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Mary of Nazareth As The Bible Defines Her
The Ignorant Fishermen.com ^ | December 20, 2010 | DJP

Posted on 12/20/2010 5:58:54 PM PST by kindred

Monday, This study seeks to present from God's Holy Word what the Bible teaches about Mary of Nazareth, the young Jewish virgin that bore the Messiah, the Savior of the World. In this study we will seek to look at EVERY Bible verse found in the Holy Scriptures that pertains to Mary of Nazareth. Be sure to check out all the links for this study, for they will provide a deeper perspective into the person of Mary.

Introduction . In beginning this study, the clarifying statement should be made that the Bible, God’s infallible (reliable) and immaculate (perfect) Word, is the FINAL AUTHORITY when it comes to ALL matters pertaining to the truth of Christianity, which includes Mary (2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16).

The Lord Jesus Christ gave countless warnings to BEWARE false teachers and false teachings. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man DECEIVE YOU (Gospel of Saint Matthew 24:4).

Saint Paul also warned us to BEWARE of false teachings and fables. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Timothy 4:2-4).

Many dear, sincere people trust for their eternal destiny in observing "Christian traditions," performing "good works" and having a "denominational upbringing" instead of BELIEVING and TRUSTING the Word of Almighty God (2 Tim. 3:14-4:5). The Lord Jesus issued serious warnings about practicing the vain traditions of men instead of holding to the sound eternal absolutes and spiritual laws found in Almighty God's Holy Word (St. Matt. 7:21-23).

Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition (St. Mark 7:7-9).

Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (St. Matthew 15:6b-9).

We also read in God's Word about the positive example of the Bereans. They (The Bereans)received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed" (Acts 17:11b-12a). Again, God's Word is the ABSOLUTE FINAL authority when it comes to any subject or teaching found in Christianity. The Bible states in regard to God's Word: For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). . Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever (Psalm 119:160). Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (St. Matthew 24:35).

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (1 Thess. 2:13).

He that is of God heareth God's words (St. John 8:47). May it be your sincere desire not to allow your own feelings to cloud your reason regarding this very delicate subject relating to Mary of Nazareth. By having faith in Almighty God (Heb. 11:6), i.e., by believing on God and His Word, may the Holy Spirit guide you into all truth (St. John 16:12-13). Whatever your thoughts, traditions or teachings about Mary (or Miriam in the Hebrew) of Nazareth, they MUST be defined by and align themselves with the Holy Scriptures. Again, the objective of this study is to present what God's Holy Word, the Bible, teaches about Mary of Nazareth.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17).

The Humanity of Mary

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate (to look with pity on her vile condition) of his handmaiden (slave): for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation (St. Luke 1:45-49).

Mary offered a burnt offering and a sin offering for an atonement after her purification (Leviticus 12:1-8). And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons (St. Luke 2:22-24). . These passages reveal that Mary was a sinner in need of a Savior!

The Use of the Term "Woman" by the Lord Jesus in Regard to Mary

Nowhere in the New Testament is there found the occasion where the Lord Jesus called His "human" mother Mary, "Mother." We only find that He called her "Woman" (St. John 2:1-4; 19:25-27). There are distinctions given by the Gospel writers (2 Peter 1:20-21) that reveal Mary as the mother of Jesus’ human nature, but again the term "mother" was never used by Jesus when addressing Mary. We have absolutely NO record of that. Mary was a created being and the Lord Jesus was the Eternal Creator (St. John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-3). This practice was not belittling to motherhood in general or derogatory to Mary herself in any way, shape or form. The Lord Jesus was helping Mary to understand that the Son of her womb was actually the Son of the Highest sent from Heaven above (St. John 1:1-14; Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2). Mary had only given birth to PROVIDE a human body to house the Eternal Person of the Son of God for His great mission here on planet earth (St. John 1:14; Heb. 2:14-15; 10:5, 12:1-3). n, Image Example: (Click links below for a visual image) . The Lord Jesus (The Son of Almighty God) - Click for link . Adam's fallen race which included Mary (Romans 5:12-19). - Clink for link , Jesus was (and is) the Perfect Son of God (St. John 1:1-3), God in the flesh (St. John 1:14) and the Savior of the World - including all humanity and even Mary (St. Luke 1:45-49). This title of "woman" was a constant reminder to and for Mary (Miriam) that Jesus was absolutely different and holy (perfect and set apart). Jesus was not like any of her other children or any other of Adam's IMPERFECT fallen race (St. Luke 1:31-32; Rom. 5:12-19). He was the PERFECT Son of Almighty God dwelling in a PERFECT human body (St. John 8:46; 1 Peter 3:18). The heavenly assignment given to Mary by Almighty God would not be an easy one, as the Holy Scriptures tell us. , And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart (St. Luke 2:18-19).

And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed (St. Luke 2:34-35).

And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart (St. Luke 2:48-51).

And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother (Mark 3:35).

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home(St. John 19:25-27). . (This last passage is pertinent to understanding why Jesus used the term "woman" when addressing Mary, i.e., to communicate that his relationship with his earthly mother would not be permanent, only temporary.)

The Virgin-Born Birth of The Savior of the World . And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy (Lucifer's) seed and her (Eve's, later Mary's) seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (Genesis 3:13-15).

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (St. Matthew 1:20-23).

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:31-35). . But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law (Gal 4:4). . Almighty God (the Father) BYPASSED the seed of fallen man by the POWER and OVERSHADOWING of the Holy Spirit (St. Luke 1:35). This Divine action PREVENTED the fallen traits and corruption of Adam's FALLEN race (Gen. 5:3; Romans 3:23; 5:12-19) from CONTAMINATING the PERFECT housing (body of flesh) for the Person of the Son of God to tangibly dwell here on planet earth (Micah 5:2; St. Luke 1:35; St. John 1:14; Heb. 10:5; 1 Peter 1:19). . Image Example: (Click links below for a visual image) .. The Lord Jesus (The Son of Almighty God). - Click for link . Adam's fallen race which included Mary (Romans 5:12-19). - Click for link ' The Non-Perpetual Virginity of Mary after the Lord Jesus' Birth . Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together (i.e., had intimate physical relations), she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not (refers to sexual intimacy of the God-ordained marital union) till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS (St. Matthew 1:18-25).

And she brought forth her firstborn (implies the first with more following after) son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn (St. Luke 2:7).

Mary and Joseph's Children

I am become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother's children (Psalm 69:8). . And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? (Matthew 13:53-55). . “When the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him” (St. Mark 6:1-3).

After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days (St. John 2:12). . His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him. Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come (St. John 7:3-8).

And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren (Acts 1:13-14).

There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother (St. Mark 3:31-35).

And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid (St. Mark 15:47).

And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him (St. Mark 16:1).

Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children. When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus (Matthew 27:56-58).

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother (Galatians 1:19).

Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied (St. Jude 1:1-2).

The Book of James and the Book of Jude were written by the half-brothers of Jesus, i.e., Mary’s children fathered by Joseph. Also, James the half-brother of Jesus was one of the early leaders of the Church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:13-21).

Mary's Life after the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ . During the crucifixion of Christ on the cross, John is given guardianship of Mary and her family by her firstborn son, Jesus.

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home (St. John 19:26-27).

"Mary and her family were present with the disciples at Pentecost and were also included with the Church at Jerusalem." / And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. (Acts 1:13, 14)

NOTE: All words in bold print in the following section refer directly to the disciples (including Mary).

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord (including Mary) in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:1-4). . And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved (Acts 2:42-47).

"Mary died in Christ and shall be changed at Christ's coming for the Church at the Rapture" - Link

NOTE: All words in bold print in the following section refer to "church age" believers (including Mary).

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (children) of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons (children) of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure (1 John 3:1-3).

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever (Revelation 22:1-5).

Conclusion

The Scripture verses presented here consisted of ALL the scripture verses that mention Mary of Nazareth. The many traditions of Mary - her intercessory prayers, her immaculate birth and sinless life (or state of perfection), her perpetual virginity, her ascension into Heaven, her immaculate heart, etc. are NOWHERE TO BE FOUND in the Holy Scriptures. Relatively speaking, very little is mentioned about Mary in the New Testament. These false doctrines, teachings, fables and traditions passed down through the centuries have originated and been enlarged upon by the traditions of men and the Catholic Church. These fables were not given by Almighty God. In fact, these teachings contradict the Holy Scriptures and its divine authority. They are at the very heart of Satanic lies and deception.

To again clarify, this study was not done to belittle anyone's personal beliefs, but only to expose the heretical falsehoods pertaining to the church traditions and teachings of Mary of Nazareth. It is our deepest desire to encourage people to BELIEVE the Holy Scriptures and to REJECT any teachings and traditions of men which contradict the Holy Scriptures. May it be your sincere desire to acknowledge Mary as she is; a wonderful and faithful servant of Almighty God (Luke 1:28). As the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, may Jesus Christ ONLY be exalted and lifted up in our hearts and lives.

St. Peter stated in 2 Peter 1: 20-21: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. And St. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:12-17: Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

The Bible, God’s infallible and immaculate Word, is the ABSOLUTE and FINAL AUTHORITY for all matters relating to spiritual truth (doctrine) about God, Jesus, sin, salvation, Mary, etc. May it be your sincere desire to be governed by the Holy Scriptures and NOT the traditions of men (St. Matt. 15; St. Mark 7). The true (Biblical) Mary would surely want you to!. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: mary; religion; yopios
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It is a subject that is necessary to broach and to discuss. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God is profitable for doctrine,for reproof, for correction and for instruction in rightiousness.
1 posted on 12/20/2010 5:58:56 PM PST by kindred
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To: kindred

I’ve seen hardcore Protestants and Catholics (I was once told I lived in a nation that supported murder because we have birth control here). I’ll get the popcorn for this thread if the two sides show up.


2 posted on 12/20/2010 6:07:16 PM PST by chargers fan
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To: kindred

ping to watch...live and let live...i don’t care if you worship a wheelbarrow...it’s your business and not mine...and it is not up to me to criticize anyone’s religion...


3 posted on 12/20/2010 6:10:56 PM PST by devane617 (NEVER feed your cats canned Tuna fish. Mercury poisoning.)
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To: kindred

If, as you say, “In beginning this study, the clarifying statement should be made that the Bible, God’s infallible (reliable) and immaculate (perfect) Word, is the FINAL AUTHORITY when it comes to ALL matters pertaining to the truth of Christianity, which includes Mary (2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16),” where is the canon of Scripture listed IN Scripture? Likewise, what specific verse calls the Bible the FINAL AUTHORITY, in those words? That’s a start. There are many more holes in your words. Even an amateur such as myself can see them. Where’s my popcorn?


4 posted on 12/20/2010 6:12:24 PM PST by sayuncledave (A cruce salus)
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To: chargers fan

So you support the murder of fetuses? How long ago were you a Fetuses any ways? Would you deny the chance of a fetus to eat some popcorn while discussing your future? Enjoy your corn..


5 posted on 12/20/2010 6:21:27 PM PST by reefdiver ("Let His day's be few And another takes His office")
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To: reefdiver
"So you support the murder of fetuses?..."

How in the heck did you make this leap? At least you made me laugh...

6 posted on 12/20/2010 6:26:52 PM PST by devane617 (NEVER feed your cats canned Tuna fish. Mercury poisoning.)
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To: devane617
and it is not up to me to criticize anyone’s religion...

Even when that 'religion' impels people to fly airplanes into buildings killing innocent people in the airplane and in the buildings? The same 'religion' that causes some to strap explosives to their bodies and detonate them in crowded spaces of innocent people? Even then?

7 posted on 12/20/2010 7:00:36 PM PST by mc5cents
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To: kindred

“I am become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children (Psalm 69:8).”

Worth reposting.


8 posted on 12/20/2010 7:01:20 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: mc5cents

There have been fanatics is all religions through history that have taken innocent lives—Right? I can easily criticize fanatics, and I do quite often, but their religion is none of my business.


9 posted on 12/20/2010 7:07:29 PM PST by devane617 (NEVER feed your cats canned Tuna fish. Mercury poisoning.)
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To: kindred
Oh, for crying out loud. Not AGAIN...
10 posted on 12/20/2010 7:07:47 PM PST by paladinan (Rule #1: There is a God. Rule #2: It isn't you.)
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To: kindred

In before the Catholic bashing...


11 posted on 12/20/2010 7:08:46 PM PST by Gene Eric (Your Hope has been redistributed. Here's your Change.)
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To: kindred

Outstanding post.


12 posted on 12/20/2010 7:09:04 PM PST by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: sayuncledave

Does it say Final Authority? No. But what it does say is:

“14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

“May be complete (ina hi artiov).
Final clause with ina and present subjunctive of eimi. Artiov is old word (from root arw, to fit), specially adapted, here only in N.T.

Furnished completely (exhrtismenov).
Perfect passive participle of exartizw, rare verb, to furnish (fit) fully (perfective use of ex), in N.T. only here and Acts 21:5. In Josephus. For katartizw, see Luke 6:40; 2 Corinthians 13:11. “

http://www.studylight.org/com/rwp/view.cgi?book=2ti&chapter=003&verse=017

It it equips you “for every good work”, then it is sufficient. You don’t need more if it fully equips you for every good work.

Also - how do you get more authoritative than “breathed out by God”?

Please note what Peter said:

“16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Peter%201&version=ESV

Please note that, if Peter had to chose between being present at the Transfiguration and scripture, he would choose scripture - “we have something more sure, the prophetic word”.

Now, against that you have what? Matt 16:16 setting up Peter as the Infallible Leader of the Church? Not hardly!

“11But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

15We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

17But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” Galatians 2

Peter was as wrong as possible: “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” He was wrong in his teaching and example. But, as I pointed out, PETER knew what was important. Not his experiences, not his standing, but the prophetic word of God.


13 posted on 12/20/2010 7:24:06 PM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: kindred

Excellent study. Saving for my library of apologetics.


14 posted on 12/20/2010 7:26:03 PM PST by strongbow
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To: kindred
the Bible, God’s infallible (reliable) and immaculate (perfect) Word, is the FINAL AUTHORITY

When it agrees with you or when it agrees with me?

15 posted on 12/20/2010 7:29:36 PM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: Mr Rogers

Thanks for your post.

Perhaps too some confuse the Word with words.


16 posted on 12/20/2010 7:31:38 PM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: devane617; reefdiver

Murdering fetuses? We’re not talking about abortion, we’re talking about preventing the act of contraception taking place. Anyway reefdiver, here’s a musical number for you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0kJHQpvgB8


17 posted on 12/20/2010 7:34:23 PM PST by chargers fan
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To: devane617

There is nothing to laugh at there, Your education is incomplete.


