Sadly Deluded

I'm watching a report on the religiosity of the Mexican National Soccer team (el Tri, to the unitiated).  Several of them have asked the Virgin of Guadalupe for help in today's game against Angola.  They have also thanked her for their abilities.  How this is not considered shameless idolatry, I do not know.  How this can be mistaken for any form of Christianity, I can explain even less.

Sad to say but some of our soccer heroes are too deluded by the national religion of Mexico, veneration of a myth perpetuated by Catholic missionaires hellbent on converting natives (at best) or a real spiritual force of demonic origin (at worse.)

Let us pray for the Light of the Only One worthy of our praise to shine upon their darkened hearts and minds.  Let us pray that those of us who have received His Light choose to seek His face always, not just on Sundays and Wednesdays.

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20 Responses to Sadly Deluded

  1. Hup Oranje Hup says:

    It is nice that you ask us to join in your prayer, but imagine how much more perfect our prayers will be once we are in heaven. Perhaps you could ask someone in heaven to pray, someone we know moved Christ as at the wedding feast in Cana, someone He chose as His mother. Oh, wait, that would make you a hypocrite, a bigot or, hopefully, just ignorant.

  2. Lazaro says:

    Should we venerate the 12 apostles? After all, Jesus chose them to be His followers. I fail to see how refusing to worship a mortal woman makes me a ‘hypocrite, bigot, or ignorant.’ I might be any one of those 3 at any given time but not because I consider it idolatrous to offer up prayers to anyone but YHWH.

    I pray that YHWH’s Light shines upon you and others who choose to be sadly deluded.

  3. Hup Oranje Hup says:

    Let’s see, the prayers you have offered have not been of worship, so you have to admit that prayers are not only for worship, and indeed can be of petition. And you asked mortals on earth for help, so you have to admit that mortals can pray on your behalf. So what troubles you about having people in heaven pray for you? Do you not think their prayers are perfect once in heaven?

    I think part of the problem is that you seem to be confusing honor, respect, reverence and veneration with worship and adoration. I would agree with you that anyone offering prayers of worship or adoration to anyone but God is committing idolatry. But having a devotion to Mary, or to a lesser extent the Apostles in heaven (not sure about Judas), is not worship or adoration. And they are honored not because they are mortal, but because they point the way to Christ.

  4. Lazaro says:

    I’ll grant you the point that it’s not worship (I’ll leave out the fact aside that some Catholic Churches have Mary on the cross and not Jesus, yet the RCC does nothing about it) but veneration.

    Prayers (petitionary or otherwise) to others other than YHWH are not biblical and since the Bible is His Revelation to us, I think I’ll take what His Word has to say on the matter over whatever the RCC or any other organization has to tell me.

    I understand what you say about intercessory prayer so let me add this:
    “For there is one God and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5)

    As far as I know, one is one, not 2 not 12 not as many as the RCC venerates. More on intercession:
    “We do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…” (Romans 8:26)

    Again, I fail to see Paul mention Mary or even any of the 11, or even himself. It’s hard for me to see how any of the apostles could encourage anyone to direct prayers to them. I suggest you read the Holy Spirit inspired writings they left behind so that YHWH will illuminate your understanding.

  5. Hup Oranje Hup says:

    If you really believed 1 Tim 2:5 as you are using it, why would you (or St. Paul in 1 Tim 2:1 as an example) ask others to pray for you? Would you feel better if people said they talked to Mary and the saints instead of prayed to them? Here is the most famous prayer to Mary, the Hail Mary:

    Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. (1) Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. (2) Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen

    (1) Luke 1:28 with ‘Mary’ added by the Church
    (2) Luke 1:42 with ‘Jesus’ being added by Pope Urban IV in 1261

    So how is this any different than exhortations by you or St. Paul, except it is directed to Mary in heaven? This prayer to her is a request for her to pray for us. If “the prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects” (James 5:16), how much more powerful are the saints’ prayers in heaven, in whom righteousness has been perfected?

  6. Lazaro says:

    There is a difference between praying for others and praying to others. I can ask Oranje to pray for me but it would be wrong to pray to Oranje. When I pray for you (and you for me) I/you petition YHWH, not some mere mortal.

