The  Bible is absolutely clear that we are to worship God alone. The only instances  of anyone other than God receiving worship in the Bible are false gods, which  are Satan and his demons. All followers of the Lord God refuse worship. Peter  and the apostles refused to be worshipped (Acts  10:25-26; 14:13-14).  The holy angels refuse to be worshipped (Revelation  19:10; 22:9).  The response is always the same, “Worship God!”

Roman Catholics attempt  to “bypass” these clear Scriptural principles by claiming they do not “worship”  Mary or saints, but rather that they only “venerate” Mary and the saints. Using  a different word does not change the essence of what is being done. A definition  of “venerate” is “to regard with respect or reverence.” Nowhere in the Bible are  we told to revere anyone but God alone. There is nothing wrong with respecting  those faithful Christians who have gone before us (see Hebrews chapter 11).  There is nothing wrong with honoring Mary as the earthly mother of Jesus. The  Bible describes Mary as “highly favored” by God (Luke 1:28). At  the same time, there is no instruction in the Bible to revere those whom have  gone to Heaven. We are to follow their example, yes, but worship, revere, or  venerate, no!

When forced to admit that they do, in fact, worship Mary,  Catholics will claim that they worship God through her, by praising the  wonderful creation that God has made. Mary, in their minds, is the most  beautiful and wonderful creation of God, and by praising her, they are praising  her Creator. For Catholics, this is analogous to directing praise to an artist  by praising his sculpture or painting. The problem with this is that God  explicitly commands against worshipping Him through created things. We are not  to bow down and worship anything in the form of heaven above or earth below (Exodus 20:4-5). Romans 1:25 could not be more clear, “They exchanged the  truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the  Creator — who is forever praised. Amen.” Yes, God has created wonderful and  amazing things. Yes, Mary was a godly woman who is worthy of our respect. No, we  absolutely are not to worship God “vicariously” by praising things (or people)  He has created. Doing so is blatant idolatry.

The major way Catholics  “venerate” Mary and the saints is by praying to them. As the following article  demonstrates, prayer to anyone other than God alone is anti-Biblical –  praying  to saints and Mary. Whether Mary and/or the saints are prayed to, or whether  they are petitioned for their prayers – neither practice is Biblical. Prayer is  an act of worship. When we pray to God, we are admitting that we need His help.  Directing our prayers to anyone other than God is robbing God of the glory that  is His alone.

Another way Catholics “venerate” Mary and the saints is by  creating statues and images of them. Many Catholics use images of Mary and/or  the saints as “good luck charms.” Any cursory reading of the Bible will reveal  this practice as blatant idolatry (Exodus  20:4-6; 1  Corinthians 12:12; 1 John  5:21). Rubbing rosary beads is idolatry. Lighting candles before a statue or  portrayal of a saint is idolatry. Burying a Joseph statue in hopes of selling  your home (and countless other Catholic practices) is idolatry.

The  terminology is not the issue. Whether the practice is described as “worship” or  “veneration,” or any other term, the problem is the same. Any time we ascribe  something that belongs to God, to someone else, it is idolatry. The Bible  nowhere instructs us to revere, pray to, rely on, or “idolize” anyone other than  God. We are to worship God alone. Glory, praise, and honor belong to God alone.  Only God is worthy to “…receive glory and honor and power…” (Revelation 4:11). God  alone is worthy to receive our worship, adoration, and praise (Nehemiah 9:6; Revelation 15:4).

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