Prayer Of The Saints

This post is concerning the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church of saints in heaven praying to the Father for us upon our request. I want to start this article by explaining the differences between saints on Earth and our responsibility to pray to the Father and the saints who are in heaven with the Father. I believe there is a change of roles once you go to heaven and I’ll out line that later. I also see it as dangerous to attempt contact with anyone deceased whether they are in heaven or in hell. Another problem is how this teaching downplays the weight that your faith backed prayers hold, as long as you have faith your prayer is on equal value as Mary’s faith backed prayers where. God has no favorites. The biggest problem of all is that there is no scriptural foundation for this teaching. Please open your mind and Bible as we look into this subject.

“The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom,41 especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were “put in charge of many things.”42 Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.”
Roman Catholic Catechism # 2683

Saints Alive and Dead

First, I want to point out that saints who are in heaven are much more alive than we are now on Earth, they are in their resurrected bodies (1Cor 15) and are enjoying God’s fullness. However to lessen the confusion in this post I will refer to those saints in heaven as dead saints, they died, were judged, and passed because they were saved by Christ. We however (assuming you are a Christian) are living saints. As I studied this subject on various Catholic sites I discovered an interesting mind set among all of them: Catholic doctrine teaches that dead saints carry the same responsibilities, abilities, and duties as us living saints. This, however I do not agree with. Once Christians die and are in heaven they enjoy God’s fullness and await the Second Coming of Christ where they will return with Him in their resurrected bodies to enter in to yet a third set of responsibilities and duties as they dwell in the New Jerusalem during the millennial reign. However, Catholics uphold that because the New Testament encourages the living saints to pray for other living saints that saints who have passed on to heaven should continue to do the same. This is something I find no where in the Bible.

In the Bible I have yet to find any example of

  • a saint in heaven praying to God
  • a living saint asking a dead saint to pray for them or with them
  • an Apostle or author encouraging their audience to speak to a dead saint

The actual activity of saints in heaven is not very detailed in the Bible so to interject ones own opinions (aka the Catechism) is dangerous. A common error is considering that the angels of God and saints of God (in heaven) do the same stuff. I found many scriptures of angelic activity being mentioned as proof for the Catholic teachings of praying to or through the saints. This simple cannot be done, angels and dead saints have different roles and cannot be held at the same level. Angels are used to deliver messages to man and to report to God, they even travel from heaven to Earth often. However heavenly saints are not ever recorded as having these same duties or abilities. Angels in heaven are active servants of God unto the saints (Heb1:14), however heavenly saints are not. The few mentions in the Bible of contact with the dead are connected to the sin of witchcraft and divination. The one time that a dead saint was reached was when Saul and a witch did a seance, however Samuel who was contacted was in Sheol (not heaven) and he was not happy about what Saul had done (1 Samuel 28:7-19). This contact was a sin in God’s eyes.

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Faith Is Like Reruns

Do you have a favorite movie that you’ve seen a thousand times? Maybe one that you’ve watched since you were a kid, you now know every dialogue, every scene change, and every plot twist. How about that intense part of the movie that use to have you on the edge of your seat? Yet now because you know the plot and the resolution of the conflict it’s not such a nail biter anymore is it?

In case you haven’t realized it, the plot of that favorite movie is never going to change, it’s always going to turn out ok for the select characters (maybe with the exception of the black guy that always dies first). So there’s no use getting nervous or yelling at the characters during the intense part because it’s always going to turn out the same.

Exercising faith in the Christian life should be like this. In the end, it’s all going to be ok for the Children of God. It’s always going to work out. Why? Because things never change – God never changes His heart towards His children and He His ability will never run out.

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

From A to B

If God has promised us we will reach point point B if we leave point A anything that happens between point A and B should be compared to God’s promise. If what is said or thought does not line up with God’s promise than we leave it behind and keep walking to point B. Abraham made the mistake of loosing faith in God when he feared that Pharaoh and his men would kill him for his wife. He was heading to where God told him to go yet this interruption of his plans in between A and B presented a problem to Abram. He didn’t line up his current circumstance to God’s promise.
When we do this and maintain our trust in God’s promised result we are having faith.

Faith is always a struggle because you can only have faith for the things that have not happened or finished yet. This goes against our human reasoning which functions with what exists, but for those things that don’t exist (yet) we have to trust that God will be God and follow through with what He said He would.

