Skip to comments.A Protestant Discovers Mary
Posted on 03/14/2010 12:14:46 PM PDT by NYer
Romano Guardini wrote in his book on the Rosary, To linger in the domain of Mary is a divinely great thing. One does not ask about the utility of truly noble things, because they have their meaning within themselves. So it is of infinite meaning to draw a deep breath of this purity, to be secure in the peace of this union with God.
Guardini was speaking of spending time with Mary in praying the Rosary, but David Mills, in his latest book, Discovering Mary, helps us linger in the domain of Mary by opening up to us the riches of divine revelation, both from tradition and Scripture. Mills, a convert from the Episcopal Church, former editor of the Christian journal Touchstone and editor of the 1998 book of essays commemorating the centennial of C.S. Lewis birth The Pilgrims Guide: C. S. Lewis and the Art of Witness, as well as the author of Knowing the Real Jesus (2001), has written a rock-solid introduction to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and done so with intellectual rigor and an affable tone.
His book begins with an introduction in which he describes how he came to discover the riches of the Churchs teachings on Mary: I began to see how a sacred vessel is made holy by the sacred thing it carries, he writes. I began to feel this in a way I had not before. I found myself developing an experiential understanding of Mary and indeed a Marian devotion. Which surprised me. It surprised me a lot.
Unfortunately, he notes, he did not learn about Mary from contemporary Catholics, nor in homilies, even on Marian feast days. It seems he learned on his own by reading magisterial documents and going back to Scriptures in light of those documents.
This book shares the fruit of that study. Mills examines the life of Mary, Mary in the Bible, Mary in Catholic doctrine, Marian feast days and the names of Mary. He includes an appendix full of references to papal documents and books on Mary.
Most of the book is done in a question-and-answer format, which usually works well, although at times it feels awkward. Would someone really ask, for instance, What is happening in the liturgy on the Marian feast days?
But most of the questions are natural. What is the point of Marian devotion? Mills asks. It is to live the Catholic life as well as we can, he answers. This means going ever more deeply into the mystery of Christ, to become saintlier, more conformed to his image, by following Marys example and by turning to her for help and comfort.
Next question: Does devotion to Mary detract from our devotion to Christ?
Christians since the beginning of serious Marian devotion have been careful to emphasize Marys subordination to her son, Mills replies. In fact, they have said it so often that the reader begins to expect it. In the fifth century St. Ambrose put it nicely: Mary was the temple of God, not the god of the temple.
David Mills, with the same radical clarity he showed in Knowing the Real Jesus, has written what has to be one of the best, if not the very best, short introductions to Catholic teaching on Mary, the Mother of God. Discovering Mary is ideal for those wanting to know more about her, whether they be skeptics, Protestants, or Catholics who dont know the Mother of the Church well enough.
Franklin Freeman writes from Saco, Maine.
Answers to Questions About the Mother of God
By David Mills
Servant Books, 2009
148 pages, $12.99
To order: servantbooks.org
And the term sola scriptura was never used until... — you’re right, it was never used until the late middle ages..
When the Redeemer declares (John 3) that it is necessary to be born again of water and the Holy Ghost in order to enter the Kingdom of God, His words may be justly understood to mean that He includes all who are capable of having a right to this kingdom. Now, He has asserted such a right even for those who are not adults, when He says (Matthew 19:14): "Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such." It has been objected that this latter text does not refer to infants, inasmuch as Christ says "to come to me". In the parallel passage in St. Luke (18:15), however, the text reads: "And they brought unto him also infants, that he might touch them"; and then follow the words cited from St. Matthew. In the Greek text, the words brephe and prosepheron refer to infants in arms.
Moreover, St. Paul (Colossians 2) says that baptism in the New Law has taken the place of circumcision in the Old. It was especially to infants that the rite of circumcision was applied by Divine precept. If it be said that there is no example of the baptism of infants to be found in the Bible, we may answer that infants are included in such phrases as: "She was baptized and her household" (Acts 16:15); "Himself was baptized, and all his house immediately" (Acts 16:33); "I baptized the household of Stephanus" (1 Corinthians 1:16).
To the objection that baptism requires faith, theologians reply that adults must have faith, but infants receive habitual faith, which is infused into them in the sacrament of regeneration. As to actual faith, they believe on the faith of another; as St. Augustine (De Verb. Apost., xiv, xviii) beautifully says: "He believes by another, who has sinned by another."
