Martin Luther On Mary’s Immaculate Conception



Q. What is the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception?
A. It is the Dogma of the Catholic Church that Mary was conceived without sin and remained sinless throughout her whole life.

The Catholic Church has always believed that Mary, just like Adam and Eve, was conceived without a fallen nature and unlike our first parents, she resisted temptation to sin by the grace of God, throughout her whole life.

Interestingly, Martin Luther, founder of the Protestant Reformation believed in Mary’s Immaculate Conception.

Luther’s words follow:

It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary’s soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God’s gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin.
(Sermon: “On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God,” December [?] 1527; from Hartmann Grisar, S.J., from the German Werke, Erlangen, 1826-1868, edited by J.G. Plochmann and J.A. Irmischer,

She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin- something exceedingly great. For God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil.
-Personal {“Little”} Prayer Book, 1522

[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ . . . She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures. (Sermon, Christmas, 1531)

No woman is like you. You are more than Eve or Sarah, blessed above all nobility, wisdom, and sanctity. (Sermon, Feast of the Visitation, 1537)

One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God’s grace . . . Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ . . . Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God. (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521)

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18 Responses

  1. Doesn’t Mary call Jesus her Savior in the Magnificat? Why does she need a Savior if she is sinless?

  2. That is not biblically true because mary was not “God” in a way but Jesus was, so we should not even mention her in the same way as Jesus or God because again she was only human, her only duty was to not even conceive Christ but just an incubator for him because God could not have come in clouds and lightning because we could have believed out of fear instead of faith, so Jesus was supposed to be born just like any child on earth for us to believe by faith. So mary is nothing but just a demonic spirit from hell spread by the catholic church trying to take away God’s glory and making it hers thank you. Lastly give me a verse in the bible that simply says we should not only worship her but also pay her respects. She does not represent God or Jesus, Even Jesus calls her “woman” not Mother or some thing that will simply say to us that she had that significant role in his adult life.

  3. Yes, Jesus is her Son, her God, and her Savior. He merely saved His mother before she sinned and gave her the fullness of humanity that all of us would have had IF Adam and Eve had not sinned.

    Adam and Eve were created sinless just like Mary was. But unlike them she used her unfallen nature to obey God throughout her life just like we all wish Adam and Eve had done.

  4. Wish i had the talent to write such posts.

  5. All honor and praise belong to Jesus and Jesus only. Mary knew very well that she too had to give honor and praise to her Lord Jesus even though God had found favor in her to give birth to our Lord Jesus. She was just as human as we are and in need of a Savior as she plainly states it in the Magnificat. We cannot go through her to God because Jesus said no can go to the Father except through Him. He also said there is no other name under heaven in which salvation comes.
    As for praying to Mary, people should not be be doing this because she is dead. There is nothing she can do for any of us because Ecclesiastes 9:5 says that the dead know nothing.
    It is a sad thing to see more and more Christians in the Catholic faith being misled on what is truth of God vs what is man’s idea of God.

  6. Response: If you mean WORHIP, I agree we are to worship Jesus and not worship Mary. That would be idolotry and is condemned by the Catholic Church. Also, surely you did not mean that our worship belongs to Jesus and only Jesus because then we would be leaving out the Father and the Holy Spirit, the first and third persons of the Holy Trinity.

    But I would have to disagree about “honor and praise belong to Jesus and Jesus only”, for several reasons.

    First:
    We are to honor our mother and father. So honoring someone other that Jesus is actually commanded in Sacred Scripture. (Exodus 20 )

    Second:
    Jesus obeyed the Ten Commandments and honored His mother therefore in imitation of Jesus we too honor His mother.

    Third: She is also our spiritual mother and therefore also we have another reason to honor her.
    Revelation 12:17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

    Fourth: We praise many things without worshiping them. So this seems acceptable. I can’t think of anywhere is scripture where it says we can only praise God or Jesus. Could you please support this statement from scripture?

    Comment: Mary knew very well that she too had to give honor and praise to her Lord Jesus even though God had found favor in her to give birth to our Lord Jesus. She was just as human as we are and in need of a Savior as she plainly states it in the Magnificat.

    Response: You are absolutely correct. Mary gave birth to he Savior.

    Comment:
    We cannot go through her to God because Jesus said no can go to the Father except through Him.

    Response: The context of the verse is not talking about prayer or intercession but about attaining Heaven

    5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    Prayer to Mary is intercessory prayer which is encouraged. See the post: Prayer to Saints

    Comment: He also said there is no other name under heaven in which salvation comes.

    Response:

    Acts 4:12
    Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

    Salvation does come from Jesus but by the soveriegn choice of God that salvation, in Christ, comes to us through the assent and cooperation of Mary. She provided the flesh with the second person of the Blessed Trinity assumed to His Divine nature. The God-Man was born of woman. God did not have to do it this way. He could have just created a body to join to his divine nature but He didn’t. He chose to involve Our Blessed Mother. So, we say salvation comes to us from Christ through Mary. She gave birth to our Salvation.

    Comment: As for praying to Mary, people should not be be doing this because she is dead. There is nothing she can do for any of us because Ecclesiastes 9:5 says that the dead know nothing.

