Latria (Worship), Dulia (Honor), and Veneration of the Saints


From an old FidoNet discussion on the veneration of the saints. Raymond Cote replies to James White JW>

Date: 04-19-95 / From: RAYMOND COTE / To: JAMES WHITE / Subj: Mary is blessed / Conf: Open_Bible

JW> Refute the material I posted to Joe Didde this week and then we can talk. If you can't refute it, repent of worshipping someone other than God.

I have taken up your offer. I am posting 13 post to refute your posts to Joe Didde. Your part of the bargain is to talk with me. After you have examined every word of my rebuttal, respond to my posts. May I request that we keep out extraneous and unsubstantiated opinions...both of us. I may not be able to post all 13 today, but by Thursday.

In Christ Jesus,

Ray

Origin: The Cracker Barrel BBS : Falmouth, VA : 703-899-2285 (1:274/24)


Date: 04-19-95 / From: RAYMOND COTE / To: JAMES WHITE / Subj: Latria and Dulia

As you wished:

JW> I am well aware of Rome's futile attempts to hide behind non-existent differences between latria and dulia, Joe. That doesn't change the facts of what I presented.

Nothing is really said in the above sentences. You state that you are "well aware". That remains to be seen. You characterize Rome as making "futile attempts" and to "hide behind non-existent..." This is just bombast; unsubstantiated, rhetorical disparagement. And as Joe pointed out, you hadn't presented any facts. You apparently agreed, as you note that you will "[b]e glad to be of assistance, Joe." So after what is hot air, you proceeded:

JW> What is the result of subordinating Scripture to other sources of authority?

Here the implication is that Catholics "subordinate Scripture to other sources of authority". This statement is presented as a given, without proof, without any documentation. I would say that we hold that, like husband and wife, each serves the other in a union of love. You have already poisoned the dialog by bitterness, calumny, and misrepresentation. But you continue:

JW> Could it not, theoretically, happen that no harm would be done? Is there anything really wrong with adding a few other concepts to what is contained in Scripture? Why make such a big fuss over the Roman Church's addition of Tradition?

Now, sarcasm is laid upon the already turgid brew and the misrepresentation continues. You state as though it is a foregone conclusion that Catholics (clearly implied) add "other concepts to what is contained in Scripture". You write of "Tradition" as though it is inimical to scripture. You have shown nothing by way of proof for any of your statements or implications. You have only strung together words of deprecation and assumed 'facts'. You continue:

JW> The Pharisees of old should give us some good examples of why the addition of the traditions of men to the Word of God is so dangerous.

We are not discussing the "Pharisees of old" and beginning your 'factual' exposition with a long commentary on these men carries with it the implication, which you surely intend, of comparing the dogmas of the Catholic Church with the miscreant behavior and customs of the Pharisees. Misconduct, sinful acts, customs scripturally repugnant are not what is being discussed. There is more than enough recriminations to go around, if we proceed down that road! Further, it is your unproven contention that we are discussing "the addition of the traditions of men to the Word of God", the implication, always present, that the dogmas of the Catholic Church are traditions of men; just a fact, indisputable...even without documented argumentation. Not so.

JW> Over and over the Lord Jesus had to rebuke these men not simply for being distracted from the real teaching of the Scriptures, but for their false teaching that was based largely upon their traditions.

How about giving some scriptural references. Just what did Jesus attack? Not that the discussion of the failures of Pharisees is the topic at hand. While here, let me pause for a quote from the Lord:

THEN spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. (Matt 23:1-3)

["...for they say, and do not." True of some Pharisees, some popes, some bishops, some presbyters, some Protestant Reformers, some protestant ministers, you, me, and, I'll wager, Ralph Stokes = strong KJV-only advocate.]

JW> They not only added to the Scriptures with their extra-Biblical teachings, but they contradicted both the direct teaching of those Scriptures, as well as their over-all spirit.

Again, what scriptures fortify your contentions with regard to 'teachings' and 'contradictions of scripture'. I do not mean to imply that they did or didn't over reach, just want to have your argument buttressed so as to orderly direct my reply. But, again, had they not the authority? (see Matt 23:1-3) If the Pharisees had authority in the absence of ordination, in the absence of scripturally sanctioned succession from Moses (prior to Jesus' statement in Matt 23:1-3), in the absence of the Presence of the Holy Spirit which is promised to the Church, how much more is the validity of authority of those, despite recurrent unworthiness, who hold authority in apostolic succession, by the laying on of hands, in the Church of Christ?

JW> It did not matter that they could trace a line of descent all the way back into history -- this gave them no special authority in Jesus' eyes. In fact, their continued emphasis upon their lineage came under fire from the Lord Jesus more than once.

Quote? Please reconcile your statement with Matt 23:1-3.

JW> In His eyes, it was not who you were related to, but what you said, believed, and did that mattered.

Please, let Jesus speak for Himself. Are we talking about authority to bind and loose or are we talking about how one is saved, how one is sanctified? There is a difference. The latter does not vitiate the former, does it?

JW> Those who believed as Abraham are truly Abraham's children, Jesus taught.

Again, is the discussion on authority or on salvation?

JW> In the same way today, it is not those who spend great amounts of energy attempting to demonstrate some historical succession of bishops that are the true heirs of Christ's Church. Rather, those who preach and teach the same message, the same Gospel, as the Lord and His Apostles, these are the ones who make up the Christian faith.

So says James White. Moreover "spend great amounts of energy attempting..." is another example of disparagement unrelated to the question of the validity of authority claimed by the Catholic Church. Your second sentence in the above continues to beg the question and digresses to Church membership. It also does not exclude the very persons which you mean to imply are excluded. So far, there has been little if any effective argument on your part. Do you see the error of your argumentation?

You continue:

JW> Questions of authority aside....

Your previous statements in no way raised the question in order now to lay it aside. And the question of authority has primacy in this discussion. Within your sentence beginning: "Questions of authority aside...", you nevertheless, in contradiction, aver "the absolute authority of Scripture". So we are talking 'authority'. See below:

JW> ...do the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church provide us with examples where the concept of Tradition, with the attendant subjugation of the absolute authority of Scripture, has resulted in false teaching, in anti-Biblical doctrines? The answer to that, of course, is a resounding yes!

