10 August 2010

Subterranean scribbling

Any argument against the intercession of the saints is founded on a pagan notion of death and, at its root, is an argument against all intercessory prayer.


Tim said...

While I understand the premise of the argument, could you please elaborate? What exactly do you mean by "a pagan notion of death"?

I've met many a Christian with a firm Christian view of death, yet who do not believe in the intercession of the Saints. Of course, I could just be speaking past you.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

In a pagan world-view, "death" is the cessation of heartbeat. But Christ says to the Sadducees, "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him."

"Death" and "life" refer principally, in a Christian world-view, to being separated from Christ and joined to Christ respectively.

Hence the NT's standard way of speaking of believers whose hearts have stopped is "asleep." When it uses the word "dead" for them, it tends to add the phrase "in Christ."

Why do I ask the intercessions of the saints?

1. The NT instructs us to pray for one another, and to ask each others' prayers.
2. The saints are not dead; they are living.

This has been the Church's understanding since the earliest days. Hence all the graffiti near their tombs, asking their intercessions.

Tim said...

I see. In a sense, I was speaking past you (and thinking of something completely different).

Daniel said...

Many Protestants would respond that they believe that life continues, but that the departed in Christ are in heaven; and thus are shielded from pain and suffering. They quote from Revelation "God wiping every tear from their eyes", saying that heaven is a place where pain and sorrow are no more.

But these earnest folks do not look at the earlier account in Revlelation, where the Presbyters are around the throne of God interceding for those on earth. Also for Lutherans there is the reference in the Book of Concord regarding the Virgin Mary praying for us.

Perhaps not just after we fall asleep in Christ, but even here on earth we need to not define peace and rest with a cessation of care for others; instead we need to learn how to intercede for others without anxiety or fear.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

As fafr as I can tell, the Lutheran position seems to be that the saints do indeed intercede for us, but we must not ask them to.

Go figure.