Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary



Q. How can anyone really believe that the pope was infallibly informed about the immaculate conception in 1854 and Assumption of Mary in 1950, so late in the history of the Church?

A. I would have trouble believing these doctrines too if they were first introduced nearly two thousand years after Christ. However, that is not what the dates mentioned mean. The Christian Faith was taught by the apostles and those they ordained to continue the ministry. The Pope and bishops have never sat down and solemnly and systematically declared all of the doctrines of the Catholic Faith. That isn’t how she works. She evangelizes, baptizes, teaches, and administers the sacraments. Doctrines are not defined until and unless they become seriously threatened by heresy.

For instance, controversy arose in ACTS about whether Gentiles had to keep all of the Jewish laws and be circumcised. The controversy was examined and settled at the very first Church Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15). Most of the heresies in the early Church involved wrong ideas about Jesus. Was he merely a holy man? Was he a god that appeared to be a man? Was he a man who became a god at his baptism? Was he fully God and fully man? All of these were settled at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD when the Doctrine of the Trinity was defined. This doctrine was not invented or communicated to the pope for the first time at this date. The doctrine existed from the very beginning but when heresy grew and threatened the truth, the Pope and the bishops met in council and settled the issue clearly and once and for all.

Again, later, due to confusion and controversy the Pope and Council of Hippo defined the contents of the New Testament in 393 AD and 397 AD. The pope did not invent the Doctrine of the Trinity in 325 AD or the New Testament in 397 AD. This is exactly the case with the Doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption. They have been believed from the beginning. But with the rise of Protestantism these doctrines became more and more threatened and so were solemnly and clearly defined.
-Reblogged from 6/28/10

All Have Sinned and the Immaculate Conception


Sonya:   The immaculate conception of Mary…I ‘ve read that you believe she is an exception to “all” just like Jesus. However, the only reason we believe Jesus was an exception is because we are plainly told in the scripture that he “knew no sin” and was “yet without sin” etc. No mention is ever made of this toward Mary. Seems the most reasonable explanation for all is all if there is not a clear exception shown.

Bread From Heaven: If Sola Scriptura was an authentic and scriptural doctrine regarding all theology your point might be correct. However, since it is not in Scripture and did not exist in Christian thought until Martin Luther invented it a mere 500 years ago, you certainly are not bound by it, even as a Protestant. And the Catholic Church, which wrote and canonized the Scriptures is most definitely not bound by a Protest-ant and Heretical teaching.

This will not satisfy you as proof but Mary’s sinlessness is obliquely referred to when the angel announces her divine maternity. For what Biblical evidence we have, see–>Immaculate Conception

All does not always mean absolutely all in scripture. For instance, regarding the plagues of Egypt scripture says that they occurred in “all the land of Egypt” and yet we are also told that the Israelites, who also lived in Egypt, escaped these plagues. So, all did not mean absolutely all.

Psalm 14:3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

But, then we have the same author talking about men who are righteous, who do good in many other passages in Psalms.

Psalm 18:20
Jehovah hath rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me

Psalm 1:5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
Psalm 1:6For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,But the way of the wicked will perish.
Psalm 5:12For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD,
Psalm 11:3If the foundations are destroyed,What can the righteous do?”
Psalm 11:5The LORD tests the righteousand the wicked,

Psalm 52:6 The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him:

So, it seems that we can’t count on all meaning absolutely all. It can be used  hyperbolically and not meant to be taken absolutely literally. Similarly to how a child or teenager might say, “But Mom, all the kids have one.” Click Here–> The Righteous. Noah, Abraham, Job,
Remember, the authors of the New Testament did not include everything they knew. But they could teach everything over time, orally. They did not write a book of systematic theology. They wrote enough to explain who Jesus was and evangelize. And they were promised that,

“the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.John 14:26

This was a promise Jesus made to His apostles and not to anyone else. He could have made this to everyone. But I don’t think too many would claim that He has brought to their personal remembrance all that Jesus said in His life on Earth.

John 20:30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John 21: 25And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.


Can Mary Mediate and Intercede?


Immaculate Conception

Kerrin:There is a very big difference between what you call Intercessory prayer and praying for one another, please don’t confuse the two.

