of the writings ABOUT the Saints written by Catholic Authors from the 2nd century on down. They ALL insist on those “true honors” that the confessions claim we don’t insist on. To avoid the continued sin of Libel, that statement should be stricken from the Confessions as it is slanderous.
Otherwise that entire post was SPOT-ON.
I actually think that, today, you are right about #7. This isn’t the case - anymore - with the Catholic Church. Just remember that the reformers were writing in a different era. What they saw may have been quite different, regardless of what the Fathers wrote.
There is really no good reason not to learn about the lives of the saints and to honor them. But as Cat said, in the Evangelical Protestant world I came from, we never hear about them, are never taught anything about them. Now that I’m Episcopalian and in an Anglo-Catholic parish, they at least get mentioned sometimes.
why isn’t it, lets forget about honoring them. Why is there no good reason to learn about them. I would be like learning about a great president, or someone who had great courage in a war, wouldn’t someone in armed forces or aspiring to be president learn something from them?
I remember learning about the early Christians and the Romans and them being killed and dying for Christ.
But it was never connected with the Catholic Church. Even though they were martyrs, they must have been Protestant, I guess.
No. They were Christian. The connection to the Church Catholic - the undivided Church is obvious.
Not if you are just a kid in Sunday School. They were just martyrs and we had no idea about the connection to the Catholic Church.
The Episcopal Church honors saints as well- someone commented that “all Saints are Catholic”-perhaps in a very parochial viewpoint-
would you not consider Ghandi a Saint or the Anglican Martyrs of Uganda-is not everyone in heaven a saint?
They were Christian martyrs in my Sunday School also. No connection to the Lutheran Church, either. But then, we were kids. Today as adults, we recognize the pre-schism, pre-Reformation nature of the Church as being catholic, and that these saints were indeed Catholic.