Pages

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Apparitions and other Marian issues

Jennie has another question:

I have question to ask about apparitions of Mary. I am curious to know what you as Catholicss think of this, and of what the pope did and said at Pompeii recently: giving an offering of a golden rose to the statue of Mary and repeating a prayer: "We implore you to have pity today on the nations that have gone astray, on all Europe, on the whole world, that they might repent and return to your heart,"
With the words of Bartolo Longo, the Pontiff turned to Mary, saying: "If you will not help us because we are ungrateful and unworthy children of your protection, we will not know to whom to turn."

Did this Pompeii visit get a lot of coverage on a fundamentalist website somewhere? You and Candy have both mentioned it, and it was a pretty minor visit. I get two Catholic periodicals and it was buried in the middle of one, and not mentioned at all in the other.

I assume the pope agrees with this prayer or he would not have repeated it. In that case why does he not know to turn to God and his savior Jesus Christ the only mediator between God and men?

The Catholic Catechism, paragraph #1544 states: Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the "one mediator between God and men." The Christian tradition considers Melchizedek, "priest of God Most High," as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique "high priest after the order of Melchizedek"; "holy, blameless, unstained," "by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified," that is, by the unique sacrifice of the cross.

I have not been able to find the full text of Pope's message online, but from the two lines you quoted, he is asking Mary to pray for us. As I explained in a previous comment, we do not pray to Mary and the saints in the same way that we pray to God. We are asking them to pray for us, the same way that we ask our family and friends here on earth to pray for us.

We believe that God is the God of the living and not the dead, because the dead are alive to Him (Matt. 22:32; Mark 12:27; Luke 20:38) and that they are aware of us on earth, surrounding us as a great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1). The saints present their prayers to God before His throne in heaven (Rev. 5:8).

You are probably referring to the Catholic title of Mary as mediatrix. Considering Mary as mediatrix does not negate Jesus as the One Mediator. This is a difference in understanding what is meant by mediatrix. When Catholics refer to Mary as Mediatrix, we saying that God entered the world through her. Jesus was physically born by a woman, and that woman was Mary. Because she cooperated with God, by saying yes to him, Jesus was able to enter the world.

Does this mean our salvation depends on her? No. But because she cooperated with God, God worked through her (mediated), and so she has been known from the earliest time of Christianity as Theotokos, or God-Bearer.

Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong gives a great answer to this question on his website.

Also the things the apparitions are quoted as saying are blasphemous, such as the Fatima
apparition that told the children that people should be willing to suffer to pay for the sins of the world, and that devotion to her immaculate heart would be the way to God. This is blasphemy: Jesus is the only way to God according to the Bible.
Other apparitions have said similar things. These things are leading many astray because of their devotion to Mary.

Apparitions of Mary are considered private revelation. The information they contain is intended only for the person or people who receive the message. Apparitions may be approved, meaning that there is nothing contrary to the faith in them. At that point, other people may read or study the message, but they are not required belief.

For more information on public versus private revelation, see this article which mentions Fatima specifically.

Regarding people being willing to suffer to pay for the sins of the world, this is what we call "redemptive suffering." It ties into Col 1:24 "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh and I complete what is lacking in Christ's affliction for the sake of his body, that is, the church." Was Paul writing blasphemy there?

In essence, it goes back to the communion of saints, the idea that we are all tied together in Christ, in the Church.

It is similar to the very non-blasphemous ideas most people have about prayer. Suppose you pray for someone to convert. Only God can give someone the grace they need to find true faith. Do you think you are somehow giving someone faith by the action of your prayer? Do you feel that Jesus' death is not needed on the cross if you can just say a prayer and then they convert? Clearly not. It is in the same way that our prayers benefit others, that our sufferings can benefit others as well.

As far as the immaculate heart of Mary being the way to God, that relates to what I wrote above. It is through the Incarnation that we have our salvation, and as Jesus entered the world through Mary, it is, in a roundabout way, through Mary that we have found God.

And just in case you veer off into other Marian issues, you can read some of my previous articles about why Mary is not "just a vessel" here, the Assumption of Mary here, and discussion of other Marian doctrines, including what the early Church believed here.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

22 comments:

aine said...

