Did You Know? Mariology:Facts About Mary

immaculate-conception3I 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.[1]

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.”[2]

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).[3] 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.

Conclusion

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)

20 responses to “Did You Know? Mariology:Facts About Mary

  1. If I may respectfully disagree, I would argue that Catholic mariology is profoundly Biblical. We see this, for instance, in the Catholic understanding of typology in the Ark of the Covenant, as well as of the “virgin earth” and Eve; Marian interpretations of these types were held by the early Church Fathers, who were as steeped in Scripture as we could ever hope to be. There are careful exegeses of New Testament passages that also lend themselves to Marian maximalism.

    There are many Catholic treatments of Mariology that are filled to the brim with Scripture (though admittedly, there are many that are not). I know the life of a pastor is very busy, but if you would like to read over a very Biblical Mariology, could I recommend this book by Fr. Stefano Manelli? It is the best resource I have ever found on the topic. http://www.amazon.com/All-Generations-Shall-call-Blessed/dp/0963534521

    • Thank you very much for your comment. I hope to check out your reference in the near future.

      What you said is partially true. The doctrines of Mary are often defended with many Bible verses. But what must be seen clearly is that these doctrines did not come from Scripture, rather the doctrines were formed, then verses and references from the Bible were applied to them. This is where it gets dangerous. Proper interpretation must come from the reverse order. We must go to the Scriptures and get our doctrines from them, not have a doctrine, then force it into the biblical text.

      This is what happened with the Catholic teachings on Mary. The clearest and simplest readings of the Bible lead us away from the five points I mentioned in the post, not toward them. In fact, I would say the clearest reading of Scripture calls us not only away from those five points, but even more strictly calls us the deny them. The belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity, her resurrection, being mother of the church, etc. are not explicitly or implicitly taught in Scripture. These are beliefs taught and developed many years after the writing of the New Testament.

      Thanks again for your comment. I invite people to comment, whether they agree or disagree with me.

  2. Have you ever visited the city of Medjugorje where Mary has been appearing? Have you nor heard the visionaries or seen the miracles of rosaries turning to gold or the miracle of the sun, or in Sicily at the shrine to Madonna Delle Lacrime, where the statue of Mary shed tears? Also, if God is perfect, (which he is) then how could he enter the world through sin? A sinful vessel could not hold a perfect God. As well, I just opened up my Bible and it says, (Luke 1:28) Upon arriving, the angel said to her: “Rejoice, O highly favored daughter! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.” If God’s Grace is free and not due to personal merit or deeds, then how is she the highly favored daughter. Someone who is highly favored is either physically attractive or has done favorable things. Obviously God is not a hormone filled schoolboy, so she must have done good deeds. Also the angel says (Luke 1:30) “Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God.” So again we arrive at the same paradox of favor. Also, how could she be sinless if she was never baptized? Too many things, Biblical as well as modern apparitions and miracles say that Mary is more than a simple vessel who becomes useless after Jesus leaves.

    • Thank you for you comment. There are several things to consider in what you said. First of all, your comment regarding miracles, visions, etc., I have heard of those kinds of things. At the end of the day, what do they prove? How do you know they came from Mary? Could the visions have been hallucinations by people wanting to see Mary so badly that they forced them to see something that they really did not see? Also, what if they are just plain lies? But, something even more real that we should consider is that these things are demonic in nature. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan can make himself look like something from God in order to trick people. So, at the end of the day, whether the visions and miracles you mentioned are real or lies, the real question we must ask is, how are they leading people to the gospel revealed in the Bible? The answer is easy to see. Whenever the focus becomes someone or something other than God, it is idolatry. These miracles and visions you talk about lead people away from the real gospel and toward a belief that Mary is greater than what the Bible reveals. Thus we must conclude they are not from God.
      Second, you mentioned that God is perfect, so how could He come down to a sinful world. He came down to save sinful man. In the OT we see God visiting His people in the tabernacle and the temple. So, we do see God, who is holy, visiting His people, though sinful as they were. Jesus, who according to John 1:1,14, is God in the flesh, came to earth, to die as a man in order to pay for the sins of man. See Philippians 2:6-8; Galatians 4:4-5; Hebrews 2:17.
      Lastly, your comment about Mary being “highly favored one…blessed are you among women.” (Luke 1:28), in your mind, meant that she was rigtheous enough to gain God’s grace. But, we know this is not true simply by the teaching of the whole Bible. This phrase in Luke could not mean what you think it means when we compare your interpretation against the rest of Scripture. No person is righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10). Our works are like filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). Our hearts are ultimatetly wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). And we cannot obtain righteousness by our works (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:20). All have sinned (Romans 3:23). Therefore, no one can be saved by their works (Ephesians 2:8-9), but only by grace through faith. This includes Mary, and she even recognized her need for a Savior (Luke 1:47). Another last thought to consider. If she is to be so central to the life of the church, then why does she drop off the pages of biblical history after Acts 1:14? The answer is simple. She is not the focus, nor is there any example of people praying to her in the Bible. Jesus is the focus, and the Bible makes this abundantly clear.