18 posted on 12/20/2010 7:40:17 PM PST by reefdiver ("Let His day's be few And another takes His office")
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To: kindred

This “study” is as goofy as a communist giving a class on market economics....only total ignorance of the subject matter allows it any credibility.

Find me the verse that says Jesus gave authority to a book instead of a Church, and I’ll regard you as something more than a religious flim-flam artist.


19 posted on 12/20/2010 8:04:55 PM PST by papertyger
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To: Mr Rogers
Thanks for your excellent study. It's worth noting that the Bible refers to Jesus's half-siblings several times and that the historian Josephus also refers to James, the bishop of the church in Jerusalem, as the brother of Jesus. Other early church documents also refer to James as the half-brother of Jesus.

Though Mary is certainly the most blessed woman who ever lived, it's clear from church and secular history that the doctrines that began to bubble up around Mary several hundred years after her death were unknown to the early church.

Jesus' Family Tree

The Relatives of Jesus

James the Brother of Jesus

20 posted on 12/20/2010 8:22:22 PM PST by DallasMike
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To: Mr Rogers
It it equips you “for every good work”, then it is sufficient. You don’t need more if it fully equips you for every good work.

How can you expect to be taken seriously by any rationally thinking adult when you put forth a proposition like this?

If adding a nickle to what money I have gives me enough to purchase a particular thing, does that mean all I ever needed was a nickle?

Any doctrine that was unheard of until the middle ages is no doctrine of Christianity.

21 posted on 12/20/2010 8:41:08 PM PST by papertyger
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To: papertyger
God gave the Bible to the church. To say otherwise is like saying you gave birth to yourself. The books of the Bible were generally agreed on by most Christians by the end of the first century.

As for your "show me" statement, you need look no further than 1 Corinthians 4:6. It warns believers not to search any further than the scriptures for their beliefs (emphasis mine).

Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.

There is nothing wrong with tradition. However, any church tradition -- from Baptists to Catholics to Pentecostals -- that go beyond what is written in the scriptures is a danger.

Jesus condemned certain Pharisee leaders for creating oral traditions that went beyond the scriptures:

Matt 15:1-3 "Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?"

Jesus chastised the Pharisees leaders for substituting their oral tradition for scripture. Remember also that when a group of Jews laid claim to their salvation because of their Jewish heritage, Jesus said that he could raise sons of Moses from the stones of the ground. He can do the same with any group of Christians, no matter how old they claim their church to be.

22 posted on 12/20/2010 9:15:17 PM PST by DallasMike
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To: papertyger
How can you expect to be taken seriously by any rationally thinking adult when you put forth a proposition like this?

The Bible puts forth the proposition, not Mr Rogers. You can choose to believe the Bible or believe something else.

I suggest that you place your faith in the God of the Bible, not the God of tradition, no matter who that tradition comes from.


23 posted on 12/20/2010 9:26:17 PM PST by DallasMike
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To: DallasMike
I suggest that you place your faith in the God of the Bible, not the God of tradition, no matter who that tradition comes from.

Even sola scriptura?

24 posted on 12/20/2010 9:35:01 PM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: DallasMike
The books of the Bible were generally agreed on by most Christians by the end of the first century.

Protestant fantasy. Besides, "general agreement," is not good enough if you believe sola scriptura. You can't have it both ways without complete loss of credibility.

As for your "show me" statement, you need look no further than 1 Corinthians 4:6.

This is the problem with do-it-yourself hermanutics, if I point out this scripture does not tell you "what is written" is referring to scripture, I'll either be told "it's self-evident," (which it isn't), or asked to produce what else it could be (which is irrelevant). In either case, what will be ignored is that the text does not specifically say "scripture" but you advertise it in such a way as to claim it does.

Similarly, anytime the phrase "word of God" shows up, Protestants mentally substitute "bible" when the bible itself tells us God's word is not restricted to its pages.

25 posted on 12/20/2010 10:17:13 PM PST by papertyger
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To: DallasMike

So “the Bible” tell us if you’re only lacking a nickle, all you ever needed was the nickle...

God save us from “home depot hermanutics!”


26 posted on 12/20/2010 10:30:32 PM PST by papertyger
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To: kindred; Molly K.; Not gonna take it anymore; Celtic Cross; shurwouldluv_a_smallergov; ...

Martin Luther’s Mariology (Particularly the Immaculate Conception)

[originally uploaded on 24 April 2003. Re-edited, with numerous additions and subject headings added: 26 April 2003; major revision: 7 April 2008]

Martin Luther’s words will be in green.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Overview of Catholic and Protestant Treatment of Luther’s Mariology

II. Have Catholic Apologists Exaggerated the Mariology of Luther and Other Early Protestant Leaders?

III. Lutheran Scholar Arthur Carl Piepkorn: Luther’s “Life-Long” Belief in the Immaculate Conception

IV. The Mariology of the Lutheran Confessions

V. Did Luther “Minimize” or Reject Various Aspects of Traditional Mariology in His Later Years?

VI. The Immaculate Conception: Theological Misunderstandings

VII. Immaculate Conception: Scholarly Opinion Concerning Luther’s Beliefs

VIII. Concluding Thoughts

I. Overview of Catholic and Protestant Treatment of Luther’s
Mariology

I will be presenting certain little-known facts about Luther’s Mariology. Catholics would contend that Luther was more biblical and traditional on this score (hence, more correct and “orthodox” from the historic Catholic standpoint) than virtually all present-day Lutherans.

As for Protestant “suppression” of Luther’s Mariology, I will cite just two examples from countless ones that could easily be brought forth. In the standard reference work, The Theology of Martin Luther, by Paul Althaus (tr. Robert C. Schultz, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966), a work of 464 profusely-documented pages, no section on Mary appears at all, though there are sections on topics such as, for example, “The People of God,” “The Church as the Community of Saints,” “The Office of the Ministry,” etc., thus showing that the work is rather wide-ranging. Mary cannot even be found in the Index of Names. The closest it gets is “Virgin Birth, dogma of” (p. 464). The author writes in his preface:
My purpose in this book is . . . to present a comprehensive overview of the basic elements of Luther’s theological work . . .

It is my intention that this book systematically present and interpret Luther’s teaching.
Perhaps the key to the omission might be located in the following words:
. . . Luther’s understanding of the gospel remains a vital reality in spite of everything in his theology which reflects the conditions of his times and which we cannot use.

(Preface to German edition, v-vi)
It is neither my intention nor purpose to cast aspersions upon professor Althaus’s generally excellent and helpful research. My point is only that current-day Lutherans and Protestants in general emphasize Mariology far less than the “Protestant Reformers” did (Luther, perhaps, above all). I don’t see that this is even arguable. Whether one holds that this reality is a desirable or undesirable change (which is another question: one of theology, orthodoxy, creeds, and confessions), it exists nonetheless.

To assert it as a rather obvious sociological fact (that is, obvious once one is a bit acquainted with the historical background of the development of Protestant thought) is not necessarily to take any particular position on the Mariological disputes in theology. Not all research on these issues has to have polemics and defense of one’s own particular position on theology or history as its motivation.

A similar situation can be found in Williston Walker’s book, John Calvin: The Organiser of Reformed Protestantism (New York: Schocken Books, 1969). In this comprehensive treatment of Calvin’s life and theology (nearly 500 pages), one discovers a single (rather casual) reference to Mary.

II. Have Catholic Apologists Exaggerated the Mariology of Luther and Other Early Protestant Leaders?

In 1962 Roman Catholic author Walter Tappolet compiled an astonishing compilation of texts from Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and Bullinger called, The Reformers in Praise of Mary. By going through sermons, devotional material and theological treatises, he documented an enduring orthodoxy of the Mariology of the Reformers.

(Jaroslav Pelikan, Mary Through The Ages, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996, 158, referencing Walter Tappolet, ed., Das Marienlob der Reformatoren [Tubingen: Katzman Verlag, 1962] )
Dr. Pelikan noted the vigorous opposition of early Protestants to idolatry and excesses of the communion of saints. But Pelikan maintains that that is not the entire picture of early Protestant Mariology:
. . . it would be a mistake, and one which many interpretations of the Reformation both friendly and hostile have all too easily fallen, to emphasize these negative and polemical aspects of its Mariology at the expense of the positive place the Protestant Reformers assigned to her in their theology. (24) They repeated . . . the central content of the orthodox confession of the first five centuries of Christian history. (25)

(Pelikan, ibid., 157)
Pelikan’s opinions are echoed by evangelical David Wright:
. . . the Churches that look back to the Reformers have on the whole been less affirmative about Mary than most of the Reformers themselves.

(Chosen by God: Mary in Evangelical Perspective, London: Marshall Pickering, 1989, 123)
Likewise, Catholic writer William J. Cole observes:
[Luther’s] custom of preaching Marian sermons on the Marian feasts continued in the Lutheran Church a hundred years after his death. Following the example of Luther other great songwriters of the Reformation glorified the greatness of Mary’s divine maternity. This lasting piety towards the Mother of God found an outlet in piety so that generally the celebrated pictures of the Madonna and her statues from the Middle Ages were retained in Lutheran churches. According to Heiler, it was only the spirit of the Enlightenment with its lack of understanding of the mystery of the Incarnation, which in the 18th century began the work of destruction.

(”Was Luther a Devotee of Mary?,” Marian Studies, 21, 1970, 101-102)
. . . the Reformer preached more about Mary than Catholic priests do in this era of the Church’s history.

(Ibid., 182)
The Catholic scholar Thomas A. O’Meara stated:
It was the times with their changes in intellectual and cultural outlook, it was the very history of the Reform with its forgetfulness of the fullness of its Lutheran and Calvinist inheritance, which caused a Christian religion to come into existence without any place for Christ’s Mother. We should remember that this was not the view of the Reformers, nor is it intrinsic to Protestantism.

(Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology, New York: Sheed & Ward, 1966, 137)
David Wright (who freely and vigorously criticizes various aspects of Catholic Mariology) applies the belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity to the early Protestant leaders generally, noting:
. . . the long-established universal belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity, which was endorsed by all the Reformers virtually without qualification.

(Wright, ibid., 169)
Wright observes, furthermore, that:
. . . the English Reformers probably to a man shared [the] conviction of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

(Ibid., 172)
He states that Hugh Latimer, Miles Coverdale, Robert Barnes, and Thomas Cranmer all accepted the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity, and that Cranmer thought it was proven from Scripture. Hugh Latimer also strongly held to Mary’s immaculate conception. [Wright, ibid., 174] Many, if not most Protestants today deny the perpetual virginity of Mary, but it was standard belief among the leaders of early Protestantism (and even later prominent figures such as John Wesley). See also, my paper: Luther, Calvin, and Other Early Protestants on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary.

The famous Swiss Protestant theologian Karl Barth wrote:
As Christians and theologians, we do not reject the description of Mary as the “Mother of God,” but in spite of its being overloaded by the so-called Mariology of the Roman Catholic Church, we affirm and approve of it as a legitimate expression of Christological truth. . . . The description of Mary as the “Mother of God” was and is sensible, permissible and necessary as an auxiliary Christological proposition.

(Church Dogmatics, I, 2, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963, 138)
The Protestant Reformed scholar Max Thurian observed:
Whatever may be the position theologically that one may take today on the subject of Mariology, one is not able to call to one’s aid “reformed tradition” unless one does it with the greatest care . . . the Marian doctrine of the Reformers is consonant with the great tradition of the Church in all the essentials and with that of the Fathers of the first centuries in particular . . .

In regard to the Marian doctrine of the Reformers, we have already seen how unanimous they are in all that concerns Mary’s holiness and perpetual virginity. Whatever the theological position which we may hold today, in regard to the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary it is right to know, perhaps to our great surprise, that these two Catholic dogmas were accepted by certain Reformers, not of course in their present form but certainly in the form that was current in their day.

(Mary: Mother of all Christians, tr. Neville B. Cryer, New York: Herder & Herder, 1963, 77, 197)
The well-known Lutheran theologian Friedrich Heiler thought that the Marian doctrines were greatly minimized or abandoned by later Protestants because of:
. . . the spirit of the enlightenment with its lack of understanding of mystery, and especially of the mystery of the Incarnation, which in the 18th century began the work of destruction.

( “Die Gottesmutter im Glauben und Beten der Jahrhunderte,” Hochkirche 13 [1931], 200)
Another Lutheran scholar, Basilea Schlink, believes that:
. . . the majority of us have drifted away from the proper attitude towards her, which Martin Luther had indicated to us on the basis of Holy Scripture ... [partially due to the rise of Rationalism which] has lost the sense of the sacred. In Rationalism man sought to comprehend everything, and that which he could not comprehend he rejected. Because Rationalism accepted only that which could be explained rationally, Church festivals in honor of Mary and everything else reminiscent of her were done away with in the Protestant Church. All biblical relationship to the Mother Mary was lost, and we are still suffering from this heritage.

When Martin Luther bids us to praise the Mother Mary, declaring that she can never be praised enough as the noblest lady and, after Christ, the fairest gem in Christendom, I must confess that for many years I was one of those who had not done so, although Scripture says that henceforth all generations would call Mary blessed [Luke 1:48]. I had not taken my place among these generations.

(Mary, the Mother of Jesus, London: Marshall Pickering, 1986, 114-115)
And the Anglican A. Lancashire states:
A rejection of Mariology must inevitably lead to a rejection of orthodox Christology. ... Devotion to Mary, far from leading men away from Christ, draws the Church into a deeper recognition of the mystery of God’s loving activity directed towards man in Christ.

(Born of the Virgin Mary, London: The Faith Press, 1962, 142-143)
To give the reader unacquainted with this line of inquiry a flavor of the robust early Protestant Marian piety, I will cite the words of one of the major Protestant “Reformers,” Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575), successor to Zwingli and author of the Second Helvetic Confession:
In Mary everything is extraordinary and all the more glorious as it has sprung from pure faith and burning love of God. . . . the most unique and the noblest member of the Christian community . . . The Virgin Mary . . . completely sanctified by the grace and blood of her only Son and abundantly endowed by the gift of the Holy Spirit and preferred to all . . . now lives happily with Christ in heaven and is called and remains ever-Virgin and Mother of God.

