Lutherans and the Blessed Mother


#1

thelutheran.org/article/article.cfm?article_id=10891

I thought this was interesting. Our Protestant brothers and sisters acknowledge the importance of our Blessed Mother. :thumbsup:
(Although they reiterate their belief that Christ can be the only mediator between themselves and God.) :shrug:

I pray for all our Protestant brothers and sisters and hope for the day we are all reunited as One Church.:signofcross:


#2

Indeed, we acknowledge Mary as the theotokos, the means by which our Lord took flesh. And, she is a model of faith and obedience to God’s will.


#3

“Theotokos” literally means “God-bearer”. She wasn’t just the means by which Jesus took on flesh, rather she gave birth his entire Person; 100% divine and 100% human. She was literally the mother of God, not just of the human Jesus. This title was given to her to refute heresies concerning the nature of Christ and says more about him then it does about Mary.

In any event, I know that Luther had a great devotion to Mary. Here are some samples:

*"The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart. (Sermon, September 1, 1522).

[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ . . . She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures. (Sermon, Christmas, 1531).

No woman is like you. You are more than Eve or Sarah, blessed above all nobility, wisdom, and sanctity. (Sermon, Feast of the Visitation, 1537).

One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God’s grace . . . Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ . . . Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God. (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521).

Luther gives the Blessed Virgin the exalted position of “Spiritual Mother” for Christians:

It is the consolation and the superabundant goodness of God, that man is able to exult in such a treasure. Mary is his true Mother … (Sermon, Christmas, 1522)

Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of us even though it was Christ alone who reposed on her knees . . . If he is ours, we ought to be in his situation; there where he is, we ought also to be and all that he has ought to be ours, and his mother is also our mother. (Sermon, Christmas, 1529).

Martin Luther had the belief of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, Luther’s words follow:

It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary’s soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God’s gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin" (Sermon: “On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God,” 1527).

She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin- something exceedingly great. For God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. (Personal {“Little”} Prayer Book, 1522).*


#4

SteveVH,

I’m sorry that I didn’t explain Mary’s role more fully. I fully agree with all that Luther taught about her. That can be a problem when making a quick comment on a complex subject.


#5

[quote="kcbk, post:1, topic:296154"]
thelutheran.org/article/article.cfm?article_id=10891

(Although they reiterate their belief that Christ can be the only mediator between themselves and God.) :shrug:

:

[/quote]

Protestants say that Christ is the only mediator between God and man, but their behavior says they do not believe it.

Anyone who prays intercessory prayers for others, as all Christians do, make themselves mediators between God and the person or persons for whom they pray. We are all mediators by what we do in reality, by our actions, even though we might claim there are no mediators other than Christ.

There is a contradiction between what they do and what they say. Actions speak louder than words. Protestants themselves are mediators even though they claim the only mediator is Christ.

The only difference between the intercession of Mary for her children and the intercession of those here on earth for one another is the location of the intercessor.

There is one Church, not two or many. There is not a Church on earth and another Church in heaven. We are one body. The thing that joins us together in communion is God's love. We love one another and call this the Communion of the Saints as expressed in the earliest creed.

When we are separated we long for unity. This desire for unity with Protestants as you expressed it in words is motivated by love for others.

The same is true of those we love who are in heaven. When a loved one dies we do not stop loving that person. Love is more powerful than death and we desire to be reunited in heaven with those from whom we are temproarily separated by death. They also are waiting for us desiring to see us again and be with us. That is how love works when there is separation.

Think of the military families that are separated for long periods by deployments. They long to be back together. We always want to be with those we love and when we are not with them, in their presence, we desire to be reunited, made one again.

The love we have for those who have died is not simply a sentimental feeling. It is a tangible reality. For love to be love, for it to be life giving, it must be reciprocated. The Father loves the Son. The Son returns love. We see the Trinity there. Love gives love to love.

The same is true for Christians who are separated by denomonationalism, a fracturing of unity.

God loves us, but we must love God in order to participate in divine life as we are made to do.

When we love a person we will their good. This is manifested when a Christian prays for a person and in other ways.

Our love for others remains when they die, but we know the saints are not dead. They are fully alive in Christ and they still love us. Love is always manifested in some way, or expressed.