Alpha and Omega Ministries had it on their blog. I think it's James White's outfit.Evangelical reformed Baptist. Did you know his sister converted to Catholicism? Her conversion story here:

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/s2.htm

And her blog here:

http://abbaslittlegirl.blogspot.com/

Sal said...

Marian apparitions are one of the main things, that once properly explained, most people can understand and dismiss as a concern.
It's guess it's because they'e not central and are a take-it-or-leave- it proposition.

Great as always, Kelly.

Kelly said...

Wow, James White's sister converted to Catholicism!? He's probably the best known anti-Catholic minister outside of Jack Chick.

Of course, I guess Scott Hahn hasn't ever been able to convert any of his family, either . . .

Elena said...

Scott converted his wife Kimberly - that was a biggie!

Jennie said...

Here is James White's statement about his sister's conversion to catholicism:http://vintage.aomin.org/Luke1251.html


I posted this under the Eighth Beast thread and then realized part of what I said fit better under this post:
It is something of a mystery that Mary can be Christ's mother, but not the mother of God. She's only human, and gave birth to the Son of God at one time in history. But she is only human and has no power or existence before her birth or outside of the normal human experience.
Calling her the mother of God and mediatrix elevates her to goddess status in people's minds, whether you admit it or not; your denials are only empty words; many catholics revere her as people of old revered their pagan goddesses. Giving offerings and praying to someone should be reserved only for God.
Jeremiah writes: 16 “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. 17 Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger. 19 Do they provoke Me to anger?” says the LORD. “Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?”

I know you've seen the above before, and consider it an insult, but do you consider it nothing to insult God and provoke Him by placing this woman in between yourself and Him when He made His Son the only mediator? You have no right to pray to her and 'ask her to pray for you' when Jesus sits at the right hand of God mediating for you; you have no right to give her any place or title not given by God in His word which is preserved by Him for us.
Can you honestly say that carrying around a statue of someone on festival days, giving special offerings to her, singing praises to her and praying to her is NOT worship that ought to be given only to God? http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/May2006/traditions.asp

If you don't really know Christ then I can understand you might feel the need to look to someone else to protect you from His anger, but not if you know His mercy and grace.

Mary is not a perpetual virgin, which is refuted by one passage which says: Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS. Matthew 1:24-25
She was Joseph's wife, but out of obedience to God who told Joseph she would give birth to God's son fulfilling the prophecy that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, Joseph did not 'know her' until sometime after Jesus was born. The Bible says 'until' not 'never.' If she was to be a perpetual virgin, why make her a wife?
I see you have mentioned this subject in one of the links where an apologist is saying that 'until' doesn't mean Joseph knew her after Jesus' birth, even though that's what anyone reading the passage would think unless they had an ulterior motive for believing otherwise.

You said:
"You are probably referring to the Catholic title of Mary as mediatrix. Considering Mary as mediatrix does not negate Jesus as the One Mediator. This is a difference in understanding what is meant by mediatrix. When Catholics refer to Mary as Mediatrix, we saying that God entered the world through her. Jesus was physically born by a woman, and that woman was Mary. Because she cooperated with God, by saying yes to him, Jesus was able to enter the world."

But this is not the only way the Catholic church sees Mary as Mediatrix. Here is a page on this subject: http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/MEDIATRI.htm
Here Mary is seen as being a part of redemption by suffering with Christ at calvary.

None of these doctrines of Mary have a single speck of mention in scripture and I ask WHAT IS THE PURPOSE IN INSISTING ON THESE DOCTRINES?
The only purpose I see is that Mary
historically began to be lifted up in the traditions of men and so doctrines had to be made up to cover for this. None of these things were believed by the early church or the early successors of the apostles. *They are not mentioned in scripture because they were not believed and because the Lord knows how quick man is to turn to idol worship if given any excuse.*

Jennie said...

By the way, James White, from what I've read, is not 'anti-catholic' but is an apologist who stands for truth against many false ways.
If he didn't care for Catholics, he would remain silent.

Kelly said...

