Honoring Mary

Posted by Reed DePace

Up front let me note that the timing of this post, coming on the heels of our RCC friend’s “celebration” of Mary on Dec. 8th, is all God’s fault. He’s the one who has given me faith to believe He uses family worship. He is the one who led me years ago to read and teach the whole Bible verse by verse to my wife and five children. He is the one who in his sovereignty exercised in providence had me reading and explaining Luke 1:39-56 on Dec. 8th (literally Luke was next up in our rotation through the NT.) The timing of this post, in other words, is all God’s doing.

Now, to the extent I’ve misunderstood the passage, that’s solely my fault. Yet to the extent that I have understood the passage (in the context of the Bible alone), then I pray God might encourage you with these considerations.

In this passage it is clear that we are taught Mary is to be given honor. Elizabeth’s response to her much younger cousin is the response of a person who recognizes someone who is their “superior” (in the 5th Commandment sense, see the WLC on the 5th Commandment for background on what is meant by a “superior”.) In this passage the honor due Mary is qualified by (at least) three considerations. Her honor is: derived, directed, and dependent.

V. 43 demonstrates that Mary’s honor is derived. Elizabeth offers an expression of honor to Mary because of her unique relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In other words, Mary is not due this honor because of some inherent quality in herself. Rather she is due it solely because of her relationship with Jesus Christ. She is due the honor derived from her relationship as the earthly mother of the incarnate Son of God.

V. 46 demonstrates that Mary’s honor is directed. In response to Elizabeth’s honoring of her, notice what Mary does not do. She does not respond with, “Well thank you cousin. I’m glad you finally recognize me properly.” No, Mary offers a response that directs Elizabeth’s honor of her to the person from whom the honor is derived, God himself. Mary understands that any honor due her is intended to ultimately be reflected back to its Source. Hence, she directs Elizabeth’s honor back to God.

V. 48 demonstrates that Mary’s honor is dependent. Take a look at the last comment Mary offers. She notes that the honor given to her, derived and directed, will be a perpetual honor, one that the Church in all generations will continue to offer. Yet note the qualification she makes to this perpetual honor in her use of the word “blessed.” The necessary emphasis given by this word is that her honor is dependent. To be blessed in Scripture is to be the recipient of God’s grace and mercy, things that are not deserved and can never be earned. Mary reckons her perpetual honor as being perpetually dependent on the One from Whom it is derived and to Whom it is directed.

Now these three qualifications provide some insight into how we may rightly honor Mary. To the degree we offer her honor consistent with these three characteristics, we rightly honor her. Yet to the degree our offering of honor is not consistent with these three we dishonor Mary. Worse, we dishonor the Lord and Savior from whom her honor is derived, directed and dependent.

May God keep us from such dishonorable belief and practice.

Posted by Reed DePace



  1. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    December 9, 2010 at 10:32 am

    (For Catholic readers of Green Baggins)

    Is it possible for some Catholics to fall into and practice Mariolatry?

    If so, how do Catholics identify Mariolatry and how do they get their Catholic-Mariolater friends and family away from Mariolatry?

  2. David Gray said,

    December 9, 2010 at 11:06 am


    Excellent post. I’ve heard some Protestant brothers so eager to avoid Mariolatry that they are actually either disrespectful or at least borderline so. The right response is a biblical and Christ centered recognition of the honor that God has bestowed on her, which is precisely what you have provided. Well done.

  3. Reed Here said,

    December 9, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Thanks David. I do appreciate your words, especially knowing you’re giving them to me/through me.

  4. Stephen said,

    December 9, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Thanks, Reed. How timely :-) It sounds like you have some good points for a sermon. Mary was blessed in the same way anyone is blessed, because they receive God’s favor. I preached on the Magnificat a few years ago and remember emphasising the point that in verse 47 Mary regarded God as her Saviour. How could she call God her Saviour and rejoice in her salvation if she was conceived without sin? She would not need a Saviour. I remeber as a young R.Catholic being taught that Mary was conceived without sin and her mother was conceived without sin. There would logically have to be a race conceived without sin who needed no Saviour. This is a strange doctrine.

  5. D. T. King said,

    December 9, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Romanists do an injustice to the memory of this noble lady by imputing to her honors and states that she would repudiate as a humble believer. As the ancient witness Epiphanius testified and warned in his day…

    Epiphanius of Salamis (310/320-403): And there have been many such things to mislead the deluded, though the saints are not responsible for anyone’s stumbling; the human mind finds no rest, but is perverted to evils. The holy virgin may have died and been buried—her falling asleep was with honor, her death in purity, her crown in virginity. Or she may have been put to death—as the Scripture says, “And a sword shall pierce her soul”— her fame is among the martyrs and her holy body, by which light rose on the world, [rests] amid blessings. Or she may have remained alive, for God is not incapable of doing whatever he wills. No one knows her end.
    But we must not honor the saints to excess; we must honor their Master. Frank Williams, trans., The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: Book II and III (Sects 47-80, De Fide) 78. Against Antidicomarians, 78. 23 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), p. 619.

    Epiphanius (310/320-403): Let no one eat of the error which has arisen on St. Mary’s account. Even though ‘The tree is lovely’ it is not for food; and even though Mary is all fair, and is holy and held in honor, she is not to be worshiped.
    But again, these women are “renewing the potion for Fortune and preparing the table for the demon and not for God,” as the Scripture says, “And the women grind flour, and their sons gather wood to make cakes for the host of heaven.” Such women should be silenced by Jeremiah, and not frighten the world. They must not say, ‘We honor the queen of heaven.’ Frank Williams, trans., The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: Book II and III (Sects 47-80, De Fide) 79. Against Collyridians, 7,7-8,2 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), p. 627.

  6. michael said,

    December 9, 2010 at 3:02 pm


    I as well add my acclamation with several of the comments above!

    With a slightly “saintly” touch, I am reminded of this acronym after reading your short, to the point, article: “KISS”.

    kEEP iT sIMPLE Saint!

    Being stupid is my fault. Keeping it simple, as you have here, is a gift of intelligence and you certainly kept it so simple yet it conveys a powerful message!


    I would add something to this verse later on in Luke’s Gospel, Chapter 2, to highlight Mary’s humanity some more. It is the prophecy to her from Simeon, the aged:

    Luk 2:34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed
    Luk 2:35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

    For me, what follows fairly expresses the high emotion of the Saints and the why and wherefore of that sword that certainly did pierce the soul of Mary also:

    Grace, as defined is What God Gives us that we don’t deserve.
    Mercy, as defined is What God does not give us that we do deserve.
    Peace is the outcome of both Grace and Mercy from God in our daily lives.

    What about Jesus, what did He get and did not get? What did Mary witness God did not do to Jesus, her son in the flesh, the Only Begotten of the Father, sent to suffer and die for the sins of His people to save us from are sins?