The expression of love for us by the saints in heaven is the same as it was on earth. They pray for us as we pray for one another. We are all mediators here and hereafter.

We will one another's good and this does not stop with earthly death. This is expressed in prayer for one another, praying to God, mediating, interceding always.


#6

[quote="gcnuss, post:4, topic:296154"]
SteveVH,

I'm sorry that I didn't explain Mary's role more fully. I fully agree with all that Luther taught about her. That can be a problem when making a quick comment on a complex subject.

[/quote]

If the devotion to Mary as expressed by Luther is indeed part of the Lutheran mind today it is a well kept secret. There is no visible or outward sign that Lutherans give any thought or attention at all to the Mother of God.

Again, actions speak louder than words. By their actions Lutherans and Protestants in general are telling Jesus they want nothing to do with His mother. They chose to ignore her completely and have for centuries.

They are worried about offending Jesus by acknowledging His mother, the Queen of Heaven. Instead they ignore her, thinking this will please God who chose her as the holy living vessel to give birth to the Savior.

I am on my way to the local Adoration chapel, where I will pray my rosary today for all Protestants, that they may come to know her, the mother of all Christians and Queen of Angels.


#7

I have to say that not all Lutherans would subscribe to Luther’s views about Mary. For many, any sort of veneration of Mary is considered to be “too Catholic,” a throwback to the time when antipathy between Lutherans and Catholics was the order of the day.

One minor advance is that in our church calendar August 15th (on which the Assumption is celebrated in the Catholic Church) is the commemoration of Mary, Mother of our Lord. It is not a major celebration but is an acknowledgement of her importance in salvation history. Mary is, no doubt, without peer among humans. She is the Mother of God. All else that is said about her pales in comparison.


#8

[quote="gcnuss, post:7, topic:296154"]
I have to say that not all Lutherans would subscribe to Luther's views about Mary. For many, any sort of veneration of Mary is considered to be "too Catholic," a throwback to the time when antipathy between Lutherans and Catholics was the order of the day.

One minor advance is that in our church calendar August 15th (on which the Assumption is celebrated in the Catholic Church) is the commemoration of Mary, Mother of our Lord. It is not a major celebration but is an acknowledgement of her importance in salvation history. Mary is, no doubt, without peer among humans. She is the Mother of God. All else that is said about her pales in comparison.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:

Jon


#9

[quote="gcnuss, post:7, topic:296154"]
She is the Mother of God. All else that is said about her pales in comparison.

[/quote]

She is mother of the Son, daughter of the Father, and spouse of the Holy Spirit.

Protestants often speak of relationship.

She is the Lady of the Trinity, the most unique person of all of God's creatures. Extol her always and never doubt that you will please her Son, Father and Spouse.

I only hope you someday will know the consolation only this woman can bring to your soul that no other being can offer, as ordained by her Son. You do not have to be Catholic to claim this invaluable treasure.

Lady of the Trinity, life is full of fears.
Lady of the Trinity, life is full of tears.
Lady of the Trinity, death speeds like a dart.

Lady of the Trinity, keep me in your heart.


#10

I had a Protestant friend who was outraged when I said Mary was the spouse of the Holy Spirit.

It was one more example to prove how ludicrous Catholics are in their devotion to Mary. What next? Now they are trying to tell us that God has a wife?

She conceived by the Holy Spirit, is what the scripture tells us of the Incarnation of the Son of God. Do we think that this was a marriage, or was the Son of God conceived out of wedlock?

My friend who was once exasperated by the thought of Mary as spouse of the Spirit, is a Catholic today, largely due to encounters with Mary, she claims.


#11

[quote="grandfather, post:9, topic:296154"]
She is mother of the Son

[/quote]

No argument here.

daughter of the Father

As all people are daughters and sons of the Father.

and spouse of the Holy Spirit.

I have some questions about this. If Mary was betrothed to Joseph, how could she be the spouse of someone else? And, since a marriage is between one man and one woman, where does a relationship with a spirit (or the Spirit) fit in?

From your subsequent post --

She conceived by the Holy Spirit, is what the scripture tells us of the Incarnation of the Son of God. Do we think that this was a marriage, or was the Son of God conceived out of wedlock?

The incarnation is a mystery. Also, the conception occurred while Mary was betrothed to Joseph. Unless Joseph put her aside for adultery, any child conceived would be considered to be his in Jewish society.

