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Going Directly to God -
What does it mean ?
 

Introduction : The Issue 

A. Definition - What Does it Mean to Go Directly to God ?

B. Problem -  Why it is so devastating ?

C. Solution 

1.  Introduction : The Issue
 

 

Breaking Through a Closed Mind

When many Protestants are presented with Biblical arguments for praying to Mary or going to a Catholic Priest for confession they will often dismiss those arguments without consideration and reply, “I just go directly to God.”  Even some nominal Catholics will reject sacramental confession because of this misperception.  Some Catholic apologists will attempt to explain secondary mediatorship and how we pray for others while here on earth.  This sounds great to the Catholic who is looking to defend his position, but it does little to change the mind of the Protestant who isn’t looking to justify Catholic devotion.

On the contrary, the Protestant is still of the mindset:

“Why should I even consider looking at and seriously considering the reasons for defending the Catholic position of praying to Mary, or going to confession to a Priest, etc.?  Why should I consider what is at best, second best, when I can go “Directly to God?” 

So, the problem is how does the Catholic apologist break through this closed minded response and clarify what it really means to “go directly to God”?

A.  Definition :  What Does it Mean to Go Directly to God ?

Closed mindedness is one of the biggest obstacles preventing people from considering the claims for Marian devotion, Confession to a Priest, and the need for a hierarchical Catholic Church.  The claim that one can “go directly to God” is often used to justify why one does not need to even consider the reasons or defenses of Catholic teaching. There is the need to explicate that if a person desires a deeper relationship with Christ he needs to discover what is God’s desire and what is the path He has built upon which we are to travel to Him.

In worldly experiences we often speak of “going directly to the source” and this usually means to eliminate any middle man.  And this is often helpful in both financial transactions as well as in enhancing communications (although not always.1)  However, worldly models that work in the natural realm do not always lend themselves to exact parallels that help us to understand the depths of the spiritual realm. 

Many will often mistakenly think of “Going to God” according to the above natural or physical analogy.  They fail to see that it does not apply to the supernatural.  We cannot get into a car or a jet to go to God. Going directly to God is more of a spiritual journey than a physical one.  So, “Going to God” involves going to where He truly is, not just to where we imagine Him or want Him to be.  Cf. Consider the failed attempts of Charles Taze Russell, David Koresh, or Jim Jones to “go directly to God”  etc.  And it means going to God the way He wants us to go to Him, and not just assume that our own way is the most direct way.

The break through question:

What can we do with absolute perfection using only the power and grace that we already have of our own ? 

Answer: Nothing.   The more grace a person has the better he will be able to do that which he attempts. Therefore, the person who attains more grace will be able to go to God more directly than the one who ignores and rejects some of God’s grace (all other things being equal.) 

A willingness to grow in the virtues of love and humility is essential when one wants to go to God.

So, when a Christian goes to Mary he is already three steps closer to Christ for the following reasons:

1.    Because he has moved his own heart in the direction of love

2.    He has turned away from the sin of pride and toward the virtue of humility by acknowledging that he needs the help that God wants to give to him through others.

3.    He has opened himself up to receive the additional grace that God wants to give to him through Mary and the other Saints, the body of Christ by submitting to His Divine Will.

1 Corinthians 12:21
“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’”

1 John 4:20
If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”   Cf.  Matthew 18:20 ,
1 John 4:8


Augustine once said that humility is the mother of all virtues. That's true because all other virtues flow from a heart of humility.

Some might retort that, “God does it all.  We don’t have to do anything.”  However, if that were so, then we would not even need to have faith.  Nor would we need to repent or even to “Go to God.”  Whereas in truth, it is God’s grace working within us that enables us to have true faith. And His grace enables us to repent, and it is His grace that enables us to go to Him.  It is God’s grace working from beginning to end.  We just have to accept, receive, and co-operate with that grace. So, the question remains as to how does God want to give us His grace and how are we to come to Him. 

So, Going Directly to God must mean to go to Him the way he wants us to go to Him and not just assuming that it means to ignore everyone else.

 

 

B. The Problem – Why it is so devastating

Mary and the Priest in the confessional, etc. are seen as diversions away from God.  And even if they are not diversions why should the Protestant even consider focusing on doing something that is second best when one can, in his way thinking, go to God the best way, the “direct way”?

