Skip to comments.Luther, Calvin, and Other Early Protestants on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary
Posted on 06/24/2003 3:49:56 PM PDT by Patrick Madrid
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I disagree with only two things you write - the idea that Rome departed from the Faith...
Please don't misrepresent me like that. I said Rome departed from certain teachings. Specifically and most importantly, that would include the efficacy of Christ's suffering and death.
...and that the Faith upon which it is based is not handed on by Apostolic Succession in the Episcopate.
I'm saved by Christ alone, not saved by apostolic succession. Episcopacy is addressed adequately in our confessions.
Of course much of what Luther wrote was Catholic. He certainly had a devout belief in the Real Presence and the privileges of Mary, for example.
Nice of you to remind me. Luther got in as much trouble for his views on real presence as he did for his views on faith alone (didn't you know that?).
The premise of all non-Catholic Christian denominations ultimately has to be that there is no authority in the Church heirarchy. For if you admit that there is an authority which must be heeded, then you immediately call into question the founding of that denomination against the authority that then existed. I can't see it another way.
I won't correct you since the use of a strawman helps you justify your beliefs (per 1 Cor 8:13).
Yes, Luther preached a doctrine from the Church Councils. But it is different from the Catholic Faith.
How is it different? What you've ignored in your sophistry is that no early church council would have issued anathema against anyone who preached Faith Alone -- particularly since that's precisely what they believed, taught, and confessed.
Luther's teachings were very much catholic (small c), yet Leo X issued a bull (including a death warrant -- where is that acceptable in Scripture or tradition?) on Luther. Leo's teachings, and those of his envoys, weren't catholic (small c) despite their positions in the church. Go figure.
We are saved by faith through grace for Christ's sake ALONE, not by other men regardless of their office or efforts.
Just curious as to why?
First of all his death was on a stake, not a cross. So if anything is flippant, its the way his death has been erronious been portrayed for the past hundreds of years.
The Catholic church as far as I know believes that Joseph was a very old man and married her to take care of her as a ministry from God. They believe that he already had a grown family. He stayed in a platonic relationship with Mary as she stayed a virgin.
The most serious flaw with this belief I believe is that Jesus as Joseph's eldest son recieved the birthright from his father. He recieved his right to the Davidic throne through his position as the eldest (though adopted) son of Joseph. He recieved his Davidic blood line through Mary but his Kingship through his father Joseph. Do you have any thoughts on this subject?
The name Mary was extremely common. The Bible does not say that the Mary in Matthew was the same as the Mary in John. Two common named Marys can have sons with the same popular names. I say this because you sound like you are stating that it is an assured fact that these two Marys are the same person.
1:22 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
The Bible clearly says that he knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son.
It seems that Catholics have the mistaken belief that knowing each other even in marriage is sinful. Adam and Eve were instructed to be fruitful and multiply before sin ever came into the world. The very definition of marriage involves two becoming one flesh. Joseph and Mary were married. The marriage bed is set apart and holy.
My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. I occasionally take a... hmm... "sabbatical" from FR. The relentless din of Political Cheer-Leading saps my interest, I'm afraid.
I tried "Christian Forums" as a respite; and I found there... pretty much what I had expected to find. A morass of Anti-Creedal Hyper-Individualists ("scratch an American Christian, and you'll find a Pelagian Heretic underneath"). Sighhhh....
All that said...
Without meaning to sound patronizing, sir...
....if the Ecclesial Contributions of the BLOOD-BROTHERS of Our Lord Jesus Christ (The DESPOSYNOI or "Sons of the House", first James the Righteous and then Jude as related by Eusebius) to the Administration and Ruling Judgment of the Early Christian Church is not "relevant"...
Then what in the samhill IS "relevant"?
Look, here's the scoop:
Rather, the President of the Apostles was James, the Blood-Brother of Jesus Christ. "Peter, James (bar Zebedee) and John, after the ascension of the Saviour, did not claim pre-eminence because the Saviour had especially honored them, but chose James the Righteous as Bishop of Jerusalem.... James, the Lord's brother, who had been elected by the apostles to the Episcopal Throne at Jerusalem." (ref. Clement of Alexandria, cf. Eusebius Historia Ecclesia)
And this is directly confirmed in Scripture. Peter reported to James (Acts 12:17) and Peter answered to James (Acts 15:13) and Peter was subordinate to James (Acts 21:18) and Peter feared James (Galatians 2:12).