    Jesus did not deserve what He got from God and was given, so hence, He was shown no Grace.
    Jesus did not deserve what He got from God and was not given, so hence, He was shown no Mercy.
    Therefore Jesus was deprived of Peace from God.

    “10 ¶ Yet it pleased the LORD to afflict him; he has put him to grief; he laid down his life as an offering for sin, that posterity may see, and his days shall be prolonged, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see the reward of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied with the knowledge; he shall justify the righteous; for he is a servant of many, and he shall bear their sins. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he has poured out his life to death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sins of many, and died the death of transgressors.”

    And God did not give Jesus Grace, Mercy or Peace so that we could receive Grace, what we don’t deserve and Mercy, what we don’t deserve and Peace with God after we leave this mortal life.

    Along with Mary, we, too, should allow those words to pierce our souls!

    And rejoice in these Words also:

    Rom 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
    Rom 5:7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–
    Rom 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
    Rom 5:9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

  7. Steve G. said,

    December 9, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    The Catholic view of Mary is so . . . wrong. It really eliminates Christ’s uniqueness:

    Jesus was immaculately conceived, Mary was immaculately conceived.
    Jesus was without sin, Mary was without sin.
    Jesus suffered at the cross, Mary suffered at the cross.
    Jesus is our redeemer, Mary is our redemptrix.
    Jesus is our mediator, Mary is our mediatrix.
    Jesus is King of Heaven, Mary is Queen of Heaven.

    There’s no reasonable way you can say the above doesn’t result in Mary’s “glory” competing with that of Christ.

  8. paigebritton said,

    December 9, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Hey, Reed,
    I like very much what you are saying — especially the last paragraph! — but I am wondering whether Catholics would actually disagree with your first and third points?

    “Mary’s honor is derived” sounds a lot like the first Marian dogma (that she be honored because she is the mother of the Divine One),

    and “Mary’s honor is dependent” seems to be where the dogma of the IC at least begins: she was conceived without original sin because God could do this, it was appropriate for him to do it, and so he did it — as a gift of grace to Mary, for the sake of protecting her special Son from the taint of sin. (I am thinking the story of her mother also being sinless, and a sinless race potentially extending backwards, to be something other than official dogma…)

    NOT that I am saying that the doctrine of the IC is true: just that I don’t think Catholics would deny that it points to Mary’s “dependence” on God for his grace! (It doesn’t mean she is “exhibit A” for “justification by works,” I’m pretty sure!)

    Where I don’t see a corresponding Catholic teaching is in the area of Godward “direction” — maybe it’s there somewhere in theory, but the romance of the Queen of Heaven certainly seems to have siphoned the attention and devotion of the pious away from the Trinity! No talk of “access to the Father” here: this is a mediated religion, and Mary is much easier to talk to than her austere Son…So sad.

    Anyway, thanks for your faithful teaching here!

  9. December 9, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    1. Timely and important.

    2. As a High Church Prayer Book and Reformed Anglican, I have a low threshold of tolerance for Newmanian parasites so long tolerated within Confessional Anglicanism over the last century. I’ve seen a few blogs this week that far trespass on the good, Catholic, and Reformed sensibilities. Of course, as noted, as Prayer Book Anglicans, we honour, respect and regard Mary well enough. Anglicans use the Magnificat, Luke 1.46ff, in daily devotions–every day in response to the reading of HM’s Word, yet without the Romanist exaggerations and wicked assertions.

    3. Quite timely. Quite balanced. Quite thoughtful. Quite right. Quite recalibrative. Quite necessary.

    Donald Philip Veitch

  10. AJ said,

    December 9, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    The early Christians taught the same thing that the Catholic Church teaches today about Mary, including her being the Ark of the New Covenant.

    Inside the Ark of the Old Covenant AND Inside Mary, Ark of the New Covenant:

    1. The stone tablets where the WORD of God inscribed on stone.

    1A. In the womb of Mary, the WORD of God in the flesh, the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    2.The urn filled with manna from the wilderness — the miraculous BREAD come down from heaven.

    2A. In the womb of Mary containing Jesus, the BREAD of life come down from heaven (John 6:41)

    3.The rod of Aaron that budded to prove and defend the true high priest.

    3A.In the womb of Mary, the actual and eternal High Priest.

    Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296-373) was the main defender of the deity of Christ against the second-century heretics. He wrote: “O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O [Ark of the] Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides” (Homily of the Papyrus of Turin).

    Gregory the Wonder Worker (c. 213-c. 270) wrote: “Let us chant the melody that has been taught us by the inspired harp of David, and say, ‘Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy sanctuary.’ For the Holy Virgin is in truth an ark, wrought with gold both within and without, that has received the whole treasury of the sanctuary” (Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary).

    Athanatius, “He took our body, and not only so, but He took it directly from a SPOTLESS, STAINLESS VIRGIN, without the agency of human father—a pure body, untainted by intercourse with man. He, the Mighty One, the Artificer of all, Himself prepared this body in the virgin as a temple for Himself, and took it for His very own, as the instrument through which He was known and in which He dwelt. Thus, taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death instead of all, and offered it to the Father.”

    A good biblical article about the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Mother of God:


    If you have the chance to make your own mom, what would you like her to be? The very best of course. If God can make the first Eve immaculately concieved why not more to His Real Mom? With God anything is possible, right?

  11. AJ said,

    December 9, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Who gave the 10 commandments in Moses time? God. Who is the purest, greatest , most obedient and faithful follower of those commandments? God, which is Jesus Himself, the Word Incarnate.


    The Fifth commandment, “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother”.

    So, Jesus honours His beloved Mother to the fullest love of God’s heart that we humans just could’nt comprehend.

    I don’t think you can find any person in the whole history since the dawn of mankind with that kind of intimate relationship with the Holy Trinity. Ever!

    Should anyone think JESUS won’t DEFEND His Mother?

  12. paigebritton said,

    December 10, 2010 at 6:45 am

    AJ –
    If you have the chance to make your own mom, what would you like her to be? The very best of course. If God can make the first Eve immaculately concieved why not more to His Real Mom? With God anything is possible, right?

    Um, Eve wasn’t conceived. (Unless you mean metaphorically, like “conceived in the mind of God.”)

    The extrabiblical doctrine of the Immaculate Conception does seem to make Mary “the best mom she could be,” ontologically speaking (in her very being). Sure, God can do anything. But did he do THIS?? It’s a late-comer doctrine, absent from the Bible unless you force some pretty fishy allegorical “proof”; it arose in full force through the superstitious middle ages; and it bears the character of pious problem-solving rather than humble awe that God-with-us began in the womb of a woman as sinful as the rest of us:

    [Christ Jesus], though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men… (Phil. 2:6-7)

    No need to bubble-wrap this gift against the brokenness of the world: he came to immerse himself in it, and his humility began in the womb. The Catholic doctrine of the IC protects him from this.