You make a number of assumptions in your statement above. You assert that "Tradition" is a concept, subtly, perhaps without knowing it yourself, revealing your anti-Catholic bias. You assume (Joe asked for facts) that Tradition, ipso facto, must be attended by the "subjugation..."(another pejorative word, reflecting unsubstantiated 'belief') "...of the absolute authority of Scripture..." (another undocumented assertion) and that Tradition "...has resulted in false teaching, in anti-Biblical doctrines (an old time polemic which must seem to you as the old time religion). To this rhetorical question you give "... a resounding yes!"

JW> One could profitably examine many, many teachings of Romanism and demonstrate how these doctrines that have accurued over time are out of harmony with Biblical truth.

Words, words, words. "Romanism" is a petty slur.

JW> We have seen the problems with the Papacy, both from Scripture as well as from history.

I have not seen a decisive win against the claims of the pope to primacy in the Church. And the subject is "Latria and Dulia". Your statement above is nothing more than an attempted blow at the Catholic Church, a sparing technique in advance of the final blow which you expect to give. Let's continue.

JW> We could speak much about the Roman doctrines surrounding Mary, and all that has developed over the centuries with reference to the Blessed Virgin.

"We"? The popes used to speak like that, emperors and kings too. :) But could you speak with love and authority given by the Holy Spirit?

JW> We could delve into the priesthood and the attendant doctrines on that subject.

I'll take what scripture says. As to "delving", the word still carries the sense of skulduggery and your statement is pejorative without substance, resting, I suppose, on some presumably past, and perceived, won laurels.

JW> Entire books have been devoted to these topics in the past.

On both sides of the issue, for sure. Entire books have been devoted to Marxism, Christian Science, physics, and gardening.

JW> But such is not necessary for our purposes.

Or, perhaps, not truly possible.

JW> One example should be sufficient to provide ample warning against the addition of human traditions -- even when those who promulgate the validity of such traditions claim to do so under the direction of the Spirit of God -- to the revelation of God contained in the Bible.

I wait with bated breath :). But, seriously, if you huff and you puff, will you blow the house down. James, this statement reveals no facts, just ambition; no substance, just put down. It only claims to do. So far, it has the form of 'religion', but lacks the power thereof. The 'hot' words are: 'should' (a word that denotes that what follows is an authoritative notion; why not let the example stand or fall without the parental preamble?); 'sufficient' and 'ample' -- no need to question then, unless, of course, (and this is the implication) one is too dumb to acknowledge the force of the example; 'addition' -- see comments previous; 'such' -- those bad bad traditions; 'claim' -- just claim, implying false claim, and others....books could be written.

Now, after all that you have written which, I think, is clearly bombast, we come to the subject:

For the sake of argument, you are unwilling even here to abandon your prejudice. In the heading, you reveal your conclusion. The subtle, again, implication is that the three words are synonyms. You even place 'Dulia' right after 'Worship' and before 'Latria' which Catholics claim is worship.

JW> For many Roman Catholic apologists, one of the first signs of a "fundamentalist attack" is the charge, "Roman Catholics worship the saints. That is idolatry."

That is one of the first signs to many (most? all?) Roman Catholics that a "fundamentalist attack" is under way.

JW> The more knowledgeable Catholic smiles, or at least gives a little grin, and replies, "oh, I see you have not really studied our church. We do not worship saints, or even Mary -- we worship God and God alone." "Then what are you doing bowing down before a statue of Mary or some other saint?" the fundamentalist replies. "You need to understand the difference between the worship we give to God, which we call latria, and the veneration given to saints, which we call dulia" comes the answer.

It's nice when you control both sides of the discourse, isn't it. You can continue, by nuance, to make the Catholic look smug. What a straight way to conduct an argument. But, let's continue.

"Latria is not dulia, and since we reserve latria, the highest form of worship, only to God, and never give it to the saints, then we obviously, are not worshipping the saints."

I'm 52. I have never reacted or conducted an explanation of my Catholic faith in this manner. This, dear James, is ridicule and nasty. Let Catholics speak for themselves. We need no one who opposes us to suggest the content, form or affect of our statement of belief. But, for now, I will indulge your tactic.

JW> If the poor fundamentalist still has his wits about him, he might reply. "I don't know much about latria or dulia, but I do know this: when you bow down before a statue and say prayers and light candles, no matter what you call it, I call it worship."

So what, James? So what, if he calls it worship? For the sake of this discussion, we are not concerned with opinions. Homo videt in facie, Deus autem in corde. You still haven't said anything, James.

JW> The veneration of saints is an integral part of Roman Catholic life and practice.

Since you haven't proved that veneration is worship, why do you state the obvious? I think that you think that you got a winner and to make this statement is just another attempt to speak to the choir...to all the Ralphs and Leannes in the audience. Listen up. James has so far proved 0.

JW> Anyone who has visited a Roman Catholic Church knows that images are a prominent aspect of Catholic worship. This phenomena is widespread -- whereever Roman Catholicism is, there you will find the veneration of saints, and in particular, the cult of Mary.

Praise God! Like I don't know this, you don't know this; Ralph, Leanne, Phil M., Bill Malcom, Joe Didde, Will Hess, John Graves, and Mike Nelson don't know this? But James, while the word 'cult' can have legitimate meaning, today most persons associate it with the negative...and you haven't proved anything yet, yet you, I imagine, get satisfaction in using the word 'cult'. Try being straighter.

JW> While Catholicism outside of the United States may be better known for its strong attachment to the saints, there is still a great tendency toward this activity within the U.S. as well.

Still going, James. 'tendency'...you talk like it's a genetic propensity to disease or a character disorder of the obsessive- compulsive variety. You are pejorative and you haven't prove anything yet.

JW> Protestants from the time of the Reformation on have charged that the veneration of saints is, in reality, nothing more than idolatry.