Respectfully, Mr. Madrid, I appreciate your offer of the book. You're welcome to send it to me if you would like, and I am grateful for the offer. IF you want to send me a copy at:
Then I'll be happy to accept.
But I admit I am put off a bit by the Title: "Pope Fiction: Answers to 30 Myths and Misconceptions About the Papacy." It sounds to me like recycled Roman responses to recycled Dave Hunt-style "protestant" argumentation.
"Protestant" so falsely-called.
At the moment, I am not interested in "30 answers". I am just interested in ONE.
Who was James?
Peter reported to James (Acts 12:17) and Peter answered to James (Acts 15:13) and Peter was subordinate to James (Acts 21:18) and Peter feared James (Galatians 2:12).
You are invited to send me the book if you like, Mr. Madrid. My address is posted (rather publicly) above.
But as I said before, my interest is particular to James.
If Ya'akov Ha Tsedek is exactly the Person he is declared to be by both Scripture and Tradition...
LOL. I actually got it.
Fear not, but I am watching OP's posts here closely as well- he has greatly interested me in this topic.
|Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > B > The Brethren of the Lord|
The Brethren of the Lord
A group of persons closely connected with the Saviour appears repeatedly in the New Testament under the designation "his brethren" or "the brethren of the Lord" (Matt 12:46, 13:55; Mark 3:31-32, 6:3; Luke 8:19-20; John 2:12, 7:3-5; Acts 1:14; I Cor 9:5). Four such "brethren" are mentioned by name in the parallel texts of Matt 13:55 and Mark 6:3 (where "sisters" are also referred to), namely, James (also mentioned Galatians 1:19), Joseph, or Joses, Simon, and Jude; the incidental manner in which these names are given, shows, however, that the list lays no claim to completeness.
Two questions in connexion with these "brethren" of the Lord have long been, and are still now more than ever, the subject of controversy: (1) The identity of James, Jude, and Simon; (2) the exact nature of the relationship between the Saviour and his "brethren".
(1) The identity of James, Jude and Simon. James is without doubt the Bishop of Jerusalem (Acts 12:17, 15:13, 21:18; Galatians 1:19; 2:9-12) and the author of the first Catholic Epistle. His identity with James the Less (Mark 15:40) and the Apostle James, the son of Alpheus (Matt 10:3; Mark 3:18), although contested by many Protestant critics, may also be considered as certain. There is no reasonable doubt that in Galatians 1:19: "But other of the apostles [besides Cephas] I saw none, saving James the brother of the Lord", St. Paul represents James as a member of the Apostolic college. The purpose for which the statement is made, makes it clear that the "apostles" is to be taken strictly to designate the Twelve, and its truthfulness demands that the clause "saving James" be understood to mean, that in addition to Cephas, St. Paul saw another Apostle, "James the brother of the Lord" (cf. Acts 9:27). Besides, the prominence and authority of James among the Apostles (Acts 15:13; Galatians 2:9; in the latter text he is even named before Cephas) could have belonged only to one of their number. Now there were only two Apostles named James: James the son of Zebedee, and James the son of Alpheus (Matt 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13). The former is out of the question, since he was dead at the time of the events to which Acts 15:6 ssq., and Galatians 2:9-12 refer (cf. Acts 12:2). James "the brother of the Lord" is therefore one with James the son of Alpheus, and consequently with James the Less, the identity of these two being generally conceded. Again, on comparing John 19:25 with Matt 27:56, and Mark 15:40 (cf. Mark 15:47; 16:1), we find that Mary of Cleophas, or more correctly Clopas (Klopas), the sister of Mary the Mother of Christ, is the same as Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joseph, or Joses. As married women are not distinguished by the addition of their father's name, Mary of Clopas must be the wife of Clopas, and not his daughter, as has been maintained. Moreover, the names of her sons and the order in which they are given, no doubt the order of seniority, warrant us in identifying these sons with James and Joseph, or Joses, the "brethren" of the Lord. The existence among the early followers of Christ of two sets of brothers having the same names in the order of age, is not likely, and cannot be assumed without proof. Once this identity is conceded, the conclusion cannot well be avoided that Clopas and Alpheus are one person, even if the two names are quite distinct. It is, however, highly probable, and commonly admitted, that Clopas and Alpheus are merely different transcriptions of the same Aramaic word Halphai. James and Joseph the "brethren" of the Lord are thus the sons of Alpheus.