(in Hilda Graef, Mary: A History of Doctrine and Devotion, combined edition of volumes 1 & 2, London: Sheed & Ward, 1965, vol. 2, 14-15)
What pre-eminence in the eyes of God the Virgin Mary had on account of her piety, her faith, her purity, her saintliness and all her virtues, so that she can hardly be compared with any of the other saints, but should by rights be rather elevated above all of them, appears very clearly in the first chapters of the gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke, and particularly in her Magnificat . . . If Mary really is the Mother of the Lord, . . . then it is altogether just that she should be named by the Fathers of the Church theotokos, that is to say Mother of God. Nestorius denied that in the most infamous manner . . . She . . . surpasses with distinction all women.

(in Thurian, ibid., 89 / Uber die Selige Jungfrau, May 18, 1558)

Elijah was transported body and soul in a chariot of fire; he was not buried in any Church bearing his name, but mounted up to heaven, so that . . .we might know what immortality and recompense God prepares for his faithful prophets and for his most outstanding and incomparable creatures . . . It is for this reason, we believe, that the pure and immaculate embodiment of the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, that is to say her saintly body, was carried up to heaven by the angels.

(in Thurian, ibid., 197-198 / De origine erroris, 16, written in 1568)
Zurich during Zwingli’s tenure continued to observe the Feast of the Assumption on August 15th (Acts of the Council in March 1526 and March 1530; see Thurian, ibid., p. 186).

Protestant author Peter Toon offers a strikingly wistful reflection:
I must confess that I am deeply impressed by the way in which some of my favorite writers — Bernard, Francis de Sales, Anselm, and moderns like Hans Urs von
Balthasar — have both a profound love for our Lord and a special love for Mary. Take for example this extract from a prayer of Anselm: “Surely Jesus, Son of God, and Mary His Mother, you both want, and it is only right, that whatever you love, we should love too. So, good Son, I ask you through the love you have for your Mother, that as she truly loves you and you her, you will grant that I may truly love her. Good Mother, I ask you by the love you have for your Son, that, as He truly loves you and you Him, you will grant that I may love Him truly.” . . . I ask myself: Why cannot I pray in this manner? Is there something lacking in my theological and spiritual appreciation that prevents me from regarding Mary in this way? And as yet I have found no satisfactory answers to my questions . . . In the joyful celebration of Mary, we hear, confess and believe the truth that God has taken the initiative for our salvation. Mary is a continuing witness to the divine initiative. She expressed sola gratia, ‘by grace alone’, in a dynamic and compelling way.

(”Appreciating Mary Today,” in Chosen by God: Mary in Evangelical Perspective, edited by David F. Wright, London: Marshall Pickering, 1989, 225-226)
Elliot Miller, of the evangelical Christian Research Institute (founded by the eminent cult researcher, the late Dr. Walter Martin), confesses:
. . . it is regrettably true that some Protestants?no doubt in reaction to Catholic excesses?have almost forgotten Mary. This is no more the will of God than it would be for Christians to ignore Moses, John the Baptist, or the apostles Paul, Peter, and John. . . . In other words, while Mary is not exalted above every other created being in the Bible, she is one of the most important figures found in it. ‘Blessed among women,’ she is the preeminent feminine model of faith and obedience; worthy of honor and admiration.

(”The Mary of Roman Catholicism,” Christian Research Journal, Summer 1990: 9-15; Fall 1990: 27-33; quote from p. 33)
Evangelical Protestant John De Satge makes a remarkable statement on Mary from a Protestant perspective:
. . . a proper relationship with our Lord’s Mother safeguards the conditions essential for evangelical religion, the heart of which is to know Christ as your Savior . . . If evangelical religion is not to be merely metaphor or sentiment or coziness, it must say things about the Savior which mean that though He is fully human and our Brother, He is a great deal more besides. And those are the very things that lead us to call His Mother the Mother of God. The things which Catholics say about Mary safeguard the things which Evangelicals say about her Son . . . Proper Marian devotion, on the contrary, opens up further reaches of experience to the searching and the succor of the Gospel . . . Once the Catholic Church has reordered its house, the time for protest is past and the evangelical should go home as soon as may be. I believe that, in Marian matters at least, that point has been reached. The task before those who believe as I do is to help our fellow-heirs of the Reformation appreciate that which they had previously denied . . . It seems to me that our Lady stands in the life of her Son’s people as a gracious hostess, making one free of large rooms which hitherto had been closed or dark and forbidding. She is supremely fitted to do this, being wholly one of us and wholly yielded to God, the Mother of God who through grace is the daughter of her Son. May evangelicals who rejoice in her Son’s Gospel take their proper share in calling her “blessed,” who accepted so fully that grace by which they live.

(”The Evangelical Mary,” in Mary’s Place in Christian Dialogue, edited by Alberic Stacpoole, Slough, England: St. Paul Publications, 1982, 25-33)
Thomas Howard writes about Mary eloquently, from a Catholic perspective (this was written in the year before he was received into the Church, as an Anglican):
A parsimonious notion of God’s glory has been one result of the revulsion felt by so many over the honour paid to Mary, as though to say, If God alone is all-glorious, then no one else is glorious at all. No exaltation may be admitted for any other creature, since this would endanger the exclusive prerogative of God.

But this is to imagine a paltry court. What king surrounds himself with warped, dwarfish, worthless creatures? The more glorious the king, the more glorious are the titles and honors he bestows . . . He is a very great king, to have figures of such immense dignity in his train, or even better, to have raised them to such dignity. These great lords and ladies, mantled and crowned with the highest possible honor and rank are, precisely, his vassals. This glittering array is his court! All glory to him and, in him, glory and honor to these others.

We know all this from reading about the courts of great kings in our own history. We also know it of God, who is attended by creatures of such burning splendor that we can scarcely imagine them: angels, archangels, virtues, thrones, dominations, princedoms, powers, and then the terrible cherubim, and finally the seraphim themselves . . .

There is one whose dignity is shared by no other. She is a woman, the humblest of them all. No empress, prophetess, or conqueror she, only the handmaid of the Lord. But in her exaltation we see the divine magnanimity, which has regarded the lowliness of His handmaiden and has exalted the humble and meek . . . ‘Magnificat!’ she sings, and ‘Hail!’ we answer, in the joyful courtesies of heaven.

The Christian piety that has been afraid almost to name, much less to hail, the Virgin and to join the angel Gabriel and Elisabeth in according blessing and exaltation to her is a piety that has impoverished itself. Stalwart for the glory of God alone, it has been afraid to see the amplitude of that glory, which brims and overflows and splashes outward in a surging golden tide, gilding everything that it touches . . .

We are taught by Scripture that nothing may be worshiped but God alone. The ancient Church has always taught this, reserving for God alone the honor known as ‘latria’. But, below this worship paid to the Most High, there is a whole scale of exultation and exaltation that rejoices in the plenitude of the divine glory and leaps to hail every creature in whom that glory is seen.

A Christian devotion afraid to join the angel of God in hailing the Virgin as highly exalted is a devotion cramped either by ignorance or fear.

(Evangelical is Not Enough, Nashville: Nelson, 1984, 87-89)
One of my favorite utterances from Martin Luther about Mary nicely complements the words of Thomas Howard:
She became the Mother of God, in which work so many and such great good things are bestowed on her as pass man’s understanding. For on this there follows all honor, all blessedness, and her unique place in the whole of mankind, among which she has no equal, namely, that she had a child by the Father in heaven, and such a Child . . . Hence men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God . . . None can say of her nor announce to her greater things, even though he had as many tongues as the earth possesses flowers and blades of grass: the sky, stars; and the sea, grains of sand. It needs to be pondered in the heart what it means to be the Mother of God.

(Commentary on the Magnificat, 1521; in Luther’s Works, Pelikan et al, vol. 21, 326)
Some important recent books on Mary by Protestant Christians are Mary for all Christians, by John Macquarrie (Anglican); Down to Earth: The New Protestant Vision of the Virgin Mary, by John de Satge (Evangelical); A Protestant Pastor Looks at Mary, by Charles Dickson (Lutheran), Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, by Neville Ward (Methodist), I Sing of a Maiden, by Roger Greenacre (Anglican), Wallington, England: Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1992, and The One Mediator, the Saints, and Mary, edited by H. George Anderson, et al, Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1992 (especially Eric W. Gritsch, “The Views of Luther and Lutheranism on the Veneration of Mary,” pp. 235-241, and Gerhard O. Forde, “Is the Invocation of Saints an Adiaphoron?,” pp. 327-338).

III. Lutheran Scholar Arthur Carl Piepkorn: Luther’s “Life-Long” Belief in the Immaculate Conception

In his footnotes 24 and 25 for his chapter 11 of Mary Through the Ages (as seen in the citation above), Jaroslav Pelikan recommends three works of Protestants about Mary, including Wright’s, and one from a Lutheran scholar as a source for the view that Luther always accepted the Immaculate Conception:
24. For contemporary efforts at a restatement of this positive place, see Heiko Augustinus Oberman, The Virgin Mary in Evangelical Perspective (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971); and David Wright, Chosen by God: Mary in Evangelical Perspective (London: Marshall Pickering, 1989).

25. A splendid and learned summary, which like so many of his studies, could have become a full-length book, is the work of my late colleague and friend, Arthur Carl Piepkorn, “Mary’s Place within the people of God according to Non-Roman Catholics,” Marian Studies 18 (1967): 46-83.
The latter source was listed in my book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism (p. 206: footnote 219). The exact quote (which I only summarized), reads:
. . . Martin Luther’s personal adherence to the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God (barring two lapses) seems to have been life-long . . .

(p. 76)

IV. The Mariology of the Lutheran Confessions

Jaroslav Pelikan further states:
Even in the only confessional statement of faith by him that was officially adopted by the Lutheran church and incorporated into the official collection of the Book of Concord of 1580 . . . - the Smalcald Articles of 1537, the Latin text contained the words (which did not, however, appear in the German version): “from Mary, pure, holy, and Ever-Virgin [ex Maria pura, sancta, Semper Virgine].”

(Pelikan, Mary Through The Ages, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996, 159; footnote #32: Smalcald Articles, I,4, in Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, Gottingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1952, 414)
Since the German editions of this work omitted the Marian reference (why, I wonder?), I was curious to see what route the English translations took. The version of the Book of Concord in my own library was translated and edited by Theodore G. Tappert, in collaboration with Jaroslav Pelikan, Robert H. Fischer, and Arthur C. Piepkorn (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House / Muhlenberg Press, 1959). The phrase indeed appears on pages 291-292:
4. That the Son became man in this manner: he was conceived by the Holy Spirit, without the cooperation of man, and was born of the pure, holy, and virgin
Mary.
The Formula of Concord (1577), binding on Lutherans, translated in this edition by Arthur C. Piepkorn, states in the Solid Declaration, Article VIII: The Person of Christ, section 9 (p. 595):
On account of this personal union and communion of the natures, Mary, the most blessed virgin, did not conceive a mere, ordinary human being, but a human being who is truly the Son of the most high God, as the angel testifies. He demonstrated his divine majesty even in his mother’s womb in that he was born of a virgin without violating her virginity. Therefore she is truly the mother of God and yet remained a virgin.
Likewise, in its Epitome, Article VIII: The Person of Christ, section 7 (page 488):
Therefore we believe, teach, and confess that Mary conceived and bore not only a plain, ordinary, mere man but the veritable Son of God; for this reason she is rightly called, and truly is, the mother of God.

(footnote 5: Against the views ascribed to Nestorius it was asserted that Mary is theotokos)
Furthermore, additional striking Marian statements occur in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, written by Luther’s successor Philip Melanchthon and published in May, 1531 - itself also part of the official confession of faith of Lutheranism. The editors of the version I have write: “The translation which follows is made from the Latin original. Variants in the German version, a very free translation which has been called a ‘pious paraphrase,’ are not included” (page 98):
Granted that blessed Mary prays for the church, does she receive souls in death, does she overcome death, does she give life? What does Christ do if blessed Mary does all this? Even though she is worthy of the highest honors, she does not want to be put on the same level as Christ but to have her example considered and followed. The fact of the matter is that in popular estimation the blessed Virgin has completely replaced Christ.

(Article XXI: Invocation of Saints; pp. 232-233)
Note that Melanchthon decries the “popular estimation” of Mary and corrupt practices. Indeed these occurred, and continue to in some bizarre, fringe, heterodox circles (one can certainly argue about the extent of such corruptions in the Middle Ages and currently). He does not cite an official Catholic document which would contradict the above, for one simple reason: none exists. Orthodox Catholics agree with this statement (then and now, and always).

V. Did Luther “Minimize” or Reject Various Aspects of Traditional Mariology in His Later Years?

In some minor respects the sentiment of the title above is true, but not as a generalization. I have often noted, in my papers about Luther, his tendency to contradict himself or vacillate, and the difficulty of constructing a coherent account of his beliefs. Luther’s thought was the very antithesis of the systematic and orderly teaching of, say, John Calvin. This is a problem for all students of Luther. And this is precisely why I cited a man like Arthur Carl Piepkorn, who is an expert on the subject, and thus can serve as an authoritative source for my claims, made in layman’s (as opposed to scholarly or academic) papers of popular-level Catholic apologetics. And I cite people like Jaroslav Pelikan, the editor of the 55-volume set of Luther’s works in English.

Jaroslav Pelikan noted that the perpetual virginity of Mary was Luther’s lifelong belief (in Pelikan & Helmut T. Lehmann, eds., Luther’s Works, St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House [vols. 1-30], Philadelphia: Fortress Press [vols. 31-55]: 1955, vol. 22, 214-215):
Luther . . . does not even consider the possibility that Mary might have had other children than Jesus. This is consistent with his lifelong acceptance of the idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary.

Throughout his life and theological development, Luther continued to ascribe the title [Mother of God / Theotokos] to her.

(Luther’s Works, vol. 21, 346)
Catholic Biographer Hartmann Grisar concurs:
Luther always believed in the virginity of Mary, even post partum, as affirmed in the Apostles’ Creed, though afterwards he denied her power of intercession, as well as that of the saints in general, resorting to many misinterpretations and combated, as extreme and pagan, the extraordinary veneration which the Catholic Church showed towards Mary.