And, the proof that the Early Church DID baptise infants ,is from here by St. Cyprian of CarthageIn respect to the case of infants, which you say ought not to be baptised within the second or third day after birth, and that hte law of ncient circumcision be regarded, so that you think that one who is just born should not be baptised and sanctified within the eighth day,we all thought very differently in our council. For in this course which you thought was to be taken, no one agreed; but we all rather judge that the mercy and grace of God is not to be refused to any one born of man.. we ought to shrink from hindering an infant, who being lately born, has not sinned, except in that, being born after the flesh accrding to Adam, he has ontracted teh contagion of the ancient death as its earliest birth, who approaches the more easily on this very account to the reception of the forgiveness of sins -- that to him are remitted, not his own sincs, but the sins of another (Adam)and from Origen (185-254 AD)The Church received from the Apostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants. For the Apostles, to whom were committed teh secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stains of sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spiritand from St. AugustineWho is so impious as to wish to exclude infants from the kindgom of heaven by forbidding them to be baptised and born again in Christ? This the Church always had, always held; this she received from the faith of our ancestors; this she perserveringly guards even to the end
Whoever says that even infants are vivified in Christ when they depart this life without the participation of His Sacrament (Baptism), both opposes the Apostolic preaching and condemns the whole Church which hastens to baptize infants, because it unhesitatingly believes that otherwise they can not possibly be vivified in Christ,"
And yet by doing that you contradict St. Paul who relies on tradition too — but he talks favorably of CHRISTIAN tradition as opposed to the rabbinical tradition. Christ promised an infallible community, a Church of believers. And that’s what was a united front dogmatically for 1500 years.
From the previous link: (my bolds)
Infants are included in "all nations" who are to be baptized (Matt. 28:19). Certainly they were included in Peter's Pentecost exhortation in Acts 2:38, 39: "Repent and be baptized everyone one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins....The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off -- for all whom the Lord our God will call."
Whole households, everyone in the family, were baptized in the beginning of New Testament times, which in all probability included infants (Acts 16:15 and 33). [The "household" formula used here by Luke has Old Testament precedent, with special reference also to small children, as for example in 1 Sam. 22:16, 19; see Joachim Jeremias, Infant Baptism in the First Four Centuries, 22-23.] In Romans 6, the Holy Spirit tells us in the Word that in Baptism we have been united with Jesus' death and resurrection -- regenerated, dying to sin and rising to new life. That happens to infants when baptized (Gal. 3:27). "For as many of you who have been baptized have put on Christ." Baptism through the Word creates the faith necessary to receive salvation for infants. Infants can have faith. In Mark 10:14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." The Greek word in this text is "paidia" which means babes in arms. Infants can belong to the kingdom of God. "From the lips of children and infants, You have ordained praise...." Psalm 8:2. "Yet You brought me out of the womb, You made me trust in You even at my mother's breast" Psalm 22:9.
From the beginning of New Testament Christianity at Pentecost to our time, unbroken and uninterrupted, the Church has baptized babies. Polycarp (69-155 AD), a disciple of the Apostle John, was baptized as an infant. Justin Martyr (100-166 AD) of the next generation, about the year 150 AD, states in his Dialog with Trypho The Jew that Baptism is the circumcision of the New Testament." Irenaeus (130-200 AD) writes in Against Heresies II 22:4 that Jesus came to save all through means of Himself -- all, I say, who through Him are born again to God -- infants and children, boys and youth, and old men."
Similar expressions are found in succeeding generations by Origen (185-254 AD) and Cyprian (215-258 AD), and at the Council of Carthage in 254 where the 66 bishops stated: "We ought not hinder any person from Baptism and the grace of God....especially infants....those newly born." Origen wrote in his Commentary on Romans 5:9: "For this also it was that the Church had from the Apostles a tradition to give baptism even to infants." Origen also wrote in his Homily on Luke 14: "Infants are to be baptized for the remission of sins." Cyprian's reply to a bishop who wrote to him regarding the baptism of infants stated: "Should we wait until the 8th day as did the Jews in the circumcision? No, the child should be baptized as soon as it is born."
