Matthew R. Perry

(From the Archive) Mary, Jesus’ Mother: Too Honored, Yet Not Honored Enough

In Roman Catholicism, Sermons on November 18, 2007 at 6:52 pm

A Biblical Look at Mary, the Mother of Jesus

Luke 1:26-38, 46-55

We love rankings, don’t we? Every Monday morning, sports fans clamor to the Internet or to the newspapers to see if their favorite team is ranked, and if so how far up are they? And on occasion, TV Guide ranks the best TV shows in history from no. 100 to no. 1. People Magazine each year has the Sexiest Man Alive issue. We love to see who is the first and the best.

If we were to do that amongst the women of the Bible, the list would be tremendous. Eve in the Garden of Eden, Sarah, Samuel’s mother Hannah, Ruth — so many would qualify. But the one who stands above all the rest is the one on whom we will speak this morning — Mary, the wife of Joseph and the mother of Jesus.

Much talk surrounds the person of Mary. In Roman Catholic dogma, much extra-biblical teaching exists in their Sacred Traditions about who exactly Mary was. According to their doctrine, Mary never sinned nor knew original sin (Immaculate Conception), remained a virgin her entire life (Perpetual Virginity), and was raised where her soul and body were reunited and she ascended into heaven to become “The Queen of Heaven” (the Assumption of Mary). Unless you grew up in a Roman Catholic background, these doctrines may sound very strange and foreign to you, and for good reason. Absolutely none of them is supported in Holy Scripture. In fact, from the Catholic Encyclopedia itself, they say in reference to one of these doctrines, the Immaculate Conception, that “no direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from Scripture.”

We hear a wonderful song by Buddy Greene sung around Christmastime called, “Mary, Did You Know?” The song asks Mary whether she know about all that the Christ-child would endure. But I wonder if Mary had any idea about how so many would elevate her to such heights of honor, veneration, and even worship!!

According to a Catholic News article, Pope John Paul II devoted his entire pontificate to her and even had the letter “M” embroidered on his garments. When he was shot in 1981 and his life hung in the balance, he kept saying over and over again “Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!” Not “God,” not “Oh, Lord Jesus.” He spoke of Mary’s name perpetually!

In the West Tennessee Catholic, they convey a report on the Pope John Paul’s 25th anniversary as Pope that he “publicly entrusted himself and the church to the Virgin Mary, again displaying a lifelong personal devotion that he sees as fundamental to his ministry.” He stated in St. Peter’s Square in October 2002:

I place everything into her hands so that with the love of a mother she will present it to her son. I also entrust my future to her.

With that, many follow the Pope’s lead, who in turn was following what other Popes had canonized into Sacred Law.

But where is the Scriptural support? There is none! Mary is only mentioned a few times in the Gospels and none at all after Acts 1. But the Scriptures tell us a number of things about Mary that are incredible examples for us in our daily walk. Understand, some exalt her to a far higher plane than warranted — but too often we Baptists lower her in reaction to Roman Catholic views. Let’s give her the due that Scripture does and see what it says about Mary and what it says to us even now.

1. Mary, did you know they would tell you that you were without sin?

According to Catholic dogma in their doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, they make the audacious claim that Mary was born without sin. As recently as December 8, 1854, in the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the meritsof Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin

According to their view, she received the same safe-keeping as Christ did from that original sin — otherwise, Christ could not be born without sin. But the fact is that not only does Scripture not support this (even from the Catholic encyclopedia, it states: “No direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from Scripture”,) not even Mary supports this!

She sees that she is in need of a Savior. Verses 46-47 tell us: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” The way one seeks out godly humility is to look full-face toward God and see Him for who He truly is — and it is then you will see yourself for who you truly are.” Mary exalted the Lord God above all things in her heart — even in the most trying of circumstances.

For example: earlier in the chapter, the angel Gabriel approached Mary saying “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you! . . . Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:28, 30-33).

She inquires as to how this will be — since she has never known a man! When the angel explains that God will implant a seed, she responds, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” She submitted to God because she saw Him for who He was: ‘her savior’ (v. 47), ‘mighty’ (v. 49), and ‘holy’ (v. 49) — for starters!

This is where the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception falls apart. The doctrine states that Mary

“was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin”

Where is this found in Scripture? Nowhere. Scripture clearly states that there were times when even the Lord Jesus rebuked either His mother or those who tried to exalt her above her rightful place.