    “Mother of God” is a pretty ridiculous phrase all onto itself. It’s more than ridiculous it’s blasphemous. YHWH does not have a mother. So does that make Joseph the “Stepfather of God?” or what about James and Jude? The “half-brothers of God?”
    The Christ is eternal, He existed long before Mary was born. If it hadn’t been her it would have been another Jewish peasant girl, remember YHWH doesn’t play favorites.

    I really hate to break this to you but people who have passed from this life into the next might have some better things to do than to worry about us here ( I refer you to the Lord’s parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19-31.) Oranje, they are in YHWH’s presence and never cease to worship Him, who by the way should be the sole object of any worship/veneration we give.

    Again, if Jesus, Paul and the others left us no instructions to pray to dead people (saints or otherwise) then why should we do it? Because some long dead pope said so? Who is the pope? Christ’s representative? Aren’t all of us who follow Him supposed to be His ambassadors? Sorry man but the pope’s authority withers when compared to the Living Word, which by the way makes last mention of Jesus’ mother in the second chapter of Acts.

    Followers of Christ are all called to be saints not just those the ‘Church’ deems saints, check the salutation of all of Paul’s epistles.

    Thanks for the dialogue, by the way.

  7. Hup Oranje Hup says:

    First of all, I totally agree that we are all called to be saints and are supposed to be His ambassadors. Unfortunately, I can’t quite agree with much of anything else you wrote.

    Yes, it would be wrong to pray to Oranje, for Oranje is not dead and really not worthy of such honor. For a moment, let’s scrap the idea of “praying” to someone and let’s say we are addressing someone. Your objections to the Hail Mary, based on what you wrote, are:

    1) The term “Mother of God” is blasphemous.
    2) Mary (or any of the saints) don’t care about us, being too busy worshiping YHWH.
    3) YHWH should be the sole object of any veneration. (I already agreed that YHWH should be the sole object of any worship.)
    4) There are no explicit instructions for us to ask the saints in heaven to pray for us.

    Here is my response to your objections:

    1) It is only blasphemous if you are a follower of Nestorius, who taught that the Virgin Mary gave birth to a man, Jesus Christ, not God, the “Logos” (“The Word”, Son of God). Nestorius claimed the Logos only dwelled in Christ, as in a Temple (Christ, therefore, was only Theophoros: The “Bearer of God”. Consequently, Virgin Mary should be called “Christotokos,” Mother of Christ and not “Theotokos, “Mother of God.”. The expression “Mother of God” was used by the councils of Ephesus (AD 431) and Chalcedon (AD 451) to condemn this heresy. And to clarify the meaning of the term (and your objections) the council of Ephesus wrote: “Mother of God, not that the nature of the Word or his divinity received the beginning of its existence from the holy Virgin, but that, since the holy body, animated by a rational soul, which the Word of God united to himself according to the hypostasis, was born from her, the Word is said to be born according to the flesh.”

    2) Actually, the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus doesn’t show that at all. In fact, the rich man is concerned with his brothers still on heaven. If he is concerned about their welfare, how much more are those in heaven, perfected in love, concerned about our welfare? There are two parables I can think of which show the joy in heaven over one repentent sinner (Luke 15: 7,10). Why such joy if they don’t care about us? Surely you don’t believe Jesus was trying to mislead us.

    3) Actually, you can find many examples of veneration to others besides YHWH in the Bible. Rev. 3:9 – Jesus would make people bow down before the faithful members of the church of Philadelphia. Gen. 19:1 – Lot bowed down to the ground in veneration before two angels in Sodom. Jos. 5:14 – Joshua fell to the ground prostrate in veneration before an angel. Gen. 42:6 – Joseph’s brothers bow before Joseph with the face to the ground. This is veneration, not worship. Hebrews 3:3 – Jesus is worthy of “more” glory and honor than Moses. This proves that saintly people are worthy of glory and honor out of God’s goodness. Phil. 2:29-30 – Paul teaches us to honor Epaphroditus who almost died for the faith. How much more honor is owed to the saints that did die for the faith?

    4) While I can’t think of any explicit examples in scripture to ask those in heaven to pray for us, I know there are no statements forbidding it. So you certainly don’t have to ask someone in heaven to pray for you, but knowing their prayers are perfected, why wouldn’t you? Jesus was seen conversing with Moses and Elijah during the Transfiguration. If we are to be imitators of Christ, why should we not converse with them as well?

