Going to church is great, but being the church is wildly more important.
Jesus Wants the Rose - Matt Chandler
"A Shepherd and His Unregenerate Sheep"
2009 Desiring God Conference for Pastors
February 3, 2009
Life is full of hills and valleys, ups and downs, good times and bad times. There is no escaping it and that is something I have grown to accept. But I am so thankful to serve a God who will reach down and meet us in those valleys. Who doesn’t just want to be with us in the good moments in life but wants to accompany us in the bad ones as well. He walks with us and guides us through those low moments in life and uses them shape us, mold us and mend us into what we need to be. I have realized the path to get out of the valley is never easy. The incline is steep and the climb is treacherous at times. It wears you down. However, I love that he can use that place to teach us some of the most valuable lessons in life. Some of the lessons may make sense at that moment; some don’t but will be revealed in the future. It is one of the great beautiful ways of how our God works. The greatest thing about making it to the top of that hill is you get to look out over the valley that you just spent days, months, maybe even years conquering. You get to see the person you were and who you have become. And that is one of my favourite of all moments, because before your eyes is one of the most astounding and beautiful sights you will ever see.
Thanks to a course I’m taking on the early church (Ligonier Connect), I think I can properly address praying to the saints.
Praying to the saints did not become a prominent practice until Emperor Constantine of Rome converted to Christianity in the 300’s. Because of this conversion, many pagans entered into the early church. While this may seem like a revival, the introduction of unregenerate pagans who worshipped different gods for different “blessings” (I apologize for lack of a better term) contributed to the idea that we should go to certain saints for certain prayers since they were accustomed to praying to certain gods for certain blessings. The early church thought that the saints were holier than us regular folk, therefore God being busy running the universe, would be more inclined to hear our prayers if they came from the saints. This thinking denies His omnipresence and gives us an unbiblical, ridiculous view of the nature of God. We must also keep in mind that when you are communicating to a saint in any way, you are attempting to communicate with a dead finite being. That right there should be enough for any man grounded in the bible to question the practice.
"Just as Christ alone has died for us, so He ought to be called upon as sole Mediator and Advocate between God the Father and us believers. Thus all other mediators and advocates who are called upon beyond the bounds of this world [and] above the foundation of the Word of God, are renounced." - The Ten Theses of Bern (1528)
"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus," - 1 Timothy 2:5