Protestants Honoring Mary


Inevitably in discussions with Protestants about the Virgin Mary we come to the point when Catholics point out Luke 1:48 “all generations shall call me blessed”. This is the point at which our Protestant members, without fail, pull back from their attacks on Mary and incredulously reply, “Well, we do honor Mary. The difference is that Catholics worship Mary”.

When I ask for clarification on how exactly Protestants honor Mary, I can never get a clear answer. One poster stated that he honors Mary in the same way the he honors his own deceased mother in that he smiles when he thinks about her. I don’t understand this answer.

Clearly, “generations shall call me blessed” speaks to the uniqueness of the Mother of God , no matter how holy one’s own mother may be.

So, can anyone give me a legitimate example of how they, in their Protestant tradition, honor Mary?


I spent 40 years in various evangelical Protestant churches, and I was actively involved in many ministries from my childhood.

Never in all those years did I ever see a practical manifestation of honoring Mary. Never. I may be doing my Protestant brothers and sisters a disservice, but I honestly think that if anyone had tried to do some kind of honorarium for Mary, they would have been stopped. A painting, perhaps, might have been acceptable, but never in the actual church. In fact, if someone had a “Madonna and Child” portrait in their home, I think they would have been questioned.

The closest thing I can think of is that during the Christmas season, we always tried to select the most beautiful, kind, sweet, loving girl, teenager, or woman in the church (depending on the age required in the pageant or play or cantata) to play the role Mary. Somehow we sensed that it was important to choose someone special to play Mary.

But even this unspoken rule gets broken. Have you ever read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, or seen the movie or play?! (If you haven’t, read it or see it–it’s wonderful.)

Two years ago, the evangelical magazine “Christianity Today” ran an excellent article on the reasons that Protestants need to restore honoring Mary. I know that the article did not seem to stir up a lot of conflict, so perhaps more Protestants are taking the phrase “All Generations shall called me blessed” seriously. But I haven’t seen it, and I still know that for most Protestants, Marian “worship” is one of their biggest objections to Catholicism. Sad, sad, sad.


How? We speak well of her, she was a bold young woman who was blessed by God in a very special way. She has a special day in the Lutheran liturgical calendar (March 25th), where we remember and celebrate the day God announced to her that she was going to be the mother of God. We also spend a lot of time thinking and talking about her during Christmas.

The difference between Catholics and Lutherans is that Lutherans don’t ask Virgin Mary to pray for them.

The fact that Lutherans don’t pray to Mary, doesn’t mean that they don’t honor her.


Most Protestants don’t even think about Mary outside of Christmas. Still, we do consider her to be blessed and a saint of God. In the Church I used to attend, one of the hymns we sang fairly often was a beautiful hymn, music and text, derived from the Magnificat.


There is a Marian shrine in Walsingham in Norfolk, England it is a place of worship for Catholics and Anglicans.

I think that the high church Anglicans are more likely to aknowledge Mary and her role in christianity, but no where near the role in which we (Catholics) aknowledge and identify with her.


I think that protestants, at least Baptist do honor Mary. We honor Mary by worshiping her son the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that is what Mary would want us to do being as humble as she was and not seeking any glory for herself.

Proud being a Baptist


She is blessed. Where do you get that she wants to be “honored”?


When I was a Protestant there was not one mention of Mary outside of Christmas. Never. Maybe it was just where I was, I dont know. And I did hear people saying that she was NOT the Mother of God. So, I dont know if protestant theology is finally catching up to that fact or not. In any case, the aversion seems like an exaggerated one to “avoid excess” and no more.
I think many Protestants who finally do grow to a better understanding of Mary will eventually act as if they were the first ones to discover her at long last. And of course, the “right” way. Just like they discovered the “truth” first.


A great writer, St. Louis De Montfort, wrote that many people are “scrupulous devotees” of Mary. They say that they ‘honor her’ but complain that anything above a bare mention, as in passing, is “idolatrous” or “takes away from Christ”. . .as though Mary and Jesus were somehow in competition, or as though there was only a finite amount of love and respect in any person’s heart, and giving any of it to “anybody was Jesus” was ‘shorting Jesus’. . .and as though Mary were not only not the Mother of Christ and as such not only the means He came into the world, but after bringing Him to us she keeps on pointing us to Him–but instead some vile competitive upstart trying to “steal God’s thunder” or take honor she hasn’t ‘earned’. . .

It’s a pity and a shame. Even the first “reformers” gave Mary more of the honor that GOD gave her in acknowledging her Maternity and Her perpetual Virginity, than their descendants do today. . .


