Saturday, February 04, 2012

How Many Mediators?

The Vatican Information Service reports (3 February 2012), referring to Benedict XVI:
In conclusion he quoted some words of Blessed John Paul II, calling on the Virgin Mary to intercede with the Lord, so that "all who have received the gift of following Him in consecrated life may be enabled to bear witness to that gift by their transfigured lives, as they joyfully make their way with all their brothers and sisters towards our heavenly homeland and the light which will never grow dim".
In response to our criticism that Rome makes Mary another mediator and encourages her people to pray not only to God but also to Mary, we are frequently told that those in the Roman communion are just taught to ask Mary to pray for them.

Leaving aside the absurdity of asking a foreigner who doesn't speak your language and whose ears have long ago returned to dust for anything, we can still see that Marian devotion as advocated by the current and immediately previous popes is not just asking Mary to pray, like we might ask our friends.

Instead, Mary is being asked to intercede on behalf of a class of people.  It is true that this particular request is actually a request for Mary to pray for that class of people.  Thus, it bears some parallels to the description we are given.

The prayer is described as particularly intercessory.  The reason, implied but not stated, for the request is the presumed great power of Mary to obtain those things for which she intercedes.  Yet Scripture suggests that Mary is not especially important in the kingdom of God.  In fact, in response to:

Luke 11:27  And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.

Jesus said:

Luke 11:28  But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

And in response to Mary trying to get an audience with Jesus in this case:

Mark 3:32  And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.

Jesus said:

Mark 3:33-35 
And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

So why, dear reader, would you follow the example and teachings of the most recent two popes and seek out Mary's intercession, despite Jesus' teachings?

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

So, if you must pray for those in "consecrated life" then why not pray directly to the Father by the intercession of the Son?  Surely you do not think that Mary is a better intercessor than the Son.


P.S. Perhaps it will occur to someone, "But then why ask our brethren here on Earth to pray for us?"  One reason we do that here on Earth is that we have a reciprocal duty to bear one another's burdens.  We can't bear Mary's burdens, because she doesn't have any.  Moreover, no matter how Rome's apologists may try to dress it up, we all know she's not being asked as just another sister in Christ, but as a perceived woman of great power and influence.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Disintegration of Families ...

James Jordan has a new post in which he criticizes churches where families sit together for worship (a practice that has at least hundreds of years of practice in the Americas).  He claims:
The simple fact is that for 2000 years, the Holy Spirit moved the church to have men and women sitting separately during divine worship.
I can easily guess where he gets this idea.  Among the Eastern Orthodox, particularly the "old believers" there is a tradition of separating males and females to different sides of the church during the service.  The women go on the side with the large icon of Mary, whereas the men go on the side with the large icon of Jesus.

There's no compelling reason to think that those practices go back 2000 years.  Moreover, among the old believers, the practice is not to sit on separate sides, but to stand on separate sides.  So, if this really were a movement by the Holy Spirit, Jordan should be advocating for standing, not sitting.

But let's consider his justification for the practice:
This is because in heaven there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage. There is neither male nor female, bond nor free, child nor parent. Hence, ascended worship, taking place seated in the heavenlies, involves an affirmation of God’s Family and a setting aside of the earthly family. 

This justification would make sense if he left out "neither male nor female."  Once that is included, the rationale for segregating the sexes during worship falls apart.  If there is no male or female, there is no justification for segregation based on that principle.

Jordan also hurls accusation against Vision Forum for advocating the importance of families worshiping together:
Functioning beneath the surface with such groups as Vision Forum and the like is a form of idolatry. We read that the family is the foundation of civilization. That is a fairly ridiculous notion, since the family is a highly temporary social unit. The Bible commands that a child leave his father and mother when he marries (Genesis 2:24). 
 This is another example of Jordan's arguments not following.  The fact that a family is - to some degree - a temporary social unity does not prevent it from being the foundation of civilization.  The very passage Jordan cites is one in which a member of a family is setting out to create his own family.  That passage only reinforces the role that family plays in this life.

Jordan goes on to claim that Wes White and others are "opposed" to "reformation theology," which is just one more ridiculous claim, like Jodan's claim that "the notion that husbands should serve their wives and children the Lord’s Supper" was "a capital offense in the Bible; Exodus 35:2-3; Numbers 16."

Given all the ridiculous claims in the post (from beginning to end) one may wonder why I would bother responding.  It seems that James Jordan is one of the leaders of the Federal Vision.  If those in the Federal Vision movement consider him one of their leaders, then presumably they will be glad to hear responses to him.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Whom Should We Invoke? How do we Get Spiritual Water?

As reported today (30 January 2012) by the Vatican Information Service, Benedict XVI is reported yesterday to have stated:
Let us trustingly invoke Most Holy Mary that she may guide our hearts always to draw from the well of divine mercy, which liberates and heals our human condition, filling it with all grace and benevolence, with the power of love.
Notice the problems.

1) Rather placing our trust in God alone, Ratzinger wants us to trust Mary.

2) Rather than ascribing the highest degree of holiness to God alone, Ratzinger calls Mary "Most Holy"

3) Rather than ascribing guidance of our hearts to the Holy Spirit, Ratzinger ascribes it to Mary.

I suppose we should, on some level, be thankful that the remainder of the sentence relates to divine mercy and its consequences.  It's small conciliation, however.

Moreover, also notice the synergism of the description - the object of the trust and invocation is not simply to receive grace from God, but rather to receive Marian guidance for us to use our own abilities to "draw from the well."

By contrast, Jesus says:

John 4:14  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

The gifts that the Father gives us, promised to us by Jesus, are greater than those promised by the leader of the Roman communion and sought by those in communion with him.  Whereas they have to draw from a well, our well springs up to us.

We also have a better mediator to invoke than Mary.  Our mediator encouraged us in this way:

John 4:10  Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

You see, we don't have to just ask Jesus for guidance to the divine well - if we ask water of him, he will give it to us!

Dear readers, drink from the rock!  Not from Peter the apostle but Jesus Christ the Righteous.  As it is written:

1 Corinthians 10:4  And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.