Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

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Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby e.daniel.box » Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:25 pm

Hello Cheryl Gress (and anyone else who might want to join our conversation), how are you? I hope you're having a great day.

You and I met on Twitter (@PureCatholicism), and you had the great idea of holding our conversation over this forum. Thanks for the recommendation! Per our tweets, I'll kick start our convo here, and look forward to your response.

I was born and raised Catholic, and have become enthusiastically so as an adult, ever since I've more seriously invested myself in the study of Scripture and early Church history. I recognize and respect that many of my non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters consider many elements of Catholicism to be contrary to Scripture and even pagan, and so enjoy conversing, in the spirit of Christian charity and fraternity, with non-Catholics to try to show them the truth and beauty that I've found in the Catholic Church.

So I suppose I'll begin here fist by simply asking a little bit about you. How did you come to love Jesus? What has your faith journey looked like? It's always such a pleasure to meet a fellow Christian who is on fire with a love of the Lord.

In my experience, the Catholic teachings with which most non-Catholic Christians disagree are those pertaining to the Eucharist, Mary, the Pope, Purgatory, prayer for the intercession of the saints in heaven, church statues and icons, relics, and indulgences (just to name a few :D ). On Twitter, you had expressly mentioned Mary and church statues. So I guess I'll wrap this first post up by simply asking your thoughts on the points that I had briefly tried to make via Twitter--namely:

(1) That although Rom. 3:23 sets down a general principle that is true, there are some exceptions to it (like Jesus and miscarried infants); and

(2) That although God does forbid graven images in Exodus 20, He then commands the Jews, only five chapters later in Ex. 25:18, to build two golden angels that are to be placed on top of the Ark of the Covenant. He also commands Moses in Num. 21: 8-9 to make a bronze serpent, and says that whoever looks at it will be saved. In fact, Jn. 3:14-15 expressly tells us that this bronze serpent prefigured Jesus! Finally, Colossians 1:15 tells us that Jesus Himself is an "icon" (Gk. "eikon") or the "image" of the invisible God. In other words, Jesus is God expressed through matter. So Jesus' very person gives us the best defense of statues and icons--if God can take the form of flesh, then it's not sinful to attempt to express or depict God through other forms of matter, like paint, marble, etc.

Let me know what you think, Cheryl! I really look forward to hearing back from you. God bless!

- E. Daniel Box

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Re: Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby ccgr » Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:50 pm

Been a busy day with dropping off my daughter to band camp and seeing a good concert that was pulled off nicely with 5 sessions!

I was raised in a Catholic household. I was baptized, received my first communion, reconciliation, and confirmation in the church. I don't regret my upbringing and appreciate it. That's what I told my dad as my fiance (now husband) and I were baptized as adults together. My first seeds of discontentment with the Catholic church were planted in my junior high history class. As I learned about the inquisition and forced conversions it left a bad taste in my mouth and made me wonder the justification for such horrific torture. I learned about Martin Luther and appreciated his faith and bravery needed to stand up to the church.

In my teenage years I started reading Jack Chick tracts and comics which were often supplied to me by my protestant grandmother. Those pieces of literature raised further questions and disagreements with the Catholic church's teachings. It was at this time that my dad thought it was a good idea for me to sit down with a priest and talk to him. It was kind of awkward telling him that I didn't believe that they had the power to summon down Jesus and turn him into a communion wafer. I consider Communion as Biblical and symbolic of Christ's suffering.

Another idea of my dad's was to attend C.C.D again with my brother. Which I did. When asked to write down the ten commandments on the whiteboard for the class, I gladly agreed to do so. When my 2nd and 10th commandment didn't align with what they were teaching I brought out a Catholic Bible and asked why they're taught differently than mentioned in Exodus.

When I turned 15 I no-longer considered myself Catholic but continued to attend church with my family until I was able to drive myself to a nearby Baptist church when I had a license and car. My husband and I were married in an evangelical church when we were 21.

