16.1.10

Religious Idols

  My sister in law, who was raised Orthodox [catholic] has been visiting me daily, and we’ve been having really good discussions regarding the bible.  One thing that kept coming up was the kissing of the pictures of Christ that is “mandatory” within the Orthodox church.  

  Let me back track just a bit, her best friend recently gave her heart to the Lord in a “Pentecostal” church.  The Pentecostals here are not, I repeat NOT like the Pentecostal churches in the U.S.  They don’t make the women keep their hair & skirts long, and no make-up.  They are more like the charismatic/non-denominational churches in the U.S. 

  Elena, that is my sister in law’s name, has been attending church with her friend, and really enjoys it because she said she actually learns something, unlike the Orthodox church, where they just read a bunch of scripture and don’t explain it or break it down.  They just tell you do this, don’t do that, etc.  On a side note:  the Orthodox priests clothing reminds me of the drawings that have been done of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  Every time I see a priest here, I immediately think of the Sandrehin.   

  Anyway,  She knows that I believe like her friend, so we’ve been discussing the bible and religion, etc.  The whole kissing the pictures, and praying to Mary thing has come up a bunch of times.  When talking to someone who is basically a babe in Christ, you don’t want to confuse them, and freak them out.  I explained that NO RELIGIOUS SYSTEM has it all right.  That if you are kissing a picture of Christ because you believe that will help you get your sins forgiven, then it is wrong.  I explained that I believe it is a form of idol worship because of what God said in the 10 Commandments.  So we broke out the bibles, mine in English and one in Romanian for her.  We read the commandments as laid out in Exodus 20: 2-17, specifically verses 3-5:

“3.  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

5.  Thou shalt no bow down thyself to them, no serve them:  for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, …”

  When Elena read v.4, you could see the light bulb go off over her head, as she exclaimed…”IT IS A SIN!!” See the thing with a lot of the older religions like the Orthodox, Catholics, Lutherans, etc.  church has become a ritual, and worse yet, a way to make money through church dues, prayer candles, etc, etc.  They have take the clean and made it unclean, the Holy and made it filthy.  They have turned the House of the Lord into a den of thieves.  I’m not talking just about monetarily either, spiritually, a lot of churches, more of the charismatic, are twisting scriptures to fit their doctrines and beliefs.  Take one verse completely out of context from the entire chapter.  Because of things like this we find people who get confused, mistreated, trampled on and hurt beyond repair it seems, because man, in his infinite folly, thinks that he knows more. 

  All the blame cannot be laid entirely at the feet of religious leaders, priests, pastors, etc.  The blame lies at the feet of the body of Christ.  See, we are believers are called to be watchmen, but we aren’t watching, we’ve let the wolves in, even though the sheep’s clothing is halfway hanging off.  We’ve become fat and lazy on the blessings of our fore-fathers, at least in America.  So instead of standing up and rebuking the false teaching that is running rampant in our churches, we sit back and soak it all up.  We don’t go home and fast and pray, and study the Word on our own.  We rely on our pastors to tell us all about it, and trust that they are being truthful, while putting the proverb that tells us that “…the heart of man is deceitful..” out of our mind.  Because, hey, we don’t want to feel convicted, we don’t want to live a life of holiness and righteousness, cause dang-it, that’s just too hard.  We like riding the fence, being luke-warm.  What was that God said he would do to the luke-warm??? Oh yeah, he’s gonna SPEW US OUT OF HIS MOUTH!!!!!

  Like I told Elena, No One can take you into Heaven, that is up to each individual.  You have to have faith, even if it’s just a tiny bit!  And to safe-guard your heart and mind, you NEED to stay in the Word, i.e. the Bible, so that when these false teachers and prophets, with their false words come along, you will not be swayed, you will boldly stand-up and call the enemy out, and kick his butt to the curb where it belongs.

14 comments:

jennifer renee said...

awesome blog. and, you already know, i agree with you 100%.
glad to hear her eyes were opened...

Anonymous said...

Love the blog!!! I whole heartedly agree. One problem I am having with the "church" here in the states is that there is too much "bless me" teaching and not enough truth. In the book of Acts, the original church did not meet in large and largely elegant and ornate buildings and focus on building bigger congregations through "programs". They focused on meeting in one another's homes and taking care of one another. The church took care of the widows and orphans, not the state. The original church was compassionate and promoted the truth. Christ was lifted up through the pure teaching of the Word and the Acts of the early believers which were (I believe) prompted by the Holy Spirit and the love of God working through them.
I am so proud of you, my daughter. I know, Elena is one of many God will bring to you to guide to the truth.