I only hope you someday will know the consolation only this woman can bring to your soul that no other being can offer, as ordained by her Son.

I would say that I find even greater consolation in the fact that her Son, arms stretched out on the cross, embraces me, imperfect and sinful as I am.


#12

[quote="gcnuss, post:11, topic:296154"]

I have some questions about this. If Mary was betrothed to Joseph, how could she be the spouse of someone else? And, since a marriage is between one man and one woman, where does a relationship with a spirit (or the Spirit) fit in?

If I could explain how Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit I would be the greatest theologian of all time. I do not know where to begin. I am baffled, stumped, totally perplexed.

Nevertheless, Mary conceived of the Holy Ghost. This we know. When a woman conceives a baby she has a relationship with the person who impregnated her.

What did Luther say about Mary being ever virgin? Just wondered.

I would say that I find even greater consolation in the fact that her Son, arms stretched out on the cross, embraces me, imperfect and sinful as I am.

Indeed, God and Mary gave us their Son to die for our sins.

Jesus tells us that God is our Father. We are children of God by adoption. This makes Jesus who is Lord and Savior and the Son of God our brother. It makes Mary our ???

But what I read into your statement above, maybe incorrectly, is Jesus died for my sins, so who needs Mary. I will choose to ignore her. I'll pass.
.
What I am telling you is that there is spiritual treasure, a depth of beatitude you have not known, because you have not experienced it. The reason you have not experienced it is you do not want to experience it. You reject it. You are poorer for it. Protestants are afraid of Mary, as ludicrous as that sounds. Marian devotion is some Catholic wierdness. Jesus will be angry or jealous if we love His mother.

Israel had a queen mother from the time of Solomon and Bathseba to when the Jews went into captivity. Bathseba sat on a throne next to Solomon the King of Israel. Jesus is the King of the Universe, the Lord of all.

Surely you pay a lot of attention to the Apostle Paul. He is very important in salvation history. Paul was chosen to spread the gospel message, the message of salvation. If Paul did not exist you could still have salvation. The same is true of Peter or John.

Without Mary you have no Jesus. Had she not given her consent to the angel, be it done unto me according to your word, what do you suppose would have happened? Gabriel would have gone down the block and around the corner and found some other Jewish teenage girl full of grace and proposed the same deal.

Jesus is our salvation. He is made incarnate in her and is born of her. He took flesh from her flesh. He comes to us through a person, a woman.

As you think of the image of Jesus with His arms stretched out on the cross, move back a few steps and look at the rest of the scene. She is there watching Him die. He sees her heart pierced as the prophet foretold in the temple. Then let a little time go by and look at Him dead in her arms.

My sins, your sins, did this to Him and her.

Drop in on the scene where Jesus and His entourage meets the funeral procession at the gates of Nain. Why do you suppose this story is so important? What is the signficance beyond a display of spiritual power?

There is a widow burying her only son. Jesus raises the son from the dead. It all prefigures His own death and burial with His widowed mother mourning, and resurrection.

Scripture tells us why Jesus raised the widow of Nain's son from the dead.

[/quote]


#13

Grandfather,

As I respond once again, I hope you understand that I am not trying to attack what is so important in your faith journey, but to explain better where I am in my faith journey and where Mary fits into it. Clearly, we have differing views but I trust that those differences don't affect our regard for one another as followers of our Lord.

[quote="grandfather, post:12, topic:296154"]
If I could explain how Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit I would be the greatest theologian of all time. I do not know where to begin. I am baffled, stumped, totally perplexed.

[/quote]

We can drive ourselves into perplexity trying to reason out holy mysteries.

Nevertheless, Mary conceived of the Holy Ghost. This we know. When a woman conceives a baby she has a relationship with the person who impregnated her.

And, yet, her relationship with the Holy Ghost was something different from a usual human relationship or we would not know Mary as giving birth as a virgin.

What did Luther say about Mary being ever virgin? Just wondered.

Luther believed in her perpetual virginity, even to explaining that in the culture of her time other relatives, e.g. cousins, might be referred to as his brothers and sisters.

Indeed, God and Mary gave us their Son to die for our sins.