Jesus is the only sinless human ever. Sin is carried down from the man's seed and by the miraculous conception, Jesus is the only exception to that rule. Infants are innocent but still sinful in nature. God is just and won't hold them accountable for sins they didn't have a chance to commit.

As for the Ark of the Covenant and graven images, it's designed by God and had the strictest of rules. Only Levites were to carry it and anyone else who dared touch it (like Uzzah) would die. The 2nd commandment applies to man-made/inspired/worshiped idols. And yes, I believe that includes St. Jospeh statues to help sell houses and whatnot. Faith should be placed in God and not saints, statues, or man.

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Re: Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby ArcticFox » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:14 pm

Hey e.daniel.box, welcome to the site :D

I grew up Catholic, and from that time I do have an immense amount of respect for the Catholic Church and for its people. I think it's the single largest source of good works in the world and while I'm not Catholic anymore, I sometimes miss it.

When I was 26 I converted to the LDS (Mormon) church which has a surprising amount of stuff in it that's very similar to Catholicism, from the organization of the Church itself, to the priesthood, to all kinds of stuff. The transition from Catholicism to LDS for me was pretty easy. Sadly, converting to LDS form Catholicism results in an automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church, but I understand the reasons and I'm not angry over it.

If you're interested I'll go into why I left, but for now I'll leave that aside since you and ccgr already have your discussion going. :wink:
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
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"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
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Re: Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby Sstavix » Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:05 am

Hello there, and welcome to the site!

I was raised in a household that was pretty much anti-establishment in terms of Christian churches. Even though my father was raised Catholic - or possibly because of it - we were staunchly nondenominational. My parents basically were of the mindset that churches - all of them- were established by people, not by God. Therefore, God could not be found in the churches. If you wanted to speak with God, you went straight to Him and spoke with Him through prayer. Priests couldn't be trusted, because they weren't actually God's servants.

Of course, since Heavenly Father asked me to join the LDS church, I haven't talked about religion much with my parents since then.

But one thing stood out to me for the longest time about the Catholic church, and that would be addressing prayers to Mary or the Saints. It always seemed to me that that flew in direct violation to the First Commandment - thou shalt have no other gods before me. This also was reinforced by the Lord's Prayer in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Jesus Christ specifically instructs people to address their prayers to their Father in Heaven - not to a saint, or even to Himself. In my mind, this has always stood out to me as the central reason why I shouldn't join the Catholic church. They addressed the wrong beings when saying prayers.

So now that we have someone to ask about this, what do you say? How do Catholics justify these common prayers for, as you say, "intercession of the saints?" Note that I'm trying not to say that you're incorrect in your beliefs - I'm just laying out how I've always seen it, and am curious in regards to your interpretation.

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Re: Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby Comotto » Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:24 pm

As some of you already know I am also mostly Roman Catholic from my youth and continue thru adulthood. My belief and focus is on the 2 greatest commandments. I perceive the Old Testament as a history lesson and not a directive like the New. K.I.S.S. love God and neighbor for I also believe He wants us to find ways to come together and not to separate. It is part of human nature to be social, part of something greater, and have earthly shepherds as well as our heavenly One who speaks to us thru His word. Discernment needs to be applied to all things of faith, similarly there are many different things that help us 'thru the night'. Saints fill the need for role models, the Eucharist and Blood, Christ's continued physical presence, the Catholic organization, fellowship (as well as other Christians), the Pope as Peter's successor, works for me. For these reasons I continue in my Catholic faith while I try to figure out if there is a one true religion. I will continue also to enjoy this discussion.

CARZ

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Re: Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby e.daniel.box » Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:37 pm

Good morning, everyone, and thank you for all of your welcoming and thoughtful posts! I'm deeply humbled by everyone's sincerity and willingness to discuss these topics openly.

Sstavix, ArticFox, and Comotto, it's so nice to meet you. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts as we go along.

