September 26, 2007

Why I Left The Catholic Church (III)

If you've ever been around Catholicism at all, or have grown up Catholic, you'll quickly notice and see that saints play a big part of the religion. I can remember as a teenager when my Grandma Backes would ask me if I had a St. Christopher medal in my truck. For those of you unfamiliar with Catholicism, St. Christopher (I think) is the patron saint of the highways and when traveling you should say a quick prayer that he watch over you while you're on the highways. And in almost every situation, there is a patron saint to match the occasion. In our house, there were prayers to St. Francis and even the schools in the area were named after saints in the Catholic faith.

Which leads me to my third reason for leaving the Catholic church:

#3 – I Don't Agree That I Need To Pray To Anyone Other Than God The Father, God The Son, God The Holy Spirit

Nor do I believe that praying to anyone else accomplishes anything. There's no need to pray to Mary, Joseph, Christopher, Paul, or anyone else because as it says in 1 Timothy 2: 4-6, JESUS is the sole mediator between God and man. And when I say mediator, it's just a fancy way of saying that if I want access to God the Father or need to ask Him for something, then Jesus is THE man that does that. Not anyone else. Not any other saints. Not Mary. Jesus is the SOLE mediator.

And the question you have to ask is: Why would you pray to anyone else? Is Jesus not sufficient? Does Jesus not have the ear of the Father? I've asked this question of folks before and by and large the answer I get is "It never hurts to have more people on your side". Well my response to that is "I don't need more people on my side, I need the right people on my side"…and to me the right people is one man who was also God who died for my sins, was raised from the dead on the 3rd day according to the Scriptures, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. If Jesus can't intercede for me (take my requests and prayers) in a perfect, complete, and whole way without need of anyone else doing it, then He must not be much of a Savior.

What ends up happening, I believe, is that you start valuing Mary and the saints more, and valuing Jesus less. All the saints, Mary included, needed Jesus as the Messiah. They were not perfect. Jesus was. So whatever Jesus does is perfect. Whatever they did was not. So let's ask the question. If you have a choice between me and Jesus, who are you going to pick. If you pick me, you're crazy. And what's funny is that Paul said as much in 1 Corinthians 1: 11-18. What he says in that passage is that Paul was not crucified for the Corinthians, Jesus was and Jesus needs to be the focus, not Paul. Don't pray to saints. Pray to Jesus.

Finally, and one more strand that leads me to believe this is the prayer that Jesus taught us. He didn't start the prayer by saying "Our Father and Saints, who art in heaven".. No he started the prayer "OUR FATHER…PERIOD"… If Jesus had intended for us to pray to saints and to ask saints or Mary to intercede for us, then I believe in this passage where he taught us to pray, he would have included people in that passage or given us and indication that we were supposed to pray to people other than the Father. He didn't do that, therefore, I don't see a Biblical precedent to do so.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about how this mediator / intercessor issue morphs into another reason that I left. Stay tuned…

1 comment:

Joel Walkley said...

I bet that in your church you ask fellow worshipers for prayers. If someone is sick for example, in most Protestant Churches, an announcement is made during the service and all present pray for the needs of those who are sick.

The idea of prayer to saints is more like asking them to pray with you just like you ask fellow Christians on Earth to pray.