Dialogue w a Protestant on Communion of Saints

Dialogue w a Protestant on Communion of Saints June 5, 2018

This exchange occurred today on a Facebook page (not my own). My attention was directed to a person who was making all kinds of statements against the Catholic Church and challenging anyone to give him Scripture to prove Catholic views. Well, that is my specialty, so I took the opportunity. The words of Angel Manuel Negron will be in blue.

* * * * *

When Jesus was walking in the New Testament – He specifically told us that we are to pray direct to God the Father if we have any specific needs that must be met.

He did tell us that, but you are making an additional assumption that is untrue: that something Jesus said would prevent us from asking a saint in heaven to help us in interceding to God on our behalf. 

There is not one verse that I am aware of where He told us that we could also pray direct to dead saints.

That’s correct, though there are many thing not explicitly laid out in the NT. For example, there is no example of prayer to the Holy Spirit, either, but we know it is permissible because He is God. And we know He intercedes for us, as the Bible says. But there is direct evidence that the saints in heaven pray for us:

Revelation 5:8 (RSV) And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints;

Revelation 8:3-4 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.

If God the Father wanted this possibility as an option, then I believe Jesus would have specifically told us so in the New Testament – but He did not!

You have to put two and two together: just as in the doctrine of the Trinity. The data is in the Bible, and more than sufficient. See my many papers on these topics.

If the 24 elders and the angels in heaven possess the “prayers of the saints” then obviously they had to get them somehow, and the most sensible explanation is that they were asked to intercede and they did so, as these passages state.

That is tradition of man for there is no Biblical basis for that doctrine. If so give me the verse.

The tradition of man here is sola Scriptura and the silly notion that absolutely everything Christians believe must be explicitly laid out in the Bible. There is no Bible passage that says that, so it is a tradition of man if there ever was one. Nor is there any passage that lists the books of the Bible. The canon is an extrabiblical doctrine and tradition that requires Church authority to accept. But all Catholic doctrine is completely consistent and harmonious with Scripture.

I have provided dozens of passages in my papers. Now you show us where the Bible teaches that every truth has to specifically be backed up by a Bible proof text. I’ll save you the trouble. You can’t do it. No Protestant ever has in my dozens of dialogues on the topic over 15 years on the Internet. I’ll guarantee that you won’t be the first, but give it a shot if you are so confident in your man-made tradition of sola Scriptura: one that began 15 centuries after Christ with Martin Luther.

This says it clearly, NO ONE can intercede for you who is dead. Jesus is the ONLY ONE period.

That’s sheer nonsense. Revelation 6:9-11 describes dead saints (martyrs who had been killed because they proclaimed the gospel) praying that the wicked would be judged (what is known as an imprecatory prayer):

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; [10] they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” [11] Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

What do you think people are doing in heaven, anyway? Floating on clouds and playing harps? They are far more alive than we are; they are perfectly holy (which one has to be to enter heaven), and so they express their love for us by praying.

Jesus is our ONLY mediator for He is not dead but is alive. I Timothy 2.5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”I see. So now you’re saying that Jesus didn’t die? If He didn’t die, then He couldn’t have died in atonement for our sins, which means that no one can be saved. So He did die, and so did the saints. Just as Jesus is still alive, so are the saints. It’s called the afterlife, the immortality of the soul. And we also get resurrected in due course, too (the general resurrection). This is rather elementary scriptural stuff.

But if you think people are unconscious after death or annihilated (as some cults do) then you would come up with your view that they can’t and don’t pray for us, as if they are sitting around twiddling their thumbs for eternity or playing chess or something. We certainly know that they are very aware of what is going on on earth, from several passages, such as Hebrews 12:1 and many passages in Revelation. Moses and Elijah even appeared on earth again in the Transfiguration. Samuel came back to earth and spoke to Saul and predicted his impending death.

That is not Biblical. Saints do not ask for His pardon on our behalf. That is our choice. Please give me the verse so that I may study your opinion. I said nothing about men other than the fact that the church as you put it teaches traditions of men that are not found in the scriptures. All I am asking is for you to prove your beliefs based on the scriptures for if GOD SAID it show me but if a ‘pope’ said it who is nothing but a man than as the Word says traditions of man makes the Word void.

