Saturday, May 06, 2006

What Think Ye Of Mary?

What Think Ye Of Mary?



The remembrance of the Blessed Mary should direct us to reflect on the worship of Christ our Saviour. In no way should it prompt one to worship Mary. There are no biblical reasons for the formulating Mariology and / or Mariolatry. The idolatrous worship of Mary came about due to the mystery and connection of Mary in mystery of the incarnation of Christ, the Son of God.

The reality of Mary as the mother of the Saviour, Mary unquestionably holds a peculiar position among all women, and in the history of redemption. The Scriptures are clear that we will know each other in heaven. So then we can speculate that in heaven she must stand close to Him, with great maternal thoughts and feelings as one of whom on earth she bore nine months in the womb, and then cared for Him suckling, feeding, and caring for Him so that “the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. (Luk 2:40) This in much in the same way as Timothy's grandmother and mother as Paul described their labour of love when he called “to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” (2Ti 1:5) Her maternal sensitivities are seen in that she also saw followed Him to the cross and beheld her Son give up His life for her and His people’s ransom. Glory!

Mary’s life is an example issuing a silent blessing upon all generations, and her name and memory are, and ever will be, inseparable from the holy mysteries and benefits of faith because she bore our Lord. It is no wonder then that Mary is simply mentioned in the Apostles Creed because Christ was, "Conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.”

Realistically here is where we should stop in our summary in our understanding of Mary and her love, care and devotion to her Son. However the mystics and many religious leaders of the Church throughout history have "speculated, added to, “miracleized”, adopted, manipulated, theorized, baptized and you name it, turning something so simple into damnable, heretical, idolatry beliefs, persuasions and false doctrines.therefore, Since all this nonsense has gone on through Church history I will try to lay out some of the history that formulated the idolatry of Mariology and Mariolatry.

Both the Latin and Greek Catholic church, failed to stop where the Scriptures stopped regarding Mary, the conception by the Holy Ghost and her relationship she had with her Son. Many in the Church did not stop with this but overstepped the limits of the Scripture and of good exegetical practices. This came about due to an undue focus upon the connection of Mary and the mystery of the incarnation of Christ, the Son of God. After 450 A.D. many had transformed the mother of the Lord” into a mother of God. The the humble handmaid of the Lord” had been unbiblically turned into "a queen of heaven". Mary the “highly favored” became one known as a "dispenser of favors" and she that is “blessed among women” became, in the mind of many, as "an intercessor above all women".

In this error Mary now becomes the exception to all mankind fallen in Adam being a universal sinless, holy, co-redeemer. This developed somewhat like this: at first some stated that she was acquitted only of actual sin, then she became acquitted of original sin and finally followed the the doctrine of the her being immaculately conceived – the doctrine of the immaculate conception. See a statement of the doctrine below in Appendix B.

The doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary was not accepted for along long time. Actually not until 1854. The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception was long contested, and was not established as an article of faith in the Roman church until 1854. So that over time the unbiblical thinking of Mary and then her veneration being outside of good biblical discernment gradually evolved and led to a degenerated and idolatrious Church being led to idol worship of Mary.

The idolatry can be discerned as early as the second century in the then allegorical interpretation of the history of the fall and in an assumption of an antithetic relation of Eve and Mary. In this teaching Mary is erroneously said to occupy the same position of Eve. So then the mother of Christ occupies the same position in the history of redemption as the wife of Adam in the history of sin and death. Oh the destruction to the biblical account of the Pauline doctrine of an antitypical parallel between the first and second Adam. Creative as this error was in imagination it is filled with so many errors and is so unscriptural it becomes a heresy which in the end "tends to substitute Mary for Christ".

"Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian, are the first who present Mary as the counterpart of Eve, as a “mother of all living” in the higher, spiritual sense, and teach that she became, through her obedience the mediate or instrumental cause of the blessings of redemption to the human race, as Eve by her disobedience was the fountain of sin and death." One writer calls her the “advocate of the virgin Eve,” which comes to be understood in the sense of intercessor. This is where the Roman Catholic Church points to as the oldest leading authority in the Catholic Mariology.

The idolatrous veneration and worship of Mary prevails even through today over the worship of Christ. Note in iconography that the Modanna (Mary) the human mother is the principal figure, and the divine child an accessory.