It is something of a mystery that Mary can be Christ's mother, but not the mother of God. She's only human, and gave birth to the Son of God at one time in history. But she is only human and has no power or existence before her birth or outside of the normal human experience.

Yes, that is what the Catholic Church believes. She is not the Mother of God in the sense that she created God. She is the Mother of God in the sense that Jesus was both human and divine, and you cannot separate His two essences.

Unless Jesus did not receive His divine essence until some later point (i.e., His baptism), or then Mary carried His divinity within her womb, and gave birth to it. Therefore, she is in some mysterious way, the Mother of God.

Calling her the mother of God and mediatrix elevates her to goddess status in people's minds, whether you admit it or not

I have not met any Catholics who think that Mary is a goddess. I don't see that it is the fault of the Catholic church is people do not bother to find out what they teach and have false assumptions.

You have no right to pray to her and 'ask her to pray for you' when Jesus sits at the right hand of God mediating for you

Then what right do you have to ask other people to pray for you?

I see you have mentioned this subject in one of the links where an apologist is saying that 'until' doesn't mean Joseph knew her after Jesus' birth, even though that's what anyone reading the passage would think unless they had an ulterior motive for believing otherwise.

An ulterior motive such as differing theology? You are trying to apply nuances of the English language which didn't exist at the time which the Bible was written. Don't believe me?

2 Samuel 6:23 "As to Michal daughter of Saul, she had no child till the day of her death."

Anyone reading that would agree that Michal had children after the day of her death unless they had an ulterior motive for believing otherwise.

But this is not the only way the Catholic church sees Mary as Mediatrix. Here is a page on this subject

First, this is a petition from some people who want the Pope for formalize additional Marian dogmas which are not currently defined. It is not the view of the church or doctrine.

Second, they state very clearly "It is important to note that the prefix "co" in the title Coredemptrix does not mean "equal to" but rather "with", coming from the Latin word cum. The Marian title Coredemptrix never places Mary on a level of equality with her Divine Son, Jesus Christ. Rather it refers to Mary's unique human participation which is completely secondary and subordinate to the redeeming role of Jesus, who alone is true God and true Man."

This ties in again to the idea of redemptive suffering and Col 1:24. I notice you didn't comment on that part of my article.

None of these things were believed by the early church or the early successors of the apostles.

The Marian titles of Full of Grace, Ever Virgin, and Mother of God all date from 100-300 AD. The early reformers all accepted these titles. Rather, it is the rejection of them that is the recent innovation.

As to there being no Scriptural basis, the first place to start is with Luke, chapter 1:

28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

You have a problem with "lifting Mary up" but it says in Scripture that she is highly favoured and blessed among women.

30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

She found favour with God.

Mary is a betrothed woman, already basically bound in marriage to Joseph. Yet when the angel Gabriel tells her that she will bear a son, what does she say?

34Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

Most women who are soon to be married would not be asking how it is possible for them to bear a child. They would expect it.

2And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

43And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?


There it is again, Mary being honored. Elizabeth even refers to Mary as being the Mother of God.

46And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

47And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

48For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.


Mary's soul magnifies the Lord. Any honor given to her is a reflection of all the graces given to her by God.

ALL generations will call her blessed. But you say that it is wrong of us to do so, because it is idolatry.

From the Catechism:
721 Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary.101 Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom."

In her, the "wonders of God" that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ and the Church began to be manifested:

722 The Holy Spirit prepared Mary by his grace. It was fitting that the mother of him in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily"102 should herself be "full of grace." She was, by sheer grace, conceived without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the inexpressible gift of the Almighty. It was quite correct for the angel Gabriel to greet her as the "Daughter of Zion": "Rejoice."103 It is the thanksgiving of the whole People of God, and thus of the Church, which Mary in her canticle104 lifts up to the Father in the Holy Spirit while carrying within her the eternal Son.