(Martin Luther: His Life and Work, Westminster, MD: Newman Press, 1950, 210)
VI. The Immaculate Conception: Theological Misunderstandings

The Catholic teaching on the Immaculate Conception (explicitly developed from the time of Duns Scotus, who died in 1308) has nothing whatever to do with any of Christ’s ancestors, excepting His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary alone (and no one else, including her own mother) was preserved from original sin by a pure act of grace on God’s part. If she had merely been born into a line which had long since been rendered immune from original sin, there would be no need for God to do a further (unique, extraordinary) miracle, which is exactly what the Immaculate Conception is.
Mother Mary, like us, was born in sin of sinful parents, but the Holy Spirit covered her, sanctified and purified her so that this child was born of flesh and blood, but not with sinful flesh and blood. The Holy Spirit permitted the Virgin Mary to remain a true, natural human being of flesh and blood, just as we. However, he warded off sin from her flesh and blood so that she became the mother of a pure child, not poisoned by sin as we are. For in that moment when she conceived, she was a holy mother filled with the Holy Spirit and her fruit is a holy pure fruit, at once God and truly man, in one person.
(Sermons of Martin Luther, Vol. 3, edited by John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1996, 291)
If Luther ever held the view that Mary was purged of sin some time prior to the Annunciation (in several places he states that the removal of sin occurred at her conception), then he espoused a position similar to that of St. Thomas Aquinas, and still quite different from that of the majority of Protestants today, who hold that Mary was a sinner like the rest of us (but - despite that - a pretty nice lady, and source of much tender sentimentality at Christmas-time, and profits for Hallmark and American Greetings, and people in China who make Nativity Scenes). St. Thomas wrote: (Summa Theologiae III:27:4):
I answer that, God so prepares and endows those, whom He chooses for some
particular office, that they are rendered capable of fulfilling it, according to 2 Cor. 3:6: ‘(Who) hath made us fit ministers of the New Testament.’ Now the Blessed Virgin was chosen by God to be His Mother. Therefore there can be no doubt that God, by His grace, made her worthy of that office, according to the words spoken to her by the angel (Lk. 1:30,31): ‘Thou hast found grace with God: behold thou shalt conceive,’ etc. But she would not have been worthy to be the Mother of God, if she had ever sinned. First, because the honor of the parents reflects on the child, according to Prov. 17:6: ‘The glory of children are their fathers’: and consequently, on the other hand, the Mother’s shame would have reflected on her Son. Secondly, because of the singular affinity between her and Christ, who took flesh from her: and it is written (2 Cor. 6:15): ‘What concord hath Christ with Belial?’ Thirdly, because of the singular manner in which the Son of God, who is the ‘Divine Wisdom’ (1 Cor. 1:24) dwelt in her, not only in her soul but in her womb. And it is written (Wis. 1:4): ‘Wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins.’
“We must therefore confess simply that the Blessed Virgin committed no actual sin,
neither mortal nor venial; so that what is written (Cant 4:7) is fulfilled: ‘Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee,’ etc. “
See also: Marcus Hodges, O.P., Why Did St. Thomas Aquinas Reject the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception?, Wallington, England: Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1992.

Secondly, Catholic theologians hold that the Immaculate Conception of Mary was not absolutely necessary (i.e., it didn’t necessarily have to occur for the Incarnation to take place), but only supremely fitting and appropriate for the sublime role of Theotokos (and, of course, true in fact). The Protestant “Reformer” Zwingli showed a correct understanding of this aspect:
. . . God sanctified his mother: for it was fitting that such a holy Son should have a likewise holy mother.

(Annotations in Luke; cited in Thurian, ibid., 23; emphasis added)
Mary does not make Jesus God, and sinless, by her own sinlessness. He is sinless because He is God — sinlessness being one of the immutable and inherent, intrinsic characteristics of God (whereas Mary is sinless only by God’s grace, not inherently or necessarily at all). Mary contributed to the body of Jesus but she didn’t determine His Divine Nature, just as mothers and fathers procreate and bring about a new person with a body, but have no place in creating their souls, which is a direct supernatural creation by God.

Martin Luther “praised” Mary and said that she should be honored in his very last sermon at Wittenberg. He understood the difference between veneration and worship, just as Catholics do (and he also strongly criticized excesses in Marian devotion, just as Catholics also do; particularly in Vatican II). He didn’t feel compelled to create the absolute (and quite unbiblical) silly dichotomy that characterizes present-day Reformed thought and much of Protestantism, generally speaking — where no creature can ever be given honor, lest this immediately be an assault upon God and idolatry.

In many respects, Luther’s Mariology is far closer to Catholic and patristic thought than to present-day Protestant thought. He took a position on perpetual virginity similar to that which the Orthodox take on the Immaculate Conception: one may hold it and not be considered heretical in so doing, but it is not binding. He also disavowed prayers to Mary.

VII. Immaculate Conception: Scholarly Opinion Concerning Luther’s Beliefs

Catholics are not interested in whitewashing or distorting Luther’s views, but in presenting facts and rejoicing when there is refreshing agreement to be had. Thus, Thomas A. O’Meara, O.P., in his book, Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1966), observes:
In works on Luther’s Mariology a false picture has occasionally been given because the principle of Luther’s mariological evolution has not been kept in the foreground. We are told that Luther accepted the Assumption and yet forbade the singing of the Salve Regina; that he preached of Mary as immaculately conceived and also as a sinner. The time element, the dating of Luther’s remarks, is all-important. Luther’s Marian theological evolution in the years 1513-1527 has its own coherence, but the reformer’s thought is defintely changing, and not always in the same direction.

(p. 114)

During any discussion of Luther and the Blessed Virgin we must keep uppermost in our minds that there was development in his ideas, a change more or less drastic in each aspect of Marian theology. This development had its beginning in Catholicism; it passes through contradictions, struggles, and uncertainties, and terminates in a new Marian viewpoint, one which Luther decided was Christocentric, biblical, unexaggerated, and edifying.

(p. 113)
O’Meara recounts several utterances of Luther on the topic of Mary’s sinlessness. and then comments upon the same sermon I have cited as my primary “proof text”:
In 1527 Luther preached a long sermon on the conception of Mary. First he discusses the nature of original sin, then the suitability of the Virgin Birth as a means of excluding original sin in the humanity of her Son. He then discusses Mary’s own conception. Her body had the effects of original sin and was conceived in the ordinary way; therefore, in this sense, we can say that she had original sin. “But the other conception, namely the infusion of the soul . . . it is believed that it took place without contacting original sin. Therefore the Virgin Mary is in the middle between Christ and all other men . . . for her first conception was without grace, but the second was full of grace . . . Just as men are conceived in sin both with regard to body and soul, and Christ is free of sin - body and soul - so Mary the Virgin is conceived according to the body without grace, but according to the soul she is full of grace” [Weimarer Ausgabe / 1883 ff. Weimar edition of Luther’s Works (WA), 17, II, 287-289] . . . The subsequent years offer quotations which advocate the doctrine of Mary’s sanctification in conception along with passages which could be interpreted as denying it. It is likely, but not certain, that he eventually denied the Immaculate Conception.

(pages 117-118)
In his footnotes, O’Meara presents a wealth of fascinating material on Luther’s opinions:
. . . Although in 1532 Luther says that Mary was conceived in sin, in 1544 he says: “God has formed the soul and body of the Virgin Mary full of the Holy Spirit, so that she is without all sins, for she has conceived and borne the Lord Jesus.” (WA 52, 39): Elsewhere, “All seed except Mary was vitiated.” (WA 39, II, 107). The problem of Luther’s final opinion remains to be solved.

(p. 139; footnote 20)
[Horst] Preuss [Maria bei Luther (Gutersloh: Bertelsmann Verlag, 1954) ] says that Luther “eventually abandoned as unbiblical” the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception; op cit., p. 8. Friedrich Heiler [Lutheran], however, writes: “Mary is for Luther ‘immaculately conceived,’ and not just in the general sense of her sanctification as Mother of God but in the sense of the Franciscan theological school which the Roman Church in 1854 formulated as a dogma, in the sense of a preservation from original sin a primo instanti. “ F. Heiler, quoted in K. Algermissen, “Mariologie und Marienverehrung der Reformatoren,” Theologie und Glaube, XLIX (1959), pp. 3-4. Algermissen agrees with Heiler, and shows that the texts which cast doubt on Luther’s acceptance of this teaching can be interpreted in another way. Ibid., pp. 3-5,7-9. The problem has not been solved, and the difficulties arise from dating the texts and from the intrinsic possibility of Luther changing his opinion and phraseology. It is possible that when Luther denies the Immaculate Conception of Mary he is speaking only of the “active” conception of the body, and the presence of original sin in Mary’s body (fatigue, etc.) This is the opinion of Max Thurian, Mary, Mother of the Lord, Figure of the Church (London: Faith Press, 1963) . . . Lortz writes: “At any rate, the principal difficulty for understanding Luther correctly rests in the fact that there is not one Luther, a Luther always the same. There is no rigidly single doctrine of Luther even on essential questions of faith. In every point we find affirmations rich with tensions which seem contradictory . . . “ J. Lortz, “Le Drame de Martin Luther,” Decouverte se l’oecumenisme (Paris: Desclee de Brouwer, 1961), p. 348.

(p. 139; footnote 22)

In his early commentary on Peter Lombard’s Sentences Luther had advocated a doctrine of double conception. Mary’s body was conceived “in sin” since it was not free of the effects of sin; Mary’s soul was conceived in grace; see WA 9, 74.

(p. 139; footnote 16)
William J. Cole, in his influential article, “Was Luther a Devotee of Mary?” (see above), picks up an important and relevant point Which O’Meara discusses: one plausible theory about the interpretation of Luther’s seemingly contradictory remarks about the Immaculate Conception (pp. 121-123):
The objections brought up against Luther’s retention of belief in the Immaculate Conception can usually be solved by the distinction he repeated so many times between the active and passive conceptions on the one hand and the inchoative and perfect passive conception on the other. The active conception, i.e., the generative act on the part of the parents, to which corresponded the beginning or inchoative passive conception on the part of the offspring, interested Luther only inasmuch as he thought along with Augustine that it is by this means that original sin is transmitted. For him this is only the physical conception, i.e., of the body before the animation or the infusion of the soul. Although for moderns, it is difficult even to speak of the body’s being the subject of sin apart from the soul, Luther apparently saw no difficulty in attributing original sin to Mary, but not to Christ, in this sense. [cf. WA 4, 693; 10 (3), 331; 46, 136; 47, 860] But with regard to the infusion of the soul in the perfect passive conception, in which the person comes into being, Luther would not admit any original sin in Mary.
The Lutheran scholar Heiko Oberman, an expert on medieval theology and its relation to subsequent Protestant theology, expands upon this point, citing the theology of Gregory of Rimini (d. 1358), an Augustinian nominalist philosopher who probably had some influence on the Augustinian monk Martin Luther. One can clearly see the similarity:
. . . Gregory does not, of course, deny that, in the first moment of her conception, Mary was cleansed from original sin. This is the place where Gregory calls upon the argument that the institution of the Feast of the Conception of Mary is a celebration in honor of one who was conceived in sin and yet not born in sin. Similarly, in the second sanctification of Mary, that is, at the moment that the Holy Spirit overshadowed her to make her the Mother of God, the fomes peccati is either extinguished or neutralized by such an abundance of grace that it could not possibly sin. The first of these alternatives seems to Gregory the more probable one.

(The Harvest of Medieval Theology, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1967, 291-292)
Thomas O’Meara continues his survey of other tenets of Luther’s Mariology:
In 1522 Luther preaches on the feast of the Assumption, apparently taking this belief for granted, although he notes that it is not an article of faith . . . [WA, 10, III, 268]. In 1530 he decrees that the Assumption is an aspect of the “hypocritical Church” which should be eliminated. [WA, 30, II, 351]. In 1544 the Assumption is abandoned as a feast . . . [WA 52, 681] The period of drastic change lies within the years 1522 to 1532. It is impossible to pinpoint the moment of change, for as is usual in Luther the change is gradual and there are inconsistencies and reversals. In 1521 Luther says he does not know exactly when he gave up the veneration of the saints and of Mary, but in 1526 he writes that he venerated the saints for thirty years.

(pp. 118-119)
Luther’s December (8?) 1527 sermon, “On the Day of the Conception of Mary, the Mother of God,” mentioned above and several times in this paper and others of mine, is not a figment of the wishful imagination of Catholic apologists. It comes from the Weimar edition of Luther’s works [Weimer Ausgabe; referred to in biographies of Luther as “WA”]. Thomas O’Meara gave the reference above: WA, 17, II, 287-289. As far as I can tell, it was not included in the 55-volume English set of Luther’s writings. But of course, that doesn’t mean it is nonexistent.

The Weimar German edition of Luther’s works is considered far more authoritative than the English set (which is why scholars writing in English continue to habitually refer to it, even more so than the English edition). The presence of the above sermon in WA is confirmed by the website: Index Berborum: Martin Luther’s German Writings, developed and maintained by Brian Peltonen, and provided through the courtesy of the Trustees of Boston College (see the web page for volume 17, where the following sermon appears:
Am tage der Empfengknus Marie der mutter Gottes. Luk. 11 [pp.] 280-289
For cross-referencing of Luther’s German works and English translations, see: Heinrich J. Vogel, Cross Reference and Index to the Contents of Luther’s Works (Milwaukee, WI: Northwestern Publishing House, 1983).

Already, we have seen partial translations into English of this sermon from O’Meara and the translator of Grisar’s six-volume biography of Luther. I have found two more: the first from the Catholic Archbishop William Ullathorne, in his book, The Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, revised by Canon Iles, Westminster: Art & Book Co., 1905 (pp. 132-134):
But as the Virgin Mary was herself born of a father and a mother in the natural way, many have been disposed to assert that she was also born in original sin, though all with one mouth affirm that she was sanctified in the maternal womb, and conceived without concupiscence. But some have been disposed to take a middle way, and have said that man’s conception is twofold: that the one is from the parents, but that the other takes place when the little body is prepared, and the soul infused by God, its Creator . . .

. . . in the conception of the Virgin Mary, whose body was formed in the progress of time, and after the manner of other children, until the infusion of the soul there was no need of such a conception, for it could be preserved from original sin until the soul was to be infused. And the other conception, that is to say, the infusion of the soul, is piously believed to have been accomplished without original sin. So that, in that very infusing of the soul, the body was simultaneously purified from original sin, and endowed with divine gifts to receive that holy soul which was infused into it from God. And thus in the first moment it began to live, it was exempt from all sin . . . . . .

Thus the Virgin Mary holds as it were a middle position between Christ and other men. For if indeed Christ, when He was conceived, was both living, and at that very moment was full of grace, whilst other men are without grace, both in their first and in their second conception; so the Virgin Mary was, according to the first conception, without grace, yet according to the second conception, she was full of grace.

