*BEST OF DTB #2* Dry water and cold fire. Do Catholics believe we can earn Salvation?

Posted by John Benko - April 17th, 2009

In a word, no.

In fact, those who claim we do think that are making a wholly disingenuous argument based on false dilemma.

That false dilemna is that salvation is either by faith alone or by works alone.

Let’s start with that with which all protestants and catholics agree.

1) Man is fallen.

2) Man cannot save himself.

3) Man needs a Savior.

4) Jesus is the only one qualified for the job.

Some Fundamentalists act as if Catholics don’t understand who Salvation comes from. Ironic, since they also condemn us for the fact that we supposedly spend to much time commemorating the Crucifixion- the defining act making salvation available to us. True, the Resurrection completes it and codifies it but the Resurrection is of little value to us without the Crucifixion.

Nevertheless, all Christians agree that the availability of Salvation is manifested, to the world, through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. The price has been paid and the money put in the bank account. We call this part of the process Redemption.

Redemption is available to every person on earth. That is, there are sufficient funds in the bank to cover the salvation of every person.

Hebrews 9:12 he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

Yet,Catholics agree with the Apostles Paul & Peter that we must, in fact, fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ

COL 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church,

1PT 4:13 But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.
Are Paul and Peter suggesting insufficiency in the Sanctifying power of Christ’s blood? Not at all.
What they are saying is that it is not enough that Christ died for us, if we do not have faith enough to benefit from it by joining in His sacrifice.

When fundamentalists claim that Catholics believe in a weak Jesus whose blood is insufficient to forgive every sin, they are are simply whistling past the grave yard. In fact, that is actually a pretty ridiculous argument. For, if I believed that Christ is not strong enough to save me, by what means could I possibly believe that I could do it?

Yet, there are actually people who have the audacity to suggest that we Catholics think we can out save Jesus because His sacrifice just wasn’t good enough. Um. We don’t. The sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice to save every single man, woman and child on earth is affirmed by our assent to the doctrine of Redemption. This argument, that we believe in a weak Jesus, is a red herring created by clever liars to detract from what is the real question at hand.



The question of what Jesus is able to do is one on which all Christians can agree. Jesus can do anything with only two exceptions;

1) Sin
2) Contradict Himself, the Father or the Spirit.

The question of Salvation boils down to three essential other questions

1) What is Jesus required to do for us beyond that which He has already done?
2) What is Jesus willing to do for us beyond that which He has already done?
3) What, as a consequence, would be required of us?

The answer to the first question is emphatic. Jesus owes me nothing. If I lived a hundred thousand lifetimes, each a hundred thousand years long, I could not even hope to repay him for what he has already done for me. The very suggestion that I could, then, pay my way in to heaven is too absurd to even discuss. All the gold of all the world of all time wouldn’t suffice as a down payment on the reparations of the wounds of even 1 mortal sin I have committed in my life. However, my indebtedness only amplifies the imperitive that I give Him all I can.

On question #2, Jesus has made clear to us that He is willing to make provision for sufficient funds, from the bank of redemption, to be made available to pay off our debt. This is where the first disagreement arises. Catholics would agree with all Protestants that this debt payment is not earned from us or deserved by us. We are totally dependent on the debt payer who earned the wages himself and is under no obligation to make them available to us.

The money that is used to settle this debt is called Grace. In fact, Catholics call this particular type of Grace- Sanctifying Grace because that’s what it does.

ACTS 15:11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they

ROM 3:24 They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus,

ROM 5:2 through whom we have gained access (by faith) to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

ROM 5:17 For if, by the transgression of one person, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ.

Where we divert is that some protestants (Calvinists in particular), believe that the debt payer, rather than providing for the payment of our debt, assumes all our debts (past, present and future) as His own! This is the heretical doctrine of Salvation by imputation. Like any other false, man-made doctrine, Salvation by imputation is not without clever arguments supporting it based on Scriptures twisted and turned just the right way. Just so, it fails to withstand serious muster, as do all heresies.

Following imputation theology through to it’s logical end shows that it is completely untenable in a number of respects. Let’s examine one.

Imputation theology fails to deal with sin. Thus, it makes it Biblically heretical. All the way back to Cain, God tells us of the struggle against sin.

