Sadly, our Catholic friends and family members have been indoctrinated to believe that the use of statues, relics, and other articles is acceptable and even necessary for worship. They have been taught by the Roman Catholic Church that the images and icons used in the church are not actually “worshiped” but are simply “visual aids” to worship.
The Catholic Church long ago began making allowances for the idolatrous use of images by the way they reference the Ten Commandments. In the Catholic catechism and in most official Catholic documents, the first and second commandments are combined and then summarized with “I, the Lord, and your God. You shall not have other gods beside Me.” Suspiciously absent is what comprises the second commandment in the Protestant numbering of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not make any graven images.”
While it is understandable for “you shall not make any graven images” do be considered an aspect of “you shall not have other gods beside me,” based on the history of idolatry involving graven images throughout biblical and extra-biblical history, it seems unwise to not include “you shall not make any graven images” in every listing of the Ten Commandments. The omission seems especially suspicious in light of the fact that the Roman Catholic Church has long been accused of the idolatrous use of graven images.
There are good reasons for not using images in worship. First of all, the use of physical images to “aid” worship violates the command to worship God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). Also, no one knows what God looks like, and John 1:18 is clear concerning this truth: “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” And, because God is Spirit (John 4:24a), it is irreverent to delineate Him as an iconic representation. No one alive knows what Jesus Christ looked like in the flesh, and, since there were no cameras when He walked the earth, the only description of His appearance is found in Isaiah 53:2-3, which says that He had “no stately form or majesty.”
The lack of a physical description of Christ has not stopped the Catholic Church from depicting Him. Throughout Catholic churches, institutions, convents, monasteries, and every other Catholic-affiliated building and shrine, there are paintings of God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Mary, Joseph, and a myriad of canonized saints. There are statues in abundance; there are relics, such as bone fragments, said to have belonged to certain saints. Some shrines even contain pieces of wood purported to be part of Jesus’ cross. All of these things are held to be sacred objects worthy of high regard. The idolatry is rampant and fairly obvious to non-Catholics, yet Catholics do not believe they are committing idolatry. They have been cleverly taught to believe that they do not worship these idols; they simply “venerate” them. The problem is that “veneration” still gives honor and reverence to something and/or someone other than God; therefore, veneration is idolatry.
Yes, Catholics do practice a form of idolatry, in violation of God’s command. The best way to reach our Catholic friends with the gospel of grace is to pray that the Holy Spirit will draw them and that they will respond to the Spirit’s leading. Their eyes and hearts are blinded by the false teaching they are continually hearing, and, until they begin to seek the truth, we must leave it in God’s capable hands. As we pray, we must keep loving them and trust that God will prepare the soil of their hearts (Luke 8:11-15). Never give up hope; the Holy Spirit does miracles every day.
Read her Exodus 20. They are all listed there. She can’t argue with what is in the Bible. God bless you!!! :):)
Biblically speaking, there are positive and negative aspects to hatred. It is acceptable to hate those things that God hates; indeed, this is very much a proof of a right standing with God. “Let those who love the Lord hate evil” (Psalm 97:10a). Indeed, the closer our walk with the Lord and the more we fellowship with Him, the more conscious we will be of sin, both within and without. Do we not grieve and burn with anger when God’s name is maligned, when we see spiritual hypocrisy, when we see blatant unbelief and godless behaviour? The more we understand attributes and love God’s character, the more we will be like Him and the more we will hate those things that are contrary to His Word and nature.
However, the hatred that is negative surely has to be that which is directed against others. The Lord mentions hatred in the Sermon on the Mount: “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:22). The Lord commands that not only should we be reconciled with our brother before we go before the Lord, but also that we do it quickly (Matthew 5:23-26). The act of murder itself was certainly condemned, but hatred is a ‘heart’ sin, and any hateful thought or act is an act of murder in God’s eyes for which justice will be demanded, possibly not in this life but at the judgment. So heinous is the position of hate before God that a man who hates is said to be walking in darkness, as opposed to the light (1 John 2:9, 11). The worst situation is that of a man who continues professing religion but remains at enmity with his brother. The Scriptures declare that such a person is a liar (1 John 4:20), and he may fool men, but not God. How many believers live for years pretending that all is well, putting on a front, only to be found finally wanting because they have harboured enmity (hatred) against a fellow believer?
Hatred is a poison that destroys use from within, producing bitterness that eats away at our hearts and minds. This is why the Scriptures tells us not to let a “root of bitterness” spring up in our hearts (Hebrews 12:15). Hatred also destroys the personal witness of a Christian because it removes him from fellowship with the Lord and other believers. Let us be careful to do as the Lord advised and keep short accounts with everyone about everything, no matter how small, and the Lord will be faithful to forgive, as He has promised (1 John 1:9, 2:1). God bless you! <3
Honoring your father and mother is being respectful in word and action and having an inward attitude of esteem for their position. The Greek word for honor means “to revere, prize, and value.” Honor is giving respect not only for merit but also for rank. For example, some Americans may disagree with the President’s decisions, but they should still respect his position as leader of their country. Similarly, children of all ages should honor their parents, regardless of whether or not their parents “deserve” honor.