  13. paigebritton said,

    December 10, 2010 at 6:50 am

    p.s. – Rigoberto, if you’re a real person, I inadvertently deleted your comment, so you should try again! Sorry!!:)

  14. Reed Here said,

    December 10, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Paige: thanks for your observations.

    The post wasn’t intended to say all that could be said. I thought about a post from the immediately previous passage in which Mary demonstrates unbelief. I was going to title it “An oh so Ordinary Woman.;-)

    Your observations demonstrate that those who differ will agree with what I said, after hijacking it at a mule for their own erroneous presuppositions. Everyone one of the examples you give is at it’s core rooted in a fallacious presupposition imposed on the text of the Bible. (AJ amply demonstrates this proclivity.)

    Such falsehoods will be apparent for those granted Spiritual illumination, while further trapping those who refuse to hear the simple truth.

  15. TurretinFan said,

    December 10, 2010 at 8:06 am

    AJ: You may enjoy my recent post entitled, “Jesus Obeyed the Fifth Commandment – Therefore Mariolatry is ok?

    Hopefully it will challenge some of your assumptions that you’ve embedded in your claims about Jesus, Mary, and the Fifth (Fourth by the Roman counting) commandment.


  16. Andrew McCallum said,

    December 10, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Phillip Schaff makes an interesting point in his discussions of the mariology of the Early Church. He notes that once Mary fades into the background after the gospel account (I think there is maybe one mention of her in Acts) she “reappears” in the various NT apocryphal works. The so called Gospel of James is an example. While of course the Church recognized these books as being false accounts Jesus, Mary, etc, they are useful in they give us a flavor for some of the popular notions of Mary in the culture of the Early Church. The cultural temptation to elevate Mary’s status was evidentially huge which is not surprising given the role that women and goddesses played in the competing pagan religions.

    Our Catholic friends like to give us pages of quotes from the Fathers demonstrating that these theologians believed in some version or another of Mary’s sinlessness. And of course we can give equal amounts of quotes back showing that other Fathers had graces concerns about such claims. It seems to me that the best thing the Catholics could do at this point is to tell us why this or that Father held to a particular mariological doctrine. Many times we are given these quotes by the Fathers as if a discussion of their rationale for their holding such a doctrine is immaterial. Perhaps our Catholic friends think if they just dump enough quotes on us the sheer volume of the evidence will overwhelm us.

  17. D. T. King said,

    December 10, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Some Romanists suggest that John 2 should be understood as a precedent for invoking Mary as a mediator to the Lord Jesus Christ, and that our prayers are answered more effectively thereby. Consider the words of Chrysoston from his 21st Homily on the Gospel of John…

    Chrysostom (349-407) on John 2:4ff: It was then from this motive that He said in this place, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” and also for another reason not less pressing. What was that? It was, that His miracles might not be suspected. The request ought to have come from those who needed, not from His mother. And why so? Because what is done at the request of one’s friends, great though it be, often causes offense to the spectators; but when they make the request who have the need, the miracle is free from suspicion, the praise unmixed, the benefit great. So if some excellent physician should enter a house where there were many sick, and be spoken to by none of the patients or their relations, but be directed only by his own mother, he would be suspected and disliked by the sufferers, nor would any of the patients or their attendants deem him able to exhibit anything great or remarkable. And so this was a reason why He rebuked her on that occasion, saying, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” instructing her for the future not to do the like; because, though He was careful to honor His mother, yet He cared much more for the salvation of her soul, and for the doing good to the many, for which He took upon Him the flesh.
    These then were the words, not of one speaking rudely to his mother, but belonging to a wise dispensation, which brought her into a right frame of mind, and provided that the miracles should be attended with that honor which was meet. And setting other things aside, this very appearance which these words have of having been spoken chidingly, is amply enough to show that He held her in high honor, for by His displeasure He showed that He reverenced her greatly; in what manner, we will say in the next discourse. Think of this then, and when you hear a certain woman saying, “Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked,” and Him answering, “rather blessed are they that do the will of my Father” (Luke 10:27), suppose that those other words also were said with the same intention. For the answer was not that of one rejecting his mother, but of One who would show that her having borne Him would have nothing availed her, had she not been very good and faithful. Now if, setting aside the excellence of her soul, it profited Mary nothing that the Christ was born of her, much less will it be able to avail us to have a father or a brother, or a child of virtuous and noble disposition, if we ourselves be far removed from his virtue. NPNF1: Volume XIV, Homilies on the Gospel according to St. John, Homily XXI, §3.

    To direct our prayers to God, rather than through the mediation of others, was a common theme of Chrysostom…

    Chrysostom (349-407): You see, provided we are prepared to be vigilant and alert, even by our own appeals we will obtain the greatest benefit. After all, since our Lord is loving, he does not accede to requests on our behalf by others as readily as he does to our own. See the extraordinary degree of his goodness: if he sees us giving offence, suffering dishonor, having no confidence, and then gradually rising from our depression and wishing to have recourse to the riches of his loving kindness, he immediately accedes to our requests, extends his hand to us in our abjection and raises us where we have fallen, crying aloud, “Surely the fallen will not fail to rise?” FC, Vol. 82, Homilies on Genesis, trans. Robert C. Hill, Homily 44.11 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1990), p. 460.

    Chrysostom (349-407): My beloved, since we know these things, let us always run to God for refuge, to Him who is willing and able to rescue us from misfortunes. When we entreat human beings for assistance, then we must meet with porters beforehand, entreat parasites and flatterers, and embark on a long journey. However, where God is concerned, nothing of this sort is required; rather, you can beg him without the interventions of an intercessor and money, and He approves your supplication without expense. It suffices for you simply to shout with the heart and offer tears, and He will immediately enter into your soul and assist you. FC, Vol. 96, St. John Chrysostom on Repentance and Almsgiving, Homily 4.4 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1998), pp. 51-52.

    Chrysostom (349-407): There is in fact no need either of doorkeepers to introduce you, or of managers, guardians or friends; rather, when you make your approach in person, then most of all he will hear you, at that time when you ask the help of no one. So we do not prevail upon him in making our requests through others to the degree that we do through ourselves. You see, since he longs for our friendship, he also does everything to have us trust in him; when he sees us doing so on our own account, then he accedes to us most of all. This is what he did too in the case of the Canaanite woman: when Peter and James came forward on her behalf, he did not accede; but when she persisted, he promptly granted her petition. I mean, even if he seemed to put her off for a while, he did it not to put the poor creature aside but to reward her more abundantly and render her entreaty more favorable. Robert Charles Hill, St. John Chrysostom Commentary on the Psalms, Volume 1, Psalm 4 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1998), pp. 48-49.

    Chrysostom (349-407) commenting on Psalm 7, v. 3: This must everywhere be our concern, not simply to pray but to pray in such a way as to be heard. It is not sufficient that prayer effects what is intended, unless we so direct it as to appeal to God. Robert Charles Hill, St. John Chrysostom Commentary on the Psalms, Volume 1, Psalm 7 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1998), p. 117.

