Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mariolatry Anyone?

I recently took these photos with my phone while standing outside a local hospital here in Savannah. Photos 1, 2, and 4 are of the Virgin Mary. Photos 3 and 5 show people bowing before Mary. These statues make me feel very uncomfortable because there seems to be much more represented here than simply respect for Mary. Can you say Mariolatry?





11 comments:

Bad Catholic said...

"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Luke 1:42-43

"For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name." Luke 1:48-49

Eric said...

I wondered if you would respond. Thank you.

I agree that Mary was blessed by God to be the mother of Jesus. However, this in no way suggests that she should be worshiped or venerated by the church.

It is interesting to look into the epistles as Paul in particular speaks to the various churches about how they are to live. The epistles are remarkably empty as to any importance of Mary at all.

The bible is remarkably God-centered. He alone is worthy of worship.

Bad Catholic said...

Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians Venerate Mary and the Saints. They do not "worship" her.

The Divinity of the Blessed Mother is only in her relation to her Divine Son. As the Eastern Orthodox Churches say, Mary is the Theotokos, the "God Bearer."

Here is where we are going to reach a fundamental difference which may be unbridgable. Evangelical Protestants hold to Sola Scriptura, the Bible as the only authority. Catholics, Orthodox and some Protestants, such as Anglicans, hold that authority is found in the teaching authority of the Church and the living tradition handed down from the Apostles.

Since at least the late 1st and early 2nd centuries, Christians honored those whom the Church deemed especially holy (apostles, martyrs, etc.).

The Bible is a very important part of the tradition of the Church, but it is not the entire tradition. The Bible was put together in the form we have today by the Church. It is a Church book.

For the first thousand years of Christianity, the Catholic West and Orthodox East were one church. The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Veneration of the Blessed Mother and the Saints is firmly entrenched in the ancient tradition of the Church. The Prostestant Reformers of the 16th century rejected this Ancient Tradition. The Radical Wing of the Reformation, like the Ana-Baptists, rejected even more of the Ancient Tradition of the Church than Luther, Calvin and Zwingli did. This is perhaps the greatest gulf which separates us.

The venerable old Baltimore Catechism is far more eloquent than I am on the ancient beliefs of Christians. "The saints are not statues in the church. These merely represent the saints, who were real people like ourselves, whose souls are now in heaven. They loved God very much while they were on earth, so now they are His special friends. In honoring them, we really honor God, since it was by His action on their souls that they became saints. When we pray to the saints we ask them to offer their prayers to God for us."

The Evangelical Protestant will ask why not go directly to God or Jesus. The answer is that you can. But sometimes its a lot easier to ask Mom or your older Brother to ask Dad for you than to ask Dad directly. In this atheistic world which is hostile to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, all believers in Jesus need to face the real enemy. Satan wants us to be busy still fighting the battles of the 16th century.

The Catholic Church preaches the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. This belief Catholics and Evangelicals hold in common.

We also believe that salvation is by Grace from God alone. We disagree, however, on the means of grace.

Evangelicals hold to Sole Fide, Faith alone. Catholics and Orthodox believe that God bestows grace through the sacraments of the Church.

The tired old argument about Catholics thinking that they have to "work their way to Heaven" is really a misunderstanding of Sacramental theology. In other words, when I go to Mass I believe that what I receive in communion is literally the Body and Blood of Jesus, not just a symbol. By receiving the sacraments, we receive actual spiritual grace in proportion to our faith. If you go to Mass in a state of sin and do not discern the body and blood of the Lord, as Paul says, you eat and drink damnation upon yourself.

Since Baptists do not believe in sacraments but in symbolic "ordinances" (the ordinance of Baptism and the ordinance of the Lord's Supper) this creates a great theological gulf.

Sorry this comment was so long. I got on roll.

May the Holy Child of the Blessed Virgin Mary bless you all now and always. Amen.