So what? What does this mean? We all knew this. What's the meaning besides the obvious: Protestants think Catholics are idolatrous? Protestants think a lot of things. You're not claiming that this has any validity, ipso facto, are you? Most persons who say they are Christians venerate the saints. Protestants are in the minority. Of course, by itself, that fact is just that: a fact.

JW> Though no one believes that Romanism teaches that the saints are actually gods of the same kind as God the father or Jesus Christ, it is just as true that the saints are "venerated" in a religious context,

Not even Ralph Stokes? Funny juxtaposition of your clauses. And 'Romanism' is, as pointed out, just a put down, not aiding your so far unproductive 'attack'. Also, quotes around "venerated" seems to imply that you call into question that the meaning of the word without quotes has any validity in expressing something true. You haven't proved that yet. Of course veneration of saints is in a religious context. Veneration of the Ark of the Covenant was in a religious context. What's the point? Are you saving it for the bitter end?

JW> which, Biblically speaking, is worship.

Oh, no! "Biblically speaking"? James, you're "Biblically speaking"? Where is the Biblical text?

JW> They are not only honored in a way that Protestants feel is condemned in Scripture...

Perish the thought that Catholics and Orthodox should do anything that Protestants "feel" is condemned in Scripture! Come on, James. Protestants "feel" a lot of things...look at Ralph. Look at how he "feels" and how he "feels" about you. Are we going to get to the meat of this or not? What scripture, James.

JW> but the fact that Catholics are want to pray to a saint, and ask for that individual's intercession, is also seen as being anti-Scriptural.

Before I respond, James, pray for me. Please offer up a prayer for me that I might proceed in charity. You know that my sarcasm, while perhaps unwanted, is I trust somewhat in Paul's tradition where he says he hopes the knife will slip. Pray for me, James as I will for you.

How is it anti-Scriptural? Not just un-Scriptural (though I welcome those citations as well) but anti-Scriptural.

JW> The Bible strongly condemns communication with the dead.

So who is talking to the dead? Who's dead?

JW> It does not matter if those who have died were good or bad, saintly or evil, there is to be no communication between the living and the dead.

So who's dead that, I presume, you think Catholics are talking to? And James, for the record, what are the Biblical texts so that they may be examined in context? By the way, are the members of Christ's Body ever dead? The Lord is Risen, Risen Indeed. And some of His members, members of His very Body are dead? How macabre.

JW> The only communication with spirit beings that originates with man that is allowed in Scripture is that of prayer to God and He alone.

Thus spake James. Scripture, please.

JW> In the face of such accusations, Rome has over the years developed a very intricate system of doctrinal distinctions that allows the Roman Catholic to say "worship is due to God alone" and yet continue to pray to Mary and the saints, and bow down before statues while reciting the Rosary.

What years? Rome had no theology before the Protestants expressed their thoughts and feelings on the matter? St. Thomas Aquinas didn't deal with it in the 12th century? The matter wasn't dealt with by Catholics and Orthodox during the first great putsch to deprive the Church of images in, what early century was that?

So, this statement of yours, without support and filled with 'nasties' like 'very intricate system' 'allows' 'bow down before statues'. About that 'bowing down': Homo videt in facie, Deus autem in corde. More later, if I ever get through debunking what you have posted. So far, no enchalada. Killing us with words, James? Facts, Joe asked for. Just the facts.

JW> It is not our purpose here to go into the whole subject of hagiolatry, the worship or veneration of saints.

You can say that again. There's something amiss about the last clause: 'hagiolatry' smacks of 'idolatry of the holy'. Is that what you intended? You haven't prove it yet. Also, 'the worship or veneration of saints' is hardly our definition. There really is a difference between 'worship' and 'veneration'. You have not proved otherwise, so far, but I'm in this for the duration.

JW> Rather, by examining the teaching that has come forth from the Roman Church on this subject, particularly on the definition of worship itself, we will be able to demonstrate what happens when the Bible is no longer held as the sole rule of faith.

This I've got to see...and have yet to see.

JW> Our plan of inquiry is as follows: first, we shall define a number of terms that are used by Roman Catholics relevant to their view of the saints and their honoring of them. Then, we will simply ask the question, are these distinctions in harmony with the Biblical revelation? Or, do they contradict Biblical teaching?

OK. This sounds fairly straight forward, albeit your bias is still showing, but, of course, we all knew that anyway. I think, however, you will have to do more than "simply ask the question.....". You will have to answer the question with some proof.

JW> The modern Roman view of the saints is the result of centuries upon centuries of doctrinal development,...

You make it sound so laborious..."century upon century"...with God a thousand years is but a day...Also: Labor which is loved is not labor. (Augustine).

JW> the kind of doctrinal development

What other 'kinds' of doctrinal development are there? Are any, IYO, valid?

JW> that above we noted is not guided by the Biblical revelation, but is rather the result of the attempts of the magisterium of the Roman Church to find some way of melding a pantheon of saints into Christian doctrine.

You did 'note' some of that, as I recall, but only 'note' it and only some of it. Hopefully, we will be getting facts and not notes. Notes are not persuasive; they are just notes...maybe interpretations...opinions... fancies...wishes, but you know, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Moreover, James, you continue to slander and misrepresent rather than argue. And, you are not following the plan you set forth above. By the Way, 'pantheon', as you know means 'all gods'. To accuse the Roman magisterium (I don't know how the Orthodox are spared your invective) of attempting "to find some way of melding a pantheon of saints into Christian doctrine", is just name calling...whatever do you mean?

[Pause that refreshes: Scripture: WHEREFORE seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. (Heb 12:1) And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God. (Rev. 19:1)]

OK, back to earth.

JW> Rather then being guided by the Biblical definitions of what is, and what is not, worship,

What are those Biblical definitions? How do they preclude veneration of the saints...not worship but veneration? You have not shown that the difference we maintain between worship (latria) and veneration (dulia) is invalid. You have ridiculed, you have supposed that this distinction is a johnny-come-lately, but you have not invalidated it despite your 'notes'.

