Calvinism and Nestorianism

I often find, in my conversations with Calvinists, that they straight out deny the doctrine of “Mother of God,” and then go on to tell a story about Isis, goddess worship, and Roman Catholic Paganism :rolleyes:

The Council of Ephresus denounced those who deny that Mary is the Mother of God as Nestorianists. Does this make Calvinists Nestorianists? Or does it make them incoherent?

Christi pax,


All Calvinists that I know of accept that Jesus is fully God and fully man united by hypostatic Union. That makes them not Nestorians.

So, you think they are incoherent, then? :slight_smile:

When I say incoherent, I mean that the doctrine of “Mother of God” logically results from Ephresus’s theology. If one denys Mary, Mother of God, then they, by extension, are denying the hypostatic union, or else they are simply incoherent.

Christi pax,


No. Because Nestorianism is literally denying the hypostatic Union, not denying a title of Mary.

Most folks I know deny the title because it is obtuse, and I agree with that assessment. Now if the title was Mother of God, according to his manhood, like Chalcedon actually declared, I doubt they would have much of a problem.

The Reformed Tradition accepts the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon.

The Council of Ephesus did not say mother of God. They said Mary was Theotokus which translated means God bearer or she who gave birth to God. I accept this definition. Mother of God is a loose translation which can give rise to problems that results in many qualifications that must be applied to it such as it doesn’t mean Mary pre-existed God as a mother would or that she gave Jesus his divine nature. It does not mean that she is mother of the Father or the Holy Spirit, both of whom are God.

Augustine wrote:

But He rather admonishes us to understand that, in respect of His being God, there was no mother for Him, the part of whose personal majesty He was preparing to show forth in the turning of water into wine….Nor, again, should we be moved by the fact that, when the presence of His mother and His brethren was announced to Him, He replied, “Who is my mother, or who my brethren?” etc. But rather let it teach us, that when parents hinder our ministry wherein we minister the word of God to our brethren, they ought not to be recognized by us.

A Treatise on Faith and the Creed, Chapter 4, Paragraph 9


He was in an extraordinary manner begotten of the Father without a mother, born of a mother without a father; without a mother He was God, without a father He was man; without a mother before all time, without a father in the end of times…9. Why, then, said the Son to the mother, “Woman, what have I to do with you? mine hour is not yet come?” Our Lord Jesus Christ was both God and man. According as He was God, He had not a mother; according as He was man, He had. She was the mother, then, of His flesh, of His humanity, of the weakness which for our sakes He took upon Him.

Tractates on John, Number 8, Paragraphs 8-9

Does this mean that Augustine was a Nestorian?

But when those qualifications are understood, then there is no problem, right? I think it’s quite clear that Catholics don’t think Mary is the author of the Divine Nature (as if that even makes sense :confused: ).

This reminds me of the Orthodox rejection regarding the filioque that, even if it was developed with correct doctrine in mind, it “has the possibility” to be misunderstood :slight_smile:

Christi pax,


I think that it has given rise to problems. For example the Qur’an seems to indicate that the Trinity is made up of the Father, Mother and Son.

There are lots of definitions that cuase problems when misunderstood, like the Filioque to Greek Christians, for example.

Also, the fact that Muhammad thought this shows how ignorant he was of orthodox Christianity.

Christi pax,


The Reformed accept the hypostatic Union ( correct me if I spelled it wrong ) .

It means that they do not accept all of the dogmatic teaching of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, (a.k.a. Second Council of Nicaea) 787 A.D.

I’ve decided to subscribe to this thread, if only to see what kind of casserole it will turn out to be.

The second Council, which Calvinists accept, says that Mary is the Mother of God (mater Dei is the transaltion of Theotokas). If Jesus is God, and Mary is His Mother, than Mary is the Mother of God.

Christi pax,


I agree with the common opinion that Islam is a Christian heresy. The issue here is who gets to define a belief? Is it the men who have the belief or the men who don’t? Mother of God, properly understood, should be perfectly acceptable to any Christian. Do we need to not use a term because some men refuse to understand it? What makes you think if we didn’t use the term those who misunderstand it will think or act any differently? With Islam if we didn’t use the term Son of God for Jesus they wouldn’t be any more accepting of the Christian Faith.

Theotokos (Mother of God/God-bearer)

Did Mary conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit a Person or a Nature?

The Definition of the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D)

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.

Such as the Greek title Theotokos (God-bearer) for the Blessed Virgin Mary, which affirms the divine nature of Jesus Christ, and because she was His bearer, the human nature of Jesus Christ.

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