P.S.: The kneeling children in the statues you have photographed depict the vision of the Blessed Mother to 3 children in Fatima, Portugal in the early 20th century.

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

Bad Catholic,

Thank you for your well thought out and well written comment.

I agree that our primary difference comes down to authority. When you disagree on authority, that does make it difficult to go anywhere from there.

In the end, I will never understand even veneration of Mary. However, that is because my authority is the bible and not church tradition. That leads us back to authority again.

Thanks for commenting and reading.

Cristy said...

Eric, and Bad Catholic, I do believe that the Bible was put together and portions were left out. Apocryphon of John, the Sophia of Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of Mary. From the literature I have read, they decided not to include the Gospel according to Mary Magdelene because women are not worthy of being teachers and are too easily swayed by evil. That being said, I am a Christian person, raised partially in the Baptist Church as a young girl, and then the Church of God as a young teen; but Eric, you hold fast to your Bible, which is fine, I do believe this is what God intended. However, I cannot believe that EVERYthing in the Bible is exactly as God intended it. For Starters, it is written by man and translated by man. I must also point out, that when reading the 1st Timothy I was astonished to read that Women are not to be teachers in the Church. Why not? Aren't men as easily swayed to evil as women are? I believe they are, and I also believe that God would be fine with a Woman in the pulpit or as teacher in the Sunday school class.

In short, the Bible was written by man as testimony to the workings of God and our Saviour Christ. Just as we have all been taught that because the book of Revalations says God will damn those who add unto "this book" or change "this book" the Bible shouldn't be added unto. I say this unto you, is it not called the "Book" of Revalations, and in so being called that means that Revalations shall not be added to. The Bible is merely testimony as to the miraculous things God does. The devil wants us to stop sharing our testimony with the world because then it will not be there for others to help guide them. I know the book of Job has helped numerous people restore their faith in God. Without that testimony, where might people of faith be today? It is possible that there would be none.

Just food for thought...

Eric said...

Cristy,

Thank you for commenting on my blog. I apologize for taking so long to respond. I was at a conference and just recently returned.

Let me respond to you as best I can.

As for the bible, it was written down by man, but was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it is all true and authoritative.

As for the books of the bible, they were recognized by men to be inspired based on who wrote them and their consistency with the overall teachings of the OT.

Regarding I Timothy, Paul was actually saying something positive about women. In that culture, women were not even allowed to learn. Paul is saying that they should learn as the church gathers. As for teaching, God's plan is that men teach in the church. God has placed men in leadership positions. Please do not confuse "worth" with "role." Men and women are of equal value before God. Additionally, there are many very talented women in the church. However, God has given men and women different, complementary roles in the church.

As for your second paragraph, I'm not really sure what you are trying to say. I fully agree that we should share our faith. I also believe the book of Job is a big help to a lot of people.

The reason for this post was specific: it is clear that some people worship Mary. This is unbiblical. The bible is about the worship of God.

Cristy said...

I sort of got off on a tangent with some of my post the other day. But, that being said, I must reiterate that it is only our faith in God that we keep the Bible close to our hearts. I understand that everything in the Bible is inspired by God, but it is still written and translated by man. I suppose my basic point is that man has written the Bible down, and we have no way of knowing, other than our faith in God, what in the Bible is true and what is not.

Yet and still Men are meant to be leaders, and the Woman a follower? That's fine, and I understand why you would think that. But I know several women who are leaders and very great leaders. My supervisor is a leader in the church. She and her husband alternate carrying services at their church. My grandmother was called to the pulpit at age of 23 and wouldn't go, because she was too scared. And now as I type this I feel a strong pull in that direction myself. My faith is too strong in God to believe that he would only have me playing the piano or guitar, or singing in the Choir, when my words could mean much more. Sometimes I'm a writer (not always a grammatically correct one), and sometimes I'm a speaker, other times, God sends me to someone because my testimony can help them, and other times I'm only sent to listen.

