Michaelmas, The Church Calendar & San Ysidro

 james

michael icon

Part I

Tomorrow (September 29) is Michaelmas, or the feast day of St. Michael and All Angels.  In the whole church calendar/communion of the saints thing I have the hardest time with angels.  Maybe because there is so much non-sense concerning angels in Christian pop-culture.  There are at least some evangelicals who don’t know who St. Francis is, but whose house is littered with what can only be called icons of various guardian angels, whom they unabashedly venerate.  Not that I have a problem with the theology of angels, or other people venerating angels per se, just that the practice doesn’t appeal to me.  Give me your St. Laurences, your St. Francis’, and your St. Cyprians.  These are people who mean something to me, who inspire me to be a better follower of Jesus.  St. Michael and St. Uruel, not so much. 

But as a purely cultural event, Michaelmas is fascinating as customs and legends are perpetuated tomorrow which date back at least to the Middle Ages.  Eating the stubble goose, baking St. Michael’s Bannock, call me a nerd all you want, but I get into that sort of thing.  And the church calendar is chalk full of opportunities to participate in deep-rooted cultural practices. 

 If you let them, these practices serve to re-enforce Christian discipline, and your committment to serve Christ. The St. Francis Day Blessing of the Beasts, All-Saints Day, Kingdom-tide, Advent, all serve as reminders of our shared history of redemption, and our shared commitment to follow in the footsteps of the saints, as well as reminders of particular practices and doctrines especially exemplified by certain saints (St. Francis’ care and appreciation for all Creation, St. Laurence’s care for the poor, St. Cyprian’s exemplification of Jesus’ command to love one’s enemies, etc.).   The Church calendar with all its feasts and traditions is nothing more than a guide to medieval Incarnational living, making your faith an integral part of your everyday life, though simple things: meals, shared gifts, dances, carnivals, etc.  What’s not to love about that?

 

san ysidro santo

Part II

And, while we’re on the subject of saints, why can’t I ask them to pray for me?  I can call up my friend and ask him to pray for me, can’t I?  Well, Christ’s redemptive work transcends time, uniting me with all my Christian sisters and brothers everywhere from every time, why can’t I ask some of them to pray for me as well?  The answer: I can, and do. 

As I go to the garden today, San Ysidro, pray for me, that my work is fruitful and glorifying to God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen. 

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32 Comments

  1. James,

    As to your complaint regarding the broader Protestant church and their opinion of saints – I blame sloppy use of language. Those churches that practice veneration have always been careful to address it as such, veneration. Most folks in the low-church just don’t appreciate the semantic difference between veneration and worship, however.

    Additionally, I’d have to say I agree with the whole angel issue. I have just never found a place for angelology in the practical living of the Christian faith. I don’t think its wrong or bad, I just don’t get it. Perhaps, here, my own ignorance is speaking?

    good post.

    Shawn

    Reply

  2. What is the semantic difference between veneration and worship?

    Before anyone requests prayer from San Ysidro he must first believe San Ysidro is omniscient enough to hear his request along with the requests of thousands of others speaking to him around the world at the same time… but it seems like a huge waste of time to me. There is no promise that San Ysidro will hear such requests, but God promises to hear and to answer our prayers.

    The way I interpret Deuteronomy 18 would also prevent me from making such a request of a dead saint. It says that “consulting the dead” is detestable.

    Deuteronomy 18:9-12 (NIV) 9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist OR WHO CONSULTS THE DEAD. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.

    Reply

  3. Isaiah 8:19 (NIV) 19 When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?

    Reply

  4. Roger,

    I’m going to assume that the emphasis in the passage is yours.

    Honestly, I am reluctant to get into this (see my satirical rant about OT usage for context)… but, here goes nothing.

    A simple dictionary search will reveal that veneration is offering respect, and worship is a public declaration of fealty and adoration to a deity. When the President of the US, a judge, or even a lady (for those of us with manners) walks in the room we stand in veneration. When I go to church on Sunday morning I make a public, communal declaration that I have given allegiance and adoration to Christ and am his in all senses.

    “Consulting the dead” in the passages you have mentioned is best defined by its own context – witchcraft. It is an unfortunate coincidence of language that you can draw a very thin conceptual parallel which happens to be endemic to the translation you have chosen.

    (NASB) “11or one who casts a spell, (A)or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.”

    (NLT) “11 or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead.”

