Skip to comments.Baptist Theologian Says Non-Catholic Believers Should Honor Mary
Posted on 12/28/2003 2:28:16 PM PST by NYer
(AgapePress) - A Southern Baptist theologian says he wrote an article in Christianity Today on the Virgin Mary in hopes of encouraging evangelical Christians and other Protestants to pay more attention to her.
Dr. Timothy George is dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. As a biblical scholar and educator, as well as a senior editor for Christianity Today magazine, George has written a number of books and articles on religious subjects, and has authored a doctrinal study for the Southern Baptist Convention.
In his recent Christianity Today article titled "The Blessed Evangelical Mary," George notes that Evangelicals and Protestants have reacted so negatively in the past to Catholic teaching on Mary that many of these non-Catholic Christians may have ignored constructive material about the mother of Jesus in the Bible.
George says he was prompted to write the article based on conversations he has had with Roman Catholics. "They give a great deal of devotion to Mary that we Evangelicals and Protestants feel is not appropriate biblically or can't be justified," the theologian says. "And yet, as you can see from how I developed the article, I feel there is a proper biblical way of honoring Mary -- and maybe we've neglected that."
George feels Mary was a great example of Christian discipleship and obedience, who should be praised for her faithfulness. He says non-Catholic Christians should not hesitate to lift up the "blessed virgin" this Christmas, and in general.
"Mary is a model believer," George says, noting that the mother of Jesus believed the Word of God when it came to her, even as she was being prepared by the Holy Spirit to give birth to the Messiah.
"She believed the word of the angel and said 'Let it be unto me according to your word.' So she submitted to the will of God in great humility," George says.
The Southern Baptist scholar and author, who has been involved for a number of years in a project called Evangelicals and Catholics Together, says reaction to his article has been mostly positive. However, he notes that he has received some negative letters from former Catholics who have become Protestants.
Lol!!! A catholic freeper recently posted an astute observation. Protestants, in their pursuit of truth, arrive at the threshold of the Catholic Church. Catholics who deny truth, run away. (... or words to that effect).
As Desdemona noted on another thread:
"Maybe Our Lady is working in ways none of the rest of us can."
Consider the following from Catholic Answers:
Its important to understand what the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is and what it is not. Some people think the term refers to Christs conception in Marys womb without the intervention of a human father; but that is the Virgin Birth. Others think the Immaculate Conception means Mary was conceived "by the power of the Holy Spirit," in the way Jesus was, but that, too, is incorrect. The Immaculate Conception means that Mary, whose conception was brought about the normal way, was conceived without original sin or its stainthats what "immaculate" means: without stain. The essence of original sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, and its stain is a corrupt nature. Mary was preserved from these defects by Gods grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings.
When discussing the Immaculate Conception, an implicit reference can be found in the angels greeting to Mary. The angel Gabriel said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you" (Luke 1:28). The phrase "full of grace" is a translation of the Greek word kecharitomene. This word represents the proper name of the person being addressed by the angel, and it therefore expresses a characteristic quality of Mary.
The traditional translation, "full of grace," is more accurate than the one found in many recent versions of the New Testament, which give something along the lines of "highly favored daughter." Mary was indeed a highly favored daughter of God, but the Greek implies more than that (and it never mentions the word for "daughter"). The grace given to Mary is at once permanent and of a unique kind. Kecharitomene is a perfect passive participle of charitoo, meaning "to fill or endow with grace." Since this term is in the perfect tense, it indicates a perfection of grace that is both intensive and extensive. So, the grace Mary enjoyed was not a result of the angels visit, and was only as "full" or strong or complete as possible at any given time, but it extended over the whole of her life, from conception onward. She was in a state of sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence to have been called "full of grace."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that she was "redeemed in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son" (CCC 492). She has more reason to call God her Savior than we do, because he saved her in an even more glorious manner!
But what about Romans 3:23, "all have sinned"? Have all people committed actual sins? Consider a child below the age of reason. By definition he cant sin, since sinning requires the ability to reason and the ability to intend to sin. This is indicated by Paul later in the letter to the Romans when he speaks of the time when Jacob and Esau were unborn babies as a time when they "had done nothing either good or bad" (Rom. 9:11).
We also know of another very prominent exception to the rule: Jesus (Heb. 4:15). So if Pauls statement in Romans 3 includes an exception for the New Adam (Jesus), one may argue that an exception for the New Eve (Mary) can also be made.
Pauls comment seems to have one of two meanings. It might be that it refers not to absolutely everyone, but just to the mass of mankind (which means young children and other special cases, like Jesus and Mary, would be excluded without having to be singled out). If not that, then it would mean that everyone, without exception, is subject to original sin, which is true for a young child, for the unborn, even for Marybut she, though due to be subject to it, was preserved by God from it and its stain.
* * * * *
Does it not stand to reason that God would choose to be born of a woman 'conceived without sin'.
If the position of the Catholic Church is true, then the notion of sola scriptura is false. There is then no problem with the Church officially defining a doctrine which is not explicitly in Scripture, so long as it is not in contradiction to Scripture.
The Catholic Church was commissioned by Christ to teach all nations and to teach them infalliblyguided, as he promised, by the Holy Spirit until the end of the world (John 14:26, 16:13). The mere fact that the Church teaches that something is definitely true is a guarantee that it is true (cf. Matt. 28:18-20, Luke 10:16, 1 Tim. 3:15).
This is an excerpt.
|OUR LADY'S FEASTDAYS|
|Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D.
|Divine Word Missionary
The Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8
Live links at the source above, sorry. I just couldn't get them to come individually.
Matthew 12 47Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you." 48He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
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