JW> Rome has developed her own concepts.

A statement by James White doesn't a truth make. This is another 'note'.

JW> We shall see that inevitably, this has led to a contradiction between between Catholic practice and Biblical teaching.

That does indeed remain to be seen. In the meantime, James, what happened to your plan?

JW> When the Reformers began charging the Roman hierarchy with fostering idolatry in the worship of saints, the Church responded with the definitions that had been worked out in the Scholastic period centuries before.

What's wrong with that? Another statement of fact. How does this statement of yours jive with your previously quoted statement which I quote again: In the face of such accusations, [by the Protestants; see your paragraph before this quote]

JW> Rome has over the years

[ not 'centuries upon centuries of doctrinal development' as you stated in the paragraph following this quote?]

JW> developed a very intricate system of doctrinal distinctions

[see my previous criticism]

Now, had we developed the doctrine over a long time, or did we as you originally implied, develop it in response to Protestant accusations?

JW> The same is done today, nothing has changed.

Is this an indictment? What does it mean? When attacked today, we go back to well worked out definitions to proclaim the truth, like when we say that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are consubstantial? Sounds like praise, James.

JW> She does so by using a number of different terms relevant to the concept of worship.

I didn't know worship was a concept, I thought it was an act. I think the Church has made it clear that She distinguishes between worship (latria) and veneration or honor of the saints (dulia) not that She uses "...a number of different terms relevant to the concept of worship". You haven't proved a thing, yet...so you can't act like latria equates to dulia, which is what you imply in the above statement. As for terms: how about homoousios, consubstantialiter, theotokos, Trinitas? Worked out over centuries? Acceptable to you? To the Reformers? To the Romans? To the Greeks?

JW> The first term to be examined is latria. Latria, according to Catholic authority John Hardon is,

JW> The veneration due to God alone for his supreme excellence and to show people's complete submission to him. It is essentially adoration. As absolute latria, it is given to God, as the Trinity, or one of the Divine Persons, Christ as God and man, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Holy Eucharist. Representations of God as images connected with the Divinity may receive relative latria, which is given not to the symbol, but to the Godhead, whom it signifies.

OK

JW> Latria, then, is the highest form of worship in Catholic theology. It is reserved for God and God alone. We should note as well that the term itself comes from the Greek, where it is found in the noun form, latreia (latreia) as well as the verbal form, latreuw (latreuo), both of which appear in the text of the New Testament.

More info, more notes, no proof, no further along in discrediting the Catholic belief. Moreover, you led us to believe that:

JW> In the face of such accusations, Rome has over the years developed a very intricate system of doctrinal distinctions.

and now you tell us that one of those distinctions is found in the New Testament! James!

JW> Saints are rendered dulia. What is dulia? Robert Broderick defines it as follows:

JW> Dulia is the special worship, generally call veneration, given to the angels and saints because as friends of God they share in His excellence.

OK

JW> Dulia is differentiated from latria, though, according to Broderick, both are forms of worship.

wor'ship, n. [Short for worthship; ME. worschip; AS. weorthscipe, wyrthscipe, honor; weorth, wurth, worthy, honorable, and suffix -scipe, -ship.] 1. The state or quality of being worthy; excellence of character; dignity; worth; worthiness. [Obs.] 2. A title of honor used in addresses to certain magistrates and others of rank or station; as it may please your worship; sometimes used ironically. 3. The performance of devotional acts in honor of God or a deity; especially, the act of paying divine honors to the Supreme Being; the reverence and homage paid to him in religious exercises, consisting in adoration, confession, prayer, thanksgiving, and the like. 4. Honor; respect; civil deference. [Obs.] (Webster's New Twentieth Dictionary of the English Language)

How is it that the people who speak the English language should have developed such distinctions for one word? Are there other words in our language which have multiple meanings? I can't imagine. You mean 'worship' used to mean simple worthiness, dignity, honor and also meant divine honors? The same word was used two different ways? Well, shut my mouth! Notice the 'Obs.' after meanings 1 and 4. 'Worship' has come to mean, in our current usage, what is meant by the Greek word latria. Therefore, following common usage, we do not refer to the veneration of saints by the word 'worship', albeit, the word 'worship', etymologically, signified both meanings, i.e., the worship of God, and quite apart from that, the honor due persons of excellent character. Who is Broderick? Why did you pick him to quote? What is the reference? Subtle try.

JW> Latria is a "higher form" of worship than dulia.

From whence the quoted words: "higher form"?

JW> Therefore, when the Bible speaks of worshipping God alone, we are told, this refers to latria. We are, however, allowed to give dulia to others.

I like that word 'allowed'. OK

JW> Hyperdulia is the highest form of dulia, and is to be given to Mary alone. Broderick says,

JW> Hyperdulia is the veneration proper to the Blessed Mother alone; it is the highest form of veneration short of adoration.

OK. Another example, besides horseshoes, where 'close' counts.

JW> Giving hyperdulia to Mary is as close as the Catholic can come to giving something akin to latria.

So says James. The words 'akin to latria' are James' words. Please note.

JW> But, the distinction is there, so it is insisted. So, Mary and the saints are venerated but not worshipped in the same way as God is worshipped.

Your superfluous words: 'so it is insisted' are meant, it seems to me, to detract from our affirmation of these important and proper distinctions. But, you are correct to note that we venerate the saints but do not worship them with the worship due God alone.

JW> Hardon defined veneration as

JW> Honor paid to the saints who, by their intercession and example and in their possession of God, minister to human sanctification, helping the faithful grow in Christian virtue. Venerating the saints does not detract from the glory given to God, since whatever good they possess is a gift from his bounty. They reflect the divine perfections, and their supernatural qualities result from the graces Christ merited for them by the Cross.

Good.

JW> We note Hardon's claim that the veneration of saints does not detract from the glory given to God, for whatever good the saints possess is theirs in view of the merits of Christ.

Nice recap.

JW> With the last of that statement we definitely agree -- any good that any person has is the result of the mercy and grace of God.

Repetition is the key to learning.

