The Veneration, or Not, of the Saints

 

The topic of veneration is a bit of a challenge for me, as the first association I have with the word is the veneration of saints. I’m Lutheran though, and Lutherans don’t venerate saints; we’re kinda famous for not doing so.  If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification, we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling it or a lazy kid who won’t do his chores until his mom nags him.

That being said, we do still have a place for saints in our worship. They are for our education and edification, if not our veneration.  My Liber Hymnorum, a hymnal of Latin hymns used by the early Lutheran church, describes a year of saintly feasts, from St. Sebastian on January 20th to the Holy Innocents on December 28th, with stops for St. Gregory in March, St. Anne in July, and St. Michael and All Angels in September, as well as about a dozen others. The Brotherhood Prayer Book, a Lutheran breviary, lists dozens more notable church fathers and mothers whose feast day is a chance for honoring and remembering their extraordinary lives, including doctors of the church like John Chrysostom, Anselm of Canterbury, Bede the Venerable, and Augustine of Hippo.  (If you see a St. Martin Lutheran Church, it is recognizing Martin of Tours, not Mr. Luther.)

On these special occasions, we have special hymns and collects, e.g. the collect for the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul includes “O God, who didst give Thine Apostles Peter and Paul grace to lay down their lives for the sake of Thy dear Son : endow us, we beseech Thee, with like constancy, that we may at all times be ready to lay down our lives.” The standard saint’s festival hymn for LCMS congregations is “By All Your Saints in Warfare,” 517-518. Yes, that’s one hymn — 28 verses over four pages. The first and third verses are always the same; the second is the one responsive to the day, whether verse 4 “Saints and Martyrs (general)” sung on All Saints’ or verse 22 “St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord” sung on my birthday.

It may not be veneration, but we Lutherans still have a place for saints.

There are 151 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Amy Schley: we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling it

    This thread is going to be fun! 

    Let me know when it’s over.  I’ll be hiding under my desk…

    • #1
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Amy Schley: If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification, we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling it 

    That is a great way to put it, actually.

     

    • #2
  3. Josh Farnsworth Member
    Josh Farnsworth
    @

    Amy Schley: If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification

    No indulgences for you. 

    • #3
  4. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Josh Farnsworth (View Comment):

    Amy Schley: If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification

    No indulgences for you.

    Darn! What will I throw in the bonfire on Reformation Day now?

    • #4
  5. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Amy Schley: If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification, we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling it

    That is a great way to put it, actually.

     

    No, it’s not. It’s a gross simplification that I used for a laugh line. 

    • #5
  6. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Amy Schley: If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification, we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling it

    That is a great way to put it, actually.

     

    No, it’s not. It’s a gross simplification that I used for a laugh line.

    It is actually what is being done, though. God is big busy being, and having someone else important put in a good word for you is exactly what is praying to the Saints is about. It is a human view of how things work. Human hierarchy and norms imposed on God. The Saints get portfolios or domains of authority, like ministers of God, overseeing their areas. In our world, you go to said Minister, not the guy in charge because that is how it works. It makes sense to our human brains just as much as the Prosperity Preachers do. Both are us trying to make Heaven operate along Earthly norms. Heaven operates in ways we cannot comprehend. The perfect King has no need of Ministers: He knows All already, because it is His creation. 

    So, I stand by it: Your joke is funny because of the elements of truth that it contains. It is a great way to put it that gets to the point. 

    • #6
  7. danok1 Member
    danok1
    @danok1

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Amy Schley: If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification, we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling it

    That is a great way to put it, actually.

    No, it’s not. It’s a gross simplification that I used for a laugh line.

