Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #35: “One Mediator”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. This week, we begin our examination of the Catholic apologist’s five-part section on “The Saints.” With this first chapter, he attempts to counter evangelical Protestants’ objection that there is “One Mediator.”

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The Roman Catholic church teaches its members to pray to Mary and the saints for spiritual intercession: “We can and should ask (Mary and the saints) to intercede for us and for the whole world” (CCC 2683). However, evangelical Protestants cite 1 Timothy 2:5 to show that Jesus alone is Mediator and Intercessor:

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Broussard attempts to rebut the Protestant view with three arguments:

(1) Broussard agrees that Scripture affirms the uniqueness of Jesus Christ’s office as Mediator,  but also points out that Scripture teaches the validity of intercessory prayer of fellow Christians, one for another. He remarks that in v.1 of the same chapter, Paul urges “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” and in v.3 (Broussard mistakenly credits v.4) Paul writes that such intercession “is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” Broussard argues that, (A) since asking fellow Christians to intercede for us in prayer is Biblical, then (B) asking Christians in Heaven to intercede for us must be valid as well.

(2) Broussard argues that while Scripture affirms Jesus’s unique roles as Teacher (Matthew 23:8) and High Priest (Hebrews 3:1), he contends that Scripture also affirms that Christ shares those ministries with His disciples (Ephesians 4:11, 1 Peter 2:5,9). Broussard posits that, (A) since Christ shares his intercessory ministry with living Christians according to Scripture, then (B) “it’s at least possible that Jesus could share his intercessory ministry with Christians in heaven, too” (p.194).

(3) With his last argument, Broussard’s attempts to connect the dots. He posits that, (A) since all Christians, both on Earth and in Heaven, are united as members of the mystical Body of Christ, and (B) because “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16)” with regards to the intercessory prayer of the saints on Earth, therefore, (C) “the saints in heaven are perfected in righteousness, (and) their prayers will bear much fruit” (p.195).

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

Gospel Christians certainly believe, as the Bible teaches, that we are to pray to God for each other. However, the Catholic argument that petitioning deceased Christians to pray/intercede for us is the same as asking living Christians to pray to God for us presupposes several un-Biblical and anti-Biblical doctrines:

  • Praying to saints semi-deifies deceased human beings – In order to hear prayers throughout the world, saints would have to have the ability to be omnipresent and omniscient (able to perceive the private thoughts of petitioners). Catholics claim that God grants these powers to the saints in Heaven. Some Catholics will claim that they don’t actually pray to Mary or the saints, but that is lexical sophistry.
  • Praying to saints is idolatry – By ascribing deific, god-like powers to deceased human beings, the Catholic church presents these “saints” as de facto minor gods and prayer to them is a form of worship. This robs God of the worship that He alone deserves. Nowhere in the Old or New Testament is there a sanctioned example of a living person praying to a deceased person. Studious readers of the Bible know this to be absolutely true. Communication with the dead (i.e., necromancy) is strictly forbidden by Scripture. Broussard will attempt to address the subject of saints and necromancy next week.
  • Praying to saints is nonsensical – Even if it were possible, there would be absolutely no need or advantage to praying to an intermediary when we can pray directly to God the Father through the ONE AND ONLY Mediator, God the Son.
  • Praying to saints impugns Jesus’s role as Sole Mediator –  While Catholics insist that they fully acknowledge and respect Jesus’s singularly unique role as Savior and Mediator between God and man, they betray their lip service with their actions by addressing their prayers to Mary and the saints for their salvation and for other needs and requests.
  • Praying to saints and the notion of patron saints is a syncretic adaptation of paganism – After Christianity was adopted as the official state religion of the Roman Empire in 380 AD, it became increasingly institutionalized and adapted many pagan beliefs and practices. Ancient Greece and Rome had their pantheons of major and minor gods and goddesses with their alleged patronage of various trades and occupations. From this model, Roman Catholicism created its pantheon of patron saints. See my relevant post here.

With this introductory chapter, Broussard attempted to the persuade the reader of at least the possibility of saintly mediation/intercession. He’ll build on this anti-Biblical foundation in the four chapters that follow.

