x168....Do we Still worshiping the Saints?
There is a strong tradition from the Roman church that began over 1,700 years ago (in the time when the Bible was hidden from the common person) of worshiping the saints--or the specifically ordained "people" who were chosen by the official church hierarchy.
Now, if we were to go by Bible doctrine instead of church doctrine, we clearly see that anyone who believes in Jesus as Lord and Savior is referred to as a "saint" It is certainly not a definition of a specific group of people who are somehow more holy that the rest of us, and they certainly should not be worshiped or prayed to as they are all people just like us.
Well certainly, most of us "protestants" know and understand these things--however it is unfortunate and as we shall see, very wrong for us to scoff at our catholic brothers and sisters for worshiping saints--because perhaps we do the same thing with our attitudes toward the people in the Bible!
Now, most non-catholics will of course say that they do not worship saints, But let's consider something. We know that this belief was established in the dark ages when the Bible was hidden from most--but the question is--why?
Well the obvious answer was to direct prayers and worship away form God--(the Father Son and Holy spirit.--see we all believe in the trinity--maybe we're not so far apart as we might think!) But this type of tradition has perhaps sustained a certain type of belief in Christians, that many of us might carry around with us today--even though we would scoff at the idea of "worshiping saints".
Let's consider something else that has held back the move of God in the past. There was and still is, a concept in many good Christian denominations that basically says that many things we see as examples in the Bible were only things that happened in the past---and are not for our age, today. We'd like to ask this--is the doctrine that says "that was for yesterday and not for today" (dipensationalism) actually quite similar to the worship of saints? After all it produces the same result in that it leads large numbers of Christians to believe that they do not have the same authority and power that the "great men" of the Bible had.
But let's go a step further. There are many of us who believe and understand that the gifts of the Spirit are for today (yet it is interesting that most of us do not believe that the gifts of ministry are for all of us today-----even though they are taught in the same chapter as the gifts of the Spirit!--1cor 12). Many of us understand and function in the gifts of the Spirit, and know by Biblical doctrine and living witness in our lives that these gifts are certainly for believers today. We believe this form Biblical doctrine (1cor12-14--He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost) and also by Biblical example (Acts 1-3 among many other places). However, even among spirit-filled charismatic Christians, there is generally the belief the the gifts of ministry are only available for "some". The common belief is that those gifts of ministry are only for a few who are called and chosen. The majority of Christians are un-empowered "lay people".
Now if you were to ask most Christians about this, it actually would evoke a reaction not unlike our catholic brothers and sisters. When we read the Bible and see the events of the life of the apostles--Peter, Paul etc, it often evokes a reaction much like saintly worship. We don't call them saints but we act as if they were somehow "more than normal people". Yet Jesus couldn't have picked more "normal" people to follow after Him--they were fishermen, tax collectors--common people whose failings and achievements are honestly recorded in the pages of the Bible. The Bible makes a point of saying that Peter and John were "unlearned and ignorant" men (Acts 4:13).
Yet when we speak of the ministry of the apostles it often evokes a reaction somewhat like our denominational brothers and sisters who would say "that was for then and not for today"--we basically "chicken-out" when it comes to the gifts of ministry, and in fact I believe we look at the apostles and followers of Jesus still with the "saintly" tradition of the past.
I believe this was the enemies' ultimate purpose in introducing worship of saints. If we believe that service to God is only for "some", and that the life and accomplishments of the apostles recorded in the Bible was somehow greater that what we can do today under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit, the enemy will have multitudes of Christians not functioning fully in the gifts that Jesus has given "unto every one of us". We won't have as many apostles and prophets and evangelists and pastors and teachers as we should have functioning in the Body of Christ, as the Bible encourages us to do--and we will not have reached the full maturity that is described in the Bible.