This article is mostly for witnessing to Catholic apologists.
Cathechism 2132 – The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, “the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype,” and “whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.”70 The honor paid to sacred images is a “respectful veneration,” not the adoration due to God alone:
Roman Catholic’s argument would be that Esau, Esther, Orientals bow down to one another, but they are not worshipping one another. They’ll argue that there is nothing wrong with bowing down to one another out of respect or even building images out of respect for someone else. However, when you combine the bowing down and the building of an image, that is when it becomes condemned by the bible.
Leviticus 26: 1 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God.
1 Thessalonians 5:22Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Another argument against venerating images is that the practice will render someone indistinguishable from a pagan, a Buddhist, Muslim, or some other religion. A Catholic bowing down in front of an image, lighting incense in front of it is not distinguishable from a Buddhist, Hindu, or some other pagan religion doing the same thing. Someone doing this would appear to be evil, so such practices cannot be followed in light of the Bible.
Worshipping Angels and Saints
Cathechism 956 – “The intercession of the saints. “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness…. They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus…. So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.”
Roman Catholic’s argument is that saints and angels can intercede on our behalf and therefore, it is okay to pray to them. These would be their “evidence verses”:
Exodus 10:17 Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the Lord your God, that he may take away from me this death only.
In the above verse, Pharaoh is making a petition and request to Moses in the physical world. This is normal in everyday life; we make requests of each other all the time. A Christian prayer is different from a physical request that we see here because it is a man making a request to God in the spirit world. There is no verse where a dead saint is praying on behalf of the living person.
1 Timothy 2:1,5 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
In the above verse, Catholics say that you can pray to a dead saint such as David, and then Christ Jesus will be the final mediator, but there is no verse that supports this theory. The verse says Jesus Christ is the one and only mediator; not the “final” mediator. We intercede by praying for another person, but we do not take the place of God when interceding.
Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Revelation 8: 3-4 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
Catholics say that the “prayers of the saints” refer to the prayers that we prayed to the saints. But that’s not the case since the saints here are not even the Christians. They are the tribulation saints who were praying vengeance, as evidenced in the verse below. Another important point is that these tribulation saints were only praying to God, and to no other being.
Revelation 6: 9-10 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
Another evidence that we cannot pray to dead saints is here. When we pray to dead saints, we are speaking to people in the spirit world, which is both consulting a familiar spirit and necromancy. They would argue that Jesus Christ spoke to the dead saints too, but we have to remember that He is God and God lives in the spirit realm, so there is no problem with Him speaking with a spirit of any kind (also remember that God is a Spirit according to John 4:24). No man is allowed to do that.
Deuteronomy 18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
How can we intercede for the saints when the Spirit is the one that intercedes for us? The saints do not do the intercession for the prayers; it is the Spirit who does the intercession for the prayers, for the saints.
Romans 8: 26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
The title “Holy Father” is reserved for God, not the pope
No one can have a clean conscience and claim the title of “Holy Father” for himself. This title is only given one time in the scripture to God Himself by the Lord Jesus Christ.
John 17: 11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
This is what the bible says:
Matthew 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
Vain repetitions in prayers
Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
The Catholic apologists may say that Jesus prayed 3 times in the garden of Gethsemane. There is nothing wrong with praying earnestly or repeating a prayer, but it shouldn’t be done like a robot, repeating the same words over and over again.
A Catholic may say that they do not follow the catechism
Then, we will have to ask this question: what do you believe in? If they say they believe and/or trust in what their priests tell them, then go back to using the catechism to argue because the priests use it as an authoritative source. They may say that they do not believe in the bible. They may quote their early church fathers to be better than the bible, but who’s the higher authority? Who’s more reliable, Peter, Paul and the apostles, or Catholic priests and scholars?
They may also say that it was Catholics that chose the books of the bible. They did not do a good job then, because there are so many verses that kick the Roman Catholics.
Mark 7: 7-9 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Do not keep to the traditions/writings of the early fathers instead of following what the Bible commands. May your eyes be opened to see the truth.