723 In Mary, the Holy Spirit fulfills the plan of the Father's loving goodness. Through the Holy Spirit, the Virgin conceives and gives birth to the Son of God. By the Holy Spirit's power and her faith, her virginity became uniquely fruitful.105

724 In Mary, the Holy Spirit manifests the Son of the Father, now become the Son of the Virgin. She is the burning bush of the definitive theophany. Filled with the Holy Spirit she makes the Word visible in the humility of his flesh. It is to the poor and the first representatives of the gentiles that she makes him known.106

725 Finally, through Mary, the Holy Spirit begins to bring men, the objects of God's merciful love,107 into communion with Christ. And the humble are always the first to accept him: shepherds, magi, Simeon and Anna, the bride and groom at Cana, and the first disciples.

726 At the end of this mission of the Spirit, Mary became the Woman, the new Eve ("mother of the living"), the mother of the "whole Christ."108 As such, she was present with the Twelve, who "with one accord devoted themselves to prayer,"109 at the dawn of the "end time" which the Spirit was to inaugurate on the morning of Pentecost with the manifestation of the Church.

Kelly said...

By the way, James White, from what I've read, is not 'anti-catholic' but is an apologist who stands for truth against many false ways.
If he didn't care for Catholics, he would remain silent.


James White is guilty of bearing false witness because of how he constantly misstates and outright lies about the beliefs of the Catholic Church.

He is certainly no stranger to Catholic apologists.
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2004/02/
is-catholicism-christian-my-debate-with.html

Tracie said...

Jennie wrote: "None of these things were believed by the early church or the early successors of the apostles."

I used to live in Italy, and have been to Rome and the catacombs. There is Marian artwork in the catacombs.

After the Edict of Milan, when Christians were allowed to worship freely and build churches, Marian devotion and artwork flourished. Some of the earliest churches in Rome, which date to the 5th century, are dedicated to Mary and adorned with images of her.

There is a poem written around 250 AD called the Sub Tuum Praesidium:

We fly to your patronage,
O holy Mother of God,
despise not our petitions
in our necessities,
but deliver us from all dangers.
O ever glorious and blessed Virgin.

Elena said...

"in people's minds, whether you admit it or not;"

I fully admit that "some people" who have not studied theology and rely on their own understanding of such things might have a problem with it. That's their problem.

Tracie said...

The Church of Mary located in Ephesus, Turkey, dates to around the early 5th century. It was dedicated to the Theotokos (Virgin Mary).

The Middle East, Asia and northern Africa are full of ancient Christian churches. Many of them are dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and feature beautiful mosaics and iconography depicting her.

Jennie said...

Kelly,
My objection to the doctrines of Mary is not that she is honored as a human woman but that Catholics honor her above what she ought to be and above what God's word allows. I know you don't call her a goddess, but the way she is treated is comparable whether you want to admit it or not.


You quoted me: You have no right to pray to her and 'ask her to pray for you' when Jesus sits at the right hand of God mediating for you

Then you asked:
Then what right do you have to ask other people to pray for you?

Asking a departed person to pray for you is not the same as asking a friend to pray for you. The Bible commands us to pray for each other. There is no legitimate communication between this world and the next except to pray to God. Jesus' example of prayer for us is to pray to God, not to departed saints. The Bible never advocates this.
Also Hebrews 3:15-16 says: For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Jesus is our high priest and advocate and we need no other. To ask Mary to pray for us is to ignore Christ's advocacy.
Also:
Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them(Hebrews 7:25).

Also the Holy aspirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27). With such intercessors, it is an insult to them to say we need someone else in heaven to intercede. She and the other saints are unnecessary in this role.

About Mary as perpetual virgin:

I quoted this verse:
Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS. Matthew 1:24-25
and then said:
Joseph did not 'know her' until sometime after Jesus was born. The Bible says 'until' not 'never.'
....
that's what anyone reading the passage would think unless they had an ulterior motive for believing otherwise.

You quoted this verse:
2 Samuel 6:23 "As to Michal daughter of Saul, she had no child till the day of her death."
and then said:
Anyone reading that would agree that Michal had children after the day of her death unless they had an ulterior motive for believing otherwise.