When a Protestant claims to be “going directly to God” he is making several assumptions. To make matters much worse, he does not realize that he is making any assumptions and he thinks he is stating a self evident fact.  This has the disastrous effect of leaving him incapable of considering the validity of his assumptions since he does not even realize he is making one or more.  His missteps in thinking have left him without an opportunity or motive to reconsider what “going directly to God” really means.  He becomes closed minded which is one of the most serious obstacles to spiritual growth and efforts to effectively evangelize him in this regard is usually wasted until we clarify for him what “Going Directly to God” really means. 

Compounding this problem is the fact that many Catholic apologists will accept the Protestants’ definition that  “Going Directly to God”  really means to go on a solo journey.  And so these Catholics thereby reinforce this false definition.  And since devotion to Mary, the Priesthood, or the Church, is seen as diversion, that makes the Catholic position all the more scary to consider.  And so, the closed-mindedness grows even deeper. 

Many Catholic apologists will, mistakenly in my opinion, immediately give reasons for praying to the Saints before clarifying what “Going Directly to God” really means.  For example, they will use the analogy that we increase our prayer chain here on earth by asking for relatives and friends to pray with us here on earth.  And so by analogy their reasoning goes, we should be able to ask the Saints in heaven to pray with us to God. 

However, that approach fails to correct the underlying problem of helping the Protestant to see that his understanding of “going directly to God” has many assumptions which are false.  And the Catholic’s failure to correct, or at least challenge, the Protestant’s underlying assumptions usually has the following consequences for the Protestant:
 

1.     He fails to recognize that he is making assumptions about what “Going Directly to God” really means in God’s eyes.

2.     He fails to re-evaluate the validity of the above assumption.

3.     He fails to have any compelling motive to seriously consider the Catholic apologist’s argument for going to Mary, or to the Priest, or to the Church, because in his Protestant’s eyes he is already doing the right thing in the Best way possible, the “Direct Way.”

 

 

C. Proposed Solution

Sometimes it is best to begin with a question.
Possible questions to break through the closed mindedness:

So, you say you are going directly to God.  Is that more of a physical journey or a spiritual journey ?

Which question is better: How do I go to God? (Directly, or otherwise) or, How does God come to me?

Should I say to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
“No thank you.  I only want to listen to Jesus” ?

That is the Word of God you say, but by what authority do you determine which 27 books belong in the New Testament ?  cf. See Martin Luther

Has God directly communicated to you which 27 Books belong in the New Testament?

Who can more directly direct his direction toward God, the person who has less grace, or the person who has more grace ?

Does God help me through others?

Do I want all the help God wants to give me?

Did I baptize myself ?

Should I just assume that my way of interpreting the Bible is God’s way, or should I seek out to discover what He has revealed?

What can I do with absolute perfection using only the power and grace that I already have of my own ?      Answer: Absolutely Nothing.  

For many people religion is just a means to pacify one's conscious so that they feel good about themselves and convince themselves that they are going to heaven. 
However, what warning does Jesus give in Matthew 7:22 to those who are presumptuous about their own certainty that they are saved because they had already gone to Jesus?

Matthew 7:22
“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’   And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’

What does the Book of Job teach us about humility and the most direct way of going to God?

Job 42:7-9
“ … the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite,  ‘I am angry with you and with your two friends; for you have not spoken rightly concerning me, as has my servant Job.  Now, therefore, take seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up a holocaust for yourselves; and let my servant Job pray for you; for his prayer I will accept, not to punish you severely. For you have not spoken rightly concerning me, as has my servant Job.’  Then Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, went and did as the LORD had commanded them. And the LORD accepted the intercession of Job.” 
Cf. 1 Kings 13:4-6, and Genesis 20:7

The Book of Job shows that the most direct way to God is to humbly accept the help that God wants to give to us through others.

What does Jesus say about forgiveness of sins ?

John 20:21
 “ ‘As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’  And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.   If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ ”

Read more at Catholic.com

CCC 181
“No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother” (St. Cyprian, De unit. 6, Treatise 1. On the Unity of the Church, 6 : PL 4, 519)

 

 

See

Also see more on Going “directly to God” as it relates to Mary

Free Pamphlet for Catholics detailing official teaching on how Mary leads us directly to God.

Free Pamphlet for Protestants explaining how Mary leads us directly to God.  Also see additional diagrams.  This is specifically designed for Protestants since many are not inclined to read Catholic literature.

See chart for Confession at

 

See Additional Notes

 

 

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