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Bible Study Discussions with Gary Panell

Question: Is it wrong to say the Rosary?

Answer: First, some people may not be familiar with what the Rosary is, so here is a short summary of it, a history, and a defense of it from Roman Catholics. Then I will give my response to this question.

Prayer before the Rosary

Queen of the Holy Rosary, you have designed to come to Fatima and Medjugorje, to reveal to the three shepherd children and six visionaries, the treasures of grace hidden in the Rosary. Inspire my heart with a sincere love of this devotion, in order that by meditating on the Mysteries of our Redemption which are recalled in it, I may obtain peace for the world, the conversion of sinners, and the favor which I ask of you in this Rosary (Mention your request). I ask it for the greater glory of God, for your own honor, and for the good of souls, especially for my own. Amen.

1. Make the Sign of the Cross and say the "Apostle's Creed."
2. Say the "Our Father."
3. Say three "Hail Marys."
4. Say the "Glory be to the Father."
5. Announce the First Mystery; then say the "Our Father."
6. Say ten "Hail Marys," while meditating on the Mystery.
7. Say the "Glory be to the Father."
8. Announce the Second Mystery; then say the "Our Father." Repeat 6 and 7 and continue with Third, Fourth and Fifth Mysteries in the same manner.

After the Rosary:

HAIL, HOLY QUEEN, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To you do we cry poor banished children of Eve. To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, O most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement! O loving! O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Here is explanation of the Rosary from a Roman Catholic:

"We say "our" Father in the Lord's Prayer. By saying "our" we indicate that prayer is not a solitary act. We pray with others.

"With whom do we pray? We pray with Jesus Christ. Not only does Jesus teach us to pray, but he prays with us and joins our prayer to his own. Because we pray with him, our public prayers often end with the words like these: "through Jesus Christ, your only Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns, forever and ever." We pray with Jesus Christ.

"But "our" Father means we pray with others too; for example, with all those baptized in Christ. The Lord's Prayer should always remind Christians of their unity with one another, even though unfortunate differences still separate Christian churches. We Christians believe that our prayer is shared; we can pray with and for one another. Prayer is a common life-blood linking us together.

"In some of the main Christian churches the belief that we are united in prayer with others is expressed in prayer to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and prayer to the saints. "We believe in the communion of saints" who pray with and for us, in union with Jesus Christ.

"The great prayer to Mary in the Catholic tradition is the Hail Mary. The first part of the prayer evolved in medieval times when Mary, the mother of Jesus, appealed to Christians as the great witness to his life, death and resurrection. Its earliest form was the greeting of the angel Gabriel at Nazareth, according to St. Luke's gospel:

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you." By those words of the angel God announced a divine favor. God would be with Mary. She would bring Jesus Christ into the world.

"Over time the greeting given to Mary by her cousin Elizabeth, recorded in St. Luke, was added: "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb."

"Finally by the 15th century, the remainder of the prayer appeared: "Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death."

"The prayer calls upon Mary, who is full of grace and close to her Son, to intercede for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. With the disciple to whom Jesus entrusted her on Calvary when he said: "Behold your mother," we share her as mother. Mary will always bring Christ into our life. From the beginning she knew him; she witnessed his life, death and resurrection; will she not help us to know him and the mysteries of his life? We trust her to care for us as she cared for the newly married couple at Cana in Galilee. We can trust her with our needs.

"By the end of the 16th century the practice of saying 150 Hail Marys in series or decades of 10 became popular among many ordinary Christian people. During these prayers the mysteries of the life, death and resurrection were remembered. That practice of praying is know now as the Rosary.

"Mary has always been a model of faith and a companion for Christian believers. When the angel Gabriel came to her, she believed the words he spoke and she maintained her belief without hesitation even to the dark test of Calvary. She accompanies us too who are the brothers and sisters of her Son, as we journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties.