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Separation of Religion and Government

Something has been heavily on my mind this past year concerning politics and Christianity. It all began with the homosexual marriage issue whether the government should legalize same sex marriage or not. My new train of thought is now leading me to say “yes”. Now, this is a big deal for me because many would call me very conservative in my political views and religious beliefs. however, I want to share my train of thought and see what you guys think of this. Please give me some feedback after reading (no essays please).

This is the conversation with myself I have in my head:

Should same sex marriage in America be on the same legal level of acknowledgment and benefits as opposite sex marriage?

-Yes.

Why?

-Because, we are talking about a secular government, not a Christian institution.

But America was started by Christians and for Christian freedom, it’s not secular.

-No matter how much we want to fight it, America is now secularized and generic in it’s religious stance. This is actually a good thing because it allows all citizens within it’s governance to freely practice religion. If it mandated a religion, who’s to keep it in check or to say that they ordained the right religion?

But Christianity is the only religion of truth that leads to God through Christ.

-Yes, but the secular world does not and will not accept your set of absolute truths no matter how convinced you are, the government is not the body which should dictate or enforce any religious set of beliefs.

So why should same sex marriage be legally acceptable?

-Because the world does not have the same beliefs as presented in the Bible and because the government rules groups of people that are not all Christians. The establishment and teaching that homosexual marriage ought not be should be reserved for a church body that is over a set of believers. However, when talking about a nation as a whole – the American population does not fit the same description as that of the Body of Christ. If America was somehow a born again Bible based country than it would make more sense for the governing authorities to outlaw something that is unacceptable to God. However it is not a nation comprised of Christians therefore Christians should not expect America (which is not a church or a nation of Christians) to conform to the standards of the Bible.

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Urgenency For The End

While talking to a friend at work about a paper I was writing (which became my End Times Timeline) we came across the issue of when all these things would happen. I thought to myself “I thought you’d never ask!” and answered “Most of these things are signs that lead up to Jesus’s return, but the Bible says that no one knows the day or hour when He will return. Many people have made predictinos but that is pretty dumb considering the Bible says no one will know”.
“Wouldn’t it be better if it said when Jesus would come back?”
“No, because then everyone would do nothing until the last minute!”

Think about all the problems that would occur if we knew exactly when He would come back! Like kids that know their parent will return at 8, they hold off on all the assigned chores until the last minute and because of their laziness barely get any of the chores done! We the body of Christ definitely do have some chores to do before He returns, and ebcause we don’t know when we had better get busy!

Mat 24:36 – “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

God has left it undisclosed to all but himself as to when Christ will come back to the Earth for judgment day. This is actually better for us because it could happen any minute, thus spurring us to action and urgency. Have you ever seen the bumber sticker or shirt that says “Jesus is coming, look busy!” Well it’s like that, accept that we should be busy out of obedience instead of looking busy out of fear.

“Live as though Christ died yesterday, rose from the grave today, and is coming back tomorrow.”

-Theodore Epp

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How Relevant?

“Relevant” … a cool new Christianese word that seemed to be popping up on the scene around 2005ish. There’s even a cool magazine by the name Relevant that aims at reaching this culture through methods familiar to them. But what is behind the word? Why is it so popular and at the same time so controversial? I believe the issue has to do with the very heart of the Christian mission is – spreading the Gospel and turning souls to God.

What’s The Problem?

The problem is when a church tries to be “too relevant” because they may, in their attempt to draw in unbelievers and keep them, water down the gospel so that it is more easily received and less offensive. But then you must ask yourself – if they hear a watered down gospel and choose to “get saved”, are they really saved? What’s the balance between not offending and presenting the saving truth of the Gospel?

No Pain, All Gain

I guess pastors think that if they preach the straight Bible that they will come off as too preachy and loose their attendance, or worse – their tithes (sarcasm)! It’s as if this visitor friendly message is the rebound effect of the “hell, fire and damnation” trend that filled many churches in previous generations. Now many churches preach “blessings, comfort, and prosperity” so much so that the issue of sin (which created the need for the Gospel in the first place) is not even mentioned! And if the preacher does not explain the existence of sin, and thus the need for a savior to forgive your sins than what are those converts getting saved for? An easier life? Prosperity? Social acceptance after hitting rock bottom? Is this true salvation if it’s purpose is not to be delivered from the very thing that keeps us from God?

Connect & Communicate

Basically the job of the Church is to connect and communicate truth. But what do we communicate, and how do we connect? We communicate the Gospel which contains the love of God, our need for salvation from sin, and our hope and redemption we have in Christ Jesus. How do we connect and communicate the message?
Any method that works unless that method diminishes the original contents of the message or leads to a different outcome.

