Friday, May 4, 2018

Mary is not Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all Graces, and Advocate

By Keith Thompson

Defining Mary as Maternal Mediator

Mary as “maternal mediator” is an umbrella term for Catholics. It, as Mark Miravalle notes, involves three components or teachings, which we will examine individually:

“Mary’s role of Maternal Mediation with and under Jesus Christ, the one Mediator, has three fundamental aspects in the order of grace. First, Mary uniquely participated with Jesus Christ in reconciling God and man through the Redemption. For this mediatorial role she has been called ‘Co-redemptrix’ (meaning a secondary and subordinate participator in Jesus’ Redemption of the world).

Secondly, Mary gave birth to Jesus, source of all grace, and she distributes all the graces merited by Jesus on Calvary to the human family. This role of Mary as the person responsible for the distribution of graces is referred to as ‘Mediatrix of all graces.’ Thirdly, her role of bringing the petitions and needs of the human family to the throne of Christ the King is her role as maternal ‘Advocate’” (Mark Miravalle, Introduction to Mary, [Mark I. Miravalle, S.T.D., 2006], p. 94).

Rome Teaching Three Components of Mary as Maternal Mediator

(1) Co-redemptrix.

The following is evidence Rome teaches Mary is co-redemptrix, in that her alleged suffering with Jesus at the time of his crucifixion played a saving role in the redemption. In the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 968 we read, “In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior's work of restoring supernatural life to souls” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, [Doubleday, 1994], par. 968 p. 274). Vatican II in the document Lumen Gentium, 58 declared, “There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, suffering grievously with her only begotten Son. There she united herself with a maternal heart with His sacrifice, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 58, The Documents of Vatican II, ed. Walter M. Abbot, [The America Press, 1966], pp. 89-90). Vatican II in the same document also claimed, “She presented Him to the Father in the temple, and was united with Him in suffering as he died on the cross” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 61, The Documents of Vatican II, ed. Walter M. Abbot, [The America Press, 1966], p. 91). In his Encyclical Jucunda Semper, Pope Leo XIII said Mary “willingly offered Him up to divine justice, dying with Him in her heart, pierced by the sword of sorrow” (Leo XIII, Jucunda Semper, 1894). Moreover, Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922) said, “To such an extent did she [Mary] suffer and almost die with her suffering and dying Son, and to such extent did she surrender her maternal rights over her Son for man’s salvation . . . that we may rightly say that she together with Christ redeemed the human race” (Benedict XV, Inter Sodalicia, 1918 brackets mine). The HarperCollins Encyclopeda of Catholicism explains: “By offering Christ in the sacrifice on the cross and by suffering in her heart the wounds he receives in his flesh, she actively shares in the redemptive work of her Son at its most critical moment” (The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, “Coredemptrix,” ed. Richard P. McBrien, [HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1995], p. 369)

(2) Mediatrix of all Graces.

This doctrine has two senses. The first is that Mary gave birth to Jesus, and since Jesus brings grace to man, Mary can be said to be Mediatrix of all Graces. This isn’t too objectionable, though Christians would not use the title. The second sense is the disturbing one. As The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism says, “through her continual intercessions, Mary was seen as the dispensatrix (Lat.) who distributed and applied the graces of Christ” (The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, “Mediatrix,” ed. Richard P. McBrien, [HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1995], p. 848). That Mary is allegedly in heaven distributing grace to all men in the earth continually until the end of the world is affirmed by Vatican II: “This maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she grave at the Annuniciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross. This maternity will last without interruption until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. For taken up to heaven, she did not lay aside this saving role, but by her manifold acts of intercession continues to win for us gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, Mary cares for the brethren of her Son . . . the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 62, The Documents of Vatican II, ed. Walter M. Abbot, [The America Press, 1966], p. 91). In his work Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma which received the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, showing the Catholic Church approves this book as being free from doctrinal error, Ludwig Ott stated, “Since her assumption into Heaven, Mary co-operates in the application of the grace of Redemption of man. She participates in the distribution of grace. . .” (Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, [TAN Books and Publishers, 1960], p. 213). This is why Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) identified Mary as “Dispensatrix of all graces” (Pius VII, Ampliatio privilegiorum ecclesiae B. V. Virginis ab angelo salutatae, in Fratrum Ordinis Servorum B. V. M. Florentiae, 1806; Armand J. Robichaud, S. M., “Mary, Dispensatrix of All Graces,” Mariology, II, p. 429).

(3) Advocate.

That Rome officially teaches Christians are to pray to Mary and present to her their needs and petitions which she allegedly presents to Jesus as a maternal intercessor, and that Mary turns away God’s anger and wrath from people, is evidenced by many Roman sources. In the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, 62 Mary is called “Advocate” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 62, The Documents of Vatican II, ed. Walter M. Abbot, [The America Press, 1966], p. 91’ see also Catechism of the Catholic Church, [DoubleDay, 1994], par. 969, p. 275). Catholic scholar Elizabeth Johnson mentions the Roman teaching that “Mary had a maternal influence over God, that she could turn away Christ’s just anger and obtain mercy for sinners” (Elizabeth Johnson, “Blessed Virgin Mary,” ed. Richard P. McBrien, The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, [HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1995], p. 833). In his book The Glories of Mary, which received approval by Rome, the “saint” and “doctor” of the Catholic Church Alphonsus Liguori wrote, “‘Be comforted then, O you who fear,’ will I say with Saint Thomas of Villanova; ‘breathe freely and take courage, O wretched sinners; this great Virgin who is the Mother of your God and Judge, is also the Advocate of the whole human race : fit for this office, for she can do what she wills with God; most wise, for she knows all the means of appeasing Him” (Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary, [Tucker, Printer, Perry’s Place, 1852], p. 161). Pope Pius X said, “O Blessed Mother, our Queen and Advocate . . . gather together our prayers and we beseech you (our hearts one with yours) present them before God’s throne . . . that we may reach the portal of salvation” (Pius XI, papal allocation to French pilgrims present for reading of ‘de tuto,’ Canonization of Blessed Antida Thouret, 15 August 1933, L’Osservatore Romano, August 15, 1933). Also, Pope Pius XII proclaimed, “Our Advocate, placed between God and the sinner, takes it upon herself to invoke clemency of the Judge so as to temper His justice” (Pius XII, papal allocation at the Canonization of Blessed Louis Marie Grignon de Monfort, 21 July 1947, AAS 39, 408).