    (ESV) “11or a charmer or(A) a medium or a necromancer or(B) one who inquires of the dead,”

    I think it’s obvious that the intent of the OT witness is to shun the practice of seeking to “speak with the dead” as it directly relates to the occult practices of the Canaanites. This is hardly any kind of parallel to a request for intercession. Besides, what about Hebrews 12:1?

    Shawn

    As a post-script, now that I am thinking about it –

    What about the great transfiguration (Mat. 17:1-3; Mk. 9:4; Lk 9:30-31), dead saints resurrecting and appearing to folks at the death of Christ (Mat. 27:52-53), Paul’s claim that those in heaven are aware of what happens on earth (1 Cor. 4:9), the fact that the inhabitants of heaven know when someone is saved and rejoice in heaven (Lk 15:7), and the picture in Revelation of Angels carrying the prayers of Christians to the throne of God (Rev. 5:8, etc.)?

    Reply

  5. Shawn wrote:
    Honestly, I am reluctant to get into this (see my satirical rant about OT usage for context)… but, here goes nothing.

    RESPONSE:
    That was exactly why I hesitated to include the two OT passages that I mentioned. However, in terms of “context” I would challenge you to show me any passage in the NT or the OT that shines a favorable light on communicating with the dead. I’m not talking about the dead watching or observing the living. There is no communication between dead and living in Hebrews 12.

    Shawn wrote:
    I think it’s obvious that the intent of the OT witness is to shun the practice of seeking to “speak with the dead” as it directly relates to the occult practices of the Canaanites. This is hardly any kind of parallel to a request for intercession.

    RESPONSE:
    San Ysidro is “dead.” To ask him to pray requires one to “speak with” him. That would be communicating with the dead. This fits the definition of necromancy and shamanism. It does not matter that the dead refuse to communicate back to the living… How often do you think that actually happened?
    Furthermore, how does “asking the dead to pray” fit in with your conception of the purpose of prayer?

    Reply

  6. Reed,
    Which of the early church Fathers are you looking at?

    BTW, the ECF is not a monolith. They are not consistent. They do not agree with each other. Stating that the ECF believed something is like saying that modern Christianity believes something. On many issues, there is no consensus.

    Reply

  7. Roger,

    Catholic and Orthodox scholars claim unanimous support for the intercession of the saints among the Church Fathers. Indeed, I think one would be hard pressed to find anything negative about the intercession of saints in any of the Fathers from Justin Martyr to St. Gregory the Great (modern scholars sometimes disagree where the cut off point is on calling a writer a Church Father, but you’re not going to find any major dissent after St. Greg either until you get to the Anabaptists). As far as I can tell the first dissenter comes in the early 5th century with the Spanish cleric, Vigilantius. Vigilantius was, of course, not a “father,” and was summarily (and not very nicely) refuted by his old friend St. Jerome.

    One of the earliest positive references to having saints and especially angels pray for you is in the Shepherd of Hermas 3:5:4(c. AD 100-140), which, as you know, was accepted as canonical scripture for at least two centuries by a large portion of Christianity.

    All this to say that we could go round and round over this. You could call me a necromancer; I could call up the spirit of Pancho Villa to haunt you in the night, but where would that get us? :-]

    Despite PART II coming off as a little accusatory, my post was not a polemic against anyone or anything, nor was it written in anger. In my writing (and daily living) I am attempting to explore, understand and find a proper way of participating in the cultural and religious heritage that I’ve inherited.

    Reply

  8. Roger,

    You wrote:

    “However, in terms of “context” I would challenge you to show me any passage in the NT or the OT that shines a favorable light on communicating with the dead.”

    I believe I did that, though, I did include it as a post-script when I went back and edited my post – perhaps you just didn’t see the edited post?

    Additionally, there are absolutely no verses in the New Testament that deal with “consulting the dead” as you have referenced in Deut. Isaiah, et al (I think it is significant that neither Jesus nor the NT writers reference those verses). The reason the New Testament is silent is because the issue is bound specifically to the context of the Canaanites. You don’t even have New Testament support for your claim.

    Your Wrote:

    “I’m not talking about the dead watching or observing the living.”

    But you also said in your first post…

    “Before anyone requests prayer from San Ysidro he must first believe San Ysidro is omniscient enough to hear his request along with the requests of thousands of others speaking to him around the world at the same time…”

    So, my point was to demonstrate that Paul seems to be under the impression that this cloud of witnesses is able to engage us in the “race set before us.”

