More musings on “saints”
If Catholics would read the Bible they would find many discrepancies between God’s Word and the teachings of their church. Let’s look at just one of these discrepancies.
The New Testament refers to “saint” or “saints” many times. What does the Bible mean by the word, saint? From the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, saint was translated from “hagios,” meaning a person who is “set apart.” In the context of Scripture the term referred to EVERYONE who had accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. All those who trust in Christ are set apart and sanctified in Him.
As the early church gradually became institutionalized and began to adopt elements of the pagan religions surrounding it, salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ devolved into impersonal ritual and legalism, all strictly controlled by the increasingly powerful hierarchy. The church began to formally recognize as “saints” those deceased members who had demonstrated an exceptional degree of “holiness” in their lifetime. By canonizing someone as a “saint” the church was certifying the individual was in Heaven and could act as a semi-deified intercessor between God and men. A minimum of two post-mortem intercessory miracles were required for the church to recognize someone as a “saint.” The first pope to declare someone a “saint” was pope John XV in 993. Unlike the Bible, Catholicism regards “saints” as a special class of “Christians” who best exemplified its works-righteousness theology (excluding its designation of early Christians, e.g., Paul, Peter, etc.).
The Catholic church’s doctrines regarding “saints” were outgrowths of its works-righteousness system. Catholicism turns a blind eye to God’s Word which says none are righteous and all must come to Christ. It honors those who allegedly earned their way to Heaven by their exceptional “piety” and “holiness.” The Bible says none are good and there’s only one Mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ, but the Catholic church ignores all that and has manufactured a plethora of holy “saints” for its people to turn to. Nowhere in Scripture does a follower of God pray to anyone other than Him but Catholicism says its man-made traditions trump Scripture. The church has canonized so many “saints” that it lost count; there’s no official list.
Instead of turning to Christ as their Savior, Catholics believe they must merit their salvation by trying to become as obedient and “holy” as their venerated “saints.” This “dulia” worship of dead “saints” detracts from the worship due to Christ alone. Evangelical compromisers don’t think twice about parroting their Catholic friends by referring to “Saint” Augustine, and “Saint” Paul. Catholicism’s corruption of the word has become the popular understanding, e.g., “Oh, my husband is such a saint!,” even among Evangelicals who know better.
See my earlier blog regarding how “saints” were used by the Catholic church to replace pagan patron gods here.
I am so grateful to my Lord for leading me out of the man-made traditions of Catholicism and for saving me by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.