Are these Official Catholic Teachings?

Some Catholics may argue that these teachings are not official, and therefore they do not have to believe or defend them. However, these teachings constitute what is known as infallible teaching of the ordinary universal magisterium. That is, because these teachings have been affirmed for so long by popes and bishops in union with them, they are infallible for Catholics, since, according to Rome, the Papist Church could not be in doctrinal error for so long on such a high level. This principle states that when a teaching is affirmed by the popes and bishops for such a period of time, it becomes infallible in virtue of that fact. As Catholic Mariologist Mark Miravalle affirms concerning these doctrines:

“. . . in light of the fact that the doctrine of Mary as Mediatrix of all graces has been universally taught in the Church by popes of the last two hundred years and by the bishops in union with them (ordinary Magisterium), and in virtue of this universal teaching of the Church, it has been the opinion of certain modern Mariologists that the doctrine of Mediatrix of all graces already possesses the nature of a defined doctrine of faith . . . In short, the Marian roles of Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix of all graces represent essential Catholic teaching through the order of the ordinary Magisterium. This charism of the universal teaching authority of all bishops who, when in union with the pope, can exercise the ecclesial element of infallibility, is discussed in Vatican II’s Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium, No. 25)” (Mark Miravalle, Introduction to Mary, [Mark I. Miravalle, S.T.D., 2006], p. 111).

Biblical Case Against Mary as Co-redemptrix

Although Mary, along with other followers of Jesus such as the apostle John (Mark 15:40; John 19:34-35), were grieved and suffered as Jesus was crucified for the sins of God’s people, Mary’s suffering did not play a saving role in the redemption, contrary to Rome’s blasphemous claims. According to Holy Scripture “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Galatians 3:13) not Mary. 1 Peter 3:18 says “For Christ also suffered once for sins” (1 Peter 3:18), not Mary. Hebrews 13:12 says “Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood” (Hebrews 13:12), not Mary. Over and over God’s word says Jesus redeemed man and suffered for sins. Not once is it said that Mary participated in man’s redemption in a saving way. This idea detracts from the glory and honor Jesus alone deserves.

Moreover, it is not possible since only Jesus qualified to suffer and die for man’s sins since only Jesus’ sufferings could satisfy God the Father’s justice and wrath (Isaiah 53:3-5, 10; Romans 3:25). Jesus alone is the spotless lamb who qualified for redeeming man and suffering for him (Isaiah 53:7, 10; John 1:29; 1 Corinthian 5:7). In fact 1 Peter 1:18-19 affirms that only Jesus’ blood could redeem man, not Mary’s sufferings: “18knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19). Mary did not have precious blood like a lamb without blemish or spot.

Moreover, blood was required for the redemption (Hebrews 9:22). Jesus spilled his blood and thus redeemed man. Mary did not spill hers. Hence, she did not participate in the redemption a saving way with her suffering at the time of Jesus' crucifixion, since the necessary component required for such a redemption was lacking on her part.

Lastly, the language Rome uses in regards to Mary allegedly “offering” up Jesus at the time of the crucifixion or “presenting Him” at the time of the sacrifice (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 58, The Documents of Vatican II, ed. Walter M. Abbot, [The America Press, 1966], pp. 89-90; Leo XIII, Jucunda Semper, 1894; The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, “Coredemptrix,” ed. Richard P. McBrien, [HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1995], p. 369) gives her glory which only Jesus, the new covenant high priest, deserves. Jesus offered Himself up to the Father as a sacrifice since he is the new and perfect High Priest, not Mary. Hebrews 10:11-12 demonstrates this: “11And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:11-12). In summation, it is very clear the Holy Scripture condemns Rome’s teaching of Mary being Co-redemptrix. Those who hold to such a teaching, or belong to such an institution which promotes it, show themselves to not understand the work of Christ on the cross.