I understand your opinion and can agree to disagree, but I certainly know in my heart that God has called me to do more, to be more.

And I've probably managed to get off on another tangent somehow. But that seems to be how I roll. I'm like the engergizer bunny, once I get started, it's difficult to stop.

Eric said...

Cristy,

Thanks again for your comment.

Religious beliefs can be very subjective. This is why so many people believe so many different things. We must have an objective source to look to. God has given us this. He did so in the bible. The bible itself tells us that God breathed out its words (II Timothy 3:16). Because of this, it is authoritative and trustworthy.

As for men, women and leadership, we must look to the bible to tell us how to handle this. It is our only objective source. As I stated before, the bible makes it clear that men are to be in leadership roles in the church. Women may be talented (my wife is more talented that I am - I know that for sure!), but God's plan is male leadership.

Your argument for women in leadership positions stems from your experience and feelings. The problem with that is that experience and feelings are very subjective. We must make our decisions based on scripture as opposed to personal preferences.

I encourage you to look to the bible for direction. When you do so, God never fails to instruct you in the way you should go.

Cristy said...

This I already know. I have learned that you do not read the Bible just to read, you read the Bible when you are compelled to do so. When you go to bed thinking about a verse, or a book, or you wake up thinking about one. You read it, it is generally something relevant to what you or someone you know is going through; or something meant to lead you.

I do not desire a "leadership" role. I desire a role in a teaching position. A position that enables me to share my testimony with others, to share my knowledge with others. Let's think about the word "preach" is it not similar to the word "teach." There is a reason for that. preach [priːtʃ]
vb
1. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) to make known (religious truth) or give religious or moral instruction or exhortation in (sermons)
2. to advocate (a virtue, action, etc.), esp in a moralizing way
[from Old French prechier, from Church Latin praedicāre, from Latin: to proclaim in public; see predicate]
preachable adj
I threw that in just because.
Main Entry: teach
Pronunciation: \ˈtēch\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): taught \ˈtȯt\; teach·ing
Etymology: Middle English techen to show, instruct, from Old English tǣcan; akin to Old English tācn sign — more at token
Date: before 12th century
transitive verb
1 a : to cause to know something b : to cause to know how c : to accustom to some action or attitude d : to cause to know the disagreeable consequences of some action
2 : to guide the studies of
3 : to impart the knowledge of
4 a : to instruct by precept, example, or experience b : to make known and accepted
5 : to conduct instruction regularly in <teach school
That too...

A preacher, pastor, or reverend is not necessarily a leader. I tend to believe he or she is more like a teacher. Someone who shares their knowledge and their testimony. And someone to listen and offer advice to others. To stand in the pulpit and preach does not mean one must be a leader. I tend to believe that is what we have made it mean. Church is different now that it used to be. When reading the Bible you find that offerings to God used to be cattle, sheep, and such. Now we offer money. That is our progression as society which has changed church. If we no longer offer our oxen to God, what's not to say we cannot have a lady minister. Nothing at all.

Once again, I probably shifted gears too many times with this comment. But I find your rebuttals quite challenging. Though we will never agree, I respect your opinion. May God bless you and your family that you may all be well and protected.

Eric said...

Cristy,

Thanks again for your comment.

You said, "Church is different now that it used to be. When reading the Bible you find that offerings to God used to be cattle, sheep, and such. Now we offer money. That is our progression as society which has changed church. If we no longer offer our oxen to God, what's not to say we cannot have a lady minister. Nothing at all."

The church we see in the New Testament did not offer sacrifices of animals. That was Old Testament Israel. Also, the church we see in Acts was approved of by the apostles. For example, Peter and Paul were part of this church. We would be wise to follow the example set by the early church because the apostles, who spent so much time with Jesus, approved its practices (or told them what to do otherwise). When we stray from the biblical model in any area we run into trouble. The church that doesn't change (tries to be as much like the NT model as possible) will be healthiest.