[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.
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.