. . . as the rest of mankind are, both in soul and in body, conceived in sin, whilst Christ is conceived without sin, as well in body as in soul, so the Virgin Mary was conceived, according to the body, indeed without grace, but according to the soul, full of grace. This is signified by those words which the angel Gabriel said to her, ‘Blessed art thou amongst women’ [Luke 1:28]. For it could not be said to her, ‘Blessed art thou,’ if at any time she had been obnoxious to the curse. Again, it was just and meet that that person should be preserved from original sin from whom Christ received the flesh by which He overcame all sins. And that, indeed, is properly called blessed which is endowed with divine grace, that is, which is free from sin.

(from Martini Lutheri Postillae. In die Conceptionis Mariae Matris Dei, pp. 360-361. Argentorati: apud Georgium Ulricum Adlanum, anno xxx)
Lest I be accused of offering only the allegedly biased translations of Catholics (a quite common charge in Protestant-Catholic apologetic polemics), thus failing to “prove” my contentions, I shall now cite Lutheran scholar Eric W. Gritsch, who was a major translator in the English set of the works of Luther (edited by Jaroslav Pelikan), including, for example, the lengthy treatise, Against the Roman Papacy: An Institution of the Devil (vol. 41, 263-376):
Thus the Virgin Mary remains in the middle between Christ and humankind. For in the very moment he was conceived and lived, he was full of grace. All other human beings are without grace, both in the first and second conception. But the Virgin Mary, though without grace in the first conception, was full of grace in the second . . . . whereas other human beings are conceived in sin, in soul as well as in body, and Christ was conceived without sin in soul as well as in body, the Virgin Mary was conceived in body without grace but in soul full of grace.

(in The One Mediator, the Saints, and Mary, Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VIII, edited by H. George Anderson, J. Francis Stafford, Joseph A. Burgess, Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1992, p. 238. He gives further references in his footnote 22 on page 381: “Sermon on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8?) 1527. Festival Postil (Festpostille). WA 17/2:288.17-34.”)
See also: Michael O’Carroll, Theotokos: A Theological Encyclopedia of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Wilmington, Del.: Michael Glazier, 1982, 226-228.

Gritsch had introduced the sermon on the same page, as follows:
In 1527 Luther dealt with the Immaculate Conception of Mary, advocating a middle position favored by a majority of theologians. Following Augustine, Luther told his congregation that Mary had been conceived in sin but had been purified by the infusion of her soul after conception. Her purification was complete due to a special intervention of the Holy Spirit, who preserved her from the taint of original sin in anticipation of the birth of Christ.
Gritsch continues, in his chapter 8, “The Views of Luther and Lutheranism on the Veneration of Mary” (pp. 235-238):
Luther’s views on Mary after 1521 are not substantially different from those he presented in the Magnificat.

(p. 237)
[Luther thought] Mary should be regarded as being without sin, that is, as being “full of grace” (voll Gnaden) in the sense of being “graced” (begnadet) [footnote 20; p. 381: “This shift in translation occurred between 1522 and 1544 . . .”]; all she did was done by God in her.

(p. 238; this information derived from the Personal Prayer Book of 1522: WA 10/2:408.4-8; LW {English} 43:39-40 - footnote 18 on P. 381)

As Luther put it in 1540: “In his conception all of Mary’s flesh and blood was purified so that nothing sinful remained. Thus Isaiah is correct in saying, ‘There was no deceit in his mouth’ [53:9]. Each seed was corrupt, except that of Mary.”

[footnote 23; p. 381: “Disputation on the Divinity and Humanity of Christ, February 28, 1540. WA 39/2:107.8-13.”]

In the same vein, Luther also affirmed the traditional doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity. She was a virgin before the birth of Christ (ante partum) and remained one at the birth (in partu) and after the birth (post partum)

[footnote 24; p. 381: “That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew, 1523. WA 11:320.1-6; LW 45:206. More evidence cited by Cole, {”Was Luther a Devotee of Mary?,” Marian Studies, 1970} 119 (n. 1 above).”]

. . . Throughout Luther’s career he . . . defended Mary’s perpetual virginity, siding with Jerome . . .

[footnote 27; p. 381: “On the Schem Hamphoras and the Genealogy of Christ (Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi), 1543. WA 53:640.18-22.”]

(p. 239)

Luther defended Mary’s perpetual virginity and regarded her Immaculate Conception as “a pious and pleasing thought” that should not, however, be imposed on the faithful.

[footnote 43; p. 382: “’Haec pia cogitatio et placet.’ Exposition of the Ninth Chapter of Isaiah, 1543/44. WA 40/3:680.31-32. Two scholars doubt whether Luther affirmed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary: Preuss (n. 11 above came to the conclusion that Luther rejected the doctrine after 1528; O’Meara states that “it is likely, but not certain” that Luther rejected the doctrine (118 [n. 11 above]). But Tappolet (32 [n. 1 above]) demonstrated with the use of texts that Luther did not change his mind. The literary evidence from Luther’s works clearly supports the view that Luther affirmed the doctrine, but did not consider it necessary to impose it.”]

In a similar vein Luther affirmed Mary’s assumption into heaven but did not consider it to be of benefit to others or accomplished in any special way.

[footnote 44; p. 382: “Sermon on the Festival of the Assumption, August 15, 1522. WA 10/3:269.12-13. Sermon on the Festival of the Visitation (preached on the same date). August 15, 1522. WA 52:681.27-31.”]

(p. 241)
A few pages later, Gritsch notes about recent Lutheran opinion on the Immaculate Conception and Luther’s espousal of it:
Jaroslav Pelikan and Arthur Carl Piepkorn may well represent the reaction of contemporary ecumenically committed Lutherans toward this dogma. Pelikan viewed the dogma as the completion of “the chain of reasoning begun by the surmise that the sinlessness of Jesus . . . depends upon His being free of the taint that comes from having two parents. Now Mary may conceive immaculately because she herself has been conceived immaculately.”

[footnote 77; p. 384: The Riddle of Roman Catholicism (New York and Nashville: Abington, 1959), 131-21.”]

(p. 246)

Piepkorn believed that there is a significant convergence on the matter of Mary’s Immaculate Conception between classical Lutheranism (as represented by such seventeenth-century theologians as Martin Chemnitz and John Gerhard) and Catholicism.

[footnote 79; Piepkorn, 83 (n. 11 above).” - “Mary’s Place within the people of God according to Non-Roman Catholics,” Marian Studies 18 (1967): 46-83]

(p. 246)
Gritsch offers much interesting information in other footnotes for his chapter:
1. Luther preached about eighty sermons on Mary, all based on biblical texts. An exhaustive collection of Luther’s statements on Mary has been offered by Walter Tappolet and Albert Ebneter (eds.), Das Marienlob der Reformatoren (Tubingen: Katzmann, 1962), 17-218, 357-64. Two studies have analyzed the chronological development of Luther’s views in conjunction with his basic theological views: Hans Dufel, Luthers Stellung zur Marienverehrung ( . . . 1968) and William J. Cole, “Was Luther a Devotee of Mary?” Marian Studies 21, (1970), 94-202) . . .

(p. 379)

11. . . . There is a growing consensus among Luther scholars that Luther’s reflections on Mary were grounded in a christocentric theology from the beginning. Major Catholic studies making this point: Thomas A. O’Meara, Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1966) 123, states: “Christocentric is the key word” . . .

(p. 380)
The book, The One Mediator, the Saints, and Mary, Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VIII, (edited by H. George Anderson et al, Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1992), from which the Gritsch citations above were drawn, is one of an ongoing series of works detailing ecumenical Catholic-Lutheran efforts. In this particular book, 12 Lutheran and 10 Catholic scholars participated. Their “Common Statement” (a sort of creed-like formulation agreed-upon by all) yielded some very interesting conclusions indeed:
(87) Luther himself professed the Immaculate Conception as a pleasing thought though not as an article of faith . . .

(p. 54)

(89) Luther preached on the Assumption . . . There were early Lutheran pastors who affirmed the Assumption as both evangelical and Lutheran.

(p. 55)

(101) From the Lutheran side, one may recall the honor and devotion paid to the Mother of God by Luther himself, including his own attitude to the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, which he accepted in some form.
Footnote 20 for this section, on pp. 340-341, is very informative:
With regard to the Immaculate Conception, Luther taught that Mary had been conceived in sin but her soul had been purified by infusion after conception. Sermon on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 1527. Festival Postil (Festpostille). WA 17/2:288.17-34. In 1518 Luther declared that, even though the Immaculate Conception of Mary was an opinion asserted by the Council of Basel (1431-49), a contrary opinion need not be considered heretical unless it is disproved. Explanations of the Ninety-Five Theses. 1518. WA 1:583,8-12; LW 31:173 . . . That Christ should be born of a virgin who was “immaculate” is “a pious and pleasing thought” (haec pia cogitatio et placet) which need not be imposed on the faithful (Exposition of the Ninth Chapter of Isaiah, 1543/44. WA 40/3:680.31-32). Luther taught Mary remained a virgin before the birth of Christ (ante partum), at the birth (in partu) and after his birth (post partum) (That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew, 1523. WA 11:320.1-6; LW 45:206). Further evidence in William J. Cole, “Was Luther a Devotee of Mary?” Marian Studies 21, (1970),119-20; on the Immaculate Conception, ibid., 120-123.
William J. Cole, in the last-mentioned article, writes:
It is noteworthy that Luther himself with considerable consistency down to the time of his death in 1546 accepted the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

[references given to support this contention]:

Festpostille - two 1527 editions, WA 17 (2), 287-289.
Sermon at the First Vespers of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - WA 36,143.
House Sermon for Christmas (1533) - WA 37,231.
Vom Schem Hamporas und vom Geschlecht Christi [On the Schem Hamphoras and the Genealogy of Christ] (1543) - WA 53,640.
Wider das Papstum zu Rom (1545) [Against the Papacy at Rome] - WA 54,207.

. . . Luther’s final attitude can probably best be described by saying that he believed the truth of the Immaculate Conception himself, but did not find it formally and expressly taught in Scriptures.

(pp. 121, 123)
Luther, in the midst of a sarcastic remark about the pope, whom he refers to as “Your Hellishness,” makes reference to:
. . . the pure Virgin Mary, who has not sinned and cannot sin for ever more.

(Against the Roman Papacy: An Institution of the Devil, 1545; translated by Eric W. Gritsch, in Luther’s Works, ed. Pelikan, 41, 263-376; quote from p. 264)
Luther biographer Richard Marius (a non-Catholic?), renders his opinion on the question:
Luther might have proclaimed Mary’s immaculate conception here . . . He had earlier said that the belief was unimportant. [WA 4, 693] Here he left it alone. Later in life he affirmed it. [WA 53, 640]

(Martin Luther: The Christian Between God and Death, Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press / Harvard University Press, 1999, 376)
Catholic Church historian Hilda Graef expresses what has become the general consensus of Luther scholarship concerning his Mariological views:
He opposes the Ave Maria as a prayer, but admits that she is full of grace, “because the grace of God makes her full of all that is good and empty of all evil.” [WA 17,409 / Sermon on the Annunciation, 1527] He still believes in the Immaculate Conception in the full Catholic sense, saying that “one believes blessedly that at the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin.” [WA, 17-II, 288] He seems to have given up this belief later on, though he held even in 1544, two years before his death, that she was completely without sin when she conceived the Lord Jesus. [WA, 52,39]

Footnote 6: We therefore agree with W. Tappolet (p. 32, Das Marienlob der Reformatoren, 1962): “The assertion of H. Preuss, that from 1528 onwards Luther no longer believed in the Immaculate Conception, only because there are no explicit statements on the subject, is no less doubtful than that of R. Schimmelpfennig, according to which Luther held the same view which the Church of Rome defined as dogma in 1854” and with his statement that, whatever Luther’s later attitude to the Immaculate Conception, he believed till the end of his life that “Mary, even if she should not have been without original sin from birth, was purified from it by the Holy Spirit at the moment of the conception of Jesus.”

(Mary: A History of Doctrine and Devotion, Vol.. II: New York: Sheed & Ward, 1965, 11)
. . . Luther . . . never wavered in his belief in her perfect virginity and her divine motherhood, which he vigorously affirmed in 1543.

(Ibid., p. 12; cites WA 53, 640-643 in footnote)
Also, see the following excerpt:
Disputation On the Divinity and Humanity of Christ
February 27, 1540

conducted by Dr. Martin Luther, 1483-1546
translated from the Latin text
WA 39/2,.92-121
by Christopher B. Brown

X. Argument: Every man is corrupted by original sin and has concupiscence.
Christ had neither concupiscence nor original sin. Therefore he is not a
man.

Response: I make a distinction with regard to the major premise. Every man
is corrupted by original sin, with the exception of Christ. Every man who is
not a divine Person [personaliter Deus], as is Christ, has concupiscence, but
the man Christ has none, because he is a divine Person, and in conception the
flesh and blood of Mary were entirely purged, so that nothing of sin
remained. Therefore Isaiah says rightly, “There was no guile found in his
mouth”; otherwise, every seed except for Mary’s was corrupted.

This text was translated from the Latin for Project Wittenberg by Christopher B. Brown and is in the public domain. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.

E-mail: smithre@mail.ctsfw.edu
Surface Mail: 6600 N. Clinton St., Ft. Wayne, IN 46825 USA
Phone: (260) 452-2123 Fax: (260) 452-2126
To conclude this section, it will be helpful to compile Luther’s remarks on the Immaculate Conception (or the broader category of Mary’s sinlessness) in brief, from the documentation above.
1522: “ ‘full of grace’ (voll Gnaden).”

1527: “. . . the Virgin Mary, though without grace in the first conception, was full of grace in the second . . . the Virgin Mary was conceived in body without grace but in soul full of grace.”

1533: House Sermon for Christmas - no text cited or available in English.

1540: “In his conception all of Mary’s flesh and blood was purified so that nothing sinful remained . . . Each seed was corrupt, except that of Mary.”

1543: On the Schem Hamphoras and the Genealogy of Christ - no text cited.

1544: “God has formed the soul and body of the Virgin Mary full of the Holy Spirit, so that she is without all sins.”

1544: “a pious and pleasing thought.”

1545: “. . . the pure Virgin Mary, who has not sinned and cannot sin for ever more.”
Lastly, the following is a summary of the views of scholars on the subject of what Luther believed pertaining to the Immaculate Conception, in his later years (post-1528). I have not discovered a single scholar who treats this subject who denies that the early Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception in some form. The only dispute is over whether he later rejected his earlier views. I shall list the scholars from least convinced about the later Luther to most convinced: even to the point where it is thought his view was identical to that of the Catholic dogma proclaimed ex cathedra in 1854:
1. Hartmann Grisar (Catholic): Luther rejected the Immaculate Conception after 1528 or so.