JW> Yet, giving religious veneration to a living person would be considered wrong, despite the fact that all the good in them too comes from Christ.

Veneration is at least a high degree of respect and honor. We all do that to many living persons. I imagine Ralph Stokes' congregation holds him in high respect. Even in some cases, religious honor is given.

[Now, for the pause that truly refreshes: Scripture: If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (John 12:26) To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: (Rom 2:7) But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: (Rom 2:10) Honour widows that are widows indeed. (1Tim 5:3) Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. (1 Tim 5:17) Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. (1 Pet 2:17) And whether...one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. (1 Cor 12:26) ...they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. (Acts 5:15) And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul; So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. (Acts 19:11-12) And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:26) In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethern, ye have done it unto me. (Matt 25:40) AND after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God. (Rev 19:1)]

Worship and veneration; latria and dulia; what we are really discussing is love. Love encompasses worship. Love encompasses respect, honor, veneration and reverence. "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matt 22:37-40) Also, cf. 1 Corinthians 13.

JW> But, aside from this, we see that according to Romanism, the veneration of saints, though in a sense properly called worship, is not in point of fact idolatry, for their highest worship, latria, is reserved to God alone.

Thank you, James. I'll even forgive the pejorative 'Romanism'.

JW> Hence, by reserving something unique to God, we are to believe that the religious veneration given to the saints is by virtue of this acceptable in God's sight.

You slipped so soon. You say "...reserving something unique..." This is your usual Jamesian put down. James, the 'something' is none less than the worship due to God alone, not crumbs from the table of our hearts, but the love due God under the greatest commandment. And of course, the second commandment is like unto the first, so that the love wherewith we venerate the saints is not only acceptable in God's sight, but commanded.

JW> The charge of idolatry, then, is deflected by the differentiation of the two terms, latria and dulia.

The word and judgement implied by the word 'deflected' is yours. Saying it doesn't make it so. IMO, it is paranoid, a Greek word meaning: according to the mind...that is...it fits your mind set and preconceptions...but it's use only shows your mind; it provides no support to your argument. (In the hazy mists of memory, I recall that you had a plan...where is it implemented?)

JW> Is there a basis for this differentiation? Does this distinction between these two Greek terms provide a defense against the citation of the commandment of Exodus 20:5, "You shall not bow down to them, nor shall you worship them, for I am Yahweh your God"?

Well, one thing...you PRESUME that Exodus 20:5 is a commandment against veneration given to the saints. You ASSUME this. You have not shown it. Who is "them" in the scriptural quote? What is the meaning of the word 'worship' IN the scriptural quote? Isn't God saying that the worship due him ought not to be rendered to another? We don't. You haven't proved that we do, James. You are, after all this posting, still treading water.

JW> In fact,

Are you quite sure? Aren't the words "In my opinion" appropriate and precise. You have not proved anything yet.

JW> the distinction between latria and dulia, as they called them, was invented in order that divine honors might seem to be transferred with impunity to angels and the dead.

This is no fact. Now language is constantly invented, if it's a living language, in order to express men's ideas and beliefs. So your pejorative use of 'invented' is just that. And you make no progress in your argument by slander dressed as 'fact'. Also, James, as previously asked, who's dead?

JW> For it is obvious

Like 'In fact' above, 'it is obvious' is gratuitous at this early stage of your argument.

JW> that the honor the papists

Every idle word, James, the Lord will hold us responsible for every idle word. (cf. Matt 12:36). When, it is obvious (as it is at this stage) that you don't have an argument, name calling is always a fall back.

JW> give to the saints really does not differ from the honoring of God.

A 'conclusion' before proof? You speak as though your task is done, when it has yet to begin. Words, James, idle words.

JW> Indeed,

Like 'in fact' and 'it is obvious'? Indeed!

JW> they worship both God and the saints indiscriminately,

Your denial of the distinctions we make in regard to worship and veneration, does not, ipso facto, mean anything more than that you deny them. Where's the beef, James? In the absence of real argumentation, you are now launching into the 'party line' of anti-Catholic polemic, preaching to the 'itchy ears' of those who believe as you do, flattering yourself that you are making a case when you are only repeating a charge.

JW> except that, when they are pressed,

wicked people that they are?....careful of your judgement, James.

JW> they wriggle out

yukky snake-like papists?....your images smack of hatred, James.

JW> with the excuse that they keep unimpaired for God what is due him because they leave latria to him.

Again, latria ain't no crumbs. See above. You would have your hanger-ons believe that, in 'fact' we believe that dulia is the highest form of 'worship'. You are turning and twisting yourself under the sharp two-edged sword of truth...are you not?

JW> But since the thing itself, not the word, is in question, who can permit them to make light of this most important of all matters?

Phil Morrison (a Seventh-day Adventist from FidoNet), help, I think EGW (Ellen G. White) was wrong. The new inquisition is not coming from the Catholics but from the fundamentalists...Christian and Islamic...look out.

Seriously, on the 'thing' as opposed to the 'word', I'd like to pause for a short refreshment: Scripture:

For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matt 12:37)

Are you, James, indeed, above God that you should judge the sincerity of our words, by which we may be found justified, judging them as worthy of condemnation? Homo videt in facie, Deus autem in corde.

JW> But -- to pass over this also --

Getting tired, were you? James, you have so far, except for stating the terms of the argument (and that was contaminated by prejudice), done nothing to prove your case. Do you agree? If not, wherein did you advance your cause and how are my objections invalid?

JW> their distinction

I thought you were talking to Joe Didde. Why the third person? Are you really addressing your sympathizers? They already buy in to your view. Vanitas, vanitas, omnia est vanitas.

JW> in the end

Have we got there? Where's your argument?

JW> boils down to this: they render honor (cultus) to God alone, but undergo servitude [servitium] for others.

[Ah, the oasis of Scripture in this parched desert of human words: But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matt 20:26-28)]

JW> For latreia among the Greeks means the same thing as cultus among the Latins: douleia properly signifies servitus: and yet in Scripture this distinction is sometimes blurred.