"Through the centuries many ordinary Christians have found that Hail Mary and the Rosary a source of spiritual blessing. A prayer like the rosary is both simple and profound. Not beyond anyone's reach, its repeated words bring peace to the soul. And the mysteries of joy, sorrow and glory recalled from Jesus' life are meant to be repeated in our own. Through these mysteries, we hope to "imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise." By Victor Hoagland, C.P.

My response to what has been said, and answer the question, "Is it wrong to say the Rosary?"

As you can see there is a lot of Scripture and some other good things that are said in the Rosary. Obviously, it is not wrong to pray Our Lord's Prayer or to recite the Apostles Creed or many of the Scriptures quoted in the Rosary, but my objections are to saying such things as: "Queen of the Holy Rosary.I ask it.for your own honor.Hail, Holy Queen.To you do we cry.O most gracious advocate.Pray for us."

Our whole teaching comes from the Word of God, but through the centuries things have been added to the Roman Catholic Church doctrines that were not taught in the Church to begin with. Therefore there is a mixture of truth and error in the Roman Catholic Church. That is not to say that any given denomination has a corner on the truth.

The only thing is that as you read the Rosary, it is a prayer that is directed to the Virgin Mary, and this in itself is a mistake according to the Bible which says: "For there is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel." (Hebrews 12:22-24)

In the Roman Catholic's defense to the statement that they are praying to Mary here is what some would say: "As doctrine, Roman Catholics do not actually pray to Mary.just as Roman Catholics do not pray to any of the other saints. Some Catholics may misunderstand the teachings of the church and therefore act against the teachings of Catholicism; however Catholics are not supposed to actually pray to anyone other than God. What they are actually supposed to do is offer up their prayers to God, and ask for the intercession of Mary (or any other saint). This may seem one in the same, but I assure you, it is not.

"Offering up a prayer to God and asking for the intercession of Mary is supposed to be like unto simply asking other Christians to pray for you. The prayer is still to God; however, Catholics are also asking Mary to pray to God for their intentions as well."

My comments to these statements would be. This is what they say they are doing, but look at the Consecration to Mary, which starts off, "O Mary, Virgin most powerful and Mother of mercy, Queen of Heaven and Refuge of sinners, we consecrate ourselves to thine Immaculate Heart. We consecrate to thee our very being and our whole life; all that we have, all that we love, all that we are. To thee we give our bodies, our hearts and our souls; to thee we give our homes, our families, our country."

The Pope prays to Mary and encourages all Catholics to do the same. In his Sunday mass in Denver in, August 1993, Pope John Paul II entrusted the youth and the entire world under Mary's protection and guidance.

"Mary of the New Advent, we implore your protection on the preparations that will now begin for the next meeting. Mary, full of grace, we entrust the next World Youth Day to you Mary, assumed into heaven, we entrust the young people of the world.the whole world to you." (August 1993, Denver, Colorado, Pope John Paul II).

Then the Roman Catholic Church also teaches: "2679 Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus' mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope."

My comments again to this would be. The Scriptures teach us that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are our only "advocates" (which means lawyer or attorney), not Mary nor the saints. "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1) "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." (Romans 8:26)

Even though I have an article The Holy Catholic Church, and I point out in it from Scriptures that there is only one true Church, and that it is made up of all born again believers even from the Roman Catholic Church. That does not mean that I agree with everything that the Roman Catholic Church or any other church denomination, for that matter, teaches.

Even the church we attend now, has some things that I do not agree with, for example, they believe it is alright for Christians to drink a little alcohol. I believe that the Bible teaches otherwise, does that mean that I cannot fellowship with them? (See our article Is It Alright for Christians to Drink Alcohol?)

No, if we have to agree with everything a denomination, on this earth teaches, before we can fellowship with it, we would never go to church. There is no church that you can go to that teaches everything perfectly, if that were the case, the teachers would be perfect, and we know that no one will be perfect, myself included, on this earth.