2. Horst-Dietrich Preuss (Lutheran): Luther rejected the Immaculate Conception after 1528 or so.

3. Thomas A. O’Meara (C): later rejection “likely, but not certain.”

4. Hilda Graef (C): probably accepted, but in somewhat diluted form.

5. Arthur Carl Piepkorn (L): “life-long” accceptance “(barring two lapses).”

6. Walter Tappolet (C): accepted (yes).

7. Max Thurian (Reformed): yes.

8. William J. Cole (C): yes.

9. Eric W. Gritsch (L): yes.

10. Jaroslav Pelikan (L): yes.

11. Richard Marius (probably Protestant of some sort): yes.

12. 10 Catholic scholars on the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue Committee (C): yes.

13. 11 Lutheran scholars on the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue Committee (L): yes.

14. Reintraud Schimmelpfennig (C): yes, in the same sense as the infallible Catholic dogma proclaimed in 1854.

15. K. Algermissen (L): yes, in the same sense as the infallible Catholic dogma proclaimed in 1854.

16. Friedrich Heiler (L): yes, in the same sense as the infallible Catholic dogma proclaimed in 1854.

Total:

Yes: 31 (16 Lutherans, 13 Catholics, 1 Reformed, 1 probably Protestant [uncertain] )
Probably: 1 (Catholic)
Probably not: 1 (Catholic)
No: 2 (1 Catholic; 1 Lutheran)
That makes for an 89% rate of scholars of various religious persuasions who positively affirm that the later Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception. Only one Protestant scholar is firmly against the opinion, while it two Catholic scholars who are against and probably against (putting to rest the charge of denominational bias and special pleading). The Lutheran scholars can be, I think, fully trusted for the interpretation of the founder of their branch of Christianity. Catholic scholars are, then, only agreeing with the consensus of Lutheran scholarship on this point. I, therefore, rest my case . . .

VIII. Concluding Thoughts

It is helpful, after this survey, to reflect upon the summary remarks of Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas, at the end of his treatise, “The Place of Mary in Classical Fundamentalism”:
. . . we find some interesting points of continuity and discontinuity between and among the three groups we have surveyed, namely, the original Protestant Reformers, their Fundamentalist descendants of a more serious theological bent, and their Fundamentalist heirs whose efforts are more directed to popularizations than true professional reflection.

Men in the first group took seriously Mary and her place in the Church; in point of fact, for the most part, they did not challenge Catholic Mariology, except in terms of piety or devotional practices. Luther, the most “Catholic” of them, appears to have accepted all the traditional Marian doctrines, including the as-yet-undefined teachings on the Immaculate Conception and Assumption. Certainly, they all adhered to Mary’s perpetual virginity and all thought that Mary should be held in honor in Christian life and worship, as evidenced by their maintenance of several Marian feasts, prayers and hymns. They were concerned with abolishing what they perceived to be the Marian excesses of the medieval Church and not taking an axe to the entire tree. The primary source of irritation seems to have come from the Catholic invocation of Mary, with a view toward obtaining her intercession.

Theologians of the second group, beginning with the Fundamentalists of the last century, took a quantum leap away from the Marian doctrines of their Reformation fathers. The reason is hard to ascertain, except for the conjecture that many of those doctrines were already either marginalized or eliminated in the reformation communities to which the Fundamentalists had belonged before their departures into new denominational settings. Some contemporary Fundamentalist theologians tend to exhibit a more open and tolerant attitude toward Mariology and are disposed to engage in intelligent theological discourse on the subject; others are as adamantly opposed to it as were the original Fundamentalists, many of whom insist that they are simply being faithful to the Reformation tradition, all data to the contrary notwithstanding.

The final gathering of Fundamentalists one might be tempted to ignore or denigrate as being alternately theologically innocent and naive or else virulent and vicious, if not a bit of both options. Not to consider them in a profound way would be to commit a colossal error since they seem to be the very ones who are most in touch with “real people,” both their own and Catholics whom they seek to attract to their “pure” version of Christianity.

Some common threads can be found among the various Protestants as they encounter Marian doctrine and devotion. The first stems from a theology of revelation, linked to an absolutist understanding of sola Scriptura (generally much more extreme than found in the first Reformers), which makes Mariology inadmissible since it cannot be easily found in the written Word of God. The second views the Marian dimension as unacceptable because of the principle of solus Christus; again, more radically interpreted than in the Reformation era. A final concern surfaces over alleged pagan connections between Mariology and goddess worship; this aspect would never have entered the minds of a Luther, Calvin or Zwingli, revealing tremendous anxieties about appropriate ways to incorporate anthropological, historical and cultural elements into the Christian Faith. At this level in particular, it is also interesting and important to observe how much these writers and preachers rely on each other, simply repeating whole sections of each other’s works in a completely uncritical manner.
As a final note: much of the problem in Catholic-Protestant communication and dialogue about Mary occurs because the two parties think and “hear things” so very differently. Catholic writer Jeffery Dennis has offered some very helpful observations in this regard:
Protestants, particularly those in evangelical denominations . . . have been raised to regard any sort of veneration as idolatry . . . Mary is mentioned in Protestant churches only during Christmastime, in reference to the manger of Bethlehem, and perhaps occasionally at Easter . . . she has no special role to play in the Christian story . . . Many of the dogmas of the Catholic Church, while profound and vigorous spiritual truths, are couched in technical theological language that sounds quite bizarre to Protestant ears. Here is what your Protestant friend may be hearing when you try to explain the Blessed Virgin the way she was explained to you:

The Catholic says: Mary is ever-virgin.
The Protestant hears: Mary is a pagan earth-goddess. (The non-Catholic remembers the vestal virgins of Rome.)

The Catholic says: Mary was conceived without sin.
The Protestant hears: Mary is the equal of Jesus. (He remembers that Jesus was sinless.)

The Catholic says: Mary was assumed into heaven.
The Protestant hears: Mary is the equal of Jesus. (He remembers that Jesus ascended into heaven.)

The Catholic says: Mary is Co-Redemptrix.
The Protestant hears: We don’t feel that Jesus is adequate for salvation.

The Catholic says: Mary is our intercessor.
The Protestant hears: We don’t believe that Jesus can do it all.

The Catholic says: Mary is the Mother of God.
The Protestant hears: Mary gave birth to God the Father. (He uses the word “God” to refer only to God the Father.)

The Catholic says: Mary is the Queen of Heaven.
The Protestant hears: Mary is God’s wife. (Since God is the King of Heaven, Mary must be His wife.)

These interpretations may sound ludicrous and blasphemous, but they are exactly how your Protestant friend will interpret your words. Raised in a world without saints, he cannot conceive of spiritual contact with anyone but a god. You will leave him with the unfortunate misconception that Mary is the chief goddess of a Roman Catholic pantheon, and that Jesus has a minor, almost negligible, role in the Catholic plan of salvation . . .

(”Introducing Mary to Protestants,” in The Catholic Answer Book of Mary, edited by Rev. Peter M.J. Stravinskas, Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2000; 88-91; quote from 88-89)

Posted by Dave Armstrong


27 posted on 12/20/2010 10:34:06 PM PST by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
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To: DallasMike

The Catholic says: Mary is ever-virgin.
The Protestant hears: Mary is a pagan earth-goddess. (The non-Catholic remembers the vestal virgins of Rome.)

The Catholic says: Mary was conceived without sin.
The Protestant hears: Mary is the equal of Jesus. (He remembers that Jesus was sinless.)

The Catholic says: Mary was assumed into heaven.
The Protestant hears: Mary is the equal of Jesus. (He remembers that Jesus ascended into heaven.)

The Catholic says: Mary is Co-Redemptrix.
The Protestant hears: We don’t feel that Jesus is adequate for salvation.

The Catholic says: Mary is our intercessor.
The Protestant hears: We don’t believe that Jesus can do it all.

The Catholic says: Mary is the Mother of God.
The Protestant hears: Mary gave birth to God the Father. (He uses the word “God” to refer only to God the Father.)

The Catholic says: Mary is the Queen of Heaven.
The Protestant hears: Mary is God’s wife. (Since God is the King of Heaven, Mary must be His wife.)

These interpretations may sound ludicrous and blasphemous, but they are exactly how your Protestant friend will interpret your words. Raised in a world without saints, he cannot conceive of spiritual contact with anyone but a god. You will leave him with the unfortunate misconception that Mary is the chief goddess of a Roman Catholic pantheon, and that Jesus has a minor, almost negligible, role in the Catholic plan of salvation . . .


28 posted on 12/20/2010 10:37:09 PM PST by narses ( 'Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.')
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To: narses; kindred

Matthew 2:10-12 also mentions Mary.

10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Matthew 2:19-20 uses the same words from the angel, to tell Joseph it is safe to take “the child and his mother.”

Here’s another one, Matthew 2:13-15 also mentions her:

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”[a]

Interesting that the angel didn’t say, “Take your wife and child,” but “Take the child and his mother.”

Kindred, did you include these verses? I may have missed them if you did. Please let me know.


29 posted on 12/20/2010 11:07:06 PM PST by Judith Anne (Holy Mary, Mother of God, please pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.)
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To: narses

>>The Catholic says: Mary is Co-Redemptrix.<<

Any Catholic who say this is more Catholic than the Pope and is just as off as the Womynpriest crowd.


30 posted on 12/21/2010 4:24:19 AM PST by netmilsmom (Happiness is a choice.)
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To: Judith Anne

Wait, I have a video! ;-D

It’s called “The Truth About Mary and Scripture: MUST SEE!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUdYeYy3NQA

Now how many here who are not Catholic will even give it a viewing? Just one viewing. It could answer a lot of questions if that one person could get past their prejudice.

I was a Presbyterian. I became Catholic because Truth is an important thing.


31 posted on 12/21/2010 6:04:00 AM PST by Not gonna take it anymore
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To: papertyger

“If adding a nickle to what money I have gives me enough to purchase a particular thing, does that mean all I ever needed was a nickle? / Any doctrine that was unheard of until the middle ages is no doctrine of Christianity.”

Ummm...first, you aren’t adding a nickle to what you already have. You have nothing, and God provides what you need. And if a nickle or $5 was sufficient to buy object A, then yes, to buy object A all you need is there.

In this case, all you need for salvation and to be equipped for every good work is found in scripture.

Nor was the doctrine unheard of until the middle ages. The Apostles and even Jesus, when challenged, replied with scripture. When Satan challenged Jesus, Jesus replied with scripture.

And when the Apostles were challenged as they preached, they used scripture to back them up. And they commended those who DID search the scriptures to see if they were telling the truth. They did NOT reply, “Pope Peter, Vicar of Christ, says so!”

Finding final authority in scripture is a practice found repeated in scripture, with Jesus and the Apostles as our example.

You will also find the early church fathers repeatedly appealing to scripture for authority.


32 posted on 12/21/2010 6:57:13 AM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: Mr Rogers
Now, against that you have what? Matt 16:16 setting up Peter as the Infallible Leader of the Church? Not hardly!

Oh, come, now! If you're going to toss around terms like "infallible", you might at least study what they mean. If you can find any authoritative Catholic text (the Catechism would do nicely, but feel free to use any official Church document) which claims that the Pope is "always and everywhere without error, about everything", then I'll happily apologize, and abandon Catholicism.

"Infallibility" is restricted to the "negative" protection given, by the Holy Spirit, to the Church (and to the Holy Father, when he binds the universal Church with a formal teaching, on pain of heresy), when She (the Church) defines something as being (already) revealed by God. It can't "invent" new doctrines, and it doesn't apply to the Pope's ability to pick lottery numbers, play a perfect game of golf, or even avoid foolishness or sin. It prevents the Pope from saying anything FALSE when articulating the formal dogma revealed by Christ.

With a bit of research (rather than knee-jerk, bigoted, straw-man, "gotcha-style" attacks), you could easily have found that out. Irrational prejudice is truly a darkener of the intellect.

And if you're so fascinated by holding St. Paul up at St. Peter's expense, perhaps you might ponder this?

Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:2)

Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. (Galatians 5:2-4)

...compared to this:

Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

Oops?

This is not to disrespect St. Paul; it's to point out, in one of dozens of ways, that your synthetic "St. Paul repudiated St. Peter, so that settles the matter of so-called 'infallibility'" idea is pure, self-serving bunkum.
33 posted on 12/21/2010 7:05:19 AM PST by paladinan (Rule #1: There is a God. Rule #2: It isn't you.)
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To: narses

“[originally uploaded on 24 April 2003. Re-edited, with numerous additions and subject headings added: 26 April 2003; major revision: 7 April 2008]”

where is this from- is this all in the book pub by (ug) OSV at end?


34 posted on 12/21/2010 7:06:48 AM PST by BonRad (As Rome goes so goes the world)
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To: Mr Rogers
You will also find the early church fathers repeatedly appealing to scripture for authority.

That's because the Scriptures are authoritative, and no Catholic will deny that... least of all, the Church Fathers who discerned, assembled and gave you the Bible you have today. But it says nothing about the Bible being the "sole" contents of Divine Revelation. Th very idea of "Sola Scriptura" didn't even appear on the scene until almost 1500 years after Christ ascended into Heaven!

Speaking of Church Fathers:
If you should find someone who does not yet believe in the gospel what would you [Mani] answer him when he says, “I do not believe”? Indeed, I would not believe the gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.
-St. Augustine, Against the Letter of Mani Called ‘The Foundation’ 5:6, AD 397)

35 posted on 12/21/2010 7:15:14 AM PST by paladinan (Rule #1: There is a God. Rule #2: It isn't you.)
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To: paladinan

I know what the doctrine of papal infallibility means. And when Peter gave in to the folks who said circumcision was a requirement for salvation, and stayed away from the Gentiles, he erred on a central issue of salvation.

Here was the issue before Peter:

” 15We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”

Was it “Faith + obeying the Law”, or faith alone that saves us? And Peter screwed up, in public, and was rebuked by Paul.

Was Paul willing to have someone circumcised so they could better spread the Gospel? Yes. There is no harm in that. There is great harm in making it a requirement for salvation, as Peter was willing to allow...until rebuked by Paul.

And please do not pretend that the Catholic Church doesn’t allow new doctrine. That is a part of its teaching - that Sacred Tradition reveals new truths, not because they are new, but because they were not understood to be true until the doctors of the church and people came to believe them.