Historical Examination of Mary as Co-redemptrix

The early church is entirely silent on the issue of Mary allegedly participating in the redemption at the cross with her suffering. Some fathers indicate by giving birth to Jesus, she had a role in salvation in that regard. However, that is not the same thing as saying her suffering at the cross with Jesus played an active role in the redemption. No church father ever taught such a thing. In his work Introduction to Mary Catholic scholar Mark Miravalle quotes Irenaeus (A.D. 130-202) as supporting Mary being Co-redemptrix. Irenaeus stated Mary, “by yielding obedience, became the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human race” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.22.4). However, in context Irenaeus is contrasting Mary with Eve, noting that on the one hand Eve disobeyed God and obeyed Satan in the garden, but on the other hand Mary obeyed the angel at the annunciation and agreed to give birth to Jesus in Luke 1:38. This led to the birth of Jesus. This, however, has nothing to do with Mary suffering at the cross and participating in the redemption in a saving way as modern Rome teaches. Concerning that issue, Irenaeus actually wrote, “Christ alone is able to teach divine things, and to redeem us” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 5.1.1). Miravalle also quotes Jerome (A.D. 347-420) who said: “Death through Eve, Life through Mary” (Jerome, Epistula, 22.21). However, this again has to do with Mary birthing Jesus, not her alleged salvific suffering with Christ at the time of the crucifixion. Neither the Bible, nor the early Christians taught this blasphemy. In fact the church father Ambrose (A.D. 340-397) instead said, “Christ’s passion did not require any support” (Ambrose, De inst. virg. 7). Similarly Augustine affirmed, “Let us all flee to Christ, and appeal against sin to God as our deliverer. Let us seek to get ourselves sold, that we may be redeemed by His blood. For the Lord says, ‘Ye were sold for nought, and ye shall be redeemed without money. . . . From this bondage, then, we are set free by the Lord alone. He who had it not, Himself delivers us from it; for He alone came without sin in the flesh’” (Augustine, Tractates on the Gospel of John, Tractate XLI, 4, 5).

In another work Miravalle admits, “The Fathers cannot be judged upon a modern understanding of Redemption that would explicitly teach the redemptive and co-redemptive role of Jesus and Mary at Calvary. . .” (Mark I. Miravalle, "With Jesus": The Story of Mary Co-redemptrix, [Mark I. Miravalle, S.T.D., 2003], p. 73). Roman Catholic scholar Juniper Carol explains the very late date of Rome’s full doctrine: “Arnold of Chartres (d. 1160) . . .  may well be acknowledged as the first clear exponent of our Lady’s Coredemption. . . . St. Bonaventure (d. 1274). . . . [pointed] out that on Calvary Our Lady co-offered the divine Victim, satisfied for our sins, and paid the price of our redemption” (Juniper Carol, ed. Mariology, Volume 2, [Bruce, 1957], pp. 397-398 brackets mine). Liberal Catholic scholar Richard P. McBrien also stresses Bonaventure’s role, noting that he “also ascribed to her some role in the redemptive act of the cross, when she consented to the sacrifice of her Son and paid the price of her compassion. This view led eventually to the belief in Mary as Co-Redemptrix of the human race” (Richard P. McBrien, Catholicism: New Edition, [HarperOne, 1994], p. 1088 brackets mine). The Holy Scripture, apostolic fathers, apologists and other later church fathers had no concept of this teaching. It, like many of Rome’s other false doctrines, found its way into the church at a late period and was then eventually accepted by the Roman religion. This once again demonstrates how utterly unconcerned with holding to what God actually revealed in the first century Catholicism truly is.

Biblical Case Against Mary as Mediatrix of all graces

Since the average life expectancy of a person in the first-century world surrounding the New Testament was most likely between twenty and twenty-five years (Peter G. Bolt, Life, Death, and the Afterlife in the Greco-Roman World, ed. Richard N. Longenecker, Life in the Face of Death: The Resurrection Message of the New Testament, [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1998], p. 52), it is pretty safe to assume Mary had died before many of the later New Testament books were written. With that in mind, it is interesting to note that when these later New Testament books speak to the issue of the application of heavenly grace, they always say that it comes from God, never Mary.

For example, scholars date the book of Revelation after A.D. 68, most of them between A.D. 90-95 (Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, [InterVarsity Press, 1990], 948, 962). Yet, even though, if Rome is right, Mary should have been applying grace to mankind from heaven at this time, the fact is Revelation 1:4 says grace is given by God, not Mary: “Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come” (Revelation 1:4). Moreover, the book 2 John was written some time after A. D. 80 in the late first-century (An Introduction to the New Testament, eds. D. A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo, Leon Morris, [Zondervan, 1992], p. 451). Yet this epistle affirms grace comes from God the Father and Christ, not Mary: “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ” (2 John 1:3). Nowhere is it stated that Mary applies grace from heaven to mankind. Such an idea contradicts the biblical witness.

In order for Mary to be able to apply grace to billions of people around the world simultaneously without interruption until the end of the world, as Vatican II claimed (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 62, The Documents of Vatican II, ed. Walter M. Abbot, [The America Press, 1966], p. 91), she would need to be able to be in different places at the same time. Only one who is omnipresent could do such a thing. Omnipresence, however, is a divine attribute of God (1 Kings 8:27). One would need to be able to know who to give grace to, which would require one to be all-knowing. Yet omniscience is also a divine attribute of God (1 John 3:20). One would need to be powerful enough to apply grace to billions of people on the earth at the same time. Yet, omnipotence is a divine attribute of God (Job 42:2). Rome, by claiming Mary is the mediatrix of all graces, ends up giving her divine attributes which only God has and which serve to glorify God alone.

Historical Examination of Mary as Mediatrix of all Graces

When we examine the writings of the students of the apostles, the apostolic fathers, we see no hint that they believed Mary applies all graces to mankind from heaven. The same is the case when we examine the second century apologists and other church fathers. This teaching, according to The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, is first seen in the “late medieval era” (The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, “Coredemptrix,” ed. Richard P. McBrien, [HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1995], p. 369). Catholic scholar Ludwig Ott admits, “Express testimonies, though few in number, to Mary’s position as mediatrix of grace are found since the eighth century” (Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, [TAN Books and Publishers, 1960], p. 214). According to Ott, it is not until around seven hundred years after Jesus and the apostles before you start to see people claiming Mary is mediatrix of all graces. Such lateness is confirmed by patristic scholar J. N. D. Kelly who remarked, “Indeed, centuries [after the fifth century] had to elapse before the doctrines of . . . her position as intercessor and mediator of graces . . . could become elements in the day-to-day faith of Catholic Christians” (J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, [HarperOne, 1978], p. 499 brackets mine).

