The Communion of Saints
Hear the following talk from Apologetics on The Communion of Saints.
The Communion of Saints
1. Catholic Teaching
A. Catechism of the Catholic Church #946-962
1. The Communion of Saints is the Church; #946
2. All members of the one body – Christ; #947
3. All Christians are connected through the Body of Christ; #953, 2 Cor 2:5, and 2 Cor 1:5
B. Communion of Saints-Underlying Principles
1. Every Christian is a member of the Body of Christ; Rom 12:4-5, 1 Cor 12:12-13
a. Through baptism; Col 2:12; Rom 6:4,Gal 3:27
2. Physical death does not separate us from the Body of Christ; Rom 8:38-39
3. There is only one Body of Christ, in Heaven and on Earth; Eph 2:15-16; Eph 4:4
4. The Church is the Body of Christ; Eph 1:22-23, Col 1:18,24
C. Just as we can pray for one another, we can suffer for one another; Col 1:24
2. Objections to Catholic Teaching
A. Contrary to Deut 18:10-12, “calling up the dead”
1. Misinterpretation of Scripture; this is about the occult
2. Misunderstanding of Catholic practice and teaching; Catholics do not use mediums, spiritists, etc. to “call up the dead”
3. Saints in Heaven are “alive”; Mt 22:31-32 God is the God of the Living!
4. Mt 17:1-4, Elijah and Moses “appear” to Jesus and 3 disciples
B. Terminology: “Prayer” to Mary or “Prayer” to the Saints is not worshipping them;
It is asking or requesting their prayer and intercession. E.g., “I pray thee, brothers and sisters, pray for me.”
C. Saints in Heaven can’t hear us or see us; therefore, we cannot pray to them
1. Saints in Heaven do not have the same limitations that we have on Earth: Rev 21:21;1 Cor 13:12; 1 Cor 15:49; 2 Ptr 1:4; 1 Cor 2:9
2. God reveals certain knowledge to angels and saints in Heaven; 1 Cor 2:10, Rev 6:9-10, 1 Sam 28:8-19, Lk 16:19-31
3. Angels and saints, to some extent, know what’s in a person’s heart and mind; Luke 15:7-10, Mt 22:29-30, Heb 12:1
D. Prayer to Mary and the Saints is attributing God-like power to them
1. Example of left hand sticking right hand with needle; all impulses 1st go through the brain
2. All prayer 1st goes through Christ; everything is through Him, with Him, and in Him; Mary and the Saints have no power of their own
1) Saints in Heaven are alive, not dead;
2) Saints and angels in Heaven have some knowledge of events, present and future, on Earth; and some knowledge of interior dispositions;
3) This knowledge is not of their own power, it is only through Jesus Christ.
E. Why waste your time praying to the Saints when you can go straight to Jesus?
1. Why waste your time asking me for prayer when you can go straight to Jesus?
2. Misunderstanding-you cannot go to the Saints with out 1st going to Jesus (Head of the Body)
3. Prayer of a righteous man; James 5:16, 1 Ptr 3:12, Heb 12:22-23, Job 42:7-10, Ex 17:8-13
4. If there are no righteous ones on earth (Rom 3:10),and therefore, according to Protestant argument, Mary was not sinless, who was James talking about in 5:16?
5. Saints in Heaven love us and want to pray for us; “Love never ends…” 1 Cor 13:8
F. Biggest objection to Catholic teaching – 1 Tim 2:5; Jesus’ role as “sole mediator between God and man”
1. Catholics agree that Jesus is the “sole mediator between God and man”. Jesus is the only one who is true God and true man; only by Jesus’ blood are we saved; but, as members of Jesus’ Body, we can share in His role as mediator as He allows us to
2. Moses, Abraham, Job are examples of mediation and intercession between God and man; praying for one another here on earth is an example of mediating and interceding between God and man
3. 1 Tim 2:5 is being misinterpreted
4. Only one foundation, Jesus: 1 Cor 3:11. Yet, other foundations: Eph 2:19-20, Rev 21:14
5. Only one Lord, Jesus: Eph 4:4-5 Yet, other lords: Rev 19:16, 1 Ptr 3:6
6. Only one judge, Jesus: James 4:12, 2 Tim 4:1. Yet, other judges: 1 Cor 6:2, Lk 22:28-30
7. Only one Father, God: Mt 23:9 Yet, other fathers: Acts 7:2, Acts 22:1, 1 Cor 4:15
8. Only one teacher, Jesus: Mt 23:6-8 (NKJV). Yet, other teachers: Acts 13:1, 1 Cor 12:28
9. More examples of intercessors/mediators: Mt 18:10, Rev 5:8, Rev 8:3-4
Summary: Scripture tells us that there is only one Foundation, only Lord, only one Judge, only one Father, only one Teacher, just as it tells us there is one Mediator; yet, Scripture also shows us that there is more than one judge, more than one foundation, more than one lord, more than one judge, more than one father, more than one teacher. Does scripture contradict itself? No! Jesus is the head of the Body.
Jesus grants different members of the Body the graces to share in His role as foundation, as lord, as judge, as father, as teacher, and yes, as mediator. The members of the Body are allowed…through, with, and in Jesus Christ…to share in the grace and glory of the Head, Jesus Christ. And, as we have seen, Scripture is full of examples of people sharing in the mediation of Christ.