    Chrysostom (349-407): Prayer is a great weapon, prayer is a wonderful adornment, security and haven, a treasury of good things, wealth beyond threat. When we make requests of human beings, we need an outlay of money, servile flattery, much to-ing and fro-ing and negotiating. Often, in fact, it is not possible to make a direct approach to their lordships personally to grant a favor: it is necessary first to wait upon their ministers or managers or administrators with money and words and every other means, and only then through them to be in a position to receive the request. With God, on the contrary, it is not like this: it not so much on the recommendation of others as on our own request that he grants the favor. In this case, too, both the one receiving it and the one not receiving it are better off, whereas in the case of human beings we often come off worse in both cases.
    Since, then, for those approaching God the gain is greater and the facility greater, do not neglect prayer: it is then in particular that he will be reconciled with you when you on your own account appeal to him, when you present a mind purified, thoughts that are alert, when you do not make idle petitions, as many people do, their tongue saying the words while their soul wanders in every direction — through the house, the marketplace, the city streets. It is all the devil’s doing: since he knows that at that time we are able to attain forgiveness of sins, he wants to block the haven of prayer to us, and at that time he goes on the attack to distract us from the sense of the words so that we may depart the worse rather than the better for it Robert Charles Hill, trans., St. John Chrysostom, Old Testament Homilies, Volume Three: Homilies on the Psalms (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2003), Homily on Psalm 146.1, p. 125.

    Chrysostom (349-407): What a boon, not to have to go about and seek one to ask of, but to find one ready? to have no need of others through whom thou mayest solicit? What could be greater than this? Since here is One who then does most, when we make not our requests of others than Himself: just as a sincere friend then most complains of us for not trusting in his friendship, when we ask of others to make request to him. NPNF1: Vol. XI, A Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, Homily 36, §3.

    Chrysostom (349-407): There is to thee no need of mediators in audience with God; nor of that much canvassing; nor of the fawning upon others; but even if thou be destitute, even if bereft of advocacy, alone, by thyself, having called on God for help, thou wilt in any case succeed. He is not so wont to assent when entreated by others on our behalf, as by ourselves who are in need; even if we be laden with ten thousand evil deeds. For if in the case of men, even if we have come into countless collisions with them, when both at dawn and at mid-day and in the evening we show ourselves to those who are aggrieved against us, by the unbroken continuance and the persistent meeting and interview we easily demolish their enmity — far more in the case of God would this be effected. NPNF1: Vol. IX, Concerning Lowliness of Mind and Commentary on Philippians 1:18, Homily 3, §11.

    Chrysostom goes on to say in the same homily…

    Chrysostom (349-407): But thou art unworthy. Become worthy by thy assiduity. For that it both is possible that the unworthy should become worthy from his assiduity; and that God assents more when called on by ourselves than by others; and that he often delays the giving, not from the wish that we should be utterly perplexed, nor to send us out with empty hands; but in order that he may become the author of greater good things to us–these three points I will endeavour to make evident by the parable which has to-day been read to you. The woman of Chanaan had come to Christ praying on behalf of a daughter possessed by a demon, and crying out with much earnestness (it says, “Have pity on me, Lord, my daughter is badly possessed by a demon.”) See, the woman of a strange nation, and a barbarian, and outside of the Jewish commonwealth. For indeed what else (was she) than a dog, and unworthy of the receiving her request? For “it is not,” he says, “good to take the children’s bread, and to give it to the dogs.” But, all the same, from her assiduity, she became worthy. For not only did he admit her into the nobility of children, dog as she was; but also he sent her off with that high encomium saying, “O woman great is thy faith; be it done to thee as thou wilt.” Now when the Christ says, “great is thy faith,” seek thou no other demonstration of the greatness of soul which was in the woman. Seest thou how, from her assiduity the woman, being unworthy, became worthy? Desirest thou also to learn that we accomplish (our wish) by calling on him by ourselves more than by others? NPNF1: Vol. IX, Concerning Lowliness of Mind and Commentary on Philippians 1:18, Homily 3, §12.

    Chrysostom (349-407) commenting on John 16:22, 23: “And ye now therefore have sorrow — [but I will see you again, and your sorrow shall be turned into joy].” Then, to show that He shall die no more, He saith, “And no man taketh it from you. And in that day ye shall ask Me nothing.”
    Again He proveth nothing else by these words, but that He is from God. “For then ye shall for the time to come know all things.” But what is, “Ye shall not ask Me”? “Ye shall need no intercessor, but it is sufficient that ye call on My Name, and so gain all things.”
    NPNF1: Vol. XIV, Gospel of St John, Homily 79, §1.

  18. louis said,

    December 10, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Some of the quotes used to support Mariolatry are from spurious documents. Rome has a history of receiving needed support from such places.

  19. Jeff Cagle said,

    December 10, 2010 at 9:48 am

    The (pseudo?)Athanasius quote above gets to the heart of the issue:

    He took our body, and not only so, but He took it directly from a SPOTLESS, STAINLESS VIRGIN, without the agency of human father—a pure body, untainted by intercourse with man.

    Regardless of whether Ath. himself said it, the quote reveals the underlying sense of discomfort with intercourse.

    Scripture says that intercourse outside of marriage is sin; intercourse inside marriage is honorable (Heb 13) and in fact, commanded.

    RCs acknowledge this formally, but there is an underlying theme in their arguments that to honor Mary must mean to affirm that she remained “pure” — i.e., virginal. This theme goes all the way back at least to Jerome and Augustine. Augustine is particularly interesting, in that he teaches that marriage is good, and virginity is better:

    I have said this, lest haply married fruitfulness dare to vie with virgin chastity, and to set forth Mary herself, and to say unto the virgins of God, She had in her flesh two things worthy of honor, virginity and fruitfulness; inasmuch as she both continued a virgin, and bore: this happiness, since we could not both have the whole, we have divided, that ye be virgins, we be mothers: for what is wanting to you in children, let your virginity, that hath been preserved, be a consolation: for us, let the gain of children make up for our lost virginity. — Augustine, On Virginity 7

    With this mindset, it makes sense that denying Mary’s perpetual virginity is seen as a dishonor.

    But in fact, once Mary was married, the pure and right thing to do was to be one with her husband. So commands Paul; and even Eve had her Adam in the Garden.

  20. Steve G. said,

    December 10, 2010 at 10:33 am

    What’s interesting is that in all of the Catholic arguments for these Marian distinctions, there’s no historical argument. For Mary’s sinlessness, there’s no calling upon a tradition that says Mary’s family or the apostles found her to be an especially pious and pure girl/woman. There’s no calling upon a tradition that says she was seen to be bodily assumed into heaven. There’s no calling upon a tradition where Jesus says his mother will be Queen of Heaven or assist him as mediator.