Not only do we see no affirmation of this teaching in the patristic period, demonstrating this was not something the apostles handed on to the church to be believed by all, but many patristic citations can be shown which demonstrate the fathers held a contrary view. Many fathers explicitly state that it is God who bestows grace to man, not Mary. For example, Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-215) wrote, “For it were truly monstrous that that which is not complete should be called a gift (or act) of God's grace. Being perfect, He consequently bestows perfect gifts. As at His command all things were made, so on His bare wishing to bestow grace, ensues the perfecting of His grace” (Clement of Alexandria, The Paedagogus, Book I, 6). Similarly, John Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407) stated, “For the whole is of God Who wills to bestow upon many, so that the grace may appear the greater” (John Chrysostom, Homily 9 on 2 Corinthians). Also, Jerome (A.D. 347-420)  proclaimed, “it has been established that the Lord, by the same grace wherewith He bestowed upon us free choice, assists and supports us in our individual actions” (Jerome, Against the Pelagians, Book III, 6). There is not a word about Mary bestowing grace in these citations which could be multiplied. Instead we see that this is God’s prerogative alone.

Commenting on the medieval Roman misuse of Luke 1:28 in order to support this teaching, church historian Alister McGrath notes that it was refuted by the Catholic scholar Erasmus:

"According to the Vulgate, the angel Gabriel greeted Mary as ‘the one who is full of grace’ (gratia plena) (Luke 1:28), thus suggesting the image of a reservoir full of grace, which could be drawn upon at time of need. But, as Erasmus pointed out, the Greek simply meant ‘favored one,’ or ‘one who has found favor.’ Mary was one who had found God’s favor, not necessarily one who could bestow it on others. Once more, an important feature of medieval theology seemed to be contradicted by humanist New Testament scholarship” (Alister E. McGrath, Historical Theology: An Introduction to the History of Christian Thought, [John Wiley & Sons, 2012], p. 97)

Now, it is claimed by some Catholics that Ephrem (A.D. 306-373) affirmed this doctrine in the following remark: “After the Mediator, you [Mary] are the Mediatrix of the whole world” (Ephrem, Oratio IV, Ad Deiparam). However, the context of this text has nothing to do with Mary applying all graces to mankind from heaven. Scholars note such a teaching was not taught in this period. In fact, when one assesses Ephrem’s writings on this issue, it is quickly apparent that he believed God alone bestows or applies heavenly grace to men, not Mary. In his Homily on Admonition and Repentance, 21 he states, “In everything give thanks and praise unto God as the Redeemer, that He may grant you by His grace, that we may hear and do His Will” (Ephrem, Homily on Admonition and Repentance, 21). In a hymn he likewise stated, “Bring back them that are without, and make them glad that are within! Mighty is Your grace, that You extend it within and without. Let the wings of Your grace gather my chickens together!” (Ephrem, The Nisibene Hymns, Hymn 6, 28)

The idea that Mary applies all graces to mankind is without basis in the early church. That modern Rome accepts such a teaching is more evidence of how divorced from “the faith which was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3) she truly is.
 Biblical Case Against Mary as Advocate

Both the ideas that believers should send their prayers and petitions and Mary who will then present them to Jesus, and that she intercedes for believers turning God’s wrath away from them, are thoroughly unbiblical. Not only are there no examples of a believer offering prayers and petitions to Mary in heaven, but there is not even an exhortation to do so.

On the contrary, 1 John 2:1 shows that we can go to Jesus as our advocate who secures our right relationship with the Father: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). In John 14:14 Jesus said, “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14). Hence, it follows we do not need to go to someone else who will plead our case to God. Moreover, Hebrews 4:15-16 demonstrates believers should directly approach God’s throne of grace for help since we have Jesus who sympathizes with us: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). Christians are told to approach the throne of grace for help, not to ask Mary to acquire it for us from God. When Catholics are in fear they go to Mary who they think then goes to God for them. However, Philippians 4:6 says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). We are commanded to let our requests be made known to God, not Mary. Romans 8:34 was written to persecuted Roman Christians to comfort them. Thus Paul says, “Christ is interceding for us” in the context of believers never being separated from the love of Christ even though they go through tribulations. It must be asked: if Jesus is an angry judge towards believers, and if we therefore need Mary to turn Christ’s anger from us or convince Him to get the Father to forgive us or do something for us, why would Paul highlight Jesus’ intercession for believers as a means of comfort? Ephesians 2:18 says, “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). It is through Christ we have access to the Father. It’s not through Mary. Nowhere does Scripture teach that. Over and over the Holy Scripture stresses the fact that believers can go to God through Christ. Ephesians 3:11-12 says being in Christ gives believers access to God: “11This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him” (Ephesians 3:11-12).