Based on all the comments, I will focus my response on (1) prayers for the intercession of the saints; and (2) church statues and icons. And hopefully, Cheryl, in my next post, we'll dive more deeply into the Catholic teaching on Mary's sinlessness, as well as the sins of the Church in episodes like the Inquisition.

(1) Catholics believe that God alone (not Mary nor any of the other saints) is worthy of worship. The confusion between Catholics and non-Catholics comes from how we understand the word "prayer." For non-Catholics, "to pray" to Someone is "to worship" that Someone. But for Catholics, "to pray" to someone simply means "to ask" something of that someone. Think of how you've heard the word "pray" used in a Shakespearean play (e.g. "I pray you do this without delay"). So when Catholics "pray" to Mary or the saints, we're not "worshiping" these mere human beings. Instead, we're simply "asking" them to continue to pray for us in heaven, the same way that our loves ones pray for us while on earth.

1 Tim. 2:5 tells us that Jesus alone is our sole mediator. Amen! Catholics agree. But pay attention to what Paul says only four verses earlier in 1 Tim. 2:1--he says, "I ask for supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone." In other words, all Christians must pray for one another, and doing so in no way threatens Jesus' role as our "sole mediator." Instead, it is precisely, because Jesus is our mediator, that we are all able to pray or mediate on behalf of one another through Him. We know this is true from Scripture, because Paul tells us that, when we have died into Christ, "it is no longer I [who lives], but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20), and Paul also says that when he acts, he does so "in the person of Christ" (2 Cor. 2:10). Again, Paul also says that we are God's coworkers (1 Cor. 3:9), such that we water and plant, but God causes the growth (v. 6). So when Mary and the saints pray for us, they do so NOT because they are God nor because they have powers. They pray for us, because they are part of the one body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12 (there is not one body on earth and another body in heaven)). And because they are part of that one body of Christ, we cannot say to them, "I do not need you" (1 Cor. 12:21). Remember, the prayer of the righteous person is very powerful (Jas. 5:16), and those who are in heaven are certainly righteous, because nothing unclean can enter heaven (Rev. 21:27). In fact, Scripture shows us, in Rev. 5:8 and Rev. 8:4, that both human beings and angels present our prayers to God! In these passages, we see the elders in heaven (i.e. the 12 tribesmen of Judah and the 12 apostles) and the angels presenting to the Lamb bowls of incense, which Scripture says are "the prayers of the holy ones" on earth. And Jesus himself uses a parable in Lk. 16: 19-31 that shows us a dead rich man praying for his loved ones still alive on earth.

Rom. 8:38-39 tells us that death cannot separate us from the love of Jesus. So dead Christians are not separated from Christ--they remain part of His Body and His Bride, the Church. Therefore, praying to the dead saints--who, of course, are not dead, but are more alive than ever in heaven--is only possible because of Jesus and the oneness we share through Him, the vine (Jn. 15:5). This practice is not the same thing as necromancy, which is expressly forbidden in Deut. 18: 10-11 and Isa. 19:3, because it does not seek to conjure up spirits or to manipulate the spirit realm. Instead, Catholics recognize, together with Heb. 11 and 12:1, that all of the dead holy ones who have gone before us actively "surround[] [us as a] great cloud of witnesses," which means they testify on our behalf, as we continue to run the race here on earth.

The beauty of Catholicism is that it is not an "either/or" religion, but a "both/and" religion. Catholicism believes in the goodness of both spirit and body, faith and reason, the Written Word of God and the Oral Word of God. Similarly, Catholics believe in praying both to God and to our holy brothers and sisters who have gone to sleep before us. So we absolutely do pray to the Father, as Jesus Himself taught us, and we do so often. But because God gave us brothers and sisters too, we ask also that they might continue to pray for us, whether in heaven or on earth.

Remember, God is the Trinity--a communion of Three Persons. Therefore, being made in His image, we too must seek out not just communion with God, but communion with our neighbors as well.

