Saints

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by Scottish Monk, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. The Hackney Hub

    The Hackney Hub Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your charity, Anna. I do have strong views but I acknowledge that I could be wrong and that others do disagree with me.
     
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  2. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    I think it is good to be challenged to consider why we believe what we believe. :)
     
  3. Alkayus

    Alkayus New Member

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    Here is my own little contribution and I hope not to offend anyone. Just my humble opinion and theologoumenon:

    I believe this was a good article (follows after) explaining how it is biblical, outside of that “The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God” by which is clear by the title of the Article that the subject being addressed in the following Article is about Purgatory as a whole and the traditions that follow regarding their interaction with that doctrine of purgatory (i.e. merits attained through the Saints from their treasury of merits gained from those practices in order to reduce time in purgatory)


    XXII. Of Purgatory. <--- Clearly a title, indicating the “subject” of the Article to be discussed and broken down and how it is abused via the “objects”

    "The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God."


    Only reason I try to argue this is because Anglicans of the lower-church persuasion try to argue that, using the words and decree of the King, that they should be read and understood in their plain and grammatical sense; grammatical sense being the main case here as I showed above. The article doesn't condemn these practices outright (images, intercession [not invocation], relics, etc), but in reference to their abuses in relation to purgatory. Also in addition to the Saints issue, I just find the images issue interesting when stating that they should not be used and that they are idols, relating to the Ten Commandments. I find this funny because if you just take it at the plain meaning of the words instead of the deeper meaning and what to avoid, you not only cannot have images of any kind (no more family pictures, nature artwork, etc), but God then contradicts himself by having the Jews sculpt golden angels to place on top of the Ark. The article I feel is a nice explanation for the intercession of the Saints follows:


    ----------------------------------------------


    It’s Biblical to Ask Saints to Pray for Us


    There is nothing wrong with asking the heavenly saints to pray for us.

    Many Protestants argue that asking the saints to pray for us is “unbiblical,” while throwing around verses like 1 Timothy 2:5. But they are incorrect.

    1 Timothy 2:5 — the infamous “one mediator between God and men” verse — refers to salvation, not prayer. The verse reminds us that it is only because of the graces found through Christ (God Himself) that we are able to have any real relationship with God and reach Heaven. It does not, however, absolutely negate relations with angels or heavenly saints. After all, it was an angel (Gabriel) that spoke to Mary before Christ was conceived in her body, not God Himself.

    I was raised in several Protestant denominations. They all placed a major emphasis on Christians praying for each other — which is encouraged in 1 Timothy 2:1-4 and other passages. I would contend that a heavenly saint, one who is holy and in Heaven with God, would have a lot more sway with God than a rebellious sinner on earth would.

    To put that another way, if someone asked you to do something for them, would you not be more likely to help them if they were your best friend, as opposed to a complete stranger? Of course, you may very well be willing to do something for a complete stranger, but you would probably be more willing to do something for your best friend.

    And there is evidence in the Bible of the saints praying to God.

    “Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.” –Revelation 8:3-4

    The word for “saints” in that passage comes from the Greek word hagios. Thayer’s New Testament Greek-English Lexicon says that the best definition of hagios is “most holy thing, a saint”.

    This would seem to undermine the Protestant assertion that “saints” in this context can only refer to people on earth.

    Now, what would the saints be praying for? Themselves? Doubtful. They are in Heaven, so they do not need anything, as eternal life with God is perfect. That really only leaves one option: they are praying for us. And because they are praying for us anyway, how could it be wrong to ask them to pray for us about something specific? It is like interacting with a DJ at an event. He’s playing music anyway, so what is the harm in asking him to play your favorite song?


    Here’s my Scripture-based defense of the practice that should answer most Protestant objections:


    Matthew 17:3-4 & Luke 9:28-31.
    Moses and Elijah (who are clearly heavenly saints, not “saints” in the way Paul would sometimes use the word) are with Christ during the Transfiguration.



    Revelation 6:9-11.
    The martyrs can talk to God.


    From those three passages, we can gather that the saints in Heaven interact with God.


    Luke 15:10.
    The angels and saints (who, in Luke 20:35-36, Christ says are equal to the angels) are aware of earthly events.



    1 Timothy 2:1 & James 5:16.
    It is good for Christians to pray for one another.


    Now, if the saints interact with God and are aware of earthly events (and can therefore hear us), why wouldn’t they pray for us, considering that it is good for Christians (which the angels and saints definitely are) to pray for one another?