The first instance of a formal invocation of Mary in worship seems to occur in the Syrian Church where Ephraim Syrus (379), addressed Mary and the saints. Another more clear example of invocation of Mary in worship appears in the eulogy of Gregory Nazianzen (389) who "relates of Justina that she besought the virgin Mary to protect her threatened virginity, and at the same time disfigured her beauty by ascetic self-tortures, and thus fortunately escaped the amours of a youthful lover (Cyprian before his conversion)."

Now not all of the church was inclined to do such an idolatrious practice. This is known for in the many writings of Athanasius, Basil, Chrysostom, and Augustine, there is no example of an invocation of Mary. And then rightly so "Epiphanius even condemned the adoration of Mary, and calls the practice of making offerings to her by the Collyridian women, blasphemous and dangerous to the soul."

Boy, oh boy in the fifth century, the worship of saints was in full bloom, and as you can guess the worship of Mary because of her relationship to the Lord was placed as the "most blessed queen of the heavenly host". She received the "highest degree of veneration". this being distinctly higher from that of the saints and angels. This led to the many known and unknown churches and altars that have been dedicated to "the holy Mother of God, the perpetual Virgin". Note that " Justinian I., in a law, implored her intercession with God for the restoration of the Roman empire, and on the dedication of the costly altar of the church of St. Sophia he expected all blessings for church and empire from her powerful prayers." His general refused to go to battle till he had secured her protection. Pope Boniface IV. in 608 turned the Pantheon in Rome into a temple of Mary. Therefore even her images were divinely worshipped.

In the idolatry teaching she has became almost like with Christ, becoming a " joint redeemer", being invested with most of His own attributes and acts of grace. Ascribed to her are "a sinless conception, a sinless birth, resurrection and ascension to heaven, and a participation of all power in heaven and on earth". In this idolatry she has become "the center of devotion, cultus, and art, the popular symbol of power, of glory, and of the final victory of Catholicism over all heresies".

Cyril of Alexandria (444), erroneously said of Mary that she was "the crown of virginity, the indestructible temple of God, the dwelling place of the Holy Trinity, the paradise of the second Adam, the bridge from God to man, the loom of the incarnation, the sceptre of orthodoxy; through her the Trinity is glorified and adored, the devil and demons are put to flight, the nations converted, and the fallen creature raised to heaven."

Now it should not surprise anyone that many festivals and feast days were established around all of this erroneous commotion. After all it is one way to press this teaching upon the people. Here is a partial list:

1. The Annunciation of Mary - commemorates the announcement of the birth of Christ by the archangel Gabriel, (Luk_1:26-39) and at the same time the conception of Christ; for in the view of the ancient church Mary conceived the Logos through the ear by the word of the angel. Hence the festival had its place on the 25th of March, exactly nine months before Christmas;

2. The Purification of Mary or Candlemas, in memory of the ceremonial purification of the Virgin, forty days after the birth of Jesus, therefore on the second of February (reckoning from the 25th of December); and at the same time in memory of the presentation of Jesus in the temple and his meeting of Simeon and Anna. (Luk_2:22-38) This, like the preceding, was thus originally as much a festival of Christ as of Mary, especially in the Greek church.

3. The Ascension, or Assumption rather, of Mary is celebrated on the 15th of August. The festival was introduced by the Greek emperor Mauritius (582-602); some say, under Pope Gelasius (496). In Rome, after the ninth century, it is one of the principal feasts, and, like the others, is distinguished with vigil and octave.... "since Mary, according to the most recent Roman dogma, was free even from original sin, and since death is a consequence of sin, it should strictly follow that she did not die at all, and rise again, but, like Enoch and Elijah, was carried alive to heaven. Others include:

4. The Nativity of Mary
5. The Presentation of Mary
6. The Visitation of Mary
7. The Festival of the Immaculate Conception

Why then do we Protestants protest the Roman Catholic Church? There are many reasons, however the worship of Mary is one of the principal points of separation between Roman Catholicism and Evangelical Reformed Protestantism.

The Bible contains no intimation of any worship or festival celebration of Mary. Now Mary, is rightly called by Elizabeth, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, “the mother of the Lord” however she nowhere calls her the "mother of God,”. It is a blessed thing that Mary is esteemed by Elizabeth and the angel Gabriel, as “blessed among women;”. Her own song resounds with the understanding that she and the Church should understand that throughout history "all generations shall call me blessed.” Mary’s character appears as though she is a devout virgin, and that she is a pure and humble person. The other minuscule glimpses of her life confirm this as well. Note her at the scene of the cross in Jn. 19:25-27.