    It’s all speculative theology. Mary must be perfect because a son would want a perfect mother and he’s called to honor his mother and the highest honor would be to make her perfect. Etc, etc, etc. That’s no proof, and not much of an argument. I can speculate all day on all sorts of things that I think God might have, or IMO (for what it’s worth) I think he should have done. But that’s no evidence that he actually did it!

  21. Andrew McCallum said,

    December 10, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Steve G. says: There’s no calling upon a tradition…

    Well, there is some appeal to tradition, but it is a tradition rooted in the NT Apocrypha, texts which are of uncertain origins and flatly rejected by the Early Church. But these traditions do find their way into the thinking of the orthodox theologians and this plus the very highly allegorical hermeneutic of the Alexandrian interpretive school plus the later speculative theologies of the Medieval era drove Mariology to it’s final culmination in the 19th century. With such a shaky history behind the various mariological doctrines it would seem to me that our Catholic friends would be better off not trying prove Immaculate Conception in the traditional way that theologians go about such things. The ultimate reason why the Catholics hold these doctrines is that they believe that the modern RCC is the rightful heir of the Church which Christ founded and this Church has ruled ex cathedra that Mary was born without original sin and never sinned. So IC is just one of those doctrines you are supposed to download into your brain when you buy the whole Roman Catholic software package. But as for going back into history and tradition and trying to prove to non Catholics that IC makes sense outside of the interpretive context of Roman Catholicism, well, this is only likely to drive a wedge even further into the divide between our respective traditions.

  22. michael said,

    December 10, 2010 at 3:00 pm


    The Fifth commandment, “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother”.

    So, Jesus honours His beloved Mother to the fullest love of God’s heart that we humans just could’nt comprehend.

    When writing that aren’t you stretching this common salvation of honoring our parents a bit more than intended, like adding something more into what it means to fulfill the Fifth Commandment?

    Remember a couple of Biblical incidences, by which, when, where what you are doing, [putting into the Fifth Commandment by adding something into it, some meaning that really isn’t there naturally], a Jew is put into more than the mandated common understanding as a follower of the work of righteousness done through the written code given to him by Moses. Common Gentile folk, like me, a simple man, or you, more complex than I, can actually learn to honor our parents, according to the Fifth Commandment, now, through Christ by One Spirit to the Father, to Whom all Pious Honor is due, instead of by what was common, honoring parents, as is witnessed by those incidences, here:

    Mat 8:14 And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever.

    Here we see Peter giving honor to his wife’s mother in that she is living under his roof and being cared for by his resources.

    Also, this same natural tendency was expressed through Jesus while hanging on the Cross so all God’s Children could experience through Him what truly honoring one’s parents is like from God’s point of view, here:

    Joh 19:25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
    Joh 19:26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”
    Joh 19:27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

    Based on those two natural insights from Matthew and John, one record from Peter’s practice, before Christ’s death; and one record from the natural man, a son of Adam, Jesus Himself, naturally, concerning Mary, just before breathing His last breath before experiencing death, extraordinary as it was, makes what your claim is, it seems to me, by those Scriptures, and a sound mind, to be understood as extra-biblical in nature and not nearly as valuable as the truth of the matter itself is about obeying the 10 Commandments?

    Like that old saw, you can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

    So it is all of the people can keep all of the 10 commandments some of the time, some of the 10 commandments all of the time, but you cannot keep all of the 10 commandments all of the time, unless you are Jesus.

    I suspect, like Peter, you would care for your mother in law under similar circumstances as he did his?

  23. Steve G. said,

    December 10, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Andrew said:

    “Well, there is some appeal to tradition, but it is a tradition rooted in the NT Apocrypha, texts which are of uncertain origins and flatly rejected by the Early Church.”

    First off, a slight correction. I don’t believe there is a NT “Apocrypha” as there is an OT Apocrypha. There are “apocryphal” epistles, gospels, etc. all of which are rejected by Protestant and Catholic churches. There’s not a “Apocrypha” section of the NT.

    That said, yes, I agree a lot of this stuff comes from tales in apocryphal works and was latched on to by the masses and eventually was accepted into the Catholic Church. But no Catholic I’ve ever seen has defended the Immaculate Conception or sinlessness of Mary by appeal to these works. They’d be laughed out of any argument because these works are spurious, rejected by the church and have no historical value.

    As I’ve said, I’ve never seen an historical argument. Instead, every defense of these doctrines has been based upon speculative theology. I think my point still stands – it’s made up theology.

  24. Andrew McCallum said,

    December 10, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    But no Catholic I’ve ever seen has defended the Immaculate Conception or sinlessness of Mary by appeal to these works.

    Steve G – Maybe you are right, but I’m not sure. To the Catholic mind there are all sorts of oral traditions that have been handed down as part of that body of knowledge known as the oral tradition of the Church, so perhaps we find in some of these texts traditions which are not part of the canonical Scriptures, but which nevertheless contain elements of the deposit of the faith. And while he certainly does not consider them canonical, if as eminent a Father as Origen refers to them to demonstrate certain aspects of the life Mary and Joseph, why shouldn’t the modern Catholic scholar do likeswise? Maybe one of our Catholic friends will appear here and we can ask them about this.

    On OT and NT Apocrypha, I’m using a distinction that has become popular is academic circles. The Anchor Bible Dictionary says of the NT Apocrypha, “Although there are problems with the definition…, the term “New Testament Apocrypha” has generally come to refer to various early Christian writings that are not included in the canonical NT.” And I would agree with the definition problem that the Anchor Bible Dictionary refers to, but no doubt you understand the class of literature I’m referring to here.


  25. AJ said,

    December 10, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Where is this “Mariolatry” came from anyways? Creature worship, anyone?
    Marian doctrine is always Christocentric…as Mary always points to her Son, Jesus Christ.

    Stephen said, “There would logically have to be a race conceived without sin who needed no Saviour. This is a strange doctrine.”

    Catholics believed that Mary was conceived without sin throughout the ages but still needed a Saviour just like the rest of us creatures, here’s why:

    Salvation can be both preservative and redemptive. That is why Mary also needs a Savior just like for the rest of us. The Catholic Church actually agrees that Mary was “saved.” Indeed, Mary needed a savior! However, Mary was “saved” from sin in a most sublime manner. She was given the grace to be “saved” completely from sin so that she never committed even the slightest transgression. Protestants tend to emphasize God’s “salvation” almost exclusively to the forgiveness of sins actually committed. However, Sacred Scripture indicates that salvation can also refer to man being protected from sinning before the fact:

    (Jude 24-25)”Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever.

    Six hundred years ago, the great Franciscan theologian Duns Scotus explained that falling into sin could be likened to a man approaching unaware a deep ditch. If he falls into the ditch, he needs someone to lower a rope and save him. But if someone were to warn him of the danger ahead, preventing the man from falling into the ditch at all, he would be saved from falling in the first place. Likewise, Mary was saved from sin by receiving the grace to be preserved from it. But she was still saved.