To this I say:
Finding a verse that has the word "till" in it used in a totally different sense and using it to prove your point is just silly.
The plain reading of the verse about Joseph is that he did not know her as his wife until after Jesus was born, otherwise why was it mentioned at all? (The point was that she was a virgin when Jesus was born, as prophesied.) The plain reading of the verse about Michal is that she had no children at all. Obviously no one would think she had any after her death, but anyone would be excused for thinking Joseph would expect to sleep with his wife after his promise to God had been fulfilled.
Your argument makes no sense.

You said:
The Marian titles of Full of Grace, Ever Virgin, and Mother of God all date from 100-300 AD. The early reformers all accepted these titles. Rather, it is the rejection of them that is the recent innovation.

If this is so, then I would say that the heresy had already taken hold in early times, and then the reformers, if some or all of them did accept these titles, did not come out of Rome as far as they could have. Christ and the Apostles never taught or mentioned these things and warned against heresies creeping in even at the beginning of the church.

You quoted:
34Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And then said:
Most women who are soon to be married would not be asking how it is possible for them to bear a child. They would expect it.

Mary WAS asking how it would be possible to bear a son since she 'knew no man.' I assume you are thinking of the link you placed in the post about where Mark Shea talks about Mary as perpetual virgin: "This is an odd thing for a betrothed woman to be astonished about. After all, a betrothed woman could expect and hope to bear many sons... unless she had already decided to remain a virgin even after marriage. Then she would be astonished at the prophecy."
Mary was betrothed to be married, so WHY WOULD SHE ALREADY HAVE DECIDED TO REMAIN A VIRGIN? Also she did not yet know of God's favor until the angel came. There is no reason to think she had decided this and every evidence against it.
She was astonished because she had never YET been with a man so she knew she could not yet become pregnant; it does not seem as if she understood what the angel meant by saying the child would be the Son of the Most High and wondered how she could become pregnant without a man.


About Colossians 1:24 and 'redemptive suffering;' This passage is not saying that Paul is redeeming anyone by his sufferings, nor that Christ's sacrifice on the cross is not sufficient to pay for our sins. It only means that he and we can suffer with and for Christ to do His will in helping bring people to Him. As the body of Christ we will suffer and those sufferings have not yet been fulfilled until the last saint is martyred. But we do not claim to be co-redeemers, and Mary is not any more than we are. Honored, yes, but not above the other apostles and famous biblical women.
Mark 3:33 - 4:1 33 But He answered them, saying, "Who is My mother, or My brothers?" 34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 "For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother."

Jennie said...

Tracie,
that just shows my point that Jesus and the apostles were justified in warning the church repeatedly against false teaching if these heresies had already come in.

I was speaking of the very first generations of the church not believing or mentioning these marian doctrines, not the third or later centuries.

Jennie said...

Elena,
you said:
I fully admit that "some people" who have not studied theology and rely on their own understanding of such things might have a problem with it. That's their problem.

Well, that's why we need to atudy the bible, not theology.
How many people have time or inclination to study theology?
Thankfully anyone can buy or borrow a bible and read it, and hopefully find a church to teach them and encourage them along.

Elena said...

How many people have time or inclination to study theology?

Well I can imagine besides Kelly and myself there are probably a few of our other regular readers jumping up and down going "me, me! I do, I do!"

Some of the greatest thinkers throughout the centuries studied scripture which goes hand in hand with studying theology. Scripture study is a study of theology.

For that part, it is folks who study scripture relying on their own understanding that leads to errors in thought and interpretation.

I'd say your last sentence about finding a church to lead them along is totally not Candy's perspective. Candy is all about going it alone and judging churches in how close they come to her understanding.

However I agree with you. Which is why I believe that Jesus Christ left us the church, the pillar of truth, to guide me and my family in our reading of scripture and our theological understandings.

Elena said...

My objection to the doctrines of Mary is not that she is honored as a human woman but that Catholics honor her above what she ought to be and above what God's word allows.

In your opinion by your interpretation. Jennie I am going to respectfully ask y ou to go back and read the reams of material we have on this blog about Mary before you comment any further on the subject. We didn't write that stuff for our health.

Last May we posted lots of stuff. Go. Read.

Barbara C. said...

