Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Baptist Pastor Ken Temple Proves That St. Paul Was a Blasphemer Who Claimed That People Can Save Others (Mariology & Synergistic Soteriology)



Rembrandt, The Apostle Paul, c. 1657


This comes from a combox concerning Mariology. Ken's words will be in blue. The title and some of my humorous remarks are, of course, tongue-in-cheek and "turning-the-tables" or reductio ad absurdum rhetoric.

* * * * *

Ken wrote, citing Catholics (dunno who, though, because he provided no primary documentation):

The Flowery language of praise in prayer is wrong and she is made too much of and exalted beyond what the Scriptures say. Praying to Mary is much more than just "asking her to pray for us":
Prayer: O Mary, no one receives any favor except through you. Help me to ask you each day for the graces I need to remain faithful in my state of life."

O Mary, your holy name is great and brings us salvation. Let me strive to speak it with true love, boundless joy, and complete confidence."


O Mary, you are our Mother and our Teacher, instructing us in how to live. Help me to heed your inspirations and follow your Divine Son more closely.
pp. 98-99 Mary Day by Day, 1987 Catholic Book Publishing, Nihil Obstat: Daniel V. Flynn . . . Imprimatur: Patrick J. Sheridan, D.D. Vicar General, Archdiocese of NY.

"Mary brings salvation!" What more evidence do we need of exalting her above the Lord and only Savior, Jesus Christ? All of these facts and this blasphemous statement and prayer alone should keep any thinking Evangelical from being duped into converting to Rome by the tricks of always raising doubt and skepticism as to how do we know for sure who are in the right church, historical church, Newman's "to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant" arguments.

Very well, then, Ken. Great! You have succeeded in proving that the Bible and St. Paul both are blasphemous and exalt the Apostle Paul above Our Lord Jesus, since we have these passages in Scripture:

1 Corinthians 9:22 I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

[Paul "saves" other people, thus clearly placing himself above God, and blaspheming, right, Ken?]

1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed to yourself and to your teaching: hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

[Good grief! What blasphemy! After his own outrageous claims, St. Paul now thinks that Timothy can save himself (the Pelagian heresy) and those who hear him. Doesn't he know that only God can save??!!!]

Philippians 2:12b-13 . . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

[Paul again blasphemously teaches Pelagianism, or works-salvation. Folks are taking the place of God by working out their own salvation???!!!! If someone says that God is mentioned in the second part, the Calvinist "monergist" still has to explain how a human being can participate at all in what only God can do (according to the monergist) ]

2 Corinthians 4:15 For it [his many sufferings: 4:8-12,17] is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

Ephesians 3:2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you...

Ephesians 4:29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.

[Paul distributes divine grace, just as we believe Mary does, and teaches that others can do the same]

St. Peter also joins in this folly of teaching that Christians can distribute divine grace to each other:

1 Peter 4:8b-10 . . . love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another. As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.

So much for papal infallibility, huh???

Even the angels help to give grace:

Revelation 1:4-5a John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ . . .

[it was nice of John to add in Jesus Christ at the end, along with his own and the angels' giving of grace, just so we'll remember that there is but one mediator of God's grace. Not a lot of "monergism" there, I reckon . . .]

In fact, Paul is so gung-ho on the notion of his distributing grace to folks, that he mentions this at the beginning of practically every epistle that he wrote. I wrote in another paper of mine:
Grace, however, is also referred to in Scripture as in some sense "quantifiable". Lutherans and Protestants in general try to deny this; they usually view grace as simply "God's favor"; that which saves one, in a non-quantifiable sense (as in, e.g., Rom 6:14; Eph 2:8-10). The biblical usage is more complex and nuanced than that, . . . [many examples given]

In fact, it can be plausibly argued, that when Paul and others use the common greeting of "grace to you" (e.g., Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Phil 1:2; Col 1:2; 1 Thess 1:1; 2 Thess 1:2; Phlm 1:3; Rev 1:4) it is in the same quantifiable sense: i.e., "may God give you more grace." It doesn't make sense if it is intended only in the broad Protestant meaning (that we agree with as far as it goes) of "you are saved by grace alone".