In Luke 11:27-28, we see a woman coming up to Jesus and saying, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather [‘on the contrary,’ NASB] are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” So here we see someone granting a blessing toward Mary — clearly trying to compliment Mary for her role in raising such a fine boy! But Jesus immediately corrected her by saying there is something greater to bless — those who hear the word of God and keep it!

Note that the only one ever born who was without the stain of original sin was the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Mary understood that she needed a Savior — but she also knew the God who would save and she rejoiced that God would favor her in being the vessel through which Christ would come?

2. Mary, did you know they would tell you that you could help redeem sinners?

A popular song sung during the Christmas season is “Ave Maria.” In fact, many sing this song in Protestant services. Why? Well, for one it is sung in Latin, so most folks who sing this do not know the words they are singing — nor do many care. It is set to such a beautiful setting by Franz Schubert (1797-1828) that this seems to be the biggest concern. (A word here — pay attention to what you are singing! You may love the tune, but Jesus did not tell us that we would be held accountable for the tunes we hum, but for the words we speak.)

Secondly, most do not see anything wrong with this theologically! But look at the words in English:

Hail Maria, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!
Blessed art thou among women and blessed is Jesus, the fruit of thy womb.
Holy Maria, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our death!
Amen.

There are so many issues with this: calling her ‘holy,’ the ‘Mother of God,’ etc. But primarily, the problem is that this is a prayer to Mary! Do we see this? This is a prayer addressed to someone other than God. We call it a prayer because we know from Mary’s faith and trust in Christ that she is in heaven. So this song calls on someone in heaven other than God to hear their prayer and take their prayers to God. This is called intercession.

Is this supported by Scripture? Not hardly! First Timothy 2:5 states, “There is but one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” Jesus Christ is the only and exclusive intercessor in heaven between us and God. He is our sole mediator — and He is quite sufficient for the task. We need none other.

But we also notice the thrust of the prayer: “Pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our death!” Many believe with all their hearts that Mary brings some sort of salvation. Even recent pronouncements by Popes give credence to this.

In 1964, Pope Paul VI stated:

Rightly, therefore, the Fathers see Mary not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of man’s salvation through faith and obedience. For as St. Irenaeus says, she being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.

In 1985, Pope John Paul II recognized Mary as co-redemptrix” during a speech in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He said, in part,

Having suffered for the Church, Mary deserved to become the Mother of all the disciples of her Son, the Mother of their unity…In fact Mary’s role as Co-redemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son.

In 1997, John Paul II again stated:

Mary … co-operated during the event itself and in the role of mother; thus her co-operation embraces the whole of Christ’s saving work. She alone was associated in this way with the redemptive sacrifice that merited the salvation of all mankind. In union with Christ and in submission to him, she collaborated in obtaining the grace of salvation for all humanity.

They are so fixated on her that they believe even her image brings some measure of grace. For instance, in November 2004, a stale grilled-cheese sandwich sold for $28,000 on eBay. The owner kept this sandwich sealed up for 10 years — keeping it with her even when she went to Vegas and felt the powers from it help her win $70,000 at the tables. She made it clear to the bidders on eBay that this item was not intended for consumption. But we hear of these ‘sightings’ all the time and hear of how people set up makeshift shrines in her honor. Clearly, people believe that she has some power to either save or to have great influence on her Son to save those who call upon her.

What does Scripture (and, yes, Mary) say? In verse 50, she says, “And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (italics mine).

Now, before we take issue with those who call on someone else other than Christ to save them, it should be told that many around this world are trusting in something else other than Christ to save them. It doesn’t have to be Mary, but it can be your good works, your money and contributions to the church and other charitable organizations. Martin Luther was right: “The life of Christianity consists of possessive pronouns. It is one thing to say, ‘Christ is a Saviour; it is quite another thing to say, ‘He is my Saviour and my Lord.’ The devil can say the first; the true Christian alone can say the second.” This is what Mary did — directing all the attention to the Lord.

3. Church, do we know what made Mary so highly favored?

As mother of the Savior of the world, the Virgin Mary unquestionably holds forever a peculiar position among all women, and in the history of redemption. Even in heaven she must stand peculiarly near to Him whom on earth she bore nine months under her bosom, and whom she followed with true motherly care to the cross. It is perfectly natural, nay, essential, to sound religious feeling, to associate with Mary the fairest traits of maidenly and maternal character, and to revere her as the highest model of female purity, love, and piety. From her example issues a silent blessing upon all generations, and her name and memory are, and ever will be, inseparable from the holiest mysteries and benefits of faith. For this reason her name is even wrought into the Apostles’ Creed, in the simple and chaste words, ‘Conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.’”

