Critique of THE PROTESTANT'S DILEMMA by Devin Rose

Chapter 18 - The Communion of Saints

Page 123: Protestants agree that we can and should ask one another for prayers, but not that we should make the same request of Christians who have gone before us. (In their terminology, “the saints” refers to Christians living on earth today, not to Christians who have died in Christ and whose souls are now with God.) They base this belief on biblical prohibitions against necromancy, and on the absence of direct testimony (in their biblical books, anyway) to communion between Christians on earth and those in heaven.
Note: Believers in heaven will be focused on God not saints on the earth.
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Revelation 5:6-8.
Note: Will you believe the Apostle John or the traditions of men?

Pages 123-124: Luther and the early Protestants rejected not only prayers on behalf of the dead (because they rejected belief in purgatory), but also the idea that the saints in heaven can pray for us. Protestants to this day likewise believe that those who have passed away, whether they are in heaven or hell, are completely disconnected from us here on Earth. This seems like common sense. Your loved one died, so that’s it for any kind of relationship with him, at least until Christ returns in glory and we are resurrected. We’re strictly forbidden to conjure dead spirits, and it seems no difference to ask the dead for the prayers – even those who have died in Christ.
Note: Will you pray according to the way Jesus Christ taught?
In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13.
Note: Will you follow Jesus Christ or the traditions of men?

Page 124: Catholic devotion to the saints offends Protestants in other ways, too? They believe only God should be honored and that venerating the saints steals glory from him; they believe that at least some Catholics turn veneration into worship and thus sin by either worshiping a person instead of God or (worse), worshiping a statue representing a person; finally the perceived macabre earthiness of relics – bones and clothes of saints, for example – evokes an almost instinctive revulsion from them. For Protestants, the dangers of Christians taking such veneration to superstitious extremes is reason enough to shun the practice, as Martin Luther described in one of his feast day sermons on the veneration of Mary: “First Christ is diminished by those who place their hearts more upon Mary than upon Christ himself. In doing so Christ is forced into the background and completely forgotten … (The monks) have used Mary as an excuse to invent all kinds of lies by which she could be used to establish their twaddle. They have used Scriptures to drag Mary by the hair and force her to go where she never intended.” Luther was not against honoring Mary, but he felt that certain monks had gone too far with it, leading the people astray. Protestants today echo his fears but go still further, rejecting veneration of the saints entirely.
Note: The Apostle Paul rejects Mary as a mediator between God and mankind.
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 1 Timothy 2:5-7.
Note: Will you believe the Apostle Paul or the traditions of men?

Page 125: The Catholic Church teaches a doctrine called the communion of saints, which the Catholic Encyclopedia calls the spiritual solidarity which binds together the faithful on earth, the souls in purgatory, and the saints in heaven in the organic unity of the same mystical body under Christ its head … The participants in that solidarity are called saints by reason of their destination (heaven) and of their partaking of the fruits of the Redemption.
Note: Any gathering of Christians anywhere forms a church in Jesus Christ.
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:19-20.
Note: There are many churches in Jesus Christ everywhere.

Page 125: This ancient belief has its roots in the Bible’s references to the Church being “the household of God” (see Eph. 2:19), whose members are the Christian faithful.
Note: The church refers to Christians who are on the earth during this age.
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. Ephesians 1:15-21.
Note: Saints are not mentioned in heaven just saved believers.

Page 125: Since we know that those who die in Christ do not die eternally but rather still live in Christ, awaiting the resurrection, the faithful who have died in God’s friendship remain united to the Church, which is Christ’s body (cf. Eph. 4:4-13).
Note: The church refers to Christians who are on the earth during this age.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16.
Note: Saints are not mentioned in heaven just saved believers.

Page 125: And so the Church as a supernatural society extends beyond those currently living on Earth. Based on these truths, since we Christians pray for one another here on Earth, we also receive graces from the prayers of the saints in heaven and can pray for the saints being purified in purgatory. Though we cannot see them, we know that they are with God and are members of his Church, as we are.
Note: Believers in heaven will be focused on God not saints on the earth.
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”
Note: Saints are not mentioned in heaven just saved believers.