    Would you be willing to pray to Jesus and ask Him if Mary, his earthly mother, is with Him in heaven? Ask Him if Mary prays for us. Ask Him if we may ask Mary to pray for our petitions. Would you do this for a period of forty days or so and see what He says? I am sure He will answer you if you are sincere in your prayer. I know this takes a leap of faith to even offer such a prayer, so I understand if you are not ready to ask Him.

    Here is a piece of trivia for you, something I think almost every Catholic knows: What is the last spoken phrase attributed to Mary, Jesus’ mother, in the Gospels? I think it will help you with your prayer, because I think it shows His mother is not something to be feared, but will lead you even closer to Him.

    There are some other things you wrote that I would object to, but perhaps that is for another time.

    And thank you for the dialogue as well.

  8. Lazaro says:

    It would be wrong to pray to Oranje because Oranje is not YHWH…

    Again, the term “Mother of God” (regardless of what pope or council coined it is still blasphemous.) At best it’s misleading because it implies that she gave rise to the Word. Plainly stated the way it breaks down is this: YHWH does not have a mother. On your rationale, it’s ok to say “Mother of YHWH”, I think that even you would agree that this is blasphemous.

    Actually the rich man was in hell and was concerned that his brothers would follow him there, so he wanted Abraham to send Lazarus (the righteous man) to warn them. Yet Lazarus was not sent, the answer that Abraham gave is pretty self-explanatory:
    “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them” Listen to YHWH’s Revelation through His Word not saints that have passed into eternity.

    Yes there is rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents. Is the rejoicing being done by the angels or by the saints in heaven? Even if the Lord spoke about the saints rejoicing, they still have no say-so on who or when people here on earth repent.
    It’s not biblical that this is the case (dead saints influencing others’ eternal destinations)

    You can also find Peter telling Cornelius to get up when the latter kneels before the former. I like what Peter tells him, “Stand up, I am only a man myself.” This is the same Peter who is venerated by the ‘true church.’ I have no knowledge of any Pope telling someone this when they kneel before him and kiss his ring.

    Honoring someone does not mean praying to them or show the astounding amount of devotion given to Mary. If you have ever visited Mexico you would know what I’m talking about. The altars, the parades, it’s quite revolting.

    So there are no statements forbidding us to pray to the dead? great, there are no statements forbidding a number of things (shooting heroin, for one), does this mean it’s Ok to do them?

    Jesus conversed with those 2 guys, did you see the 3 apostles that were with Him do the same? It seems that the point of the Transfig. was a reminder to Peter, James and John of who He was. I believe also that it fulfilled a propechy (not sure about that one, have to check it)

    I don’t fear Mary, just like I don’t fear Peter, Francis of Assissi, Mary Magdalene, CS Lewis, Tyndale, Moody or any other saint that has gone before us. I don’t need her prayers (she’s dead) to lead me closer to Christ, He alone is our Mediator, after all He is the One who led a sinless life and died as YHWH’s once and for all atoning sacrifice.

    If I’m not mistaken the last words attributed to Mary are, “Do what He tells you” at the feast in Cana? No? I’m not sure…

    I have no doubt that she’s in heaven, she after all is listed as a believer in Christ (Acts 1:14)… My issue isn’t with her it’s with people who pray to her or any other dead person… what you’re asking me to do is what Mormons ask people to do with the Book of Mormon, so it really sets an alarm in my mind…

  9. Hup Oranje Hup says:

    Sorry to set off alarms. I had no idea Mormons did that.

    Yes, you are correct on the last words attributed to Mary. I bet the Mormons don’t bring that up. 😉

    Dead saints? Do you not believe in eternal life? So you really believe that my prayers are more powerful than the prayers of anyone in heaven? (I’ve noticed I asked a variation of this question two or three times, but you never responeded.)

    Would you ask angels in heaven to pray for you?

    Could you explain what you meant by “On your rationale, it’s ok to say ‘Mother of YHWH'”? By my rationale, it would absolutely not be acceptable to say that.

    Do you have some belief in the trinity that is not shared by the vast majority of Christians around the world? If you reject the councils, what is your understanding of Jesus in relation to God and his life on earth and how did you come to that decision?

    And just what would amount to an acceptable form of honoring someone?

    Actually, shooting heroin is forbidden because we are not to desecrate our bodies.