Genesis 4:7

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

All through out the Scriptures, in both the Old and New Testament, Sin is shown in terms of an obstacle you must overcome. God will help you. He will forgive your sin and help you to grow stronger against it, if you are willing to try, but He will not paint over your sin and pretend it isn’t there. He will not fail to punish you if you do not fight your sin.

PHIL 2:12 So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

Matthew 10:38 and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.

Luke 3:9 Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Matthew 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Galatians 6

6:7 Make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows,6:8 because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit.6:9 Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.

James 2:24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

Imputation theology mocks God’s justice by putting God in a position of no longer punishing your sins or forgiving them. He simply pretends they are not there.

1 Thessalonians 4:6 and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you.

Three things must be made crystal clear.
1) Sin cannot stand. God will not abide sin. Every single sin must be forgiven or punished.
2) Forgiveness of sin is impossible without sincere repentance. Repentance means to
turn away. You cannot be forgiven of your sins unless you forsake them!
3) To sin, with the expectation that your sins will be forgiven or-worse yet- that they have already have been forgiven, is to only add the sin of presumption to your previous sins.

As the Apostle Paul admonishes us; Be not deceived. God is not mocked.

So, imputation, as a theory is wrong and this creates the great quandary that is very much the division between many branches of Protestantism and the one faith of Catholicism. It is set up by false dilemmas that are at the very heart of question #3

What does the free gift of Salvation require of us?

Many protestants contend that it requires nothing of us for two reasons;
1) It cannot be a free gift if anything is required in return.
2) There cannot be anything required of us because the debt is too large and we cannot pay it.

Therefore, God must pay it in full for us or it cannot be paid.

Let’s tackle the first one.

Romans 4

1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” a

4Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousnessb. 6David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from worksc: 7″Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”


a This is a perfect example of how context provides the answer. I actually like it when fundamentalists cite this scripture because it ends up proving the Catholic case! What does it mean “Abraham believed God?” Does it mean he jumped up and said “I believe, I believe!” Does it mean he danced in the isles and sang songs about how much faith he had? No, it means that Abraham trusted in God even when it did not seem to make earthy sense to do so.
The fundamentalists contention, that all Abraham had to do was state his belief, only works to persuade those who are completely ignorant of Scripture. We can see, plainly, from scripture that just the opposite is true. Abraham was saved because of His faith but that faith could only be manifested- proven- by his works. His works saved him.
James 2
2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?2:22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works.2:23 Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called “the friend of God.”2:24 See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
Is James refuting Paul? No! James is explaining Paul’s position. Whereas Redemption is that money in the bank that Jesus deposited to pay the debt, Justification is the point at which the person’s debt is paid in full. That is, the person has become Justified before God.
b Imputational fundamentalists insist that man can never become justified before God. They insist that Jesus covers our unrighteousness with His righteousness the way a blood stain is covered by a coat of paint. In essence, the consequence of their theology is that your sin still exists but you get into heaven by hiding behind Jesus so God cannot see it.
Yet, in the very verse cited, we are told that man can be justified.
“man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked
There are more examples;
Luke 18:14 I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
ACTS 13:39 in him every believer is justified.
Romans 2:13 For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified.
Romans 5:9 How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath.
James 2:25 And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route?
Before we can debate how a man is justified, we must, at a minimum, believe that he is. Imputation theology is finished. It is simply unworkable as an explanation of salvation. Any honest rendering of scripture contends that man- himself- undergoes a change from spiritual death to life, justifying him in the site of God. In other words, mans sin is not simply covered, it is removed.
Romans 6:4

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Ephesians 2:1
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
Ephesians 2:5
made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Colossians 2:13

