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Mother Of God Or Jesus?

I have many Roman Catholic friends who view Mary, the mother of Jesus as the mother of God. Whenever I have tried to strike a conversation with them on this topic, they either shut themselves or go into defensive mode. I, being an ex-Roman Catholic thought the same earlier but the Lord had other plans.



I would like you to understand that I love Roman Catholics however, there are serious flaws in the doctrines and teachings of the Church which I would like to help them understand just as I was helped by a friend, Ronald Pinto almost 20 years ago.

Let me share how Christians view Mary, Jesus's mother? Should we adore and extol her or worship her as some do? Should we pray to Mary as humanity's "Co-Redeemer" and "Co-Equal" with God the Father?

WHO WAS MARY?

Mary was a Hebrew virgin who was selected to be Jesus Christ's mother. The Old Testament foretold of her miraculous pregnancy of the Savior.

Isaiah 7:14 -- Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:22-23 -- Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Mary was unquestionably deserving of respect as a virtuous Jewish lady, but the cult-like belief that has developed around her over the ages mostly fostered by the Roman Catholic Church, is completely inconsistent with the Scriptures like declaring her to be the mother of God, conceived without sin, ascended bodily to heaven and co-equal with God are just a few. 

Matthew 1:16 -- And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Luke 1:27 -- To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

John 19:25 -- Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

Numerous erroneous beliefs about Mary are incorporated into Catholic theology such as Mary remained a virgin throughout perpetuity (her life).

At least one Roman Catholic "Saint" stressed that,

"at Mary's command, everyone obeys, even God." She is omnipotent because the queen enjoys the same privileges as the king under all laws; and because the son's power also belongs to the mother, this Mother is made omnipotent by an omnipotent Son." (Alphonsus Ligouri, Mary's Glories, New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., p. 114).

Several years ago, Time magazine published a story about Mary and the negative attitudes against her that many had. 

Among all women who have ever lived, the mother of Jesus Christ is the most renowned, venerated, represented, and honoured in the naming of female infants and churches. The Koran, too, extols female purity and faith. Among Roman Catholics, the Madonna is revered not only as the Mother of God, but also as Queen of the Universe, Queen of Heaven, Seat of Wisdom, and even Spouse of the Holy Spirit, according to modern Popes." (Richard N. Ostling, Time, Dec. 30, 1991, p. 62, "Handmaid or Feminist?"

Without a doubt, Mary was honoured to be chosen to bring the Son of God into the world. "Rejoice, highly favoured one; the Lord is with you; happy are you among women," the angel Gabriel declared. 

In light of the confusion surrounding Mary, I believe it would be wise for us to examine a few of the myths perpetuated by Roman Catholics about Mary, Jesus' mother.

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Many people make the mistake of conflating the terms "immaculate conception" and "virgin birth." Catholics believe that Mary was born "immaculately," that is, without "original sin," and that she remained blameless throughout her life.

The dogma is false. Karl Keating, a well-known Catholic apologist, puts it this way:

"The Immaculate Conception means that Mary, who was conceived normally, was conceived without the stain of original sin in her mother's womb. Original sin is defined by a deficiency of sanctifying grace. Mary was exempt from this flaw; from the moment of her conception, she was in a state of sanctifying grace." (Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Ignatius Press, 1988, San Francisco, p. 270).

A section on the fall of man is included in a booklet distributed by The Knights of Columbus. The book discusses inherited sin and makes an attempt to explain how "Adam's sins" were passed on to his descendants in the same way that a man may pass on certain characteristics through heredity. 

Of course, the nature of sin was passed. Without grace, Adam's children (and we are all Adam's physical children) were born. And they all inherited his fallen corrupted nature as well.

The Bible makes no reference to "original sin." Rather than that, it teaches,

Ezekiel 18:20 -- The soul that sins, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him.

Mary inherited no sin from her parents—no one ever inherits another's sins but the nature of sin is passed. Mary did sin and she acknowledged her sins and her need for a Savior. We know this because, like the rest of humanity, she declared this and acknowledged it.

Luke 1:47 -- And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

VIRGINITY IN PERPETUITY

Additionally, Roman Catholics maintain that Mary maintained her virginity throughout her life, including after her marriage to Joseph. 

"Numerous rationalists and others have made accusations against Mary's perpetual virginity based on the gospel's reference to our Lord's 'brethren.' This is a singular reference to a group of cousins. According to the gospel, Mary maintained her resolve and bore no further children after Christ's virgin birth." The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by Robert Broderick, [Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986], p. 601.