  3. The bible exists today because of Catholic oral tradition passed on from the apples and handed down generation after generation until it was finally written down. If you want to know about Mary read the first chapter of Luke’s gospel. Do you think The son of God would be born to any garden variety woman? We Catholics believe that Mary is the ark of the new covenant. You can read more about it in Reveration end of chapter 11 and chapter 12. Protestants inherited the legacy of Martin Luther who could not accept the church teaching and authority so he went off and started his own religion. That legacy is still in practice today. When people don’t agree with their pastor, they go off and start a new church! So many denominations! The Chatholic church is the same today as it was 2000 years ago. “Bible alone” spirituality is not enough. You aught to read the early church fathers who were the first Christians. Examples are Justin Marter, Thomas Equinas. The Bible you are so proud of was written by and from Catholic oral traditions handed dos from the apostles. If you believe in the resurrection then you should know that that the saints like The Virgin Mary who are in the presence of God are indeed able to intercede for us. Even in the Old Testament Moses was able to ask God to relent the anger He was about to destroy the people of Israel when they turned away from his covenants. The very first miracle performed by Jesus at the wedding in Cana when He turned water into wine was requested by Mary (John 2:1-11). At the foot of the cross Jesus said to his beloved apostle, Behold your mother” and to Mary “behold your son”. The beloved apostle is representative of the whole human race. If Jesus honored Mary who are we not to do the same. He did say a servant can’t be greater than his master.

    • Thank you for your comment. I would like to address some of the errors that believe. First of all, there is no reference in the Bible that explains or even hints to a prayer to Mary nor her capacity to answer prayers. Your reference to Moses being a mediator between the people and God is not proof that Mary now, being physically dead, but now in heaven, answers prayers. For one, Moses was alive on earth when he was a mediator, not in heaven. Secondly, the picture of Moses being a mediator is not a picture of Mary’s role as mediator, but Christ’s role as the only Mediator between God and men (See Hebrews 3-4, as well as 1 Timothy 2:5).
      Why did God choose Mary? Simple. For the same reason He chose Noah. By His grace (Luke 1:30). She was no more deserving than any other woman to carry the incarnate Lord in her womb. And She knew this. She knew she needed a Savior just like everyone else. She admits this in her song in Luke 1:47.
      Another thing to consider is your interpretation of John 2, where Jesus turns the water into wine. Catholics have for a long time misinterpreted that miracle. Just because He changed the water into wine after Mary came to Him, does not mean that He somehow obeys her. She came to Him with a need, like many other people in the New Testament, and He responded to that need according to His Father’s will, not Mary’s will. One major point of the gospel of John is that Jesus only obeys His Father’s will and can do nothing but His Father’s will (John 5:30). This is why Jesus responded to Mary the way He did. To elevate her because of a simple request she made to Him does not make her a mediator. If so, we would have to do the same with man at the end of Chapter 4 in John who asked Jesus to heal his son.
      Lastly I will reply in another comment on your understanding of how we got our Bible.

    • In reply on your idea of how we got the Bible, I believed you have been misinformed. Our New Testament was not passed down by orals tradition. The apostles and those with them wrote letters and gospels that were given to the first New Testament churches. These letters and gospels were copied and passed on to other churches. In the two centuries after the apostles’ death, their writing were compiled, copied, and distributed to the churches. In the fourth century, they were complied into what we have now as the New Testament.
      The protest that Martin Luther and the other reformers had with the Catholic Church was that they had added traditions to the Bible that were contrary to it. Your religion does not originate from the Scriptures, but from men, who decided for different reasons, to modify the original Christian faith. The reformers like Luther were simply calling the church back to the original faith. Their goal at first was not to separate, but reform the church. But Rome refused. Maybe you do not know that practices in the Catholic Church today are NOT a part of the teachings of the New Testament, nor were they a part of the first century church. Things like praying to Mary and seeing her as a mediator was not a part of the church until the late 300s and early 400s. The idea of the infallibility of the pope (which is in direct contradiction to Scripture – see Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:23), did not begin to many hundreds of years after the time of Christ. The belief that the communion bread and wine turn into the actual body and blood of Christ is a false teaching that began about 1000 years after Christ. There are many other examples like penance prayers, needing a human priest, and salvation by infant baptism that are all contrary to the Scriptures. Rome has decided that their power was greater than that of the Scriptures, and that is where people who desire to remain faithful to Scripture protest.