The bible very clearly states that Jesus is the only Mediator (Intercessor) between God and man, in the following verse:

1 Timothy 2:5: For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

The Bible also very clearly says that we should pray for one another, in the following verse:

James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

As you see, the Bible makes a very clear and definable difference between praying for one another, and Intercessory prayer (Mediating), which is only possible through Jesus.

Bread From Heaven: Mary joins her prayers to ours to our Lord. Asking for her to pray for us is nothing more than asking our friends to pray for us. James 5:16.

I think you are incorrect about the use of the words intercede and mediate. Let’s take a look at the definitions,

in·ter·cede

1.to act or interpose in behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble, as by pleading or petition: to intercede with the governor for a condemned man.
2.to attempt to reconcile differences between two people or groups; mediate.

So any human may intercede for another human. But, if we use it as in the second definition, only Jesus can intercede to reconcile many with God. But any human can also attempt to reconcile differences between two people. And any human may intercede or petition God on behalf of another as in the first definition.

me·di·ate

1.to settle (disputes, strikes, etc.) as an intermediary between parties; reconcile.
2.to bring about (an agreement, accord, truce, peace, etc.) as an intermediary between parties by compromise, reconciliation, removal of misunderstanding, etc.
3.to effect (a result) or convey (a message, gift, etc.) by or as if by an intermediary.

As we look at the definition of mediate, we see why it was used in I Tim 2:5. It is much more about bringing peace and reconciliation between two parties. It is more like the second definition of intercede. And Jesus is the only one who can bring reconciliation between God and Man in regards to salvation and the forgiveness of sin. It is in this way that He is the One mediator between God and Man.

But any human can mediate in the sense of the third definition and convey a message to God for another. So, any time I join my prayers to my friends’ prayers I am conveying a message to God on behalf of my friend, even when I pray for someone’s salvation. I am in the middle, mediating between God and my friend. But, NOT, in the sense of the definition one or two. Only Jesus can actually DO that.

Now, as regards your assertion:

nowhere in the Bible does it state that she is (an intercessor).

I must make the point that nowhere in the Bible does it say that all religious truth MUST be found ONLY in the Bible. Sola Scriptura or Scripture Alone, is a tradition of the man Martin Luther. But we are told to pray for one another. So, our asking Mary to pray for us and her praying for us is, according to James 5:16is simply “praying for one another.”

Kerrin: Any prayers to her are futile and worthless at best. Pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus, but whatever you do, NEVER pray to Mary.

Bread From Heaven: Why? What is wrong with it? According to your own beliefs, where in Scripture does it say we cannot ask another member of the Body of Christ to pray for us?

Kerrin: Jesus himself put Mary on the same level as any other sinner that ever lived, in need of repentance and Salvation through his sinless Sacrifice.

Bread From Heaven: Where is this in Scripture? I can tell you now that you will not find it.

Mary was human. Yes.

She needed a savior. Yes.

But Jesus saved her at her conception and removed the fallen nature from her, that she otherwise would have inherited from her parents. Mary, through the grace of God and her cooperation with that Grace, remained sinless throughout her life. Just like Adam and Eve could have done, but did not. Even if you do not believe this you have to admit that God could have done this great grace for Mary.

December 8th, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.Pray for us.

Where Does the Bible Say Mary Did Not Sin?


Dear Abby,

You asked:

..where in the bible does it say she(Mary) didn’t sin?

As I am sure you already know there is no scripture that plainly says something along the lines of: “Mary did not sin her whole life” or “Mary was sinless”.

But, you may be surprised to learn that neither does it say anywhere in Scripture that all doctrine MUST be found in Scripture Alone and if NOT found it must to be rejected.

Scripture is honored and extolled in scripture, but nowhere does it support Sola Scriptura, the invention of Martin Luther, a mere 500 years ago. So, Scripture neither says “Mary was sinless” nor “All Doctrine Must be found in Scripture”. One must look outside of scripture to see what the earliest Christians believed. But before I do that in order to address your question, let me ask you: Did you know that Martin Luther believed and taught the Immaculate Conception (sinlesness) of Mary?

Martin Luther On Mary’s Immaculate Conception

The writings of the Earliest Christian teachers have been preserved. Please explore these on the link I will give you to see that they believed and taught the sinlessness of Mary.