    But what about “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23) and “if any man says he has no sin he is a liar and the truth is not in him” (1 John 1:8)? Wouldn’t “all” and “any man” include Mary? On the surface, this sounds reasonable. But this way of thinking carried to its logical conclusion would list Jesus Christ in the company of sinners as well. No faithful Christian would dare say that. Yet no Christian can deny the plain texts of Scripture declaring Christ’s full humanity either. Thus, to take 1 John 1:8 in a strict, literal sense would apply “any man” to Jesus as well.

    The truth is Jesus Christ was an exception to Romans 3:23 and 1 John 1:8. And the Bible tells us he was in Hebrews 4:15: “Christ was tempted in all points even as we are and yet he was without sin.” The question now is: Are there any other exceptions to this rule? Yes—millions of them.

    Both Romans 3:23 and 1 John 1:9 deal with personal rather than original sin. (Romans 5 deals with original sin.) And there are two exceptions to that general biblical norm as well. But for now, we will simply deal with Romans 3:23 and 1 John 1:8. First John 1:8 obviously refers to personal sin because in the very next verse, John tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins . . .” We do not confess original sin; we confess personal sins.

    The context of Romans 3:23 makes clear that it too refers to personal sin:
    None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they have gone wrong; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave. They use their tongues to deceive. The venom of.asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. (Rom. 3:10-14) .

    Original sin is not something we do; it is something we’ve inherited. Romans chapter three deals with personal sin because it speaks of sins committed by the sinner. With this in mind, consider this: Has a baby in the womb or a child of two ever committed a personal sin? No. To sin a person has to know the act he is about to perform is sinful while freely engaging his will in carrying it out. Without the proper faculties to enable them to sin, children before the age of accountability and anyone who does not have the use of his intellect and will cannot sin. So, there are and have been millions of exceptions to Romans 3:23 and 1 John 1:8.

    2. If you read my post on Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant thus of biblical typology where the OT (Old Testament) where but a shadow (outline) of the things to come in the NT (New Testament) of what is Inside the Ark of the Old Covenant and What is Inside the Womb of Mary as the New Ark of the Covenant….Amazing Divine parallels.

    Do we have any idea of how the Ark of OT was so important with the people of God paying the honor, reverence, and holiness because Jews knew VERY well the presence, power and the word of God is IN the Ark. Look into the Book of Genesis:

    Of how’s God Holy Spirit had “OVERSHADOWED” the Ark of OT and NT!

    Of how’s the GLORY CLOUD OF GOD descended to the Ark of OT and NT!

    Of how’s this guy who accidentally just touched the Ark and GOD struck him DEAD! of only holy priests could touch!

    Of how the people of God (Moses, David and the Jews) gave homage, honor to the ARK of GOD in OT!

    Of how the people of God treated the ARK with such reverence and holiness!

    Of why GOD instructed the Ark to be made PURE GOLD INSIDE and OUT! that gold symbolizes PURITY and Royalty!

    Of why such reverence that GOD HIMSELF demanded from HIS people?

    Just think of what is INSIDE of the ARK of OT and the ARK of NT, then you will clearly see why God asked…..you!

  26. AJ said,

    December 10, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Paige said, “No need to bubble-wrap this gift against the brokenness of the world: he came to immerse himself in it, and his humility began in the womb. The Catholic doctrine of the IC protects him from this.”

    I totally agree with you except the last sentence to which actually the effect is the opposite of what you are driving at. It emphasized His humility, purity and glorifies Him more.

    Please, let me ask you this, does in anyway the reverence, honor and veneration of the Israelites to the Ark of the OT (Old Covenant) which was by itself just a physical matter and image, somehow “disregarded” or even “competed” with their God? Why did God even ordained and commanded Moses to make an Ark as a “centerpiece” of their innermost sanctuary and called it Holy of Holies? God didn’t need an “image” to show His power and grace but why? Why did it pleased God? What is the purpose of this Ark?

    Now, Biblical typology shows us that the OT was only a shadow or an “outline” of the REAL Things to come in the NT (by Apostle Paul). If God Himself gave and demanded these honors to OT Ark, what more to the New NT Ark? Who are we to refuse?

    Peace and Grace.

  27. Steve G. said,

    December 11, 2010 at 12:13 am

    AJ said:

    “But what about “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23) and “if any man says he has no sin he is a liar and the truth is not in him” (1 John 1:8)? Wouldn’t “all” and “any man” include Mary? On the surface, this sounds reasonable. But this way of thinking carried to its logical conclusion would list Jesus Christ in the company of sinners as well. No faithful Christian would dare say that. Yet no Christian can deny the plain texts of Scripture declaring Christ’s full humanity either. Thus, to take 1 John 1:8 in a strict, literal sense would apply “any man” to Jesus as well.”

    Sorry, no, AJ, these verses don’t apply to Jesus because elsewhere in scripture we are told that Jesus was without sin. Jesus is the exception because he is specifically mentioned as being without sin. Nowhere are we told that Mary is without sin. So you’re attempt to prove an exception for Mary because Jesus is an exception fails.

    I’ll also add that typology proves nothing. You can use typology to reemphasize or shed light in something already know but you can’t use it for proof. As others have said elsewhere here in other threads, without some sort of control, you can prove anything by typology.

    I’m still waiting on historical evidence for the sinlessness of Mary. Please tell me which apostle taught this doctrine.

  28. Steve G. said,

    December 11, 2010 at 12:17 am

    AJ said:

    “She was given the grace to be “saved” completely from sin so that she never committed even the slightest transgression.”

    Other than your church declaring this dogma, how do you know this is true? Exactly what evidence is there for this statement?

  29. BSuden said,

    December 11, 2010 at 12:26 am


    All very well and good, but for the one thing necessary that somehow got overlooked.

    Christ said:

    But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
    And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
    For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. Matt.12:48-50

    IOW it’s high time that one of the corollaries of Sola Scriptura is mentioned, violated as it has been a number of times here by the CtC bunch: Tota Scriptura. All of Scripture is inspired, infallible and profitable for doctrine.

    IOW we are talking about “the consent of all the parts” of Scripture WCF 1:5 or – if you will – the fact that it cannot contradict itself. “Scripture cannot be broken” Jn.10:35.

    Biblical typology no matter how pious, reverent or ingenious cannot contradict the clear and plain statements in the Bible, even in this case of Christ come in the flesh.

    But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men Matt. 15:9

    Has Christ commanded us to worship or honor Mary in the way that Rome insists? To ask is to answer. Rather far from it.