In regards to my post above:

We all love God and strive to do so to the best of our ability, right?

And we all have loved ones. . .wives, husbands, parents, children, etc.

Say there’s a new bride. Does she “short out” her love to God by loving her new groom? Has she “shorted out” her love to her parents or siblings or even friends by loving her new groom?

A few years on, the couple has children. With the birth of the first child, is the wife “shorting out” her love to the groom and the above with having love for that child? And subsequent children?

Of course not.

Does a child’s love for his parent cease when the parent dies? Of course not.

So why do people think that Christ’s love for His Mother ‘died out’ and that He no longer loves her as a son does a mother? Why do people think that love for Mary, or the saints, (love that does not go above love for God, as none of us do or should love wives, husbands, parents or child above God), somehow ‘ceases’ because they are in heaven?

God is eternal. And Love is infinite.


I am replying specifically to responses in other threads by Protestants asserting that they honor Mary but that Catholics worship her. I started this thread for elaboration on this idea. Do you honor your mother and father because they want you to or because you should?



Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Neither contradicts the other, after all.

But the question is, how do Protestants honor Mary? With the honor that is given to her, yes in Scripture, prefigured in the Old Testament and revealed in the New, and as guided by the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit?


I honor Mary by recognizing her as blessed among women, a saint, and the Mother of God. That doesn’t mean that I am going to pray to or through her or to ascribe to her qualities and powers that are not established by Scripture.


That is Lady Day - it’s a Catholic celebration you stole from us :slight_smile:

Bear in mind that many Protestant churches do NOT acknowledge the concept of Saints as the RCC does. In fact, the vast majority of Protestant churches do not.

I’ve been there - and it is a Catholic shrine that the Anglicans visit! :slight_smile:

Oh, I think you are allowed to depart from Scripture as much as any church does - in that you are allowed to refer to things which are the Apostolic Tradition of genuine Christianity, do not contradict Scripture, are supported by Scripture and are in the general thrust of Scripture, and are yet not mentioned ANYWHERE in Scripture.

A few examples would be;

Worshipping on a Sunday
The doctrine of the Trinity
Belief in the Apostolic Age ending with the death of St. John
Believing that the authors of the Gospels are Ss. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Belief in the details of the Fall of the Angels (rather than just the general idea)

Bear in mind that a SIGNIFICANT amount of what Christians of any stripe believe is NOT contained explicitly in Holy Scripture. I would very much like anyone to find me explicit references in the Bible which support the doctrines I cite above - doctrines which most Christian churches, even Protestant ones, hold to.


Why not honor Jesus by showing respect to his mother not as God, but as Jesus’ mother and the handmaid of the Lord. She was not simply some girl. By her acceptence to be the mother of Jesus she gave the possibility of salvation. Without Mary’s consent = no Jesus. WWJD, well he showed respect to Mary why shouldn’t all Christians. And no, loving Jesus does not show direct honor to Mary. I could say that you honor the Pope because he loves Jesus and so do you. No protestant would ever make that indirect connection. Direct honor and aknowledgement of her pious character and role in Salvation is not the same as indirect honoring.

And by saying that you believe this is what Mary wanted, how do you know what Mary wanted. Well, I believe that is not what she wanted. Mary’s only words in Scripture are in Lukes Gospel and clearly state that “behold from now on will all ages call me blessed” (NAB translation). It does not say if you believe Jesus is Lord this is calling me blessed. It is a direct statement of her being singled out for her role in Salvation.

Mary is NOT God, No catholic believes that she is.

Honoring those that have done God’s works by direct honor is not equating them to God. It is simply a aknowledgement of their love of God and their exemplary Life. Mary, However, was directly chosen by God and thus should be given the highest honor of any Human as God believed she was worthy of this.


True, but I don’t know any Protestants who believe that Mary would not be a Saint by either the Protestant or Catholic definitions: Mary’s soul glorifies the Lord and her spirit rejoices in God her Savior.


As a Lutheran who prays the rosary, I can’t speak for others who call themselves Protestant. Remember, Lutherans are NOT Protestants, we’re in between.


Sorry, you are as Protestant as they come. Your very name is taken from the founder of the Reformation!

The only group which can claim to be in-between is the Anglicans.


The name “Lutheran” was given to us by the Roman Catholics. Luther also had no intention of breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, if you read up on Luther, he disagreed more with some of the teachings of the other “protestants” than he did with the Roman Church.

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