Originally Posted by Brain_Mach1
Which of the many translations are you quoting?
There are too many misquotes of Catholic doctrine in the above (which I am used to from Protestants) but misquoting the Bible is not allowed.
Scripture does not say WORKS and it does not say FAITH ALONE.
NIV (Protestant) Galatians 2:15–16 We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' 16know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
Sorry, forgot to put (paraphrased) after that verse I quoted. Let me get the exact verse for you.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Use any translation you like. It says salvation is through faith and not as a result of works.
Here are some more verses for you:
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone,
In that Rom 9:32 verse, we see Paul referring to the Jews. He says they pursued it (salvation) as though it were by works, and they stumbled over the stumbling stone. Sounds like the Catholics, being works based.
This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
We answer those questions presented above with this verse in Romans:
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
James 2:14-26 (which you quoted part of) is talking about dead faith and justification of your having faith at all. It says nothing of salvation in that entire chapter. It a lecture to Christians that are saved and then don't act on their faith by doing good works. James says that if they do not do works, their FAITH is dead. I can't tell you how many Christians (especially Catholics) I've met that have "dead faith." TONS of them. Because they aren't acting on their faith. So they've been saved, but because they did not go foward in the faith and stay close to the Lord or act on the promptings of the Holy Spirit to help others, their faith is dead inside them and doing no good. No where does it say that dead faith = loss of salvation.
26For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
So, by your logic, according to the above scripture from James 2:26, salvation needs the body and spirit in the metaphore, and salvation needs faith and works to survive in the non-metaphore? No, life in the spirit is being discussed, not salvation. So many leaps are taken to mean things that the scriptures simply do not say. If these scriptures said what you say they do, it would completely contradict what Paul said in the verses I posted toward the beginning of this post. The Bible does not contradict itself.
NIV James 2:24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
Once again, his FAITH is being justified BY his works. This speaks nothing of salvation. So many people misinterpret this. He's justifying the fact that he HAS faith. He's proving it BY his works. This has nothing to do with salvation. Please show me where the world salvation or sanctification or "born again" is in that verse or any of the verses you've quoted.
Recall that Martin Luther ADDED Faith Alone in his translation and excluded James. Catholics believe, by scripture, that you must have faith and works. Works and The Law are not even the same thing. BrianC is telling you his incorrect belief about Catholics not the true Catholic doctrine.
Oh, I'm sensing some Martin Luther hate here. LOL I don't particularly care about Martin Luther's beliefs or writings. All I care about is that he caught on to the whole salvation by faith thing, and split from the Catholic church. I don't care what he believes other than that.
To the original question,
#1) Catholics often pray to saints. As a protestant, this goes against what I have been taught. How is this justified? How can someone pray to a saint instead of God?
First, you are making too broad of a generalization. Martin Luther believed in Mary as Mother of God and Episcopalians names many of their Churches after saints. You are also excluding all of the Greek and Oriental Orthodox Churches (but Catholics are the biggest bull’s-eye in the US).
Episcopalians, and many other denominations like the ones you stated above, are simply holding on to the traditions of the Catholic church. They haven't gotten as far away from them as the other protestant religions. That's really no argument there... It's like finger pointing. "Well, they're like us too!!" :P
Catholics ask the Saints to pray for us just as you might ask your mother or sister to pray for you. The only words from the Hail Mary NOT directly taken from scripture are “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinner now and at the hour of our death.” We ask people to pray for us. I listen to a lot of Protestant radio and the preachers talk about praying for each other. The Saints are alive in Christ so we are asking for the living to pray to God with and for us.
The Jews were expressly forbidden from speaking to the dead or praying to anyone but YHWH. So why do you guys pray to dead people? Sure, they are alive in the spirit in heaven awaiting their perfect body on the day we're resurrected, but really...what's up with the praying to dead people stuff?
Look at what happened to king Saul when he used a medium to call up the spirit of the prophet Samuel to get some advice. He goes through a soothsayer, the only one left in the land after he had all of them killed, and she raises Samuel's spirit. Samuel says, "Why have you disturbed my sleep??" Kind of like saying, "What the hell do you think you're doing, Saul?" And because of this, Saul gets killed just as it's prophecied to happen... he falls on his own sword, and then he begs a young boy of the enemy nation to kill him, because his death is happening slowly due to a gut wound with the sword. Yeah, we shouldn't be praying to the dead, in my opinion.
Besides, Jesus says He prays for us. Also, the Holy Spirit can pray perfectly through us, as well. Why do you need dead people praying for you? Are your prayers not enough? Are Jesus' prayers and His power and authority that He can use through us not enough? Is His grace not enough? Are His blessings not enough? Why go to dead people? Just curious...
#2) I do not believe Mary is any holier than the rest of us. Why do Catholics insist that she is holy? It seems to me that Mary CANNOT be holy because Jesus is 100% God, from the Holy Spirit, and 100% man from Mary. If she is holy, then Jesus cannot be 100% man.
If she isn't any holier than the rest of us, then why ask her to pray for you? What do you believe about these sightings of Mother Mary crying blood, and the Virgin Mary's face showing up places? Just curious....
LOL You think it was by works that she was made Holy? No, God says, "Be holy even as I am holy." He wasn't commanding us to be holy. We are incapable of being holy. We are told in scripture that the Holy Spirit literally births us a new spirit that is of GOD. That spirit is what makes us Holy. It has nothing to do with us or our works. Remember the verses I quote above? Salvation by FAITH alone and not by works.
I will gladly give Catholic links to any more specific questions but do not take the word of BrianC (with no links or footnotes to Catholic doctrine) with too much weight.
By all means, post all you like. I know I butchered some Catholic doctrine. My apologizes for that.
I'm going to post again about once saved always saved and I want to see what you've got to disprove it.