It seems like Jennie has this idea that until the death of the last Apostle (the ones chosen by Jesus or specifically mentioned in the Canon New Testament) there was some perfect Christian Church free of heresy. So certain people wrote every single belief about Jesus and what he and the Apostles taught so that future generations would clearly see what the truth is in plain language. But once the last of the apostles died (around the end of the first century) all of these heresies started creeping in (a heresy being anything that Jennie can't see as being backed up by scripture) until the original perfect church was lost to all but a few. But Jennie and others like her are desperately trying to reclaim that pure original Christian Church of the Apostles.

There are a few problems with this concept.
1. If you are going to use written word only as the basis for your understanding of the early "perfect" Christian church than you would have to accept ALL of the writings that were passed around the early Christian church, not just the ones deemed true by later heretics from a perverted Christian church. This would include other gospels, revelations, and epistles including those of the Apostles' assistants. Otherwise how could you trust that one of the heresies introduced wasn't the Canon of the New Testament?

2. You have to consider why the NT was written. Most of the epistles were written to address specific issues going on in specific areas, not to act as a catechism defining all truths of Christianity. There would be no reason for the epistle writers to give detailed explanations of beliefs that everyone held such as the Trinity or the veneration of Mary. Even the Gospels were written to emphasize different aspects of Christ's life and ministry. And Mark and Matthew obviously lifted passages from a third source that was lost very early.

3. You have to put the entire Bible in it's socio-historical context as first century Jewish writings, and not in the context of 21st century American culture to try to even grasp what the writers meant in plain language and their worldview. This is easily done by most Christians when assuming one doesn't have to go around wearing ancient dress, but then is easily forgotten when it comes to defining doctrine.

If you put the NT in context you would see that an Apocalypse (such as Revelation) was a literary form of the day used to reveal hidden knowledge (often in code) not necessarily to prophesy future events like end times.

4. Paul in his epistles even states that there were things he taught them orally as well as with written word. Sola scriptura Christians want to think, though, that everything that was really important was written down. Never mind that Jesus himself never wrote anything down as far as we know. Given the example of Jesus one would be more likely to assume that oral teaching would have more weight than written.

5. And if the Bible is so clear that anyone can recover the Church by reading its plain language, then why would anyone need to go to sites like Berean Beacon or look to James White or Billy Graham or anyone else for help interpreting.

And is that any different than interpreting scripture through the lens of the Catholic Church? Yes, there is a difference, because the Catholic Church traces it's roots all the way back to the oral tradition of the apostles in addition to the written word of Scriptures. This is backed up historically and archaeologically.

Jennie will never see any defense or explanation given on this blog as anything other than "spin" because her underlying premise is based on faulty logic. It wouldn't matter if first century artifacts showing that the Apostles themselves venerated Mary and taught that her body was Assumed into heaven; Jennie and her ilk would just claim that the heresy had started creeping in with the Apostles or it can't be true because she can't see it written in her Bible. Candy would go on to add that it was all concocted by the Catholic Church is some great conspiracy.

I do not envy you, Kelly and Elena. You have set out just to correct errors and lies that are spread about the Catholic Church by Candy and her ilk. And then you have people like Jennie who don't really want to know what the Catholic Church teaches and say "I understand but I disagree"; they can't resist the temptation to "prove" where the Church is wrong.

And I sometimes think it must be very hard to be a sola scriptura Christian. It is hard enough to be a Christian without having to figure out what being a Christian means all by yourself. It seems like it would be very difficult to know if you are interpreting something based on truth or because I am only seeing the truth that I want to see.

unknown anon said...

Jennie:

You said this: "Well, that's why we need to atudy the bible, not theology.
How many people have time or inclination to study theology?
Thankfully anyone can buy or borrow a bible and read it, and hopefully find a church to teach them and encourage them along."

Can you please explain to me how finding a church to teach "them" and encourage "them" in studying the Bible is different than studying theology.

The Church teaching IS theology.

If the 'Bible alone' is sufficient, then why would anyone need the teaching of the Church, which the Bible itself names 'the pillar and foundation of the truth?'

Your statement contradicts itself.

Jennie said...