I have given more than enough support. Now you need to do the same thing. You not only have an unbiblical doctrine (sola Scriptura) but you base your entire theology and interpretation of Scripture based on a man-made tradition that is not found there at all: which is doubly dangerous: creating man-made doctrines based on a man-made false and unbiblical, extrabiblical principle. Nor is salvation by faith alone a biblical doctrine. The only time the Bible discusses faith alone, it states that salvation is not by faith alone (in James).

Matthew 15:9 “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” ‎”I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” John 14:6 This is what Jesus said. See how he said ONLY through HIM. That means no one else can intercede for us before God. Jesus is our ONLY Advocate! That of “saints” interceding for us is nothing but a lie invented by manipulators who want to keep people in ignorance.

Again, you show yourself to be thinking illogically and distorting what Holy Scripture says. This is talking about salvation, not intercession. No one is saved except through Jesus. You collapse the two into one category. I already showed how Scripture itself shows dead saints praying to God, that He would judge the wicked. They were interceding on behalf of the persecuted Christians on earth.

Other passages show dead men and angels with the prayers of the saints, that they then present to God. I can’t think of a more graphic depiction of intercession than that. Somehow they have these prayers. They are mini-mediators and intercessors. The prayers didn’t just go right to God: they went to and through these intercessors.

You say no one else can intercede before God except Jesus (Who is God). But you foolishly forget that the Holy Spirit (Who is God, too) also does this (not just Jesus):

Romans 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.[27] And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. [6] Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.

Now it’s beginning to look like you deny the immortality of the soul, which is rank heresy. This is a proof text used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I answered it almost 30 years ago in researching their errors.

If the first clause (of 9:5) is understood in an absolute sense, then so must the second clause be interpreted. Thus, the dead would have no “reward” as well as no consciousness. This would deny the resurrection and the rewarding of the righteous (see Rev 20:11-13, 21:6-7, 22:12, 14). Obviously, then, a qualification of some sort has to be placed on Ecc 9:5. In the very next verse, we learn that: “never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.”

In other words, from the perspective of this world, the dead know nothing, but they are in a different realm, where they do know something. As further examples of this limited sense of “not knowing anything” in Scripture, see 1 Sam 20:39 and 2 Sam 15:11, where an interpretation of unconsciousness would be ridiculous.

You have been taught that a saint, who is glorified in Heaven, has more “direct access” to God than we do but this concept is blatantly unbiblical. Hebrews 4:16 tells us that we, believers here on earth, can “…approach the throne of grace with confidence…”

Again you show a rather dim comprehension of Holy Scripture. Have you never read the Apostle Paul?:

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.

This is the Beatific Vision: face to face with God. We don’t yet have that. We can pray to God directly, yes. But you are being unbiblical again insofar as you question that a saint with face-to-face proximity to God doesn’t have more direct access to Him than we do. Heaven is different than earth! One would think this is self-evident, but you don’t grasp it, for some reason.

You guys argue that praying to Mary and the saints is no different than asking someone here on earth to pray for you. Let us examine that claim. (1) The Apostle Paul asks other Christians to pray for him in Ephesians 6:19. Many Scriptures describe believers praying for one another (2 Corinthians 1:11; Ephesians 1:16; Philippians 1:19; 2 Timothy 1:3). The Bible nowhere mentions anyone asking for someone in Heaven to pray for them.The Bible nowhere mentions anyone asking for someone in Heaven to pray for them. The Bible nowhere describes anyone in Heaven praying for anyone on earth. (2) The Bible gives absolutely no indication that Mary or the saints can hear our prayers. Mary and the saints are not omniscient.

The Bible shows saints being very aware of our activities, like spectators in an arena:

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,

The Bible states that the angels rejoice whenever a sinner repents:

Luke 15:10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

How do they know this? It’s because they observe the earth. The Bible gives many instances of dead men coming to earth, such as the ones that rose after the crucifixion and walked around Jerusalem, and Samuel, and Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration. When we die we’ll be in a higher state than angels, so we will have knowledge as they do, given to us by God. Omniscience has nothing to do with it. A being need not have that capability in order to hear a prayer. Saints are outside of time because they are in eternity. Therefore they can hear millions of prayers, since time is not a barrier.