God certainly gave his Son (John 3:16) but I'm not as clear about Mary. There is no doubt that she brought our Lord into this world, but whether or not she knowingly gave birth to Him so that he could die for our sins is not that clear to me.

Jesus tells us that God is our Father. We are children of God by adoption. This makes Jesus who is Lord and Savior and the Son of God our brother. It makes Mary our ???

Well, all humans are children of God so by that standard Mary would be our sister. Then, as the mother of our brother she might be a step-mother to us. This family tree would be a genealogists nightmare.

But what I read into your statement above, maybe incorrectly, is Jesus died for my sins, so who needs Mary. I will choose to ignore her. I'll pass.

Not really. Mary serves as the ultimate model of obedience and faithfulness to God. She contrasts sharply with Jonah who, even thought he eventually did God's will, went to Nineveh kicking and screaming -- with an unexpected side cruise at sea.

I can relate much more to Jonah. I am a second-career pastor and, when I first sensed a call to the ministry, I looked for every excuse not to do so -- I'm too old -- I'm not ready to go back to school for four years -- it will disrupt my (and my wife's) retirement plans. Had I followed Mary's example, my first response to God's call would have been "let it be with me according to your will."
.

What I am telling you is that there is spiritual treasure, a depth of beatitude you have not known, because you have not experienced it. The reason you have not experienced it is you do not want to experience it. You reject it. You are poorer for it. Protestants are afraid of Mary, as ludicrous as that sounds. Marian devotion is some Catholic wierdness. Jesus will be angry or jealous if we love His mother.

You may find this in some people but I can't understand anyone being afraid of Mary nor afraid that Jesus would be jealous if we love his mother. At the same time, your comment about Marian devotion being "Catholic weirdness" may have some merit. For example, I find the Salve Regina to be a bit over the top in its rather emotional tone. Of course, this could be a reaction based on the reserve inherited from my German and Scandinavian ancestors.

Israel had a queen mother from the time of Solomon and Bathseba to when the Jews went into captivity. Bathseba sat on a throne next to Solomon the King of Israel. Jesus is the King of the Universe, the Lord of all.

Surely you pay a lot of attention to the Apostle Paul. He is very important in salvation history. Paul was chosen to spread the gospel message, the message of salvation. If Paul did not exist you could still have salvation. The same is true of Peter or John.

No argument here, although without Paul it is possible that Christianity might have remained a Jewish sect.

Without Mary you have no Jesus. Had she not given her consent to the angel, be it done unto me according to your word, what do you suppose would have happened? Gabriel would have gone down the block and around the corner and found some other Jewish teenage girl full of grace and proposed the same deal.

One can wonder about what would have happened. Certainly, God's will was going to be done. Could a young Jewish girl have thwarted Him?

Jesus is our salvation. He is made incarnate in her and is born of her. He took flesh from her flesh. He comes to us through a person, a woman.

Amen.

As you think of the image of Jesus with His arms stretched out on the cross, move back a few steps and look at the rest of the scene. She is there watching Him die. He sees her heart pierced as the prophet foretold in the temple. Then let a little time go by and look at Him dead in her arms.

My sins, your sins, did this to Him and her.

It was Jesus who took the weight of my sin (and the sins of the whole world) on himself. For Mary, I can't help but think of her as I do of any parent faced with the death of a child. Having conducted funerals for children of surviving parents, I can assure you that their hearts are pierced also. Now, it might be comforting for them to realize that even Jesus' mother faced the same pain.

That about it for now. I appreciate your thoughts and comments. God's blessings to you.


#14

#15

[quote="grandfather, post:14, topic:296154"]

If you polled all Lutherans, or Protestants, how many do you think believe what Luther believed here?

[/quote]

Hi grandfather,
If I may respond. First, what protestants believe is irrelevent to what Lutherans believe, just like the rejection of the IC by Orthodoxy is irrelevent to what Catholics believe about it.
And if Lutherans don't believe it, one can point to poor catechesis in part. From what I read, Lutherans do not have the corner on that problem, or so some Catholics here report.

Do you believe it, because Luther said he believed it and you subscribe to his theology?

I believe in the Blessed Virgin's perpetual virginity because:
1) the entirety of the undivided Church did, and it is believed today both east and west.
2) the Lutheran confessions proclaim it.

