- Religion and Philosophy
John Paul II Sainthood - Biblical Blasphemy
Take the Poll - How to Become a Saint
What do you believe qualifies someone to become a saint?
History in the Making
April 20, 2014 marked the date for the canonization of Pope John Paul II and John XXIII in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in Rome. Millions of people made a pilgrimage to Rome to watch this historic event. However, is this ceremony of declaring individuals in the church as saints supported by the Bible? That is what I'm going to be discussing in this hub.
Specifically, I will elaborate on how the title of "saint" applies to all Christians. I will define the meaning of the word, "saint". I will discuss how the presumption of the Roman Catholic Church in declaring certain individuals as saints is biblical blasphemy. And I will discuss how leading the laity of the Catholic Church to believe that only special individuals could be called saints actually takes away from their true identity as saints in Christ and ruins their spiritual life.
All Christians are Saints
if you read your Bible, you will notice that everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ is called a saint. This is not a titled reserved to special people that have performed miracles in the lives. For example, in addressing the the Roman church in Romans 1:7, Paul wrote, "To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints, Grace and peace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." A similar greeting is repeated in Palul's letter to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 1:2, stating, "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord,..."
Definition of "Saint"
The word "saint" means "to set apart" or "make holy"1. And it applies to individuals who have dedicated themselves to the worship and service of God. In other words, they have been set apart by their dedication for a holy purpose, to servce God. This should describe every Christian. Because we are all called to fully surrender our lives to Christ and serve Him with our obedience and witness.
The Roman Catholic Church, in placing the title of sainthood on only certain individuals which they deem worthy, actually take the place of God in deeming who is and is not worthy to be called a saint. This is blasphemy, by the biblical definition of the word. Because blasphemy means to claim to be able to do what God does. An example of this is found in Matthew 9:2-3, where Jesus declarers a man's sins to be forgiven, and the scribes and pharisees accuse Him of committing blasphemy, because only God can forgive sins. That actually leads to another issue in the Catholic Church about the priests claiming to be able to forgive people for their sins when they go to make confession, but I'm not going to get into that right now, because that's another issue.
Not only is it blasphemy for the Catholic Church to declare certain individuals to be saints, it actually decreases the spirituality of the majority of Catholic believers. That is because it takes away from their true identity of saints of God called to live an obedient life and lead others to Jesus, and they believe that becomes the work of the priest. Believe me, I live in a Catholic country and know many Catholics like this. Catholics don't even evangelize. It's the priests who go door to door, trying to convice unbelievers of their Babylonian-based faith.
All true believers in Jesus Christ have the right to be called saints. God has set us all apart for a holy purpose. We are called to live according to His Word and share our faith with others. To declare only certain, "worthy", individuals as saints is blasphemy. And that also takes away from the true identity of those who believe in Jesus, and it ruins their spiritual life.
1. "Saints." BibleStudyTools.com. Ed. Walter A. Elwell. Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, 1996. Web. 28 Apr. 2014.