How could they possibly hear the prayers of millions of people? Only God is Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient. All those teachings you’ve learned are nothing but an insult to God Father, God Son and God Holy Spirit. God does not answer prayers based on who is praying. God answers prayers based on whether they are asked according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). There is absolutely no basis or need to pray to anyone other than God alone. There is no basis for asking those who are in Heaven to pray for us. 

For someone who quotes the Bible so much, you sure are unaware of so many of its teachings. It certainly does make a difference who prays a prayer:

James 5:16-18 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. [17] Eli’jah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. [18] Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.

Elijah’s prayers had more effect because he was more righteous. This is why we ask saints to pray for us, because they are perfected in righteousness in heaven, and their prayers have more effect, like Elijah’s.

Only God can hear our prayers. 

The Bible never states this. It is a tradition of men, like several other of your falsehoods. The Bible states the opposite. In Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16), one dead guy (the rich man) is praying to another dead guy (Abraham), asking him to help. So now you accuse Jesus of bad theology and promulgating “Catholic” lies in His own parables? Actually, it is believed that this is not a parable at all, but a true story. In either case, Jesus’ teaching could not contain falsehood (unless you deny that He is God, in addition to your other errors).

With due respect Dave, When I stated that Jesus is alive is because He resurrected. He is not dead!! In regards Jesus is Advocate, . . . I leave you all with Today’s Sunday School lesson, everything I stated didn’t come from me, that is GOD’S WORD. If you don’t agree, argue with Him. I pray that your spiritual ears may be sensitive to His Voice! God bless!

Why don’t you answer my arguments? Or is it time to split now after someone gave you a bunch of Scripture, as you requested? You said Jesus was not dead. I said He died, too, just like we do. As He is alive, so are human beings after they die, since death is no annihilation but separation of body and soul. The saints are alive, too, in other words.

Your logic is very shoddy, and your biblical exegesis even worse. It’s a serious thing to teach falsehood and claim to be presenting what the Bible teaches, but spewing falsehood. You will stand accountable to God for this. You may choose to run from here when confronted, but you can’t run from God.

I gave far more from GOD’S WORD than you did, and moreover, I gave counter-arguments to all your supposed proof texts. Now your choice is to do the same if you truly value what all of God’s Inspired Revelation teaches, or flee for the hills.

Who ever doesn’t know that Jehova, Jesus and The Holy Spirit are One is ignorant, please don’t try to read between lines, that’s childish.

You claimed that only Jesus interceded for us. I showed that the Holy Spirit also did so, and they are two distinct Divine Persons, though both God. Your statement was false. You also spoke falsehood when you said that no one else interceded for us, since I showed from three passages in Revelation that this is not the case at all.

If you would simply believe all of Scripture rather than the pet proof texts that you have been fed, you’d be all set.

But as is stated in God’s Word, the Word of God is not to argue,

Paul is described on several occasions as reasoning and arguing and disputing with the Jews and pagans alike. Jesus often argued. We are commanded to contend earnestly for the faith [Jude 3] and to “stand ready to make a defense” [1 Peter 3:15]. That is what I am doing. It’s easy to preach as you’ve been doing and not interact with criticisms when others give them. But if you really have the truth you can defend it against criticisms. Thus, again, your choice is to do that (grapple with all the Scripture you’ve been given) or run . . . 

The ignorance you show about scripture is sufficient. No words need be said especially when you state that I said Jesus did not die for our sins. Have a blessed day my friend.

Of course I didn’t say that is what you yourself believe. I used what is called a reductio ad absurdum argument: taking a person’s false premise and showing that it leads to (or reduces logically to) absurdity because it is itself false. But it’s quite obvious that you understand my arguments as little as you understand proper Scriptural exegesis and Catholicism.

We all have to learn things. There is no shame in that. The time for you to learn is now. Don’t put it off! This experience will indicate to you whether you are willing to follow all of Scripture wherever it leads, or to follow the opinions of men even when they contradict Scripture.


(originally on Facebook on 3-19-11)

Photo credit: [Pexels.comCreative Commons Zero (CC0) license]


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