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Sree
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Joined: 2011/8/20
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 Perpetua documentary

I was watching this documentary on Amazon. It is rewritten in her own accounts around 200AD, that she was given a vision in which she was able to intercede for her Brother who long ago died at the age of 7. Since she interceded for him, he was moved from hell to heaven!

In early churches, it was believed that a person who is suffering for their faith is given special privileges by the Lord, which includes asking for vision, praying for souls in hell etc. Perpetua has done both according to her account, further she was approached by people asking for prayers as she has special privileges.

My question is, how is this practice in line with the scripture that says - there is only 1 mediator between man and God.

Edited additions -> I am not someone who believes in early Church practices etc. I believe a Church should be run only according to Gospels and Epistles, not even book of Acts which is a history of early Church.


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Sreeram

 2019/11/18 10:21Profile
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 Re: Perpetua documentary

In the history of the early church recorded in the book of Acts we see the early church and its apostles and members doing the very same exact thing they did when Jesus was with them. They preached and spoke the gospel, signs and miracles were performed and evil spirits were cast out of people and healings took place. Just exactly what Christ did while among them.


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David Winter

 2019/11/18 17:01Profile
Sree
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 Re:

I dont understand how your response addresses the topic i have posted. In Acts we read certain practices like selling the property and having common resources. Such practices are not mentioned in Epistles and Gospels. Hence we do not need to follow them as a church. This was my point here. Anyway i dont want to discuss about acts but the belief at the time of Perpetua. I found it strange and straightforward contradiction to scriptures.


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Sreeram

 2019/11/18 18:50Profile
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 Re:

Ironically, Sreeram, the answer to your question is found in Acts 20:29.

By 200 AD a number of spurious "gospels" had been written, besides the false teaching of gnostics and other heretics who sought to undermine the faith.


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Alec

 2019/11/18 19:19Profile
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

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 Re:

brother sreeram,

could you find a factual account that documented that her prayers brought someone from hell to heaven.

What I do know about the early church is that they esteemed greatly the martyrs, as our Lord was the first "martyr". The day some of the more noteable martyrs died on was commentrated yearly, meaning they took time that day to pray to God to ask for the faith and endurance the martyr had and took time to recall the faith of that one.

Also their example could be followed as they were "sure ones" in heaven by the way they lived and died, ie finished well. Taking it a step further I believe some would add in their prayers on these days requests to God for that martyr to pray for them.

The same mentality we have for godly anointed men of God we meet, we put more value on their prayers to be effectual at times to help us.

These are just a few of my quick thoughts for you brother.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2019/11/18 20:40Profile
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 Re:

Sree, I've just begun some research on Perpetua. So far I have not encountered any claims from her own writings that she prayed & saw people removed from hell to heaven.

I did see that Montanism was already plaguing the church of her day. When I illustrated the testimony of St. Patrick I used only his writings, because centuries later the Catholic church tried to claim him as their own and created false history and crazy fantasies about him. The Catholics did the same with Polycarp centuries after his martyrdom. This may be the case with Perpetua. I will have to read further.

P.S. Having read further, I found this account which purports to be her own writing where she claims she prayed her deceased 7 year old brother out of "a dark place" and into heaven. Since people from Adam onwards have a fallen nature and are prone to mistakes, even gross errors, I would say this is one such example. Was Perpetua saved? I believe so. She confessed Christ as her Saviour. Was she given to flights of fancy? Perhaps, as shown here:

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/perpetua.html

But *now* her theology is correct, and her experiences pure in Christ. It is not surprising what the human mind can conceive when faced with a martyrdom from wild animals and arena gladiators. Perpetua was no doubt under great duress.


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Alec

 2019/11/19 7:05Profile
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 Re:

Quote:

But *now* her theology is correct, and her experiences pure in Christ. It is not surprising what the human mind can conceive when faced with a martyrdom from wild animals and arena gladiators. Perpetua was no doubt under great duress.



Thank you for doing the research! I also do not believe she was part of a cult or deceived gang of Christians in 200AD. But we cannot take everything that she has gone through as theology. Scripture should be the final authority.

I have read in Sadhu Sundar Singh's book that he too believed dead will be given another chance to accept Jesus, especially those who never heard the Gospel. Based on this, he was confident that he will meet his dead mother in heaven, who died as a Hindu.

Sundar Singh, is a great man of God, no question about it. He was completely poured out for God's glory. But I will not derive my theology out of him.


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Sreeram

 2019/11/19 10:55Profile
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 Re:

I fully agree, having illustrated Singh's story back in 2006:

https://calvarycomics.com/publications/sadhu_sundar_singh.html


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Alec

 2019/11/19 11:34Profile
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 Re:

Thank you Bro Greg for your response.

Quote:

The same mentality we have for godly anointed men of God we meet, we put more value on their prayers to be effectual at times to help us.



Yes I believe it is acceptable to ask Godly anointed men of God to pray for us. Paul asked the Church to pray for him. James rights that our sickness can be healed if Church elders pray for us and anoint us with oil. So this is not an unbiblical concept to ask for prayers. I personally believe that when a person unselfishly prayers for the need of others, God will answer it. Most of our prayers are centered around our selfish needs, but when we pray for others, there is an unselfish attempt, which is precious in God's eyes.

Can this be extended to dead people whom we know for sure are in heaven? I honestly don't know.


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Sreeram

 2019/11/20 9:41Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
Can this be extended to dead people whom we know for sure are in heaven? I honestly don't know.



It is certain, our Lord Jesus Christ is praying for us right now.

Hebrews 7:25 New King James Version (NKJV)

25 Therefore He is also able to save [a]to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.



The thinking of the ancient christians is that the prayers of the saints living and "dead" (but they are still actually living in heaven praying). go before the throne of God.

Revelation 8:3-4 New King James Version (NKJV)

3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.



So these prayers are effectual even those saints in heaven praying for the Church on earth, the ancient church believed that even the angels intercession and help was applicable to us, Jesus was strengthened by angels during his life on this earth.


Clement of Alexandria
“In this way is he [the true Christian] always pure for prayer. He also prays in the society of angels, as being already of angelic rank, and he is never out of their holy keeping; and though he pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him [in prayer]” (Miscellanies 7:12 [A.D. 208]).


Origen
“But not the high priest [Christ] alone prays for those who pray sincerely, but also the angels . . . as also the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep” (Prayer 11 [A.D. 233]).


Cyril of Jerusalem
“Then [during the Eucharistic prayer] we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition” (Catechetical Lectures 23:9 [A.D. 350]).




To me it is undeniable that the prayers of other beleivers even the ancient prayers of the Apostle Paul in some way effect and have helped us. It is a mystery and we cannot claim to know "exactly" how but we can be thankful to God that when we utter a prayer for the entire Church to be "pure and spotless" before His Coming, that makes a small difference for believers.



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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2019/11/20 16:32Profile





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