      • The original faith was the Roman Catholic Church as we call it today, let’s not forget that, the Protestants didn’t like the traditions because they didn’t like what they couldn’t modify. Funny how people have a tendency to decide what God wants for him. The Church of traditions is the one started by Jesus himself and he said not even the gates of hell shall prevail against it, so why must we still bicker and argue when the Catholic Church is clearly still here, I think people should stop deciding what GOD wants, come back to the Church that has lasted through time. Christianity is too diluted today by billions of people trying to say what God hasn’t said, and trying to decide what God thinks, put your own opinions aside and come back. If the Roman Catholic Church was wrong, God would have let it be destroyed by the millions of soldiers over millennia who have sought to sack the Church of Rome and killed its people, yet, God clearly preserved it. Funny how so many people can’t see that. Companies and corporations go under and go bankrupt, civilizations fall, empires crumble, yet the Roman Catholic Church is nearing its 2000th birthday, making it the longest standing organization in human history. You don’t get that from something that is man made and preserved by man.

        • Donavan. Thank you for your reply. Two quick things that I think you need to consider. First, practically all the Catholic traditions that separate Cathoics and Protestants today do not find their origin in the New Testament, but began much later in church history. Therefore, your comment that “the original faith was the Roman Catholic as we call it today” is a false presumption that even Catholic historians and theologians would not agree to.
          Secondly, you presume that God agrees with the Catholic church simply because it still exists. First of all, the Catholic church is not the same organization it was even 200 years ago. Also, God never says in Scripture that every single false organization will be destroyed during a certain period of time. The Muslim faith has been around for 1300 years. Why has God not destoyed them? Buddhism has been around longer than the Catholic Church. What about them? The only thing we know for sure is that when Jesus returns to bring judgment, all opposing forces to His gospel will be destroyed.
          I find your argument lacks biblical and/or historical substance. Your own church would disagree with you.

    • Don’t be afraid of the truth. Do your research for the truth and don’t rely on what has passed on to you by the non-conformist “Reformers” . The truth will set you free. I would suggest that you read the work of Dr. Scott Hahn, a former Presbyterian minister and staunch anti catholic bible scholar. He will be the first one to tell you that the more he searched for answers to discredit the Catholic doctrine the more biblical truths he found in support of the Catholic Church. Scott Hahn is one of the best, well versed bible authority figures. You could say that he is the modern day SAUL who went out to persecute the church and later became the great evangelize r. Dr. Hahn has written many books including “Hail Holy Queen, “The Lamb’s Supper”, and has many Audio CD’s including “The Biblical significance of Mary”.
      Your answer about the reformation is not true. Martin Luther and his contemporary “reformers” separated from the church because they could not honor the church’s authority, i. e. the fact that the Church was founded on on Peter the Rock who was the first Pope (Matthew 16:17-19). Peter, the vicar of Christ was given the keys to the kingdom. This conveys succession. Thus the authority is handed down to Peter’s successors, i.e. subsequent Popes. The Keys and the notion of succession are mentioned in Isaiah 22:22-24. Eliakim was given the keys to the Davidic Kingdom. By giving Peter the keys to the Kingdom, Jesus was fulfilling this ancient tradition. The old Davidic kingdom now became the kingdom of the Lord. Peter and his successors hold the keys to the new covenant. Denying this, is denying the truth. It is sad to see all of you protestant brothers and sisters kept from the fullness of faith by the age old misinterpretation of the bible. As Dr. Scott Hahn says, you guys have the menu, but we Catholics are enjoying the feast–the Eucharist. At the last supper, Jesus prayed to the Father,”Keep them in your name that you have given me that they may be one just as we are one” (Jn 17:1-11). He did not pray that there may be 33 thousand Christian denominations. My prayer today is that you will be given the grace to see the truth and come home soon.

