I’ve been involved in a thread that has gotten very large and not entirely on topic. I’ve noticed some diversity among the different responses (Catholic and non-Catholic alike). I thought I might start a new thread with a topic that could go just as wild, but I am truly interested in the responses that this will generate. I am a Bible-Believing, Born Again Christian. I was born and raised Roman Catholic, and, in fact, have received 6 of the 7 sacraments (never considered being a priest). However, I left the Catholic Church years ago (primarily because I found contradictions between the Bible and church teachings). I want to know – as a Christian, how does NOT accepting any of the Marian dogmas affect my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ? I look forward to your responses!
I love my mother. If someone considers themselves a friend of mine, they will respect my mom.
I consider myself a friend of Jesus, as such, I love and respect His mom.
As a freind of the family, I understand why you would pray to family members for help. As a Christian, I have been grafted into the vine (which IS Jesus Christ - see John 15), just like Mary and almost any other saint you may wish to name. As a member of the family, I can take my request directly to the Father (John 16:23). I acknowledge Mary as Blessed among women, and a model of faith, integrity and virtue. But I also recognize her as being human. Finally, you still haven’t answered the question - How does NOT accepting the Marian dogmas affect my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ? (BTW - Jesus Christ is also Mary’s Savior.)
Your question is really just a different way of asking How does NOT accepting the Church of Christ affect my relationship with Christ.
Well, the purpose of the Marian Dogmas is not so much to say something about Mary, but to say something about Jesus from the perspective of His relationship with Mary. For Example, It is Dogmatically taught by the Church that Mary is the Mother of God. To deny this would be to say that:
Mary is not the mother of Jesus, or
Mary is the mother of Jesus, but Jesus is not God, or
Mary is the mother of Jesus, who is God in some sense, but the person of Jesus is not fully God, but is in some way separate and distinct from the Second Person of the Trinity.
Do you believe any of these things about Jesus? If not, then you do in fact accept the Marian Dogma that she is the Mother of God, even if you’ve never thought about it as such.
Hi, I’m currently in RCIA so my answers may not be complete as I am still learning, but here goes:
As defined by the Church, Mary is the Mother of God (God Bearer, Theotokos) and while she is clearly not the source of His divinity she is the source of his physical body (just as my mother is not the source of my soul but I still call her my mom, not the mom of my body)
As a Saint, Mary can be asked to pray for us just as we can ask our deceased forebears to pray for us and we for them.
The main doctrines of the church relating to Mary are as follows:
The Church holds that Mary was ever Virgin. This one is fairly simple and to the point. It is also the easiest to understand. If I were given custody of the wife of the King and she was pregnant and King were born, would I then want to sleep with His mother. Probably not.
This one takes a bit of thinking, but after a moment of contemplation is just as easy to follow. Mary is called by the Angel “Full of Grace” can I be completely filled with water and not get wet? Therefore we can assume that Full of Grace implies in a State of Grace.
Assumption into Heaven
This one is a bit extra-biblical but follows in good order the precedents of the Bible. Enoch was assumed into Heaven for he walked with God. Elijah was the one who cleared the temples and proved God to be greater than the pretenders such as Ba’al. Both men were assumed into Heaven (though Elijah did get the uber-cool fiery coach ride)
If these two were worthy then certainly the woman who brought forth Christ to the World is also worthy of this.
So, if you do not follow these teachings then are you not believing in the defilement of the theotokos, the denial of the words of God through the Angel ?
It seems a hard line to take with the woman who risked her life to bring Christ to the world.
Jesus refered to His followers as friends many times.
As a family member, Mary is my mother. Why would I not ask my mother to pray for me?
There are several levels to the answer.
- It may not affect your relationship with Jesus in terms of salvation;
- However, it may offend Jesus that you have little regard or respect for revealed truth about someone He loves very much…His mother, Mary;
- And Marian doctrines are truths that protect other Christological truths.
Hope this helps. :tiphat:
It severs that relationship totally, since it severs you through heresy from the Catholic Church, which is the mystical body of Christ.
Since I did answer the question in my previous post, I hope you will allow me to address the first part of this…
Yes, you can take your requests directly to God, and you should do so as often as you can. But there’s the rub: there are times when you can’t pray. You grow weary and fall asleep, you need to concentrate on something important at work, your beloved Tarheels are playing in the Final Four, or something like that. So, although Paul exhorts us to “pray without ceasing”, the truth is that we never do this.