In regards to this idea that Mary appeases God’s wrath and anger for believers, this is also unbiblical. 1 John 2:2 says that Jesus “is the propitiation of our sins” (1 John 2:2 see also 1 John 4:10; Hebrews 2:17). The word for “propitiation” in the original Greek is hilasmos and it can mean either expiation, that is, a cancelling or wiping away of the penalty of sin, or it can mean a turning away of God’s wrath by an acceptable offering. That in this text it refers to the latter (i.e., a propitiation), we see many instances in which the LXX, that is, an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, has a propitiatory notion when the word is used (see Gen. 32:20; Num. 16:47-48; 25:11; 1 Sam 26:19; 2 Sam. 21:3-4; 24:25; Prov. 16:14). And John’s other writings often highlight the theme of God’s wrath and Jesus being the solution (John 3:16, 36; 8:24; 1 John 3:14; 5:16). Thus the evidence tips in favor of Jesus turning away God’s wrath for us when we sin, since, his continual heavenly intercession involves the application of his death to our salvation. Therefore, since Jesus turns away God’s wrath and anger from us through His perfect work, and is a propitiation for us in that regard, we do not need Mary to turn away God’s wrath. Christ is perfectly able to do so. He has the basis to do so. His work on the cross satisfies God’s wrath (Isaiah 53:10). But what basis does Mary have to appease God and turn away His wrath?

Rome claims that Mary’s prayers “will deliver our souls from death” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, [DoubleDay, 1994], par. 966, p. 274). This is why Rome claims Mary helps in “restoring supernatural life to souls” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, [Doubleday, 1994], par. 968 p. 274). This language which presents Mary as co-savior is very offensive to the regenerated Christian. For, in Acts 4:12 we read in regards to Christ: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). It’s by Christ, not by Mary. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Salvation is through Christ, not Mary. Revelation 7:10 says, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10).

The Holy Scriptures very clearly prohibit communicating with the dead. Deuteronomy 18:10-11 say, “10There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead” (Deuteronomy 18:10-11). The word here for “necromancer” in the Hebrew is ḏō-rêš. Old Testament scholar Earl S. Kalland notes that here it refers to “(‘[one] who consults the dead’) is one who investigates, looks into, and seeks information from the dead” (Earl S. Kalland, Deuteronomy, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary with the New International Version, Volume 3, p. 121 n. 11). Catholics consult the dead saints and Mary and also look to them for help. In Isaiah 8:19 we see more of Scripture’s position on communicating with the dead:  “And when they say to you, ‘Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,’ should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19). Scripture’s position is that believers must inquire to God on behalf of the living. We are not to inquire of the deceased such as saints or Mary. 

Now, the typical response Catholic apologists give to this is they will misuse Matthew 22:32 which says, “He is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:32). Romanists like Patrick Madrid argue that since the saints are alive in heaven, the biblical prohibitions against praying to the dead do not apply (Patrick Madrid, Answer Me This!, [Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 2003], p. 168). First, this text was not intended to be a polemic which allows for prayer to saints in New Covenant times. There is no indication of that in the context. That anachronistic application is just not the argument being made in the text at all. Second, although believers who go to heaven are living spiritually with God, they are nevertheless dead or deceased according to Scripture. Thus, we are not to communicate with them. Joshua 1:2 says “Moses my servant is dead.” Moreover, a believer in Acts 20:9 a believer named Eutychus fell out of a window and “he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead” (Acts 20:9). So although the saints are alive spiritually, they are nevertheless among the dead according to Scripture and should therefore not be communicated with according to the Bible. Although later church fathers start communicating with saints and Mary, this was not the case in earliest church history. As the historian Philip Schaff remarks, “In the first three centuries the veneration of the martyrs in general restricted itself to the thankful remembrance of their virtues and the celebration of the day of their death as the day of their heavenly birth. . . . But in the Nicene age it advanced to a formal invocation of the saints as our patrons (patroni) and intercessors (intercessors, mediators), before the throne of grace, and degenerated into a form of refined polytheism and idolatry. The saints came into the place of the demigods, Penates and Lares, the patrons of the domestic hearth and of the country” (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 3, [Hendrickson, 2011], p. 432).

The fact that the deceased saints and Mary are in heaven with God means, according to Holy Scripture, that they are in a state of bliss or absolute peace. Revelation 21:4 describes those in heaven as never mourning, crying or being in pain. However, if the saints were in heaven receiving all the prayers from Catholics around the world concerning all of their problems, tragedies, illnesses etc., they would surely be grieved and in much pain. Hence, it is not possible that Mary and the saints in heaven receive those prayers and intercede for them.

Finally, Rome’s insistence on seeking the intercession of Mary and the saints in order to appease God’s anger or wrath is an attack on the loving character of God the Father and Christ. For example, the Catholic saint and doctor Alphonsus Liguori blasphemously wrote, “there was no one who could thus dare to restrain the arm of God. But now, if God is angry with a sinner, and Mary takes him under her protection, she withholds the avenging arm of her Son, and saves him” (Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary, [Tucker, Printer, Perry’s Place, 1852], p. 93). This attacks God on so many levels. It attacks Jesus’ love for His bride in that while we were yet sinners he died for us (Romans 5:8). Christ loves the church so much he gave His life up for it to purchase it (John 10:15). Jesus loves His bride so much he “always lives to make intercession” (Hebrews 7:25) for them to God. It is satanic to believe Jesus’ bride needs to be protected from Him by Mary. This attacks God the Father’s loving character. The Father “so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The Father’s wrath and anger towards his sinful people was propitiated by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, not Mary (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; Ephesians 5:2). In fact 1 John 4:10 says just this: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Mary does not need to protect God’s people from Him. Jesus bore their sins and suffered the wrath they deserve and so God no longer has wrath for true believers. As Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Those who put their trust in Jesus and His perfect work on the cross are no longer under God’s wrath. Also, Psalms 118:1 says God’s “steadfast love endures forever!” 1 John 4:8 says “God is love”. Finally Micah 7:18 asks, “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love” (Micah 7:18). Rome’s low view of God’s love in her insistence on seeking Mary to protect people from Him is utterly contradictory to Holy Scripture.

