I believe that only the Church,
through the Pope, has the authority to declare saints after considering
the works and life of each individual whose name has been brought forward
for canonization. The Church does not consider just anyone, no matter how
"saintly" a life s/he appears to have led, without proper study
and without at least one miracle (attributed to that individual) that
could be authenticated beyond current scientific and medical explanation.
Answer: You point out that the Pope claims the authority to
declare certain individuals as saints after their death on the basis of
certain criteria established by the Catholic church. From among the
millions of Catholics, only a tiny minority would ever be recognized as
saints by the Vatican.
What a contrast with the picture we have in the New Testament! In the
early church, the title "saint" is not restricted to a select
group of dead and super Christians. Without exception, all Christians are saints. Every believer in Christ
is a saint during his lifetime
despite his imperfections. And they were called so not by the authority of
a Pope. It was commonplace for Christians to call each other
Did you ever notice that the letters of the apostle Paul are addressed
to the saints? Surely he did not write to the saints in heaven. Please
read the quotations listed below, which prove beyond the shadow of a doubt
that the Bible calls "saints" all living believers in Christ.
Christians need not wait many years after death to receive this title.
Nor do they need an intensive campaign to persuade a college of Cardinals
about their sanctity. In the Bible, God calls them 'saints' despite their
sins and failures. Miracles they cannot do, yet they recognize each other
as saints because of such unimpressive things as sincere faith in Christ
and their labour of love.
Canonization is based on Rome's erroneous doctrine that a person is
justified on account of personal righteousness. According to the
Catechism, canonization is the solemn proclamation "that they practiced
heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God's grace." It is no surprise
that Catholics do not dare claim this title since they believe that
sainthood is achieved by personal effort.
In the New Testament (and in Evangelical churches today), ordinary
Christians are called saints for a very different reason. You will not
find us boasting of our heroic virtues and fidelity. Rather, we keep
confessing our sins to God daily. Still, all believers are saints here and
now. We are saints because of Another. All believers are 'sanctified -
i.e. made saints - through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once
for all' (Hebrews 10:10). All Christians are saints because of what Christ
did for us. Praise His name!
Some Bible references to ordinary living Christian, calling them
Acts 9:13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this
man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem.
Acts 9:32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all
quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.
Acts 9:41 And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he
had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
Acts 26:10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints
did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief
priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against
Romans 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the
mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints
according to the will of God.
Romans 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given
Romans 15:25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.
Romans 15:26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to
make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at
Romans 15:31 That I may be delivered from them that do not believe
in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be
accepted of the saints.
Romans 16:2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints,
and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you:
for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
Romans 16:15 Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister,
and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
1 Corinthians 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to
them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints,
with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our
Lord, both theirs and ours.
1 Corinthians 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another,
go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
1 Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge
the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to
judge the smallest matters?
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of
peace, as in all churches of the saints.
1 Corinthians 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints,
as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
1 Corinthians 16:15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of
Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have
addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints).
2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of
God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at
Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia.
2 Corinthians 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would
receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering
to the saints.
2 Corinthians 9:1 For as touching the ministering to the saints,
it is superfluous for me to write to you.
2 Corinthians 9:12 For the administration of this service not only
supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many
thanksgivings unto God.
2 Corinthians 13:13 All the saints salute you.
Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in
Ephesians 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the
Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints.
Ephesians 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches
of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.
Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and
foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the
household of God.
Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints,
is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the
unsearchable riches of Christ.
Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work
of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
Ephesians 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness,
let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.
Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in
the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and
supplication for all saints.
Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to
all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the
bishops and deacons.
Philippians 4:22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that
are of Caesar's household.
Colossians 1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ
which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of
the love which ye have to all the saints.
Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us
meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
1 Timothy 5:10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought
up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints'
feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently
followed every good work.
Philemon 1:5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward
the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints.
Philemon 1:7 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love,
because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee,
Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and
labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have
ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Hebrews 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all
the saints. They of Italy salute you.
Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the
common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort
you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once
delivered unto the saints.