Is prayer to saints / Mary biblical?
https://www.gotquestions.org/prayer-saints-Mary.html

Next up: “Invoking the Dead Is an Abomination”

27 thoughts on “Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #35: “One Mediator”

  1. This is absolutely ludicrous! The spin the author tells himself that this is not idolatry and unbiblical is heartbreaking. How the author thinks there is any connection between the living praying with and for each other correlates to asking the dead for intercession is beyond me. This is lexical sophistry as you say. I realize this is an OT example but when Saul had the medium from Endor summon Samuel, Samuel responded, “why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” (1 Sam 28:15 ESV). It amazes me more and more how the RCC allows their history to dictate how they read Scripture. If the Bible is not complete and authoritative for our lives today, why has the Lord gone to such lengths to preserve it, have it translated into so many languages, preached and understood in people’s own language etc? Obviously, that is rhetorical. I have known since I was little that Catholics pray to the saints, I just never knew why or where the practice came from. I am getting a better appreciation for why you go to the lengths you do to bring awareness of the false gospel of the RCC. Before I went to Capital Seminary and Graduate School, I took one class at a seminary in FL. The professor I had was part of the Polk County Ecumenical Peace Initiative and he wanted us as his students to join him. It was all sorts of different denominations and perishes/dioceses coming together for the sake of Polk County. I never attended any meetings or anything like that because something in me didn’t feel right. I confess, what his teaching did to is lead me to question if the RCC was really that far off. Well, week after week reading your posts and now reading this book in conjunction I am seeing everything, page after agonizing page is contrary to what I believe as an Evangelical Christian. The Evangelical church if she is true to Scripture has no choice but to be against the RCC false gospel. As a person who is called to Biblical Theology and gifted in intercession today’s reading goes against everything I stake my life on. Christ is our great high Priest, He is the one and only mediator, the Author and Perfecter of our faith and we know this by His Word. Feel free not to publish this! I process things verbally (whether in written or oral communication!). Love and blessings to you and Corinne!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mandy, thank you for all of your good comments! I sincerely appreciate reading your personal thoughts and experiences. They’re a very real encouragement to me. There’s a general lethargy within evangelicalism regarding these vital doctrinal differences and even an effort by some, as you cite, to declare “Close enough!” in regards to Rome’s false gospel. I’m glad you cite 1 Samuel 28:15. Broussard refers to that verse and associated passage as part of his arguments in chapter 37.
      Again, my thanks. I wish all evangelicals were as passionate about these gross distortions of Biblical truth by the RCC. While saint veneration/worship might be formally categorized as a secondary difference, it also points to the major differences regarding soteriology as you stated in a previous comment.
      Thank you and love and blessings to you and Nathan!
      p.s. We completed American Gospel 2 last night and both enjoyed/appreciated it. I hope to write a review shortly when I get some time between painting the house.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If I lived closer I would help you guys paint! Nathan and I have painted away most this summer. I can see that saint veneration is a secondary issue; however, if one is not careful it could easily become a first issue in that praying to xyz comes before the Trinity. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the documentary! Stay cool and hydrated painting!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Mandy! I could have used your help painting today. I planned on doing ALL of the trim work today, but only completed half. I forgot how tedious and time-consuming it was.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Romanists…….

    Augustine (354-430): This being the case, ever since the time when by one man sin thus entered into this world and death by sin, and so it passed through to all men, up to the end of this carnal generation and perishing world, the children of which beget and are begotten, there never has existed, nor ever will exist, a human being of whom, placed in this life of ours, it could be said that he had no sin at all, with the exception of the one Mediator, who reconciles us to our Maker through the forgiveness of sins. NPNF1: Vol. V, On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, and on the Baptism of Infants, Book II, Chapter 47.

    John Chrysostom (349-407): You see, provided we are prepared to be vigilant and alert, even by our own appeals we will obtain the greatest benefit. After all, since our Lord is loving, he does not accede to requests on our behalf by others as readily as he does to our own. See the extraordinary degree of his goodness: if he sees us giving offence, suffering dishonor, having no confidence, and then gradually rising from our depression and wishing to have recourse to the riches of his loving kindness, he immediately accedes to our requests, extends his hand to us in our abjection and raises us where we have fallen, crying aloud, “Surely the fallen will not fail to rise?” FC, Vol. 82, Homilies on Genesis, trans. Robert C. Hill, Homily 44.11 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1990), p. 460.