Historical Examination of Mary as Advocate

A careful reading of the early Christians of the first three centuries reveals that it was not orthodox to pray to Mary or seek her intercession through prayer. Instead, like the New Testament, Christians for the first 250 years (or more) approached God through Christ and prayed directly to them. When you read their works on prayer or works where prayer is discussed in some length, there is not a single reference to praying to Mary or seeking her heavenly intercession. That the students of the apostles and those after them for hundreds of years did not engage in this practice is damaging evidence against the erroneous Roman practice. Instead we see evidence to the contrary. For example, in Clement’s late first century Letter to the Corinthians he mentions how Christians must strive against “unrighteousness and iniquity, along with all covetousness, strife, evil practices, deceit, whispering, and evil-speaking, all hatred of God, pride and haughtiness, vain glory and ambition. For they that do such things are hateful to God” (Clement, Letter to the Corinthians, 35). He recognized the difficulty of the Christian life and so instead of exhorting his readers to pray to Mary for help and strength as modern Romanism teaches, he instead said to pray to Jesus in their time of need and temptation: “This is the way, beloved, in which we find our Saviour, even Jesus Christ, the High Priest of all our offerings, the defender and helper of our infirmity. By Him we look up to the heights of heaven” (Clement, Letter to the Corinthians, 36).

Now, there is only one possible exception of prayer directed to Mary before the 300 year mark of Christian history. That is, a prayer which some date to around A.D. 250 called Sub Tuum Praesidium which invokes Mary and asks for her protection from worldly dangers and persecution. However, as the historian Maxwell E. Johnson notes in his work Praying and Believing in Early Christianity, many scholars are hesitant to date it that early and opt for a later date (p. 79). But even if it is dated later, Johnson remarks, “it remains the earliest marian prayer in existence” (Maxwell E. Johnson, Praying and Believing in Early Christianity, [Liturgical Press, 2013], p. 80). So it’s not until the mid third-century (or later) when you finally see a prayer to Mary in Christian history. Then it is not for over one hundred years that the first Christian father prays to Mary. As church historian Philip Schaff notes, “The first instance of the formal invocation of Mary occurs in the prayers of Ephraim Syrus (379), addressed to Mary and the saints” (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 3, [Hendrickson Publishers, 2011], p. 422). After this others join in on the novel practice such as Gregory of Nazianzen (A.D. 330-390) and Epiphanius (A.D. 310-403). Then, because of these influences it slowly becomes a more common practice. Commenting on this development, J. N. D. Kelly confirms, “Devotion to the Blessed Virgin developed more slowly. . . . Thus reliable evidence of prayers being addressed to her, or of her protection and help being sought, is almost (though not entirely) non-existent in the first four centuries” (J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, [HarperOne, 1978], p. 491). Hence, when Catholic apologists cite the Sub Tuum Praesidium or Ephrem as alleged evidence Christians have always prayed to Mary or sought her intercession, they are not giving you the full picture since the primitive believers did no such thing. Consider Patrick Madrid’s misleading remarks on the Sub Tuum Praesidium prayer: “This example of Christian prayer from the early church deflates your contention that early Christians didn’t seek Mary’s intercession” (Patrick Madrid, Answer Me This!, [Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 2003], p. 156).

In regards to Mary being sought to turn away God’s wrath from believers, which is the second half of the Roman teaching, such a belief comes into church history even later. What led to modern Catholics believing this is medieval piety and legend. Commenting on a particular popular medieval legend known as the apocryphal Theophilus Legend, based on the sixth century cleric Theophilus of Adana, is Catholic scholar Elizabeth Johnson who states,

“The idea that Mary had maternal influence over God, that she could turn away Christ’s just anger and obtain mercy for sinners, had already been accepted in the East, as seen in the popularity of the Theophilus Legend.  In this story a man bargains his soul away to the devil to gain a lucrative job. Near death he implored Mary to get back the contract, which she does after contending with the devil. Theophilus dies forgiven and avoids eternal hell. Translated into Latin in the eighth century, this story exercised great influence on the West’s notion of Mary’s power to save” (Elizabeth Johnson, “Blessed Virgin Mary,” ed. Richard P. McBrien, The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, [HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1995], p. 833).

This story was then used by prominent Western theologians such as Bernard of Clairvaux (A.D. 1090-1153), Bonaventure (A.D. 1221-1274) and Alphonsus Liguori (A.D. 1696-1787) to promote the idea that Mary could turn away God’s wrath if one asked her to in prayer. Hence, it is largely because of this silly fictitious sixth century story which entered Latin Christendom in the eighth century that Roman Catholics today believe in this teaching. Germanus (d. 733) also popularized the idea that Mary could turn away God’s anger from believers (Richard P. McBrien, Catholicism: New Edition, [HarperOne, 1994], p. 1085).

Once again, with this teaching we see it is unbiblical and ahistorical, in that it is not to be found in earliest Christianity. Yet, Rome adopted it because later men taught it. It is very clear that Catholicism believes things which were not revealed by God to Jesus and the apostles in the first century and handed on. Instead Rome affirms that which later crept into Christendom as a result of the novelties of imperfect men.

