Skip to comments.Hail Mary
Posted on 03/13/2005 7:16:00 PM PST by churchillbuff
....In a shift whose ideological breadth is unusual in the fragmented Protestant world, a long-standing wall around Mary appears to be eroding. It is not that Protestants are converting to Catholicism's dramatic exaltation: the singing of Salve Regina, the Rosary's Marian Mysteries, the entreaty to her in the Hail Mary to "pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death." Rather, a growing number of Christian thinkers who are neither Catholic nor Eastern Orthodox (another branch of faith to which Mary is central) have concluded that their various traditions have shortchanged her in the very arena in which Protestantism most prides itself: the careful and full reading of Scripture.
Arguments on the Virgin's behalf have appeared in a flurry of scholarly essays and popular articles, on the covers of the usually conservative Christianity Today (headline: The Blessed Evangelical Mary) and the usually liberal Christian Century (St. Mary for protestants). They are being preached, if not yet in many churches then in a denominational cross sectionand not just at modest addresses like Maguire's in Xenia but also from mighty pulpits like that at Chicago's Fourth Presbyterian Church, where longtime senior pastor John Buchanan recently delivered a major message on the Virgin ending with the words "Hail Mary ... Blessed are you among us all."
This could probably not have happened at some other time. Robert Jenson, author of the respected text Systematic Theology, chuckles when asked whether the pastor of his Lutheran youth would have approved of his (fairly extreme) position that Protestants, like Catholics, should pray for Mary's intercession. "My pastor would have been horrified," he says, adding, "The pastor was my father." Yet today Catholics and Protestants feel freer to explore each other's beliefs and practices. Feminism has encouraged popular speculations on the lives of female biblical figures and the role of the divine feminine (think The Red Tent and The Da Vinci Code). A growing interest, on both the Protestant right and left, in practices and texts from Christianity's first 1,500 years has led to immersion in the habitual Marianism of the early and medieval church. And the influx of millions of Hispanic immigrants from Catholic cultures into American Protestantism may eventually accelerate progress toward a pro-Marian tipping pointon whose other side may lie changes not just in sermon topic but in liturgy, personal piety and a re-evaluation of the actual messages of the Reformation.
The movement is not yet prevalent in the pews. And it has its critics. While granting that Mary shows up more in the New Testament than some churches recognize, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Southern Seminary, charges that those who use her full record to justify new "theological constructions" around her are guilty of "overreaching," "wishful thinking" and effectively "flirting with Catholic devotion." Yet Lutheran theologian Carl Braaten, co-editor of an essay collection on what might be called Marian upgrade, claims, "We don't have to go back to Catholicism. We can go back to our own roots and sources. It could be done without shocking the congregation. I can't predict how exactly it will happen. Some of it will be good, and some of it may be bad.
But I think it's going to happen." .....
First I've heard of this and can say now I don't agree with it. Mary was Jesus's mother nothing more and nothing less.
Nothing wrong with deep respect for a mother who saw her son brutalized the way she did.
I haven't heard of it either. Mary needed the Saviour too.
I hate confining labels, but as a "Protestant" I have affection for Mary. I don't believe for a minute that she hears prayer or in any way intercedes for us. That's the Son's role.
MEL's next -PASSION- will be the...
Miracle of -FATIMA-
MEL's -PASSION- was about the Past and the Future
MEL's -FATIMA- will explain what we can all do about both in the Present
MEL's -PASSION- was sparked by -WE WERE SOLDIERS-
for: Sacrifice begets Sacrifice
and: LOVE is the Only Reality
and: GOD is LOVE
Respect, sure. Worship? Uh, no. If this is happening, it's surely only within the elites of the National/World Council of Churches -- certainly not within the rank-n-file of even these liberal Protestant denominations.
Mary was a sinner saved by grace just as any sinner. Silly to think she was sinless as those who believe in the immaculate conception do.
Good grief! It's bad enough the Catholics let her get in their way with Jesus all the time...now they want Protestants to deify her!
That didn't take long...
any word on it?
While Mary's role in the Nativity is recalled dutifully each December, largely overlooked is the subsequent presentation of Jesus at the temple, during which the righteous old man Simeon tells Mary that "a sword will pierce your own soul also."
Also neglected are her maternal frenzy when her 12-year-old son goes missing to debate the temple elders and her role at the wedding at Cana, where, at her behest, he performs (somewhat grudgingly) his first miracle, changing water into wine. The most striking omission, at least from Protestant sermons, is a recognition of the import of her role at the Cross.
Although the first three Gospels don't place Mary there by name, many readings assume she is one of the women who remain, watching Christ's agony, after the male disciples have fled. In John's Gospel she shares that witness with an unnamed disciple (often thought to be John), and Jesus, near death, commends them to each other, telling her, "Woman, behold your son!" and telling John, "Behold your mother." Mary makes one final appearance, as the only named woman in a mostly male group gathered in an "upper room" who, guided by the Holy Spirit, will make up the new church.
Gaventa's conclusion was that although Mary's appearances can be brief and frustratingly devoid of anecdote, "there isn't a figure comparable to her." No major player appears earlier in the story, and none, she notes, "is present in all these key situations: at Jesus' birth, at his death, in the upper room." Protestant treatments, Gaventa asserted, tended to limit themselves to what God does through Mary rather than talk about Mary herself. "You could say the same thing about the Apostle Peterthat the stories are not really about him," Gaventa says. "But that doesn't keep people from talking about Peter as a role model from whom Christians can learn things."
And so, in the book she finally wrote, Mary: Glimpses of the Mother of Jesus, and in essays and lectures, Gaventa began reviving or establishing Marian titles that, unlike Queen of Heaven, are more appropriate for Protestant use. One was First Disciple. Traditional commentary saw Mary's "Let it be" primarily as a statement of obedience. But Gaventa, and many who followed, heard in it a thought-through acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah made long before any other believer's. In a Christianity Today article, Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., paraphrases some of the original reformers, saying, "If she had not believed, she would not have conceived."
Protestants would do well to remember that there was a thriving Church, as ordained by Christ Himself, with a well-developed theology and tradition for 300 years before there was a Bible.
I was raised in a Protestant household, but my family and I have "swum the Tiber. " There is a Mother Church, and she welcomes all her lost sheep back to the fold.
A couple of nice articles about praying to Mary and the saints:
Welcome home. I am a convert myself.
OK, but when Hank Henagraff, the Bible answer man, asks a caller for him or her to "pray for me." What does he mean and if it's okay for him to ask some disembodied voice on the phone to pray to God for him, why shouldn't I ask God's mother?