Saints, on the other hand, do not have the same limitations and weaknesses that we do. They can, and do, pray without ceasing, and they can intercede for you in a way that your Pastor cannot or will not. Additionally, because they are already perfected and in God’s presence, their prayers are more powerful than ours; as scripture says, the prayers of a righteous man availeth much. Obviously, the saints in heaven are more righteous than we are.
Finally, just as Bathsheba held the position of Queen Mother in the court of King Solomon and sat at his right hand, so Mary is the Queen of Heaven seated at the right hand of her son, Jesus. As she interceded at the wedding feast in Cana (John 2), so she intercedes for us, and He will not deny her requests.
Hope this helps.
Don’t forget the most important Marian doctrine:
Mother of God
Welcome to CAF
While Evangelicals or other Protestants do not deny the Incarnation (though some do), the import of the Incarnation is often reduced to a “Jesus and me” salvation that leaves no room for all that He does for us through His Church (Baptism, Eucharist, preservation of authentic apostolic teaching authority, e.g.) that joins us not just to Him but through Him to all Who are in Him (the Communion of Saints) - including His Mother who because she is His, is also ours. The lack of understanding of Mary’s role in salvation history and her prerogatives as Mother of God is an implicit diminution of the reality of Who Jesus is and what His Church is. This article further explains my point:
Catholicism not only believes but practices spiritual unity in the visible Communion of the Church. Protestantism tries to have such a spiritual unity without that visible communion as the necessary place where it is incarnated. Protestantism is content to have it introvertedly in the interior consciousness to such a degree that the visible is only the inferior externalization of what’s already in the personal consciousness. This is why we are not one: Because the Traditional Catholic-Orthodox understanding of the Incarnation of Spirit into visible matter is set aside by Protestantism as not really that important. This means at root that Christ’s Incarnation is really understood primarily in utilitarian terms: e.g., Mary was needed for the Incarnation and that’s pretty much all, so she can be effectively discarded after she plays her temporary useful function. Likewise, Christ’s death on the Cross is the means of reconciliation and is over; it is not prolonged in the Church as the Mystery of the Eucharist which makes it available visibly to the visible body of the Church. Invisible faith in that once-for-all (as meaning only once in time) event is all that is needed.
So are the Orthodox - who do not accept the dogma of the Immaculate Conception - totally severed from a relationship with Christ? If you say yes, does the Catholic Church say, officially, that they are totally severed from a relationship with Christ?
Our union with Christ is not an either/or situation, but a both-and one. We are together in Him in our access to the Father and since also in Him we enjoy communion with one another, including “our brothers and sisters who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith” we are also able to turn to them for their assistance with our prayers. Being in Christ we are in union with all that is His - including His Mother who is also our own.
(Further, we have an even more perfect prayer to the Father, the self-offering of Christ in the Eucharist in which He joins us to His One Sacrifice.)
(BTW - Jesus Christ is also Mary’s Savior.)
Yes, indeed! Her Immaculate Conception was a marvelous gift of salvation.
AmbroseSJ, what a great non-answer.
Leopard, the Marian dogmas carry an anathema for anyone who does not believe them. As the Angel said at the annunciation, “…the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35) I most certainly believe Jesus is fully God and fully man, and that He was born of Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and that she was a virgin until after Jesus was born. Your argument is very simplistic.
Cthulhubryan, yours appears to be the best effort so far (though there are 4 Marian dogmas, and a 5th is pending). As I pointed out above, I do believe Jesus is fully God and fully man, and that Mary was a virgin when she conceived Him by the Holy Spirit (and remained virgin until His birth). As for praying to her, how loud do you have to pray for someone who is no longer living to hear you? I’d be happy to discuss prayers to dead saints another time, but it’s a bit off topic here. Let’s address the dogmas you’ve mentioned –
Ever virgin – first of all, the Church asserts that Mary remained virgin (that includes remaining physically intact) before, during and after the birth of Jesus. This comes from Gnostic works, such as the Protevangelium of James (according to this work, Jesus basically “beamed out” of Mary). Your analogy is also flawed. Remember, Mary was already engaged to Joseph before the angel came to see her. There are also passages that mention his brothers and sisters (Matt 12:46, 13:54-56, Mark 3:31-32, 6:1-3). I would suggest that Hannah (Samuel’s mother) would be a type of Mary (she gave her first born to the Lord, and he rewarded her with 4 boys and 3 girls in Samuel’s place – see 1 Sam 1-2). Let’s rework your analogy – the King needs a surrogate mother, and your wife meets the specific criteria to ensure success. You both agree, and she is impregnated (a common practice these days). Once the child was born, wouldn’t you and your wife resume normal marital relations?
