Sunday, May 5, 2019

1 Timothy 2:5 ("One Mediator Between God And Man") And Roman Catholic Apologetics

  • Discussion:
          -Following is a rebuttal to Roman Catholic speaker Sonja Corbitt's article titled Is Jesus the Only Mediator?, which is an attempt to defend Roman Catholic Mariology and the priesthood in light of 1 Timothy 2:5. This critique begins with a citation from the author:

          "Indeed. Did Jesus carry you in his womb? And after your conception, gestation, and birth, what then? Have you not been fed, clothed, educated, loved, provided for, and protected by someone who is not Jesus unto this day?"

          This rhetoric is only designed to sidestep the real issue at hand. The question that remains is how the Apostle Paul could consistently affirm Jesus Christ to be our "one mediator" when there is supposedly a bunch of other lesser mediators. The author does not provide a clear cut explanation as to how this can be. In that same text, Paul says that there is "one God." Based on the reasoning of the author, should we deduce the existence of mini gods? One commentator notes:

          "...In Paul's day the Gnostics had a vast system of mediators made up of angels but God declares, not so." (King James Version Bible Commentary, p. 1641)

          "Does everything you know about Christ come from Christ himself? Did Jesus baptize you? Did Jesus teach you to read or read the Scriptures to you? Did Jesus hand-write your Bible, gather its writings, or physically protect the Deposit of Faith for 2000 plus years until you could receive it from his literal mouth?"

          This deluge of criticism utterly misses the point of what it means for Jesus Christ to be the mediator between God and mankind. Christ came to reconcile sinners to a holy God. Only He, being sinless and divine, would qualify to enable our redemption through His atonement sacrifice. We are to place our trust in Christ alone, not saints or angels. He mediates our prayers to God and draws us to Him. Christ alone is our heavenly intercessor.

          "You are prayed for by other people. You are taught the Word of God by a person. And people even forgive one another! All the time if they’re obedient to Jesus, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

          Scripture tells those on earth to pray for one another. When we ask another to pray for us, we are not praying to them or through them. When another believer prays for us, they are praying through Christ alone. The New Testament clearly establishes Him as being the mediator between God and man without any reference to saints and angels (Hebrews 9:13-15; Hebrews 12:24).

          There is a mountainous distinction between the forgiveness of interpersonal sin and the forgiveness before God made available through Christ's mediation. It is also fallacious to equate being a teacher of the Word of God with being a mediator of His grace.

          The Roman Catholic concepts of an ordained ministerial priesthood and prayers to departed saints extend far beyond human intercession and prayer. Merely petitioning God nowhere amounts to functioning as a channel of God's mercy to other people or mediating the benefits of Christ's sacrifice to them.

          "Catholic confession and forgiveness through a priest follows the same pattern. The Pharisees also made the “God is the only mediator” claim against Jesus in this very matter: “No man can forgive sins, but God only” (Luke 5:21).

          The point that Jesus Christ makes in Luke 5 is that He is God in the flesh. So yes, He would indeed have the authority to forgive sins. Also, there is an element of irony that is worthy of consideration here. Even the Scribes and Pharisees of the Law were not arrogant enough to think that they had the ability to pardon the sins of God's people. Yet, the Roman Catholic priesthood has without guilt or embarrassment took upon itself precisely that role!

          Some may interject the argument that God alone forgives sin through a priest. But that premise is self-defeating. Our common sense indicates to us that in such a scenario there would still be an additional party involved in Jesus Christ's mediatorship. Believers are to approach God for the forgiveness of sin directly through Christ. We do not need to consult sinful men in order to access the grace provided through the Cross (Hebrews 4:14-16). We are to approach Jesus Christ directly for the forgiveness of any and all sins.

          "Jesus gave them a special power and authority through the Holy Spirit to carry out that command, and they [the apostles and using John 20:23 as a proof text] passed on that power and authority to others through the laying on of hands. The writings of the early Church indicate they understood confession the way the Catholic Church has understood it since then."

          A lot of unbiblical assumptions have to be read into John 20:23 in order to make it support Roman Catholic priestly absolution. This article delves into that subject in depth:

          https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2017/05/is-confession-of-sins-to-priest-biblical.html

          The Roman Catholic Church's claim to apostolic succession is examined in this article:

          https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2018/04/evaluating-roman-catholic-claims-of.html

          So, it is simply not true to claim that the Church of Rome today is the same as it was back in the days of Peter and Paul.

          "...we know he means that Jesus is the absolutely unique Mediator whose sole sacrifice is able to make eternal atonement for sin and therefore reconcile men eternally with God. All other mediators draw their efficacy from his office, insofar as they cooperate with and unite their efforts to his."

          The above quoted excerpt actually contains biblical truth, but none of it justifies the idea of other mediators drawing efficacy. Saints who are in the full presence of God in heaven are worshiping Him for eternity. Praying to another human is idolatry. That is what praying to a saint entails. We ought to pray to God alone. He is the only one who has power to answer any prayer.

2 comments:

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  2. The idolatry of Mary is one to the things that sets the RCC outside of orthodox Christianity.

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