You won’t find transubstantiation as doctrine in 500 AD.


36 posted on 12/21/2010 7:30:22 AM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: paladinan

You take Augustine out of context (Augustine did not believe the Bishop of Rome was above all other Bishops), but Augustine is not authoritative either. Someone who believes because some church says to believe will believe anything.


37 posted on 12/21/2010 7:34:01 AM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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The epistle to the Galatians shows Paul in conflict with other missionaries. Jewish-Christians from Palestine had visited the congregations of the Galatians after Paul’s visit there and taught that Paul’s Gospel was incomplete. They persuaded some of the Galatians that salvation required observance of the Torah laws, including circumcision. Paul writes to rebuke and to persuade the Galatians in this letter. Indeed, the letter follows the outline of a Greco-Roman apologetic letter (The History and Theology, p. 99): prescript (1:1-5), introduction (1:6-11), narrative (1:12-2:14), proposition (2:15-21), proof (3:1-4:31), exhortation (5:1-6:10), and conclusion (6:11-18). But this is not to say that the argument for justification of faith in Galatians is cut-and-dry; far from it, Paul’s epistle to the Galatians is full of passion, anger, and drama.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/galatians.html


38 posted on 12/21/2010 7:49:31 AM PST by anglian
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To: Mr Rogers
I know what the doctrine of papal infallibility means.

Forgive me, but: you obviously do not... or you would never have presumed to say that the conflict between St. Peter and St. Paul affected it at all. The charism of infallibility is a "negative" protection which prevents the Church from teaching any error or lie as true doctrine; papal infallibility only "activates" when the Pope, as chief shepherd of God's Church, solemnly binds the entire Church under a particular doctrine, requiring belief under pain of heresy. The pope's personal example, even if it were wretched (and St. Peter's actions were imprudent, yes) or even horrifically sinful, would not affect papal infallibility in the least. Even if the pope were to stray into heresy, himself (personally), that would not affect the matter, unless he succeeded in DEFINING that heresy as Church teaching and binding all Christians to believe it, under pain of sin. Infallibility is, quite simply, the Holy Spirit's guarantee that He will strike the pope DEAD, if necessary, before He allows the pope to define erroneous doctrine as "universal Church teaching".

Case in point: can you show me where St. Peter declared that "it is a truth of the Faith that Christian Jews must dissociate themselves from Gentiles while important Jews are about; and this belief is required of all Christians, on pain of heresy"? If not, then your case is finished. I don't mean to rub your nose in this; but your understanding of papal infallibility is seriously inadequate (and quite possibly fueled by anti-Catholic prejudice), and a little unbiased study would show that to you rather quickly, I think.

And when Peter gave in to the folks who said circumcision was a requirement for salvation, and stayed away from the Gentiles, he erred on a central issue of salvation.

Read Galatians 2:12 again:

But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. (NIV)

Was this an instance of weakness? Certainly... and St. Paul was right to challenge it. But for you to equivocate, blur, and "morph" this into a "formal teaching" that somehow "threatens papal infallibility" is just silly. St. Peter ACTED imprudently; he did not bind the universal Church to follow his example, under pain of sin. This is a no-starter, friend.

Here was the issue before Peter: was it “Faith + obeying the Law”, or faith alone that saves us? And Peter screwed up, in public, and was rebuked by Paul.

No one is disputing that Peter acted poorly. But you go further, and say that "this disproves papal infallibility"; it does not do so, in the least. Or perhaps you can show me where, in Scripture, St. Peter declares that "the old Law is needed for salvation, and all Christians must adhere to it"?

Was Paul willing to have someone circumcised so they could better spread the Gospel? Yes.

You say that very glibly, given your own reading of Galatians! Read Galatians 5, again:
Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. (Galatians 5:2-4)
So... unless you're willing to admit that your entire understanding of Galatians (and St. Peter's indiscretion) is badly skewed, here's what your last statement really says:

"Was Paul willing to render Christ of no value at all to Timothy, for the sake of expediency? Yes."

If St. Timothy let himself be circumcised, then Galatians 5 seems to suggest that St. Timothy rendered himself fallen from grace, with Christ of no use to him. Or... just maybe... your absolutist, read-between-the-lines interpretation of Galatians 2:12 (which uses the same sort of out-of-context rendering) is wrong? Perhaps you might see that St. Paul and St. Peter both erred in the very same way: doing something unnecessary (and scandalous) for the sake of pleasing Mosaic-Law-following Jews? Why condemn St. Peter, while giving St. Paul a free pass? Unless your bias against Catholicism leads you to do it?

There is no harm in that.

Surely you see that this is your raw opinion? Or else, can you tell me where Galatians 5 or 6 says that accepting circumcision is harmless? Chapter and verse, please.

There is great harm in making it a requirement for salvation, as Peter was willing to allow...until rebuked by Paul.

Er... chapter and verse, please, of the place in Scripture which shows that St. Peter "was making circumcision a requirement for salvation"? Given St. Peter's declaration in Acts 15:6-11, your position seems pretty incoherent.

And please do not pretend that the Catholic Church doesn’t allow new doctrine. That is a part of its teaching - that Sacred Tradition reveals new truths, not because they are new, but because they were not understood to be true until the doctors of the church and people came to believe them.

Balderdash. Sacred Tradition does not "reveal new" ANYTHING. Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are two parts of the one Sacred Deposit of Faith--the sum-total of Divine Revelation which God entrusted to His Church; and all of it was "closed" (i.e. no new additions) at the end of the apostolic age, according to Catholic teaching (which you claim to be describing). The Magisterium of the Church can re-present and refine a particular teaching, or make explicit what was already implicit in the Sacred Deposit, but it cannot "invent" new doctrine. I'm not sure (save from anti-Catholic screed) where you would have picked up such an idea.

You won’t find transubstantiation as doctrine in 500 AD.

The word "transubstantiation" was not used then, no; neither was the word "Trinity" used in the Bible, or in Apostolic times... but I assume (correct me if I'm wrong?) you don't reject the Trinity on that basis! How is it "introducing new doctrine" to sculpt a new word to better describe something which was already believed since the time of Christ?
39 posted on 12/21/2010 10:09:03 AM PST by paladinan (Rule #1: There is a God. Rule #2: It isn't you.)
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To: Mr Rogers

First of all, I want to compliment you on your response, sincerely. Yours was the type of response I always hope for, and rarely see. You were to the point, and stayed with my comments. Truly, my hat is off to you, sir. I will add that I do not agree with your personal, fallible interpretation, with my reasoning following thusly:

You said:
‘ “Does it say Final Authority? No. But what it does say is:

“14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

“May be complete (ina hi artiov).
Final clause with ina and present subjunctive of eimi. Artiov is old word (from root arw, to fit), specially adapted, here only in N.T.

Furnished completely (exhrtismenov).
Perfect passive participle of exartizw, rare verb, to furnish (fit) fully (perfective use of ex), in N.T. only here and Acts 21:5. In Josephus. For katartizw, see Luke 6:40; 2 Corinthians 13:11. “

http://www.studylight.org/com/rwp/view.cgi?book=2ti&chapter=003&verse=017

It it equips you “for every good work”, then it is sufficient. You don’t need more if it fully equips you for every good work.

Also - how do you get more authoritative than “breathed out by God”?” ‘

My point here was that the specific phrase kindred used is not in the Bible. Protestants, speaking generally, often ask Catholics where one finds this or that in the Bible. If kindred is going to represent something as being in the Bible, should it not be there? Likewise, in 2 Timothy, 3, the context is thus:

“And because from thy infancy thou hast known the holy scriptures, which can instruct thee to salvation, by the faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.”

St Paul is exhorting Timothy to constancy. He makes mention first of the Old Testament (that being the scripture Timothy has known ‘from thy infancy’) All scripture, must also include the New Testament, taking along with it the traditions of the Apostles, and the interpretation of the Church, to which the Apostles delivered both the book, and the true meaning of it.

I will remind you of John 20:30-31
“Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, you may have life in His name.”

I will also remind you of 1 Timothy 3:15
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

I will remind you of 2 Thessalonians 2:14
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.”

I will also remind you of 2 Timothy 2:2
“And the things which thou hast heard of me by many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men, who shall be fit to teach others also.”

I will also remind you of 1 Corinthians 11:2
“Now I praise you, brethren, that in all things you are mindful of me: and keep my ordinances as I have delivered them to you.”

I will also remind you of 1 Thessalonians 2:13
“Therefore, we also give thanks to God without ceasing: because, that when you had received of us the word of the hearing of God, you received it not as the word of men, but (as it is indeed) the word of God, who worketh in you that have believed.”

I will also remind you of Acts 2:42
“And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of the bread, and in prayers.”

Final Authority, as kindred out it, consists of the Word of God, which includes the Bible, the traditions of the Apostles, and the Magisterium (teaching Authority)of the One, True, Holy, and Catholic Church.

I say this as respectfully as I am able, as I my intent is not harm or malice. The post by kindred used specific verbiage not in the Bible. While the intent of the author of the original post was, shall we say, not even thinly disguised, I do give kindred credit. I also point to the original author having not done his homework in some respects. I have no doubt that where we disagree, you will respond with erudition, and I think the same might be said of kindred. I could give much more response than I have, but in the last week have apparently consumed something glutenous, so my attention is somewhat divided. ;)

I will add that my quotes are from the Douay-Rheims online:
www.drbo.org/index.htm
with interspersed bits from
http://haydock1859.tripod.com/index.html
All mistakes are mine.


40 posted on 12/21/2010 10:12:12 AM PST by sayuncledave (A cruce salus)
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To: Mr Rogers
You take Augustine out of context

(??) If you think the context would help your case, you're welcome to read St. Augustine's entire letter, yourself. I'm not sure what's ambiguous about what he said, though; do you think some sort of context might help his statement to mean, "No, just kidding, I really hold to Sola Scriptura, just like Luther?"

(Augustine did not believe the Bishop of Rome was above all other Bishops)

(???) What, may I ask, does that have to do with St. Augustine's comment about the Gospels, and not believing them except on the Church's authority? You threw in a non-sequitur, here, and I'm not quite sure why.

As for your statement itself: would you care to prove it?

but Augustine is not authoritative either. Someone who believes because some church says to believe will believe anything.

:) Ah. So you'd like to "have your cake, and eat it, too"; you appeal to St. Augustine and the other Church Fathers (cf. your reply to papertyger, Tuesday, December 21, 2010 8:57:13 AM), and then you say that no one can appeal to St. Augustine, since he's not "authoritative". You'll have to pick one position and stick with it, friend; you can't have both, since they're opposites. If he and the other Fathers are not authoritative, then why should it matter whether they appeal to Scripture (cf. your reply, above) or not?

But I think you missed St. Augustine's point... so let me ask you this: why do YOU (Mr. Rogers) believe the Gospels, rather than dismissing them as "pious fiction" or some other non-authoritative work?


41 posted on 12/21/2010 10:28:05 AM PST by paladinan (Rule #1: There is a God. Rule #2: It isn't you.)
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To: paladinan

“The living magisterium, therefore, makes extensive use of documents of the past, but it does so while judging and interpreting, gladly finding in them its present thought, but likewise, when needful, distinguishing its present thought from what is traditional only in appearance. It is revealed truth always living in the mind of the Church, or, if it is preferred, the present thought of the Church in continuity with her traditional thought, which is for it the final criterion, according to which the living magisterium adopts as true or rejects as false the often obscure and confused formulas which occur in the monuments of the past. Thus are explained both her respect for the writings of the Fathers of the Church and her supreme independence towards those writings; she judges them more than she is judged by them. Harnack has said that the Church is accustomed to conceal her evolution and to efface as well as she can the differences between her present and her former thought by condemning as heretical the most faithful witnesses of what was formerly orthodoxy. Not understanding what tradition is, the ever-living thought of the Church, he believes that she abjured her past when she merely distinguished between what was traditional truth in the past and what was only human alloy mixed with that truth, the personal opinion of an author substituting itself for the general thought of the Christian community.”

http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Tradition_and_Living_Magisterium

Sounds to me like a “Living Constitution”, that changes meaning as required to fit the judges opinions...

“As regards truths such as the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, there have been uncertainties and controversies over the very substance of the subjects involved. The revealed truth was indeed in the deposit of truth in the Church, but it was not formulated in explicit terms nor even in clearly equivalent terms; it was enveloped in a more general truth (that e.g. of the all-holiness of Mary), the formula of which might be understood in a more or less absolute sense (exemption from all actual sin, exemption even from original sin). On the other hand, this truth (the exemption of Mary from original sin) may seem in at least apparent conflict with other certain truths (universality of original sin, redemption of all by Christ). It will be readily understood that in some circumstances, when the question is put explicitly for the first time, the faithful have hesitated. It is even natural that the theologians should show more hesitation than the other faithful. More aware of the apparent opposition between the new opinion and the ancient truth, they may legitimately resist, while awaiting fuller light, what may seem to them unreflecting haste or unenlightened piety. Thus did St. Anselm, St. Thomas, and St. Bonaventure in the case of the Immaculate Conception. But the living idea of Mary in the mind of the Church implied absolute exemption from all sin without exception, even from original sin; the faithful whom theological preoccupations did not prevent from beholding this idea in its purity, with that intuition of the heart often more prompt and more enlightened than reasoning and reflected thought, shrank from all restriction and could not suffer, according to the expression of St. Augustine, that there should be question of any sin whatsoever in connexion with Mary. Little by little the feeling of the faithful won the day. Not, as has been said, because the theologians, powerless to struggle against a blind sentiment, had themselves to follow the movement, but because their perceptions, quickened by the faithful and by their own instinct of faith, grew more considerate of the sentiment of the faithful and eventually examined the new opinion more closely in order to make sure that, far from contradicting any dogma, it harmonized wonderfully with other revealed truths and corresponded as a whole to the analogy of faith and rational fitness. Finally scrutinizing with fresh care the deposit of revelation, they there discovered the pious opinion, hitherto concealed, as far as they were concerned in the more general formula, and, not satisfied to hold it as true, they declared it revealed.”

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15006b.htm

“Was Paul willing to have someone circumcised so they could better spread the Gospel? Yes. / You say that very glibly, given your own reading of Galatians! Read Galatians 5, again...”

I’ve read Galatians, and only a fool would claim that there is no distinction between those who circumcise themselves to gain approval of God, and those who circumcise themselves to gain access to potential converts.

“Unless your bias against Catholicism leads you to do it?”