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Spiritual Man vs. Carnal Man

Vocabulary

Before I get in to the deep stuff on this subject it’s important that we are speaking the same language or… that you that you understand the language I am writing in so to get on the same page with word-play I will spell out some simple descriptions here.

Spirit – Your spirit is the spiritual or supernatural side of you, it is not material, it is not visible, it’s not of this world, but it’s from God. In Genesis we see God breathed His spirit in to Adam which made him a living soul, no other living creature received this treatment of God giving them a spirit or His spirit (Gen 2:7). Because you have this you are able to interact with the spiritual world. It is what allows you to hear from God, to have faith for miracles, to see angels and smell demons etc. For the born again Christian the spirit is filled with the Holy Spirit and He works through our spirit to effect our natural world.

Soul – An easy way to conceptualize what happens in your soul is whatever happens in your brain. It’s also invisible like your spirit and contains your emotion, your will, your desires, sensory perception, conscious, and your reasoning or logic. Out of all our three parts I believe our soul was effected the greatest by sin. Now, because of sin, it is pointed inward, always consumed with the self unless it is willingly disciplines and kept in check. The soul decides what you want to do and send the signal to your physical body in order to act out your decisions.

Body – Our body is the physical shell in which we reside on Earth, when we die our true self, our spirit, leaves the body behind and passes on to judgment (HEB 9:27). Out body is completely material composed of atoms, it works via electric signals and chemical reactions that connect with our soul (or brain). Your body is not who you are, it is merely shell that allows your spirit to interact with the physical realm.

Spiritual Man

This is what faithful Christians should strive to be, they should fight to conform their being in to the alignment as presented in the above chart. Why? Because we cannot live our life out of our soul, it can’t be trusted as it is subject first and foremost to sin and selfishness. Therefore, we are to live our life out of or by our spirit which in turn is our two way connection to God.
But what does this way of living  look like?

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Women Included In Messianic Ancestry

It is important to not forget the women in the Bible. God is not sexist and though most stories in the Bible are about men, not all of them are. This is a list of some of the women in the Bible that we can learn great lessons from. In Jewish Genealogies men were accounted for primarily so that family lines could be traced backward in time in order to validate inheritance or land. However, Matthew takes a strange brake away from this tradition in his genealogy of Christ in Matthew chapter 1. Why is this? Was it to humble the Jews as they read the account of their Messiah’s family line? Was it to show that the Messianic line was one of human failure and God’s redemption? Or perhaps it was to remind  them that even their messiah had gentiles in His lineage

Let’s look briefly at each of these amazing women and their inclusion in to the lineage of Christ.

Tamar: Genesis 38:6-30

Tamar was the daughter in law to Judah who had three sons – Er, Onan, and Shelah. Tamar married the 1st son Er who became so evil that the Lord killed him. So Judah then arranged for Tamar to marry the next son Onan. Now in Jewish culture this was called a leverite marriage, where if husband died the wife would marry a brother of her deceased husband. This was to carry along the family name of the deceased husband as well as inheritance. The child of this leverite marriage would be considered the child of the dead husband. Onan (who Tamar after Er died) refused to honor the tradition of the leverite marriage by avoiding making his wife pregnant, so the Lord killed him for his disobedience. Judah then makes a promise to marry Tamar to his third and youngest son Shelah but by the time he grew old enough to marry, Judah eventually forgets the promise he made for Tamar to marry Shelah.
So Tamar perhaps upset about not starting a family dressed up as a prostitute and positioned herself in a field where she knew Judah would be traveling . Judah did not know who the prostitute was because of the garments and disguise she wore so they committed adultery and had twins – Perez (first born) and Zerah.

Perez is David’s Great(x9) Grandfather.

Rahab: Joshua 2:1-24, 6:17-25

Rahab was a gentile prostitute in the city of Jericho at the time the Israelites passed through the area on their way to the Promised Land. Joshua sent two men to spy out the city and they happened to come to Rahabs house to stay the night. The King of Jericho heard of the news and sent his men to find the spies but because Rahab believed that the land was going to be given to the Jews by the Lord. Because she believed this she hid the spies in her attic and when the Kings men came by she said basically said “they were here, but they left out through the gate, if you go now you can catch them”.

As a reward for her service of protecting the spies the two spies promised that when they destroyed Jericho they would not harm her family if they were in her home. So they protected her and her family from the attack and they lived among the Israelites.

Rahab eventually married Salmon and gave birth to Boaz who was David’s Great Grandfather.

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