Scripture...blurred...sometimes? No, Ralph Stokes, did you hear that? So what's the point? Jesus served and told us to learn of Him for He is meek and humble of heart. (cf Matt 11:29) And Jesus is the infinite God, "who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Phil 2:6-8) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Phil 2:5).

[You must agree: Scripture reads better than you or me.]

JW> But suppose we concede it to be unvarying. Then we must inquire what both words mean: douleia is servitude:

Just servitude? Is that ALL the word means? How about the respect one shows to one's superior? Does it HAVE that meaning?

JW> latreia, honor.

Just honor? Not service to God? If we can all pick and choose, let's pick the definition that serves our case and disparages the case of our opponent.

JW> Now no one doubts that it is greater to be enslaved than to honor.

Get the meds. Prozac or Thorazine? [Sorry, but can't resist, I guess.] Quo vadis? Let's indulge, though I know what's coming:

JW> For it would very often be hard for you to be enslaved to one whom you are not willing to honor. Thus it would be unequal dealing to assign to the saints what is greater and leave to God what is lesser.

Do you really think that you have made a point relative to our discussion? By definition, Catholics define latreia as worship due to God alone... that is total submission to God...and douleia as honor and service to the saints...an honor and service that is mutual!

JW> Yet many of the old writers used this distinction.

Is it too much to ask what old writers and where in their old writings we might find a discussion of this distinction?

JW> What, then, if all perceive that it is not only inept but entirely worthless?

Who are 'all'? What is 'it'? And beyond that: "What...if"? What if the sun don't shine and the moon don't rise? What if the cow jumped over the moon and the little dog laughed to see such a thing, and the dish ran away with the spoon?

JW> The writer's point is clear:

Is this like 'in fact', 'indeed', 'it is obvious', 'no one doubts'? If it is, and it looks like it, it's premature.

JW> if we allow the distinction to stand, then the saints receive what is higher in value than what God receives.

You have not defeated our distinction. You have made a distinction which is repugnant to Catholic teaching, laid it on us, despite our protestations and then wagged your head as though it were legitimate. Word play...the very offense you charge against the Catholics. 2 Peter 2 might be generally instructive as to what you are engaged in with special reference to 2 Peter 2:22.

Now, repeating yourself, as though you might finally be on to something:

JW> To serve someone is certainly more important than to give honor to someone.

In the eyes of the world, that is, with fleshly eyes.

For Christians, I thought that service and honor were two sides of one coin. Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. (John 13:13-15) You might continue after verse 15.

JW> But even the writer cited above did not allow the distinction itself to stand, for the claimed differences between latria and dulia evaporate under an examination of Biblical usage and meaning.

That remains to be seen.

JW> Above we cited

You got a mouse in your pocket :)?

JW> the passage from Exodus 20:5.

So, answer the questions I put to you when you cited Exodus 20:5 or are we to 'clearly see' just by reading how you construe that scripture to your case? I think it is your obligation, no?

JW> Previous to this, God had commanded that the people were to have no other God but He. Then, Yahweh prohibited His people from having any part with idols. They were to have no images of anything in heaven above or in the earth beneath.

Shortly after the above, the Lord spake unto Moses, saying...(Ex 25:1)

...and thou shalt overlay it [the ark] with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it....And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold:...And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end; even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be...And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony... (Exodus 25:11-12,17-20,22)

God clearly makes a distinction between graven images of anything in the heaven or in the earth beneath or in the water under the earth (cf. Exodus 20:4) which might be made for the purpose of idolatrous worship and images which are for rightful purposes. Surely, the cherubim on the ark were for a good and wholesome purpose, to solemnize the mercy seat and precisely locate the divine meeting place. God uses images throughout scripture. The Holy Ghost even appears in the form of a dove! Daniel and Revelation are full of images. God is not against images. God is against idolatry and images made for idolatrous worship.

JW> We might point out in passing that this would surely include images of God, the Trinity, or any of the saints.

How about cherubim; the Baptism of Jesus where the Holy Spirit appeared as a Dove, and the Father as a voice from heaven (a different kind of image but an image); or Daniel's visions of images or John's vision of the saints in glory not to mention the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars about her head?

God, Himself, knowing our littleness provides great images...but not images to be idolized...but images to draw us to truth.

The spirit gives life, James, the flesh profiteth nothing. (cf. John 6:63)

JW> He then says that "you shall not bow down to them or worship them. (Ex. 20:5)

Catholics absolutely agree with God, despite your saying we don't. Your saying we don't is ONLY your saying we don't. Proves nothing.

JW> The term translated "worship" is the Hebrew term dbi (avad).

Thank you.

JW> The most common translation of the term is "to serve".

You just said dbi (avad) was translated "worship". Do you mean that if a (worship) = b (avad), and b (avad) = c (to serve), that a (worship) = c (to serve). Well, I'll go along with that.

JW> However, in religious contexts, the term is frequently translated as "worship". There is not really a problem with understanding the meaning of the term that brings about the two translations of "serve" and "worship."

Yes

JW> The problem lies in our own English language, not in the Hebrew original.

Yes

JW> The simple fact of the matter is that avad means both to serve and to worship.

So does latreia.

JW> Both concepts are tied up in the one term, and one cannot disconnect the two, especially in a religious context.

Agreed.

JW> When the translators of the Greek Septuagint rendered avad into Greek, they did so by using a couple of different terms. Most important to our purposes here is the fact that both dulia and latria, in their verbal and substantival forms, are used to translate the one term avad. Clearly the Septuagint translators recognized the fact that avad meant both to worship and to serve, to give latria and to give dulia.

The problem with your argument here is that you do not give the citations where avad is translated as latreia and where it is translated duleia. Certainly, after two...three...four thousand years of a living language, things change. Cite the texts. Also, both latreia and duleia mean service, not just duleia.

JW> When we come to the New testament, we find that both terms are used with similar frequency in both their noun and verb forms.

Yes

JW> We also find that there is absolutely no distinction made between them relevant to religious worship. As an example, we note Paul's words in Galatians 4:8.