According to Keating, "a careful reading of the New Testament demonstrates that Mary kept her vow and never had any children apart from Jesus."

Matthew 13:55-56 -- Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brothers, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? From where then has this man all these things?

Additionally, Keating states,

"it is customary for the bride to take a bouquet to a side altar and lay it at the feet of a statue of the Virgin at the conclusion of the (wedding) ceremony while praying that she may emulate Mary as a wife and mother." 

If the Catholic claim of Mary's perpetual virginity is true, few men would want their spouse to "emulate Mary as a wife." It is worth noting that if an engaged couple informed a Catholic priest that they desired marriage but intended to remain celibate, the priest would deny their request.

According to the apostle Paul,

1 Corinthians 7:2-5 -- Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife to the husband. The wife has not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband has not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud you not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

Someone said, "If Mary was only physically married to Joseph and he was only physically married to Mary, then they were unfaithful to their vows made to each other and to the ordinance of God that united them."

It is incomprehensible how a Roman Catholic could entertain such a notion for whom marriage is a sacrament. Mary's miraculous conception as the mother of Jesus had nothing to do with her privilege and obligation in the most sacred of human relationships. 

Back in this false dogma are two utterly false ideas: that the marriage relationship is incompatible with holy living, and that Mary is not to be considered a human being under ordinary obligations of human life.

CO-MEDIATOR WITH CHRIST

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Mary is equal to Jesus in terms of her role as a mediator between God and man. A portion of this usually arises when non-Catholics hear the old Hail Mary prayer, "Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women; blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus; Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

Their teaching also says that Mary acts as a "Mediatrix" between believers and Christ, and is the "dispenser of gifts" through the power of the Holy Spirit — based on the merits of her slain Son.

According to the Catholic Catechism, 

"Mary, who is inseparably linked to her Son, prays for us alongside Him. She is not the only one who feels this way. The entire community of the blessed in heaven continues to show concern for us in imitation of Christ. As we pray for one another on earth and for the souls in purgatory, our spiritual brothers and sisters intercede for us in heaven. We are all bound together by the inextricable bonds of Christian love. However, Mary, our spiritual mother, plays an entirely unique role in this. Her intercessory power is by far the most extensive and effective among those redeemed by her Son."

According to the Bible, there is "only one Mediator between God and men, and that is the Man Christ Jesus." This passage excludes not only Mary from the role of mediator but also all other Catholic "saints." Additionally, you will notice that the Bible never refers to Mary as our "spiritual mother" or makes reference to a place known as purgatory.

Additionally, the Roman Catholic Church maintains that Mary is a "co-redeemer" with Christ. This is blasphemy as the scriptures declare Jesus is the only means of access to the Father--the ONLY WAY.

John 14:6 -- Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

Acts 4:11-12 -- This is the stone which was set at nothing of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

It is a tragedy of epic proportions that the clergy of the Catholic Church have thus distorted the New Testament's basic message and are always trying to make some small changes and amends to keep the people from drifting away.

ASCENDED TO HEAVEN

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that after Mary's earthly life came to an end, she was taken up into heaven both physically and spiritually. Pope Pius XII defined this doctrine in Catholic theology.

They believe Mary's body was not corrupted and she was carried physically into heaven to be crowned "Queen of Heaven."

You may be wondering where in the Bible such a doctrine is taught. Despite the fact that no verse in the Bible even suggests this doctrine, Keating writes in his chapter on Marian Beliefs, 

"Fundamentalists enquire, where is the biblical evidence? There are none strictly speaking. The mere fact that the Church teaches the doctrine of the Assumption as something definitely true is a guarantee that it is true" (Keating, p. 275).

Keating is willing to abandon the Bible in favour of the word of those responsible for the Crusades and the Inquisition. 

While no Roman Catholic authors admit that this doctrine "can be proven from the Bible," it became formal dogma (something Catholics must accept) on November 1, 1950 – much too late to be apostolic in origin.

While Jesus was in Galilee teaching, He declared something in response to a woman's cry,

Luke 11:27-28 -- And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said to him, Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts which you have sucked. But he said, Yes rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

This woman shared the same view as modern Roman Catholics. Jesus' response pierces the heart of Mary-idolatry. While our Lord does not deny that Mary was blessed to be His mother, He insists that those who "hear the word of God and keep it" are more blessed.

This is the first post on Catholicism and Mary. I will write many more on different topics to help my Roman Catholic friends to understand accurately what the Scripture teaches us which is opposite to what the Roman Catholic Church teaches.

Stay tuned and share it with others.

Blessings,

Godwin.

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