God exhorts us to honor father and mother. He values honoring parents enough to include it in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12) and again in the New Testament: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3). Honoring parents is the only command in Scripture that promises long life as a reward. Those who honor their parents are blessed (Jeremiah 35:18-19). In contrast, those with a “depraved mind” and those who exhibit ungodliness in the last days are characterized by disobedience to parents (Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2).
Solomon, the wisest man, urged children to respect their parents (Proverbs 1:8; 13:1; 30:17). Although we may no longer be directly under their authority, we cannot outgrow God’s command to honor our parents. Even Jesus, God the Son, submitted Himself to both His earthly parents (Luke 2:51) and His heavenly Father (Matthew 26:39). Following Christ’s example, we should treat our parents the way we would reverentially approach our heavenly Father (Hebrews 12:9; Malachi 1:6).
Obviously, we are commanded to honor our parents, but how? Honor them with both actions and attitudes (Mark 7:6). Honor their unspoken as well as spoken wishes. “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke” (Proverbs 13:1). In Matthew 15:3-9, Jesus reminded the Pharisees of the command of God to honor their father and mother. They were obeying the letter of the law, but they had added their own traditions that essentially overruled it. While they honored their parents in word, their actions proved their real motive. Honor is more than lip service. The word “honor” in this passage is a verb and, as such, demands a right action.
We should seek to honor our parents in much the same way that we strive to bring glory to God—in our thoughts, words, and actions. For a young child, obeying parents goes hand in hand with honoring them. That includes listening, heeding, and submitting to their authority. After children mature, the obedience that they learned as children will serve them well in honoring other authorities such as government, police, and employers.
While we are required to honor parents, that doesn’t include imitating ungodly ones (Ezekiel 20:18-19). If a parent ever instructs a child to do something that clearly contradicts God’s commands, that child must obey God rather than his/her parents (Acts 5:28).
Honor begets honor. God will not honor those who will not obey His command to honor their parents. If we desire to please God and be blessed, we should honor our parents. Honoring is not easy, is not always fun, and certainly is not possible in our own strength. But honor is a certain path to our purpose in life—glorifying God. “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). God bless you! <3
One of the thorniest questions that a Christian may be asked or have to face up to is how to honor an abusive parent as required by God in the fifth of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12). It would be so much easier if God had asked only that we honor our parents if they are good, kind and loving to us, but this commandment says honor your father and mother, period. There are many, many hurt and damaged people who find this nearly impossible to obey.
The word “abuse” is wide-ranging in its definition. A child can be brought up well clothed and fed with all its needs supplied except the all-important need for love and approval. No physical harm is ever done to him, yet, as each year goes by, his spirit shrivels up inside him more and more, as a plant will shrivel without sunlight, desperate for the smallest demonstration of affection, until he becomes a seemingly normal adult, yet is crippled inside by the indifference of his parents.
Then again, a child’s spirit may be broken at an early age—even though he suffers no physical abuse—by being constantly told that he is useless and a waste of space who will never be good for anything. Everything he attempts is sneered at until he gives up trying to do anything at all. Because very young children naturally believe what their parents say about them, the child who suffers this treatment will gradually withdraw into himself, retiring behind an invisible wall and simply existing rather than living. These are the children who grow up never suffering physically at the hands of their parents but nevertheless crippled in their spirits. They find it difficult to make friends and are unable to relate normally to other adults.
What is described above are the more subtle forms of child abuse, and, moving on from this, there is, of course, the obvious kind—the child who is neglected, kicked and beaten and, worse still, sexually abused. Now comes the big question: how to obey God’s commandment to honor parents who behave with such cruelty to their own children.
The first thing to remember is that God is our loving Heavenly Father who does not just slap down a rule and sit back waiting for us to obey it, but whose rules are there for one reason only—our ultimate good. If we truly desire to obey Him no matter how impossible it seems, He is willing and anxious to help us find the way. First and foremost, of course, we must develop a loving, trusting relationship with our Heavenly Father which may be extremely difficult for those who have never known what it is to love and trust. Those in this position must just take one small step and say to God in their heart “I want to learn to love and trust you—please help me.” He will move to answer, because that heart cry from one of His children is all He needs. He is the only one who can change emotions and attitudes and mend damaged relationships and broken hearts (Luke 4:18).
Once this relationship with Him is established, we can confidently go to Him and pour out our problems to Him, knowing that He will hear and answer (1 John 5:14-15). It will not be long before any child of God willing to trust Him in this way will begin to sense the Holy Spirit at work on his heart. God will take the heart that has been turned to stone by an abusive childhood and begin His wonderful saving work of turning that heart into one of flesh and feeling (Ezekiel 36:26).
