Lutherans, Mary, and her perpetual virginity


I’m not Lutheran, but my wife, her family and many people that I know are. I attend their church nearly every Sunday, and I’m Catholic. I don’t think that many people in the Lutheran Church know or even believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary, but I’m only basing my opinion on the local congregation. At least in my wife and her parent’s congregation they or unaware because they don’t know Lutheran apologetics that well and the pastor of the congregation doesn’t believe in her perpetual virginity. Even though (only recently) I’ve friendly pointed out Biblical references, the early church fathers, Martin Luther’s own belief in it, and even as a statement of faith in the Book of Concord, no one really listens or cares that their disbelief, open mindedness, unwillingness, etc, to learn for themselves. Even though I’m Catholic, I often read ( though I do not agree) the Book of Concord, Lutheran study Bible, Martin Luther and other Lutheran theologians writings, it seems that I know more than many Lutherans about Lutheran beliefs. And I bring up Mary’s perpetual virginity here because it seems that it is often brought up as a topic in their Bible classes and often by my father-in-Law. He’s even brought the subject outside of church in a snarky way many times in my presence. I think much of it is brought up because they know that I’m Catholic and love to bring it up in my presence. and of course other Catholic doctrine, which is to be understood as per Lutheran doctrine. But bringing up the subject of Mary, particular her perpetual virginity relatively often, seems quite unusual, bordering on their obsession to not believe and the desire to prove otherwise, even bordering on hostility. I’ve never said anything until recently, but only friendly and for their edification. The pastor even told me that “we don’t need to peek and pry under Mary’s skirt”. I’ll leave it at that.


Well @Rasoleil this is a precious situation and matter you bring up for dialogue.

In the 5 months I have spent on CAF there hasn’t been a single good Marian thread that wasn’t derailed (on purpose) by a couple of protestants spreading provocation and ruining the fun for us Catholics. It’s been really bad. They’ll resort to all kinds of unassuming rhetoric, and most of the time trying their best to render any dialogue between the Catholics unpractical.

And they succeed !! It is impossible to maintain a honest dialogue with dishonest people meddling in the conversation.


Now applied to your situation, and given my recent CAF experience (added to my life experience).

Yes, this is definitely one of their traits. And let’s be wise: they won’t change. Especially so, if you try to maintain a conversation “theology” style (IT IS A MISTAKE BECAUSE IT WILL NEVER LEAD TO ANYTHING). It’s beyond them. They haven’t read anything in the bible about Mary, they simply skipped all of that blinded by their hatred of the blessed Mother. It is their will (through preconception) they don’t want to. It is easier to maintain a preconception.

My best advice: forget their edification. You have a marriage to maintain and that is more important; IT REALLY IS. And forget about mixing “friendly” with “edification”. Be friendly with them, loving and charitable, that is enough. you are under no obligation to “teach” or “preach” or even “give witness” or defend Our Blessed Mother.

The best you can do: Sacrifices for disaggravating before Our Lord their hatred and instilling hatred towards Mary. Your only chance (and we are talking about defending your person and your marriage) is using humility and meekness. In this, you are best advised to keep quiet and, at most, ask them very gently to not address the issue in your presence. [This is quite likely your best option]. Because, don’t think honesty, good will, and good faith, readiness to dialogue and reasoning “together”, will accomplish anything, IT WON’T !!!

Meekness, humility, and sacrifices to make up for their hatred. It are the only ways to go. You are married, now peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and you are to maintain peaceful relations with the lot of them.

Be very weary of the following trap:

Read the books of wisdom about maintaining your silence (and what is said to the contrary of the one who “speaks is mind” as being unwise.) Because they are wise in provoking you, and they in tricking you into being honest. It is not their marriage, they have nothing to loose (unlike you) and unlike the Catholics they can divorce and remarry - it is of no importance to them if they cause damage to your person or to your marriage. It is all the same to them, and at the end (should you continue being truthful and honest) they’ll laugh in your face saying it was “divine justice” that separated you from your wife because you were catholic and thus invited the curse of a “wrong faith”. That is how it will go if you “mind them”.