Barbara C.,
Don't feel sorry for me for being a 'sola scriptura christian.' It isn't hard to be one in the sense you mean. I'm not alone trying to make my way in the dark; I have God's word and His presence in me and other believers to encourage me. I have a pastor and elders to learn from. I have history to study and learn from.

I have also learned alot from being here and talking to you all, for which I am thankful; not that I am going to become a Roman Catholic, but I have been reminded of alot of things I needed to be reminded of, learned some new things that are very valuable and renewed my love for God's word and studying it.

I don't want to say alot more about the Marian topic, though once I get started I may say more than I plan on. I read quite a few of the archives under 'Mary' on the blog and also a few of the links in the articles.
The most interesting thing I found was the comparison of Mary to the Ark of the Covenant, which article also equates her with the woman in Revelation 12 that gives birth to the Man Child.
I'm very interested in types and foreshadowing in the Bible, but have never heard this comparison before. I see there is a correlation between the passage in 2 Samuel 6 and the one in Luke about Mary.
The woman clothed with the sun in Revelation 12 I have been used to thinking of as Israel and I believe that is what she represents.
The comparison of Mary with the Ark of the covenant has clarified something, put in a missing piece of a puzzle. Mary can represent both Israel (Israel is the woman clothed with the sun also called the bride of Jehovah in the O.T.) and the church (The church is the bride of Christ). Mary is not THE bride, but she as a believer is part of the church which is the bride. Mary is not Israel but she represents Israel because she is the member of the race that produced the Messiah. She is a connection to both, the very point where Christ entered the world and began to unite the two parts of his bride: Israel and the Church.
Here is a passage in Ephesians 2which explains this:
11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ

14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Abraham was the father of Israel, and he and Isaac were a foreshadowing of the Father offering up His Son. We honor him as a spiritual father as well as a fellow believer.
Joseph and Joshua are types of Christ and their stories foreshadow Him also. So do others.

Mary is to be honored as Christ's mother and as a fellow believer. She represents us all, Israel bringing forth her own savior (God With Us) and the Church becoming the Bride of Christ. But she is not by herself the Woman clothed with the sun or the Shining Bride coming down from heaven. All those in Christ are that bride.
If we lift her up too high we are in essence lifting ourselves up too high, as she is one of us and represents us. (represents us not in the sense of mediating for us, but as a symbol and type)
This may be why Mary is not mentioned again in scripture after the beginning of Acts. She has fulfilled her purpose and must 'become less that Christ may become more' as John the baptist also said.
To summarize and clarify, Mary is the Ark in the sense that she bore the Christ, but also she is representing something greater than herself: the united Church consisting of Israel and the Gentile church finally brought together at the end of time.
The Iraelites did not worship the Ark itself, but God's presence in it. The Ark was made by human hands and so was able to be touched until God's presence came to it. God's presence departed from Israel when they were judged for rejecting the Messiah, and, comparatively God was not present in Mary's womb after Jesus was born, therefore I think Joseph had no qualms about taking her as his wife after the birth: Matt 1:24-25 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.

I would like to know the ancient sources for Steve Ray and Scott Hahns articles or books about Mary as the Ark. Where is the idea first stated?

Jennie said...

unknown anon,
I mean that most people don't go and read the catechism or the ancient church fathers, but are content to go to church, if they do, and maybe read the bible or the prayer book.
Most evangelicals don't read church history or commentaries or writings of reformers or whatever, but content themselves with going to church, if indeed they do go, and reading the bible (hopefully).
The bible is accesible to all, and churches are everywhere where they can find pastors and elders to help them.

Elena said...

The Iraelites did not worship the Ark itself, but God's presence in it. The Ark was made by human hands and so was able to be touched until God's presence came to it.

However the Ark was revered and treated with profound respect which is why it was eventually hidden.

Not-so-subtle reminder that the purpose of this blog is defense against Candy's anti-Catholic comments. This is not a regular apologetics blog. I would appreciate it if commenters could keep that in mind in responding to posts.

Also, see our commenting guidelines.

Kelly said...