Anonymous said...

As a lifelong Catholic who understands my faith, I have to say, just because a Catholic doesn't know why she does something doesn't make the practice wrong. I have never heard it said that kissing an image of Christ will forgive your sins, yet I kiss my crucifix every morning and night like I kiss my children every morning and night, out of love.
Sometimes our misunderstanding of faith and doctrine is due to ignorance on the part of the faithful, not erroneous practices and devotion. Like 'worshipping" Mary. Believe it or not, there is a cult that worships the figure of Mary, but they aren't Catholic and are no where near Christian. Catholics simply revere Mary as the Mother of Christ, which she is. We all revere our mothers and what better way to the Son's heart than to love His Mother, and I will take any heavenly figure praying for my intentions, especially Christ's mother. But you don't have to ask her intercession if you don't want, it's not law.
I happen to think my Catholic upbringing actually gave me a very good handle on the Bible. Our Sunday and daily Mass is filled with Readings from both Testaments, complete with the book, chapter and verse for us to look up, or read along in the Missal, and our prayers are mostly biblical. One only has to listen.
You are absolutely right that it is up to each one of us to figure out why we believe what we do, but one's ignorance of one's faith should not negate the whole Church. Apathy is what is killing the body of Christ.

Odie said...

i wasn't trying to bash one denomination; i.e. catholosism. My point was how church can turn images and people into idols, and how that is a sin. Orthodox is different from the Roman Catholic system in several respects.

Mary was blessed, and I'm thankful that God found such a righteous young woman to bring His son into this world. However, I would LOVE for someone to please show me a scripture that says Mary makes intercession on our behalf, or where we should pray to Mary. Because my bible says that Christ is The WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, that No man comes to the Father, except by Him. And they makes intercession for us, that he ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us.

Again, NO ONE SYSTEM has it all right, they are all flawed and full of error. Reading along in church is great, but if you aren't reading it on your own accord, and seeking God out on your own, then, honestly, why even bother???

jennifer renee said...

let me know when you find it.. i'm wonderin about that scripture myself...

Anonymous said...

John 2: 1-5
I am sure you agree that nothing in the Bible is wasted or meaningless. This episode clearly shows us that in any matters, even those that seem unnecessary in the grand scheme of salvation (ie. wine at a wedding), if Mary brings the intention to her Son, He will aquiesce to her wishes. And she, in turn, will always direct us to "DO as He tells you"

Anonymous said...

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of his maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. (Lk 1:46-49)
A magnifying glass magnifies what it is focused on, so looking to Mary does not take away from Jesus, rather it magnifies Him.

Odie said...

Yes, Mary was blessed, again, this is my problem, scripture being taken out of Context. Christ NEVER said to listen to Mary, to Pray to Mary. She was called blessed because she found HUGE favor in the eyes of the LORD. To be the vessel to bring His son into this world.

Jesus performed his first miracle at the wedding. I think that was more the point of it being referenced. That and it showed he was obedient to his mother, even at the age of 30.

Looking to and praying to Mary, does take away from Jesus, because instead of focusing on Christ, you are focusing on a flawed woman; which is in essence, idolatry.

Mary was blessed, but that was it. Christ was still specific, LOVE THE LORD THEY GOD, and love thy Neighbor, and when you pray, you aught to pray thus:

"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when though prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut they door, pray to they Father which is in secret" and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: fo they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: OUR FATHER WHICH ARE IN HEAVEN HALLOWED BE THY NAME, THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD AND FORGIVE US OUR TREASPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TREASPASS AGAINST US. LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL. FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER. AMEN.
Matthew 6:5-13 & Luke 11:2-4

THAT was the only prayer Christ said to pray in repetition. I still don't see where scripture says to pray to Mary, or that she makes intercession for us. Jesus was honoring the Law when he obeyed her at the wedding. They were still under mosaic law, and to disobey her, would have been two things: 1 against the law, the punishment of which was death. and 2nd, it would have been a sin to not listen to and obey his mother. Christ was sinless, so if he would have sinned, then He came in vain, and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Still waiting for someone to show me Where the bible, specifically Christ said [specifically] to pray to Mary, that she makes intercession for us.