Well, I guess it’s only a matter of time before someone jumps on this thread and tries to derail it. But I’ve said all that’s really need to be said, and I won’t feed the trolls. Thank everyone for the advice. I will keep reading this thread and see what worms come out of the woodwork.


Are they confessional Lutherans by chance, such as LCMS or Wels. So if Martin Luther was wrong about the perpetual virginity of Mary then what else was he wrong about? So even the Pastor doesn’t hold to the beliefs in the Concord book? Obviously they can pick and choose now what beliefs they want to hold onto. Every man his own pope.

I almost joined the LCMS after my divorce with frustration with the annulment process. I spent two years going to both Churches and never of course receiving Communion “in with and under the bread and wine” as they said in this congregation. They Claim the Bible is the “sole rule and norm of faith” but where does it say "In with and under " in John 6. It doesn’t.

When I went to Bible study and heard the Pope was the Anti Christ which is in the Concord book I walked out never to be seen again. No way I’d ever be in that Church again. There was a very anti Catholic undercurrent by the Pastor.

That said I met a great many wonderful people. I realized I didn’t share their beliefs.

I would tell your FIL if he can’t respect you Faith you will no longer spend time with him. That’s pathetic for him to denigrate your faith as such. Why does your wife allow this.

I would also highly advise you quit attending their Church.


As a former Lutheran, I think the issue has a lot to do with the unfortunate Reformed influence on American Lutheranism. I’m not sure other Lutherans are so influenced to question her perpetual virginity.
On the other hand, C.F.W. Walther said it was beyond question.


@Roguish @AlNg @rose321

This thread requires your urgent contribution…


All Protestants are in some way and to various degrees dependent on Scripture for their viewpoints. I have found that the Scriptural basis for their anti Marian perpetual virginity is found in Matthew 1: 24 -25. “Joseph had no relations with her until she bore a son and named him Jesus.” Sounds pretty forthright, right?
Well, look at it this way, if I said to you “I’ll never touch another drink until the day I die.” would you interpret that as I’ll be pouring me a martini in my grave. No, of course not. The use of the word ‘until’ is the sticking point in this passage. We see it in the way I said in the martini example. They don’t.


I didn’t know about that joey…!!! Big thanks man, another treacherous argument that would have me thinking for hours.


Yes, I often hear that “until” thrown around as justification for denying it.


Holy smoke.


Yep. A Lutheran pastor wrote this to me. Guess he got a little rattled. But that was not my intention as I only wanted him to know the correct doctrine regarding Mary as the perpetual virginity of Mary is no small or trivial issue or trivial doctrinal statement of faith. And personally, I don’t like it when Mary gets maligned and trivialized by anyone. My father-in-Law, for example, intentionally brings up the subject even when not in a church setting. When he does, he makes snarky and smug comments right in my presence. For example, he’ll say that Catholics pray to Mary because “Jesus has Mary’s ear.” I kid you not. And going back to the issue of the pastor, the fact that I gently reminded him that he was incorrect and that when he took the Pastoral Oath of Office (when he was ordained), that he was duty bound to teach the correct doctrine as found in scripture and the Book of Concord. That didn’t fly so well.


LCMS. Well, for me to quit attended that church would not be an option since my wife is a member of the congregation. Happy wife, happy life as the saying goes. :grinning: And I’m not that afraid that I’ll let them rattle or get a rise out of me. It can be annoying yes, but not enough for them to run me off.


LOL, Yes a happy wife is a blessings indeed. Out of curiosity, does she attend Mass with you then?

I am glad they won’t run you off. I ran as far away as I could get but I was not married at the time.

As I said I met some wonderful people and some are still friends.