    You wrote:

    “San Ysidro is “dead.” To ask him to pray requires one to “speak with” him. That would be communicating with the dead. This fits the definition of necromancy and shamanism.”

    You are superimposing your definitions and subsequent conclusions on the text. Texts, incidentally, that have nothing to do with the practice of veneration – it’s a category mistake.

    Just as a personal note, I don’t really have an “investment” in this topic. I don’t practice veneration, but like C.S. Lewis I cannot find any reason to restrict others from doing it.

    Shawn

    Reply

  9. Roger,

    I am curious about your apparent beef with certain traditional and long-standing Christian understandings of things.

    I remember our first encounter where you were rabidly Zwingilian in your Eucharistic theology (or lack thereof), your webpage has an entire section dedicated to refuting “baptismal regeneration” and now you take issue with praying with the saints who are now present to Christ.

    Are low-church protestant theologies really that convincing to you? ( I here mean “low-church” in a descriptive way with no intended snobbery. )

    Reply

  10. “However, in terms of “context” I would challenge you to show me any passage in the NT or the OT that shines a favorable light on communicating with the dead.”

    Shawn wrote:
    I believe I did that, though, I did include it as a post-script when I went back and edited my post – perhaps you just didn’t see the edited post?

    RESPONSE:
    I don’t see it. I read your whole message over again and I still so no passage that describes “communication with the dead”. I see your post script, but none of those have any connection with talking to the dead or the dead talking to the living. Sure, those who have gone before us may be spectators, but there is no reference of them intervening or interfering with what is happening here on Earth. Can we separate the speculation from what is actually stated in the text?

    My point about shamanism and necromancy was that the dead normally do not speak back to pagans either, although claims may be made to the contrary. So, what is the difference between the Christian going out to the graveyard and asking his dead uncle to take care of some business or the pagan going out to the graveyard and asking his dead uncle to take care of some business? Do you find any Scriptural support for either of those practices?

    Furthermore, I have witnessed people praying to the saints for the last 33 years living in a state that is mostly Roman Catholic. They bow down to an image of the saint, the speak to the image of the saint, they cry and ask it for help, and then they claim that they were not praying to the saint but only asking the saint to pray for them. It looks like prayer, sounds like prayer, and by all of the actions involved it could be defined as prayer to the saints.

    There is no scriptural support for praying to the saints or for even asking dead Christians to pray for us.

    1 Timothy 2:5 (NIV) For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

    Reply

  11. Tony,
    I think some people are just too lazy or too self righteous to actually press in and have a real relationship with God. Instead, they fill the void with rituals and other crap that actually gets in the way and prevents them from having a close fellowship with God.

    This is why I have such a big falling out with the Word of Faith movement as well. They make faith into a ritual and they ignore the relationship and fellowship that a Christian is meant to have with God. FAITH IN GOD IS NOT A RITUAL. It is not some routine that we perform in order to get some gifts from above. Faith in God is placing trust in the LIVING GOD. Faith is a relationship with a Living Being that created us. This world is real, and God is real. Things happen to us in this world. God may either take us out of those circumstances or bless us through the circumstances. He does not always stand up in the boat commanding the winds and waves to stop. Sometimes, He simply stands with us as we go through the winds and waves with Him. The emphasis should never be on the ritual. It should be on the fact that God will never leave us or forsake us. But, He does not always fix our problems the way we hoped for simply because we perform the proper ritual (whether it is an ancient ritual of the eucharist or a modern ritual of word confession). It is not as black and white or cut and dry as people try to make it. The world throws random problems at us and sometimes we don’t know how it will work out.
    We simply know, God is with us… God loves us… God can handle it! Performing a thousand rituals to try to fix it is not going to help. We need to simply talk to God and rest in the presence of God.

    Reply

  12. Anyone who thinks it is okay to pray to the saints simply because they are “living” should perhaps go to their favorite living breathing Christian and practice the same ritual on him. Since Roman Catholics are famous for this practice, let’s take a Roman Catholic as an example. Suppose a Roman Catholic finds the most godly priest in the world. Then, he bows down in front of the priest, rocking back and forth mouthing prayers to the priest while fingering a string of beads, and placing a lit candle before the priest. Does that seem right? Is that biblical?