    We will either worship God as he has commanded us or we are guilty of will worship – worshiping God how we will rather than how he wills. Which is yet another reason, like the whale swallowing Jonah, that Rome considers the second commandment part of the first. The explicit command not to worship images is to offensive to her liturgical taste, never mind its G&N consequences which the reformed confess as the regulative principle of worship.

    The Roman teaching on original sin is also something that Protestantism repudiates, but there is not enough time to reinvent the wheel tonight.

  30. paigebritton said,

    December 11, 2010 at 7:02 am

    AJ –

    Why did God even ordained and commanded Moses to make an Ark as a “centerpiece” of their innermost sanctuary and called it Holy of Holies? God didn’t need an “image” to show His power and grace but why? Why did it pleased God? What is the purpose of this Ark?

    As I think Jeff Cagle pointed out on another thread, the Ark & its contents were a UNIT — there was no “birth” of the things inside. It’s a holistic picture, rather, of God-with-us, Emmanuel, in whom “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1:19).

    It’s only when Mary is falsely elevated above the real honor that was given her that we see Christological types veering away from their true referent and being reinterpreted to “prove” Mary’s extraordinarily special status. Start with the pious problem-solving — “How does God become man without taint-by-association with human sin?” — and end up stealing worship from the One the Scripture points to!

    As I said somewhere on another thread, it’s not as if Jesus, beginning with Moses and the Prophets, interpreted to the two disciples “in all the Scriptures” the things concerning his mother!

  31. D. T. King said,

    December 11, 2010 at 9:52 am

    As far as patristic tradition is concerned, there is a vast weight of testimony against the unbiblical notion of the IC of Mary, both direct and indirect, and I would be happy to post the many testimonies against it upon request.

    Mr. AJ wrote: Catholics believed that Mary was conceived without sin…

    No, it is what Romanism teaches, but it is not a “Catholic” dogma from the perspective of the actual history of the early church. This is what I call the “name it/claim it” approach by Roman apologists. They see no need to prove their gratuitous claims. It’s a “make believe” approach to the historical witness of the church.

    As Steve G. pointed out, AJ’s post is an overt misuse of typology. Here is one of the principles set forth by Jerome with respect to exegesis…

    Jerome (347-420) commenting on Matthew 13:33: They interpret the three measures of wheat this way: while there is not a different nature in each [person of the Trinity], they tend toward a unity of substance. This is a godly interpretation to be sure, but a doubtful understanding of a parable and an enigmatic saying can never advance the authority of dogmas. FC, Vol. 117, St. Jerome: Commentary on Matthew (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2008), p. 160.
    Latin text: Farinae quoque sata tria, dum non est in singulis diversa natura, et ad unitatem trahunt substantiae. Pius quidem sensus, sed numquam parabolae et dubia aenigmatum intelligentia, potest ad auctoritatem dogmatum proficere. Commentariorum in Evangelium Matthaei, Liber Secundus, Caput XIII, v. 33, PL 26:91C.

    Augustine acknowledges the gratuitous nature of this sort of self-serving approach to scripture…

    Augustine (354-430): For what else is it than superlative impudence for one to interpret in his own favour any allegorical statements, unless he has also plain testimonies, by the light of which the obscure meaning of the former may be made manifest. NPNF1: Vol. I, Letters of St. Augustin, Letter 93 – To Vincentius, Chapter 8, §24, A.D. 408.

    And Chrysostom makes an excellent point concerning how we are to approach

    Chrysostom (349-407): There is something else we can learn here. What sort of thing is it? It is when it is necessary to allegorize Scripture. We ourselves are not the lords over the rules of interpretation, but must pursue Scripture’s understanding of itself, and in that way make use of the allegorical method. What I mean is this. The Scripture has just now spoken of a vineyard, wall, and wine-vat. The reader is not permitted to become lord of the passage and apply the words to whatever events or people he chooses. The Scripture interprets itself with the words, “And the house of Israel is the vineyard of the Lord Sabaoth.” To give another example, Ezekiel describes a large, great-winged eagle which enters Lebanon and takes off the top of a cedar. The interpretation of the allegory does not lie in the whim of the readers, but Ezekiel himself speaks, and tells first what the eagle is and then what the cedar is. To take another example from Isaiah himself, when he raises a mighty river against Judah, he does not leave it to the imagination of the reader to apply it to whatever person he chooses, but he names the king whom he has referred to as a river. This is everywhere a rule in Scripture: when it wants to allegorize, it tells the interpretation of the allegory, so that the passage will not be interpreted superficially or be met by the undisciplined desire of those who enjoy allegorization to wander about and be carried in every direction. Why are you surprised that the prophets should observe this rule? Even the author of Proverbs does this. For he said, “Let your loving doe and graceful filly accompany you, and let your spring of water be for you alone.” Then he interprets these terms to refer to one’s free and lawful wife; he rejects the grasp of the prostitute and other woman. Duane A. Garrett, An Analysis of the Hermeneutics of John Chrysostom’s Commentary on Isaiah 1-8 with an English Translation, Isaiah Chapter 5 (Lewiston/Queenston/Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1992), pp. 110-111.

  32. Steve G. said,

    December 11, 2010 at 10:19 am

    D.T. King quote Jerome as saying:

    ” . . . an enigmatic saying can never advance the authority of dogmas.”

    What an apt quotation and principle. Thanks!

  33. Jeff Cagle said,

    December 11, 2010 at 10:43 am

    AJ, I appreciate your #25 in that it lays out your case clearly and forthrightly. There are some things there for this Protestant to agree with; and some others to disagree with.

    I can agree, for instance, that there are some similarities between the Ark and Mary.

    I don’t agree that these similarities prove that Luke is presenting Mary as the antitype of the Ark, though I can understand why someone might.

    And I *really* don’t agree that even if Mary is the antitype of the Ark, that this proves anything additional about her (such as IC or PV). You may remember my point on the other thread about Jesus and the bronze serpent: just because Jesus is the antitype of the bronze serpent, does not mean that the centurions were the antitype of Moses. Typology, like all types of symbols and metaphors, cannot be pressed for every detail.

    You said above,

    Where is this “Mariolatry” came from anyways? Creature worship, anyone?
    Marian doctrine is always Christocentric…as Mary always points to her Son, Jesus Christ.

    Allow me a moment to spell out why the Catholic regard for Mary appears to detract from Jesus.

    (1) The notion that our prayers are more likely to be heard if addressed to Mary (or to Mary and Jesus) detracts from Jesus’ status as our high priest, the intermediary between God and man.

    Catholics defend this on the notion that praying to Mary is like asking a friend to pray for you. But it is precisely at this point that the theology fails.

    For I do not hold that my friends’ prayers make God more inclined to listen!

    No, the Scripture teaches us to approach God directly with boldness (Heb 4.16), faith (Luke 11.5-13), and persistence (Luke 18.1-8). Surely you do agree to this, right?