(2) Cheryl, thank you so much for sharing your faith journey. I think it's great that you had the courage to ask questions during CCD and high school about Catholic beliefs, especially when you perceived that Catholic teaching appeared to be out of sync with Scripture. Never lose that inquisitive spirit that hungers for Truth!

Let's look again at the passages I cited in my first post (i.e. Ex. 25:18, Num. 21:8-9, Jn. 3:14-15, & Col. 1:15). If I understood your point correctly, your argument is that, because statues are generally outlawed in Ex. 20, statues can only be made if God commands them to be made, but not if man, on his own initiative, decides to make them. But here's the important point--the golden angels on the Ark and the bronze serpent made by Moses were not idols--they were simply statues. There is a key difference. Idols are false gods and are sinfully made the object of worship, whereas icons, paintings, and statues are like photographs. Even though photographs remind us of our loved ones who are no longer with us, and even though we might kiss photographs as a sign of our love for the people depicted in them, we do not worship photographs. Similarly, Catholics might kneel in prayer before a statue or painting, but that doesn't mean that Catholics are worshiping the statue or painting. Instead, the statue or painting provides an occasion for remembrance and reverence, that then inspires a Catholic to kneel in prayer. But Catholics are firm in their belief that there is only one God, and He alone is entitled to worship.

Statues and paintings have no power (only God has power). We don't care about the gold, marble, velvet, plaster, or canvas out of which the statue or painting is made. All of those things are simply means to an end--that is, these things are not God, but they are beautiful and help to inspire a strong prayer. Human beings are visual creatures, and God recognizes that, and approves of our visual aids to our prayer life, so long as we don't worship the visual aids themselves.

We know that all of this is true, because God would never command his people to make idols or false gods. So Ex. 25: 18 & Num. 21:8-9 reveal to us that, in Ex. 20: 4-5, God is outlawing idols, not statues. In other words, He is outlawing our having other gods beside Him. This is why Catholics list the 2nd Commandment differently that you do--we view the prohibition against idols not as a separate Commandment, but simply as a clarification of the 1st Commandment that we should have no other God beside the Lord.

What do you think? I'm sorry to have been so long-winded. I promise I tried to be as brief as possible.

Also, I'm familiar with Jack Chick, but I have to say I find his works full of false statements and misunderstandings about Catholicism. We can discuss specific comics of his, if you'd like. Just let me know.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. God bless you all!

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Re: Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby ccgr » Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:33 pm

If statues have no power then why do people buy and bury them in their yard in hopes of selling their houses? ;)

As for Jack Chick comics, even as a teenager I knew to take them with a grain of salt. Regardless, they still brought up some good points buried in whacky stories.

Will respond to other points later as I'm in the middle of a Minecraft server crashing/switching crisis now :(

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Re: Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby e.daniel.box » Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:08 pm

Ah no! Minecraft server crashing/switching crisis sounds terrible! I'm sorry that happened.

Just to respond quickly to your question about buying and burying statues, I think this is a great and totally fair question. To understand this practice, it's important to remember that Catholicism is a sacramental religion. This is just a fancy way of saying that Catholics believe that God confers graces upon us by means of material things. As an example of this, Catholics believe that God confers sanctifying grace upon his people through the seven sacraments, which involve water (Baptism), bread and win (Holy Communion), oil (Anointing of the Sick), and the union of the bodies of husband and wife (Marriage).

All throughout Scripture, even still in the New Testament, we see God conferring His grace by means of material things. In Mark 5: 25-34, a woman with hemorrhages is healed simply by touching Jesus' cloak. In Jn. 9:6-7, Jesus heals a blind man by spitting in the dirt, thereby making mud or clay, and smearing it on the man's eyes. In Acts 5:12-15, the Bible tells us that many miracles were worked through the hands of the apostles, such that even Peter's shadow was believed to heal others. And Acts 19:11-12 tells us that God accomplished deeds through the hands of Paul that were so extraordinary that even cloths or aprons that touched Paul's body would be carried away to be used to heal others! This last passage is key, because shows us that it is not the cloths or the aprons that have any special power, nor is it even Paul's body, but rather it is only God accomplishing his works through these physical, material things.