We see her humility. Her servant’s heart in responding to God’s angel by simply saying, “May it be according to your word” stands as a classic example and reflects greatly on where we should be. When we find ourselves so discouraged over trivial issues like burning our toast, getting stuck in traffic, our office buildings being too hot or cold — we look to how God worked in Mary’s heart for her to say, “Lord, this will seem like a scandal on the surface, some will shun me, Joseph may leave me — but I’ll follow you if this is your will!” What a great example!

We see her obedience to the Word of God. Psalm 119:14-15 says:

In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.

Whatever God said, she did. Why? Because she was His servant and she loved Him with all her heart.

We see her as a woman of prayer and praise! Psalm 73:24-25 sums up her attitude and I pray it sums up ours as well:

[24] You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
[25] Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

Psalm 34:2-3 says:

My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

We see that God is not partial to the rich and the powerful, but also brings mercy and favor to all who call on Him! In Isaiah 55:6-7, we read:

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Who is He speaking to? “Everyone who thirsts … and he who has no money” (Isaiah 55:1). And who is that? That is all of us. All of us are thirsty and hungry. The rich and the powerful seem to neglect this because they see themselves satisfied by material trinkets rather than the riches and glory of Christ Jesus. Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the Kingdom of God.” Blessed are you when you see yourself in your true condition — spiritually bankrupt! But Jesus goes on, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

Note Mary’s words in Luke 1:51-53:

He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

God has scattered the proud, the rich, the powerful — all those who set themselves up against a holy God. Those who are hungry (spiritually) are filled — those who try to fill that hunger out of their own resources are sent away empty.

What about you? Do you think you have things under control without God’s help? You’ll be sent away from His presence and provision empty! But once you empty yourself, you will receive good things — God things! What a blessing!

Conclusion

Sure, some take Mary too far in their devotion to her! But let us make sure we do not dismiss her in reaction! She is the most blessed among women and her example endures. What about you? Will you learn the lesson that Mary teaches about humility, obedience, prayer, praise, and the fact that God looks upon all of us for salvation? That is something that Mary would say, “Yes, I did know — and to God alone be the glory!

Powered by ScribeFire.

Advertisements
  1. Hey just stopping by your blog. From what I understand, as Jesus is considered the new Adam, Mary is considered the new Eve. But now that I think about it, that doesn’t sound reasonable. (Adam and Eve were married…)

  2. On the Mother of God:

    St. Albert the Great wrote in Mary, Canice, p. 36: “Immediately next to being God is being the Mother of God.” She held a unique role in salvation’s history. Jesus Christ redeemed us, but Mary remains the Mother of Jesus and our spiritual mother. She is not equal to God but rather the most glorious person created by God because of her humility, trust in God, and above all, her Immaculate Conception. Cannon Francis Ripley writes in This is the Faith pg. 367: “Because of the inexpressible dignity that is hers, the Catholic Church has from the beginning given Mary the highest form of honor below that reserved for God alone. The Church’s practice has always reflected her belief that, provided Mary is not “adored” (which is the unique honor given to God alone), she cannot be honored to excess.”

    “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship” (CCC 971).

    In 431, the Third General Council of the Church at Ephesus defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God. Thus, this must be believed by all Catholics. This is one of the most ancient councils of the Early Church. You do not believe what the early Chrsitians believed!!

    Mary, Mother of God – Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    495 Called in the Gospels “the Mother of Jesus,” Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the mother of my Lord.” In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God”.