The scriptures are clear that she is no exception to the sinfulness of all mankind. Therefore she is not conceived immaculately holy nor in any manner an object of divine veneration.

Mary, though important, stands in the background of redemptive history. In the book of the Acts of the Apostles and in the epistles Mary is mentioned barely once, and then simply as the “mother of Jesus;” (Act_1:14) awaiting upon the Holy Spirit to recieve power to be a witness unto Christ. Nothing concerning her birth and death are known. As the Son grew she decreased in "holy humility". "At the wedding in Cana Christ administered to her, though leniently and respectfully, a rebuke for premature zeal mingled perhaps with maternal vanity. On a subsequent occasion he put her on a level with other female disciples, and made the carnal consanguinity subordinate to the spiritual kinship of the doing of the will of God. (Mat_12:46-50) The well-meant and in itself quite innocent benediction of an unknown woman upon His mother He did not indeed censure, but He corrected it with a benediction upon all who hear the word of God and keep it, and thus forestalled the deification of Mary by confining the ascription within the bounds of moderation" .It is plainly indicated within the Scriptures that Mary was as you and I and there is no worship of her needed, nor is it to be done by any institution. To worship her is expressly forbidden since it is idolatry and idolatry is expressly forbidden.

So now, “What Think Ye Of Mary? Please answer here:

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Appendix A -
What Think Ye Of Christ?



Who is Jesus?


Jesus is the central figure of Christianity. He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me," (John 14:6). Also, Jesus claimed to be God in flesh. If you compare what God said to Moses in Exodus 3:14 ("And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”) with what Jesus said in John 8:58 (Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am,"), then you quickly see that Jesus was claiming to be God. In fact, others testified that He was divine as well:

John 20:28, "Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!'"

Col. 2:9, "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form."

Heb. 1:8, "But of the Son He says, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever..."

Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. He is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God...And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth," (John 1:1-2,14). Because the word was with God and was God and became flesh, we then state that Jesus has two natures: divine and human. Therefore, Christianity teaches that Jesus is both God and man at the same time. The reason that he is God in flesh is because only God can atone for our sins; we can't do it on our own because we are finite, sinful beings and we cannot please an infinitely holy God. Jesus had to be a man to be able to die for humanity. This means that Jesus took our place on the cross; that is, He took our place and suffered the wrath of God the Father. If you trust in what Christ has done, then you will be saved from the righteous judgment of God.



God is infinitely holy, sinless, and just. When we sin, when we do something contrary to God's will, then we have offended God. Since He is infinite, our offense against Him takes on an infinite quality -- because of who we have offended: an infinite God. Since no person can please an infinite God (because we are finite and sinners) then the only one left to remove our sins is God Himself. Therefore, Jesus is God in flesh, the one who died on the cross, bore our sin in his body (1 Pet. 2:24), and physically rose from the dead.


Right now, in heaven, Jesus is still in the form of a man: "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus," (1 Tim. 2:5). Jesus rose from the dead in the same body he died in: "Jesus answered and said to them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' 20 The Jews therefore said, 'It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?' 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken," (John 2:19-21). Also, He retained the wounds of His crucifixion after He rose from the dead: "Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing,” (John 20:25). Forty days after His resurrection He ascended into heaven bodily: "And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight," (Acts 1:9). He will return again from the heavens, and will judge the world and all people: "This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven," (Acts 1:11). Yet, at the same time, He is still divine, "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form," (Col. 2:9).

Jesus never did anything wrong. He performed many miracles such as healing, casting out demons, walking on water, calming a storm with the command, raising people from the dead, and rising from the dead himself. Though there have been many great teachers throughout history, none of them have performed such miracles and claimed to be divine as Jesus claimed. This is why we can believe Him when He says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me," (John 14:6).


We trust what Jesus said. Therefore...