    It is actually what is being done, though. God is big busy being, and having someone else important put in a good word for you is exactly what is praying to the Saints is about. It is a human view of how things work. Human hierarchy and norms imposed on God. The Saints get portfolios or domains of authority, like ministers of God, overseeing their areas. In our world, you go to said Minister, not the guy in charge because that is how it works. It makes sense to our human brains just as much as the Prosperity Preachers do. Both are us trying to make Heaven operate along Earthly norms. Heaven operates in ways we cannot comprehend. The perfect King has no need of Ministers: He knows All already, because it is His creation.

    So, I stand by it: Your joke is funny because of the elements of truth that it contains. It is a great way to put it that gets to the point.

    @bryangstephens, do you ever pray for another person? Do you ever ask someone to pray for you?

    • #7
  8. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    So, I stand by it: Your joke is funny because of the elements of truth that it contains. It is a great way to put it that gets to the point. 

    I hope you can feel so gracious when Josh jokes about his ex going to a Methodist seminary and becoming a Catholic, because the other option was to become an atheist. It’s funny because of the elements of truth it contains. 

    • #8
  9. GLDIII Reagan
    GLDIII
    @GLDIII

    “I, at any rate, am convinced that [God] does not throw dice”- Albert Einstein

    Sounds like God has some sort of organization to keep check on the universe,

    Saints preserve us 😳

    • #9
  10. Vectorman Inactive
    Vectorman
    @Vectorman

    Amy Schley: the collect for the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul

    The names of two large LCMS churches here in Fort Wayne, along with St. Michael’s and  @saintaugustine.

    • #10
  11. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    I think that veneration of saints is first supposed to be about a bold affirmation that the Church is everyone who lives in the promises of Christ, including those who have passed and that we and they are part of that same single community.  Second, it is second about trying by desire and emulation to attach ourselves to persons with a sanctified life.

    I picture Christ returning to the Father but dragging along hordes of flawed riffraff (that would be us) attached by love.  He says, in effect, if you want me, you gotta take them too.  A saint is someone who does the same thing, though on a considerably smaller scale.  That is what intercession means.

    The intended use of saints as a source for preferred temporal outcomes (pain relief, lottery hits, fewer morons elected to office, etc) is inherently problematic to put it charitably.  For example, a well-educated Irishwoman of my acquaintance once told me that one should pray to Saint Joseph when looking to buy a house (could be spiritually efficacious even if too outcome-oriented) but to bury a statue of St. Joseph upside down in the back yard when you are trying to sell.  (Truly horrifying.)

    I understand the horror of my Protestant brethren at superstitious drivel but I fear that sometimes they are content to toss a few babies so long as the volume of bath water is sufficiently large.

    • #11
  12. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    a well-educated Irishwoman of my acquaintance once told me that one should pray to Saint Joseph when looking to buy a house (could be spiritually efficacious even if too outcome-oriented) but to bury a statue of St. Joseph upside down in the back yard when you are trying to sell. (Truly horrifying.)

    We had had our house on the market for over a year with no real interest.  A Catholic friend of ours gave my wife a little plastic figurine of St. Joseph, and told her to bury it in our yard.  She did (I would not have done so.  My wife was desperate to sell our house, and thought, “Why not?). 

    Our house sold in a month.

    This did not inspire us to convert to Catholicism.  But whatever floats your boat.  Our friend takes my skepticism in stride, saying, “Your house sold, didn’t it?  Ha!”

    And you’re right, as a Christian, I find such superstitions a bit concerning.  But again, whatever – live and let live.

    • #12
  13. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    a well-educated Irishwoman of my acquaintance once told me that one should pray to Saint Joseph when looking to buy a house (could be spiritually efficacious even if too outcome-oriented) but to bury a statue of St. Joseph upside down in the back yard when you are trying to sell. (Truly horrifying.)

    We had had our house on the market for over a year with no real interest. A Catholic friend of ours gave my wife a little plastic figurine of St. Joseph, and told her to bury it in our yard. She did (I would not have done so. My wife was desperate to sell our house, and thought, “Why not?).

    Our house sold in a month.