    But if we stipulate that our prayers are more likely to be heard if filtered through Mary, we are also therefore saying that our prayers are less likely to be heard if prayed to God the Father or Jesus directly. This undermines the very qualities of boldness, faith, and persistence that Jesus taught his disciples to have.

    Or put another way: Mary would have understood from the OT the account of Absalom at the gate, intercepting the requests meant for King David (2 Sam 15.1-12). She would understand that every answer to prayer that is attributed to her, detracts (or perhaps distracts) from the sense that Jesus Himself has answered that prayer.

    (2) The titles given to Mary by the RC church, “Queen of Heaven” and “the second Eve”, fit really poorly with Jesus’ position as “King of Kings” and “the second Adam.”

    Both of those pairings suggest that Mary is Jesus’ consort, not His mother.

    I understand that Catholics don’t exactly intend it that way, but it’s really uncomfortable for me to hear that language.

    (3) To the larger point about venerating saints: I am aware that the church at large, both East and West, has considered the iconoclast position and rejected it.

    The distinction has been drawn in both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches between latreia (worship) and proskynesis (honor) — the first is absolutely forbidden, the second is permitted.

    But here’s the thing: Even that relative honor is forbidden in Scripture.

    Rev 19.10: και επεσα εμπροσθεν των ποδων αυτου προσκυνησαι αυτω και λεγει μοι ορα μη συνδουλος σου ειμι και των αδελφων σου των εχοντων την μαρτυριαν ιησου τω θεω προσκυνησον η γαρ μαρτυρια ιησου εστιν το πνευμα της προφητειας

    “And I fell before his feet proskyne-ing him and he said to me, Do NOT do that; I am your fellow servant and of your brothers, the ones holding the testimony of Jesus. proskyne God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

    So I have to conclude, reluctantly, that the church simply erred on this point. I take comfort in my position by the encouragement of Tertullian and Cyprian also; not to mention the obvious point that the distinction between proskynesis and latreia is a mental one only.

    And for that reason, I feel conscience-bound not to venerate Mary in any sense. If John’s veneration of the angel was rebuked with “venerate God only!”, how much more should the veneration of Mary be rebuked?

    So those are my basic reasons. Honor of Mary tends towards eclipse of Christ, whether in prayer, title, or proskynesis.

  34. michael said,

    December 11, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Jeff Cagle

    when you write this to AJ, [oh, first, by the way, first this comment about what you wrote, “it was well established and I learned alot from it, thanks”];

    So I have to conclude, reluctantly, that the church simply erred on this point.

    Isn’t that sentence problematic, in conflict with your point to AJ and self defeating? I would distinguish The Church between the Roman Catholic communion, which is not the True Church, separately. All who stands justified by the Works of Christ are therefore “acquitted and stand before God as though She has not erred”, but, and ironically, as you have clearly expressed to AJ, the RCC is standing in error in interpreting just how Mary is to be treated by those that come after her in obedience to the same Faith once delivered to the Saints?

    Thank you again for bringing clarity and sharpness to this debate by developing how the Greek Word is used at Rev. 19:10!

    The Church and what the RCC defines “The Church” to be is what is in dispute. They claim and proclaim that they are “The Church”. We claim that their communion is anti-Christ.

    So, for that reason, I am finding it hard to accept your sentence in context with your well laid out response to AJ because it conveys something about The Church that doesn’t make a clear distinction between Her and the RC communion. Their error regarding how Mary is treated by those living by and obeying the Faith once delivered to the Saints in every generation, including ours, does not reside within The Church, but within their communion. The Church hasn’t erred in this but the RCC has!

  35. Jeff Cagle said,

    December 11, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Ah, Michael, I see your point. What I had in mind is that the Iconoclast Controversy took place in the 8th century, before the church ever split into East or West, or Protestant or Catholic.

    So in my mind, dismissing the church entire is a more serious matter than dismissing merely the RC church or the EO or the Lutherans or the Reformed.

    Still and all, I do it here because it seems required by Scripture and because the church has a history of disputing the veneration of saints and of the icons that represent them.

  36. todd said,

    December 12, 2010 at 10:51 am

    A.J. wrote

    Please, let me ask you this, does in anyway the reverence, honor and veneration of the Israelites to the Ark of the OT (Old Covenant) which was by itself just a physical matter and image, somehow “disregarded” or even “competed” with their God? Why did God even ordained and commanded Moses to make an Ark as a “centerpiece” of their innermost sanctuary and called it Holy of Holies? God didn’t need an “image” to show His power and grace but why? Why did it pleased God? What is the purpose of this Ark? Now, Biblical typology shows us that the OT was only a shadow or an “outline” of the REAL Things to come in the NT (by Apostle Paul). If God Himself gave and demanded these honors to OT Ark, what more to the New NT Ark? Who are we to refuse?”

    A.J. two points

    1. The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us (John 1:14). Jesus is the fulfillment of the tabernacle and ark, according to the NT. The ark in the OT was God among Israel, Jesus is God with us (Matt 1:23). We not only venerate the fulfillment of the ark, but worship him, who is Jesus, not Mary.

    2. You mention Paul. If Mary has such an important place in our Christian lives, why do the Apostles fail to even mention Mary in all the epistles, which are given to explain the mystery of the OT (Eph 3:1-6). How do you explain the Apostles’ failing to even mention Mary as they explain the mystery of the OT, clarify the gospel, and instruct us in Christian living?

  37. ray kikkert said,

    December 12, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Reed … well said … thank you … read through some points from Rev. Koole in his Standard Bearer article …The Late, Great Pope…. speaking of J.P. III

    “This was the man that was infatuated with Mary, the mother of our Lord. She was the one to whom he gave credit for protecting him in the assassination attempt that nearly ended his life. He openly promoted her as Co-redemptrix with her Son. He raised Mariolatry to a whole new level. This needs no demonstration. Next to his coffin as the adoring multitudes came with their homage was a cross. Affixed to it was a large letter M, his final homage to Mother Mary, to whom he prayed every day. By word and example he taught the people to do the same.

    And this is Christianity? This is praiseworthy how?

    The only words that apply are those of the truly holy apostle Paul in Galatians 1:8, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Paul is writing here about the gospel of salvation all of grace, grace that is centered wholly and entirely in that one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus, God’s Son. If the apostle Peter himself had proposed the adoration of mother Mary along with her Son, Paul would have anathematized him, demanding his repentance, and the forfeiture of his office as well.”

  38. Tom Riello said,

    December 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Hey Men,

    A great article by Dr. Michael Barber, professor from the JPII University, that you might be interested in. Again, I offer it only for your engagement and reflection and thoughts.


  39. Steve G. said,

    December 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm


    Rather than a drive by post with a link, why not engage in the discussion here? I don’t find posts with nothing more than a link very useful. Catholic expositions on Mary as the ark are a dime a dozen on the web, and while possibly interesting, don’t really support all the baggage that comes with the Marian dogmas. What I really want are answers to my questions, not links.

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