Click on this link–> Mary: “Full of Grace”

So, if the Christians in the first centuries of the Church believed in the Immaculate Conception of Mary and Martin Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception of Mary, by whose authority was this rejected as true? Have Protestants rejected it because it is not taught explicitly in Scripture? If so then they should also reject Sola Scripture which is also not supported or taught anywhere in Scripture.

Protestants will not be convinced, but there is a passage that Catholics view as indirect support of the Immaculate Conception. I hope you will take the time to explore authentic Catholic interpretation of scripture rather than only listen to Protestants explain what Catholics believe. That is just what I did for years. Please see this post for a Catholic Interpretation of this Scripture:

Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception

Mary Was Only a Virgin UNTIL Jesus was Born.


This post is an added to and edited comment by Demetrios at Luther on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

Q. Since, Matthew wrote about Joseph: ‘And knew her not until she had brought forth her son and He called His name Jesus.’ (Mt 1:25)it seems obvious that Joseph did “know” Mary after Jesus was born and that is why we hear about Jesus’ brothers and sisters in scripture..

A. That is certainly a legitimate assumption if one only relies on Scripture unhinged from the history and writings of the the Church from the earliest centuries until now. Especially when one starts with the conviction/bias that Mary had sex with Joseph and therefore had other children, which are named in Scripture. Please take a look at the writings of the –>Early Church Fathers where her perpetual virginity is taken for granted. Here are just two:

Hilary of Poitiers [A.D. 354]

If they [the brethren of the Lord] had been Mary’s sons and not those taken from Joseph’s former marriage, she would never have been given over in the moment of the passion [crucifixion] to the apostle John as his mother, the Lord saying to each, ‘Woman, behold your son,’ and to John, ‘Behold your mother’ [John 19:26–27), as he bequeathed filial love to a disciple as a consolation to the one desolate” (Commentary on Matthew 1:4 ).

Athanasius [A.D. 360]

“Let those, therefore, who deny that the Son is by nature from the Father and proper to his essence deny also that he took true human flesh from the ever-virgin Mary” (Discourses Against the Arians 2:70 ).

And, in order for you to be so sure that the Catholic Church is wrong and that Mary had children based on the use of the word until in the passage above; all scriptural uses of until would have to align with your hermenutic of interpretation and none could align with the Catholic Church’s interpretation. The Catholic interpretation is the same as the Reformer John Calvin’s:

“there have been certain folk who have wished to suggest from this passage (Mt 1:25) that the Virgin Mary had children other than the Son of God, and that Joseph had then dwelt with her later; but what folly this is! For the gospel writer did not wish to record what happened afterwards; he simply wished to make clear Joseph’s obedience and to show also that Joseph had been well and truly assured that it was God who had sent His angel to Mary. He had therefore never.…And besides this our Lord Jesus Christ is called the firstborn. This is not because there was a second or third, but because the gospel writer is paying regard to the precedence. Scripture speaks thus of naming the first-born whether or no there was any question of the second.” (Sermon on Matthew 1:22-25, published 1562)

Your interpretation of the UNTIL in:

And knew her not until she had brought forth her son and He called His name Jesus.’

to mean that Joseph and Mary had children after Jesus was born; would then mean we  HAVE to interpret the following verses like this:

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

Interpretation: Using your hermenutic this would have to mean that Michal DID HAVE A CHILD AFTER HER DEATH.

In His days shall shine forth righteousness and an abundance of peace, until the moon be taken away. Psalm 71:7

Interpretation: At the end of the world, the moon will be taken away and righteousness and peace will no longer shine forth.

For He must reign, until He has put all enemies under his feet. I Corinthians 15:25

Interpretation: Once Christ has defeated His enemies, He will no longer reign supreme.

Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the world. Matthew 28:20

Interpretation: God is with us always, but at the end of the world He will no longer be with us.

I am sure you would agree that the Catholic way of interpreting until would be more appropriate in all of the above verses. And based on historical evidence the Catholic interpretation of until in Matthew 1:25 is also more appropriate.

Even if you accept Sola Scriptura, there isn’t a single passage of Holy Scripture that would cause one to reject the ever-virginity of the Theotokos (GOD Bearer). Every Scripture quoted by those who reject this teaching can be logically addressed interpreting Holy Scripture within the situational context and Middle Eastern culture in which the Bible was written. It all boils down to interpretation, because, contrary to Protestant claims, a plain reading of Scripture is not going to conclusively resolve the questions. Therefore,  you have to rely on a tradition…Protestant or Catholic.

