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A Warm Protestant Welcome for Mary

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:01 pm
by Mttw633
Right on que...

Time was, for Protestants, that the Virgin Mary was a once-a-year thing. "We dragged Mary out at Christmas along with the angels and placed her at center stage," says religious essayist Kathleen Norris. "Then we packed her safely in the crèche box for the rest of the year." That attitude, Norris and other Protestants say, has long denied the mother of Jesus her rightful place in Christian tradition.

Today, more and more Protestants are welcoming Mary back into their spiritual lives. Several new books by Protestant authors have spurred new interest in the Virgin Mother. And a joint Anglican-Catholic commission recently announced a landmark accord on Mary that could help bridge the gap between the two denominations. Mary's story, says Beverly Gaventa, a New Testament scholar at Princeton University and the coeditor of the book Blessed One: Protestant Perspectives on Mary, "is a wonderful example of divine grace that Protestants have neglected. It was seen as Catholic territory, but now the lines between denominations are dropping."

Like many Protestants, Norris says she learned next to nothing about Mary from her Methodist and Congregational upbringing, but after spending time in Benedictine monasteries she grew to identify with her. "Like Mary, I am invited each day to bring Christ into the world in my prayers, thoughts, and actions," she says.

At the same time, however, the Mary revival troubles some evangelical Christians, who claim that Mary devotion detracts from a more proper focus on Christ. "Those who argue that Mary offers us a more compassionate understanding of God than is revealed in Jesus Christ alone insult both the person and work of Christ and accept the worst excesses of Catholic piety," declares R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

La Virgen. Enrique Gonzalez, pastor of El Mesias United Methodist Church in Elgin, Ill., worries that Marian worship has supplanted devotion to Jesus in his native Mexico. "That is the main reason the Protestant church is so liberating to former Catholics—the gospel of Jesus Christ brings freedom from the mistaken idea that we can come to God only through ' la Virgen, ' " he told Christian Century magazine.

Gonzalez echoes one of Martin Luther's key justifications for launching the Protestant Reformation. It is true that Luther considered Mary a paragon of faithfulness, who showed the importance of belief, instead of good works and donations, to achieving salvation. But he deplored her exploitation by churchmen selling indulgences who promised entry to heaven in her name. Said Luther's colleague Philip Melanchthon: Christ is "the only high priest, advocate, and intercessor before God. He alone has promised to hear our prayers."

Princeton theologian Robert Jenson, coeditor of the book Mary: Mother of God, says that the doctrinaire Lutheran pastor of his boyhood—who also happened to be his father—would have been appalled by his recommendation to pray to Mary. But for Jenson, appealing to Mary is not an insult to Jesus or God; it is much the same as prayerfully invoking the name of a deceased friend or relative.

pg 2 at link

Re: A Warm Protestant Welcome for Mary

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:58 pm
by SueAnn
Mttw633 wrote:Right on que...

Protestant Perspectives on Mary, "is a wonderful example of divine grace that Protestants have neglected. It was seen as Catholic territory, but now the lines between denominations are dropping."

Well, according to the bible the lines between denominations are going to disappear altogether. Sadly, as the lines are erased, so is the truth.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:16 pm
by Salty Skipper
:cry: we knew it was coming...but it still is sickening.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:15 am
by Schmize
are you people completely unaware that Mary was the VERY FIRST person to EVER carry God in her body???

Are you people aware that Jesus chose her to perform this function? And Why He chose her?

Why do we talk endlessly about all the men; David, Moses, paul, peter, bla, bla; but say NOTHING of the One Single person that brought Jesus into the world For US? Nor do tallk about why?

One poster said she know nothing about Mary. Like Jesus just walked out of the desert. Er um no that was budda or mohamed or one of those other fakes.

I think it is about time for Protestants to discover that Mary was very, very, very high up in God's eyes. She found Favor with Him. Maybe if people would look at why Jesus found Favor with Mary they might be able to imitate or copy those actions. Dooubt it though too bussy with hate.

It would not surprise me to find Mary as one of the 24 elders before the throne. Kneeling and worshiping him for who he is and for what he has done. Right beside Moses and David.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:27 am
by AndCanItBe
I think the problem is that these people are praying to Mary. While I have no doubt we could talk more about the women who found favor with God in our churches, we should never go so far as to pray to her, or David or any of the other great examples of faith and obedience in scripture. You have it exactly right when you say we should imitate them, but we should not worship them. Praying to them goes too far.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:06 am
by Schmize
Luke 1:

The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." 29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
34"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
35The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God."
38"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"
Mary's Song
46And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers."
56Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

all of this has been take from your bible. It says mary's relative said a prayer when Mary arrived at her house. The prayer to mary is then followed by Mary prophesying about the entire world calling her blessed.

interesting passages indeed. Now the issue is that people are praying to mary. This I understand. I also understand that I will call Mary blessed because she is. I don't think I'll be praying to her though.

