Friday, June 25, 2010

a Lutheran pastor on prayer to the saints

The Rev. Ernie V. Lassman, a Lutheran pastor at a church in Seattle, has a series of videos on youtube. I am somewhat new to these videos, so when I came across this one, I found it interesting. Lassman is arguing against prayer to the saints. Now I would not encourage one to pray to the saints. That is because prayer, in the narrow, proper sense, is proper to the One we trust to give us all good things, the one true God. (That is not to say that I would discourage the traditional Christian acknowledgment that the saints do pray for us.) What I find odd and unfortunate is that this is not Lassman's argument against prayer to the saints. His argument, rather, comes out of the claim that the saints cannot hear us. It is what I would call a merely practical argument, rather than a theological one.

The other thing I find odd and unfortunate is that in the process of this argument he continually says that the saints "are dead." That is very insensitive. And I don't mean "insensitive" in the sense of being inconsiderate. I mean, rather, that this topic really requires a theological sensitivity, and a clarity of phraseology. The saints have died. But I myself would not say that they "are dead." For that is not sensitive to the truth that, in fact, they live.

One assumes Pastor Lassman is a good, faithful pastor, and he has my respect and prayers. However, in this video his words are a most unfortunate reflection of the modern Lutheran Church.

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