    John Chrysostom (349-407): But thou art unworthy. Become worthy by thy assiduity. For that it both is possible that the unworthy should become worthy from his assiduity; and that God assents more when called on by ourselves than by others; and that he often delays the giving, not from the wish that we should be utterly perplexed, nor to send us out with empty hands; but in order that he may become the author of greater good things to us–these three points I will endeavour to make evident by the parable which has to-day been read to you. The woman of Chanaan had come to Christ praying on behalf of a daughter possessed by a demon, and crying out with much earnestness (it says, “Have pity on me, Lord, my daughter is badly possessed by a demon.”) See, the woman of a strange nation, and a barbarian, and outside of the Jewish commonwealth. For indeed what else (was she) than a dog, and unworthy of the receiving her request? For “it is not,” he says, “good to take the children’s bread, and to give it to the dogs.” But, all the same, from her assiduity, she became worthy. For not only did he admit her into the nobility of children, dog as she was; but also he sent her off with that high encomium saying, “O woman great is thy faith; be it done to thee as thou wilt.” Now when the Christ says, “great is thy faith,” seek thou no other demonstration of the greatness of soul which was in the woman. Seest thou how, from her assiduity the woman, being unworthy, became worthy? Desirest thou also to learn that we accomplish (our wish) by calling on him by ourselves more than by others? NPNF1: Vol. IX, Concerning Lowliness of Mind and Commentary on Philippians 1:18, Homily 3, §12.

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    1. The bigger question is why even bother with Mary as a co-mediatrix or the saints since a “good” Muslim or “good” Atheist can be saved by being “good”?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Tom. I think what irks me the most is that the R.C. teachings are so unnatural. In order to support their errant beliefs, they cite the Bible, but they wrench and twist it … connecting verses together which don’t fit … to say what they want it to say.

    Such futile, senseless, and utterly misguided “doctrine.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, David! Yup, they must twist Scripture every which way to force it to conform to their “sacred traditions.” This saint “business” is incomprehensible to believers. Why go to a minor employee with a problem when you can go right to the company president? Of course there are historical reasons for the development of this doctrine, which I alluded to at the end.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m glad you’re teaching young folks about relationships. So important to have a Biblical foundation before/while the hormones are raging.
        I ended up not taking a nap and I was really beat last night! Another 3-4 hours of trim painting today (after cutting the back lawn).

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Your 5 point refutations is on point. I think point four we can get from the very verse that the Catholic is trying to rebut here (and yet didn’t handle it well). Good points, hope Catholics read this

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!
      RE: point four
      Yup, this is similar to other doctrines of Catholic theology where they “fully acknowledge” a Biblical truth, and then subvert it in practice, like the unique sacrifice of Christ at Calvary subverted by the perpetual sacrifice of the mass and acknowledging Jesus as Savior but teaching people they must save themselves by being good, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 👍🏻
        I have often asked, If you died in an accident today and God asked you why He should allow you into Heaven, what would you say? They generally answer that they’ve been pretty good. Most don’t know much about the Bible or even their religion.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Brother Tom, I am learning so much about a religion I once practiced but knew very little off.
    Your blog honours God while exposing error. A much needed ministry our Lord has given you.
    I pray it will produce much fruit for His glory.
    Have a peaceful weekend !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sister Crissy, I really appreciate your encouragement regarding these Friday apologetics posts! They are a bit difficult to research and write. We can both rejoice that the Lord led us out of this error. I, like you and 90% of Catholics, just went through the motions without much or any understanding. We had no Scriptural knowledge and just did as we were told. Thanks, again, sister, and Lord bless your ministries! I hope you’re having a great weekend! Lots of house painting ahead for me today.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Crissy! I’m doing the trim work with a small brush, which is a bit tedious when painting a house, BUT when that’s done I’ll get to use the roller!!! Now that’s fun! I cover a lot of ground…er, I mean shingles, in a short amount of time.

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