    Reply

  13. Reed,
    I was attempting to differentiate between routine and ritual. In my distinction between the two: a religious ritual is usually performed with the expectation that God will be appeased by it and give a blessing in response, but a routine is a habit. In this distinction, the habit of prayer is different from the ritual of prayer. A person can have a habit or a routine of sincerely communing with God all of the time, or he can have a ritual that he goes through every day without actually paying attention to what he is doing. The Hebrews of the OT were too caught up in the ritual and they neglected the routine. God eventually told them to rend their hearts and not their garments. They had great concern for the outward show of worship, but their hearts were far from God. He told them that their sacrifices and offerings were meaningless to Him. He wanted their hearts!

    I am not new to traditions and rituals. I have ministered in the midst of these for over 33 years and I have seen the dry bones that they produce. I have seen the fervor of people who got turned on to Jesus and lift the old dead rituals. I have seen the fervor of people who found the true and living God rather than the old dead wafer god that they used to worship in the eucharist. I will grant that there are sincere people who worship through rituals, but I also know that many have felt like they were set free from bondage when they left the old church rituals and found God in their every day lives. They learned that Christianity was much more than just a trip to the local holy place for a few rituals and then go back home. They learned that God loves them, listens to them, and fellowships with them every day.

    Reply

  14. Reed,
    BTW, I did not say that all Roman Catholics are lazy. I said, “I think some people are just too lazy or too self righteous to actually press in and have a real relationship with God. Instead, they fill the void with rituals and other crap that actually gets in the way and prevents them from having a close fellowship with God.”

    I have known some lazy Roman Catholics. I have also known some very lazy pentecostal preachers that would rather throw a few things together and try to impress a crowd rather than spending time in prayer for a worship service and doing the work that is required to properly present the Word of God.

    You are also correct in pointing out that there are rituals in both camps that need to be demolished.

    Reply

  15. Roger,

    You wrote:

    ” I have seen the fervor of people who found the true and living God rather than the old dead wafer god that they used to worship in the eucharist.”

    It’s funny you wrote it this way, because I, for one, belong to that group of people who found the true and living God through the Eucharist after I got fed up worshiping the grape juice and cracker god at the money counting church.

    Reply

  16. I looked online to see how others defend the idea of praying to the saints. The best attempt I have seen was a website called “Catholic Answers” that mentions Revelation 5:8 (mentioned by Shawn above).

    Revelation 5:8 (NASB95) When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

    Revelation 5:8 (NIV) And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

    This passage tells us that John saw 24 elders and 4 angels each holding a harp and a golden bowl full of incense. Then, there is a strange statement “which are the prayers of the saints.” This leads us to believe that the bowls of incense are the prayers of the saints. But, how much should we read into that?

    First, we should notice that the incense represents the “prayers of the saints” but it does not say how the prayers were instigated. Can people who have died and gone to heaven still pray? It seems that they can by reading this text. However, there is no word of anyone on earth telling them how to pray.

    Clearly, this does not prescribe the act of praying to departed saints or angels.

    From the beginning of the Bible to the end when men are taught how to pray they are never told to call upon the saints. There is no model prayer in the Bible that says, “Our saints up in heaven…”

    Genesis 4:26 records when men first began to pray and it says they began to “call on the name of the Lord.” It says nothing about calling on the names of saints. The last prayer in the Bible is found in Revelation 22:20 where John prays “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” There is no prayer in between these two prayers in which someone is taught to pray to a deceased brother. The didactic passages contain no instructions to pray to saints or to ask the dead to pray for the living. The narrative passages contain no example of God’s people addressing their prayers to anyone other than the Lord.

    When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he taught them to address the Father. In all of his examples of prayer, He always addressed the Father.

    Communication with the dead was not a Jewish practice, it was a pagan practice. It was not a Christian practice in the time of Christ, it was a pagan practice. There is confusion in the early church, but the ECF is not an infallible authority for either doctrine or practice.

    The prophet Isaiah tells asks:
    …should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? (Isa.8:19)

    Reply

  17. Nobody is talking about praying to the dead, saints or otherwise. We are talking about praying with the saints. You said it yourself:

    “Can people who have died and gone to heaven still pray? It seems that they can by reading this text”

    Reply

  18. ” I have seen the fervor of people who found the true and living God rather than the old dead wafer god that they used to worship in the eucharist.”

    Shawn wrote:
    It’s funny you wrote it this way, because I, for one, belong to that group of people who found the true and living God through the Eucharist after I got fed up worshiping the grape juice and cracker god at the money counting church.