Augustine (354-430 AD) wrote in De Genesi Ad Literam, 10:39 declared, "The custom of our mother Church in baptizing infants must not be counted needless, nor believed to be other than a tradition of the Apostles." Augustine further states: "...the whole Church which hastens to baptize infants, because it unhesitatingly believes that otherwise they cannot possibly be vivified in Christ. In 517 AD, 10 rules of discipline were framed for the Church in Spain. The fifth rule states that "...in case infants were ill...if they were offered, to baptize them, even though it were the day that they were born...such was to be done." ("The History of Baptism" by Robert Robinson, London, Thomas Knott, 1790, p.269)
I have traced the practice of the early churches relative to baptism, from their commencement until the time that sprinkling was first introduced among them; and I find that in the first three centuries no mode other than immersion,
On the basis of the evidence provided in the New Testament, it is not possible to prove that the term "baptize" always refers to immersion, nor that the Baptisms mentioned were all done by immersion--implying (in the view of some) that only Baptisms done by immersion can be considered valid. In fact, taken as a whole the evidence suggests otherwise. In some cases the term "baptize" is synonymous with "wash" (Tit. 3:5-6; see also Heb. 9:19; Eph. 5:26, Acts 22:16, and Mark 7:1-4a passage in which some earlier translators considered the term "baptize" to include the washing of "dining couches"), and it is highly likely that Baptisms were performed in the early church by methods other than immersion. Three thousand were baptized on Pentecost in Jerusalem, where no river exists and no mention is made of other large quantities of water that would or may have been used. In fact, the shortage of water supplies in general in many parts of the ancient world would have precluded Baptism by immersion. As the Supplementary Volume of The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible correctly notes, "It is unlikely that in Jerusalem, Samaria, Damascus, Philippi, Corinth, Rome, or Asia Minor enough water was always available for a full bath" (87).
It should be noted that very early in Christian history methods other than immersion were used and allowed. The Didache requires the administrant of Baptism to "pour water three times on the head" (7:3). No mention is made of immersion. Early Christian art depicts Baptisms of persons standing in shallow pools with water poured on the head (see David Scaer, Baptism, 96-101).
Lutherans have therefore held that the manner of Baptism (that is, immersion, pouring, sprinkling, etc.) does not determine whether a Baptism is valid, any more than the manner of distributing the Lord's Supper (common cup, individual glasses) affects the validity of this Sacrament. Only the Word of God and the "element" (water), according to divine institution, makes a Baptism valid.
And, BTW, infant baptism had not come into general use before the time of Tertullian,
One can see that isn't the case from the first entry, also this from the previous link:
This pattern of baptizing infants remained in Christianity through the Dark and Middle Ages until modern times. In the 1500 years from the time of Christ to the Protestant Reformation, the only bonafide opponent to infant Baptism was the heretic Tertullian (160-215 AD) who de facto denied original sin. Then in the 1520s the Christian Church experienced opposition specifically to infant Baptism under the influence of Thomas Muenzer and other fanatics who opposed both civil and religious authority, original sin and human concupiscence. Thomas' opposition was then embraced by a considerable number of Swiss, German and Dutch Anabaptists. This brought about strong warning and renunciation by the Roman Catholics, Lutherans and Reformed alike. It was considered a shameless affront to what had been practiced in each generation since Christ's command in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) to baptize all nations irrespective of age. Historical excerpts are from "Infant Baptism in Early Church History," by Dr. Dennis Kastens in Issues Etc. Journal, Spring 1997, Vol. 2, No. 3.
If one essentially denies original sin, I can't be buying much of what he says especially about infant baptism.
This is an improper use of the term sola scriptura. As one of them 'types' myself, that isn't the issue here.
Negative. I'm not a follower of either Luther or Calvin. I was raised in a RC family and educated in RC schools. After Vatican Council II, which stated that RC members should read the Bible, I did! That is what led me out of the RCC! I'm a follower of Christ, a Christian - and not a hyphenated one! BTW, your saying I'm a -P, which doesn't mean much to me, is something you are merely guessing at!
And, here you go contradicting people who came before you. How do you know that the scriptures are inspired by the way? Why dont you include The Acts of Paul and Theda as scripture?
Here is what was said:
The Tradition about Anne and Joachim are documented from the 1st and 2nd century Christians.
To which I responded:
"Your "Tradition" is a mere story passed on by an uninspired writer from an unknown place and time. Substantiate it if you can. "
Again, substantiate it if you can. BTW, The Acts of Paul and Theda, when read, show that they are not worthy of being called "Scriptures" of Christianity.
Actually, history IS on the side of the CHurch -- read Church history, read secular history and you will see that first century Christians believed what The Apostolic Church believes, not a protestant belief.
Here is what was said:
"Your assertion is meaningless. Prove the IC of Mary from your "Tradition" AND the Scriptures - if you can!"
BTW, history is not on your side on this issue!