Jesus is prayed to - Acts 7:55-60; 1 Cor. 1:2 with Psalm 116:41; (John 14:14)

Jesus is worshipped - Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33; John 9:35-38; Heb. 1:6

Jesus cleanses from sin - 1 John 1:9

Jesus forgives sins - Matt. 9:1-7; Luke 5:20; 7:48


CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS AND RESEARCH MINISTRY
Copyright Matthew J. Slick, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005


Appendix B -
The Doctrine Of The Immaculate Conception




In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin."

"The Blessed Virgin Mary . . ." The subject of this immunity from original sin is the person of Mary at the moment of the creation of her soul and its infusion into her body.

". . .in the first instance of her conception . . ." The term conception does not mean the active or generative conception by her parents. Her body was formed in the womb of the mother, and the father had the usual share in its formation. The question does not concern the immaculateness of the generative activity of her parents. Neither does it concern the passive conception absolutely and simply (conceptio seminis carnis, inchoata), which, according to the order of nature, precedes the infusion of the rational soul. The person is truly conceived when the soul is created and infused into the body. Mary was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin at the first moment of her animation, and sanctifying grace was given to her before sin could have taken effect in her soul.

". . .was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin. . ." The formal active essence of original sin was not removed from her soul, as it is removed from others by baptism; it was excluded, it never was in her soul. Simultaneously with the exclusion of sin. The state of original sanctity, innocence, and justice, as opposed to original sin, was conferred upon her, by which gift every stain and fault, all depraved emotions, passions, and debilities, essentially pertaining to original sin, were excluded. But she was not made exempt from the temporal penalties of Adam -- from sorrow, bodily infirmities, and death.

". . .by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race." The immunity from original sin was given to Mary by a singular exemption from a universal law through the same merits of Christ, by which other men are cleansed from sin by baptism. Mary needed the redeeming Saviour to obtain this exemption, and to be delivered from the universal necessity and debt (debitum) of being subject to original sin. The person of Mary, in consequence of her origin from Adam, should have been subject to sin, but, being the new Eve who was to be the mother of the new Adam, she was, by the eternal counsel of God and by the merits of Christ, withdrawn from the general law of original sin. Her redemption was the very masterpiece of Christ's redeeming wisdom. He is a greater redeemer who pays the debt that it may not be incurred than he who pays after it has fallen on the debtor.

Such is the meaning of the term "Immaculate Conception."



PROOF FROM SCRIPTURE

Genesis 3:15

No direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from Scripture. But the first scriptural passage which contains the promise of the redemption, mentions also the Mother of the Redeemer. The sentence against the first parents was accompanied by the Earliest Gospel (Proto-evangelium), which put enmity between the serpent and the woman: "and I will put enmity between thee and the woman and her seed; she (he) shall crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for her (his) heel" (Genesis 3:15). The translation "she" of the Vulgate is interpretative; it originated after the fourth century, and cannot be defended critically. The conqueror from the seed of the woman, who should crush the serpent's head, is Christ; the woman at enmity with the serpent is Mary. God puts enmity between her and Satan in the same manner and measure, as there is enmity between Christ and the seed of the serpent. Mary was ever to be in that exalted state of soul which the serpent had destroyed in man, i.e. in sanctifying grace. Only the continual union of Mary with grace explains sufficiently the enmity between her and Satan. The Proto-evangelium, therefore, in the original text contains a direct promise of the Redeemer, and in conjunction therewith the manifestation of the masterpiece of His Redemption, the perfect preservation of His virginal Mother from original sin.


Luke 1:28

The salutation of the angel Gabriel -- chaire kecharitomene, Hail, full of grace (Luke 1:28) indicates a unique abundance of grace, a supernatural, godlike state of soul, which finds its explanation only in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. But the term kecharitomene (full of grace) serves only as an illustration, not as a proof of the dogma.

Other texts

From the texts Proverbs 8 and Ecclesiasticus 24 (which exalt the Wisdom of God and which in the liturgy are applied to Mary, the most beautiful work of God's Wisdom), or from the Canticle of Canticles (4:7, "Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee"), no theological conclusion can be drawn. These passages, applied to the Mother of God, may be readily understood by those who know the privilege of Mary, but do not avail to prove the doctrine dogmatically, and are therefore omitted from the Constitution "Ineffabilis Deus". For the theologian it is a matter of conscience not to take an extreme position by applying to a creature texts which might imply the prerogatives of God.


The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIICopyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton CompanyOnline Edition
Copyright © 2003 by K. KnightNihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D.,
CensorImprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New

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