    Q39: Why pray to Mary at all?
    A: Because God wills that we should do so, and because such prayers to her are of the utmost value. God often wills to give certain favors only on condition that we go to some secondary agent. Sodom was to be spared through the intercession of Abraham (Genesis 18:20-33). Naaman, the leper, was to be cured only through the waters of the Jordan (2 Kings 5:9-14). Now Mary is, and must ever remain, the Mother of Christ. She still has a mother’s rights and privileges, and is able to obtain for us many graces. But let us view things reasonably. if I desire to pray, I can certainly pray to God directly. Yet would you blame me if, at times, I were to ask my own earthly mother to pray for me also? Such a request is really a prayer to her that she may intercede for me with God. Certainly, if I met the mother of Christ on earth, I would ask her to pray for me, and she would do so. And in her more perfect state with Christ in Heaven she is more able to help me.” ( ahttp://audrey-shark.blogspot.com/2006/02/q-about-mary-and-saints-ii.html)

    See Scripture:

    http://www.scripturecatholic.com/blessed_virgin_mary.html#the_bvm-I

    http://acatholiclife.blogspot.com/2005/10/immaculate-conception.html

    http://acatholiclife.blogspot.com/2005/08/assumption-of-mary.html

    What the Catholic Church teaches on Mary is absolutely correct. Just as Christ was the new Adam that destroyed death, Mary worked along with Jesus because she brought Jesus into the world. They do not need to be “married” for the analogy to Adam and Eve to apply

  3. Matthew:

    I truly appreciate your feedback in this matter. It helps me to understand what others may think about this very important matter. A few questions I have:

    Where in the canon of Scripture does it say that we must pray to Mary? In fact, Mary is not even mentioned after Acts 1. If Mary is so integral as co-redemptrix (as the Catholic church teaches) and if she is most certainly someone who is in a state of perfection (when the canon of Scripture only says that Christ is), why is this not mentioned ANYWHERE in Scripture except by inference on the part of a Catholic interpreter who holds to a Marian theology?

    And if Mary was so crucial in being the new Eve, why did not Paul or Peter or John or ANY of the other apostles who wrote the New Testament pick up on the idea? Why did it come 200, 300, or even 1850 years after the fact? The apostles were the eyewitnesses of Christ who put forth what Christ taught (Ephesians 2:19-22; 2 Peter 1:16-21) … and yet this was so crucial that they ALL MISSED IT?

    This is all I’m saying. These doctrines just came about too far after the generation of the apostles died off. They are the ones who concern me — not early Christians who believe in certain doctrines 400 years removed from Christ who have no SCriptural basis in which to make the case.

    Matt

  4. Hi Matthew,

    I hesitate to reply because discussions like this very quickly degenerate into unproductive arguments – 50% of the time initiated by me :-(.

    I’ve not seen your blog before, and I don’t know if I will return (busy with work!), though I will try.

    I do realize that people who grew up in different faiths really have very different conceptions of the world. What seems normal to me seems totally alien, even foolish, to you, and vice-versa.

    For example,I assume to both of us, the concept of hoping that our children will become suicide bombers is alien and almost unbelievably idiotic, and yet to some, it is totally normal. Such a large difference in viewpoints cannot be brought together through one or two questions.

    An example of the normal/alien difference is your question: “Where in the canon of Scripture does it say…” This is not something Catholics ask (unless talking to sola scriptura people)

    Catholics do not view the canon as the source of the faith (‘the faith’, as in ‘what is true, what one must believe’). To be more precise, you view God as the source of the faith, and the faith comes to us through scripture. We, on the other hand, view God as the source of the faith, and the faith comes to use through the teaching of the Church. That teaching takes the form of scriptures, and the traditions (basically — what did the early Christians believe?) Paul tells us to hold fast to both (2 Tim 2:15).

    Remember that the NT scriptures were written by the Church (all the authors were members of the Church)

    While sola scripture people ask ‘Where is that in the Bible’, we ask ‘Where is that in Tradition?’ (which means: where is that in scripture, in Church teaching, and in the beliefs of the early Christians’

    When someone asks : “Where is that in the canon?”
    We have to ask: Where is *that question* in Tradition?

    Where did that teaching (sola scriptura) come from? It didn’t come from the earliest Christians.

    Before any book of the NT had been written, the Church and Christianity *already* existed. It was possible to be a Christian without any NT book.

    During that time, if someone taught: “Believe ONLY what is written in scripture” is to teach a false doctrine (no book of the NT has been written). One had to believe what the Church was teaching. Had you been living in 40AD would you stand up and preach sola scriptura?

    The books of the NT were written over the course of many years. During those years, still no one was teaching: “Believe only what is written in scripture”. It was still a false teaching. Had you been living in 60AD would you stand up and preach sola scriptura? Where would you have gotten that belief?

    After all the books of the NT were written. Still no one was teaching: Believe only what is written in scripture.” It was still a false teaching. Had you been living in 90AD would you stand up and preach sola scriptura? Where would you have gotten that belief?