    This did not inspire us to convert to Catholicism. But whatever floats your boat. Our friend takes my skepticism in stride, saying, “Your house sold, didn’t it? Ha!”

    And you’re right, as a Christian, I find such superstitions a bit concerning. But again, whatever – live and let live.

    Burying St Joseph is a superstition, and shouldn’t be done. It also is a desecration of St Joseph to do such a thing. Not all Catholics believe in doing such thing, but we have a lot of cultural Catholics out there that probably do it because their grandmother did it. I’ll admit it’s not a good look for Catholics. I’m sure it was just a coincidence your house sold after burying the statue.

    • #13
  14. Josh Farnsworth Member
    Josh Farnsworth
    @

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Josh Farnsworth (View Comment):

    Amy Schley: If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification

    No indulgences for you.

    Darn! What will I throw in the bonfire on Reformation Day now?

    The wordplay and homage to Seinfeld was to me as the I in TULIP is to Calvinists-irresistible.

    • #14
  15. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    GLDIII (View Comment):

    “I, at any rate, am convinced that [God] does not throw dice”- Albert Einstein

    Sounds like God has some sort of organization to keep check on the universe,

    Saints preserve us 😳

    I just have this mental image of God calling Martin Luther into his office like Wally Shawn does at the beginning of “The Incredibles”:

    “I have a problem with your parishioners. Do you know what it is?”

    “Complaints?”

    “Complaints I can handle. No. Your parishioners are too well informed! They’re penetrating the bureaucracy!”

    • #15
  16. GLDIII Reagan
    GLDIII
    @GLDIII

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    GLDIII (View Comment):

    “I, at any rate, am convinced that [God] does not throw dice”- Albert Einstein

    Sounds like God has some sort of organization to keep check on the universe,

    Saints preserve us 😳

    I just have this mental image of God calling Martin Luther into his office like Wally Shawn does at the beginning of “The Incredibles”:

    “I have a problem with your parishioners. Do you know what it is?”

    “Complaints?”

    “Complaints I can handle. No. Your parishioners are too well informed! They’re penetrating the bureaucracy!”

    Yup one multiverse at a time.

    (Note I am not sold on this theory of Physics. Anything that cannot be disproved or tested is mathematical shenanigans).

    • #16
  17. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Amy Schley: If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification, we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling

    I hope you don’t think we Catholics believe this. Declaring one a saint, the Church assures us that that person is in Heaven – it is not the act of putting them there. Canonization by the pope is an infallible statement by the Church that a particular person definitely is in heaven and therefore is worthy to be given public honor by Catholics. I’m certain there are many, many, many more saints than we can name. I love having the saints to venerate.

    • #17
  18. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Amy Schley: If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification, we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling

    I hope you don’t think we Catholics believe this. Declaring one a saint, the Church assures us that that person is in Heaven – it is not the act of putting them there. Canonization by the pope is an infallible statement by the Church that a particular person definitely is in heaven and therefore is worthy to be given public honor by Catholics. I’m certain there are many, many, many more saints than we can name. I love having the saints to venerate.

    No, I don’t think that. Admittedly, some of the defenses of saint veneration get to sound that way after a while (“Mary got Jesus to change the water to wine, so she can help your prayers be answered” “So Jesus needs His mom to nag him?”) but I called the comment a flippant over simplification because I know it’s not an accurate description. 

    Out of curiosity, has anyone even made it to the second paragraph? 

    • #18
  19. danok1 Member
    danok1
    @danok1

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Amy Schley: If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification, we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling

    I hope you don’t think we Catholics believe this. Declaring one a saint, the Church assures us that that person is in Heaven – it is not the act of putting them there. Canonization by the pope is an infallible statement by the Church that a particular person definitely is in heaven and therefore is worthy to be given public honor by Catholics. I’m certain there are many, many, many more saints than we can name. I love having the saints to venerate.