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,

Many protestants correctly reject the doctrine of imputation and accept that God’s Grace does in fact wash away our sins and make us holy enough to be Justified. This actual cleansing of the soul and removal of sin is what is called Sanctification.
Redemption provides the money, Sanctification is the payment(s) and Justification is the result. All of it comes from the beneficence of a Holy and indescribably merciful God.
Yet, let’s not forget that He is also a Just God and a Sovereign God. For man to be Justified, Justice must be satisfied. Justification literally means the satisfaction of Justice. The abscence of debt or guilt.
jus⋅ti⋅fy
 /ˈdʒʌstəˌfaɪ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [juhs-tuh-fahy] Show IPA verb, -fied, -fy⋅ing.
–verb (used with object)
1. to show (an act, claim, statement, etc.) to be just or right: The end does not always justify the means.
2. to defend or uphold as warranted or well-grounded: Don’t try to justify his rudeness.
3. Theology. to declare innocent or guiltless; absolve; acquit.4.Printing.
a. to make (a line of type) a desired length by spacing the words and letters, esp. so that full lines in a column have even margins both on the left and on the right.
b. to level and square (a strike).
Protestants who reject imputationalism and Catholics, agree that man is redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice, Sanctified by His Grace and Justified by that Sanctification. Further, we agree that this occurs only because of faith and not by the merit of man nor by the works of the law. The only things in question are how the process takes place and what man must do for it to happen.
People of good will have been confused on this question for 500 years because the disobedience of Luther and the other reformers sowed that confusion. The reformers argued that Redemption, Sanctification and Jusification all occur at once and they provide Scripture that the uninformed could misinterpret to support that contention.
Romans 3:24
and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:30
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Many protestants who are not imputationalists, nevertheless, reject the idea that man is able to do anything to contribute to his own salvation. They cite, for example, the same words of Paul from above.
b 4Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness c 6David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 7″Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
In reading this, It would be easy to misunderstand Paul as saying that our Justification before God has nothing to do with works- that it was by faith alone. Easy that is, if James did not directly contradict that notion.
James 2
8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
12Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,

13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?
15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.
16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”
and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.


Is James contradicting Paul? No! He is explaining the very same doctrine that Paul taught. There are two sides to it and Paul emphasized the first, while James emphasized the second.
1) Those who carried out the works of the Mosaic law (John 1:17), without faith, cannot be saved. The works of the law, under the Old Covenant were nothing less than a symbolic participation in Christ’s redemptive work. When people practiced the law, for it’s own sake, they were condemned. Not one person can be saved by the law.
Paul is exorting us that Jesus is the one who saves even those who were saved through the Mosaic law because they were not saved by the Mosaic law. In fact, not one single person was saved BY the Mosaic law. All were saved by Jesus.

Acts 13:39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.
Salvation passed from and through Jesus, through the Mosaic law, to the believer. The Mosaic law was but a conduit through time by which Old Testament believers could participate in New Testament salvation. When Jesus arrived, that conduit was no longer needed and the veil in the temple was torn in two, shortly before the temple itself was razed by the Romans.
2) James, on the other hand, is giving us the other side of the equation. The law of Moses is one thing, the law of God is another! Do not presume that the law of God will ever pass away.
Matthew 5:18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
The same Scriptures that tell us that works without faith are dead tell us that faith without works is dead. The same scriptures that tell us that faith operates apart from works, tell us that faith is completed through works. You must demonstrate both or you, in fact, have neither.
We are not under the (Mosaic) law, we are under grace. Grace cleanses us, strengthens us, waters us and enables us to bring forth good fruit. Earning salvation? Don’t be silly. Our works don’t earn us salvation any more than the works of the Mosaic law earned Salvation.
Nevertheless, works are required for salvation. For the God who said “Thou shalt not kill” etc…”, meant it.
So, then. The question from some fundamentalists becomes ”how much work?”, ”what work?”, as if we can quantify it. If one attempts to quantify the work, they focus on the work for it’s own sake and error just as the Pharisees did.
Ours is to do what we are told to do and leave the results to God. The results are not what save but the exercise of faith practiced. The exercise of works is not a contradiction of faith but the very manifestation of faith. Some protestants contend that good works are a by product of faith. Seperating works from faith is like seperating the water from the wet or the heat from the fire. You can have wet without water but you cannot have water without wet. You can have heat without fire but you cannot have fire without heat. Salvation is by faith. We do what we are told to prove we have faith.
You can say you have faith all you want but if your soul is dry and cold, your words don’t mean much.

*BEST OF DTB #1* Do Catholics worship Mary?

Posted by John Benko - April 13th, 2009

Argument #1

Pose this scenario to a fundamentalist.

Theresa lives a very good life. She seldom, if ever misses Church on Sunday, doesn’t curse, smoke or drink. She gives genoursly over her time and money to the poor. Theresa is a devoted and faithful wife and mother who has never stolen, murdered or committed adultery.

This is not to say she is perfect, no one is. However, on balance, Theresa is a very decent person who tries her best to serve the Lord.

There is just one thing. Theresa has never been ‘saved’ in the manner fundamentalists describe it. She has never actually said the specific words;

“Jesus, I accept you today as my personal saviour”.

