Re: ASA Statement of faith

From: George Murphy (
Date: Thu Jun 19 2003 - 10:12:05 EDT

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    Peter Ruest wrote:
    > George Murphy wrote:
    > > ...
    > > b. As soon as you start getting _too_ specific you start defeating the attempt
    > > to include a broad range of Christians. The previous statement of faith included the
    > > following:
    > > "Jesus Christ is the Son of God and through His Atonement is the one and only
    > > Mediator between God and man."
    > > This may seem unobjectionable but it
    > > i. focuses on particular themes of christology and salvation, &
    > > ii. by its insistence on "one _and only_ Mediator," which goes beyond what
    > > I Tim.2:5 says, made some Roman Catholics feel that they couldn't subscribe to it.
    > >
    > > Shalom,
    > > George
    > George,
    > a) How does "one _and only_ Mediator" go beyond what I Tim.2:5 says?
    > b) How does it go beyond biblical teaching in general?

            If the passage in the old Statement of Faith is understood as a reference to I
    Tim.2:5, the addition of "and only" is interpretive. While this verse clearly speaks of
    a unique mediatorial role for Christ, it cannot be understood to mean that there can be
    no other mediator in any sense - specifically, in the sense of one human being praying
    to God on behalf of others. Just a few verses before (2:1) the writer had asked "that
    supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men." The
    writer to the Hebrews (13:16) asks his addressees to "pray for us." Many of us pray for
    others and ask others to pray for us. Thus the claim that Christ is the only mediator
    in an absolute sense is clearly problematic.
            Praying to saints who have died introduces other problems, among them the fact
    that we can have no confidence that such prayers are heard.
            My point here was not to argue for the invocation of departed saints, but to
    note that the previous statement had language which seemed to exclude - unfortunately in
    my view - some Christians. & if one's intention is in fact to make a distinctively
    protestant statement, some more fundamental issue ought to be the focus.
            This & related issues were discussed extensively in the 8th round of US
    Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue. Papers can be found in H. George Anderson et al.
    (eds.), _The One Mediator, the Saints, and Mary_ (Augsburg, 1992).


    George L. Murphy

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