    No, I don’t think that. Admittedly, some of the defenses of saint veneration get to sound that way after a while (“Mary got Jesus to change the water to wine, so she can help your prayers be answered” “So Jesus needs His mom to nag him?”) but I called the comment a flippant over simplification because I know it’s not an accurate description.

    Out of curiosity, has anyone even made it to the second paragraph?

    Most of the Kontakion and Apolotikion in the Orthodox Church contain some variation of “pray to Christ that our souls be saved.”  For example, here is the Apolotikion for Herman the Wonderworker of Alaska:

    Blessed ascetic of the northern wilds and gracious intercessor for the whole world, teacher of the Orthodox Faith, good instructor of piety, adornment of Alaska and joy of all America, holy Father Herman, pray to Christ God that He save our souls.

    And the Kontakion:

    Monk of Valaam, who through ascetic labours didst become an emulator of the desert-dwelling Saints of old, O beloved of the Mother of God and Virgin, having taken prayer as sword and shield, thou wast revealed as the scourge of pagan darkness and the demons’ hosts. Hence we cry to thee: O Saint Herman, pray that we be saved.

    This is the veneration of the saints, IMHO. And I’m glad to see that the Lutherans still honor the saints (though I’m one who thought St. Martin was for Luther, not Martin of Tours).

     

    • #19
  20. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    Out of curiosity, has anyone even made it to the second paragraph? 

    Yes, and even to the third. And the collect you sight in paragraph 3 sounds like veneration to me – so good on ya.

    • #20
  21. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    I think that veneration of saints is first supposed to be about a bold affirmation that the Church is everyone who lives in the promises of Christ, including those who have passed and that we and they are part of that same single community.

    Yes.  Very much this.  They’re alive in Christ, and part of the family.

    • #21
  22. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    GLDIII (View Comment):

    “I, at any rate, am convinced that [God] does not throw dice”- Albert Einstein

    Sounds like God has some sort of organization to keep check on the universe,

    Saints preserve us 😳

    I just have this mental image of God calling Martin Luther into his office like Wally Shawn does at the beginning of “The Incredibles”:

    “I have a problem with your parishioners. Do you know what it is?”

    “Complaints?”

    “Complaints I can handle. No. Your parishioners are too well informed! They’re penetrating the bureaucracy!”

    “I’m just doing my job!”

    “Then how did Nancy acquire a form S29 for Saint Brigid?  I don’t see any record of her properly petitioning Saint Dwynwen first!”

    • #22
  23. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    GLDIII (View Comment):

    “I, at any rate, am convinced that [God] does not throw dice”- Albert Einstein

    Sounds like God has some sort of organization to keep check on the universe,

    Saints preserve us 😳

    I just have this mental image of God calling Martin Luther into his office like Wally Shawn does at the beginning of “The Incredibles”:

    “I have a problem with your parishioners. Do you know what it is?”

    “Complaints?”

    “Complaints I can handle. No. Your parishioners are too well informed! They’re penetrating the bureaucracy!”

    “I’m just doing my job!”

    “Then how did Nancy acquire a form S29 for Saint Brigid? I don’t see any record of her properly petitioning Saint Dwynwen first!”

    St. Sebastian: “Why do I keep getting payers for alleviation from the plague? I’m a soldier who was shot with arrows, people. Hey Luke! Got more misfiled petitions for you!”

    • #23
  24. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    GLDIII (View Comment):

    “I, at any rate, am convinced that [God] does not throw dice”- Albert Einstein

    Sounds like God has some sort of organization to keep check on the universe,

    Saints preserve us 😳

    I just have this mental image of God calling Martin Luther into his office like Wally Shawn does at the beginning of “The Incredibles”:

    “I have a problem with your parishioners. Do you know what it is?”

    “Complaints?”

    “Complaints I can handle. No. Your parishioners are too well informed! They’re penetrating the bureaucracy!”

    “I’m just doing my job!”

    “Then how did Nancy acquire a form S29 for Saint Brigid? I don’t see any record of her properly petitioning Saint Dwynwen first!”

