Posts Tagged ‘prayers for the dead’

Why Beatification is Blasphemous and Contrary to Scripture

May 2, 2011

Yesterday, as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims congregated in St. Peter’s Square in Rome for the beatification of Pope John Paul 11, I felt saddened by the knowledge that vast numbers of people throughout the entire world believe in the validity of such a ceremony as this. Firstly there is absolutely no scriptural foundation for the notion that men (whatever position they have been elected to) have the power to decide the destiny of a soul who has passed into eternity. Hebrews 9v27 tells me that “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment…” Who judges us? Surely only God has the power to decide my spiritual standing, or yours – or that of any pope who has ever walked this earth? According to the Roman Catholic Church, “beatification is the last step on the road to sainthood.” How contrary to scripture this is, for whenever I read of ‘saints’ in the New Testament, they are indeed living followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. For example Paul writes to the living not to the dead in Ephesians 1v1… “to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus,” and “to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:” (Philippians 1v1.) The saints then (and today!) are ordinary men and women who have come by faith to a living relationship with the Lord.

The fact is… only saints can enter heaven and only saints can go to heaven! In Jude 14 we read that Enoch prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.”

John 1v12&13 tells me that … “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Saints are therefore born by the will of God and not by the will of men – and although their bodies die, they live on in the spirit and are elevated to heaven; not by the will of man, but by God the Creator, Saviour and indwelling Holy Spirit of all who come to Him in repentance and faith in His finished work for them at Calvary.

My prayer is that souls would come to see the “spiritual wickedness in high places” and these “doctrines of devils” that are prevalent in such ceremonies as beatification. The Bible tells me that the “love of money is the root of all evil” and I am inclined to think that prayers for the dead, beatification and great ceremonies in the Vatican bring in much needed finance at times like this. May my Lord and Saviour speak to those souls who are sincerely searching for truth and questioning the validity of such practices, beliefs and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church. Oh that they would see clearly the simplicity and wonder of this truth… that sainthood is totally God’s will for each one of us and that this has been made possible for us here and now in this life – by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ… “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins…” (Colossians 1v14)

The Cremation…A True Story from my Life

July 11, 2010

I wrote this account shortly after the cremation ceremony of a loved one. For my part, I do not like, or agree with cremation, as it has traditionally been viewed as a heathen practice. However, regardless of all of this, the scriptures assure us that one day all bodies will rise again, whether they have been buried, drowned at sea or burned to ashes and scattered in the mountains. I found it to be a distressing day, but I thank God for His sustaining Presence, for the comfort found in the precious Name of His Son, Jesus and that the His Spirit assisted me to express my feelings about the experience…

Life rushed on around the cemetery, traffic piled up on the grey streets; all roads seemed to converge on the inevitable. Wrought iron railings surrounded the grey façade; no kindness was forthcoming in the dark interior; no presence of God, or warmth, or hope… The coffin was carried to the front of the church; the ceremony begun. Looking around, I saw a tear-stained face, pale and full of sorrow. The priest cleared his throat and began to speak. His words droned on; they were words without meaning; hollow emptiness dropping in the shadows of silent grief.

Outside the grey rain pelted against the windows, while the wind whined and blew a flurry of pink petals to the sodden earth. Beauty denied life in its prime, a victim of the winds of life… The priest continued to drone, his disinterested face a mask of sanctimonious solemnity. Duties were performed as a matter of course; payment for praying for the dead, whose eternity had already been sealed – like that gleaming coffin which sat on a marble altar.

The priest turned towards the coffin, in his hand a golden sceptre filled with holy water. He shook it frantically at the shining wood with its gleaming handles, his voice quivering with set prayers. A million tears coursed down the stained glass windows and I bowed my head in prayer. I prayed for those around me and for those who were not here – but never for the dead, for they have lived their lives and God is their Judge. There is but One Mediator, the man Christ Jesus.

When I opened my eyes, there was eerie music playing and great curtains were slowly closing on the gleaming coffin with its beautiful handles. Soon it disappeared from our view – forever. The curtains were closed without a chink and the coffin left to be burned on another day. The polished beauty of the wood and possibly the metal handles would not survive the furnace. Nothing would survive that furnace…

I looked up again to see that the priest had been replaced with someone who had offered to speak about the life of the deceased. A faint gleam of sunlight now beckoned from the rainbow window and I felt a shaft of warmth. His gentle words of love and prayer had not been learned. They came spontaneously from someone who had found the Greatest Love. He spoke of the positive aspects of the life of a loved one; then with tears he told of how he had spoken to him in his final hours… “I said to him: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. If there is nothing else you do on this earth, do this… Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved!”

A silence reigned as tears trickled down my face and the priest looked on in bewilderment, not understanding this marvellous simplicity. The speaker left the platform, the murmuring congregation arose and the wide doors opened swiftly for us to leave. Just outside the door I looked with compassion at another group of mourners waiting for another rushed ceremony, for another body whose soul had already gone into eternity…