Immaculate Conception – I have looked in several Bible versions and checked many lexicons in the original Greek, and nowhere do I find “Full of grace” being equal to “preserved from sin from the moment of conception”. If Mary HAD to be sinless to be the mother of Jesus, God could have cleansed her when the angel came in and greeted her, couldn’t He? Of course! Mary did not have to be born sinless, even if it was a requirement for being the mother of the Son of God.
Assumption into Heaven – This is one that I could see actually being possible, but I don’t see how it is necessary to believe. The argument that Mary was worthy falls flat upon examination. No question about Enoch and Elijah being taken up bodily into heaven. They were taken up while alive. Why? One thing I’ve noticed as I study the Scriptures, God has a purpose. I would point to Heb 9:27 (“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”). These two didn’t die (yet). Next, look at Rev 11:3 (“And I will give [power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days, clothed in sackcloth”). Some think this will be Enoch and Moses, but Moses died. We know they’re human because they are killed after 1,260 days. They will be raised up after 3 days and taken up into Heaven. What is the purpose for Mary being assumed into Heaven? I can’t find one in scripture. Doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened, I just don’t happen to believe it.
I’ll end this and see what else has come in. Thanks for the input!
Randy Carson – 1. if it doesn’t affect my relationship in terms of salvation, why is there an anathema for not believing them? 2. If Jesus is offended, then that would affect my relationship with him, wouldn’t it? No doubt, Jesus loves Mary. Jesus, as man, may place Mary above others, but Jesus as God, wouldn’t He love us all the same? Also, when I look at something like Matt 12:46-50 or Mark 3:31-35, I see Jesus making all believers equal. 3. What Christological truth do these dogmas protect? Maybe another question would be – If these are truths that protect Christological truths, what protected those Christological truths for the 1900+ years the Church was without them?
Dauphin – Thanks for that input.
Randy Carson – I really don’t want to get into prayers to saints. However, in regard to your analogy of Bathsheba being a type of Mary – when Bathsheba came into Solomon’s presence, he bowed before her. Do you think Jesus bows to Mary when comes before Him? Also, Bathsheba didn’t get her request. Why? Simple – once she made her request, Solomon realized 2 things; first, she was asking on behalf of someone else. Second, the request would have undermined his kingdom. At that point, Solomon had to cease being her son, and act as King, executing a just punishment. Now, if Mary could take your request to Jesus, how do you suppose it would measure up?
FCEGM – Interesting. Not totally sure what you said, but interesting. The Incarnation is an essential part of salvation (if Jesus isn’t God, then it’s all a lie!). Mary was greatly blessed of God (no question). We do need to be part of a church body (not just “Me and my Bible alone in the woods”). We need to be around other Christians (since I choose to let dead saints rest in peace, I need others to talk to, to ask for prayer, and to pray for, to study with, to exercise and develop the gifts God has given to me). The Catholic Church got along without any Marian dogma for over 1900 years. Why is it that anyone who lived before they were defined are OK, even if they didn’t believe it, and I’m under an anathema?
Theistgal – Welcome!
FCEGM – Again, this is not meant to be a discussion of prayers to the saints. Please stick to the topic. I have already addressed the Immaculate Conception.
Simplistic, no. Simple, yes. You don’t need a complex argument to make a simple point.
By your own statement highlighted above, you do indeed accept that Mary is the Mother of God, whether it makes you uncomfortable to use this term or not. What you have said you believe is not essentially less than what the Catholic Church affirms through this Dogma.
Just a quick correction (yes, I am fallible) - when I said 1900+ years, I was thinking of the 19th century, so that should read 1800+ years, or middle of the 19th century. Sorry for any confusion this may have caused.
Leopard – Even if that is true, I still reject the Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Virgin and Bodily Assumption (rest assured, I will reject the 5th dogma if and when it is ever promulgated). How does this affect my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ?
It would depend on the extent to which you reject the truths about Christ related to the Marian Dogmas that you were rejecting.