I live in a place that has a deep rooted Catholic heritage. As I drive down the roads in my community I see numerous statues of Mary, the mother of Jesus. They are on the sides of the road, in people’s back yards, and are a main theme of the stain glass windows of the local Catholic Church. In talking with Catholics, I have found that Mariology, the adoration, elevation, and praying to Mary is highly esteemed by their faithful parishioners and to speak against Mariology is met with firm opposition.
So, I want to simply mention some facts about Mary, hoping to do at least three things. First, to help any Catholic who prays to Mary that might read my blog to see that their belief and practice not only does not come from Scripture, but is in violation of it. Second, to help Evangelical Christians know a few facts about this subject to better equip them in their defense of the Christian faith. Third, to hopefully create a dialogue with Catholics who are seeking truth.
What do Catholics say about Mary?
1. They believe that she was sinless. The official name is Immaculate Inception.
The Most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.
2. They believe she remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus.
3. Mary was raised from the dead and taken to heaven. The official name is The Assumption of Mary
4. Mary is co-redeemer with Christ.
969 “This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation …. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.”
5. Catholics pray to God through Mary as an intercessor, believing that she has better access to Him than they do, since she birth God’s Son, thus has a closer connection with Him.
What does the Bible say about these five Catholic beliefs?
While Catholic theologians site Bible verses to support the five statements above, it must be clearly said that there is no biblical references that support any of the five statements above. When one examines Scripture, and takes the clearest and simplest meaning of the text, there is no doubt that all five statements above must be rejected. For hundreds of years, Catholics have believed these statements about Mary, not because Scripture plainly and clearly supports it, rather because popes, church leaders, sects, and the people began beliefs and traditions that eventually led the church to officially adopt these beliefs as true. As the beliefs and practices were evolving, they used Bible verses to support their new traditions. These five beliefs about Mary did not originate from Scripture, but from tradition. The verses cited by catholic theologians and popes supporting these traditions are at best vague and are almost always applied in direct violation of other Scripture. This is where those of us that believe the Bible as God’s inerrant word must reject the elevated status Mary given to her in the Catholic church. When a tradition directly violates God-inspired Scripture, then that tradition, no matter how long in practice or how popular it is, must be rejected because it is in directly violation of God. This is what I believe the Catholic church has done with regards to the doctrine of Mary (Mariology).
Does the Bible say that Mary was sinless?
No it does not. Actually the Bible teaches the exact opposite. Not once in the Bible does it hint that she or anyone else other than Jesus lived a sinless life. It teaches that everyone, other than Jesus, is born a sinner (Romans 3:9-11, 23; Jeremiah 17:9). This would include Mary. If Mary were sinless, then you would think the Bible would say something about it, but it does not. With regards to Jesus, the Bible is very clear that He lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22).
Does the Bible say that Mary remained a virgin after having Jesus?
No it does not. Actually, it teaches the exact opposite. Matthew 1:25 says that Joseph “took his wife (Mary), but knew her not until she had given birth to a son (Jesus).” So, after the birth of Jesus, Joseph had sexual relations with Mary like any other married couple.
Also, the Bible speaks in several places about the brothers and sisters of Jesus (See Matthew 12:46; John 7:1-5; Acts 1:14). These would be the children of Joseph & Mary. Catholics try to say that these verses refer to cousins or the children of Joseph from a previous marriage. There are at least 2 major problems with this. First, the Bible nor any other creditable source mentions that Joseph had a previous marriage. Second, to change the meaning of “brothers and sisters” to mean something other than the actual children of Joseph and Mary is to change the simplest and clearest meaning of the texts.
Does the Bible say that Mary was raised from the dead?
No it does not. There is no reference to her being raised from the dead. The Bible speaks of Jesus being raised from the dead and a future resurrection of all believers when Jesus comes back. There is no mention of Mary’s life or death after the Day of Pentecost (Act 1-2).
Does the Bible say that Mary is co-redeemer with Christ?
Again, no it does not. The Bible actually says that Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). It says there is salvation in no other name other than Jesus (Acts 4:12). There is not one place in Scripture that even hints of her being co-redeemer with Christ.
Does the Bible say that believers can pray through Mary or any other saints to get to God? Does Scripture call Mary an intercessor on our behalf?
No it does not. It actually says that there is only one mediator between God and man, and that is Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). So to claim there are other mediators is to deny what the Scriptures say. The Bible also says that every believer in Jesus, because of Jesus, not Mary, can boldly approach God’s throne of grace and find help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16). There is not one single prayer to Mary or any other dead saint in the Bible. While the Bible does call us to pray for one another, there is not one single example of anyone in scripture asking someone who was already dead to pray for them.
So where do these beliefs come from? Most come from influential church leaders (some of them very godly people) who were trying to explain aspects about Mary and her relation to Jesus. The thoughts from these church leaders were then taken, modified, expanded, and then made dogma by church councils, popes, and creeds. The problem with all this is that they were not founded upon Scripture. Most of the Scripture passages used in defending these false beliefs about Mary were taken way out of context and given meanings that they were never meant to have. So many of my Catholics friends are practicing their religion in ways that are not taught in Scripture and in reality are practices that are contrary and oppose the word God gave to His church.
What does the Bible say about Mary? She was blessed by God to have the opportunity to be through whom the Lord Jesus came as He took on human flesh. She was not chosen because of her merit, but simply by God’s grace (Luke 1:30). She was a sinner like any other woman, and so needed a Savior like any other woman (Luke 1:47; 2:22-24). For sure she was blessed like no other woman in the fact that she had the opportunity to nurse and raise Jesus. She knew things about Him that practically no else knew (Luke 1:32-33). She is an example in Scripture of a faithful believer and follower of Jesus. But God’s word never elevates her beyond that. Any elevation beyond that has come from church tradition, and does not agree with what God has said.
1 Timothy 2:5-6
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all (ESV)
 Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus (1854)