    RESPONSE:
    It may be round instead of square. It may have a crucifix instead of a soft hump in the middle. They can put in the monstrance and pray over it all day long. They can tell everyone that they have changed it into the very flesh of God sacrificed anew because His sacrifice on the cross was evidently not quite good enough. They can pray to it and let others pray to it, but it is still just a cracker.

    BTW, even God counted the money. Check out Numbers chapter seven. It is the second longest chapter in the Bible and it is a description of God counting the offerings brought by the Hebrews at the dedication of the tabernacle.

    Reply

  19. Previously you stated, “I don’t practice veneration, but like C.S. Lewis I cannot find any reason to restrict others from doing it.”

    Recently you stated, “Nobody is talking about praying to the dead, saints or otherwise.”

    RESPONSE:
    Is it “veneration” of the saints or is it praying “with” the saints?

    Reply

  20. Roger,

    In all seriousness, I don’t really care about the tradition of praying with the saints, veneration, or even the doctrine of substantiation (which is not what the Anglican church teaches). What I care about is giving other traditions a fair shake. So, I am going to withdraw from the conversation respectfully. It is clear that you hold a bias against the Roman Catholic church, that it bleeds over into your view of the Episcopal/Anglican church (you have plenty of company, even in New Mexico), and that you’re not interested in challenging your preconceived notions. So, why bother trying to talk to you about it?

    On to the next post on Islam

    Shawn

    Reply

  21. Shawn,
    In all fairness, you have your own preconceived notions based on your own experiences. But, I will not offend you by attempting to list them for you.

    Just because I have preconceived notions does not mean that I have no basis for those “notions.” I have lived in NM long enough to see people praying to saints, chanting to saints, singing to saints (Ave Maria sung with more passion than Amazing Grace), and worshipping the saints.

    I have had a few church history classes. I did not learn as much as I could have if I had devoted more time to the subject, but I did learn a few things about the reformers (and their step children). For example, I learned that Martin Luther denounced the veneration of saints because it turned people’s minds away from Christ.

    I know the difference between the Roman Catholic view of transubstantiation and Luther’s view of consubstantiation. I disagree with both, but I firmly agree with Luther in his opposition to transubstantiation. I agree with Luther that transubstantiation corrupted the Lord’s Supper with the claim of repeating daily the once-for-all finished work of Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:11–13). I agree with Luther that such a veiw obscures the truth of the Gospel. I believe the Gospel was always the true issue with Luther, even though he had his faults.

    I guess one could also say that Martin Luther had some preconceived notions about Roman Catholicism? Perhaps Luther was just too evangelical? Perhaps Luther was simply too closed minded? Perhaps Luther was just too focused on the Gospel and wanted nothing to obscure it…

    Reply

    1. Roger,

      Saying that “I saw them doing x, y or z” does not at all amount to a legitimate argument or point. We could go back and forth and back and forth on the worst heresies of pentecostal popular piety and ‘catholic’ popular piety and not come any closer to a real statement on truth.

      It seems you advocate a “puritan” policy in regards to praying with saints in that it is not proscribed in Scripture. Of course I am sure you allow things in your church that are not anywhere proscribed in Scripture; for instance musical instruments are nowhere proscribed in the NT and many in late Reformation times recommended not doing anything at all that was not so commanded.

      It was and is Anglican policy in regards to piety (amongst other things) that “That which Scripture does not forbid it allows” If St. Paul in a cryptic passage does not even forbid baptizing on account of the dead then I am not at all convinced that the iconoclastic position you take is convincing.

      In addition, you may or may not take Tradition seriously as a source of Authority, but when reigned in by Scripture I consider it quite seriously. One classic historical situation I’m surprised has not been brought up yet is the conflicts over Icons in the Church. It became the accepted view of the Church to allow Icons and the classic arguments in favor of it to me are directly connected to arguments in favor of praying with Saints. John of Damascus wrote the most authoritative of these theologies.

      So we have something not forbidden by Scripture and accepted by the Church catholic, which for me is argument enough to allow and even practice the veneration of Saints and icons.

      Reply

  22. Roger,

    A few points of clarity, not to argue, but to clear the air about what exactly I believe…

    1. I do not believe in worshipping saints. Veneration means taking them seriously, looking to them as role models, reading their wisdom, giving them a place of honor in practice and liturgy. Apart from spending ALL your time focused on something, loving it and cherishing it to the exclusion of everything else, I don’t see how you can worship something without intentionally believing that you are worshipping something.