Why wish, after all, that someone should have or receive what they already clearly possess? If "grace" only means "the free favor by which we are saved" then the Christians to whom Paul is writing his epistles already have this grace (since Protestants believe in a past salvation that is already accomplished). So why would Paul say "grace to you"? It would be like telling a man who has a daughter "I wish you the blessing of a daughter from God" or a man with a nice mansion: "best wishes to you for a nice mansion." That makes no sense. Rather, it seems fairly clear, I think, that st. Paul is stating that he hopes and prays that his readers will receive more grace from God, as in the sense of 2 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 4:7, James 4:6, 1 Peter 1:2, 2 Peter 1:2, etc.
Good work, Ken! It's not every day that a Baptist pastor proves by his own words that the Apostle Paul is a blasphemer (along with -- as a special bonus -- John, Peter, and Timothy) . . .

Related Reading:

Does St. Alphonsus de Liguori, in The Glories of Mary, Teach That Mary is "Above God" and Can "Manipulate God"? (Corrections of Protestant Misunderstandings of Catholic Mariology) (Dave Armstrong vs. Len Lisenbee)

"Whitewashing History": Critique of James White's Book, Mary -- Another Redeemer? (William Possidento and Dave Armstrong vs. James White)

Dialogue on My Critique of James White's Book, Mary -- Another Redeemer? (+ Part II) (particularly with regard to the differing views on early Mariology of Protestant Church historians J.N.D. Kelly and Philip Schaff) (Dave Armstrong vs. John Q. Doe and "BJ Bear")

A Biblical and Theological Primer on Mary Mediatrix

Human, Pauline, and Marian Distribution of Divine Graces: Not an "Unbiblical" Notion After All?

Does Mary's Role as Mediatrix Contradict Jesus Christ as the Sole Mediator? / Response to a Catholic Critic

Dialogue on the Biblical Analogies to the Concept of Mary Mediatrix (Dave Armstrong vs. Robert Bowman)

Mary as Mediatrix: The Patristic, Medieval, and Early Orthodox Evidence

Treatise on the Queenship of Mary, "Queen Mother", and the Assumption (Steve Ray)

The Imitation of Mary

Is Mary Worshiped by Catholics? (The Latria / Dulia Distinction)

Did Jesus Renounce Marian Veneration? (Lk 11:27-28)

4 comments:

Ken said...

Obviously that whole argument is bogus!

All of us who have brains know that Paul is speaking of being used by God in evangelism and that God does the work of converting and saving people.

However, the Marian prayers to save are wrong because they worship and praise in a prayer to her, which belongs only to God; and Paul never uses "save us" to a human in prayer. Only God is the object of prayer for salvation.

Dave Armstrong said...

All of us who have brains know that Paul is speaking of being used by God in evangelism and that God does the work of converting and saving people.

Exactly. Now you're starting to get it. And this is precisely what Mary does too.

Don't tell anyone our little secret: just between you and me. :-)

Greg said...

Your point about Paul is good as far as it goes, but the Marian prayer includes this: "O Mary, no one receives any favor except through you". Paul may say that God uses people in others coming to faith, but he does not claim that he is the only means through which God's salvation is given, which is granted to Mary here. That is one way these two are disanalogous, despite the way in which they are admittedly analogous. That is enough to condemn the prayer without even getting into whether prayers should be made to dead humans.

Dave Armstrong said...

The more important consideration is to determine if God channels grace through creatures like Mary.

You concede that the Bible teaches that He does. So your beef is how much He does so.

But that is a quantitative argument; one of degree. If the far greater aspect is established, then the lesser aspect that is thought to be objectionable, loses much of its force.

It reminds me of the debate over purgatory. Protestants concede that holiness is required to enter heaven, but they don't like the idea of process and duration of the chastening and purification of purgatory. They grant the major clause and deny the far more minor one.

Same thing here.