So, to bring us back to your example of Catholics buying and burying St. Joseph statues, Catholics do not think that these statues have any sort of power in and of themselves. Instead, it is God alone who has power, and who works through the physical, material world to confer His graces upon us. All of this is certainly mysterious, but it's not magic in the style of Harry Potter. Remember, all things in this world are God's creation. So it should not surprise us that He is able to confer real grace through the materials that He Himself created.

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Re: Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby Sstavix » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:35 am


(1) Catholics believe that God alone (not Mary nor any of the other saints) is worthy of worship. The confusion between Catholics and non-Catholics comes from how we understand the word "prayer." For non-Catholics, "to pray" to Someone is "to worship" that Someone. But for Catholics, "to pray" to someone simply means "to ask" something of that someone. Think of how you've heard the word "pray" used in a Shakespearean play (e.g. "I pray you do this without delay"). So when Catholics "pray" to Mary or the saints, we're not "worshiping" these mere human beings. Instead, we're simply "asking" them to continue to pray for us in heaven, the same way that our loves ones pray for us while on earth.
Interesting. I can't say that I agree with your assessment or interpretation, but at least I understand your viewpoint. Thank you!

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Re: Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby Comotto » Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:00 pm

https://www.catholiccompany.com/content ... t-Mary.cfm. Contains a link to the official Vatican document.

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Re: Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby Sstavix » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:25 pm

https://www.catholiccompany.com/content ... t-Mary.cfm. Contains a link to the official Vatican document.

Carz
So the Catholic church believes that Mary - and not just Jesus - was immaculately conceived, lived a sinless life, and did not experience death? ... that almost seems to elevate her to Savior status, methinks. Catholics claim that they don't worship Mary, but their actions seem to say otherwise.

Again, I'm not going to say whether or not this approach is wrong. That's up to God to determine. But it does contradict a lot of the other things I have read, and the messages I have received from Heavenly Father as well.

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Re: Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby e.daniel.box » Sat Aug 26, 2017 4:12 pm

Sstavix, I understand where you're coming from, but let me clarify the status of Mary in the Catholic Church.

You're right to point out the the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception applies to Mary, not Christ. But of course the Church affirms that Jesus too was sinless and, of course, was conceived miraculously. On this point, I think we all agree.

As a quick aside, the Catholic Church has not answered the question as to whether or not Mary died before she was assumed into heaven. Catholics are free to disagree as to whether or not Mary first experienced death (or "dormition"/sleep, as it's called in the eastern Orthodox churches).

The Catholic teachings on Mary do indeed recognize that she was uniquely holy and played a most important role in the salvation of the world, in giving her "yes" or "let it be done" (Lk. 1:38) to God and freely agreeing to become mother of God Himself. Still, Mary's unique--even perfect--holiness, does not raise her to the level of "Savior." She is/was merely a human being, and Church teaching is quite clear on this. But, given her perfect holiness, she is THE model Christian and, in fact, is THE model for the Church, who the Bridegroom makes "holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:27).