Bob is Theresa’s husband. 30 years ago, Bob was saved at an altar call. He was a devoted Christian for about 10 years then started to backslide a bit.

Now, 30 years later, Bob only goes to church at Easter and Christmas. He smokes, drinks to excess, and watches porn on his computer. Bob is currently having an affair on Theresa.

Which of these 2 are ‘saved’?

If you are a true devotee of Sola Fide and Calvinism, you have no choice but to say that Bob goes to heaven and Theresa goes to hell.

The only thing that matters is an assent of faith. To be a Christian is to worship Christ as Lord and Savior and that worship is only possible with an assent of faith. Free will demands that you make a choice to accept and worship Christ.

Yes?

Isn’t it ironic that some of these same people accuse Catholics of worshiping Mary despite the fact that there is a complete abscence of, even an open denial to, such a assent of worship of Her?



Argument #2

Suppose Mary was alive on earth today and a member of your church.
Since the Messiah was her own Son, would she not be a truly devoted worshipper?

In a time of great trial, would you hesitate to ask her to pray for you to her Son?



Argument #3

I have been to many funerals in my life. Most of them were protestants. The most recent was for my 18 year old cousin- a Baptist- who had just been killed in a horrific car accident.

In not one funeral I have ever attended did the loved ones fail to say “I know in my heart he sees me and hears me”. With the exception of those in hell, our loved ones certainly do see and hear us and they cheer us on as part of a great cloud of witnesses.

To fail to see this is to deny our faith.

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Matthew 22:32
‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ ? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

Mark 12:27
He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”

Luke 20:38
He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”


Argument #4

In contending that the Hail Mary is idolotry, fundamentalists have some ‘splainin’
to do. The entire prayer is lifted right from the face of Scripture.

Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.

(Luke 1:28)

Blessed are you among women and
blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus

(Luke 1:42)

Holy Mary, Mother of God.

(Luke 1:43)

Pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of are death.

(Luke 6:27-36)

Jesus explicitly tells us to pray for each other and to ask each other to pray for us.

Yet, when we ask His own mother- the one full of grace, the blessed one, the mother of God, the Ark of the Covenant, the Woman clothed with the Sun (Revelation 11:19-12:1)- to pray for us, to HIM, we are accused of idolotry.

It’s a funny old world, isn’t it?


Argument # 5

Some Protestants claim that, in heaven, none of the Saints can hear any prayers or words outside of heaven. Further, they do not intercede on our behalf.

Scripture does not support such contentions.

Matthew 18
10″See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

Revelation 8:4
The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.

Even this unfortunate passage shows that the Saints are not cloistered somewhere, unable to know of anything beyond heaven’s gates….

Luke 16
19″There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22″The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In hell,[
c] where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25″But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
27″He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, 28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29″Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
30″ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31″He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ “



Argument # 6

Prayer is not worship.

Ask many fundamentalists what the highest form of woship is and they will tell you that it is ‘prayer’.

Not so.

Prayer, in itself is not worship, unless the prayer is a prayer of worship.

That is why prayer, praise and worship are listed as seperate things. To pray, in it’s most basic original form, means only to ask.

pray 

 /preɪ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [prey] Show IPA
–verb (used with object)
1.
to offer devout petition, praise, thanks, etc., to (God or an object of worship).
2.
to offer (a prayer).
3.
to bring, put, etc., by praying: to pray a soul into heaven.
4.
to make earnest petition to (a person).
5.
to make petition or entreaty for; crave: She prayed his forgiveness.
6.
to offer devout petition, praise, thanks, etc., to God or to an object of worship.
7.
to enter into spiritual communion with God or an object of worship through prayer.

It is natural that we have added a religious conotation to it but that- in it’s simplest form- is not the original meaning of the word. It means to ask…. which, of course, Jesus invites us to do;

Mark 11:24
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Many may say that I am parsing words but I am not. To pray, even in the religious sense, does not- of itself- constitute worship. The basic act of prayer is the act of asking. The act of adoration is the act of worshipping.

Prayer certainly can be worship and it can be false worship. That depends on who/what you are praying to and/or who/what you are praying for.

That is where so many fundamentalists get tripped up.

Let’s, once again, look at what we Catholics say to Mary.

