Monday, November 6, 2017

Mary a Mediatrix? Isn’t there just One Mediator?

by Steve Ray on November 6, 2017

The Bible says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). Yet Catholics refer to Mary as a Mediatrix (feminine form of the word mediator).

So, isn’t that prima facie evidence that Catholics make up doctrines, worship Mary and disregard the Bible?

I was again challenged with this the other day. Interesting how the same old, same old keeps coming up no matter how many times you answer it. Interesting how these same misconceptions keep coming up as though some contentious power keeps inserting them into gullible minds. Interesting how people love to twist the rubber nose to make it obscene, grotesque, and distorted.

So here was my short response — again!

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Cross in Woods smtIn 1 Timothy 2:5 Paul recognizes that there is a huge chasm between the holy God and sinful men. Paul states that there is only one mediator that can bridge that uncrossable gorge.  How do we sinners reach a holy God across such a chasm?

God has provided the solution. He has provided the-one-and-only Mediator (1 Tim 2:5), the bridge, the stairway between heaven and earth, (John 1:51 based on the ladder seen by Jacob). This one Mediator is the God-Man Jesus Christ and he is the only one that can bridge the gap–mediate–between heaven and earth to bring reconciliation between God and men.

Thus, there is one Mediator to reconcile God and man. Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant as the writer of Hebrews informs us three times, for example: “Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel” (Heb 8:6, 9:15, 12:24). No one else could have ever become such a mediator of the New Covenant.

However, after Jesus has accomplished such an act of redemption and mediatorship, he calls us to share in his ministry.

I remember my father saying to me before I joined the Catholic Church, “When you become Catholic you will pray to Mary and remember that Paul says there is only one Mediator between God and man.” I lovingly but sternly replied to my father, “Dad, never ask me to pray for you again!”

My father was shocked but understood my meaning. As soon as he asks me to pray for him — he asks me to be a mediator between him and God. I told him that to be consistent with his Protestant theology he should not ask me or anyone else to intercede for him, to be a mediator — one who stands in the middle — but he should pray directly to Jesus himself.

m74But Scripture constantly commands us to pray for one another, to intercede for our fellow humans. We are all “mini” mediators sharing in the mediatorship of Christ. And it goes the other way too. When God tells us to share the Gospel with lost sinners he is asking us to stand between himself and the sinner to share the Gospel, although he could have chosen to communicate with them directly.

Mary is not the infinite mediator, nor does she impose on the prerogatives of her Son. She, like us, intercedes for sinners and the people of God. Mediatrix is simply the feminine form of mediator. All of us share in the ministry of Christ, mediating and praying for our fellow man. In this sense, all of us are mediators and the females among us are mediatrixes.

I am frequently asked, “Where does the Bible say we should pray to dead saints?” to which I usually ask, “Where does the Bible say that saints are dead?”

Those of us, including most Protestants, believe that when a person dies in friendship with Christ they are still alive in Christ.

To prove that those who died in a state of grace were not dead, Jesus said to the Sadducees (who didn’t believe in the resurrection which is why they were “sad you see” — as my dad used to joke with us kids), “‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living” (Matt 22:32). Jesus said that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were still alive.

Those who say “Why do you Catholics pray to dead saints” need to understand that those who die in Christ are not dead. Catholics affirm that they are alive and in the presence of Christ and that they can intercede for us as much as my father or I can intercede for each other.

Mary and the saints do not answer our prayers, any more than I answer the prayers of my dad. Rather, Mary, the saints and you and I all are intercessors. We do not answer the prayers, we simply intercede with the Father through his Son Jesus.

When I take pilgrimage groups to Israel I always take them to the top of Mount Tabor where the Transfiguration took place. I always ask people how a “dead guy” like Moses could be talking to Jesus about things that are taking place on earth (Lk 9:31).

copelandWhen my father asks me to pray for him he asks me to stand in the middle — to be a mediator, an intercessor — and when God commands me to preach the gospel to the lost, he tells me to stand in the middle — to be an ambassador for Christ as Paul says,

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20).

(Opps, to the right is a Pentecostal preacher Kenneth Copeland acting as a mediator, interceding with God, standing in the middle as they pray for this man!)

I hope that helps explain why we call Mary a mediatrix and why all of us are mini-mediators sharing in the ministry of Christ — the one-and-only mediator of the New Covenant, but certainly not in any way claiming to be the one mediator of the New Covenant, nor in any way arrogating to ourselves or to Mary the unique prerogatives and ministry of Jesus.