  10. Lazaro says:

    Oranje, let me just say something that I have discovered in this dialogue. You my friend, have shattered my image of the average Catholic (assuming you are one, even though I would be more than shocked if you were not). 99.9% of the Catholics I know personally worship/venerate that which they don’t understand, you on the other hand have a firm understanding of your belief system (which I disagree in part), which lends to productive (at best) and informative (at least) discussion.

    Yes I do believe in eternal life. I suppose the phrase, “dead saints” is misleading on my part for Jesus did say that YHWH is not the God of the dead but of the living (Mt 22:32). Ok I’ll respond to your question since you grow tired of asking it. What is the purpose of prayer? I realize this is a complicated question with an even more complicated answer but does it not boil down to communing with YHWH? As far as I know every prayer in the Bible is directed at YHWH, not at angels or saints who have gone into eternity before us (Hebrews has a nice list in Ch 11) . I cannot accept the RCC doctrine of prayer to mortals who are now in YHWH’s presence simply because Scripture does not support that doctrine.

    I wouldn’t ask angels to pray for me because again, prayers are directed to YHWH (at least in the Bible), not to His creatures, which angels most certainly are.

    Well YHWH is God is He not? so by saying Mary is the ‘Mother of God’ is it not the same as saying she’s the ‘Mother of YHWH?’ Why is the former totally OK but the latter isn’t?

    YHWH is One, yet 3 persons: Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. It’s a mystery to me how this is so (after all I’m only human) but I accept it by faith (this took me some time to fully accept). I don’t reject the councils so long as what they said aligns with Scripture (yes I realize that a council decided on the official canon, Hippo if I’m not mistaken).

    I came to be in Christ by accepting His gift of grace. By accepting that I fall short of the glory of YHWH, and the consequence of this is eternal death. Yet, while I was in this sorry state, Christ died for me (and everyone else) so that I could become a child of YHWH. I came to understand this through study of the Word. He opened my mind to His Scriptures so that I might understand them, after all, the things in there are spiritually discerned.

    As to what an acceptable form of honoring someone, I cannot tell you that. I can tell you that if you have to shove Christ aside to honor someone then you probably went too far. If Christ has to share in your honoring with someone else, you prolly went too far.

    Yes, our body is a temple of YHWH so yes shooting heroin is definitely detrimental, as is eating fast food, drinking soda among other things that are less taboo.

  11. Hup Oranje Hup says:

    I’m glad to shatter some stereotypes, but honestly, I think most believers, Catholic or not, don’t really know their faith. I believe most, obviously not all, attend a particular church because of a sense of community rather than the church’s doctrine. I have more respect for you, who studies scripture and engages in dialogue, than the Catholic who makes no attempt to deepen his relationship with Jesus and understanding of the faith.

    But, my friend, you still have not answered my question on the perfection of prayer by saints and angels in heaven. I’m not tired of asking it, but I am wondering why you keep avoiding it. If el Tri can dance around with the ball as well as you have with this question, I have no doubt they will beat Argentina.

    I’m not asking if you would pray to angels, just if you would ask them to pray for you (just as you don’t ask people to pray to you, but to pray for you). If not, what would be your objection to that?

    Yes, YHWH is God, but the term has its own history. YHWH is the most common name for God in the Old Testament, and Mary is definitely not the mother of God in the Old Testament. If you object to the term Mother of God, then what is your understanding of the nature of the Word Incarnate as God and man? Do you share Nestorius’ view that it is incorrect to say that God was born, suffered, and died and that it was Christ the man who was born, suffered and died?

    Since you didn’t offer any examples of what you would term acceptable forms of honoring someone, let me ask you: Would you object to naming a building or memorial after someone, say a leader of a nation? Would you object to having a parade honoring the winners of the World Cup? What about designating a special day, say for fathers, even if it was celebrated on Sunday, the day of Our Lord? When my parents die, would you object if I ever kissed a photograph of them? May I go to their grave and touch their tombstone? What about celebrating my son’s birthday? Is any of this objectionable?

    I’m not sure what you meant by “shove Christ aside,” but all of the examples above make no mention of Christ. Are you saying it is objectionable to honor someone in these ways precisely because they imitated Christ? If we have a parade for the winners of the World Cup or fallen soldiers, why not a parade for Mary? If we have days designated for explorers, why not days designated for heroes of the faith?