    Response: Only bodies die. Souls are eternal. But we believe that Mary is alive body and soul in Heaven through a special grace of her Divine Son.

    • I’m sorry but I find some of your posts offensive and somehow funny.

      How can you say that she is our spiritual mother? She is just a human being. Yes, we should honor our parents, OUR parents. She’s not the one who gave birth to me as far as I can remember.

      Also if we need a mediator in our prayers, does that imply that God needs dead people to help us in “delivering the prayers”? I mean, where in the bible says that a dead person can intercede/intervene in the activities in earth? -_-

    • In summary – Like how Eve (listenedand accepted from an evil angel) is the mother of all sinful men, Mary (listened and accepted from a righteous angel) is the mother of all Christian men. Thus, that’s how Catholics honor her as our mother in Christ. Yet, this doesn’t take away the need for us to honor our own biological parents.

      Well, saints (including saint Mary) are NOT mediators as Christ is the only mediator. It is the same as how you pray to God for good health, and ask your brothers and sisters to pray for you too. Mary and the other saints are our brothers and sisters in Christ, not on earth but with Christ. In the book of revelations, Elders themselves (saints too) offered to God prayers of the saints. Every believer is a saint in the eyes of God, on earth or with Him. If they themselves are unaware of our prayers, how is it possible for them to offer not only their own prayers but earthly ones too? Through God, anything is possible; provided it will not go against His will. According to the Septuagint quoted by Jesus, His apostles and also used by early Christian churches, the book of Tobit explicitly mentioned that Archangel Raphael, who disguised as Man, brought and offered prayers of Tobias & Sarah to God. -.-

  7. Thanks for the reference. I think it is so odd that ML even stated this and some where along the Protestant line this got lost. I read and responded to a post on asimplesinner from a person stating that Lutheran, Anglican and Methodist ignored or even degraded Mary. I can only speak for the particular Methodist Church and the people in which I was associated, but I did not find that to be true. It is true that Mary is not given the honor she deserves. So, that may be what he was referring to, but I have never witnessed anything in the Methodist church but love for Mary. I think as a protestant, that is the most mistaken belief I have come across, is that the Catholic faith worships Mary and not God. Sadly, I wish that other faith groups would recognise the Blessed Mother and elevate her to the position she deserves. To me it is only common sense that in God’s eyes she had to be a very ,very special person.

    As always, thanks for all your information,posts and responses. You are excellent at giving out information in such a kind and respectful manner.
    I know our Father is smiling on your ministry.
    🙂

    • I believe Anglican high-churches do honor Mary but not as much as how Catholics do. I believe a good example would be Our Lady of Walsingham – as honored by many Anglican and Catholic British faithfuls. There are both Anglican and Catholic shrines of OLW.
      I remembered I watched a video of a female pastor administering the Mass of their worship service. She titled Mary as ‘Holy Virgin Blessed Mary’.
      As for Methodists, I have no idea. Since the Methodist movement was from the Anglican Church, similar love for Mary should exist.

  8. I wonder if anyone knows. Thanks for the encouragement.

  9. KALOKOHAN YAN OR FOOLISHNESS WHERE IN THE BIBLE SAYS THAT MARY WAS ALIVE BODY SOUL AND SPIRIT

  10. Where in the Bible does it say that all truth of the Christian Faith must come from the Bible?

  11. Jesus Christ called Mary “Mother” for that she was. Jesus Christ is God and Man. From eternity He is God. Since 2000 years ago He became a Man by the Holy Spirit AND the Blessed Virgin Mary. His dual natures cannot be separated, therefore: Mary IS the Theotokos, the Mother of God. Was, is, and always The Virgin. The Council of Ephesus declared and formulated this belief that was from the earliest time in the Church. Even the Koran accepts the fact of her perpetual Virginity. All orthodoxy reveres Her as Ever-Virgin Mother of God. Those who do not accept the first seven Councils and the formulation of our faith are not a Church. You stand outside the walls looking in.

  12. “Prayer to Mary is intercessory prayer which is encouraged…”

    uh-oh! why is there a need for a mediator in prayer? hahaha!!! God is not deaf… He can hear even our most silent prayer, He does not need a mediator… okey?! because He is a God, that’s all…

    “Where in the Bible does it say that all truth of the Christian Faith must come from the Bible?”

    An information without a basis is just a HYPOTHESIS… how can you call it a “truth” where in fact you have no basis… in short you’re just ASSUMING…

    truth of the Christian Faith must come from the Bible, since God is the author of it… outside it, is just human discernment.

    • The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is not particular to the Roman Church. The Orthodox Church has always accepted this belief also. The original Apostolic Churches which include the Church of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Rome, and after that Constantinople, all believed in the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. But, in time the Roman Church defined the belief and proclaimed it as dogma. Talk to any Armenian, Copt, Ethiopian, Melkite, Malabar, Chaldean, Ukrainian, Russian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Greek, etc., Orthodox or Catholic, and this belief stands in their various Churches. So who are the protestants of the western church to dispute this?

      • Thanks for clarifying this. I knew about the Orthodox but not all the other. The Protestants are oblivious regarding this ancient and widespread belief in the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

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