One last thought on this matter. Sometimes there is a misunderstanding of the differences between prayer and worship. In the Catholic tradition they are very different things. In Protestantism prayer and worship are sometimes used as synonyms. Pray simply means to ask, whereas worship is to adore.

If a Catholic says he “prays to Mary” it’s perceived as worship by many Protestants, but the Catholic it simply making a request that Mary intercede for us — the same as when my dad asked me to intercede for him. In Catholicism there is a big difference between pray and worship.

DVD_Mary_01We honor, love and venerate Mary. We ask her to pray for us. But we worship God ALONE!

For more on this and other Marian topics, all filmed on location in the Holy Land, check out my documentary MARY, MOTHER OF GOD here.

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They Fell for the Lie – I’ll Pray for Them

by Steve Ray on November 6, 2017

50D546DF-6193-4B20-BCD7-222F05F17C28We are in the airport in Lisbon Portugal heading to Israel to pick up our next group. Janet and I were standing in line and a man started up a conversation with us.

He and his wife were in their late 60s and I could tell they were good Americans. They’d be ideal neighbors, keeping their lawn mowed and their property maintained. But they fell for the lie and it has infected their whole life which became apparent in our short conversation.

F2B947FF-9508-4DC1-BBAA-1BBBC8B2A5DDI always wear my San Damiano crucifix from Assisi Italy.  It is great for evangelism because it often starts conversations (like it did today). It’s the one that spoke to St. Francis. The gentleman commented on my crucifix and said he never seen one like it before and it was beautiful. I said, “Thank you! I wear it proudly as a Catholic and I want people to know what I believe.“

His face saddened as he replied, “I envy your faith.” His wife immediately chimed in with a disparaging tone, “Well I’m happy it works for you.”

I said, “We discovered the Catholic Faith when we were 39 years old and it’s the best kept secret in the world.” She made sure I knew she didn’t believe any of it.

Because we are Christian and Catholic we believe in families. We told them that we have four children who are married and we are now free to travel and take groups to Catholic lands.

1CA7BC79-AE98-4F2A-8CF5-BBAA3762B3D7We explained we had 15 grandchildren (two still in the womb). She was shocked, he looked sadly envious. He made it quite clear he wished he had the same but that they never would. They obviously had a different emphasis in their life and it wasn’t for families.  Their children learn something very different than ours did.

He seemed to have a tender heart and be sad about  his life but she was outspoken and belligerent.  She proudly stated, “We don’t have any grandchildren and we never will. We have grand-dogs!”

C6DA6FF0-13E3-474A-870C-99D6EAB12E04He asked if we got to see our grandchildren often and we said yes, that we are a very close family. He looked sad again as she stated, “Since we don’t have grandkids and never will, we love our grand-dogs. We even had them all dressed up for Halloween in doggie costumes.”

He told they do have two children who they rarely see but neither are married and will never have kids. The man said he cries every day missing his family.

Then she brought up the pope. She said they have friends that go to a big Catholic Church in Atlanta Georgia who don’t like the Pope’s encyclical on the environment. They asked If I thought about the Pope’s encyclical was helping Catholics respect the environment.

I told them that Catholics have always respected the environment. It has always been an essential part of our teaching that God created the heavens and the earth and created man in his image and made man stewart and caretaker of the environment.

I explained that we are given the earth to use but not abuse. Like a caretaker who works for a rich family has responsibility to tend the gardens so we do the same for God’s earth. I said this is always been part of our teaching.

94076C28-C46F-4BF4-8AE8-7F9E621931CBI also told her I don’t buy all the environmental mumbo-jumbo that’s being presented by the liberals today. I said it’s just a scheme for the government to get more control over our lives – it was all hyped up. She said, “I sure feel sorry for you.” I said, “Ma’am I don’t buy any of it. I’ve read too much and know there’s a lot of fake news and fake science out there today.”  She parroted a few of Al Gore’s favorite lines.

He seemed very interested in my opinion and was ready to ask me questions when we had to go our separate ways. I shook hands with a man and thanked him for the nice conversation and said I hope they have a nice flight.

I feel sorry for people who fall for the lie that there is no God or that he is irrelevant. I feel sorry for people who think there are many truths and “my truth works for me And I’m happy you’re (unacceptable) truth works for you. In reality there’s only one truth 2+2 always equals 2.

I’ll be praying for these folks that they come to the same conclusion about God and the Catholic Church and  also discover the best kept secret in the world. I will pray especially for him because I think he had an open heart and was pretty much bullied by his wife.

I will continue to proudly wear this cross.

(Some of our grandkids dressed for Halloween! No dogs among them :-)

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