Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Criticisms of Saint Intercession: The Practice is Directly Condemned in the Bible (Necromancy)

Criticisms of Saint Intercession:
The practice is actually directly condemned in the Bible  (Necromancy)

Now this claim is true if, and only if, Saint Intercession, as it is practiced in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, is accurately described and then specifically condemned. But in reality, the verses frequently quoted as condemning Saint intercession are not talking about saint intercession at all. 

The Bible does indeed condemn the practice of necromancy, that is to say, consulting dead spirits in order to gain supernatural knowledge. This condemnation is found in Isaiah 8:19-20: 

When they say to you, “Consult (דרשו; dirshu) the mediums and the wizards who chirp and mutter.” Should not a people consult (ידרש; yidrosh) their God instead of the dead on behalf of the living? 

The Hebrew original of this passage makes it clear that what is condemned is specifically the practice of “consulting” the dead, that is to say, seeking (darash) knowledge and information from them. 

The Hebrew Bible elsewhere condemns any contact with other practitioners of black magic who presumably engage in the same forbidden practices (Ex 22:18; Lev 19:26; Deut 18:10-11). 

But addressing someone who is dead, asking them to pray for us, is simply not the same thing as practicing necromancy, seeking information from the realm of the dead. 

If merely speaking to the dead is the same thing as necromancy, which is condemned in the Bible, then Jesus Himself would be guilty of the sin of necromancy (and liable to execution by stoning, Lev 20:27). 

At the Transfiguration, Jesus spoke with Elijah and Moses (Matt 17:3). Elijah had been assumed into heaven and was arguably not dead. But Moses died (Deut 34:5). And then Jesus spoke with him. If merely speaking to the dead, under any circumstances, is necromancy, then Jesus would a necromancer. 

Look, he’s obviously not. And that’s the point. The assertion that asking the faithful departed to pray for us is the necromancy condemned by the Bible is simply not true. 

Asking a dead person to pray for us is just that. A Valid criticism of the practice would focus on the question of whether they can hear us at all, which I address in another video. But accusing those who ask the dead to pray of the sin of necromancy, an entirely different practice, is sadly beneath Christian charity. Christians should be able to differ in some beliefs and practices without declaring one another horrible sinners for the difference.

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