  12. Lazaro says:

    Ok sorry about dancing around the question, which by the way is the following:
    “So you really believe that my prayers are more powerful than the prayers of anyone in heaven?”

    it’s an interesting question because I really hadn’t considered that those in heaven prayed, it’s not something that Scripture makes clear (maybe I haven’t seen it). As far as I know, acc. to Scripture only One makes intercession in Heaven for us (Christ Himself as His role as the Only Mediator between His Father and us (1 Tim 2:5). Do you remember what happened to the temple curtain after the Lord died on the cross? It tore, signifying that there was no need for any other mediator between us and YHWH, Jesus was the One. Forgive me for repeating myself.

    I won’t ask angels to pray for me because, again Scripture doesn’t support this doctrine, which has its orgins when? I don’t recall when it was Ok’d by the RCC to do this… Honestly I don’t need to, I have faith that supplications made to YHWH in Jesus’ Name are what He commanded.

    Doesn’t Jesus take YHWH as His name in John 8:58 (“Before Abraham was born, I am!”)? I thought the tetragammaton meant ‘one who is existing’, thus I AM, which is what YHWH told Moses His Name is.

    Not God in the OT? YHWH does not change as the writer of Hebrew makes clear. YHWH is the same God in the OT as He is in the NT, as He is now… Rember “I AM”, HE IS… Always in the present, HE IS…

    The Word became flesh, that much is clear from John 1… The mystery of the Incarnation is something that is beyond my ability to understand, yet I know enough that to say someone is ‘the Mother of God’ is blasphemy. Jesus of Nazareth was YHWH in the flesh, yet as Philippians 2:7 states, “He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of man” Emptied Himself of what exactly? That has been puzzling Christians for a long time, so lets join the club.

    As how you choose to honor your departed loved ones, that is left up to you, it is for freedom that Christ set us free. I will say this, if your devotion to a dead relative interferes with your devotion to Christ then there’s a problem. If, for example, the World Cup is interfering with your daily devotions to the Lord, then you might want to step back and examine yourself. Inherently there is nothing wrong with the World Cup or birthdays or parades, just examine your motive for partaking in these things.
    Of course this falls under the purview of the individual, only you and YHWH know your heart.

    I get the feeling that religion is no longer the opiate of the masses as Marx claimed but rather it is sports the king to that throne.

    El Tri is going to get creamed… Are you a Dutch fan? I’m guessing b/c of your name…

  13. Hup Oranje Hup says:

    Here are some scriptural examples:

    Zech. 1:12-13 – an angel intercedes for those in Judea and God responds favorably. Psalm 103:19-22; 148:1-2 – we ask the angels and all his works (creation) on heaven and earth to bless the Lord. Rev. 5:8 – the prayers of the saints (on heaven and earth) are presented to God by the angels and saints in heaven. Rev. 6:9-11 – the martyred saints in heaven cry out in a loud voice to God to avenge their blood “on those who dwell upon the earth.” And God answers their prayer. 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.

    I think it is clear they pray. So, back to my unanswered question, do you think our prayers are more powerful than theirs?

    No, Jesus took I AM, not YHWH, at least in the Greek translations, which was the translation in use at the time of Nestorius’ heresy. YHWH is the name for God in the Old Testament, not the New Testament. (Not that it is wrong for Christians to use it.) Yes, God is the same in both the Old and New Testaments, but the name used is different. Mary is not the Mother of God in the sense of the everlasting God, but in terms of Jesus, true God and true man, one person with two natures, human and divine. The expression Mother of God was used to emphasize that the person of God was born, while Nestorius was claiming that just the man was born. The phrase has been around for something like 1,400 years. If understood in its context and place in history, I don’t see how you can call it blasphemous.

    So you don’t mind if the parades are for Mary or the saints, as long as they don’t interfere with a devotion to Christ? And you recognize that this is under the discretion of the individual?

    Sports are definitely king. It is amazing to me to what degree. And it only seems to be getting worse.

    I’m only a Dutch fan for this world cup because I have a friend whose mother is Dutch and he is kind of excited for them. Yes, I’m afraid things don’t look good for El Tri. Even if they beat Argentina, they’d likely face Germany in the quarterfinals. I think Portugal will be a tough match, but I wouldn’t want to face the Germans in Berlin, so I am glad the Oranje didn’t win their group.