I'm sympathetic to Christians who misunderstand the Church's esteem for the Blessed Virgin. But I think the esteem in which she is held is absolutely justified. Scripture, of course, tells us that "all generations will call [her] blessed" (Lk. 1:48) and that she is the mother of all "those who keep God's commandments and bear witness to Jesus" (Rev. 12:17). Further, her intercession impacts the will of God Himself, which we see at the wedding at Cana. In that episode, Jesus of course tells Mary that "[his] hour has not yet come" (Jn. 2:4), and yet, because Mary persists in her intercession on behalf of the bride and groom, Jesus resolves to perform his first miracle and thereby to start his public ministry. And this episode shows that Mary is the new covenant Queen Mother (Rev. 12:1), who was prefigured by the queen mothers of the Old Testament kings of Israel, such as Bathsheba, who "speak[s] to the king for [the people]" (1 Kings 2:18), who sits at the right hand of her son, the king (1 Kings 2:19), and whose intercession the king himself promises "not [to] refuse" (1 Kings 2:20). Once you realize of all this, together with the fact that the ark of the covenant in the Old Testament also prefigured Mary (see e.g. Heb. 9:4; Lk. 1:41-44, 56; 2 Sam. 6:9-16, Rev. 11:19, 12:1-5), you see how holy and vital Mary is in the life of the Christian. As the ark of the new covenant, Mary is the vehicle through which God manifests His power and glory. So when Jesus gives his mother to the apostle John while on the cross (Jn. 19:26-27), and John thereafter takes Mary into his home, Jesus is also giving his mother to the rest of the world, so that his followers might take her into their homes and into their hearts--not as a substitute for God nor as an alternate Savior, but as loving mother and holy role model.

In the words of St. Maximilian Kolbe, we should "[n]ever be afraid of loving Mary too much. We can never love her more than Jesus did." And Scripture shows us that, whenever we praise Mary--just as Elizabeth did in Lk. 1:42-45--Mary turns that praise right back around, magnifies it, and directs it to God (see Lk. 1:46-55).

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Re: Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby ArcticFox » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:54 am

The Catholic teachings on Mary do indeed recognize that she was uniquely holy and played a most important role in the salvation of the world, in giving her "yes" or "let it be done" (Lk. 1:38) to God and freely agreeing to become mother of God Himself. Still, Mary's unique--even perfect--holiness, does not raise her to the level of "Savior." She is/was merely a human being, and Church teaching is quite clear on this. But, given her perfect holiness, she is THE model Christian and, in fact, is THE model for the Church, who the Bridegroom makes "holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:27).
The thing that's really important to point out here is that the stature Mary holds within the Catholic Church is due mainly to Catholic tradition, and not Scripture per se. If the Scriptures clearly elevated her to that level then we would all be closer in our views on this. I think when looking for scriptural support for the notion of Mary being elevated to that degree, you sort of have to take a leap. For example, Ephesians Chapter 5 does indeed use the metaphor of a bride to describe an aspect of the relationship between Jesus and the Church... but there's no scriptural connection here that lends itself to a description of Mary herself. Verses 22 to 33 set up that metaphor as a way to show the purity that comes of submitting to authority by comparing our submission to Christ with submission within marriage.
I'm sympathetic to Christians who misunderstand the Church's esteem for the Blessed Virgin. But I think the esteem in which she is held is absolutely justified. Scripture, of course, tells us that "all generations will call [her] blessed" (Lk. 1:48) and that she is the mother of all "those who keep God's commandments and bear witness to Jesus" (Rev. 12:17).
I'm not so sure that's the interpretation I'd go with in the reference here to Revelation. Revelation is highly symbolic and the interpretation that this refers to Mary strikes me as a bit too literal. Additionally, the woman described here is said to have fled to the wilderness to be sheltered for 1,260 days. To my knowledge this is not something that Mary experienced during her life. The way I read this is that the child brought forth from the woman is the church, which the dragon was poised to destroy. This section speaks of apostasy, as opposed to a descriptor of Mary.
Further, her intercession impacts the will of God Himself, which we see at the wedding at Cana. In that episode, Jesus of course tells Mary that "[his] hour has not yet come" (Jn. 2:4), and yet, because Mary persists in her intercession on behalf of the bride and groom, Jesus resolves to perform his first miracle and thereby to start his public ministry.
It's true that Jesus performed His first miracle at the request of Mary, but I'm not sure that this really supports the notion that Mary should be as elevated as you're describing. There were other factors at that wedding that also would have influenced the decision besides a simple desire to do as Mary asked. That would come too close to putting Mary in a sort of spiritual authority over Jesus, and I don't think you mean it that way.
And this episode shows that Mary is the new covenant Queen Mother (Rev. 12:1),
Again, I don't think Revelation refers to Mary here. If it does, then one would have to account for every part of the metaphor, and I don't think that's possible. Verse 1 alone strikes me as problematic if you're going to apply it as a description of Mary. How would one interpret the crown of twelve starts, for example?
who was prefigured by the queen mothers of the Old Testament kings of Israel, such as Bathsheba, who "speak[s] to the king for [the people]" (1 Kings 2:18), who sits at the right hand of her son, the king (1 Kings 2:19), and whose intercession the king himself promises "not [to] refuse" (1 Kings 2:20).
Again, I'm not seeing the connection between this set of verses and Mary. I have my own ideas of what's being symbolized here but I won't go into it as I have no scriptural support for it at this time. It just strikes me as too big a leap to say that this a symbol of Mary. (Not saying you should change your view, I just don't see the connection in scripture.)
Once you realize of all this, together with the fact that the ark of the covenant in the Old Testament also prefigured Mary (see e.g. Heb. 9:4; Lk. 1:41-44, 56; 2 Sam. 6:9-16, Rev. 11:19, 12:1-5), you see how holy and vital Mary is in the life of the Christian.
That's a lot of references. Keepin' us busy! :D

