Sunday, July 13, 2008

One of the many falsehoods...

One thing that many Protestants believe about Orthodoxy (when they learn anything about it at all), is that we worship Mary and the Saints.

This is simply not true.

What you see is people doing two basic things: praying, and venerating.

We need to define words here. What is worship? What is prayer? What is veneration?

Worship is an acknowledgment of deity and supremacy. It is for God alone.

Praying is talking - it literally means "asking": "I pray thee, (prithee) open the door." A general Protestant assumption is that prayer is necessarily and exclusively to/for God. It excludes the understanding of just asking somebody for something. If I ask my friend Jim to pray for me, I am praying him to pray for me. To add his prayers to mine, or his asking to my asking.

Veneration is something we do frequently. It is giving honor to something/someone that deserves honor. When we salute the flag, we are venerating it. When we kiss the picture of our dear departed mother, we are venerating it. We are NOT honoring a piece of cloth, or paper, but what they represent.

Perhaps it can begin to be possible to see that a person who is bowing before an icon and kissing it is not worshiping it, but honoring the person/event it represents. That a person who says a prayer to St Nicholas is not worshiping the saint, but asking for his prayers, to join his prayers to ours - after all, even the dead are alive in God, and so not really gone, just departed to the other side. (Matt 22:32, Luke 20:38)

Like I said, Jack Chick did more damage than he knows. Anyone who discovers the truth will come to hate false propaganda fiercely.

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