    When the canon was established (I know it will rile you and boil your blood, but it must be said, established by the Catholic Church), she didn’t teach, ‘from now on we believe only what is written in these scriptures’. It was still a false teaching.

    So, when did ‘believe only what is written in scripture’ become a true doctrine of the faith? I will say it never did. It never was, never has been, and never will be.

    – it’s not a belief of the early Christians
    – it’s not written down in scriptures
    – it is self-contradictory and therefore can never be true. Scripture itself doesn’t tell us what books belong in the canon (that is, which books should be considered scripture). All we have for that is tradition and Church teaching. If I say I believe only what is written in scripture, then where did I get the belief that ‘Matthew’ is scripture?

    I am writing this down from the little comment box, so I do not have much opportunity to refine my comments, I apologize in advance if I offend. I hope it’s understandable nevertheless…

    Have a Merry Christmas!

    You can’t take Christ out of Christmas, and you can’t take Mass out of Christmas.

  5. Francis:

    Hello. Thanks so much for your reply. And please don’t worry about your comments boiling my blood — I’m comfortable enough in some of these issues to be OK with others who disagree.

    There is much to address, but your focus in dealing with the sola scriptura deals exclusively with the New Testament. Yet, Jesus grounded his ministry and his preaching in Sola Scriptura (see, for example, Luke 4:16ff and Luke 24:13-35 where he told his messiahship by expounding Moses and the Prophets, or the OT).

    The problem with Scripture and Tradition is that there are so many things in which the Tradition seems to contradict what was written in Scripture. When priests are forbidden to marry, yet 1 Timothy 4 chastises anyone who puts forth the doctrine of forbidding in marriage. When the New Testament says to not call any man, Holy Father, and yet the Catholic church does just that. When the Bible in 1 Timtohy 2:5 says there is only one mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, yet there is a priesthood which serves in just that capacity.

    We say, “Where is this spoken of in Scripture?” is entirely valid because the ones who wrote the NT Scriptures were eyewitnesses of Jesus. We seek to go back to the beginning and build from there, not from traditions which were given centuries later — such as the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary.

    More later.

