Protestants; What does Mary mean to you?

I think some of the biggest misunderstandings that I’ve seen between Catholics and Protestants revolves around Mary. Now, don’t get me wrong, the theological and doctrinal differences are great between us, but the subject of Mary seems to be one of the most emotional. Unfortunately I think that Mary is often a “meeting point” in a negative sense; each belief being misunderstood and misconstrued by both sides. Even those Protestants who focus on Mary more than their brethren and have a much more Catholic understanding of her get lumped in with all Protestants, and in turn many Catholics feel that Mary is slighted in Protestant thought.

So, Protestants, if you would like, share your thoughts on Mary; What does she mean to you? What do you learn from her? How do you relate to her? Etc… Please avoid comparing your view to Catholicism; that is, IMO, causing the skewed view of Protestant beliefs on Mary. Instead make it personal to your ideas, and feelings about Mary.

Mary to me serves several very very important roles. Starting at Genesis and moving right on through she is alluded to and predicted in prophecy. Because of her, several key prophecies about Christ are fulfilled. One of the major ones is her own genealogy, being a descendent of King David. By her very bloodline she points to Jesus as Messiah, and by her faith and obedience she opens the way for Him to be incarnated.

By her ready acceptance of the words of Gabriel she showed great faith and great courage. She also showed true humility as evidenced in her bit of confusion when Gabriel greeted her. I believe in the will of humans, meaning I believe that Mary could have said no, but she didn’t. She is the highly favored of God, and she truly became the “bearer of God.” She is blessed amongst all women.

She is a model of faith, a model of Motherhood, a model of sexual purity, and a model of the role of a wife. As a female I am warmed and slightly prideful (forgive me ;)) that she shows forth the importance of women in the church, and how we are to relate to Christ, because as He says, if we do the will of the Father we can be his “sisters” and more, as His mother. She is one of the biggest models of the way we are all family in Him, and it hinges on faith and courage and the willingness to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him and say, “Yes, Lord” even if confused or scared. And that we too can, and should say,

"My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

Though only she can say, “For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed” for she is the only one, past, present, or future that has ever been honored the way that she was honored. Further she is a model of how others should have stood with Jesus, followed Him, and loved Him all the way to the foot of the cross. She constantly pointed to her Son.

I love her and believe that she puts a human frame of reference on the major happenings in Jesus’ life, and who can resist thinking of what she must have experienced and felt especially during His birth, crucifixion, and resurrection. I look forward to meeting her in Heaven and listening to her speak of it all.

Anyone else care to share?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Mary, well said.


Decades ago, I pulled the Angelus bells in Lutheran and Catholic communities during retreat. Madonna/ Child religious art at home and in church.

People are still lighting votive candles before the crèche at church. We adore Christ as He sits in the lap of the Mother of God.

A Catholic could not take issue with anything you said.:thumbsup:

Thank you all! :thumbsup:

Please pass the :popcorn: Apparently I’m the only taker so far. :stuck_out_tongue:

Lutherans should read Martin Luther’s sermon on the Magnificat, in which he speaks highly of Mary and supports her title Theotokos (bearer/mother of God).
I have grown in my own understanding of Mary over the years. It is not that most other Lutherans would disagree with me, but they simply wouldn’t understand. Mariology has simply been avoided (because Lutheran laity don’t read Luther and the Confessions and Pastors don’t know how to teach it).
For me personally, whatever I say about Mary has to be true about Christ. In other words, Mariology is Christology. Since Jesus Christ is God, eternally begotten of the Father, Mary is the only mother who bears a child that pre-existed her. Therefore to say she is the mother of God is more than doctrine, it is doxology. To say she is mother of God is to praise God.
Most protestants will say that Mary is the model and example of faith. I don’t disagree. The saints are examples to us, but Mary has a unique role in salvation history. She was not called by God to be a model. While we can submit to God’s will as did she, we cannot do what God called her to do-- be the mother of God. Therefore to say she is a model of faith is not enough for me. God entered human nature through her-- she is first among Christians and Mother of the Church!
She is not God, but she leads to God. She always points to her Son. At the wedding at Cana she said, “Do whatever he tells you.” She is speaking to the whole church.

Mary is the Theotokos, the Mother of God. Without her faithfulness there would be no Jesus. For that, I’m grateful to her. I’m aware of certain groups giving Mary no never minds, and that’s sad. As a LCMS Lutheran, I’m gaining a better understanding of Mary. And while I strongly disagree with the Roman Catholic Marian doctrines, You certainly can’t fault them for keeping Mary’s legacy alive.:thumbsup: And I’ll close with what Father Martin would approve:

“Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women.
Blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.”

Pastor D:
What an eloquent post about, Mary. Welcome to the forums!

:slight_smile: Although I’m neither Protestants nor Catholic, but I will answer your questions because I liked the topic:

She mean to me the mother of all Nuns, I believe she was the most faithful spirit at that time for GOD to choose her.

The females and males should learn from her how she kept her virginity, because unfortunately nowadays it’s a common practice everywhere to lose virginity before marriage !

I wish Catholics don’t call her “Mother of GOD”, and use “Mother of LORD JESUS” instead, because that hard to explain for other religions.:blush:

This is where I agree strongly. I think Catholics on the outside can give devout Evangelicals the idea that the Catholics are worshiping her. Then when we hear “mother of God” without understanding the context it can be extremely scary.

It would be like if I called someone the “creator of God” without context. How would you interpret such a phrase? But then I later explain that I was referring to the womb that formed Jesus who is fully God, therefore “creator of God.”

I’m sorry, but it’s a title I don’t like and it’s not helping imo. I’m not worked up or upset about it, I just don’t like the confusion it brings.