  14. Lazaro says:

    when I said ‘those in heaven’ I meant believers not angels. Peter’s 1st letter is clear that believers in heaven are not angels and vice versa. This passage makes clear that angels are not privy to some things that believers are.

    In Ps 103:120 David doesn’t ask the angels to bless the LORD, He just says “Bless the LORD, you His angels…” sounds like a command not a request. Same thing with Ps 148…

    Rev 5:8, the incense represents the prayers of the saints (believers)… those holding the bowls full of incense are the 4 living creatures and the 24 elders. My question would be, are the prayers they hold directed to the ones holding the bowls? or to YHWH?

    Rev 6:9-11, the martyrs cry out to YHWH, but are they praying?

    Rev 8:3-4, the angel is given more incense so that he might add it to the prayers of the saints,yet are these prayers directed at the angel or at YHWH?

    Ok, lets assume that believers in heaven pray and that their prayers are more powerful than ours. For the sake of argument I’ll assume this…

    This being said, what do you make of Jesus when He tells us the following “if you ask the Father for anything in My Name, He will give it to you.” (Jn 16:23) The Lord makes no mention of any others we have to petition (remember the temple curtain tearing?). Besides when do we know to pray directly to YHWH (in Jesus’ name) and when to pick a saint or Mary to pray through?

    No assuming that they pray in heaven, our prayers are equally powerful if said in Jesus’ Name, besides I didn’t think it was about whose prayers are better anyway…

    I suggest you look up the meaning of YHWH… it’s God’s personal Name (Ex 3:14, Col 1:15) it means “I AM” which is the Name Jesus rightfully claimed as His own in John 8. Jesus makes the claim that HE IS (YHWH)

    The problem with the parades is that they actually shove Christ aside (at least the ones I’ve seen.) In Mexico at least, it’s pretty blatant. They (for the most part) know more about the Virgen than they do about Christ. The people I have personally spoken to, don’t want to hear the Gospel yet they’re more than willing to discuss la Virgen. All I have to do is visit my grandmother’s house and see the shrine to the Virgen de Guadalupe. She does have a crucifix but it pales in comparison to the elaborate display for the Virgen. Anything is under the discretion of the individual, yet it if it’s idolatrous, we will answer to YHWH.

  15. Hup Oranje Hup says:

    I totally agree that angels are not saints in heaven and vice versa.

    “sounds like a command not a request” — Okay, I’ll humor you. Since it is scriptural, would you then command an angel to pray for you? Did you request or command we pray? Is the Hail Mary (“pray for us”) a request or a command?

    “the martyrs cry out to YHWH, but are they praying?” — Of course they are. I think you already answered this when you wrote: “What is the purpose of prayer? … does it not boil down to communing with YHWH?” Is Psalm 139:19-20 not a prayer?

    Re Rev. 5:8, I don’t think the main point is who the prayer is directed to, since all prayer is ultimately directed to God. (For instance, the Hail Mary prayer is a request (command???) to “pray for us” — the prayer ultimately going to God.) We know angels act as messengers between God and man. Are the elders being “reduced” to a role as messenger or were these prayers directed first to them, and then to Christ? Either way, both angels and belivers in heaven have an intellect, are shown to pray in heaven, are aware what happens on earth and can bring our prayers to Christ.

    To further show that believers in heaven know what is happening on earth, I point out Heb. 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…”

    We certainly do not have to petition others, whether the others are in heaven or on earth. You ask a good question — when should you pray directly to God through Jesus and when do you call upon the saints. Personally, I don’t think I have ever made a petition to a saint that I have not also asked through Christ. I suppose whenever you would ask someone on earth, if not more often. It is certainly easier to ask someone in heaven, since it is more private.

    “The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.” (James 5:16). Are not believers in heaven righteous? Heb. 12:23 mentions “the spirits of just men made perfect” and 1 John 3:2 states “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

    Let me clarify a few things on my understanding of the use of “YHWH.” First of all, I don’t dispute it is God’s personal name. Secondly, it is used in Hebrew text (as letters from the Hebrew alphabet, of course), but isn’t spoken in Judaism. Thirdly, it was never used in the complete Greek translations that we know of, not even appearing in the Old Testament let alone the New Testament. I don’t dispute that Christ probably spoke it in John 8:58 (How dramatic that must have been!), but it wasn’t translated that way. Finally, since it is a Hebrew term, using the phrase “Mother of YHWH” would imply that Mary was mother of the God before the Word was Incarnate, and that is simply not true.