On account of this personal union and communion of the natures, Mary, the most blessed Virgin, bore not a mere man, but, as the angel [Gabriel] testifies, such a man as is truly the Son of the most high God, who showed His divine majesty even in His mother's womb, inasmuch as He was born of a virgin, with her virginity inviolate. Therefore she is truly the mother of God, and nevertheless remained a virgin.

3) and yes, I'm not willing to deny that Luther influences my beliefs in these matters. Though not only Luther but, Chemnitz, Pieper, Piepkorn, and most of the biggest theologians in Lutheranism believed it. Walther went so far as to say, essentially, it was beyond question.

Jon


#16

[quote="JonNC, post:15, topic:296154"]
Hi grandfather,
If I may respond. First, what protestants believe is irrelevent to what Lutherans believe, just like the rejection of the IC by Orthodoxy is irrelevent to what Catholics believe about it.
And if Lutherans don't believe it, one can point to poor catechesis in part. From what I read, Lutherans do not have the corner on that problem, or so some Catholics here report.

I believe in the Blessed Virgin's perpetual virginity because:
1) the entirety of the undivided Church did, and it is believed today both east and west.
2) the Lutheran confessions proclaim it.

3) and yes, I'm not willing to deny that Luther influences my beliefs in these matters. Though not only Luther but, Chemnitz, Pieper, Piepkorn, and most of the biggest theologians in Lutheranism believed it. Walther went so far as to say, essentially, it was beyond question.

Jon

[/quote]

One thing our feet are not held to the fire over this issue. I truly believe that The Blessed Virgin Mary was a perpetual virgin for the same reasons. The Lutheran Study Bible in its notes say that the brothers and sisters could be step brothers and sisters or cousins.


#17

[quote="hn160, post:16, topic:296154"]
One thing our feet are not held to the fire over this issue. I truly believe that The Blessed Virgin Mary was a perpetual virgin for the same reasons. The Lutheran Study Bible in its notes say that the brothers and sisters could be step brothers and sisters or cousins.

[/quote]

I agree, that we are not bound to believe it as an article of faith, even though the Reformers were probably unanimous on it, and it is proclaimed in the Formula of Concord.
While I respect those choosing not to believe it, it is so closely linked to the person of Christ, and so much a part of the historic Church, including Lutheranism, that I honestly can't understand why a Lutheran would not believe it.

Jon


#18

[quote="JonNC, post:17, topic:296154"]
I agree, that we are not bound to believe it as an article of faith, even though the Reformers were probably unanimous on it, and it is proclaimed in the Formula of Concord.
While I respect those choosing not to believe it, it is so closely linked to the person of Christ, and so much a part of the historic Church, including Lutheranism, that I honestly can't understand why a Lutheran would not believe it.

Jon

[/quote]

Jon,

Do you know what percentage of Lutherans are aligned with what their founder taught on the particular matter?

It is very easy to understand why people believe false doctrine in this case. It comes from a faulty reading of scripture and a rejection of the teaching authority of the Church. It is easy to see how a cursory reading of scripture would lead to error here.

It does not matter what any early Christian believed about anything if you believe all authority is in scripture. If the Church believed error in the past about matters of faith or morals, there is never any settled matter. The current generation can challenge any article of faith using scripture, or a personal interpretation of scripture to create any novel doctrine. The next generation can do the same.

Scripture says Jesus had brothers and sisters and gives the names of the brothers. One of them is one of the apostles James. Scrupture tells us the names of the parents of both apostles named James. They are not Mary or Joseph. Either James was not the sibling brother of the Lord when Paul, Matthew and Mark designate James as brother of the Lord, or scripture contradicts itself. At first glance it appears that scripture says Jesus had brothers and sisters.

If someone starts with the mindset that the Catholic Church is full of false doctrine, and worships Mary, then this is just another big Catholic whopper.

Scripture however is silent on the matter of Mary's perpetual virginity. It is something that can be deduced from various passages, or it is hinted at. The Holy of Holies is a place where only the high priest can enter. Jesus is the perpetual High Priest. She is the living holy of holies, the dwelling place of the Lord. Any man who touches the arc of the covenant would die, be struck down by God. Mary is the Arc of the Covenant. She is the living tabernacle, dwelling place of the Lord. At the gates of the town of Nain the raising of the only son of the widow of Nain, because He took pity on the widow, prefigured His own mother and resurrection. It makes sense, but is not directly taught by scripture.