Examining of Rome’s Biblical Arguments for Mary as Maternal Mediator

The arguments for these three teachings (Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces, Advocate) which make up the umbrella teaching of Mary as “Maternal Mediator,” though few in number, must be addressed nevertheless.

Luke 2:34-35. In order to argue that Mary suffered at the foot of the cross in a saving way towards the redemption, Catholics appeal to Luke 2:34-35 which says,

“And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed’” Luke 2:34-35

Commenting on this text, Catholic writer Alessandro M. Apollonio claims, “The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (cf. Lk 2:22-40) further clarifies the bases of this mediation: not only Mary’s vocation as Mother of God, but her role as Co-redemptrix in the realization of the redemptive sacrifice which secures the ‘salvation of his people’” (Alessandro M. Apollonio, Mary Mediatrix of all Graces, ed. Mark I. Miravalle, Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, [Mark I. Miravalle, S.T.D., 2008], p. 434 italics mine). This text has nothing to do with Mary participating in the redemption in a saving way. It is simply saying that because of Christ many in Israel will either follow him and rise (that is, resurrect), or won’t and fall (that is, be damned). When Christ, the Messiah is crucified, Mary will be greatly emotionally troubled (hence the sword through the soul metaphor). Nothing is said of Mary participating in the redemption in a saving way. All that is said is Mary will be affected emotionally by it.

John 19:26-27. Roman Catholic scholar Ludwig Ott argues that because Mary is allegedly the spiritual mother of all believers according to John 19:26-27, it follows that she helps and mediates for her children in heaven. This is alleged biblical support for Mary as Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate: “it [John 19:26-27] corresponds to the position of Mary as spiritual mother of the whole of redeemed humanity that she, by her powerful intercession, should procure for her children in need of help all graces by which they can attain eternal salvation” (Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, [TAN Books and Publishers, 1960], p. 214 brackets mine). The text in question states,
 “26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ 27Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” (John 19:26-27). There are various problems with claiming this text supports Mary’s spiritual motherhood over the church. First, Jesus said these words immediately prior to His death. The words refer to John, the beloved disciple, not humanity. Second, the words are, as D. A. Carson notes, “reminiscent of legal adoption formulae” (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, ed. The Pillar New Testament Commentary, [Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991], p. 616) which indicates Jesus was putting Mary into the care of John whereby John would provide for Mary. Not all humanity is adopted by John, and thus not all humanity is Mary’s metaphorical child either. The context simply has to do with John being commissioned to look after Mary once Jesus ascended. Third, it’s important to note that v. 27 says “from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” which shows the result of Jesus’ words was that John cared for Mary. So Catholics have it backwards when they emphasize Mary caring for John or the Church. As Carson says, “Roman Catholic exegesis has tended not so much to see Mary coming under the care of the beloved disciple, as the reverse” (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, ed. The Pillar New Testament Commentary, [Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991], p. 617). In fact, this text appears to call into question Rome’s view. As A. W. Pink observes, “We surely need no stronger proof than we have here, that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was never meant to be honored as Divine, or to be prayed to, Worshiped and trusted in, as the friend and patroness of sinners. Common sense points out that she who needed the care and protection of another, was never likely to help men and women to heaven, or to be in any sense a mediator between God and man!” (A. W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, [Zondervan, 1975], p. 1056).

Luke 9:28-31. Tim Staples cites Luke 9:28-31 as alleged evidence Jesus prayed to the dead while He was incarnate. He argues, “Our Lord ascends a mountain with Peter, James, and John. There, He is transfigured before them, and Moses and Elijah appeared and ‘talked with him’ about his death (cf. Luke 9:30). . . . At His transfiguration, Jesus is praying to saints. And aren’t Christians supposed to imitate Christ?” (Tim Staples, Nuts and Bolts, [Basilica Press, 2007], p. 60). However, the biblical prohibition in Deuteronomy 18:11 is that men should not pray to the deceased who are in Sheol, not that the transfigured God-man, Jesus, could not to speak to Elijah and Moses if they made an appearance on earth during Jesus’ advent. There is a big difference. Not once does Jesus beseech and seek help from Elijah, Moses or any other saint in heaven while on earth as He actually does in reference to the Father numerous times. Moreover, James White argues, “Are we seriously to believe that the unique, one-of-a-kind event of the Transfiguration itself is a meaningful foundation for communication with those who have passed from this life? Do I really need to point out that there is actually no example of communication between the apostles and Moses and Elijah, that it is limited to Jesus, and hence would not, even if it was pressed far out of its meaningful context, support such a concept?" (James White, A Brief Comment on the “Communion of Saints” and Catholic Blogger “Devman”).
Hence, Staples is severely stretching the text in order to try to prove Jesus prayed to the saints. Instead of basing his theology on the Holy Scripture like Reformation Christianity, Staples tries to bend and twist certain texts in order to try to make them fit Roman Catholicism.

1 Timothy 2:1-3. As proof for alleged support for praying to Mary and her intercession, Romanists often cite 1 Timothy 2:1-3 which says,

1“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

Commenting on this text Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid argues,

“When the early Christians invoked Mary’s intercession, they were simply following St. Paul’s teaching. For, as one of the blessed in heaven, she remains just as much a ember of the Body of Christ now as she was when she was alive on this earth. And that means that her heavenly ‘supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings, before the Blessed Trinity are ‘good and acceptable in the sight of God our savior” (Patrick Madrid, Answer Me This!, [Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 2003], p. 157).