So Hebrews Chapter 9 is a discussion of the symbolic connection between the Temple ordinances(ceremonies) and the Savior. The verse you're citing here (4) is a literal description of the Ark of the Covenant and its surroundings within the Holiest of Holies in the Tabernacle/Temple. I know that the Catholic perspective is that the Ark symbolizes Mary in a sense, but I don't see any scriptural support for that.

The verses you cited in Luke 1 describe the reaction of the as yet unborn John the Baptist upon hearing Mary's voice. Very cool, and we can speculate on exactly what this tells us, but I feel like it has more to do with the fact that if Mary was near, then so was Jesus, whom she was already carrying at this point.
As the ark of the new covenant, Mary is the vehicle through which God manifests His power and glory. So when Jesus gives his mother to the apostle John while on the cross (Jn. 19:26-27), and John thereafter takes Mary into his home, Jesus is also giving his mother to the rest of the world, so that his followers might take her into their homes and into their hearts--not as a substitute for God nor as an alternate Savior, but as loving mother and holy role model.
I can see how it can be interpreted that way, but I'm not sure it's the only way to view it.

I hope none of that came across as accusatory. I know that the difference between churches is generally one of interpreting scripture, and we all have a different lens by which we view it. Catholicism relies on tradition more than any other Christian church, I think, so if I were in your shoes I don't think I'd expect to convince anybody by just using scripture alone anyway. It would be like me trying to describe the beliefs of the LDS church without using the Book of Mormon. It would be an incomplete picture. I mean, we agree that sola scriptura isn't the optimal approach anyway, right? :D
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RemnantRD
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Re: Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby RemnantRD » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:58 am

We do have to take into consideration that Scripture is our blueprint when it comes to the word of God. Anything performed in a church as worship to God that deviates from the scripture in terms of how we worship God and how we conduct ourselves as Christians should be examined and held up in the light of Scripture and the Holy Spirit.

Another thing to take into deep consideration is that tradition itself is not necessarily bad, but if it contradicts scripture in any way it's still error. We are called to worship God in spirit and in truth, so let's use scripture to understand how to worship God in both spirit AND truth.