Scripture does say that Jesus promised to send the Church the Holy Spirit who would lead the Church into all truth and be with us until the end of time. This is a guarantee that the Church can in no time period ever, past, present or future teach or believe false doctrine. If she says there are seven sacraments then there are seven sacraments, not two or five.

If the Church is wrong then the promise Jesus made as recorded in scripture and scripture itself are false.

Mary's virginity is defined truth. It is dogma, of the faith, is known with certainty. Why is it important? It is as you say something closely linked to the person of Christ. It helps us know Him, know who He is. Everything about Mary, about who and what she is, does this. She always points us and directs us to her Son. Those who say they do not need her to do this, do not know her or Him, despite what they say.

We can not meditate on the Passion without her being there. She stands there with us, next to us as He pays the price for our sins. We see Him looking at His mother and her looking at Him. We see Him dead in her arms. And she always tells us, look at my Son, do whatever He tells you.

It is impossible for me to think of Mary at all, ever, and not instantly receive spiritual consolation. Sometimes it is very intense and might be called ecstasy. It has never once happened that in being aware of Mary I have not instantly experienced comfort in my soul.

If you are a fisherman and every time you go to a certain place on the river you catch fish, you always go back to that place when you want a fish. I know from a thousand experiences that every time I need spiritual comfort where to find it. It never fails. So I always go there with all my fears and tears, to my mother. When I say Protestants are afraid of Mary, this is what they are afraid of doing. They need to keep a safe distance. Don't get to close. It is way too Catholic for them, calling Mary their mother and knowing her so personally.

My sins crucified her Son and God whose ways are not our ways has given her the duty of comforting sinners. It is impossible for her to turn away from the frightened, guilty, penitant soul. You write of a thing being close to the person of Christ. No creature is closer to His person than this woman, Mary.

The mystery of grace is that when you receive God's grace and love you can not keep it and you can not give it away. By giving it away you keep it and receive more. If you return God's love you still have it, but can't keep it, so you continually give it away and get more. So in her Magnificat she says her soul magnifies the Lord.

We all can have God's love and grace and give it to our neighbor and it is still ours. In this way you are a mediator of grace.

All the grace and love her Son gives her she directs to us. Jesus who is our salvation comes to us through Mary. It is very evident. She gave birth to Him, brought Him into the world.

As you know that she is ever virgin, because it is something close to the person of Christ, for the same reason you can also know, if you are not afraid of coming to know her, that the woman clothed with the sun is the mediatrix of all grace.

Salve Regina!


#19

=grandfather;9696088]Jon,
Do you know what percentage of Lutherans are aligned with what their founder taught on the particular matter?

Our founder is Christ, and scripture isn't clear regarding His mother in this regard. But to your question, I do not know the percentages of Lutherans who agree with the various Lutheran theologians I mentioned. My expectation would be that it is higher in Europe, lower here in America because Lutheranism has been influenced by Reformed protestantism here (unfortunately).

It is very easy to understand why people believe false doctrine in this case. It comes from a faulty reading of scripture and a rejection of the teaching authority of the Church. It is easy to see how a cursory reading of scripture would lead to error here.

And of course, we don't consider it doctrine, so there is not an issue of swerving away from doctrine for us.

It does not matter what any early Christian believed about anything if you believe all authority is in scripture. If the Church believed error in the past about matters of faith or morals, there is never any settled matter. The current generation can challenge any article of faith using scripture, or a personal interpretation of scripture to create any novel doctrine. The next generation can do the same.

Well, I don't. I believe that scripture is the final norm. Of course there is authority in the creeds and early councils. Just not equal to scripture. And personal interpretation is not an issue in regards to doctrine. Lutherans are bound by our confessions, and the creeds.

Scripture says Jesus had brothers and sisters and gives the names of the brothers. One of them is one of the apostles James. Scrupture tells us the names of the parents of both apostles named James. They are not Mary or Joseph. Either James was not the sibling brother of the Lord when Paul, Matthew and Mark designate James as brother of the Lord, or scripture contradicts itself. At first glance it appears that scripture says Jesus had brothers and sisters.