    Revelation 21:27.
    Nothing imperfect will enter into Heaven.



    Psalm 66:18 & James 5:16.
    God ignores the prayers of the wicked, and the prayers of the righteous are effective.


    Because the saints have reached perfection (they are in Heaven), their prayers are more effective than the prayers of those that are less righteous, so that’s why one might ask them to pray instead of asking another Christian on earth or simply doing it themselves.
     
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  4. CWJ

    CWJ Active Member

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    This post above by Alkayus pretty much sums up my view as well.

    And for the OP, I always read the lives of at least one of the Saints for each day in the year.

    Haha I can't believe I actually read this old, 9-page thread in it's entirety. :)
     
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  5. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    A couple of times with friends (perhaps a little more reformed than I) where one of us has died, as we have pray together, someone organises who prays for what. I am normally asked to pray for the one who has died, because I have no problem with it.

    I believe Jesus conquered death. I believe it means something. Prayer is about our community with God in the Spirit, it is not a shopping list to God. If we acknowledge in dying Jesus conquered death, why would we let it stand in the way? If I can pray for the one who stands by me now in the living, I can not see why I would allow death the sense of victory by pretending that our community in the spirit of God means nothing.

    So I have no problem with the idea I can pray for someone who is dead. Conversely it would seem illogical that we who believe the eternal life, would think that people who have prayed for us, whilst living in the flesh and the spirit, would stop now they only live in the spirit.

    I have a friend, Catholic (rc), who when looking for a parking spot will call on St Anthony who apparently is quite good a finding parking spots, she assures me. I am not really sure how I feel about that, however possibly is subsumes her road rage till she finds one. This has a sense of invoking the particular Saint to do something specific for us. In fairness I think this would be caught in terms of Article XXII.

    Article VIII of the Ten Articles published in 1536 said

    Of Praying to Saints
    As touching praying to saints, we will, that all bishops and preachers shall instruct our people committed by us unto their spiritual charge, that albeit grace, remission of sin, and salvation, cannot be obtained but of God only, be the mediation of our Saviour Christ, which is only sufficient mediator for our sins; yet it is very laudable to pray to saints in heaven everlastingly living, whose charity is ever permanent to be intercessors, and to pray for us and with us unto Almighty God, after this manner:

    All holy angels and saints in heaven, pray for us, and with us, unto the Father, that for his dear Son Jesus Christ his sake, we may have grace if him and remission of our sins, with an earnest purpose (not wanting ghostly strength) to observe and keep his holy commandments, and never to decline from the same again unto our lives' end.

    And in this manner we may pray to our blessed Lady, to St John the Baptist, to all and every of the apostle, or any other saint particularly, as our devotion doth serve us: so that it be done without any vain superstition, as to think that nay saint is more merciful, or will hear us sooner that Christ; or that any saint doth serve for one thing more than another, or is patron of the same. And likewise we must keep holy-days unto God in memory of Him and His saints, upon such days as the church hath ordained their memories to be celebrate, except they be mitigated and moderated by the assent and commandment of us the supreme head, to the ordinaries; and then the subjects ought to obey it.​

    The Kings Book published in 1543 also has some interesting things

    Link is here http://anglicanhistory.org/henry/book/

    and from part on the Creed

    The communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins.

    IN this article be taught two special fruits and benefits, which all men called of God,. and obeying to the same calling in their will and works, do obtain by God's grace in the said catholic church; which benefits be, the communion of saints and forgiveness of sins.

    And here is to be noted, that although this word saints, in our English tongue, signifieth properly them that be departed this life, and be established in glory with Christ; yet the. same word saints, whereby in this article we express the Latin word sanctorum, is here extended to signify not only these before mentioned, but also all such as be called into this holy assembly and church, and be sanctified in our Saviour Jesu Christ.

