You get all sorts on Usenet, and first I should acknowledge that Andrew is not a good representative of Adventism. Most Adventists do not deliberately tell lies about other Christian beliefs, although many do believe misinformation given to them.
I do, however, get occasional e-mails from people like Andrew, who go out of their way to attack Catholicism without scruples whatsoever.
Andrew continuously claims that the Catholic Church teaches that they changed the Sabbath, yet when given evidence from official Catholic documents to show that, when this is said, it means the Apostles, he refuses to accept that this is what Catholics believe. Catholics believe that the Apostles were the first leaders of the original Catholic Church, so logically, what they did can, in Catholic thought, equate the two.
He, along with a few others on alt.religion.christian.adventist, ignore the context, and continue to claim Catholicism teaches something it does not teach at all, in spite of the evidence presented to show what we really believe.
More recently, he claimed that Catholics worship Mary in the way we worship God.
Anyone who knows what the Catholic Church teaches will know that this is not at all true. In older English, the term “worship” means a whole range of things, from the adoration due to God alone, through to the honour given to a leader. Judges, in places, are addressed as “Your Worship.” It is also commonly used, even today, in the context of a romantic relationship. Yet in these cases, it is not meant to say that we honour these people in the same way we honour God. In more modern English, the word isn’t often used that way, and today we use terms like “honour” or “respect.”
While they may still disagree with the idea of asking saints to intercede for us, honest Protestants who have this explained to them accept that we do not honour Mary and the saints the way we honour God.
Yet some – and Andrew is the example here – ignore the evidence and continue to accuse Catholicism of teaching worship of Mary in a way that, in reality, Catholicism does not teach.
And he still has the audacity to quote to me the following:
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
(The context of that was a tangent I went on, pretending that Elaine “Doc” Watson was involved in snake handling … to show her how silly it is to make claims about Catholicism that are not true.)
Somewhat hypocritical, wouldn’t you say, to quote the 10 commandments to me, when he has no qualms about repeatedly breaking this commandment himself when it comes to his treatment of Catholicism?
“It will readily be understood that a certain worship may be offered even to inanimate objects, such as the relics of a martyr, the Cross of Christ, the Crown of Thorns, or even the statue or picture of a saint.”
“duke” responded to show that Andrew was selectively quoting this article, which also says:
- if it is addressed directly to God, it is superior, absolute, supreme worship, or worship of adoration, or, according to the consecrated theological term, a worship of latria. This sovereign worship is due to God alone; addressed to a creature it would become idolatry.
- When worship is addressed only indirectly to God, that is, when its object is the veneration of martyrs, of angels, or of saints, it is a subordinate worship
Later Andrew wrote:
So you acknowledge that in Catholicism relics are indeed worshiped, but it is
a different kind of worship that is done when you worship Mary or the saints.
Would that be correct?
Nope, relics and Mary and the saints are different than worshipping God. Didn’t you notice that? You would have if you had been honest enough to show the whole statement.
And I responded:
Yes, it would be correct. Worship can mean honour that is rightly given to
humans or creation, or it can mean a higher worship – that due to God alone.
You call the latter worship, you don’t call the former worship. The
dictionary accepts both definitions. That is where your confusion lies.
My question now is – are you going to accept the different uses Catholics
apply to the word, or are you going to use this to confirm that we worship
statues etc., and apply that to your own definition of the word?
Having witnessed Andrew’s methodology for several years, I suspected this was a trap.
I followed up “duke” with:
I, and I think you, have enough experience with Andrew to know that he’s not
going to accept this as, “Okay, now I see, you use the word differently in
each case, and you don’t worship Mary the way you worship God.”
He’s going to turn it around and claim that we admit we worship Mary.
And he did exactly that.
> .. we admit we worship Mary.
This you call *hyperdulia* worship, which you say is opposed to the
actual worship of God which you call *latria* ….as we are told in the
“As the Blessed Virgin has a separate and absolutely supereminent
rank among the saints, the worship paid to her is called hyperdulia”
— Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15710a.htm
But if we follow the Lord Jesus..then we will, “worship the Lord our
God, and Him ONLY.”
“It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him ONLY”
“You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him ONLY you shall
serve.” Luke 4:8
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart, and with
ALL thy soul, and with ALL thy mind, and with ALL thy strength:
this is the first commandment. Mark 12:30
Jesus is calling us to latria ONLY. For those who follow Him, there is
no time for dulia or hyperdulia – it is forbidden.
Nowhere is it forbidden. In fact, the Bible gives examples of such honour given to humans, without reprimand. When it comes in the form of honour due to God alone, there is reprimand, but when it doesn’t, there is none.
I predicted Andrew’s response quite accurately. His agenda is not about discussing Catholicism fairly and honestly. It is simply to attack Catholicism by whatever means necessary, ignoring whether or not it is true.
Samuele Bacchiocchi calls Adventists who deliberately lie about Catholicism, “zealous.” He calls Catholics who lie, “unscrupulous.”
I have come across a lot of Adventists like Andrew – but they are, thank goodness, not the majority. A religion based on so much hate could not survive – Adventism as a whole, although based largely on misinformation about Catholicism, does not deliberately tell lies.
People like Andrew spend their time so grossly and dishonestly misrepresenting Catholicism, that the end result is that they misrepresent their own denomination by giving the false impression that Adventists are unscrupulous, and will stoop to incredible depths to attack other faiths. Ultimately, this only serves to benefit Catholicism – the only people who remain to take his side are equally unscrupulous characters, leaving the rest disgusted, and with a better understanding of what Catholicism really believes and practices.