Saturday, July 27, 2019

Debunking Proof Texts That Roman Catholics Use In Defending Saintly Intercession

  • Discussion:
          -This article is a rebuttal to a number of proof texts for the practice of praying to departed saints and angels which are cited at the website called Scripture Catholic:

          "Rom. 8:35-39 – therefore, death does not separate the family of God and the love of Christ. We are still united with each other, even beyond death."

          People enter into the supernatural realm at the moment of physical death. So in that sense, believers on earth certainly are separated temporarily from those present in heaven. It should be pointed out that Romans 8:35-39 says nothing whatsoever about saintly intercession.

          "Matt. 17:3; Mark 9:4; Luke 9:30 – Jesus converses with “deceased” Moses and Elijah. They are more alive than the saints on earth."

          The point of the transfiguration was to show the preeminence of Jesus Christ. He was speaking to Moses and Elijah in His glory. These verses do not say anything in regard to prayer. Are there even any Catholics who offer prayers to Moses and Elijah?

          "Matt. 22:32; Mark 12:27; Luke 20:38 – God is the God of the living not the dead. The living on earth and in heaven are one family."

          Just because a saint is very much alive in the presence of God in the heavenly sanctuary, does not mean that he or she is capable of answering or being a recipient of prayers.

          "Luke 15:7, 10 – if the angels and saints experience joy in heaven over our repentance, then they are still connected to us and are aware of our behavior."

          Angels rejoicing over a conversion cannot simply translate into support for them receiving our prayer requests because they most probably know when a soul is added to the Book of Life.

          Even if saints and angels in heaven were conscious of events on earth, could hear prayers, and had the ability to pray for somebody on earth, these scenarios would still not grant biblical justification for people offering prayer petitions to entities other than God. The prophets and the apostles never once mentioned entrusting prayer requests to saints and angels in heaven. Neither do we see in Scripture God approving of such activity.

          Satan is without a doubt conscious of events taking place in this world, yet no Roman Catholic would ever suggest prayer to him.

          "Heb. 12:1 – the “cloud of witnesses” (nephos marturon) that we are surrounded by is a great amphitheatre of witnesses to the earthly race, and they actively participate and cheer us (the runners) on, in our race to salvation."

          The context of this passage relates to viewing the Old Testament saints as good moral examples. We are all united into a spiritual family by faith in Christ. There is nothing in that which would even remotely suggest prayer to these witnesses.

          "James 5:16; Proverbs 15:8, 29 – the prayers of the righteous (the saints) have powerful effects. This is why we ask for their prayers. How much more powerful are the saints’ prayers in heaven, in whom righteousness has been perfected."

          The prayer of the righteous man does indeed avail much, but these passages of Scripture say nothing regarding prayers to or for deceased believers.

          "Rev. 5:8 – the prayers of the saints (on heaven and earth) are presented to God by the angels and saints in heaven. This shows that the saints intercede on our behalf before God, and it also demonstrates that our prayers on earth are united with their prayers in heaven. (The “24 elders” are said to refer to the people of God – perhaps the 12 tribes and 12 apostles – and the “four living creatures” are said to refer to the angels.)"

          This simply means that God allowed saints in heaven to "hold" bowls of prayers. The text says nothing about prayers being directed to saints or angels in heaven, nor gives us permission to do so. The text does not indicate how these saints would be aware of our prayers.

          "Rev. 8:3-4 – in heaven an angel mingles incense with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne of God, and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God. These prayers “rise up” before God and elicit various kinds of earthly activity. God responds to his children’s requests, whether made by his children on earth or in heaven."

          Bowls of wrath are mentioned in Revelation 16. Should we conclude that they were directed to the saints in heaven because they also carried them? The text does not exhort believers on earth to pray to or through angels. It states that the angel was to add incense to the prayers in the golden censer containing the prayers of the saints.

          "Psalm 103:20-21; 148:1-2 – we praise the angels and ask for their assistance in doing God’s will...Psalm 141:2 – David asks that his prayer be counted as incense before God. The prayers of the saints have powerful effects."

          The Psalmists are simply telling all creations in all places to praise God's name. Creation is a reflection of His glory. These passages do not in any way exhort us to honor or pray to beings other than the Lord. In Psalm 103:22, inanimate objects are told to praise God. In Psalm 148:3, the sun, moon, and the stars are also told to praise God. Should we pray to these things, as well?

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