A simple understanding of how words are translated, and that brother has other meanings than blood brother. This is where the ECF's (St. Jerome!!!), early councils come in to play.

If someone starts with the mindset that the Catholic Church is full of false doctrine, and worships Mary, then this is just another big Catholic whopper.

I can't speak for folks of that type, but you are probably right.

Scripture however is silent on the matter of Mary's perpetual virginity. It is something that can be deduced from various passages, or it is hinted at. The Holy of Holies is a place where only the high priest can enter. Jesus is the perpetual High Priest. She is the living holy of holies, the dwelling place of the Lord. Any man who touches the arc of the covenant would die, be struck down by God. Mary is the Arc of the Covenant. She is the living tabernacle, dwelling place of the Lord. At the gates of the town of Nain the raising of the only son of the widow of Nain, because He took pity on the widow, prefigured His own mother and resurrection. It makes sense, but is not directly taught by scripture.

Agreed, though the Catholic parallel of the Blessed Virgin and the Arc of the Covenant is generally not part of ur tradition.

Scripture does say that Jesus promised to send the Church the Holy Spirit who would lead the Church into all truth and be with us until the end of time. This is a guarantee that the Church can in no time period ever, past, present or future teach or believe false doctrine. If she says there are seven sacraments then there are seven sacraments, not two or five.

Would lead. Ths is an active sense, not finite. Therefore, even when there are Schisms and divisions, the Spirit continues to lead all of the Church, the community of saints, where the word is preached and the sacraments administered. That leading will have complete success at the second coming.

If the Church is wrong then the promise Jesus made as recorded in scripture and scripture itself are false.

Which part of the Church? Cearly the Church Triumphant will never be influenced by human sin. So, if you are speaking of the Church in terms of the communion of saints, I agree. If you are speaking of the Church as simply and exclusively those in communion with the Bishop of Rome (who are indeed part of His Church), then we have a difference of opinion on the sense of His promise to protect His Church.

Mary's virginity is defined truth. It is dogma, of the faith, is known with certainty. Why is it important? It is as you say something closely linked to the person of Christ. It helps us know Him, know who He is. Everything about Mary, about who and what she is, does this. She always points us and directs us to her Son. Those who say they do not need her to do this, do not know her or Him, despite what they say.

Agreed.

We can not meditate on the Passion without her being there. She stands there with us, next to us as He pays the price for our sins. We see Him looking at His mother and her looking at Him. We see Him dead in her arms. And she always tells us, look at my Son, do whatever He tells you.

No argument.

It is impossible for me to think of Mary at all, ever, and not instantly receive spiritual consolation. Sometimes it is very intense and might be called ecstasy. It has never once happened that in being aware of Mary I have not instantly experienced comfort in my soul.

May you be blessed by this.

If you are a fisherman and every time you go to a certain place on the river you catch fish, you always go back to that place when you want a fish. I know from a thousand experiences that every time I need spiritual comfort where to find it. It never fails. So I always go there with all my fears and tears, to my mother. When I say Protestants are afraid of Mary, this is what they are afraid of doing. They need to keep a safe distance. Don't get to close. It is way too Catholic for them, calling Mary their mother and knowing her so personally.

My sins crucified her Son and God whose ways are not our ways has given her the duty of comforting sinners. It is impossible for her to turn away from the frightened, guilty, penitant soul. You write of a thing being close to the person of Christ. No creature is closer to His person than this woman, Mary.

The mystery of grace is that when you receive God's grace and love you can not keep it and you can not give it away. By giving it away you keep it and receive more. If you return God's love you still have it, but can't keep it, so you continually give it away and get more. So in her Magnificat she says her soul magnifies the Lord.

We all can have God's love and grace and give it to our neighbor and it is still ours. In this way you are a mediator of grace.

All the grace and love her Son gives her she directs to us. Jesus who is our salvation comes to us through Mary. It is very evident. She gave birth to Him, brought Him into the world.

As you know that she is ever virgin, because it is something close to the person of Christ, for the same reason you can also know, if you are not afraid of coming to know her, that the woman clothed with the sun is the mediatrix of all grace.

You explain this belief quite well, and in some ways I agree.

Jon


#20

May you be blessed by this.

Thank you, and the same to you. It is really your decision, up to you.


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