Hail Mary, full of grace. This is the correct translation of the words of Gabriel to Mary.
As such, they do not constitute worship but an assent to Biblical reality that Mary was filled with Grace from God.

Blessed are you, among women. Right here, We affirm her humanity and that, though she is most highly blessed among all women (and we would say among all those wholly created), she cannot be equal with God.

Holy Mary, Mother of God. Mother of God. She is not God. HER SON is God. Mary gave birth to a person, not a nature.

Pray for us. A simple request.

Some will say “Why can I not pray directly to Jesus?”

You certainly can and many do.

I ask you though. Would you hesitate to ask your mother to pray to Jesus for you?
If not, why would you wait a second to ask His mother?

She is much closer to him than your earthly mother.


Argument #7

“but God told us not to pray to the Queen of heaven

No, God told us not to worship the false Queen of Heaven, not to not pray with the real one.

Jeremiah 7:18
The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger.

Offerings…cakes….drinks…burnt offerings…..adoration…worship.

This verse, firstly, says nothing about prayer. However, if it did, it would constitute idolotry, not because prayer itself is idolotry but because Ishthar is a false goddess. Thus, she is no Queen of heaven at all but an idol meant to draw worship away from the true God. Mary draws us TO the true God. There is no legitimate basis by which this fantasm of man’s imagination can be honored with such a title.

Mary, on the other hand….

Revelation 12

1A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

Who was the Son this woman gave birth to? It’s ok. You know the answer.

She wears a crown of 12 stars? What other saint has a crown of 12 stars?

Mary personifies the role of the Queen mother. Her Queenship comes forth from her position as mother of the King. (2 Kings 10:13)

Guess what else?

Jesus gave her to you as your mother as well, from the cross.

John 19:26-28

26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

In fact, your Bible tells you that Mary’s children are the true believers and they have the true testament of her Son.

Read for yourself from Revelation 12:17

17Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.


Argument #8

Romans 3:10
As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;

I cannot respond to this any better than the folks at Catholicscomehome.org

Romans 3, verse 10 says, “…as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one.’” Yet, James 5:16 says that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much. If absolutely no one is righteous, then who is James talking about? Luke chapter 1 says that Elizabeth and Zechariah were righteous before God. If absolutely no one is righteous, then how can that be? Is Scripture contradicting itself? No, the folks who interpret Romans as saying absolutely, without exception, no one is righteous, are misinterpreting that passage. They are failing to realize that the key to understanding Romans 3:10 is the phrase, “it is written.”

Here in Romans, Paul is quoting from the O.T., Psalm 14 to be exact. In Psalm 14 it says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God. They are corrupt…there is none that does good.’” But then that same psalm goes on to talk about the “righteous.” Well, if none has done good, who are these righteous the psalm is talking about? Obviously, when the psalmist says that none has done good, he is talking about the fools who say there is no God. He is not talking about absolutely everyone.

Just so Paul when he quotes from this psalm. Paul is not saying absolutely no one is righteous, if he was, then how do you explain all the Old and New Testament passages that refer to the righteous? In Romans 3:11 it says that no one seeks for God. Does that mean that absolutely no one is seeking God? No, to interpret it that way would be ludicrous!
Just so verse 23 which says that “all have sinned”. Babies haven’t sinned, have they? Little children haven’t sinned, have they? No! This is not an absolute. There are exceptions. What about John the Baptist? Did he sin? Scripture says that he was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb. Can someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit his entire life ever sin? It’s something to think about.

So, it is perfectly legitimate to say that these passages from Romans, when interpreted in context, in no way conflict with the Church’s teaching on Mary being without sin.


Argument #9

The Woman.

That you don’t get the Old Testament or Mary doesn’t mean we worship her.

Many protestants do not get who Mary is at all just like they don’t get many aspects of faith.

Many people take a very dim view of the Old Testament as if God was just trying one form of salvation and replaced it with Jesus because it wasn’t working. God doesn’t make mistakes.

Immediatly as Adam and Eve fell from grace, God knew the awful price of sin and He knew what He would do about it.