    I don’t understand why you don’t mind a parade honoring fallen soldiers or the winner of the World Cup even if it doesn’t include Christ, but a parade honoring a model Christian _must_ feature Christ prominantly instead of implicitly. I’d rather see Othodox Jews parading than the “Gay Pride” parades we have. There is a cultural battle between the observant believers (of any faith) and the secularists, and I think we need to stick together.

    You mention that people you have personally talked to don’t want to hear about the Gospel, but will be willing to discuss la Virgen de Guadalupe. I have to ask you, is it because you are intimidating them? Seriously, think about it. How are you approaching them? Are you saying that what they are doing is wrong, or are you sharing your faith in Christ? Are you intimidating them with scripture passages, or are you encouraging them to read scripture?

    Let me tell you about a woman I met. She had all these medals of Our Lady of Medjugorje (which is not an officially approved apparition) and had said she had traveled there many times. Now I thought she must be a nut. But, as I spoke with her, I actually discovered that she had a much more profound love for Christ than what I have. I guess the moral is to not judge a book by its cover.

  16. Lazaro says:

    I don’t see why I would have to ask an angel to pray for me (not found in Scripture, and you have to do some textual acrobatics to juice that one out). I believe the Lord Jesus instructed us how to pray: to His Father in His Name, TO HIS FATHER, IN HIS NAME… any prayer directed at anyone else to ‘take to YHWH’ is simply not biblical and it’s not what Jesus’ taught…

    In addition, when the disciples asked the Lord how they should pray, He responded, “OUR Father… (you know the rest)” no mention at all of any angels or people in heaven or even his own mother… btw, it’s not recorded anywhere in Scripture that Jesus referred to Mary as ‘Mother.’ What that means, I don’t know, but I do know this:

    Luke 11:27-28
    “As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.’ He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.'”

    What a way to succinctly put things… He could have answered, “yes she’s a great woman so pray to her, here, I’ll teach you the Hail Mary…” His silence is deafening…

    Back to Rev 5…
    Ok, yes those in heaven hear what is said on earth, I’ll grant you that. Does this however justify the teaching of praying to those who are in heaven? No it does not. So do we know for sure who the saints in v. 8 are? the saints whose prayers are in the bowls? If we’re not sure who these saints are how can we be sure whose prayers they are?

    in v 9, who’s ‘they’ referring to? “prayers of the saints” dont sing, so it must be the 24 dudes and the 4 living creatures (whoever they might be)

    vv 11-12 has the angels, the 4 creatures, and the 24 elders who were all around the throne (in heaven) praising YHWH directly… v13 says every creature in heaven and earth praised him (did the ones on earth have to go through the ones in heaven so their praise would be more perfect?)

    I’ll give you that those in heaven can hear the prayers of those on earth, but this does not justify praying to those in heaven. Can those in heaven hear prayers uttered without speech? can they read minds? I thought only YHWH knew all things including our prayers uttered w/in our minds…

    This text in Rev is saying that those in heaven hear the prayers and praise of those on earth. There is nothing suggesting that those on earth are requesting the prayers or intercession of those in heaven (you have to have a vivid imagination to take that leap)

    Even if it’s true that prayers in heaven are mingled with ours here on earth, it still doesn’t justify those on earth praying to those in heaven (James 5:16 nonwithstanding, the context of this passage doesnt suggest praying to those in heaven either). At best we can say that our prayers here and theirs there are mingles but that’s as far as it goes.

    Also, can the saints in heaven hear every prayer of every creature all the time?

    The RCC dogma of praying to the saints is not taught by Scripture in any direct way. The RCC must infer it from the texts and read into it in order to support its error.

    Who should we pray to then?

    YHWH of course… check out Rev 19:10
    “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, ‘ Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; WORSHIP GOD.”

    Worship includes prayer, therefore any prayer directed at any creature is idolatry. Like I have pointed out many times, in the Bible, prayer is ALWAYS directed to YHWH, and is a form of worship.