    And as touching the communion, that is to say, the mutual participation of these saints, ye must understand, that like as all the parts and members which be living in the natural body of a man do naturally communicate arid minister each to other the use, commodity, and benefit of all their forces, nutriments, and perfections; insomuch that it lieth not in the power of any man to say that the meat which he putteth into his own mouth shall nourish one particular member of his body and not another, but that all and every one particularly shall receive of the said nutriment, and of the virtue and benefit thereof, more or less, according to the natural disposition, portion, and place which it hath within the same body : even so, whatsoever spiritual gifts or treasure is given by God unto any one member of the holy church, although the same be given particular unto one member, and not unto another, yet the fruits and merits thereof shall, by reason of their abiding together in the unity of the catholic church, redound unto the common profit, edifying, and increase of all the other members of the same catholic church. Insomuch that there shall need no man's authority to dispense and distribute the same, or to apply it unto this member or that, but each member shall be made participant of the said treasure, and shall have and enjoy the fruit and benefit of the same in such quantity and measure, as for the rate and proportion of the faith and charity which he hath in the same body, shall be expedient and necessary for him to have.

    And hereby is notified and declared unto us the utility and profit which all the members of the church do receive by the merits, suffrages, and prayers of the church.

    And forasmuch as the most blessed sacrament of the altar, wherein, by the mighty operation of God's word, is really present, in form of bread, the natural living body and blood of our Saviour and Redeemer, Jesu Christ, increaseth and worketh in them that worthily receive it the communion and conjunction in body and soul of them to Christ and Christ to them, with a mutual conjunction also in love and charity of each good man in Christ to other; therefore the said sacrament may worthily be called the communion of saints. And so the first part of this article hath been by good, devout, and learned men expounded, to signify the said blessed sacrament of the altar, which we must believe to be a real and effectual communion of all saints, that is to say, of all men which be called by the holy calling of God, and therewith willingly and obediently do knowledge and follow the same.


    ... on the Visitation

    THE SALUTATION OF THE ANGEL TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY.

    HAIL, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, Blessed art thou among women; and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

    FOR the better understanding of this salutation of the angel, made to the blessed virgin Mary, ye shall first consider, how it was decreed of the whole Trinity, that after the fall of our first father Adam, (by which mankind was so long in the great indignation of God, and exiled out of heaven,) the second Person, the everlasting Son of the Father everlasting, should take upon him the nature of man; and so as he was perfect God, should be perfect man, to redeem mankind from the power of the Devil, and to reconcile the same again to his Lord God. And for this purpose, (as St. Luke in his Gospel declareth,) in the sixth month after St. Elisabeth was conceived with St. John the Baptist, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin, which was despoused or ensured to a man, whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. ....
    To this Mary answered, Lo, I am the handmaid of our Lord; be it done unto me as thou hast spoken. And then forthwith, upon the departure of the angel, Mary, being newly conceived with the most blessed child Jesus, went up into the mountains with speed into a city of Juda; and came to the house of Zachary, and saluted Elisabeth. And as soon as Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the child sprang in her womb, and forthwith Elisabeth was replenished with the Holy Ghost, and cried with a great voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women; and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whereof cometh this, that the mother of my Lord cometh to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation was in mine ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed art thou that diddest believe : for all things that have been spoken to thee from our Lord shall be performed.​


    The Thirty Nine Articles were then published an 1563. They did not fall out of the sky, they are the product of an ongoing (and not always friendly) discussion about the faith and the future of the nation.

    I think I take the admonition against the invocation of the Saints to be of the nature of Article VIII of the ten, that is as I would understand it in terms of intercession, and celebration of the boundless community of which are part by virtue of the death and resurrection of the Lord.

    I do apologise for the longish quotes, which I know in some sense can be tedious, but I hope it helps us make sense of the Thirty Nine Articles and some of the context which I think helps us understand the meaning.

    For those who have trouble with my thinking, I wish you peace and no offence, only grace.
     
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  6. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    Thanks Br
    Thanks a lot brother Phillip for this information. I am a firm believer in the communion of saints and by extension, the intercession by the Saints. It is not a prayer tool I use often but I accept the teaching. I rarely focus on a particular saint either, except for the Blessed Virgin - but once again, this is about 2 out of every 100 prayers I say.
     
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  7. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    Thanks Br
    Thanks a lot brother Phillip for this information. I am a firm believer in the communion of saints and by extension, the intercession by the Saints. It is not a prayer tool I use often but I accept the teaching. I rarely focus on a particular saint either, except for the Blessed Virgin - but once again, this is about 2 out of every 100 prayers I say.
     
  8. CWJ

    CWJ Active Member

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    Yeah it's not really a part of my devotions either, but I too accept Saintly intercession as an ancient practice and tradition of the Church.
    I do enjoy studying and reading about the Saints though. They are great examples for all of us I believe.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
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