    2. I do not hold to transubstantiation, or consubstantiation, or the purely symbollic view of the Eucharist. The two former are a ludicrously medieval attempt to understand the inexplicable, and the latter is a over-simplified reaction to the former.

    3. Never have a I heard the Ave Maria sung at my church. The centerpieces of liturgical music in my church are the “Sanctus” (“Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of Your glory…”) and the “Agnus Dei” (Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world have mercy on us…grant us peace.”

    Shawn and Roger,

    The gospel I care about is one of justice, love, unity and peace. As such, I am grieved by the tone of this thread, and sort of wish I hadn’t written the original post, though 20 comments later the thread has very little to do with the original content. Our family religious drama is never going to be resolved without grace, civility and understanding. We can either be at each other’s throats for the next 40 years or we can somehow learn to collectively get over it. I think this is going to involve releasing the prejudices that we ALL have. We ALL have prejudices based in experience, and prejudices based in dogma and doctrine, but without love our experiences and our doctrines mean exactly nothing. Both of you know all this and could state it more eloquently than I, and you know, too, that elsewhere I have been very gulity of being uncharitible, but I think the tone of this thread warrants me thowing out this reminder.

    Reply

  23. James,

    Point taken.

    I do have my own prejudices and preconceived notions.

    I’m not upset by any beliefs expressed on this thread or any other.

    I do want peace and unity for all of the Church.

    This conflict is not limited to a “family feud.” We (the Church) need to engage in intellectually honest, personally transparent dialogue with different Christian traditions. I am using all of my experiences on this blog as a way to refine that skill.

    Shawn

    Reply

  24. Tony wrote:
    Saying that “I saw them doing x, y or z” does not at all amount to a legitimate argument or point.

    RESPONSE:
    Actually, it is the only type of testimony that is allowed in a court of law…

    Reply

  25. I don’t know much about the Quran nor do I see much need to learn a great deal about it at this point in my life. I seldom ever meet any Muslims. I do not interact with Muslims on a daily basis. I do not have to try to understand them because there is no Muslim in my life who needs me to understand him.

    On the other hand, I have spent 33 years in a largely Roman Catholic area, and I have spent countless hours studying their beliefs, reading their books, and interacting with them.

    I have also had a great deal of contact with Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses during this time. I have spent time researching their beliefs as well.

    Reply

  26. Tony wrote:
    So we have something not forbidden by Scripture and accepted by the Church catholic, which for me is argument enough to allow and even practice the veneration of Saints and icons.

    RESPONSE:
    Hmmm… Have you ever read what Martin Luther had to say about veneration of saints and icons? He seemed to have a few “scriptural” reasons for his opposition.

    I am also curious concerning your view of the reformation. Do you believe the reformation was a mistake? Do you think there was any need for the reformation?

    Reply

  27. James wrote:
    1. I do not believe in worshipping saints…
    2. I do not hold to transubstantiation, or consubstantiation, or the purely symbollic view of the Eucharist…
    3. Never have a I heard the Ave Maria sung at my church…

    RESPONSE:
    For the record, I never claimed to be an eyewitness of any of these in any Episcopal church. I admit that I have very little experience with the Episcopal church, but I have a great deal of interest in it and I am researching it as time goes on. My comments were not directed at the Episcopal church, but at the doctrines and practiced discussed in this thread which I believe to be false.

    I believe such doctrines detract from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and lead people away from the truth. I also believe Martin Luther and company had good reasons for opposing such doctrines. Otherwise, the reformers would not have taken the dangerous risk of rebelling against the Pope.

    Reply

  28. Roger,

    That’s a very good question. If I ever had time (and I might finally start getting a little bit more time in the next couple weeks) I would love to write a post about it. I’ll put it on the “I’ll blog about that sometime” list.

    In short, it seems to me there was little in the way of “official” doctrine that needed to be reformed. There was a ton in the way of “popular” doctrine that needed reforming as there was in ecclesiastical ethics. I’m convinced that but for the Counter-Reformation there would not be some of what is now Roman Catholic dogma.

    I also believe that there are essentials that have been lost in Protestantism.

    What absolutely didn’t need to happen was a permanent schism in the Western Church and that it did is one of the saddest parts of our history as the people of God.

    Reply

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