The Evangelical Lutheran Church's point of view concerning the saints can be summarized in the following points:
Please clarify for me how it is that our church doesn't take away from God's glory by asking the intercession/prayers of the Saints and is there any Biblical proof that we should ask for them once they've passed on to the next life? Here is the website of that track http://users.rcn.com/tlclcms/saintid.html.
- All those who live in the faith of Christ are saints according to the New Testament.
- Emphasizing the saints as mediators takes away from the Glory of God.
- No where in the Holy Bible are we commanded to ask for the mediation of the saints who have passed on.
Our Orthodox Church accepts as biblical that believers, living in the faith of Christ, doing His will and obeying His commandments are called saints. In the Divine Liturgy, just before the confession and the distribution of the Holy Mysteries, the priest takes the Despotikon in his hands, raises it up and exclaims aloud "The Holies for the holy" i.e. for the ‘saints’. So our church regards those ready and worthy to partake of the Holy Eucharist as saints. Those are in communion with the saints who departed from earth but present with us during the Divine Liturgy.
Protestants, Lutheran and others do not distinguish between mediation and intercession. We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ is the One and Only Mediator between us and God the Father "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5). By His death on the cross, our Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself as ransom for all and no one else can claim this role.
Intercession, on the other hand, is the asking of someone to pray for you before the Lord. Whether that person is alive on earth or have departed, should not make a difference since we believe that the departed are not dead but are alive; for the Holy Scriptures says, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living" (Mt 22:32).
Now, why would asking someone to pray or intercede for us before God diminish or take away the glory of God? Our Lord Jesus Christ asked us to love one another and to pray for those who persecute us "Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you" (Mt 5:44). This prayer is definitely an intercessory prayer for people who do not pray for themselves, are disobedient to God’s commandments and are away from God. It is this prayer of intercession that the Lord will hear when we pray for them and will lead them to have a change of heart. St. Paul says, "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men" (1 Tim 2:1).
Furthermore St. James says, "Pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). Who is more righteous than the saints who had lived on earth in a godly manner to the end and departed to be with the Lord in Paradise? They are those whom we ask to pray for us. If we accept that people on earth can pray and intercede for us, we should likewise believe that those who have departed are not dead but are alive and can intercede for us before the Lord; for their prayers are effective and heard by the Lord.