Of Joseph nothing further is known. Jude is the writer of the last of the Catholic Epistles (Jude 1). He is with good reason identified by Catholic commentators with the "Judas Jacobi" ("Jude the brother of James" in the Douay Version) of Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13, otherwise known as Thaddeus (Matt 10:3; Mark 3:18). It is quite in accordance with Greek custom for a man to be distinguished by the addition of his brother's name instead of his father's, when the brother was better known. That such was the case with Jude is inferred from the title "the brother of James", by which he designates himself in his Epistle. About Simon nothing certain can be stated. He is identified by most commentators with the Symeon, or Simon, who, according to Hegesippus, was a son of Clopas, and succeeded James as Bishop of Jerusalem. Some identify him with the Apostle Simon the Cananean (Matt 10:4; Mark 3:18) or the Zealot (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). The grouping together of James, Jude or Thaddeus, and Simon, after the other Apostles, Judas Iscariot excepted, in the lists of the Apostles, (Matt 10:4-5; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13) lends some probability to this view, as it seems to indicate some sort of connexion between the three. Be this as it may, it is certain that at least two of the "brethren" of Christ were among the Apostles. This is clearly implied in 1 Cor 9:5: "Have we not the power to carry about a woman, a sister, as well as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?" The mention of Cephas at the end indicates that St. Paul, after speaking of the Apostles in general, calls special attention to the more prominent ones, the "brethren" of the Lord and Cephas. The objection that no "brethren" of the Lord could have been members of the Apostolic college, because six months before Christ's death they did not believe in Him (John 7:3-5), rests on a misunderstanding of the text. His "brethren" believed in his miraculous power, and urged him to manifest it to the world. Their unbelief was therefore relative. It was not a want of belief in His Messiahship, but a false conception of it. They had not yet rid themselves of the Jewish idea of a Messiah who would be a temporal ruler. We meet with this idea among the Apostles as late as the day of the Ascension (Acts 1:6). In any case the expression "his brethren" does not necessarily include each and every "brother", whenever it occurs. This last remark also sufficiently answers the difficulty in Acts 1:13-14, where, it is said, a clear distinction is made between the Apostles and the "brethren" of the Lord.
(2) The exact nature of the relationship between the Saviour and his "brethren". The texts cited at the beginning of this article show beyond a doubt that there existed a real and near kinship between Jesus and His "brethren". But as "brethren" (or "brother") is applied to step-brothers as well as to brothers by blood, and in Scriptural, and Semitic use generally, is often loosely extended to all near, or even distant, relatives (Gen 13:8, 14:14-16; Lev 10:4; 1 Par 15:5-10, 23:21-22), the word furnishes no certain indication of the exact nature of the relationship. Some ancient heretics, like Helvidius and the Antidicomarianites, maintained that the "brethren" of Jesus were His uterine brothers the sons of Joseph and Mary. This opinion has been revived in modern times, and is now adopted by most of the Protestant exegetes. On the orthodox side two views have long been current. The majority of the Greek Fathers and Greek writers, influenced, it seems, by the legendary tales of apocryphal gospels, considered the "brethren" of the Lord as sons of St. Joseph by a first marriage. The Latins, on the contrary, with few exceptions (St. Ambrose, St. Hilary, and St. Gregory of Tours among the Fathers), hold that they were the Lord's cousins. That they were not the sons of Joseph and Mary is proved by the following reasons, leaving out of consideration the great antiquity of the belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary. It is highly significant that throughout the New Testament Mary appears as the Mother of Jesus and of Jesus alone. This is the more remarkable as she is repeatedly mentioned in connexion with her supposed sons, and, in some cases at least, it would have been quite natural to call them her sons (cf. Matt 12:46; Mark 3:31; Luke 8:19; Acts 1:14). Again, Mary's annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem (Luke 2:41) is quite incredible, except on the supposition that she bore no other children besides Jesus. Is it likely that she could have made the journey regularly, at a time when the burden of child-bearing and the care of an increasing number of small children (she would be the mother of at least four other sons and of several daughters, cf Matt 13:56) would be pressing heavily upon her? A further proof is the fact that at His death Jesus recommended His mother to St. John. Is not His solicitude for her in His dying hour a sign that she would be left with no one whose duty it would be to care for her? And why recommend her to an outsider if she had other sons? Since there was no estrangement between Him and His "brethren", or between them and Mary, no plausible argument is confirmed by the words with which he recommends her: ide ho uios sou, with the article before uios (son); had there been others sons, ide uios sou, without the article, would have been the proper expression.