For all the Catholics, this isn't picking on you, this is just one of many issues I have with the "modern church", this includes the pentecostal/charismatic churches as well. I will be posting more on those in another day or two. I've got several charismatic issues I want to address, and I'm getting all my ducks in a row, cause there are several of them.

Anonymous said...

At worst, meditating on Mary would be no more distracting then meditating on the majestic beauty of a forest, or the innocence of a sleeping child.
But you want to see where Jesus Himself specifically said to pray to Mary, or that she makes intercession for us.
Do you believe that ALL of Scripture is the Word of God?
Do you believe that Jesus is "the Word made flesh"?
So then the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are of one mind.
If yes, then ALL of Scripture is the Word of God (Jesus). There should be no distinction between the Red Letters (direct quotes from Jesus' bodily speech) and the REST of Scripture.
If every word in the Bible belongs to Jesus (the Word of God) then any and all bible references are valid, yes?
Is Jesus your brother? I believe He is mine and therefore His mother is my mother. Furthermore, why did Jesus choose the most painful point of His suffering, when all energy was spent and death was a breath away to give mary to His beloved apostle John. It would seem He wanted to make a statement about it beyond making accomodations for mom.
This is not just a personal bequest of his Mother to John, but, being from the cross itself, has a greater significance. First of all, if Jesus were merely asking John to take care of Mary, He would have made His first request to John. But if you look at the passage, you will see that His first statement is to Mary. The emphasis is therefore upon Mary being Mother to John, not John "looking after" Mary. John here represents all the disciples of Jesus, and hence all Christians, who are given Mary as their Mother.
Great conversation by the way! It is very helpful to hone our biblical understanding in discussions with friends!

Odie said...

i'm glad you like the conversation, was worried i might have offended, which was not my intent.

I do believe the Bible is the Word, jesus was god made flesh.

I know the scripture you are referencing, "Woman behold thy son, son, behold thy mother". I still don't see where praying to Mary is scriptural, I don't see where Christ, or any of the apostles for that matter, said she makes intercession for us.

I think (just me here), that Christ was in essence telling John and Mary, that we are all one family, because the work is being completed.

I believe that holding Mary up in a high position, i.e. making her an object of worship and adoration is wrong. Calling her blessed, thanking the LORD for find her and using her to birth His son, okay, I can wrap my head around that one. because, well, let's face it, obviously she was blessed. But for me that's as far as it goes. I personally can't pray to anyone other than God in the name of Jesus.

I'm not trying to judge, just have lots of questions about many doctrines, so please, she light, i'm open, you won't offend me, and I sincerely hope I don't offend you!!!

Odie said...

i'm glad you like the conversation, was worried i might have offended, which was not my intent.

I do believe the Bible is the Word, jesus was god made flesh.

I know the scripture you are referencing, "Woman behold thy son, son, behold thy mother". I still don't see where praying to Mary is scriptural, I don't see where Christ, or any of the apostles for that matter, said she makes intercession for us.

I think (just me here), that Christ was in essence telling John and Mary, that we are all one family, because the work is being completed.

I believe that holding Mary up in a high position, i.e. making her an object of worship and adoration is wrong. Calling her blessed, thanking the LORD for find her and using her to birth His son, okay, I can wrap my head around that one. because, well, let's face it, obviously she was blessed. But for me that's as far as it goes. I personally can't pray to anyone other than God in the name of Jesus.

I'm not trying to judge, just have lots of questions about many doctrines, so please, she light, i'm open, you won't offend me, and I sincerely hope I don't offend you!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying this discussion with you, and am not easily offended, so please continue. You are a very gracious, considerate person. I hope to appear the same.

As a side note: Catholics are not alone in their assessment of Mary's role in the economy of salvation - all Eastern Orthodox sects view her the same.