If you can't address my comments and challenges, why don't you just admit you can't?
The IC is based on scripture as I said and it does not in any way CONTRADICT scripture.
Here is what was said:
"BTW, history is not on your side on this issue! " I asked you to substantiate the IC of Mary as being from the time of the Apostles - If you can't do so, why not just admit you can't?
Assertions don't mean a thing to me. If you want to show me you are worthy of responding to anymore, address my questions and substantiate your assertions! If you can't, just say so and we'll leave it there!
That babies can have the Holy Spirit within them or know Scripture from infancy is biblical. Is Timothy the only such infant? John the Baptist was the greatest man born of woman according to Jesus, he had the Spirit from birth.
Actually, I’m a born Catholic and reading the Bible has only deepened my faith —> and by the by, I do remember you pointing out that you had left The Church and didn’t say that you were a Calvinist / Lutheran —> that was your personal interpretation of what I said — sola interpretura.
I gave you examples of where this was referred to in by Ireneus and by Cyprian. And on what basis do you consider The Acts of Paul and Theda to NOT be inspired? Which verses do you consider that do not “rate” that?
I already proved the IC from Tradition and this is also indicated in scripture, just as the Trinity is indicated. Finally, the IC does not contradict Scripture
"The Church received from the Apostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants. For the Apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stains of sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit"and St. Cyprian
"In respect to the case of infants, which you say ought not to be baptised within the second or third day after birth, and that hte law of ncient circumcision be regarded, so that you think that one who is just born should not be baptised and sanctified within the eighth day,we all thought very differently in our council. For in this course which you thought was to be taken, no one agreed; but we all rather judge that the mercy and grace of God is not to be refused to any one born of man.. we ought to shrink from hindering an infant, who being lately born, has not sinned, except in that, being born after the flesh accrding to Adam, he has ontracted teh contagion of the ancient death as its earliest birth, who approaches the more easily on this very account to the reception of the forgiveness of sins -- that to him are remitted, not his own sincs, but the sins of another (Adam)"So scripturally, traditionally and historically there is no case to deny infants baptism. On the contrary, one finds scriptural proof of baptism as the New Testament's circumcision where entire households are baptised and one finds historical proof of it being practised by the early Christians.
Thanks for the accusation.
Now exactly what is meant if somebody claims St Paul relies on tradition? What Chapter and verse do we have in Scripture or passage is there where Paul addresses the requirement for reliance on tradition in order to have faith?
Not really an accusation — I said “And yet by doing that you contradict St. Paul who relies on tradition too but he talks favorably of CHRISTIAN tradition as opposed to the rabbinical tradition. Christ promised an infallible community, a Church of believers. And thats what was a united front dogmatically for 1500 years.” —> that was a statement in response to your point about Tradition (btw, it’s not just for the Catholic Churches (Latin, Maronite, Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankar, Chaldean etc.) but also followed by Copts, Orthodox, Armenians,Ethiopians.
13But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you[b] to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings[c] we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.or 2 Tim. 3:1415
16May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ JesusThis epistle, remember, is directed at Timothy. The scriptures in Timothy's time were the Jewish scriptures as much of the canon was not even written (Revelation and many Pauline epistles) and was definitely not collected. Paul tells Timothy to continue in what he has learned for two reasons: first, because he knows from whom he has learned itPaul himselfand second, because he has been educated in the scriptures. The first of these is a direct appeal to apostolic tradition, the oral teaching which the apostle Paul had given Timothy. So you need to take 2 Timothy 3:16-17 out of context to arrive at the theory of sola scriptura. But when the passage is read in context, it becomes clear that it is teaching the importance of apostolic tradition.
What you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others alsoWhat has been taught from the Apostles is to be taught down to others.
I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to youJesus clearly does not condemn God given traditions as handed down to the Church by the Apostles but condemns human traditions of the Pharisees. He condemned traditions that contradicted scripture -- and no Church tradition does that.
FWIW, this is probably why I am not a Roman Catholic.
The customs I observe them promoting are not in keeping with the tradition of the Apostles, but by continuing to take in the Word of God through Scripture I am able to maintain growing through the tradition of Paul. By attempting to pray to Mary, I find myself counterfeiting that which God has provided in Christ, so I turn away from such things.
I don’t know if God’s Plan calls for some to pray to Mary. I see good reason and many cases where believers shouldn’t do so in order to avoid placing something other than God before Him. It doesn’t for myself, so I find it much better to remain in faith through what He intends, though faith in Christ.
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