    I know when you pray to Mary you’re not praying to her you’re asking her to pray for you, right? Well then how does this fit into “The Memorare”?
    “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired then with confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgin, my Mother! To you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen”

    Sorry man but this one was uttered by John Paul II and is simply indefensible against the Word. This prayer reeks, no excuse me, is blatant idolatry and whatever pit it came out of will be swallowed up on the Day of Judgment.

    TO BE CONT…

  17. Lazaro says:

    YHWH is God’s name… God as in the Father , the Son and the Holy Spirit… Any of the 3 persons of the Godhead can be addressed as YHWH, it is His Name after all…

    Parades… honestly I could care less if Mexico wins the World Cup and they decide to hold a parade with LaVolpe as the guest of honor… a parade is neutral, not good not bad… I guess if people are bowing down before Marquez or Borghetti then I might raise an eyebrow or 2… The difference in holding one for say Mother Teresa is that in all likelihood, being the humble individual that she was, the idea of a parade would probably make her uncomfortable (im being presumptious for i never met the woman, though one day i will ) because for her the glory was YHWH and His alone…

    Funny you mention both the Orthodox Jews and the homosexuals… they have something in common, they’re both blinded to the fact that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. As Paul says, Christ crucified is a ‘stumbling block’ to the Jews and ‘foolishness’ to the Gentiles… Of course instead of sitting here and complaining about it, our task is to reach out in love to those who don’t believe in Our Lord.

    Yes, perhaps soon after my conversion, I had some episodes where I did a good (bad) job of throwing Scripture around. I swung it like a heavy club (and might have caused blunt trauma), instead of using it like the sword that it is (Eph6:17, Heb 4:12). It’s mainly extended family and so this is always a dicier proposition to reach out to them, though I pray that YHWH opens their eyes so that they may see, and their ears so that they may hear.

    The apparation you mention (1981, right?), aren’t only 6 people privy to what the apparition has to say?

  18. Lazaro says:

    Ok this is the last one for today, I promise

    Here’s the Bottom Line, the matter of this post was originally about was the idolatrous view of Mary in my native Mexico. Whether or not it’s out of ignorance (and it most likely is), it’s hard not to say that the RCC has, how should I say this, embellished on the person of the biblical Mary.

    I could speak of her perpetual virginity, her assumption, her being sinless and all that but I won’t… These doctrines are not biblical, even if I wanted them to be Biblical I couldn’t twist the text to justify all these doctrines…

    The crux of the matter is this, I’m not under the authority of the RCC, for I don’t believe that’s it’s the One True Church, and I don’t believe that one man (when speaking ‘ex cathedra’ of course) has the power to change or to add what the Word of God contains, as he sees fit. I honestly believe that when the times have reached their fulfillment, the Vatican will have to answer for much of the deception they have propagated and continue to propagate (the catechism withers in the face of the Living Word).

    I’m truly sorry if this offends you but everytime I have read Jesus’ woes to the Pharisees (Mt 23), I can see how the RCC can be substituted for the Pharisees, check out the passage…

    If you want to discuss any of this any further let me know so I can start a new post, because this one is getting full… thanks again for your time and effort in this dialogue

  19. Hup Oranje Hup says:

    Here is a summation for my point on this topic: Scripture encourages us to pray for each other. Scripture shows that those in heaven do care and do know what is happening on earth and that they do pray. Scripture shows we are made perfect in heaven. Scripture says the prayers of the righteous have great power. Scripture shows the angels and saints in heaven bringing our prayers to God. Since those in heaven are made perfect in love and prayer and are like Christ, we deduce that they will hear our petitions and pray for us, just as they did on earth. There is absolutely nothing in scripture that condemns the practice of petitioning Mary or anyone else in heaven.

    If you would like, I could address your many questions in a new post. But may I suggest for the next post we tackle a different topic? Since you have more than once hinted to the primacy of Scripture, let me ask you where in the Bible it says that the Bible is the only source of Christian truth?

    Did Christ say, “And upon this Scripture I shall build my church”? Of course not. He said: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19)

    Did St. Paul call the Bible the pillar and bulwark of the truth? No. “If I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15 )

    I am busy with work and family obligations the next couple of weeks, so I may not be able to reply immediately, but I will reply to a new post.

  20. Lazaro says:

    Ah, yes the famous Matthew 16 passage…

    Petros v. Petra, on pay-per-view… it’ll have to be a new post man, this is one is quite crowded…

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