I read quite a few of the archives under 'Mary' on the blog and also a few of the links in the articles.
The most interesting thing I found was the comparison of Mary to the Ark of the Covenant


I'm so glad to hear that you have been reading through the archives. It's nice to get some use out of all that effort I went through writing them.

I would like to know the ancient sources for Steve Ray and Scott Hahns articles or books about Mary as the Ark. Where is the idea first stated?

There are references to Mary as the Ark in the Early Church Fathers. Here are a few:

"He was the ark formed of incorruptible wood. For by this is signified that His tabernacle was exempt from putridity and corruption." Hippolytus, Orations Inillud, Dominus pascit me (ante A.D. 235).

"O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides." Athanasius, Homily of the Papyrus of Turin, 71:216 (ante AD 373).

"And when he had taken her, he knew her not, till she had brought forth her first-born Son.' He hath here used the word till,' not that thou shouldest suspect that afterwards he did know her, but to inform thee that before the birth the Virgin was wholly untouched by man. But why then, it may be said, hath he used the word, till'? Because it is usual in Scripture often to do this, and to use this expression without reference to limited times. For so with respect to the ark likewise, it is said, The raven returned not till the earth was dried up.' And yet it did not return even after that time. And when discoursing also of God, the Scripture saith, From age until age Thou art,' not as fixing limits in this case. And again when it is preaching the Gospel beforehand, and saying, In his days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken away,' it doth not set a limit to this fair part of creation. So then here likewise, it uses the word "till," to make certain what was before the birth, but as to what follows, it leaves thee to make the inference.” John Chrysostom, Gospel of Matthew, V:5 (A.D. 370).

(I get extra credit for that one since it not only had Mary as Ark, but shows that your "till" argument was refuted even in the 3rd century).

Going back a few more comments (I've been busy the past few days), you wrote:

My objection to the doctrines of Mary is not that she is honored as a human woman but that Catholics honor her above what she ought to be and above what God's word allows. I know you don't call her a goddess, but the way she is treated is comparable whether you want to admit it or not.


This is really the crux of the matter. I have assured you that Catholics do not feel they are worshiping or making an idol or Mary or other saints. I have produced written doctrine which says the same thing. Where the problem lies is in your perception of our practices.

There is a group of Christians, and maybe you are one, who are opposed to celebrating Christmas. They say it is not Biblical, it is worshiping ancient gods, and that Jeremiah prohibits bringing an idol Christmas tree into your home.

Now, most Christians think that is ridiculous. They know that they aren't worshiping any other god, that their Christmas tree is not an idol, and that these customs, regardless of their origin, helps deepen their faith by focusing on the Incarnation for a period of time each year. My husband's pentecostal grandma is not worshiping her nativity scene, nor is my sort-of-baptist dad idolizing his Christmas tree. The anti-Christmas faction says they're in denial, but it's all in their perception.

Asking a departed person to pray for you is not the same as asking a friend to pray for you. The Bible commands us to pray for each other. There is no legitimate communication between this world and the next except to pray to God. With such intercessors, it is an insult to them to say we need someone else in heaven to intercede.

And yet, as I've written three times now, Scripture does support this practice. We believe that God is the God of the living and not the dead, because the dead are alive to Him (Matt. 22:32; Mark 12:27; Luke 20:38) and that they are aware of us on earth, surrounding us as a great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1). The saints present their prayers to God before His throne in heaven (Rev. 5:8).

I was speaking of the very first generations of the church not believing or mentioning these marian doctrines, not the third or later centuries.

Except that if you limit your theology to that time, then you will miss out on other important doctrines, such as the Trinity, which was not formally defined until the 3rd century. Athanatius, who I quoted above, gets a lot of credit in that area.

Also, the letters of Hebrews and James were not included in the Bible until after the 3rd century. How can you accept later "innovations" such as the Trinity and books of the Bible, while rejecting others which date from the same time period and the same group of people?

If you become interested in learning more about the early church, I recommend The Fathers of the Church by Mike Aquilina. He is a Catholic author, but his book is a much easier starter book on the Fathers than most of the others available, such as the Penguin series. His language isn't quite so academic, and he gives background information on the men, rather than assuming you know them all already.