The decisive proof, however, is that the father and mother of at least two of these "brethren" are known to us. James and Joseph, or Joses, are, as we have seen, the sons of Alpheus, or Clopas, and of Mary, the sister of Mary the Mother of Jesus, and all agree that if these are not brothers of the Saviour, the others are not. This last argument disposes also of the theory that the "brethren" of the Lord were the sons of St. Joseph by a former marriage. They are then neither the brothers nor the step-brothers of the Lord. James, Joseph, and Jude are undoubtedly His cousins. If Simon is the same as the Symeon of Hegesippus, he also is a cousin, since this writer expressly states that he was the son of Clopas the uncle of the Lord, and the latter's cousin. But whether they were cousins on their father's or mother's side, whether cousins by blood or merely by marriage, cannot be determined with certainty. Mary of Clopas is indeed called the "sister" of the Blessed Virgin (John 19:25), but it is uncertain whether "sister" here means a true sister or a sister-in-law. Hegesippus calls Clopas the brother of St. Joseph. This would favour the view that Mary of Clopas was only the sister-in-law of the Blessed Virgin, unless it be true, as stated in the MSS. of the Peshitta version, that Joseph and Clopas married sisters. The relationship of the other "brethren" may have been more distant than that of the above named four.
The chief objection against the Catholic position is taken from Matt 1:25: "He [Joseph] knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son"; and from Luke 2:7: "And she brought forth her firstborn son". Hence, it is argued, Mary must have born other children. "Firstborn" (prototokos), however, does not necessarily connote that other children were born afterwards. This is evident from Luke 2:23, and Ex 13:2-12 (cf. Greek text) to which Luke refers. "Opening the womb" is there given as the equivalent of "firstborn" (prototokos). An only child was thus no less "firstborn" than the first of many. Neither do the words "he knew her not till she brought forth" imply, as St. Jerome proves conclusively against Helvidius from parallel examples, that he knew her afterwards. The meaning of both expressions becomes clear, if they are considered in connexion with the virginal birth related by the two Evangelists.
For the Cousin Theory: ST. JEROME, Adv. Helvid. in P.L., XXIII; MILL, Pantheistic Principles, 220-316; VIGOUROUX, Les Livres saints et la critique, V, 397-420; CORLUY, Les frères de N.S.J. C. in Etudes (1878), I, 5, 145; MEINERTZ, Der Jacobusbrief und sein Verfasser (Freiburg im Br., 1905), 6-54; CORNELY, Introductio (Paris, 1897), III, 592 sqq.; SCHEGG, Jacobus der Br¨der des Herrn (Munich, 1883); LAGRANGE in Rev. Bibl. (1906), 504, 505. For the Step-Brother Theory : LIGHTFOOT, Comm. on Gal., 252-291. For the Helvidian View : HASTINGS, Dict. Bib., I, 320; ZAHN, Forschungen, VI, Brueder und Vettern Jesu (Leipzig, 1900).
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II
|Copyright © 2003 by Kevin Knight. All rights reserved. Updated 26 June 2003.|
|"Blessed be Jesus Christ in His Angels and in His Saints."|
Except that explanation won't fly -- because we're talking about two different Marys (three, counting Magdalene, who is not relevant to the discussion) and two different James (three, counting Bar Zebedee, who is only relevant to the discussion in regard to the record of Clement as detailed below).
As previously anticipated and contraverted in my Post (see the footnoted Link), first-cousin James "the Lesser" (son of Mary of Cleophas) was already numbered by name among the Believers and Followers of Jesus as early as Matthew 10:3, whereas James "the Righteous" (son of Mary of Joseph) was still numbered by name among the Unbelievers and Doubters as late as Matthew 12:46-13:55.
