Protestants, read this article:
BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: From Christmas cards to carols and crèches, this is the season when the Virgin Mary seems to be everywhere. Traditionally, Protestants haven’t paid much attention to Mary beyond Christmas celebrations. But that seems to be changing. More and more Protestants are urging a fresh look at the role of Mary in the life of the church and the formation of faith. Kim Lawton has our special report.
KIM LAWTON: It’s the time of year when the Virgin Mary gets the spotlight in the annual retelling of the Christmas story.
PAGEANT NARRATOR: And Mary brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. …
LAWTON: It’s often been the only time when Protestants devote attention to Mary.
Professor TIMOTHY GEORGE (Beeson Divinity School): About the only place that Mary made any special appearance in our tradition was at the Christmas pageant. She made an appearance on stage at the Christmas pageant, and then she exited just as quickly, and we never heard from her again.
LAWTON: Timothy George is a Southern Baptist and dean of the evangelical Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. He says Protestants haven’t traditionally focused on Mary largely because of their concern about the level of reverence that many Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians give to her.
Prof. GEORGE: There was a strong reaction against Marian piety and Marian devotion, because it was seen to be very excessive. It was seen to be competitive with Christ and, in some ways, even idolatrous. Mary was exalted so high[ly] that she displaced Christ. And so Protestants have generally reacted against that. Perhaps we have gone to the other extreme.
LAWTON: George is one of a growing number of theologians and writers urging evangelicals and other Protestants to stop ignoring Mary.
Prof. GEORGE: Martin Luther had a very high view of Mary and a loving devotion to Mary, in a way. He refers to her as the place where God did his handiwork on earth. I would like Protestants today, evangelicals today, to go back to the reformers. I don’t think we have to become Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox believers to recover a truly Protestant, reformational, scriptural understanding of Mary.
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