JW> But when you did not know God, you served (edouleusate, from douleuo. the verb form of dulia) those which by nature are not gods.

We would agree that it is improper to render duleia to false gods.

JW> Paul is speaking of the former idolatry of the Galatians. They served idols, those which by nature are not gods at all.

[Now ye are the Body of Christ, and members in particular. (1Cor 12:27) And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's. (1 Cor 3:23) Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2) But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Gal 4:4-5) Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Gal 4:7)]

The Good News is full of this hope of sharing Christ's glory as members of His Body. It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh profits nothing.

My point: We are united to God in Christ, IN Christ, by the Spirit. We share in His Glory, united with Him, co-heirs of all that is His, that is all.

JW> Are we to assume, then, on the basis of the Roman definitions, that since they only served these idols that they were then free from the charge of idolatry, since they didn't give latria as well? Of course not!

The words 'on the basis of the Roman definitions' is now placed by you in the context of idols...clearly to serve idols is idolatry...to serve the saints is something different...they are not "...the weak and beggarly elements..." Paul speaks of in Gal. 4:9 that were not by nature gods...the saints are co-heirs with Christ, members of His very Body, sons of the Living God...

Let's do apples and apples.

JW> Their service of these idols was wrong whether the term latria or dulia is used.

Absolument!

JW> In fact, in the Latin Vulgate, both duleuo (to serve) and latreuo (to worship) are rendered by the same term, "servio." No matter how the defender of Rome tries, no basis can possibly be found in Scripture for the distinction of latria and dulia.

Both words mean service. Love God and your neighbor. Serve God and your neighbor. But there is a difference in service to God and to neighbor. To God it is because He is God, to neighbor (saint), it is as a follower of Jesus, in imitation of His own actions of service to the saints, and because they share His Glory as members of His Body, and in response to His command to serve one another, and out of love, that we 'serve', if you will, the saints and they 'serve' us.

JW> Certainly there are examples of men reverencing and honoring other men in Scripture. But what is just as clear is the fact that in any and all religious contexts this activity is blanketly forbidden.

If you mean by 'religious contexts' (a non-scriptural term), idolatry. You are correct. If by 'religious contexts' you don't mean idolatry, what do you mean? Certainly, in is in a religious context, the love of God, that we are to serve one another and honor one another. We, are not to serve with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as the servants (douloi) of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men. (cf. Eph 6:6-7). While Paul exhorts this service of servants, it is, you will agree, true for all God's children. This 'service' we render the saints, who are the Body of Christ, is as to Christ for whatsoever we do to one another we do unto Him. The Protestant fear is that we are setting up personages apart from Christ, but this is not so.

JW> When Cornelius bowed before Peter, Peter told him to stand as he was just a man (Acts 10:25-26).

Because Cornelius worshipped (prosekunasen, adoravit) Peter. It was not the bow but the kind of bow. It was a bow of worship due only to God. There are bows and there are bows.

JW> When John tried to bow down before the angelic messenger (Revelation 19:10, 22:8-9), he was rebuked, and told to worship only God.

Again, the bowing was a bowing to worship (proskunasai, adorarem). It was a bow of worship due only to God.

James, you seem, in your quotes to have gotten away from latreia and duleia.

JW> And moving to our modern situation, when a man or a woman bows down before a statue of Mary, or Peter, or john, or the Angel Michael, and says a prayer or lights a candle, that person, despite the fact that they may have been taught from childhood that this was right and honorable and good, is engaging in veneration within a clearly, inarguably religious context.

"For when they speak great swelling words of vanity..." (2 Pet 2:18)

James, when a Catholic bows before a statue, says a prayer or lights a candle, he is clearly in a religious context. What's wrong with a 'religious context'. You haven't defined 'religious context'. In my sentence above, I mean the obvious, viz., the person is praying and honoring a saint of God -- that's religious. If you mean by 'religious context', idolatry -- I deny that that is applicable to what we are doing. We are honoring the saint in Christ not with latreia or prosekun, or adoratio, not with the worship due to God. You have not, by cleverly quoting Acts and Revelation above, dismissed our reverence for the saints.

Apples and apples, James.

JW> That person, therefore,

'therefore' from what?

JW> is doing exactly what Exodus 20:5 forbids: he is engaging in idolatry.

That's clearly bunk. Where's your proof? These are terrible words: Do not judge! Homo videt, Jacobe, in facie, Deus autem in corde.

JW> We shall not enter into the many other areas of this subject that could be addressed -- areas such as the supposed mediation of the saints or the Virgin Mary,

Then why bring them up? Put downs, right? Without evidence, you accuse.

JW> concepts that too,

You haven't proven one yet to be able, in conscience, to use the word "too".

JW> when compared with Biblical teaching, would be found to be wrong and dishonoring to God (let alone to those saints whose good names are so sadly connected with further acts of idolatry).

All gratuitous; without evidence; violating the scripture which requires more than mere words to condemn...

JW> We have accomplished our initial goal:

In your dreams.

JW> that of examining the Roman definitions of worship, and comparing these with the Biblical norms.

Pure, pure, hogwash. Cite me the parts of your posts where you effectively did what you claim.

JW> We now hasten to make application of these facts.

JW> When God's Word is Not Heard 

JW> At the outset we indicated that our purpose in this chapter was to demonstrate what can happen when the Word of God, the Bible, is not given its proper place...

You did that, if you get my drift.

JW> as the sole rule of faith for the Christian Church.

You say it's the sole rule of faith for the Christian Church. The Bible doesn't say it! N'est pas?

JW> In the ensuing discussion,

How can you call a post where only you are speaking, a discussion, albeit you used the pronoun "we"?

JW> we have seen how the very concept of worship, one that is without a doubt central to Christian life and faith, has been twisted and in reality changed by the Roman Catholic practice of the veneration of saints.

I pray that these words of Jesus apply not to you:

If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. (John 9:41) You did not show that which you assert you did show. To say you did what you clearly, in fact, obviously, without a doubt did not do, makes you guilty of prideful ignorance or calumny or both.

