Discussion in 'Questions?' started by mark fisher, Sep 5, 2022.
what are your thoughts on praying for the dead
Personally, my thoughts are: praying for the dead does more to comfort the living than anything else. I base this on Hebrews 9:27.
As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment...
What we believe and do in this life will determine whether we are adjudged by God to be a sheep or a goat.
My thoughts are that it is an affirmation of the resurrection. The conquest of death, and Jesus' victory over death, have robbed death of its power over us. Are we then to say that death removes our ability to hold people up to the light of Christ in intercession? I think not, for such would be to deny our faith in the resurrection.
However please note, that I am not telling God who to save and who not to save, for that would be the tail wagging the dog, and that is not how I believe we should understand our role in prayer.
In the original 10 Articles of 1536 this is written:
5. That prayers for the dead are good and useful, but the efficacy of papal pardon, and of soul-masses offered at certain localities, is negatived.
What changed between then and the later Articles?
A decline in Roman influence among the English churches, perhaps?
Is that, though, the best way to settle deep theological issues?
I believe that our prayers for the souls in purgatory are efficacious.
Elevating the Bible's authoritativeness above the magisterium's is the best way to settle such issues. And that is what the CofE did.
What they really wanted to bring an end too was wealthy folk paying for mssses to be said for them post their demise for the salvation of their souls. It provided for many abuses and a wrong understanding of both prayer and salvation.
personally i believe in the intermediary state of hades where souls live in misery or happiness until the day of judgment
That reminds me of a RC joke.
Trish: "Father O'Malley, is it true that masses said for a deceased soul can affect the outcome?"
Fr. O'Malley: "Yes, that's correct. It is customary to make a donation for the mass."
Trish: "Wonderful! If I donate $25,000, how many masses can I have said for my ex-husband to burn in hell forever?"
They would have to throw out some of the books though, which they did, as Maccabees includes prayers for the dead. By what judgement did they throw out these books?
I don't know the exact specifics regarding Maccabees. Some possibilities:
- maybe Maccabees was not as widely accepted as divinely inspired among all the scattered churches
- perhaps it was seen to contain historical inaccuracies
- maybe it was seen to contain errant doctrines
There could be another reason I'm not thinking of.
Here's an article on the Anglican tradition of praying for the dead:
@Elmo made an excellent point that the fifth article related to ceremonies of the Ten Articles of 1536 was supportive of prayers for the dead, while at the same time disallowing pardons and soul-masses. I would add to that point that no subsequent binding authority in the CoE, such as the 39 articles, struck down the practice. Therefore, I contend that it is and has always been a thoroughly Anglican practice. One that we would all do well to embrace as it can be a great comfort in times of loss.
Maccabees was never accepted by Jews as part of their canon (even though the Jewish festival of Hanukkah comes from 1 Maccabees).
The reasons have to do with provenance (when and where and by whom the autographs were written could not be reliably established), and with the Jewish rabbinic consensus that God's revelation to the Jewish people was closed prior to the intertestamental period. This may have corresponded with the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek in the 3rd century BC -- the Hebrew canon was "fixed" at that point.
The intertestamental books like Maccabees were not considered Scripture by Jews of the time, but many of the books were considered Godly and profitable for reading, and were very popular at the time (often they were included in the Septuagint collections, so the Greek translations were far more well-known than their Hebrew counterparts, even by Jews of the time). By the time of Jesus, the Greek Bible was by far the most popular text outside of Palestine, even among Jews. Jesus probably used the Greek Bible to some extent, and it's clear that the Septuagint was a primary resource for many of the NT writers -- their quotations conform to Septuagint readings far more often than not. And since the Greek writings often contained the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books, Christians usually incorporated these into their own copies of Scripture.
When the codex (book) was adopted by Christians as the standard format for Scripture, the apocryphal books were usually bound separate from the Jewish canonical books. Jerome's Latin Vulgate did this. It's a popular misconception that early Christians accepted the apocryphal books as Scripture -- some did, but most (being Jews) did not. The great uncial codices (Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, etc.), being in Greek, adopt the practice of binding apocryphal books along with Scripture, but separated. But over time the Roman Catholic church accepted some books of the Apocrypha (what they call the Deuterocanon) over the centuries, and finalized the RC canon in the Council of Trent in 1546.
However, Protestants rejected the Apocrypha because the Jews were the guardians of the Old Testament and they didn't accept the books either. Protestants also considered the Masoretic Hebrew to be a superior text to the Septuagintal Greek*, and that Masoretic text forms the basis of Protestant Old Testament Scripture to this very day (though with substantial contributions from the Septuagint).
*I think this logic was flawed. I think Christians would profit from using the same Bible the Apostles used, which would have been the Greek translation (Septuagint). I'm also not convinced that the provenance of the Masoretic Hebrew is better than the old Greek -- the Greek translation is by far the oldest extant example of the Old Testament we have. The oldest intact Masoretic Hebrew bible is the Leningrad Codex, which was written around 1000AD (making it much younger than the Septuagint). The Dead Sea Scroll fragments do tend to support the Masoretic readings, however.
By no authority, @Elmo
Anglicanism never threw out the Books of Maccabees. See Article VI of the 39 Articles of Religion (1571 and 1801):
The books of the Apocrypha are used as examples of godly practices, such as in 2 Maccabees 12:43-45
43 And when he had made a gathering throughout the company to the sum of two thousand drachms of silver, he sent it to Jerusalem to offer a sin offering, doing therein very well and honestly, in that he was mindful of the resurrection:
44 For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should have risen again, it had been superfluous and vain to pray for the dead.
45 And also in that he perceived that there was great favour laid up for those that died godly, it was an holy and good thought. Whereupon he made a reconciliation for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin
Prayers for the dead are the logical consequence of the resurrection, at least it was to the Maccabeans.
Yes but they're not used for doctrine.
As stated in the Article, we Anglicans follow the tradition of the early fathers as represented by St Jerome (Hierome), who stated the Apocrypha were not used for doctrine. They are still considered Canon. Note they fall under Article VI's sub-heading, "Of the Names and Number of the Canonical Books" they just have a different use.
The phrase “throw out” would imply that at one time they were “in”. But at no time were they “in”. There are plentiful church fathers, St Jerome and others, who openly excluded the apocrypha from the list of divinely revealed books. Instead they’re considered human books, included in bibles just for the purposes of good instruction.