      • Lucy. Again thank you for your interest in this subject. My short answer to your comment has two parts.
        First, your Isaiah reference is not a prophecy of Peter, but of Jesus. If you read Revelation 3:7, this is becomes evidently clear. Isaiah 22 was contextually fulfilled by Eliakim, but ultimately fulfilled by Jesus. Again, Revelation 3:7 makes this clear.
        Secondly, your reference to Matthew 16 is where Catholics and Protestants divide on what Jesus actually meant. It seems clear that Jesus is telling Peter that He will build His church upon the confession that Peter had just made, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” That is the clearest meaning of the text. Now, did Jesus give Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven? Yes He did. And we see Peter use this as he preached at Pentecost in Acts 2, be a part of the Samaritans receiving the Holy Spirit in Acts 8, and being God’s instrument in seeing Cornelius and his family (Gentiles) believe the gospel and receive the Holy Spirit in Acts 10. What does Acts 2, Acts 8, and Acts 10 all have in common? For sure Peter’s involvement, but do not miss that each group (Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles) were included in the church, not because of Peter, but because they had believed the gospel (That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God). In fact, what we do see in the New Testament, is not Peter in charge of the churches, but people believing the gospel which resulted in churches starting. Paul even had to confront Peter publicly on his bad leadership in regards to his separation from Gentile believers (Galatians 2). The foundation of the church has always been the gospel, not Peter. And the New Testament clearly shows this to be true.

    • Your response to the origins of the bible is partially correct in that the apostles wrote down letters and testimonies and passed them on eventually to be compiled by the new testament writers. You say they were passed on to the churches—What churches? The reformation (or the Schism) hadn’t happened yet at the writing of the bible. There was only one Church at the time and it is still standing today as the one Holy Catholic and apostolic Church.

      • Lucy. Thank you for your comment. To answer your question, “which churches?” The answer is a simple one.
        The church at Jerusalem. The church at Antioch. The church at Corinth. The church in Rome. The church at Ephesus. The church at Thessalonica, the church at Berea, The church at Philippi, the church at Colossae, the churches in Lystra, Derbe and Iconium. The churches in Galatia. The church at Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. The churches on the island of Crete. In other words, all the churches mentioned in the New Testament and the many more that were started in other places that we have no record of. The New Testament is compiled of mainly letters that were to sent to one particular church, but then copied and circulated, or they were one letter designed for several churches (i.e. – Galatians and Revelation).
        They idea of one church controlled by a pope does not exist in the New Testament. That type of organization did not happen until many years after John wrote the last book of the New Testament in about A.D. 90.

  4. The core error here supposes that to give honor to Mary somehow detracts from the worship due Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is precisely the opposite. The Catholic Church affirms the centrality of the incarnation of Jesus Christ and His redemptive suffering and death on the Cross and His Resurrection.
    Mary points to Christ where her last words in Scripture tells us to “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:5-7.
    The Catholic Church condemns idolatry and the worship of Blessed Mary; yet to conflate the honor given to her with worship is like calling the honor given where due is an act of worship.
    That is nonsense. As Christians, is it idolatrous to give honor where honor is due, e.g., standing when the president of the United States of America enters a room; rising when a jurist sits in judgment in a courtroom; acknowledging a picture of George Washington at the head of a room; raising our right hand over our heart, facing a U.S. flag, and stating with love for our country the Pledge of Allegiance; or stopping for a moment to honor our deceased grandparents or parents in front of their respective photographs?
    Mary is the Mother of God as declared by the Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431 as the title clearly points to one Person: Jesus Christ is God. St. Luke notes in his Gospel that the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and the Son of God was conceived in her womb. Luke 1:35. Elizabeth understood this when she exclaimed that Mary is blessed among women and posited, “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Luke 1:43.
    Is Blessed Mary highly favored, full of grace? Yes. Our Lord could not have inhabited the tabernacle of the womb subject to original sin for Christ did not share in a sin nature and did not inherit original sin. See, John 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:21; Col. 2:9 1 Peter 1:19, 2:22; Hebrews 4:15; 1 John 3:5; and Hebrews 9:14, among others. The Scriptures testify to the grace God gave her. The early fathers of the Church called her the Theotokas, the God Bearer. Incarnated, Our Lord was flesh of her flesh. When she assented to the Will of God, to bear the Child, Et Verbum caro factum est, “And the Word became flesh!”
    Like any mother that bore her children and loves them, the Blessed Mother, Mary, points us to Him and teaches us to love her Son and to do as He tells us.
    Thank you kindly.