  6. Praise the Lord
    My Dear Beloved Brothers & Sisters In Jesus Christ,
    Perhaps the most outstanding proof that Mary worship developed out of the old worship of the pagan mother goddess may be seen from the fact that in pagan religion, the mother was worshipped as much (or more) than her son! This provides an outstanding clue to help us solve the mystery of Babylon today!
    True Christianity teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ and He alone is The way, The Truth and The Life; that He alone, of all the earth’s creatures, has ever lived a life that was never stained with sin; and He is to be Worshipped, never His mother but Roman Catholicism showing the influence that paganism has had in its development in many ways exalts the MOTHER also.
    One can travel the world over, and whether in a massive cathedral or in a village chapel, the statue of Mary will occupy a prominent position. In reciting the Rosary the “Hail Mary” is repeated nine times as often as the “Lords Prayer”. Catholics are taught that the reason for praying to Mary is that she can take the petition to her Son, Jesus Christ and since she is His mother He will answer the request for her sake. The inference is that Mary is more compassionate, understanding, and merciful than her Son Jesus Christ. Certainly this is contrary to the scriptures! Yet this idea has often been repeated in Catholic writings.
    One noted Roman Catholic writer Alphonsus Liguori, wrote at length telling how more effectual prayers are that are addressed to Mary rather than to Christ. Liguori incidently, was canonized as a “Saint” by Pope Gregory XIV in 1839 and was declared a “doctor of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius IX. In one portion of his writings, he described an imaginary scene in which a sinful man saw two ladders hanging from heaven. Mary was at top of one and Jesus on top of the other. When the sinner tried to climb the one ladder, he saw a angry face of Christ and fell defeated, but when he climbed Mary’s ladder he ascended easily and was openly welcomed by Mary who brought him into heaven and presented him to Christ! Then all was well. The story was supposed to show how much easier and more effective it is to go to Christ through Mary.
    The same writer said that the sinner who ventures to come directly to Christ may come with dread of his wrath, but if he prays to the Virgin, she will only have to “show” the son “the breasts that gave him suck”
    And his wrath will be immediately appeased! Such reasoning is in direct conflict with scriptural example. “Blessed is the womb that bare thee”, a woman said to Jesus, “and the paps that thou has sucked!” but Jesus answered, “Yea, rather blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it”. (Luke 11:27-28).
    Such ideas about the breasts, on the other hand, were not foreign to the worshippers of the pagan mother goddess. Images of her have been unearthed which often show her breasts extremely out of proportion to her body. In the case of Diana, to symbolize her fertility, she is picture with as many as one hundred breasts!
    Further attempts to exalt Mary to a glorified position within Catholicism may be seen in the doctrine of the “immaculate conception.” This doctrine was pronounced and defined by Pius IX in 1854 that the Blessed Virgin Mary “in the first instant of her conception … was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.” It would appear that this teaching is only a further effort to make Mary more closely resemble the goddess of paganism, for in the old myths; the goddess was also believed to have had a supernatural conception! The stories varied, but all told of supernatural happenings in connection with her entrance into the world, that she was superior to ordinary mortals, that she was divine.
    Little by little, so that the teachings about Mary would not appear inferior to those of the mother goddess, it was necessary to teach that Mary’s entrance into the world involved a supernatural element also!
    Is the doctrine that Mary was born without the stain of original sin scriptural? We will answer this in the words of The Catholic Encyclopedia itself: “No direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from scripture”. It is pointed out, rather that these ideas were gradual development within the Church.
    Right here it should be explained that this is a basic, perhaps the basic, difference between the Roman Catholic approach to Christianity and the general Protestant view. The Roman Catholic Church, as it acknowledges, has long grown and developed around a multitude of traditions and ideas handled down by Church fathers over the centuries, even the beliefs brought over from paganism if they could be “Christianized” and also the Scriptures. Concepts from all these sources have been mixed together and developed, finally to become dogmas at various Church councils. On the other hand, the view which the Protestants Reformation sought to revive was a return to the actual scriptures as a more sound basic for doctrine, with little or no emphasis on the ideas that developed in later centuries.
    Going right to the scriptures, not only is any proof for the idea of Immaculate Conception of Mary lacking, there is evidence to the contrary. While she was a chosen vessel of the LORD, was a godly and virtuous woman –a virgin—she was as much a human as any other member of Adam’s family. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom3:23), the only exception being Jesus Christ himself. Like anyone else, Mary needed a Saviour and plainly admitted this when she said: “And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my SAVIOUR” (Luke 1:47).
    If Mary needed a Saviour, then she needed to be Saved, Forgiven and Redeemed as others. The fact is our Lord’s divinity did not depend on his mother being some type of exalted, divine person.
    Instead, He was divine because He was the only begotten Son of God.
    His divinity came from His heavenly Father.
    The idea that Mary was superior to other human being was not the teaching of Jesus Christ. Once someone mentioned His mother and brethren. Jesus asked “Who is my mother? And who are my brethren?” Then stretching forth his hand towards His disciples said “Behold my mother and my brethren! For WHOSOEVER shall do the will of my Father which in heaven, the same is my brother and sister and MOTHER” (Mathew12:46-50). Plainly enough, anyone who does the will of God is, in definite sense, on the same level with Mary.