    St. Sebastian: “Why do I keep getting payers for alleviation from the plague? I’m a soldier who was shot with arrows, people. Hey Luke! Got more misfiled petitions for you!”

    “And while we’re at it, wasn’t Christopher demoted?  Why does he still have a corner office?”

    “The Orthodox still keep him too busy.”

    • #24
  25. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    danok1 (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Amy Schley: If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification, we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling it

    That is a great way to put it, actually.

    No, it’s not. It’s a gross simplification that I used for a laugh line.

    It is actually what is being done, though. God is big busy being, and having someone else important put in a good word for you is exactly what is praying to the Saints is about. It is a human view of how things work. Human hierarchy and norms imposed on God. The Saints get portfolios or domains of authority, like ministers of God, overseeing their areas. In our world, you go to said Minister, not the guy in charge because that is how it works. It makes sense to our human brains just as much as the Prosperity Preachers do. Both are us trying to make Heaven operate along Earthly norms. Heaven operates in ways we cannot comprehend. The perfect King has no need of Ministers: He knows All already, because it is His creation.

    So, I stand by it: Your joke is funny because of the elements of truth that it contains. It is a great way to put it that gets to the point.

    @bryangstephens, do you ever pray for another person? Do you ever ask someone to pray for you?

    Yep. Not the same thing. My mother does not have a domain of responsibility and is not considered to be closer to God than I am. That dodge does not work. I stand by my statement that Saints are treated as Ministers of God. I think that is wrong. 

    • #25
  26. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    So, I stand by it: Your joke is funny because of the elements of truth that it contains. It is a great way to put it that gets to the point.

    I hope you can feel so gracious when Josh jokes about his ex going to a Methodist seminary and becoming a Catholic, because the other option was to become an atheist. It’s funny because of the elements of truth it contains.

    Considering that I am perfectly OK with all the flavors of Christianity, it is no skin off of my nose. I am not the one who has an organization that considers it a mortal sin to leave their Church, after all. 

    • #26
  27. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I think that veneration of saints is first supposed to be about a bold affirmation that the Church is everyone who lives in the promises of Christ, including those who have passed and that we and they are part of that same single community. Second, it is second about trying by desire and emulation to attach ourselves to persons with a sanctified life.

    I picture Christ returning to the Father but dragging along hordes of flawed riffraff (that would be us) attached by love. He says, in effect, if you want me, you gotta take them too. A saint is someone who does the same thing, though on a considerably smaller scale. That is what intercession means.

    The intended use of saints as a source for preferred temporal outcomes (pain relief, lottery hits, fewer morons elected to office, etc) is inherently problematic to put it charitably. For example, a well-educated Irishwoman of my acquaintance once told me that one should pray to Saint Joseph when looking to buy a house (could be spiritually efficacious even if too outcome-oriented) but to bury a statue of St. Joseph upside down in the back yard when you are trying to sell. (Truly horrifying.)

    I understand the horror of my Protestant brethren at superstitious drivel but I fear that sometimes they are content to toss a few babies so long as the volume of bath water is sufficiently large.

    This is using Saints as minor deities. You cannot spin it any other way. It is no different than an Evangelical treating God as a vending machine. I don’t think rejecting this can be strong enough. 

    There have been great men and women in history. I honor them. I am not going to pray to them like a pagan god.

    • #27
  28. danok1 Member
    danok1
    @danok1

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    danok1 (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Amy Schley: If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification, we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling it

    That is a great way to put it, actually.

    No, it’s not. It’s a gross simplification that I used for a laugh line.

    It is actually what is being done, though. God is big busy being, and having someone else important put in a good word for you is exactly what is praying to the Saints is about. It is a human view of how things work. Human hierarchy and norms imposed on God. The Saints get portfolios or domains of authority, like ministers of God, overseeing their areas. In our world, you go to said Minister, not the guy in charge because that is how it works. It makes sense to our human brains just as much as the Prosperity Preachers do. Both are us trying to make Heaven operate along Earthly norms. Heaven operates in ways we cannot comprehend. The perfect King has no need of Ministers: He knows All already, because it is His creation.

