Saturday, September 15, 2007

Prayers to Saints a Pot-Kettle Scenario

Recently (by the time this has been posted, "recently" will be about three months) Dave Armstrong wrote: "And (very unlike [Dr. White]) I will actually reply to and refute his objections whenever they are offered."

I respond: Actually, Dave, no you don't. To take one recent example, you failed to reply to or refute Dr. White's argument that the keys were given to all the apostles in Matthew 18:18. You did block quote Dr. White's argument, but you never addressed the substance of it. (anyone can see for themselves here)

On top of that, Dr. White could easily point out that unlike you, he has actually refuted the strongest objections presented by the other side.

Furthermore, aside from snide remarks like "fallacy-land" and "like a spouse snoring or a child who lisps or whines," you don't address the argument presented.

You don't establish what you know you need to establish, namely that "asking a dead saint to pray is just as reasonable and biblical as asking a friend on this earth to pray."

Communication with the dead is contrary to common sense (the dead have lost the use of their physical senses, because they have been disembodied) and is a species of necromancy, specifically prohibited in the Old Testament.

The excuse that those in Christ who are dead are alive spiritually is a red herring. Those who are alive but in rebellion against God are dead spiritually - yet there is nothing wrong with communicating with them. The prohibition on consulting with dead is the prohibition on consulting with the spirits of the deceased. The witch of Endor was a bad person, and what she did was wrong. She knew it was wrong, and Saul knew it was wrong. She was afraid to do what Saul asked, because Saul himself had carried out God's just judgment on witches throughout the land.

Dave presents a 7 part argument, of which 7 is the conclusion, 1-2 and 6 are generally acceptable.

The question then revolves around 3, 4, and 5.

Number 3 is based on faulty logic. Just because the prayer of a righteous man avails much, does not mean that prayers are more powerful the more righteous the person praying is. But this is not central to the argument. We can set it aside, even accept that it is true, and it doesn't matter, because ...

Number 4 "Dead saints are 'more alive' than we are," is not only false, but obviously false. They are not "more alive," they are only alive spiritually, whereas we who have received the gift of regeneration are alive both spiritually and physically. No, Dave, we are "more alive" than those who are dead. The problem is this argument is a throw-away. Dave can admit that number 4 is wrong, and still maintain the argument, because the saints are spiritually alive.

Turning to number 5, Number 5 is independently wrong as well. Armstrong wrote: "Dead saints are aware of what happens on the earth (Heb 12:1 etc.), and indeed, are portrayed as praying for us in heaven (Rev 6:9-10)."

The problem, of course, is that Hebrews 12:1 does not say or suggest that dead saints are aware of what happens on earth. On the contrary, Hebrews 12:1 says that we are aware of the lives of dead saints - of their faith while they were here on earth, as set forth in the previous chapter. The "great cloud of witnesses" testify to us, not about us, and Dave's failure to recognize this simply truth is reflection of the detail of his exegesis (none).

Revelation 6:9-10 likewise fails to say what Dave claims, rather it states:

9And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

These dead saints are neither praying for us, nor even about us, but are rather shouting for justice upon the wicked, i.e. for judgment day!

Thus, we can see that Armstrong's claims that Dr. White does not interact with him sufficiently are the pot calling the kettle black: Mr. Armstrong himself not only fails meaningfully to interact with Dr. White's response, Mr. Armstrong misrepresents Scripture and demonstrates the positional weakness of the Roman Catholic position on prayers to the departed.


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