Can you please clarify for me why protestants don’t like calling Mary “Mother of God”…I quite literally do not understand at all why protestants protest so much about calling our Blessed Mother “The Mother of God.” And why that title would be viewed as worship…I just don’t understand it. Jesus is God, Mary is his Mother…Hence Mary is the Mother of God. From my point of view the title Mother of God, is self-explanatory. Mary is the Mother of God, because Jesus is God, and she is his mother. So she is the Mother of God. I don’t understand at all as to how it can be misconstrued as worship. The title Mother of God is stating a fact: Mary is the Mother of God.

Theotokos (/ˌθiəˈtɒkəs/; Greek: Θεοτόκος, transliterated (Greek) Theotókos, translation (Syriac-Aramaic): ܝܳܠܕܰܬ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ‎, transliterated (Syriac): Yoldath Alloho) is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include “God-bearer”, “Birth-Giver of God” and “the one who gives birth to God.” Less literal translations include “Mother of God.”

The ancient use of this term is emphasised in Churches of the Syriac Tradition who have been using this title in their ancient liturgies for centuries. The Anaphora of Mari and Addai (3rd Century)[1][2] and the Liturgy of St James the Just (60 AD).[3][4]

Roman Catholics and Anglicans use the title “Mother of God” more often than “Theotokos.” The Council of Ephesus decreed in 431 that Mary is Theotokos because her son Jesus is both God and man: one Divine Person with two natures (Divine and human) intimately, hypostatically united.

Theotokos is a compound of two Greek words, Θεός God and τόκος parturition, childbirth. Literally, this translates as God-bearer or the one who gives birth to God; historian Jaroslav Pelikan translated it more precisely as “the one who gives birth to the one who is God”.[7] However, since many English-speaking Orthodox find this literal translation awkward, in liturgical use, Theotokos is often left untranslated, or paraphrased as Mother of God. The latter title is the literal translation of a distinct title in Greek, Μήτηρ του Θεού (translit. Mētēr tou Theou). Mother of God also accurately translates the Greek words Θεομήτωρ (translit. Theomētor; also spelled Θεομήτηρ, translit. Theomētēr) and Μητρόθεος (translit. Mētrotheos), which are found in patristic and liturgical texts, e.g.

… [80] περιφανῶς ἡ ἱερὰ θεομήτωρ ἐξετέλει … [109] ἐκφαντικώτατά σε τὴν θεοτόκον προσημαίνουσαν …[8]

Biblical term - “Mother of the Lord” original meaning

κυριου noun - genitive singular masculine
kurios koo’-ree-os: supreme in authority, i.e. (as noun) controller; by implication, Master (as a respectful title) – God, Lord, master, Sir.

Thus…“God” which leaves no mistake as to the idea of “sir” or any understanding which distracts by misunderstanding to de-emphasis this is indeed God.

Mary is accorded honor as the theotokos, literally the “God-bearer” or “one who gives birth to God”.

I respect and honour Mary because of the special religious significance that she has within Christianity as the mother of Jesus Christ. This honor and respect is termed veneration.

In TEC, we honor the communion of saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary is in that communion. I believe in the virgin birth of our Lord. The PV, IC and the Assumption are things that I do not see as necessary for believing and salvation.

Mary holds a special place in my heart. I cannot imagine the pain she must have felt while standing out the foot of the cross and watching her son die. He is the Son of God and our Lord, yet He was also her son, her little boy. Must have been tough!

We have a Mary Garden at the parish. There was a small statue of her in the middle. I donated a larger one with color and the parish loves it.

I believe she should be honored and respected in all traditions. Her love and trust in Christ should be our example. :slight_smile:

Sam_777, dronald, millie and Gary,
Allow me to poke my nose in here just briefly.

Nice exchange above…but it starts to get away from the OP’s intent for this thread.
Kliska very specifically asked -
Please avoid comparing your view to Catholicism; that is, IMO, causing the skewed view of Protestant beliefs on Mary. Instead make it personal to your ideas, and feelings about Mary.

Forgive me if I seem to be acting like a policeman here. This is such a wonderful idea for a thread and I am very interested in everyone’s input. I just don’t want to see it get derailed into a “Catholic vs Protestant” thing.

dronald, you’ve given a very nice explanation of why you have a problem with the Catholic use of “Mother of God”…but I would love to hear your reply to the title question. What does Mary mean to you?


Your right, my apology. I like the original thinking also.

:wink: Yes, please. I think that if the other issues want to be debated there are other threads for that. I really wanted this to be a place where neither side has to “defend” any type of positive outlook on Mary, but rather to share what she means to you in terms of her place in history, Christianity, and how you relate to her, and what she teaches us and shows us. If all generations call her blessed there is reason for that, I’d like to read other members reasons for calling her blessed!

Thank you to everyone who has shared thus far! Some wonderful posts.

She is My Mother and I love her
That is what Jesus wants me to do, Take Her as My Mother.'also I will give a little tough that come to my mind right now, I,m sure it will be the Holy spirit working, She was a very strong women, for my perfect, when Jesus save us in the cross, she was suffering the most terrible feeling and pain that any women can have, lost a child, and not only that she has to see him, being torture, humiliated, she has to see people, making fun of him, knock him up, almost nude… She stands next to cross, her pain was tremendous, but she wasn’t desperate, she save and meditate that pain on her breaking heart, she was cooperating to the salvation of men kind,

Upps the question was Protestants… well sorry but she really means a lot for me
And of course i will never put her at the some position as Jesus, My King and Savior.

When I realized how truly unique Mary is, I was stunned. I am personally devoted to Mary because of an event that occured to me as a child and am happy to encourage my children and fellow Lutherans to get to know her.

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