Genesis 3:15

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.”
You will notice that the verse does not say a woman but says the woman.
This is of critical importance. In it’s context, Adam is the man and Eve is the woman. Through them, sin entered the world.
Again, from Genesis 3;
3:9 The LORD God then called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?”3:10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.”3:11 Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”3:12 The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me–she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it.”
The reason why this is important is that it provides prophetic context to 3:15.
Now, let’s jump forward to the Gospels.
Jesus-
MT 8:20 Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
MT 9:6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” –he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
Son of Man, literally translated son (descendant) of Adam (meaning man). Many of you may have already caught this. What may have gotten past you was what Mary was called!
John 2:4 (And) Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.”
John 19:26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Does it not strike you odd that Jesus refers to His own mother as “Woman“. It actually sounds disrespectful until you think about it.

First, The law says “Honor your Father and Mother.” Jesus certainly wouldn’t revile his own mother and violate the law of God!

Leviticus 19:3
Revere your mother and father, and keep my sabbaths. I, the LORD, am your God.

Secondly, we see examples of all those he loved being referred to him by name. Even Judas! (Luke 22:48). Yet, He refers to His own mother with the seemingly dismissive “woman” rather than “mother” or “mom” or even “Mary”.

Why?

There is nothing dismissive about it! Jesus wanted you to know who she is! The Woman! As Jesus (Son of Man) is the new Adam, Mary is the new Eve. The new Woman!

What does the Bible say about the first woman and the second one?

Genesis 3:20 The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living.

So, we are all the children of Eve, as the first woman.

Yet, look again at Genesis 3:15 and John 19:26 The serpent wages war with the woman and her children. Jesus gave Mary to us as Mother while on the cross!

“Woman, behold thy son!”

Now…the big finish!

Revelation 12 tells us of the Woman clothed with Sun (v 1) who bears the savior (v5).
The serpent- just as Genesis 3 prescribes- wages war on HER and the rest of HER children!
who are the believers of God. (v17).

So, Mary becomes the mother of all the living in Christ, as Eve became the mother of all the living in the flesh. For, while it was Eve’s disobedience that brought the world corruption, it was Mary’s obedeience that brought the world salvation! For SHE brought us the Savior! That hearing and obeying the word is what makes Mary so special!

Luke 1:38 Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

1:43 And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord * should come to me?1:44 For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.1:45 Blessed are you who believed * that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

In another verse, Jesus seems, again, to be dismissive of His Mother until, again, you know the context.

Luke 11:27
While he was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.”11:28 He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

In other words, Jesus is saying, just as Elizabeth did, that Mary is blessed because she believed and acting in faith!


Argument # 10

The Ark of the Covenant.

For those of you who have only heard of the Ark of the Covenent from a Steven Spielberg movie,
I would advise you to open your Bible to the 25th chapter of Exodus. It is an exquisite box made with fine linen and gold and adorned with two images of Cherubs (so much for God not allowing any graven images at all) and made of Acacia wood- a wood known for it’s incorruptibility. (that will come into play later.)

The Ark was magnificently built and must have been a sight to behold.

The purpose of the Ark was to hold the Word of God- the Torah and the Ten Commandments.

When ever Israel went into battle, led by the Ark, they never lost.

Now, the Ark was a created thing. It was not a god, nor did anyone ever think it was or accuse anyone of thinking it was. Yet, the Ark of the Covenant carried within it the Word of God and that fact made it Holy.

How holy?

Read for yourself.

1 Chronicles 13:8-108 David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets.
9 When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. 10 The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.


Wow!

The Ark of the Covenant….

It was uncorruptible. (Hail, full of Grace)
It carried the Word of God (and the word became flesh and dwelt among us)
It brought forth the Covenant (this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new covenant).

It was taken into heaven!

Psalm 132:8
arise, O LORD, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might.

It was seen in heaven!
Once again…..

Revelation
11:19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm.
12:1 * A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman* clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.12:2 She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.* 12:3 Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, * with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems.12:4 Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth.12:5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. * Her child was caught up to God and his throne.

How much clearer can it be? The new Woman/Eve, The Mother of God, The Ark of the Covenant, The Woman clothed with the Sun.

God? no. Worthy of worship? no. Important to your faith? You better believe it!


Conclusion

Do Catholics worship Mary?

Certainly not. She helps us worhip Jesus by His own providence that all the Saints help us, her foremost among them.

Tell me. If we worship Mary, What command does Mary give us, save one? (John 2:5)

Worship of Mary? Don’t be silly. Protestants may disagree and be confused with many of our beliefs about Mary- perpetual virginity, assumption, immaculate conception….

but to suggest that we worship her is just beyond ridiculous.