Pages 125-126: To the objection that those who have died in Christ are dead and therefore no communion with them is possible, the account of the Transfiguration poses a solid rebuttal. The great Old Testament men, Moses and Elijah, appear before Jesus – and Peter, James, and John: “And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him” (Matt. 17:1-8). Though a Protestant might point out that Elijah had been taken up to heaven before his death, Moses certainly died (see Deut. 34). Yet Moses obviously lives, as he appears talking with Jesus in the presence of the apostles.
Note: Moses and Elijah symbolized the law and the prophets of the Old Testament.
“The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:16-17.
Note: They may have been discussing the fulfillment of O.T. law and prophecies.

Page 126: Couple this account of two “dead” men talking with Jesus with the revelation that Jesus used to refute the Sadducees in their denial of the resurrection: “That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive’ (Luke 20:37-38). Those who have passed from this world are still very much alive to God, and may even communicate with those on Earth, because God desires it and makes it possible.
Note: Believers in heaven will be focused on God not saints on the earth.
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing! And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever! Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever. Revelation 5:11-14.
Note: The author has mixed up the different ages of the Old and New Testaments.

Page 126: The communion of saints is a spiritual family, and death cannot sunder it, because we are joined to Christ who has conquered death. So we ask our brethren here on Earth to pray for us, knowing they are in Christ, and we do the same for those who have fallen asleep in him. God is a loving Father who, like earthly fathers, delights when his children are rightly praised for the good they do in their attempts to follow his commandments.
Note: Any gathering of Christians anywhere forms a church in Jesus Christ.
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost. 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16.
Note: The purpose of the church is to be a witness for Jesus Christ.

Pages 126-127: Regarding veneration of the saints and relics, it should first be made clear that it is sinful for anyone to worship someone or something other than God. The Catholic Church teaches that, and if some Catholics don’t know it, they need to be told. So worshiping a saint is wrong, and worshiping a statue of the saint – heaven forbid – is wrong. Do we steal glory from God when we honor one of his children? On the contrary, by recognizing that the good deeds and holy lives of the saints were products of God’s grace, and by seeking to emulate them, we give due honor to God.
Note: Why does the Catholic Church honor decadent men who were popes?
But Pope Alexander VI, always ready to seize opportunities to aggrandize his family, then adopted a double policy. Through the intervention of the Spanish ambassador he made peace with Naples in July 1493 and cemented the peace by a marriage between his son Gioffre and Doņa Sancha, another granddaughter of Ferdinand I. In order to dominate the Sacred College of Cardinals more completely, Alexander, in a move that created much scandal, created 12 new cardinals. Among the new cardinals was his own son Cesare, then only 18 years old. Alessandro Farnese (later Pope Paul III), the brother of one of the Pope's mistresses, Giulia Farnese, was also among the newly created cardinals. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

Page 127: What do we make of relics? I admit that as a Protestant they repelled me. But I later realized that those feelings were caused largely by the bias that had formed within me from living in a Protestant ecclesial culture.
Note: Christians should not be distracted by things.
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:8-11.
Note: Christians will be focused on Jesus Christ.

Page 127: In the book of Acts, we read that “God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them” (Acts 19:11-12). So whether we find relics loathsome or not, clear precedents from the inspired word of God exist for them.
Note: The purpose of miracles was to demonstrate the power of God.
And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5.

Page 127: If Protestantism is true, then the individualism of modern early Protestantism also extends to those who have fallen asleep in Christ. We have no connection to those brethren who have gone to their reward in Christ, for God keeps us all separate from one another, despite the Church’s being called his family. The Church’s ancient practice of asking saints for intercession has all along been the grave evil necromancy or idolatry.
Note: The Catholic Church as added confusion to the Christian faith.
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. 1 Corinthians 14:33.
Note: Any gathering of Christians anywhere during this age forms a church in Jesus Christ.