Odd. I’ve had Calvinists claim I’m a secret Catholic pretending to be a Baptist. There are many Catholics on this forum who can attest that I’m not anti-Catholic, but Baptist.

Where I bump heads with Catholics is on the central difference between the two - can the traditions discovered or uncovered by the doctors of the church conflict with the plain meaning of scripture?

On the topic of this thread, I don’t greatly care if someone wants to claim Mary remained a virgin. It is against a plain reading of scripture & requires a lot of contortions, but it conflicts with no essential doctrine. I do wonder, however, at those who twist themselves like pretzels to avoid the thought that Mary had other children, when scripture plainly says she did.


42 posted on 12/21/2010 10:51:51 AM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: sayuncledave

Thank you for the courteous response. I rarely post on the religion forum threads anymore due to the bitterness and hatred so often displayed, all in the name, supposedly, of Christ!

I have some chores to do and will reply later. For now, let me admit I don’t think either of us will convince the other. For my part, I’m happy if folks leave understanding why I believe what I do, and let God handle the rest.

I think this passage from Romans is worth remembering in these discussions:

“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.”

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” - Romans 14

We may differ on the perpetual virginity of Mary, and each of us will give account to God for what we have believed and done, but I think God will be more concerned with hatred in our hearts than with scoring 100% on a doctrinal test.


43 posted on 12/21/2010 11:10:33 AM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: DallasMike; Mr Rogers; narses
Though Mary is certainly the most blessed woman who ever lived, it's clear from church and secular history that the doctrines that began to bubble up around Mary several hundred years after her death were unknown to the early church.

Jesus' Family Tree

In the Maronite Catholic Church, we are in the Season of Announcements and Glorious Birth of the Lord. Over the past several weeks, the Sunday Gospel focused our attention on how God prepared His people for the birth of Christ. It began with the Announcement to Zechariah, followed by the Announcement to Mary, the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, the Announcement to Joseph, that takes us to Genealogy Sunday.

The early christians were very well aware of Jesus' family tree. It is also worth noting that first century christians spoke and wrote in Aramaic. In fact, the Maronite Catholic Church still retains that ancient language in portions of its liturgy. There is no word for 'cousin' in Aramaic. The term "brother" (Greek: adelphos) has a wide meaning in the Bible. It is not restricted to the literal meaning of a full brother or half-brother. The same goes for "sister" (adelphe) and the plural form "brothers" (adelphoi). The Old Testament shows that "brother" had a wide semantic range of meaning and could refer to any male relative from whom you are not descended (male relatives from whom you are descended are known as "fathers") and who are not descended from you (your male descendants, regardless of the number of generations removed, are your "sons"), as well as kinsmen such as cousins, those who are members of the family by marriage or by law rather than by blood, and even friends or mere political allies (2 Sam. 1:26; Amos 1:9).

Lot, for example, is called Abraham’s "brother" (Gen. 14:14), even though, being the son of Haran, Abraham’s brother (Gen. 11:26–28), he was actually Abraham’s nephew. Similarly, Jacob is called the "brother" of his uncle Laban (Gen. 29:15). Kish and Eleazar were the sons of Mahli. Kish had sons of his own, but Eleazar had no sons, only daughters, who married their "brethren," the sons of Kish. These "brethren" were really their cousins (1 Chr. 23:21–22).

The terms "brothers," "brother," and "sister" did not refer only to close relatives. Sometimes they meant kinsmen (Deut. 23:7; Neh. 5:7; Jer. 34:9), as in the reference to the forty-two "brethren" of King Azariah (2 Kgs. 10:13–14).

When Jesus was found in the Temple at age twelve, the context suggests that he was the only son of Mary and Joseph. There is no hint in this episode of any other children in the family (Luke 2:41–51). Jesus grew up in Nazareth, and the people of Nazareth referred to him as "the son of Mary" (Mark 6:3), not as "a son of Mary." In fact, others in the Gospels are never referred to as Mary’s sons, not even when they are called Jesus’ "brethren." If they were in fact her sons, this would be strange usage.

Consider what happened at the foot of the cross. When he was dying, Jesus entrusted his mother to the apostle John (John 19:26–27). The Gospels mention four of his "brethren": James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude. It is hard to imagine why Jesus would have disregarded family ties and made this provision for his mother if these four were also her sons.

44 posted on 12/21/2010 11:19:11 AM PST by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: Mr Rogers
Ummm...first, you aren’t adding a nickle to what you already have. You have nothing, and God provides what you need. And if a nickle or $5 was sufficient to buy object A, then yes, to buy object A all you need is there.

Do you really think that mangling my analogy makes your proposition any less absurd?

In this case, all you need for salvation and to be equipped for every good work is found in scripture.

If that were true, show me the verse that explains the Trinity, and need to believe in it even if one does not understand it.

Nor was the doctrine unheard of until the middle ages.

Then you should have no problem citing it as a doctrine agreed upon by the Church fathers instead of reading it into anecdotes. What was this doctrine called before sola scriptura was named at the reformation if it wasn't a "new revelation?"

45 posted on 12/21/2010 1:10:15 PM PST by papertyger
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To: Mr Rogers
[Article on Sacred Tradition from the Catholic Encyclopedia, snipped for space]

Sounds to me like a “Living Constitution”, that changes meaning as required to fit the judges opinions...

"Sounds to you?" That's pretty vague, friend, on which to base a claim of "The Catholic Church creates new dogmas!" Can you prove your case? As it stands now, this sounds uncomfortably like mere mud-slinging.

First: your original claim about Sacred Tradition being "open to new teachings" is simply not true, as a glance at the Catechism of the Catholic Church will show: the Sacred Deposit of Faith is closed, and has been closed since the end of the Apostolic Age (i.e. the death of the last Apostle, St. John). Second, your idea that "the Church can make up what it pleases" is a mere canard; the Church never claimed such power, and She explicitly denies having such power. If you dig in, and insist on calling the Church a liar on that point, then I hope you won't mind if I ask you to prove your case.

[Article on Tradition and the Living Magisterium from the C.E., specifically mentioning the discernment of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, snipped for space]

(*sigh*) I don't suppose you saw fit to read the whole article, rather than merely lifting the quote? It addressed a great many of your points, here...

I'm not quite sure what you think that proves (since you didn't expound); what, exactly, is your issue with the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, or its definition? Do you offer this as a so-called "new dogma", "invented" by the Church? It's as "new" as the quadratic formula, friend; it was always true, but it wasn't forulated until later times. Think of the Dogma of the Trinity, for example (and you DO accept that, yes?); it's nowhere in Scripture, and it was hotly contested by the MAJORITY of Christians (i.e. Arian heretics), and it wasn't solemnly defined until 325 A.D. Would you call the Dogma of the Trinity "an invention", as well? If not, why not?

I’ve read Galatians, and only a fool would claim that there is no distinction between those who circumcise themselves to gain approval of God, and those who circumcise themselves to gain access to potential converts.

(*wry look*) Luckily for me, I suppose, I didn't claim any such thing. (I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, as well, and assume that you didn't intend to call me a fool.) I was challenging your statement (which seems to be your raw opinion) that "St. Peter avoided eating with the Gentiles while around the Judaizers, because he rejected the New Covenant and still embraced the Mosaic Law", while St. Paul's "multilation of St. Timothy's flesh" was a mere trifle for expediency's sake, without any serious theological ramifications. You seem to assume that St. Paul's action (which was far more significant than isolated dining events, and far more irrevocable!) was "okay", while St. Peter's action was somehow an abandonment of the Faith. Care to explain WHY you treat them so differently?

Odd. I’ve had Calvinists claim I’m a secret Catholic pretending to be a Baptist. There are many Catholics on this forum who can attest that I’m not anti-Catholic, but Baptist.

Very interesting, I'm sure. I think you'll admit, though, that you don't accept Catholicism as being true? That, coupled with the fact that you happened to use some rather hackneyed examples from the anti-Catholic playbook (against Catholic doctrine, etc.), led me to believe that you believe Catholicism to be wrong, and that you sometimes made public efforts to show Catholicism to be wrong. Did I misunderstand you?

Where I bump heads with Catholics is on the central difference between the two - can the traditions discovered or uncovered by the doctors of the church conflict with the plain meaning of scripture?

I can imagine why you'd "bump" with Catholics (and others) on that point: because the idea of the "plain sense of Scripture" is rife with subjectivity. I, for example, see the Holy Eucharist in the "plain sense" of John 6, 1 Corinthians 11:23-32, and elsewhere; I see the clear distinction between mortal and non-mortal (i.e. venial) sin in the "plain sense" of 1 John 5:16-17; I see that we are all the Blessed Virgin Mary's children, in the "plain sense" of Revelation 12:17; I see the Biblical approval of prayers for the dead in the "plain sense" of 2 Macabbees 12; and the list goes on. Please tell me that you at least recognize numerous differences of opinion over what the "plain sense of Scripture" is?

On the topic of this thread, I don’t greatly care if someone wants to claim Mary remained a virgin. It is against a plain reading of scripture & requires a lot of contortions, but it conflicts with no essential doctrine. I do wonder, however, at those who twist themselves like pretzels to avoid the thought that Mary had other children, when scripture plainly says she did.

Well... Scripture also "plainly" says that Abraham and Lot were "brethren", for instance. It also says that we are justified by works, and not by Faith alone (James 2:24). It also says that Scripture can be hard to understand, and that it can be distorted, even unto our own destruction (cf. 2 Peter 3:15-16), which means that "plain sense of Scripture" really wouldn't have any meaning, in those cases. Do you see my point?

If you have a beef with Catholicism, you'll need to be specific in what you think is false, and we can pick it apart (if you like). But I assert that you're starting with a great many unwarranted assumptions... which you may never have challenged, before.
46 posted on 12/21/2010 1:57:48 PM PST by paladinan (Rule #1: There is a God. Rule #2: It isn't you.)
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To: papertyger

“Do you really think that mangling my analogy makes your proposition any less absurd?”

I didn’t mangle anything. If $5 is the price, then $5 is sufficient. If the scriptures can fully equip you for every good work and salvation, then they are sufficient. You don’t need more.

“If that were true, show me the verse that explains the Trinity, and need to believe in it even if one does not understand it.”

Jesus never says, “Repent, and believe the Trinity!”

Nor does Peter.

The Trinity is a part of Systematic Theology - an attempt to put our knowledge of God into neat categories. That doesn’t make it an error, but neither is a full understanding of it required for salvation, or to live a holy life.

“Then you should have no problem citing it as a doctrine agreed upon by the Church fathers instead of reading it into anecdotes.”

There you go - relying on the doctrinal teachings of man instead of looking to the example of Jesus and the Apostles.

“Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” - 2 John

The teaching of Christ by the Apostles is sufficient. No one needs to run ahead and add more. They should be content to abide in the teaching of Christ by the Apostles. If not, “Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist”.

Indeed, as Paul said, “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.” - Acts 20

He declared to them “THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD”. If Paul had proclaimed the whole counsel of God, then there was nothing left to be discovered and revealed: “Finally scrutinizing with fresh care the deposit of revelation, they there discovered the pious opinion, hitherto concealed, as far as they were concerned in the more general formula, and, not satisfied to hold it as true, they declared it revealed.”

The Apostles revealed the whole counsel of God, and warned us against running on ahead of it. Of course, that is just scripture...the breath of God.


47 posted on 12/21/2010 2:11:37 PM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: NYer

There is an Aramaic word for cousin. I don’t remember it, but I found it once in an Aramaic dictionary.

And the NT was written in GREEK for a reason - that was a part of God’s plan. And Greek certainly had words for cousins, and it is used in the NT - but NEVER to describe one of the brothers of Jesus.

At a minimum, God gave imperfect guidance to the writers of scripture, if He allowed them to write what must otherwise obscure the truth. The plain language of scripture doesn’t lead one to believe Mary remained a virgin. So either God made it to confuse, or Mary didn’t remain a virgin.


48 posted on 12/21/2010 2:17:20 PM PST by Mr Rogers (Poor history is better than good fiction, and anything with lots of horses is better still)
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To: Mr Rogers; DallasMike; narses
There is an Aramaic word for cousin. I don’t remember it, but I found it once in an Aramaic dictionary.

Aramaic is a language going back four thousand years. It is very diverse since it served as the lingua franca of the Middle East for centuries, developing numerous dialects. Hypothetically, some dialect could have acquired a word for "cousin." But the fact that one dialect would have such a word--and that it might conceivably be found in some Aramaic dictionary would not prove that it could have been used in a scriptural context.

49 posted on 12/21/2010 2:38:24 PM PST by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: Mr Rogers

[papertyger]
“If that were true, show me the verse that explains the Trinity, and need to believe in it even if one does not understand it.”

[Mr Rogers]
Jesus never says, “Repent, and believe the Trinity!” Nor does Peter.

Oh, come, now! Don’t you realize that you’ve dodged the main point altogether? Your original claim about “transubstantiation not being used as a word” to describe the Eucharist, per se, in early centuries, was being addressed, here: not anything else. This was one of the sillier non-sequiturs you’ve used, to date.

The Trinity is a part of Systematic Theology - an attempt to put our knowledge of God into neat categories.

The Blessed Trinity is an unalterable truth of our Faith, and our salvation depends on it, friend. The doctrine of the Blessed Trinity claims that God the Father is God, God the Son (i.e. Jesus Christ) is God, and God the Holy Spirit is God; but that they are not the same Person. If you deny the Trinity, you deny all of salvation history. If Jesus is not God, for example, then His sacrifice on the cross cannot save us. No... you can’t simply shove the “heavy listing” of theology onto others, while shoving it into the attic when it becomes inconvenient, simply to make a populist show of your case!

That doesn’t make it an error, but neither is a full understanding of it required for salvation, or to live a holy life.

That’s almost painfully vague... and it applies to almost everything you hold dear.

1) Do you, for example, need to understand the necessity of Baptism, in order to be saved? St. Peter says that it is Baptism that saves us (1 Peter 3:21), and Jesus Himself says that we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven without it (John 3:5), so I think I’m safe in calling it important. For instance: would it make a difference if you (personally) are baptized, or not?

2) Do you, for example, need to eat the Flesh and drink the Blood of Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, in order to have life within you? (cf. John 6:53) Or doesn’t the “exact definition” matter? (I would think that it would, frankly; if Protestants are wrong about Jesus meaning “acceptance of His Word”, and not a true consumption of the Holy Eucharist, it would seem to make a difference, yes?)


50 posted on 12/21/2010 2:41:17 PM PST by paladinan (Rule #1: There is a God. Rule #2: It isn't you.)
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