    So, I stand by it: Your joke is funny because of the elements of truth that it contains. It is a great way to put it that gets to the point.

    @bryangstephens, do you ever pray for another person? Do you ever ask someone to pray for you?

    Yep. Not the same thing. My mother does not have a domain of responsibility and is not considered to be closer to God than I am. That dodge does not work. I stand by my statement that Saints are treated as Ministers of God. I think that is wrong.

    I want to be sure I understand: you do not believe that those in the Church Triumphant can pray for members of the Church Militant or others here on earth that their souls be saved.

    • #28
  29. danok1 Member
    danok1
    @danok1

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I think that veneration of saints is first supposed to be about a bold affirmation that the Church is everyone who lives in the promises of Christ, including those who have passed and that we and they are part of that same single community. Second, it is second about trying by desire and emulation to attach ourselves to persons with a sanctified life.

    I picture Christ returning to the Father but dragging along hordes of flawed riffraff (that would be us) attached by love. He says, in effect, if you want me, you gotta take them too. A saint is someone who does the same thing, though on a considerably smaller scale. That is what intercession means.

    The intended use of saints as a source for preferred temporal outcomes (pain relief, lottery hits, fewer morons elected to office, etc) is inherently problematic to put it charitably. For example, a well-educated Irishwoman of my acquaintance once told me that one should pray to Saint Joseph when looking to buy a house (could be spiritually efficacious even if too outcome-oriented) but to bury a statue of St. Joseph upside down in the back yard when you are trying to sell. (Truly horrifying.)

    I understand the horror of my Protestant brethren at superstitious drivel but I fear that sometimes they are content to toss a few babies so long as the volume of bath water is sufficiently large.

    This is using Saints as minor deities. You cannot spin it any other way. It is no different than an Evangelical treating God as a vending machine. I don’t think rejecting this can be strong enough.

    There have been great men and women in history. I honor them. I am not going to pray to them like a pagan god.

    Perhaps you missed what OB wrote at the end of the passage you emphasized.

    • #29
  30. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    danok1 (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    danok1 (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Amy Schley: If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification, we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling it

    That is a great way to put it, actually.

    No, it’s not. It’s a gross simplification that I used for a laugh line.

    It is actually what is being done, though. God is big busy being, and having someone else important put in a good word for you is exactly what is praying to the Saints is about. It is a human view of how things work. Human hierarchy and norms imposed on God. The Saints get portfolios or domains of authority, like ministers of God, overseeing their areas. In our world, you go to said Minister, not the guy in charge because that is how it works. It makes sense to our human brains just as much as the Prosperity Preachers do. Both are us trying to make Heaven operate along Earthly norms. Heaven operates in ways we cannot comprehend. The perfect King has no need of Ministers: He knows All already, because it is His creation.

    So, I stand by it: Your joke is funny because of the elements of truth that it contains. It is a great way to put it that gets to the point.

    @bryangstephens, do you ever pray for another person? Do you ever ask someone to pray for you?

    Yep. Not the same thing. My mother does not have a domain of responsibility and is not considered to be closer to God than I am. That dodge does not work. I stand by my statement that Saints are treated as Ministers of God. I think that is wrong.

    I want to be sure I understand: you do not believe that those in the Church Triumphant can pray for members of the Church Militant or others here on earth that their souls be saved.

    It seems we are talking past each other. 

    Saints are held up, clearly, as Ministers of God. They are given areas over which they have power. People Pray to them, and they use the word “pray”, so I am not making that up, for help in those areas. Saints are used as minor gods. I don’t think that is biblical or right. It is, however, very human, because we just cannot comprehend we are made in His image, so we keep trying to fashion Him in ours. 

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.