Here's another Scriptural text to ponder: When the Angel Gabriel addressed Mary as "full of grace". Theologically and linguistically, one can NOT be "full of grace" unless you are totally SINLESS, because grace is the power of Divinity infused into humanity. God "graces" us at certain times - temporarily - and for specific reasons (His). However, nowhere else in Scripture is anyone referred to as "full of grace", because no other human being was ever created for such a profoundly important task. As Jesus' mother, she had the power over His childhood development as any other mother has over her children (physical, emotional, moral). There was to be no difference in His human preparation except for His mother's state of soul. This had to be, as God NEVER creates a human without FREE WILL - not even His Son, and He had to be relatively certain that she would fit the bill. It needed to be this way if Jesus was to perform His mission as "one of us". So He created her without the original sin that Eve infamously bestowed on all humanity. This gave her the "edge" she needed to remain sinless (sin IS the cause of error- both cultural and spiritual). It would also have been hypocritical for God to use a "super" human (divine) setting for His Son's childhood. This in itself should be enough of a clear understanding of what God was trying to tell us about Mary, but let's look further. And, we should not forget that Scripture is meant as a lesson in God's Love for us, and is written in abstract terms because the belief in Him IS abstract, you cannot know Him in the "sensual" - in fact love itself is essentially abstract and does not really need any affirmation from the senses. For instance, in the book of Revelation the Apostle John purportedly had a dream or vision - not a historical reality that can be physically proven. In that dream, he saw a woman clothed in the sun with 12 stars upon her head. She bore a Son, then the Dragon tried to kill her. Catholics believe this woman is the mother of Jesus. Why would the dragon, the devil, want to kill her AFTER she bore the Son. Could it be that she would be a more powerful adversary to him (Satan) than any prophet or religious figure in all of Scripture? Again, we see the inference of the mother-Child relationship/bond. Consider this: In Genesis, God tells the serpent (Satan): "you SHALL crawl on your belly and eat dust every day of your life" (this is present tense - it is going to start now), then He says: "I WILL put enmity between you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. It WILL crush your head as you strike it's heel" (Both of these sentences are future tense).

That "woman" in Genesis God is referring to (at some point in the future) is Mary, the Mother of His Son (her offspring), because Eve had already sullied herself with sin after being created "sinless", so it could not be her offspring (Cain and Able, etc.).

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I had to split this text because I got a little carried away lol.

There is NO question that God uses our language to the fullest to explain Himself. He is always language-specific in His terminology, so we must try our best to understand precisely what He is attempting to convey - that is, if we truly want to know Him.

There is no doubt that salvation can be attained without the help of Mary! In fact, God meets us "where we are" and judges us by what is in our hearts, so ALL of humanity is save-able in that respect - not just Christians. He certainly would be a hypocrite if he allowed any human to be born and raised with some off-the-wall belief and then condemned to eternal damnation simply by reason of their birthright.

Therefore, the issue as I see it is that God wants us to use Mary as He intended - for a deeper knowledge of His Kingdom (love as St. Paul puts it).

May God Bless you in your journey to Him.

Odie said...

Anonymous - Love the name by the way, LOL!!!

I see your point, had not noticed that before, the Mary Full of Grace part. Grace is God's unmerited favor upon us. The fact that God chose her, yeah, it made her full of God's unmerited favor.

I don't know if Mary was sinless or perfect, to me that is a stretch to go there, to equate her to divinity. Being fully human she was born under the curse of Adam, she was born with a sin nature.
From other things inferred about Mary, she was obedient, Loved the Lord, etc. Hence she found favor in the Lord's eyes. Yes He (God) pre-destined it.

The scriptures you referenced in Rev., that is the same school of thought in most of the Christian denominations with the J.W.'s and Mormons being the exception.

In Genesis, yes, God was referring to Mary and the coming Messiah, but I think too, he was telling Satan, since you started with the woman, tempting her, I will use her and her offspring (meaning all women and their children) to trample you under foot. Look at Paul, the apostles and disciples, their mother's weren't divine, yet look at all the trampling on his head they did, particularly Paul who wrote the majority of the New Testament.

I guess my real issue is making Mary into some sort of demi-god that I take issue with. I don't know if that is the intent of the Roman and Orthodox Catholic churches or not, it just gives me pause is all.

I agree with you 100% though about God meeting us where we are and judges our hearts. If Mary is used as an example of God's love for His people, that is not a problem for me. That's a wonderful example. Like I said it's the praying to her, and asking her to make intercession on our behalf that I have a hard time with.

However to each his own I guess, I certainly don't want to judge or seem to be passing judgment. I think that if you aren't holding Mary up to the same status as Christ then maybe it's not such a big deal, but if Mary is being equated with the divine, that is where I thing the lines become blurred and possibly crossed. Again, just my thoughts.

Thanks for all your feedback, I've really enjoyed it too, given me much food for thought. Please check out some of the other blogs, would your feedback on those as well!!