See what has happened is people have become lost in church traditions. The tradition of praying to Mary just does not sit well with many including me. The problem is, protestant churches have traditions, too. And they are just as embarassing.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:14 am
by AndCanItBe
I wouldn't exactly say Elizabeth was praying, but either way, notice who gets all the credit...God. Elizabeth was blessed by God, to get to meet a woman so blessed by God. Mary also gave all the credit to God. I do see what you are trying to say though, and I definitely would join you in calling Mary "blessed". :grin:

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:39 am
by Schmize
Elizabeth was blessed by God, to get to meet a woman so blessed by God

that's an interesting statement. Mary and Elizibeth were relatives. It wasn't like they never saw each other. THey knew each other and recognized each other. Mary knew the way to E's house. Think she may have gone there before?

additionally, this fact makes Jesus and John the Baptist COUSINS.



PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:47 am
by AndCanItBe
I should have said "know" instead of "meet". Just a bad choice of words, sorry about that.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:51 am
by Schmize
:angel: :wink: :mrgreen: :grin:

ACIB, you are a lot of fun. Didn't want cha thinkin' I was bein' malicious toward you. Just making statements.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:53 am
by AndCanItBe
:lol: I know you weren't being malicious, Glen. I do very much appreciate you making sure I know that though. :hugs:

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:30 pm
by kat
my problem with the whole Mary that it turns into Mary worship...and Jesus said..No one gets to the Father except through me. Not you can get to God by going through either me or Mary.

My problem is when I have gone to church with my hubby...who happens to be catholic...and the statues in the church of Mary are in the forefront and there is this itty bitty statue of Jesus in the back. Like He some how was lesser than her.

I personally think God wanted us to know how special He found Mary to be...that is why parts of her story are included in the bible...but the parts that are included...are the story of Jesus...God lowering be born of a woman...lowly and weak...when He could have come in FULL GLORY!! The bible is about God and His promise to us. Not about Mary or the apostles or any other is about Jesus fulfilling God's promise. That is why some of take such offense at the "Mary worship".

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:15 pm
by Passion
Schmize wrote:Mary's Song
46And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.

I would also point out the fact that Mary even humbled herself and admitted her need for a Savior. After all, if she had no need of a Savior, why would she have referred to herself as a humble servant, rejoicing in God her Savior, and the fact that He had been mindful of her? Also, this discussion reminds me of this passage:

Mar 3:31 Then His mother and His brothers *arrived, and standing outside they sent {word} to Him and called Him.
Mar 3:32 A crowd was sitting around Him, and they *said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You."
Mar 3:33 Answering them, He *said, "Who are My mother and My brothers?"
Mar 3:34 Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He *said, "Behold My mother and My brothers!
Mar 3:35 "For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother."

Not that Jesus was dissing or disowning Mary; but He clearly wasn't putting her on a glorified pedestal, either.

On the other hand, while I do not believe that Mary should be prayed to, or worshiped or glorified in any way, I do believe she deserves our respect and admiration. And yes, imitation. What a wonderful example for young girls! What a wonderful example for middle-aged/older women and moms! I see nothing wrong with holding her up as a shining example, much the same way we would hold up Esther, Ruth, and other women as good and Godly examples. And I agree with you Glen, that she may very well be one of the elders worshiping at the throne of God! :grin: Why not? The Bible doesn't specify that all these elders were men, does it?

And I think some Christians have gotten a little paranoid about Mary--which is understandable, given the "Mary worship" going on out there. For instance, a woman I met shortly after the "Passion" had been released, was talking about how she liked the movie. But, she added, she was irritated at "how they put Mary up on a pedestal, and just dwelt way too much on her instead of Jesus...." I couldn't have disagreed more. I saw the movie twice--both times with Bible-believing, evangelical church groups--and say what you like about Mel Gibson and his religion (in which he glorifies and worships Mary), but I didn't see where he glorified Mary in the movie. I thought he beautifully represented a close, loving, mother-son relationship. I loved the flashbacks she had, of Jesus as a tiny boy and a young man. He portrayed her as a mother who was torn apart by seeing what they did to her child (and as the mother of both a grown son and daughter, I can attest to the fact that no matter how old they get, in some small but significant way, they are still your babies!). And what mother wouldn't be? Can any of us even come close to imagining how we would feel if we were put in Mary's place, watching the horror unfold before our eyes that she watched? That was what I saw in the Passion, at any rate.....and sometimes when people bash the portrayal of Mary in that movie I begin to suspect just a wee bit of anti-Catholic/anti-Mary hysteria.

I have utmost respect for God's choice of Mary as the vessel to bear His son. After all, He's God and we're not. I have utmost respect for Mary herself for being such a virtuous woman; and an obedient, trusting and willing servant of God. Yes, servant of God. Respect but not worship.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:27 pm
by chatty-kathi
We need to make a distinction between the Mary of scripture and the ecumenical “Mary” of the apparitions.

I’m going to excerpt part of an article from

Mary's ministry was simply the birth and nurturing of the child Jesus. Once He reached adulthood, she played no influential part in His earthly service. It's at the wedding feast of Cana, which began the public ministry of Jesus, that her last words are recorded. Fittingly, she tells the servants, "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it" (Jn 2:5). There is no doubt that she is exemplary among biblical saints as a model of obedience and submission to the will of God, especially in the appointment to which she was called. In keeping with the words of John the Baptist, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (Jn 3:30), Mary faded into the background.

Search the Scriptures as you will and you will find no leadership role for Mary among the Apostles. She taught no doctrine. We never hear of the Apostles seeking her out for counsel. Other than the gospels, Mary is mentioned only once in the New Testament, where the Book of Acts tells us of her simple participation in a prayer meeting along with her sons. The teaching that Mary was a perpetual virgin is also contradicted by many other verses (Mt 12:46; Mk 6:3; Jn 7:3,5; 1 Cor 9:5; Gal 1:19; Ps 69:8; etc.)…

Although mankind is being drawn into every kind of spiritual deception in the last days before the return of Jesus, it is especially sad that the real mother of Jesus, the remarkable "handmaid of the Lord" (Lk 1:38), is so terribly misrepresented, thereby drawing millions away from her Son. In the Gospel of Luke (11:27-28) we find a well-meaning woman saying to Jesus concerning His mother, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!" Had the Mary we know from Scripture been present, we can be certain that she would have added a hearty amen to her Son's poignant response: "Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" May our obedience to God's Word be our passion.

The appeal of Mary is a growing phenomenon which needs to be addressed biblically, having spread far beyond the traditional borders of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Mary, who has at least a thousand times more shrines dedicated to her than even her Son, is rapidly becoming the "queen of ecumenism," someone whom diverse religions can honor, rally around, and even worship without offending their respective theologies. The Los Angeles Times reported that "A growing number of Americans from all Christian denominations are reaching out to the Virgin Mary as a comforting conduit of spirituality and a symbol of peace in troubled times. ...It's not just Catholics who are interested in Mary and following the apparitions...."1

From Understand the Times website, we read the following comments about an article posted at :

Pontiff Presents Mary as Road to Peace
During Homage to the Immaculate Conception

Comments from Understand The Times:

The fact the pope would call upon "Mary" to bring peace to the world is astonishing. No where in the Bible do we find any reference to the mother of Jesus being the Queen of Peace. In the Bible, there is a woman called the queen of heaven, but this is NO Queen. The woman in Jeremiah (chapter seven and chapter forty-four) is actually a demonic entity that the children of Israel were actually worshipping.

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. The Bible also documents that there is a counterfeit peace plan where a counterfeit Christ utilizes a queen to set up a one world religion in the name of Christ.

We must always look to Jesus Christ.

ROME, DEC. 9, 2007 ( On the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Benedict XVI presented Mary as the guide toward peace.
After having been welcomed by the applause and cheers of the rain-soaked crowd of around 10,000, the Pontiff said that Mary "reminds us that we are all brothers and that God is our Creator and our Father."
Benedict XVI invited "men of every nation and culture" to welcome "this message of light and hope": "They receive it from the hands of Mary, Mother of all humanity."
"If life is a journey, and this journey is often dark, difficult and wearisome, what star can illuminate it?" the Holy Father asked. Citing his encyclical "Spe Salvi," published Nov. 30, the Pope spoke of Mary as the Star of Hope: "On our common voyage on the ocean of history we need 'lights of hope,' people who draw light from Christ 'and who thus offer light for our passage.'
"And who better than Mary can be for us 'Star of hope?'
The Pontiff concluded his words with a prayer addressed to Mary: "Show us the way that leads to peace, the way to the Kingdom of Jesus."