This is such an important issue . It is about much more than just preserving Mary’s virtue or making false attempts to exalt her. It is about the very nature of who Christ was and what is truly meant by the Incarnation. Mary had a child from God the Holy Spirit. She conceived from the Holy Spirit. God literally dwelt within her body. If you think it through, it becomes highly unfitting to accept that Mary would have allowed herself to be touched, or that Joseph, a righteous and pious man, would have presumed to enter into the former sacred dwelling place of God in Mary’s womb, after she conceived a child from God and literally gave birth to God.

The Sinlessness of Mary


Q. Do Catholics have to believe in the sinlessness and assumption of Mary?

A. Yes. We are obliged to accept and believe everything the Church teaches. If you are having trouble with any doctrine of the Catholic Church then you may have to simply choose to submit to the wisdom and authority of the Church. In other words, accept it purely on faith. But of course it is far better if you are convinced that what the Church teaches is true and makes more sense than any competing ideas. But this may take time for you to research the reasons that the Church teaches the doctrine you are having trouble with. You can ask a knowledgeable priest or research on the internet. And pray for God to help you find the answers to your questions.

I can guarantee that if you are honestly searching for the truth and not just trying to find fault with the Church, you will find answers that will be both simple and sublime. I have done this research many times and every time the answers are more intelligent, more logical and better documented than I had expected. I am thoroughly convinced by the evidence and thoughtfulness of Catholic theologians and don’t have to take blind leaps of faith.

Reblog from 4/18/07

Peter is Not the Rock


Jeff:

REVELATION:
The Catholic Church, should be guided by continuing revelation. It should have prophet and the authority from God. (Peter is not the ROCK, the ROCK is revelation)

BFHU:Jeff where does Jesus say that the ROCK is revelation!!! for our readers here is what Jesus actually said,
to Peter:

“you are Rock and on this Rock I will build MY Church.”
I do not see the word “revelation” in there at all.

Jeff: The Pope should be able to communicate directly with God and be able to clarify doctrines as did the original Apostles.

BFHU: Where does this assertion come from? Can you back this up with scripture?

Jeff: Too many of the beliefs of the Catholic Church are doctrines of men mingled with scripture.

BFHU: You are correct. They are the doctrines taught by the man, Jesus, to His men the apostles, and passed down to the present time in written and oral form just as the man St. Paul asserted in I Thess.

Jeff: If the Church was governed by revelation there would not be so many contradicting doctrines.

BFHU: Uhhhh…such as? We have no contradicting doctrines. Some of our doctrines CONTRADICT PROTESTANT DOCTRINES or PROTESTANT INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE.
But we do not have any contradicting doctrines. That is one of the sublime beauties of the Catholic Faith. It is soooooo much more intellectually satisfying, cohesive, deep and complete than the Protestantism I was involved in.

Jeff: The Catholic Church is not founded upon revelation:

BFHU: It certainly is. It is founded upon ALL that Jesus Revealed and taught to his apostles, along with the OT. It is founded on more revelation than Protestantism, which has only written revelation to rely upon.

Jeff: Mary The Virgin:
I give to Mary the utmost respect, but she should not be worshiped as if she were another God, as she is worshiped in the Catholic Church.

BFHU: WORSHIP OF MARY IS CONDEMNED BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. WE DO NOT WORSHIP MARY.

Jeff: You cannot simply dismiss the fact that Mary had other children. She was a virgin at the time of conception of Jesus but did not remain a virgin.

BFHU: Historically Mary had no other children. That is why Jesus gave her into the care of St. John from the cross. Even Luther, Calvin and Zwingli believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary. Upon what reliable source document do you assert that Mary had other children?

Jeff: This cannot be dismissed simply with ” This is a legitimate interpretation of scripture but it is not the only legitimate interpretation. ” It is THE ONLY interpretation.

BFHU: Is your interpretation infallible then? The so called brothers and sisters of Jesus were merely kinsmen.

Jeff: Nor was Mary sinless, Jesus was the only sinless person to ever live, allowing him to atone for our sins. He was the only pure and spotless lamb.

BFHU: Where does it say this in Scripture? You are espousing a Protestant Tradition of Men called Sola Scriptura.