JW> We are led to ask, if the Bible had been the guide, the sole rule of faith, for the Roman Church

The Bible is the Guide and a Rule of faith for the Roman Church.

JW> would this ever have happened?

Moot point, since the Bible is not the sole rule of faith and the Roman Church (Catholic Church) has Christ's guarantee that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. (another thread, please)

JW> We answer that it could not have.

Moot.

JW> Rather than looking to a magisterium that is, in reality,

Whose reality? Yours, certainly not mine or Joe's or Ps.... So you have no magisterium, but you define reality! Amazing!

JW> unfettered by any rule of faith outside of its own past pronouncements,

Singular consistency for almost 2,000 years, wouldn't you say? If no, explain. It is Protestanism that is unfettered by any rule of faith except private interpretation. The proof of that is in the pudding...How many Protestant sects are there today, all claiming 'sola scriptura' and all coming up with differing interpretations. Read the (FidoNet) 'Open Bible' lately?

JW> the Church

You mean churches, don't you?

JW> looks to the Bible for her understanding.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance....

JW> In the matter of worship, it is clear that the Bible teaches that all religious veneration, honor, and worship, is due solely to God and to no one else.

Word item veto: strike: 'all religious veneration', and 'honor'; leave 'all...worship' (meaning latreia) and the sentence is right and Biblical. It is not right and Biblical as it stands. You haven't proved it no matter that you 'believe' you have. Your words and my rebuttal speak for themselves.

JW> Prayer, another act of worship

We have seen that the English word "pray" has several meanings. "I pray thee [meaning: to ask, to make a request] review them, sir."

JW> is due solely to God and to no one else.

In so far as it is the prayer of the worship which is due to God alone. The Catholic distinction stills stands!

JW> There is not only direct teaching presenting this information,

Where is it? Certainly not in your post.

JW> but a great amount of Biblical example to follow as well.

Instead, may I humbly submit, of your many words which have been thoroughly criticized herein, why did you not cite this great amount of Biblical example. I believe and I think that your interpretations of those texts you did cite were adequately refuted.

JW> Much of modern Romanism would not exist if the Roman Church were forced to follow the Biblical text as its sole authority, as its only rule of faith.

Moot for two reasons: Christ's guarantee to the Church against the gates of hell prevailing. If such coercion occurred, I see a greater number of martyrs than in the first three centuries or even in this century where Catholics have in the greatest numbers ever, laid down their lives for the faith received from Christ and the Apostles.

JW> Few Romans would argue that point.

Everyone Catholic who is a true child of God would argue that point.

JW> Rather they would argue that those concepts and doctrines that have evolved over time are not anti-Biblical but simply non-Biblical.

Drop the word 'concepts' (your word), then: Not on your life. Find me one Catholic who would support your fantasy.

JW> Yet when the worship of God Himself can be so seriously compromised as we have seen it is by Rome's doctrine of the veneration of saints, how can we possibly believe that all the other "developments" over time are simply "neutral"?

"neutral" (your word) ? "developments" what do you mean? The conclusion you draw is unclear, except, perhaps, to initiates. And the premise is of your own construction. You have, I know it's hard for you to see, proved nothing.

JW> Will we not find many other teachings that will, at best, compromise the teachings of Scripture, and, at worst, teach absolute falsehood, denying the truth of God found in the Bible?

We're no gnostic sect with esoteric teachings known only to initiates. We are an open book. Come read. Present your findings and let us reason together and see what we find. Til then, who are you to limit the choices to two evils?

JW> When the absolute authority of Scripture is removed from any system, the result will be the same.

Whatever that means?

JW> It does not matter if the first individuals who began referring people to some supposed authority based upon "apostolic succession" were attempting to do right.

You mean Jesus and Paul? I mean Jesus and Paul.

JW> The fact is that a grave error was made.

You say.

JW> The guidelines laid down by the Spirit of God are gone:

It is the Spirit Himself Who guides the Church.

JW> the source from which the Church is supposed to derive her knowledge, her understanding of her God, and her own purpose in the world, is removed.

No it isn't. The Word of God, the Holy Scripture, is right there as a rule of faith along with the teaching magisterium of the Church as it is guided by the Holy Spirit. You see the Church is Christ's Body and the Spirit of that Body is the Holy Spirit. The Church is living and living by the Spirit whatever the moral failures of some, the Church Herself is united to Christ by the Power of the Spirit sent from God.

JW> Without the inspired Word of God, men must then turn to themselves, to philosophy, to whatever can help them create a system that will last.

We are not without the inspired Word of God. Scripture is a rule of Faith. But the Church has a teaching office with not just the form of religion but the power thereof. The Church is Christ's Body filled by the Spirit of God, alive -- Christ's Body -- with Christ Himself as Head. On the contrary, when you deny that the Church of Christ has no teaching authority guided in matters of faith and morals by the Holy Spirit, then, with 'sola scriptura' you have men turning to themselves, deceived and being deceived that they are guided by the Spirit and that their understanding of scripture is right. Then you have multiple sects and denomination, contentions and separations, schisms and finally cults and secular humanism which rejects all authority, every magisterium -- then you have what is already seen on the horizon of our own culture, born as it was out of the crucible of the Protestant Reformation.

JW> Without fail, what results is at best a shadow of true Christianity.

Only, I would say, the results come from everybody going their own way after they dumped the teaching authority of the Church. However morally wounded she may have been by those who exercised power in her name, leaving open the way for what you now lament...not abandoning 'sola scriptura' but promulgating 'sola scriptura' and abandoning the teaching authority.

JW> It may maintain some of the terms, some of the forms, but God's voice will not be found speaking in that system.

Jesus can make the very stones cry out, and raise up sons to Abraham from rocks, surely He can mend our stoney hearts if we relent our persecution of our selves and turn to Him and ask Him -- Lord, at last, we have come to the end of our words of rancor, heal the divisions in your Body, prepare your Bride for Your Coming.

Raymond Cote

Origin: The Cracker Barrel BBS : Falmouth, VA : 703-899-2285 (1:274/24)


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