    • Thank you for your comment. There are a few problems with your argument as well as Catholic Doctrine. First, no where in the Bible does it say that Mary was sinless. That is a doctrine created many years later due to the church’s desire to explain the incarnation. Actually, the Bible clearly confirms the opposite of the Catholic’s Church’s belief that Mary was sinless, and still remains sinless. The Bible also confirms that she had more children after Jesus (see previous comments and my post for references). The Bible never calls anyone to pray to her, or any other person for that matter, other than to God, through Christ alone. Christ came in the likeness of human flesh, but was perfect. His sinles nature came from the Holy Spirit while His human anture came from Mary. Was she blessed? Absolutely. But not because of her sinlessness, but because God chose her to carry the Messiah in her womb. Being a sinner like all of us, she did not deserve this honor. That is why it is called grace (receiving something one does not deserve). I am not against honoring her in a way that Scripture does. But what I am against is elevating her to a sinless mediator to God because the Bible NEVER leads us to believe that is true. Actually, Scripture lead us in the exact opposite way. Those that seek access to God other than through Christ alone directly or indirectly seek to defy God. Seeking access to God through Mary is no different than when the serpent told Eve that she could be godly without God. It is a direct offense to God and separates from Him who seek to worship Him in any other way except by what He has prescribed in His word. His word alone revelas truth. Not church councils or popes or traditions. Those that seek to add to Scripture will be accursed (Revelation 22:18-19)

  5. Thanks for your input. One can agree with several of your comments, namely, (1) Christ came in the likeness of human flesh, but was perfect; (2) His [Christ’s] sinless nature came from the Holy Spirit while His human nature came from Mary; (3) Was she blessed? Absolutely. But not because of her sinlessness, but because God chose her to carry the Messiah in her womb; and, (4) That is why it is called grace (receiving something one does not deserve). Yet, the ground for your discussion is to discount the councils and tradition. This foundation is not biblical.
    As noted in the books of Acts (15) and in Galatians (2:1-10), there arose a controversy among the Apostles and believers about the necessity of circumcision and the validity of the Law of Moses. By example that is set out in the Holy Scriptures, a council of the “whole” Church was gathered that included the believers and elders to settle the dispute, to know the truth and to seek the will of the Holy Spirit. The Council at Jerusalem spoke, settled the question, and a letter was dispatched to Antioch to deliver the message to the gentile believers. This practice of settling controversies did not end at the close of the canon of the Holy Scripture. Take for example as early Church issues, the doctrinal matters of the Holy Trinity and the nature of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
    In the post-apostolic age but pre-Nicene, the Church dealt with several controversies contrary to orthodox Christianity inclusive of Arianism; which originated from a priest in Alexandria named Arius. Grounded on his pride but arguing from Scripture, Arius’ teaching denied the divinity of Christ; adding that the Son of God was created by the Father and that Christ was not coeternal nor consubstantial with the Father. The Arian controversy nearly subsumed the Church up until the doctrine of the Holy Trinity was notably defined and affirmed at the councils of Nicaea (A.D. 325), Constantinople (A.D. 360), and Ephesus (A.D. 431). The council of the whole Church at Ephesus defined the nature of Christ when it gave Mary the title “Mother of God.”
    The Arian heresy, as well as Manichaeism, among others, doubted the nature of Christ in relation to the Father. It was at the council of Nicaea that the nature of Christ in relationship to the Father was one of “homoousis” or, said another way that the Church affirmed that God the Son and God the Father are of the same substance.
    Further, it is also not biblical to discount tradition. The Scriptures call for us to follow the tradition of God but not of men. It is not biblical to declare that we should not follow tradition. The biblical admonition is not to follow the tradition of men; [See, Matthew 153-20; Col. 2:8] but to follow the tradition of God handed down to the faithful. See, 2 Thess. 2:14-15; 3:6; 1 Cor. 11:2; and 2 Tim 2:2, among others).
    Without the Holy Scriptures and the councils of the “whole” church testified therein and the traditions of God handed down to the Faithful as admonished by the Apostles in the Bible; the Church would not be one but cloven among many; each representing that it alone speaks for God.
    Thank you kindly.

    • Thank you for your reply. I am sorry that it too me so long to approve your comment. I read all the comments before allowing them to be posted, but I have been so busy that I could not read yours until recently. Thank you for your patience.

      I agree with your thoughts about considering and even celebrating the decisions of the church though out its 2000 year history. There is only one thing that I think should be said in reply to your comment. Church councils have helped tremendously clarify what the Bible says. The only thing that we must be careful of is when a church council proclaims something that is contrary to Scripture. And easy example of this is a council’s declaration of Mary’s perpetual virginity, being a co-mediator with Christ, and being sinless. These can be easily shown contrary to Scripture and thus must be rejected. Councils, like in Nicea, were meant to clarify what Scripture says and what it does not day. But, the councils are not greater than Scripture. They must bow to it and support it, or thus be called heretical.