God bless you and your wife; and I appreciate your sense of humor!~


Luther’s answer to this:

Now this refutes also the false interpretation which some have drawn from the words of Matthew, where he says, “Before they came together she was found to be with child.” They interpret this as though the evangelist meant to say, “Later she came together with Joseph like any other wife and lay with him, but before this occurred she was with child apart from Joseph,” etc. Again, when he says, “And Joseph knew her not until she brought forth her first-born son” [Matt. 1:25], they interpret it as though the evangelist meant to say that he knew her, but not before she had brought forth her first-born son. This was the view of Helvidius which was refuted by Jerome. Such carnal interpretations miss the meaning and purpose of the evangelist. As we have said, the evangelist, like the prophet Isaiah [cf. Isaiah 7:14], wishes to set before our eyes this mighty wonder, and point out what an unheard-of thing it is for a maiden to be with child before her husband brings her home and lies with her; and further, that he does not know her carnally until she first has a son, which she should have had after first having been known by him. Thus, the words of the evangelist do not refer to anything that occurred after the birth, but only to what took place before it. For the prophet and the evangelist, and St. Paul as well, do not treat of this virgin beyond the point where they have from her that fruit for whose sake she is a virgin and everything else. After the child is born they dismiss the mother and speak not about her, what became of her, but only about her offspring. Therefore, one cannot from these words [Matt. 1:18, 25] conclude that Mary, after the birth of Christ, became a wife in the usual sense; it is therefore neither to be asserted nor believed. All the words are merely indicative of the marvelous fact that she was with child and gave birth before she had lain with a man. “



“The form of expression used by Matthew is the common idiom, as if I were to say, “Pharaoh believed not Moses, until he was drowned in the Red Sea.” Here it does not follow that Pharaoh believed later, after he had drowned; on the contrary, it means that he never did believe. Similarly when Matthew [1:25] says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her. Again, the Red Sea overwhelmed Pharaoh before he got across. Here too it does not follow that Pharaoh got across later, after the Red Sea had overwhelmed him, but rather that he did not get across at all. In like manner, when Matthew [1:18] says, “She was found to be with child before they came together,” it does not follow that Mary subsequently lay with Joseph, but rather that she did not lie with him. Elsewhere in Scripture the same manner of speech is employed. Psalm 110[:1] reads, “God says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.’” Here it does not follow that Christ does not continue to sit there after his enemies are placed beneath his feet. Again, in Genesis 28[:15], “I will not leave you until I have done all that of which I have spoken to you.” Here God did not leave him after the fulfilment had taken place. Again, in Isaiah 42[:4], “He shall not be sad, nor troublesome, till he has established justice in the earth.” There are many more similar expressions, so that this babble of Helvidius is without justification; in addition, he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idiom”. (“That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew,” pp. 211-13)


The same could accurately be said about some Catholics. Some anything


And that resentment and treachery, too, cuts both ways.
That’s not a defense of those Lutherans rejecting what Luther called an article of faith because it is perceived as a Catholic teaching. Through my 60 years a Lutheran, I always found that reasoning rather self-defeating.
It is, instead, a reflection all of us should make on the relationship of glass residences and stone throwing.


We can equate this question in a concrete view. For example: In countries where protestants are the minority (same goes for other religious groups) slandering the Catholics is a common strategy as a way of “marking difference” and thus reinforce the group internally, and also provide plentiful “captious sophism” (which pass aside any method or theology) that the average layman won’t have the ability to deconstruct. Thus inciting, not only animosity, but sectarianism.

And apparently, not only so in countries where protestant are the minority. I have never, in my years, seen a priest address or denounce protestants, JW, Mormons, or any other religion for that matter, during mass. To the contrary, I’ve seen plenty of evangelist gatherings with a numerous assembly where the core theme of presentation were anti-catholic arguments.

So, cutting both-ways as should be, and I concur, there are however some noteworthy asymmetries as just shown. One could also mention there are countless protestant denominations, and some of them are noteworthy not only for their sectarianism but also the exploitation of their own faithful.

Peace @JonNC. God bless.


Ignorance of beliefs in common in all religions. Plenty of Catholics don’t know what we beleive. Plenty don’t care enough to learn. The problem for Protestants is that their split from the Catholic Church necessitates reasons. Their refusal to accept doctrines demands a justification. Their ignorance is therefore, in my opinion, worse.

Personally I love to hear Protestants still think the Pope is the anti-Christ. I mean if you really think that then it makes good sense for you not to be Catholic. If you just don’t want to obey him because you want to do your own thing that is a far less good reason to not be Catholic. The people who are passionate about the office of Pope one way or the other at least are passionate. “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

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