However, I do believe some denominations do rely more on the Word of God, and teach it as their only rule of belief. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16)

If a church uses any other standard other than the Bible they will surly have error in their teaching. That is why St. Paul was glad when the Bereans checked the Scriptures to see if what he was saying was correct. "Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men." (Acts 17:10-12 NKJV)

The Bible is our final authority, because everything else changes, the Bible will remain forever. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." (Matthew 24:35) (See our article Is There Even One Mistake in the Bible?)

It is a very sad thing that so many Roman Catholics have been hindered from going straight to Jesus with their prayer needs, because He is the only One who will answer our prayers. That is why we are instructed from Scripture to pray to the Father in Jesus Name. "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." (John 14:13-14)

".Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." (John 16:23-24)

".giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:20)

"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Colossians 3:17)

"Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." (Hebrews 13:15)

Nowhere in Scripture do we see that we are to pray to Mary or any other of the saints. When someone came to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, for a request she sent them to Jesus. "On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, 'They have no wine.' Jesus said to her, 'Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.' His mother said to the servants, 'Whatever He says to you, do it.'" (John 2:1-5)

I believe that Mary herself would say the same to those today who try to pray to her, "Whatever He says to you, do it." In His Word the Bible He tells us over and over to pray in His Name to the Father, so we need to do it! We do respect Mary, and I called her the Blessed Virgin Mary, because in Scripture we are told that believers would call her "Blessed" and she was a Virgin when she had Jesus, so it is a Scriptural title.

Here is what Mary said in a prophecy that God gave her: "For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation." (Luke 1:48-50) That, however, does not mean that we worship or pray to her. So, yes, it would be wrong to say the Rosary.

I know this will be received by many Roman Catholics as incredible, that anyone would doubt that we should pray using the Rosary. But when the prayer itself is directed to Mary, it is wrong! I trust that there will be those Roman Catholics that will take courage, as Martin Luther did, and say under the power of the Holy Spirit, enough is enough. We need to pray to God the Father in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ as He instructed us to do. No more making it look like Mary is a part of the Godhead, she is not, nor would she want us to believe and teach such a fallacy!

As far as these things being revealed by Mary, or one of the many who claim to be Mary, but go by different names, I would give these verses from the Holy Bible to meditate on: "And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works." (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)

"But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8-9)

Do I believe a person could be a born again Roman Catholic and even pray the Rosary, yes, but should they pray to Mary, no! Then, you say, How can you say that you believe a person could go to the Roman Catholic Church where they do pray to Mary and the saints? I believe there are born again Christians in every denomination, that are led astray in one doctrine or another. That is why we are to study the Bible and see what it really teaches, and start teaching it, even where it is not popular to do so.

Look what St. Paul did in his ministry, he went first to the Jewish synagogues and preached Christ. Was he accepted? Most of the time he was not, but then you have people like the Bereans who did listen, and who did search Scripture to see if what he was preaching was true.

If you study Scripture, you will see that what I am saying here is true, even if millions of people have accepted this lie of Satan for the last few hundred years, in some parts of the Church.

Is there a possibility that this will change? Yes, I believe with prayer, revival can break out even in the most unexpected places. We thank God for the Charismatic revival that is sweeping even the Roman Catholic Church. (See our links for the Catholic Charismatic Movement) Is this movement perfect, no, but has it done a lot of good? Yes! And God can do even greater things than what we think possible. He can break down these false doctrines that separate us, and make us One in Him, as I believe He will do before He comes back. We will see things that are thought impossible. With men they are impossible, but with God, nothing is impossible!!!!

Jesus' prayer of John 17, before He went to the cross will be answered. "I do not pray for these alone, [His 12 Apostles] but also for those who will believe in Me through their word [that's us], that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

"Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:20-26) You probably will want to read the whole chapter, it is Jesus' prayer for us as born again Christians, no matter what name we put over our building.

Thanks for the question and God bless you!

Gary T. Panell

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Keywords: rosary, prayer, catholic, catholicism, mary