    Each day Catholics the world over recites the Hail Mary, the Rosary, the Angelus, the Litanies of the Blessed Virgin and others. Multiplying the number of these prayers, times the number of Catholics who recite them each day, someone has estimated that Mary would have to listen to 46,296petitions a second!
    Obviously no one but God himself could do this. Nevertheless, Catholics believe that Mary hears all of these prayers and so of necessity, they have had to exalt her to the divine level –scriptural or not!
    Attempting to justify the way Mary has been exalted, some have quoted the words of Gabriel to Mary, “Blessed art thou among woman” (Luke1:28), but Mary being “blessed among women” cannot make her a divine person, for many centuries before this, a similar blessing was pronounced upon Jael, of whom it was said: “blessed above woman shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be ….” (Judges5:24).
    Before Pentecost, Mary gathered with the other disciples waiting for the promise of the Holy Spirit. We read that the apostles “all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and His brethren” (Acts1:14). Typical of Catholic ideas concerning Mary, the illustration (as seen in the Official Baltimore Catechism) attempts to give Mary a central position but as all students of the Bible know, that the disciples were not looking to Mary on that occasion. They were looking to their resurrected and ascended CHRIST to outpour on them the gift of Holy Spirit. We also notice in the drawings and in pictures show Mary in the center of the disciples and the Holy Spirit (as a dove) is seen hovering over her! Yet as far as the scriptural account is concerned, the only one person upon whom the spirit as a dove descended was Jesus himself – not His mother!
    On the other hand, the pagan virgin goddess under the name of Juno was often represented with dove on her head, as was also Astarte, Cybele and Isis!
    Further attempts to glorify Mary may be seen in the Roman Catholic doctrine of perpetual virginity.
    This is the teaching that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life. The Encyclopedia Britannica explains the doctrine on the perpetual virginity of Mary was not taught until about three hundred years after the ascension of Jesus Christ. It was not until the council of chacedon in 451 that this fabulas quality gained the official recognition of Rome.
    According to the scriptures, the birth of Jesus was result of a supernatural conception (Mathew 1:23) without an earthly father, after Jesus was born, Mary gave birth to other children–natural offspring of her union with Joseph her husband. Jesus was Mary’s “first born” son (Mathew1:25) it does not say He was her only child. Jesus being her first born child could certainly infer that later she had second born child, possibly a third-born child etc. That such was the case seems apparent for the names of four brothers are mentioned 1)James, Joseph, Simon and Judas (Mathew13:55). Sisters are also mentioned. The people of Nazareth said: “…. and his sisters are they not all with us?” (Mathew13:56) The word “sisters” is plural, of course so we know that Jesus had at least two sisters and probably more, for this verse speaks of “all” his sisters. Usually if we are referring to only two people we would say “both” of them, not “all” of them.
    The implication is that at least three sisters are referred to, if we figure three sisters and four brothers, half brothers and half sisters of Jesus this would make Mary the mother of eight children.
    The scripture say “Joseph … “knew her not” till she had brought forth her first born son: and he called his name “JESUS” (Mathew1:25, Luke 2:7). Joseph “knew her not” until after Jesus was born, but after that, Mary and Joseph did come together as husband and wife and children were born to them.
    The idea that Joseph kept Mary as a virgin all of her life is clearly unscriptural.
    During the times of the falling away, as though to more closely identify Mary with the mother goddess, some taught that Mary’s body never saw corruption, and she bodily ascended into heaven, and now the ‘queen of heaven’. It was not until this present century; however, the doctrine of the ‘assumption’ of Mary was officially proclaimed as a doctrine of Roman Catholic Church.
    It was in 1951 that Pope Pius XII proclaimed that Mary’s body saw no corruption and was taken to heaven.
    The words of St. Bernard sum up the Roman Catholic position: “On the third day after Mary’s death, when the apostles gathered around her tomb they found it empty. The sacred body had been carried up to the Celestial Paradise … the grave had no power over one who was immaculate … But it was not enough that Mary should be received into heaven. She was to be no ordinary citizen … she had a dignity beyond the reach even of the highest of the archangels. Mary was to be crowned Queen of Heaven by the eternal Father; she was to have a throne at her Sons right hand … Now day by day, hour by hour, she is praying for us, obtaining graces for us, preserving us from danger, shielding us from temptation, showering down blessings upon us.”
    All these ideas about Mary are linked with the belief that she bodily ascended into heaven.
    Beloved, The Bible says absolutely nothing about the assumption of Mary.
    On the contrary John 3:13 says “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” – Jesus Christ himself.
    He is the one that is at God’s right hand, He is the one that showers down blessings upon us.
    Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men. 1Timothy2:5
    Jesus said “I am The Way, The Truth and The Life.” John 14:6
    Jesus said “No one comes to the Father except through Me”. John 14:6
    “Believe in Lord Jesus Christ and be Saved – you and your household”. Acts 16:31
    Jesus said “So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time”. Mark 13:23
    God Said “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge”. Hosea 4:6
    Read the Word Of God listen to the His sweet voice.
    Jesus Said “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, They follow me, I give then eternal life and no one can snatch them from My hand”. John 10:27
    This is the Fantastic Promise Jesus gave us.

    Beloved,
    Whatever your cross, whatever your pain,
    There will always be sunshine after the rain.
    Perhaps you may stumble, perhaps even fall,
    But God’s always there to help through it all.

    “Love and Peace be with you forever”
    Amen!!

    God Bless You
    In His Mission
    Your Bro. In Christ
    Alex Dhanvate
    Mumbai
    I N D I A

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: