The Feast of the Assumption is coming up, and it tends to be a pretty big holiday in many Catholic and Orthodox countries. On the other hand, how do Protestants view this? I’m more interested in Lutheran and Anglican views since I know Reformed and Evangelicals discard it entirely. Anyway, what do our Protestant brothers and sisters do on this day?
The Common Worship Calendar of the Church of England has a major festival of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the 15th August although it’s not specifically titled as the Feast of the Assumption of the BVM. CofE churches of more Anglo-Catholic persuasion will however call it thus.
Our Cathedral Church (dedicated to the BVM) will be having a Solemn Evensong on the eve of the festival and a Solemn Eucharist (High Mass) on the day itself. They will be singing Victoria’s ‘Missa Vidi Specioasam’ and appropriate Marian hymns including this one which alludes to the Assumption.
Much of the Anglican Church, like the Orthodox, name this feast the Dormition of Mary. On that day is celebrated the falling asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her glorious Assumption into heaven. These are things we have in common. Many Episcopalian parishes in the United States tend to de-emphasize a lot of the traditional doctrines which had heretofore made their religious practice similar to that of the Catholic Church, but most still have a healthy veneration of Our Blessed Lady. The Lutherans also have retained a veneration for Mary, but do not celebrate a specific feast day for the Assumption. It may be retained on certain Lutheran calendars as a feast day, but on it may be celebrated the Visitation instead, especially in the Missouri Synod.
The link might help explain the LCMS view:
I don’t think any Evangelical churches recognize such a holiday, nor do they believe in the assumption of Mary, as a rule. Now, I don’t think the notion is contradictory to Evangelical beliefs–if it was good enough for Enoch & Elijah, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be for her! But if the Bible doesn’t expressly mention it, Protestants tend not to teach it.
The magisterial reformers all believed in the assumption of the Blessed Virgin, AFAIK.
I don’t believe it is accurate to say Elijah was assumed
Elijah was taken up into heaven body and soul, while still alive. Granted the method was unusual …
2 Kings 2:11 NIV
As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.
… so as far as I’m concerned, it was an assumption.
As for Protestants not accepting the Assumption, their standard reply will be “It’s not in the Bible”, as though almighty God is limited to the Bible, and can’t possibly step outside it.
Where the Bible makes that claim about itself I have no idea. What is in the Bible is that Christ founded His Church on Peter. He said so, in black and white, in the text anyway, and then called him “Blessed”.
For that matter, Moses body couldn’t be found either, so I would argue he was assumed as well. Since it was Moses and Elijah who appreared at the Transfiguration, then I think a logical argument could be made for Moses’ assumption.
Deuteronomy 34:1-6 NIV
The Death of Moses … 1Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, 2all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, 3the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. 4Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”
5And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. 6He buried hima in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is.
Jude 1:9 NIV
But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
What were they arguing about? The devil wasn’t trying to stop the archangel from assuming Moses’ body was he on some legalistic grounds, was he?
Revelation also speaks about a “Queen of Heaven” …
“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.”
It’s noteworthy that at Fatima, the most powerful revelation of Mary in modern times, the key role was played by the sun.
We looked easily at the sun, which for some reason did not blind us. It seemed to flicker on and off, first one way, then another. It cast its rays in many directions and painted everything in different colors--- the trees, the people, the air and the ground. But what was most extraordinary, I thought, was that the sun did not hurt our eyes. Everything was still and quiet, and everyone was looking up. Then at a certain moment, the sun appeared to stop spinning. It then began to move and to dance in the sky until it seemed to detach itself from its place and fall upon us. It was a terrible moment.
Ti Marto (father of Jacinta and Francisco)
Mary is the Mother of God in the form of the Mother of God the Son, she is the Queen of Heaven, and she was assumed, body and soul, into heaven.
Ive always understood assumption to be undefined regarding whether or not the person is alive. Perhaps I am mistaken about the distinction between Mary and Elijah.
As for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, Bob, I’ve never doubted it.
It probably is “undefined”, but unless you’re going to define another term, then for convenience sake, “assumption” could be used for any event implying ascension to heaven, body and soul, whether you’re talking about about Christ’s ascension, Moses’ assumed assumption (if you’ll pardon the pun), Elijah’s wild chariot ride, or the tradition about Mary’s assumption.
It’s just a question of semantics to describe similar events.
I don’t think Protestants believe that, but their default mode is to take anything not explicitly in the Bible as unproven, hence their (if you will) agnosticism on the subject. I think some fundamentalists take that too far. I also understand why Catholics might have a problem with that, but there’s little point in complaining that Protestants are being … well, Protestant about a subject.
I don’t believe it is explicitly in the Bible that the Bible is the final authority…especially in light of 1 Tim 3:15.
2 Thess 2:15 too…we are to hold fast to both written AND oral traditions.
It’s not. But it is implicit based on a number of verses. That, of course, only means that something such as the Assumption would more likely be held as adiaphoron.
Didn’t mean to start a brouhaha over Catholic vs. Protestant criteria for what counts as binding teaching. I’m simply saying that–Protestant views of what counts as “authoritative” being what they are–it’s understandable that they’d be noncommittal about Mary’s fate and wouldn’t formally observe it.
There is nothing in scripture implicit about it being the only authority.
I don’t think my faith tradition does anything special regarding Mary on this day, but I personally thank Mary for saying “Yes” to God and for bravely doing so even though she risked her life and reputation tor Jesus. She also loved and took care of Him all His life and was courageously there at the cross with Him when He was crucified. She wasn’t afraid of those big, bad Romans.
I tend to believe she was ever-Virgin, although that is not unanimous among Methodists, but I’ve felt that way ever since it was explained to me how she is the ark of the new covenant and that the ark must be kept pure.
She was definitely blessed among women and I wish more Protestants would give her her due, although I suspect they don’t out of fear of “going too far” and turning her into a goddess.
I assume well catechized Catholics , Lutherans, and Anglicans put her in proper perspective and don’t worship her in an “adoration” sense.
Yeah, good point.
I had always felt that non Catholic Christians could see the reasoning in Catholics/Orthodox honoring her so much, but they shied away from it because they don’t want to appear to be too “Catholic”
I was reading the book “Heaven is for real” with the Burpo kiddo from the movie. And in it this child says that he saw Mary in the throne room with God…and that she is pretty much attached to Jesus up there.
Oh, and Burpo said he was praying for his troubled dad when he was visiting heaven. I thought to myself, gee, that sounds very Catholic to me, no wonder they didn’t put these details in the movie lol
Only authority? No, you are correct. But Debbie didn’t say only authority. Sh said final authority, and one can find implications to defend that view if one wishes to.
We could go into details, but it probably isn’t the right thread
Nothing in the Bible gives any indication of Sola Scriptura, unfortunately for you, the Bible wasn’t just dropped out of the sky friend. It took centuries for it to be completed and then centuries more for it to be fully compiled into a proper canon.