question for eastern orthodox/roman Catholics

Discussion in 'Non-Anglican Discussion' started by mark fisher, Nov 14, 2022.

  1. judd

    judd New Member

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    I don’t know much about Anglicanism.. this seems like a schism, given how strongly people clearly feel about praying to saints…
     
  2. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    There are many, many good books that present Anglicanism historically and systematically. One book I would definitely recommend is Anglicanism: A Reformed Catholic Tradition by Gerald Bray. Another excellent book is Introduction to Dogmatic Theology by E.A. Litton, who writes from a classic Anglican perspective.
     
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  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That's an easy one. Most of them (not all...there are always exceptions) pray to saints because they don't understand their position with the Father through Jesus Christ. They lack confidence that God will hear and/or give credence to their prayers, so they feel their chances are better if they go through an intermediary.

    The remedy is to read and believe the pertinent passages of scripture which teach the truth about praying to God. A number of these passages are not properly taught upon, and a couple of them are not included in the Sunday readings of certain churches, and that contributes to the problem.

    Heb 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

    2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

    Rom 8:14-17 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

    Rev 1:4-6 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

    Mat 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

    Mar 11:22, 24 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God...Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it...

    We Christians need to be taught that God sees us as His sons, beloved children and heirs to all that He has. And we need to be taught that we, here on earth, are saints!!! (Over and over, the NT refers to living believers, in Jerusalem and in Rome and elsewhere, as saints.) Though we are sinners, God sees us as spotless, righteous kings and priests because He has bestowed His own impeccable righteousness to us (2 Cor. 5:21) by His astoundingly generous grace. God the Holy Spirit lives within each of us; God wants to lead us and to have an intimate relationship with us. Jesus assures us by His words that we have only to come to our loving Lord, spell out our needs to Him, and trust Him to do what is best for us in meeting those needs. Because we are saints before God, the saints in heaven have no advantage over us in speaking to our Lord!

    God is never too busy. He will never turn us away. He wants us to "come boldly" to Him with the knowledge (and faithful confidence) that His throne is a place where we can expect to receive unmerited favor because He loves us so dearly.

    I see prayers to deceased saints as a sign of weak faith in God. The one who prays to saints (instead of directly to God) might as well be saying to our Lord, "I don't see myself the way you see me, nor do I have confidence that You will listen to me. But since the Church has said that some of the deceased people lived holy enough lives to be considered saints, and since they are in heaven with you, maybe you will listen to them."

    The RCC in particular developed (over many centuries) a hierarchy that held onto its members by telling them that they need the priests as a go-between, a conduit between them and God, for salvation through the Sacraments. In that construct, it is extremely easy to assume that one also needs a heavenly go-between when praying to God. Moreover, the RCC heavily emphasizes to its members that they are unworthy sinners without balancing this message with the fact that they are cleansed, made righteous in God's sight, and made worthy to stand before Him by God's grace; therefore the RC tends to pray in a helpless and powerless manner rather than in confident expectation (true faith) that God the Father will hear and will honor the prayer without any intermediary other than Jesus Christ our high priest. IMO the RCC produces 'spiritual weaklings' who depend on the priests of their church and the saints of their church (especially that 'chief saint', Mary) to carry them, rather than (in genuine, deep faith) depend solely upon God.

    And I must add that, yes, some Anglicans have picked up this weak-faith habit, too!
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2023
  4. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    You're saying most Catholics and Orthodox - the vast majority of the world's Christians (and martyrs), both today and throughout history - "don't understand their position with the Father through Jesus Christ," and "lack confidence that God will hear their prayers?" That is a very bold statement, to put it mildly, and almost certainly fanciful. Surely you must know the answer cannot be that simple.
     
  5. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    You forgot to quote 1 Tim 2:5 "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus":)
    I tend to agree with you here, though I think you may overestimate their lack of confidence that God will hear their prayers. My understanding of the RC view of praying to saints is; it is no different to your minister asking you in church to pray for a sick parishioner.
    Of course the main difference between asking you to help/pray and the saint to help/pray is, you are alive and the saints are dead. I have heard a RC explain that being dead (ie presumably in heaven) is of no consequence.

    But, and people may be able to help me here, I think there is biblical injunctions against communicating with the dead.
     