The next step is to be willing to forgive. This again will seem to be utterly impossible, especially for those who have suffered the worst kind of abuse, but with God ALL things are possible (Mark 10:27). Bitterness will have sunk into the souls of these tragic victims like iron, yet there is nothing the Holy Spirit cannot soften if the person concerned is willing. All that is necessary is to daily bring the situation before the Father of all mercies and talk to Him about how, from a human viewpoint, it is impossible that such wicked behavior, particularly from parents who were entrusted to love and nurture us as children, could ever be forgiven.
There is no need to be afraid to admit to God a total inability to forgive because it seems to us to come under the heading of sin. It is true that unforgiveness is sin, but that is only deliberate unforgiveness, where we have set our hearts like flint and vowed that never again will we ever consider forgiveness for those who have hurt us so badly. A child of God going to his Father for help with something he cannot do for himself will find not an angry, threatening God with a big stick waiting for him, but a Father who has only a heart full of overwhelming love, compassion, mercy and a desire to help.
Once the Holy Spirit has gently and tenderly begun His healing work on us, we will find ourselves looking at our parents in a different light. Perhaps the Spirit may reveal that the parents concerned, or at least one of them, were treated the same way themselves in childhood and either have no idea of what they have done to us emotionally, or were themselves neglected and beaten and their treatment of us was the outlet of a tremendous buildup of anger. Even if there was no reason behind their behavior and their treatment was simply an outlet for their pleasure in cruelty to helpless victims, God requires that we go to Him for help to forgive so that our own souls and spirits will not become gradually poisoned and twisted by the root of bitterness that unforgiveness produces, which will sink itself deeper and deeper into our hearts and minds as time goes on.
There are incredible testimonies from those who suffered unbelievable cruelty and lack of love at their parents’ hands and yet—having learned to depend utterly on the mercy and strength of Almighty God—they have gradually found healing for their hearts and spirits and forgiveness and a loving attitude towards their parents. In releasing their parents to God in this way, they saw their parents also begin to change, and the glorious ending to the story was a loving family happily united under God. Ephesians 6:2-3 tells us, “Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” God bless you! <3
In the earliest days of the Christian church, the church was comprised predominately of Jews. In Acts chapter 8 the Gospel spread to the Samaritans (who were ethnically mixed Jews-Gentiles), and many Samaritans received Jesus Christ as Savior. In Acts chapter 10, the Apostle Peter was the first to take the Gospel specifically to the Gentiles, and many received Christ as Savior. In Acts chapter 13-14, Paul and Barnabas had a very fruitful ministry among the Gentiles. All of these Gentiles turning to faith in Christ caused concern among the Jewish believers, first expressed in Acts 11:1-18, and the issues that caused concern were ultimately decided upon at the Jerusalem Council in (Acts 15). The issues centered on two questions: Do Gentiles first have to become Jews before they can become Christians? Do Gentiles have to observe the Mosaic Law after they become Christians?
The impetus for the Jerusalem council is given in Acts 15, verses 1 and 5, “But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved’ … It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the Law of Moses.” Some Jewish Christians were teaching that Gentiles had to observe the Mosaic Law and Jewish customs in order to be saved. Since this teaching clearly contradicted the fact that salvation was by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Acts 15:11), the apostles and church leaders held the first Christian council to settle the issue. In verses 7-11, the Apostle Peter spoke of his ministry with the Gentiles, as recorded in Acts chapter 10. Peter focused on the fact that the Holy Spirit was given to uncircumcised Gentiles in precisely the same manner the Holy Spirit was given to the apostles and Jewish believers on the day of Pentecost. This led Peter to the conclusion that there should be no “placing a yoke on the neck of the (Gentile) disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear” (Acts 15:10).
Jesus’ half-brother James, who had become a leader of the church in Jerusalem, agreed with Peter and declared, “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God” (Acts 15:19). The Jerusalem Council then proceeded to give four “rules” that Gentile Christians should live by. These were not rules the Gentiles must follow in order to be saved. Rather, the rules were to build harmony between Jewish and Gentile Christians. The four rules the Jerusalem Council decided upon were that Gentile Christians should abstain from: food polluted by idols, sexual immorality, the meat of strangled animals, and blood.
It is interesting that the issue the Jerusalem Council was dealing with is still very much an issue in the church today. There are groups still teaching that Christians must obey the Old Testament Law. Whether it is the Sabbath day, or the food laws, or all of the Old Testament Law outside of the sacrificial system – there are groups which declare observance of the Law is either required for salvation, or at least a crucially important aspect of the Christian life. Sadly, these groups either completely ignore, or grossly misinterpret, the decision of the Jerusalem Council. The specific goal of the Jerusalem Council was to decide what aspects, if any, of the Old Testament Law, Christians must observe. The Jerusalem Council chose two of the food laws (strangling and blood) and two laws that were aspects of the Ten Commandments (idolatry and sexual immorality). There was no mention of the Sabbath whatsoever. Further, the Jerusalem Council made it abundantly clear that these rules were not requirements for salvation by reaffirming that salvation is by grace for both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 15:11). How many arguments would be solved if the church today would simply follow the decision of the Jerusalem Council? God bless you! :)