The woman in Revelation 12 with the 12 stars around her head references Israel. The 12 stars are the 12 tribes, and the child is Jesus. This isn't really something that we can attribute to Mary, the mother of Jesus. While Mary is blessed among women, it doesn't mean that she herself is sinless or perfect in any way shape or form. We are never called to pray to someone other than God for example in the scriptures. Even when people tried to bow before Peter in scripture, he told them to stand because he was a fellow worker in Christ Jesus as they were. Mary is not our Mediatrix over mankind with Christ. Christ is our only Mediator. Mary is not a Co-redeemer of mankind. Christ is the only Redeemer. Mary is not the Helper. The Holy Spirit is the Helper.

By tradition, we can actually walk into error. When we focus on traditions to guide our understanding of scripture we can be misled. Let us keep our eyes focused on God through the scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Those who are His have His Spirit in them do they not? In all things, we can ask and He shall guide us daily. We also must remember that the Holy Spirit will not contradict Scripture.

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Re: Catholicism - Supported by Scripture & History

Postby e.daniel.box » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:54 pm

ArticFox and RemantRD, thanks for sharing. I'll respond first to some points ArticFox made and then to those made by RemnantRD.

We both agree that Revelation is a highly symbolic book, and so it is true that the woman of Rev. 12 can be understood to be the Church. But because it is a symbolic book, we know that the symbols can have multiple meanings. This means that the woman can be both the Church and the Blessed Virgin. We interpret all of the other figures in the passage literally (i.e. the son to whom the woman gives birth and who is to "rule all the nations" (v. 5) is generally interpreted be Jesus (although, I understand, you say you think the son is the Church), the huge red dragon is generally interpreted to be Satan, and Michael and his angels are generally understood to be literal angels). It is inconsistent, then, to interpret only the woman metaphorically. If all the other figures are literal, then she too should be understood that way, which would make her the Blessed Mother.

If you're interested, we can discuss the meaning behind the desert and the years described in Rev. 12, but I'll stop here for now in my reading of this chapter.

I connected Jn. 2 and 1 Kings 2, not because Scripture makes the connection between the two passages expressly clear, but because these two passages share two important themes: (1) the mother of the king (2) making intercession on behalf of the people. Given these two shared themes, I think it's totally fair to draw a connection between the way Bathsheba was esteemed by her son, King Solomon, in the Old Testament, and the way Mary is esteemed by her son, Christ the King, in the New Testament. Once we see this connection, we have to conclude that Jesus "will [not] refuse" the request of Mary. However, this is so NOT because Mary is in a position of spiritual authority over Jesus, but simply because she is most righteous and holy, and Scripture tells us that "the prayer [i.e. intercession] of a righteous person is very powerful" (Jas. 5:16).

RemnantRD, I haven't yet gotten to provide the scriptural reasons to believe that Mary was sinless, but I would be happy to do so, if you would like to discuss that topic. I think Scripture overwhelmingly confirms this Catholic belief. But to address your point on prayer, I think you'll notice that Scripture nowhere really indicates that it's OK to pray to Jesus. And yet, all Christians pray to Jesus, and rightly so, because, by reading Scripture, we come to infer that prayer to Jesus is not only OK, but it is right and just, given that He is God. Similarly, Catholics are aware that nowhere in Scripture do we see it expressly stated that it's OK to pray to saints for their intercessions, but we infer that doing so is OK, because all Christians, whether on earth or in heaven, are members of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12). In other words, because "it is no longer I [who lives], but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20) and because, when we act, we do so "in the person of Christ" (2 Cor. 2:10), we are able to pray and intercede on behalf of one another (1 Tim. 2:1) through Jesus, our sole mediator (1 Tim. 2:5). All Christians ask or "pray" other Christians here on earth will pray for them. Why would we be uncomfortable with asking or "praying" other Christians in heaven to continue praying for us? In fact, Rev. 5:8 and 8:4 confirm that the elders and angels present our prayers before Jesus, the Lamb, in heaven.

I'm not sure if you read it, but my second post on this thread goes into greater detail as to why this concept of the intercession of the saints in heaven is, in fact, very scriptural. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this and that post.


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