Let me phrase the argument in two parts to make it even more explicit:
Thus -- cousin James "the Lesser" (a Believer who had been Following Jesus all over the countryside), and brother James "the Righteous" (a Doubter who had remained in Nazareth all this time) are simply not the same person.
This is even further buttressed in the Linked Article, in the context of the related citation of John 7 :
So, allow me this review of my Arguments:
Ergo, to tie it all in with the discussion at hand: good interpretive evidence for something very dramatic happening after Jesus crucifixion lies in the very fact that Jesus brothers didn't believe who He was (would your brothers?) until the resurrection (which would convince anyone!). Suddenly, the oldest surviving sibling is the head of the Jerusalem Assembly of Jesus Movement Jews. -- Jack Kilmon, History and the New Testament
All of which militates strongly against the dogma of "Perpetual Virginity"; but, what is more, against the Romano-centric and Petrine-successionist view of the Early Church altogether.
Hmmm, could you please provide the quotes Eusebius and Clement offer stating Jesus and James were "blood-brothers."
The references I've seen from these two sources would argue just the opposite.
Is it your contention John 3:16 would be better translated, "only-born" Son rather than "begotten" son? Or that there is no difference between the two?
I did examine the evidence, Mr. Madrid. (Gosh, I've read the Catholic Encyclopedia entry before, natch; the first order of business for any collegiate Debater is to examine the Opponent's likely counter-arguments, and the C.E. is certainly the one-stop shopping mall for all your Opposition Research needs).
The problem is that Bechtel essentially attempts to use the commonality of Names amongst Jewish Families to side-step the Protestant Arguments. Basically, his argument boils down to the fact that since we know that Jesus had first-cousins named "James" and "Joses", it is therefore impossible that He had similarly-named blood-brothers -- and we should just presume that they are the same persons. But this is just sophistry on his part (IMHO); since we know that Jesus had at least two cousins named "James", and both a cousin and a (legal) Father named "Joseph", (not to mention at least three or four "Marys" in His family and immediate circle).
Rather than "demolish" the Protestant arguments, he hasn't even really bothered to address them.
So it is hardly surprising that Jesus would also have had Brothers named "James" and "Joseph" in addition to His cousins and (legal) father... especially since the Scriptures expressly declare that Jesus had brothers named James and Joseph, in addition to at least three similarly-named cousins (who are directly indentified in Scripture as His cousins by their specific identification with His aunts, whereas His brothers are directly indentified in Scripture as His brothers by their specific identification with His mother -- again see Matthew 12:46-13:55)
The question to be asked, especially in regard to James the Righteous (who was specifically identified as the son of Jesus' mother in Matthew 13), as distinct from James the Lesser (who was specifically identified as the son of Jesus' aunt in Matthew 10), is: "Are they really the SAME PERSON?"
And the answer is -- NO, THEY AREN'T. Despite the fact that James the Lesser is identified in Scripture as the son of Jesus' aunt (Matt. 10), whereas James the Righteous is identified in Scripture as the son of Jesus' mother (Matt. 13) -- which really ought be plain enough -- the Scriptural Chronology of Matthew makes the attempted equivalency of these two separate individuals an outrageous impossibility.
James the Lesser (His cousin) is identified in Matthew 10 as a Believer and a Follower of Jesus who followed Him all over the countryside and indeed, worked marvelous miracles in His name. By contrast, James the Righteous (His brother) is indentified in Matthew 13 as an UnBeliever who had remained in Nazareth all this time and was called upon by the Nazarene locals as a Witness against His messianic claims.
So, returning to the point:
John Calvin may be the founder of my denomination, but Calvin really had very little to say on this subject -- other than parroting the existing Roman Catholic party line.
And Bechtel... well, Bechtel doesn't even really bother with the Protestant arguments; rather, he attempts to evade them (see my three points immediately above, addressed by neither Calvin nor Bechtel). Which is understandable given the absurdity of his proposition, but it still leaks like a sieve.
This ain't bluster on my part. I've given you three quite specific arguments above (family, scripture, and tradition) and have been entirely forthright about my argumentation.
You are most honestly and cordially invited to address them.
I'd welcome it. You'd be the first. Bechtel, sure as apple pie, has not.