      Thanks again for your thoughts and comments.

  6. Dear Mr. Young,

    With approving and presuming the responses already given, allow me to add some observations,
    It is yourself who say that the Catholic Church teaches that Mary is co-redemptrix, the quotes you give do not. No official document of the Holy See calls her that.
    You are led astray by insisting on “the simplest and clearest meaning of the texts” of the Bible, and by taking them one by one and not in context within the whole of Scripture. This is to ignore implications. Ninety percent of the message of the Bible is there by implication because it is the communication of the infinite God, whose message cannot be limited by the simplest meaning of a text. Indeed, the simplest meaning is not the clearest, for the simplest meanings are often in contradiction and need the implicit meanings to establish harmony. Scripture teaches us to pray for one another. Are we to conclude that our loved ones in heaven no longer love us and thus no longer pray for us? The Holy Spirit has guided only the Catholic Church to discover the clearest meanings so as to alone present a coherent understanding of the Holy Scriptures. Text without context is pretext.
    You are led astray by simultaneously rejecting and accepting the Catholic Church’s officially approved traditions. That the books in your own Protestant Bible are part of the written Scriptures is a Catholic tradition established in the 4th c., not a tradition.that began in the 16th with the appearance of Protestantism. Your views on the nature of Jesus and the Trinity are also official Catholic traditions established by Church Councils and received by Protestants, most of whom seem unconscious of this dependence.
    You are led astray by citing Mt. and Mk. to show that Mary had other children. Keeping in mind that the Hebrew and Aramaic name, Alpheus, is in Greek rendered Cleophas, note that Lk. 6:15-16 calls the father of the supposed “brothers of Jesus” Alpheus, and Jn. 19:25 tells us that Cleophas was the husband of a Mary not the mother of Jesus. The clearest interpretation, and in this case even the simplest, is that the parents of the so-called “brothers of Jesus” are not Joseph and his wife Mary. I am amazed that those who pride themselves on being Protestant adherents of the Scriptures ignore these passages. Doubtlessly you are aware that Scripture in many places uses the term “brother” to refer to relatives or to fellow believers.
    All Catholic beliefs in Mary arise from Scripture if one is broad enough to accept its implications. Most of the message of all great classical literature, e.g. Homer’ Iliad, is communicated by implication. A Homeric scholar would be correctly ignored as ridiculous should he limit himself to the simplest, i.e. the most superficial, meaning of the text.
    Upon reading the earliest Fathers of the Church, one sees clearly that the religion they received from the Apostles has the worship, hierarchy, governance and beliefs that are found in the Catholic Church through the ages. Whatever one may judge about the religion of these early post-Apostolic Christians, it is certainly not Protestantism, which does not appear until the 16th c. and conforms to the individualistic Nominalist philosophy of that age and not to the communal faith of the Apostles or of their immediate successors, who also left written testimony of their received tradition.
    All serious investigators into the history of the Gospel texts recognize that they are records of various oral traditions that existed before being written down.
    An important text ignored by Protestants is Gen. 3:15. There God presents us with an everlasting conflict between the Serpent and the Woman. “Woman” is the title given his mother by Jesus from the Cross. It pains me to see Protestants being closed to Mary and thus line themselves up on the wrong side of Gen. 3:15.

    With prayers for the Pope, the Church’s only guarantee of unity,
    Fr. Bart, O.P.

    • Thank you for your comment.
      Several times you mention that I am not in context. In order to not re-say what I have already said, I will simply refer you back to my post and my previous comments. I believe my hermeneutics are well grounded.
      As far as your comment on “brothers” sometimes referring to relationships other than physical brothers and sisters, I agree. But, in John 7 it is undeniable that the passage is clearly referring to Jesus’ half brothers and half sisters (children of Mary and Joseph). In Matthew 1:25 it says, “but did not know her UNTIL she had given birth to a son” (Emphasis mine). This is a clear implication that Mary and Joseph did have sexual relations after the birth of Jesus. To deny this is to deny where the passage clearly leads us.
      As me referring to the Catholic doctrine of Mary being a co-redeeming with Christ, consider these references that I copied directly from a Vatican website:

      491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

      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, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

      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.”

      966..In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.

      http://www.vatican.va

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