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  6. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    There are, at least according to the plain sense. That is a related but somewhat different problem.
     
  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    One might easily think that, but it's not necessarily so. For example:
    This prayer to Saint Joseph—spouse of the Virgin Mary, foster father of Jesus, and patron saint of the universal Church—was composed by Pope Leo XIII in his 1889 encyclical, Quamquam pluries. He asked that it be added to the end of the Rosary, especially during the month of October, which is dedicated to the Rosary. Enriched with a partial indulgence (Handbook of Indulgences, conc. 19), this prayer may be said after the customary Salve Regina and concluding prayer, and may also be used to conclude other Marian devotions.

    Prayer to Saint Joseph
    To you, O blessed Joseph,
    do we come in our tribulation,
    and having implored the help of your most holy Spouse,
    we confidently invoke your patronage also.

    Through that charity which bound you
    to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God
    and through the paternal love
    with which you embraced the Child Jesus,
    we humbly beg you graciously to regard the inheritance
    which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood,
    and with your power and strength to aid us in our necessities.

    O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family,
    defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ;
    O most loving father, ward off from us
    every contagion of error and corrupting influence;
    O our most mighty protector, be kind to us
    and from heaven assist us in our struggle
    with the power of darkness.

    As once you rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril,
    so now protect God's Holy Church
    from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity;
    shield, too, each one of us by your constant protection,
    so that, supported by your example and your aid,
    we may be able to live piously, to die in holiness,
    and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven.

    This prayer is officially sanctioned by the RCC. The person who prays this prayer is attributing "power and strength" to a dead saint, Joseph, and asking this deceased person to use his power and strength for the person's benefit. There is nothing in the prayer about God's power, or about Joseph asking God something on behalf of the person. Isn't that interesting? (Side note: those who pray this prayer get some time knocked off from their stay in Purgatory, if one can believe it.)

    Prayers to St. Christopher are similar: they ask him to provide his protection and guidance. My RC uncle Joe H. prayed to St. Christopher on occasion, and he used to keep a St. Christopher medallion in his car because he thought it would help keep him safe when driving. Superstitions. :rolleyes:

    I'm not saying that all the prayers to deceased saints are like this, but the fact that the RCC would teach its members to pray so unscripturally is something we should take notice of.

    That's a valid point, although proponents of prayers to the dead will draw distinctions when compared to the pertinent scriptures on that subject, so it's somewhat subject to interpretation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2023
  8. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    For an example from Eastern Christianity, the following prayer is part of the daily nighttime prayers (Small Compline), for clergy and laity in the Greek tradition.

    Spotless, undefiled, immaculate, unstained, pure Virgin, Lady, and Bride of God, by your wondrous conceiving you united God the Word with human beings and joined the fallen nature of our race to heavenly things. You are the only hope of the hopeless, and the help of those oppressed. You are the ready protection of those who flee to you and the refuge of all Christians. Do not spurn me an accused sinner, though I have made myself completely useless by my shameful thoughts, words, and deeds and through indolence have become a slave to the pleasures of life. But as the Mother of God who loves all people, mercifully have compassion upon me a sinner and a prodigal and receive my prayer though it be offered to you by unclean lips. Entreat your Son and our Lord and Master, using your boldness as a mother, so that he may open to me the loving mercy of his goodness, overlook my numberless transgressions, turn me to repentance, and make me an acceptable doer of his commandments. Always be near me, for you are merciful, compassionate, and loving. Be my ardent help and protection in this present life, defending me from the assaults of adversaries, and lead me to salvation. At the hour of my death, care for my miserable soul and drive the dark visions of evil spirits far from it. On the awesome day of judgment, save me from eternal punishment and make me an inheritor of the ineffable glory of your Son, our God. May this be my lot, my Lady, all holy Theotokos, through your intercession and help, by the grace and love of your only begotten Son, our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ; to whom belong all glory, honor, and worship, with his eternal Father, and his all holy, righteous, and life giving Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
    https://www.saintsophiadc.org/our-faith/daily-prayers/small-compline/

    The tone and exalted language used of the Mother of God in this prayer is not at all unusual in Eastern liturgy or devotion. Many more examples can be given, from both the Greco-Arab and Slavic traditions of Orthodoxy.
     
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