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This is a question for Protestants. God said that we shouldn't pray to anything other than Him. Otherwise it would be idol worship. That means Christians who pray to Jesus should not have an iota of doubt that Jesus wasn't someone else, given authority by God, but nevertheless not to be prayed TO. I am afraid I don't see this being crystal clear.

There are no places I know of that Jesus explicitly claims to be God. He doesn't say it at the trial, but claims he is the Messiah only. In fact the Messiah was supposed to be a man, not God himself.

In John 10:33 when they picked up stones to stone him, and he asked "for which of my good works do you stone me" and they said "'We are not stoning you for any good work,' they replied, 'but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.'" Jesus did not clearly confirm that he claims to be God. On the contrary he invoked an example where mere people were called "gods" and then said he was greater than those people. Since he could have easily affirmed his claim right there, but didn't, I don't think that is proof of his being God either. If anything it can equally be proof that he did not wish to be considered God and was explaining his position.

Having read the Gospels I see many verses of Jesus saying things that imply that he is not God, but the Son sent into the world and given authority.

In your answers about why it isn't dangerous to pray to Jesus, please address the following verses:

1) In the garden of Gethsemene, Jesus prayed "nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done." Shouldn't God have the same will as Himself?

2) In fact in John 14:31 Jesus obeys the commands of the Father: "I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me".

3) In John 14:28, Jesus explicitly says that the Father is greater than he is "You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I."

4) In Matthew 24:36, Jesus mentions himself as not knowing something the Father knows: "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

5) In Mark 10:18, he rebukes people for calling him good and then says only God is good: "'Why do you call me good?' Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone."

6) John 5:30 NIV By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

7) 1 Timothy 2:5 says "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time."

8) Jesus himself says to pray to the Father:

This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Finally, what's the advantage of praying TO Jesus instead of Father God directly? You can pray "in Jesus' name" but TO GOD. Jesus taught us The Lord's Prayer which is to Father God, not to Jesus. If the church is wrong about Jesus being God and Jesus is someone called God's Son sent into this world, but not God himself, then isn't praying to Jesus idol worship?

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First of all, you have way to many questions buried in here, some of which are duplicates. Second, ruling out the duplicate part, what is left is too broad as it is not directed at any particular theological framework. This isn't a discussion or debate forum and this sounds like a multi-part doctrinal framework of your own that you are asking people to refute or agree with. That's not really a viable pattern. Instead you should figure out exactly who you want to hear from and what views you want to learn more about and spend the question space focusing on that. –  Caleb May 13 at 16:01
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@GregoryMagarshak You're still not hearing me here. There is no need to keep arguing about it not being a duplicate: it is not currently closed as a duplicate, it is closed for other reasons (see my previous comments). The issue is not whether this is a valid question to ask in general, the question is have you sufficiently noted who you are asking this question of so that it can be answered within this site's guidelines for matching doctrinal perspectives of answers to question. –  Caleb May 13 at 16:28
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They way you were heading towards asking it seems kind of pointless to me - if you accept the premise, then the answer is an obvious yes. I'm pretty sure people like JWs who don't believe Jesus is God don't pray to him. Do you have anybody in mind that would make this anything other than a straw man? –  bruised reed May 13 at 16:29
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That sounds like you are trying to assuage your own doubts about Jesus' claims. That's a very valid thing to be doing, but not something that's appropriate to a forum like this. And of course, if Jesus IS God, then it's as much of a risk NOT to pray to him. –  DJClayworth May 13 at 18:21
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@GregoryMagarshak, I for one would like to see an answer to this question. However, I think it is (in Stack Exchange terms) two questions in one: 1) Do Protestants have any doubts that Jesus is God? 2) If so, is it idolatry to pray to him? I think these need to be separated if the question is to be answered. –  Joe May 14 at 21:19

1 Answer 1

For Protestants across the board, the answer to this question is dead simple:

No, it could not be dangerous in any way.

The notion that it could be is profoundly mis-guided and is not based on the core tenants of the Protestant faith te begin with.

The most basic issue is that in Protestantism there is no consideration of Jesus not being God. If you haven't settled that question you aren't Protestant in any general sense of the word.

There are no places I know of that Jesus explicitly claims to be God.

This is quite simply not true and certainly not representaatime of Protestant belief. Jesus made it very clear to his audience in many ways (some direct, some indirect) that he claimed to be God incarnate. The issue of his trial is complex in that the Jews were upset with his blasphemy (for claiming to be God) but that wasn't an offence to the Roman court he was changed with, so the whole thing was a racket. A lack of fair trial and proper procedings in no way casts doubt on the fact that he claimed to be God. His audience, Pharisee and layman alike, understood he made this claim and we have witnesses who recorded him making the claim in so many words.

On the contrary, not involving Him in our prayers could be dangerous.

In the matter of prayer Protestants beleive we have specific instructions to involve Jesus in our prayers:

John 15:16 (ESV)
16  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

This raises another significantly flawed premise of your question.

Protestats don't really pray TO Jesus.

The disciction is not terribly important to us because at the end of the day the three 'persons' are one being and we pray to the One True God no matter which of the three names is involved, but the general pattern for prayer inside Protestantism is to pray:

  • to the Father
  • in the name of the Son
  • by means of the Spirit

Our prayer petition God the father in the name of Jesus—not at all the same thing as praying to Jesus.

This disciction is not relevant to your concern about idolitry because while we might not pray to him, we do worship him as God. That would be preposterous if he was a man, but it wouldn't be Protestant (or even, in the common sense of the word, Christian for that matter) to not worship Jesus.

Protestants beleive Scripture gives us a clear mandate for worshiping Jesus as God:

Revelation 5:11-13 (ESV)
11  Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12  saying with a loud voice,
   “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
   to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
   and honor and glory and blessing!”
13  And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,
   “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
   be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

Worshiping Jesus, the lamb who was slain is not idol worship.

Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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The verses from Revelation are a good point. Still you're saying that protestants pray TO the father IN Jesus' name. If that were so, I wouldn't be asking the question. Just like Catholics pray WITH the Saints not TO them. But I have heard Protestants specifically say, "Dear Lord Jesus" without saying Holy Father. They use Jesus as the name of God basically. Not all the time, but it's a pretty natural thing to do for many Evangelicals and others. Haven't you seen this? That is what I am asking about. What is the purpose this if at the end of the day, as you say, they are all one God? –  Gregory Magarshak May 22 at 13:43

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