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. With this next chapter, the Catholic apologist continues his section on “The Saints” as he attempts to counter Protestants’ objections that “God Alone Knows Our Hearts”
In examining Broussard’s three previous chapters on this topic, I pointed out that Catholicism teaches that its saints have deific abilities to receive and comprehend prayers. In counterpoint, evangelical Protestants often cite 2 Chronicles 6:30 to show that God alone knows the hearts of men and women:
“Then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways, for you, you only, know the hearts of the children of mankind.”
Broussard responds to this objection with two arguments:
(1) Firstly, Broussard posits that an all-powerful God is certainly able to grant limited omniscience to the saints. He appeals to Catholic theologian, Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologiae:
“God alone of himself knows the thoughts of the heart: yet others know them, insofar as these are revealed to them, either by their vision of the Word [Second Person of the Trinity] or by any other means.”
(2) Next, Broussard contends that there is Scriptural precedent for the notion of saintly omniscience. He cites Daniel 2 where God revealed King Nebuchadnezzar’s private dreams to Daniel in a vision. He also cites Revelation 5:8 with its mention of “the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” as an alleged example of how “God reveals the interior thoughts of men to created intellects, particularly to souls in heaven” (p.208).
Let’s now answer Broussard.
(1) I certainly don’t regard Thomas Aquinas as a reliable theological authority, but I do acknowledge from examples in Scripture that God is almighty and all-powerful and can and has chosen, in unique circumstances, to reveal the interior thoughts of others to His prophets and select individuals.
(2) Yes, Mr. Broussard, God did reveal the interior thoughts of Nebuchadnezzar to Daniel. No, Mr. Broussard, Revelation 5:8 doesn’t indicate that the souls in Heaven know the details of believers’ prayers.
Broussard has once again used the Catholic “reasonable/fitting” argument to “prove” the validity of praying to saints. He posits that (A) since God has revealed the interior thoughts of people to prophets, then (B) it’s reasonable to assume that God enables saints to know the interior thoughts of those who pray to them, therefore (C) God grants limited omniscience to the saints in order for them to receive prayers.
Roman Catholicism has likewise extrapolated many other specious, extra-Biblical doctrines and traditions using its reasonable/fitting argument. While God did reveal the interior thoughts of people to prophets, there is not a single example in either the Old or New Testaments of a faithful believer invoking the dead. Not one. God would NOT empower souls in Heaven to be spiritual mediators because He would be contradicting His Word, which states believers are to pray directly to God the Father through Jesus Christ, our only Mediator.
“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven…'” – Matthew 6:9
Jesus DID NOT instruct His disciples to pray to saint so-and-so. He instructed His disciples to pray to God the Father.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16
The writer of Hebrews, under divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, exhorts Christians to pray to God, NOT to pray to saints X, Y, and Z.
Next up: “We Are the Saints”