There are some difficulties with that interpretation and application of this text. First, there is not a word about Mary, praying to her, or her interceding in heaven. No text mentions those things. Second, the text mentions living people praying for other living people. It does not mention living people praying to deceased people and asking them to pray for them. Thirdly, it is anachronistic to read into this text the idea that Mary should be prayed to and is in heaven interceding. This is because it is teaching it “is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior" for Paul’s readers (in this case Timothy) to pray for others, not that it is good in God’s sight for people to pray to saints and Mary and have them pray for believers. That’s just not Paul’s argument. Yes Mary is in heaven and part of the people of God, but this text simply does not state that she is to be prayed to for intercession. Nowhere has God revealed that since Mary is part of the people of God, it is therefore okay to pray her even though she is deceased. Neither Scripture nor the extrabiblical students of the apostles teach such a concept.

Jeremiah 31:15-16. In regards to praying to saints and Mary for their intercession, Catholic apologist Tim Staples cites Jeremiah 31:15-16 as evidence Rachel, who had already died long before, praying to God from heaven in regards to the affairs of the Jews at the time of Jeremiah. He claims, “in Jeremiah 31:15-16, we see Rachel interceding for her children (Israel). Jeremiah was written during the time of the Babylonian exile hundreds of years after Rachel’s death, yet the text says her ‘voice [was] heard,’ and her prayers were answered” (Tim Staples, Nuts and Bolts, [Basilica Press, 2007], p. 59). Jeremiah 31:15-16 says, “15Thus says the LORD: ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.’ 16Thus says the LORD: ‘Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the LORD, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy’” (Jeremiah 31:15-16). First, this does not support the practice of praying to dead saints since no one prays to Rachel. Second, Revelation 21:4 says there is no mourning, crying or pain in heaven. Thus, Rachel could not have been mourning crying and painfully praying for Israel from heaven. Third, this text is not literally teaching that Rachel is in heaven lamenting and weeping for Israel, but that, as Old Testament scholar Charles L. Feinberg observes, “Rachel weeping is a poetical figure. . .” (Charles L. Feinberg, Jeremiah, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary based on the New International Version, [Zondervan, 1986], p. 570). Likewise, Matthew Henry confirms, “such a voice of lamentation was there as, to speak poetically, might even have raised Rachel out of her grave to mourn with them” (Matthew Henry, Exposition of the Old and New Testament, Volume 2, [J. R. And Childs, 1828], p. 997). Adam Clarke similarly recognized this, “Near this place Rachel was buried; who is here, in a beautiful figure of poetry, represented as coming out of her grave, and lamenting bitterly for the loss of her children” (Adam Clarke, The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, Volume 4, [T. Mason and G. Lane, 1837], p. 337). Finally, when v. 16 says God will reward Rachel for her work by restoring Israel, this work of Rachel is not, contra Roman apologists, her prayers from heaven. Instead her work consists of, as Feinberg notes, “bearing, rearing, sorrowing over, and prayer for her children (so Bewer). As they were a source of grief to her, now they will be a joy on their return from exile” (Charles L. Feinberg, Jeremiah, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary based on the New International Version, [Zondervan, 1986], p. 570). Rachel who existed in the days of Genesis mourned over and prayed for her children. God will bless that work in the restoration of her extended children, that is, those in the time of Jeremiah. This has nothing to do with Rachel interceding for people in heaven.

Revelation 5:8. Catholics often appeal to Revelation 5:8 and 8:3-4, which basically says the same thing, as supposed proof for saints being prayed to as well as them presenting these prayers to God. The text says, And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8; cf. 8:3-4). Arguing from this passage is Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch in their Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament: “The saints in heaven mediate the praises and petitions of the saints on earth (8:3)” (Scott Hahn, Curtis Mitch, Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament, [Ignatius Press, 2010], p. 499). The Catholics are guilty of distorting this text. First, the “twenty-four elders” who possess and present these prayers before God are not “saints” who are prayed to by believers. In fact, in 5:8-10 their song of praise differentiates them from people who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. They are also differentiated from the saints in 11:16-18 and 19:1-4. Instead of being saints, they are, as Robert Mounce notes, “an angelic order who serve and adore God as the heavenly counterpart to the twenty-four priestly and twenty-four Levitical orders (1 Chron 24:4; 25:9-13)” (Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation: Revised, ed. Gordon D. Fee, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997], pp. 121-122). In agreement are New Testament scholars Alan F. Johnson and N. B. Stonehouse. Second, the evidence shows these twenty-four elders do not have prayers because they were prayed to, as Roman writers suggest. Instead, they have prayers which people offer to God alone, and they bring them to God. As Mounce further observes,

“The idea of angels acting as intermediaries and presenting the prayers of saints to God is common in later Jewish thought. In Tobit 12:15 an angel says, ‘I am Rafael, one of the seven holy angels, who present the prayers of the saints, and who go in  and out before the glory of the Holy One.’ In 3 Baruch 11 it is Michael the Archangel who descends to the fifth heaven to receive the prayers of people. It was the increasing emphasis in Jewish thought on the transcendence of God that made such intermediaries appropriate. In Revelation the twenty-four elders perform this function” (Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation: Revised, ed. Gordon D. Fee, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997], p. 135).
Revelation 5:8-10 and 8:3-4 do not support the Roman practice of believers praying to saints and Mary, or dead saints interceding such prayers to God. There is absolutely no biblical basis for this teaching whatsoever, and hence must be rejected by the believer. We go to God directly.

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