Roman Catholic Mariology and The Catholic Church
In the same shalom of the Judeo-Christian God worshiped by the Christians of the world, I plead before Jesus that all doctrines and dogmas be resolved to the will of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I heard God calling me to discuss the errors in some of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and other denominations that ascribe to the same beliefs. Let me remind people that this article and those that follow are presented in love and peace. Such is the call from God to write on these subjects which covers many issues and false doctrines. I encourage readers to pray before proceeding beyond this point, to allow God to teach His truth through the Holy Bible and through the Holy Spirit. While that challenge appears to come from the author of this article, I believe God would ask you to do so and to study Scripture in honest exegesis, as I intend to do here.
Mary and the Roman Catholic Church
In this article, I discuss the place of Mary in Scripture compared to the doctrines of RCC and how the doctrines are erroneous and not derived from proper exegesis of the canon of Scripture finalized at the council of Nicaea in 325 AD. The danger in false doctrines is that the one who posits them is apostate to God, which further leads those who believe the false doctrines to be true and continue to promote them apostacy. Come Judgment Day, those who renounce their faith in this way, will be among those to whom Jesus says, “I never knew you,” as He considers them workers of lawlessness (Matthew 7:23), also discovering that they have failed to enter through the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus offers another time that some will call out, “Lord, let us in.” Jesus will answer, “I do not know from where you have come.” The apostates may claim, “We ate and drank with Your in our midst and heard Your teaching on our streets.” But He will say, “I tell you. I do not know from where you have come. Leave Me, evil workers!” (Luke 13:24-27, author’s paraphrase).
Because they lead people astray, the apostate will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven even though they truly believe Jesus is the Savior of the World. Regarding the doctrines addressed in this article, none match any Scriptures contained in the Gospels nor are they based on any older Scriptures. Their origin is largely in the human philosophies of many of the Church fathers who came after the Council of Nicaea.
The Mariology of the Roman Catholic Church
Mariology is what the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) claims regarding Mary the mother of Jesus. It is the systematic study of Mary, mother of Jesus.
If there is something divinely special about Mary’s prayers at that time with other women and Jesus’ brothers, why are the other women and Jesus’ brothers not also held in such high regard?
There are a few other verses and passages from the Gospels that are used by Mariologists to develop their theology. I will comment on these passages after quoting or referring to them.
Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-7 tell of the birth of Jesus. Other than the birth of the Savior, there is no special miracle that lifts Mary up to anything greater than any other people who have ever lived in the presence of God. Matthew 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35 and Luke 8:19-21 are the passages in
which Jesus tells a crowd that His mother and brothers are looking for Him. Jesus’ response is to tell the people there that His mother and brothers are the ones who do the will of God. Again there is no revelation here that Mary is any greater than anyone else.
Matthew 13:53-58, Mark 6:1-6 and Luke 4:16-30 relate how Jesus is rejected by the people in His hometown of Nazareth after telling some parables there. Those in the crowd wonder how Jesus got His wisdom in these passages are all about what happens at the time Jesus talks to people in His hometown of Nazareth (in the Luke passage He reads from the scroll of Isaiah 11) and how the people in his hometown didn’t recognize Him for who He is. There is no revelation of Mary being lifted higher than any other human here either.
and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. (Matthew 1:16 ESV)
Matthew 1:16 comes at the end of the genealogy of Jesus and merely states that Joseph is Mary’s husband and that Jesus was born to them, not some kind of reverence for Mary as greater than another human being here.
And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11 ESV)
This is the verse of the Magi arriving at the house where Mary and Joseph were staying after Jesus was born. I believe it is important to note that the Magi don’t worship Mary; they worship Jesus offering Him gifts. Luke 1:26-38 tells us about Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel and, again, there is nothing here to indicate that Mary is any greater than a human who accepts the call of God, much like the calling of God on Isaiah or Jeremiah or any other prophet we find in the Bible. The prophets are not lifted up to heaven to sit at His right hand either.
Luke goes on to tell in verses 39 to 56 (Luke 2:39-56) about the time when Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth. Mary prays after Elizabeth confirms the thought that she is carrying Jesus in her womb, because she is carrying John who jumps in the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb, but that doesn’t make her any more special than anyone else, because this the way that God made a way to come to humanity. It is my personal belief that this passage tells more about the discernment of John in his spirit even as an fetus in a womb and about Jesus Himself than about Mary.
Luke 2:41-52 relates the time when Mary and Joseph had to return to Jerusalem to locate Jesus and found Him in the temple and not only is Mary not revealed as a great human being, she questions her Son as though He is anyone else, just as we might expect any mother to do.
Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, (Luke 3:23 ESV)
This verse begins Luke’s genealogy of Jesus and as we can see Mary’s name is not mentioned. Yet somehow this contributes to the false theology that Mary is greater than other humans.
27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:27-28 ESV)
This passage tells of a woman who blesses Jesus’ mother, and we can agree that Mary is blessed. But Jesus almost rebukes her by blessing those who keep the word of God. We are all blessed then by keeping the word of God, and from what Jesus says here we are more blessed than Mary.
who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:13 ESV)
To exegete that Mary is more divine because she gave birth to the Son of God through this verse, we must take it out of context and out of the sentence in which it is written. After saying that Jesus’ own people did not receive Him, John talks about those who receive Jesus and believe in Him are born in the spirit—not of flesh nor the will of man, but of God. (vv11-12)
John 2:1-12 gives us the story of Jesus’ first miracle in which Jesus changes water into wine. Mary tells the servants to do what Jesus says. This interaction with the King of Kings does not make Mary even a prophet. She knew what He could do because she raised Him, she witnessed everything He did as He grew up.
They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” (John 6:42 ESV)
This verse remarks on how these people knew Joseph and Mary and marveled at the idea that Jesus came from heaven. There is nothing more than that.
The Mariologists also use John 7:1-10 about when Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of booths in private. The passage only mentions Jesus’ brothers and does not mention Mary at all, so it is difficult to see how anyone can exegete a theology about Mary here. In John 7:41-43, people question how the Messiah could come from Galilee as He is supposed to come from Bethlehem. Mary is not mentioned at all. So the verses cannot contribute to a theology about Mary.
In John 19:25-27, Jesus calls on John to take care of Mary. Again, nothing special about her here.
All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. (Acts 1:14 ESV)
This verse is another one that seems to point to something special about Mary, but again, she is a mere human.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 ESV)
This verse from Isaiah prophesies that Jesus would be born of a virgin. It does not say that the virgin would be greater than human or without sin. Mary being a virgin when Jesus is conceived was the will of God for His glory, not to make Mary greater in any way and it most certainly was not to be interpreted that she should be deity in any way, because she did not conceive Him on her own but by the Holy Spirit. That Mary could be deity is a contradiction to the rest of the Bible in which we only see the Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and to the will of God as He commanded that we have no other gods before Him (Exodus 20:3).
Mary United with Jesus and Her Association with the Apostles
Mariology posits that Mary is united with the Son in participation of the salvation of Christian believers. The Bible does not say that Jesus and Mary are united in this way. There is no scripture that says Mary ever ascended to heaven to join Jesus at His right hand in prayer. This Mariology derives mainly the passage above in Acts, but she is a human given to prayer like many others in the world.
Because of this same verse, RCC also associates Mary with the apostles through her prayers pleading the Holy Spirit who had already overshadowed her at the appearance of the Angel Gabriel.
Mary Free from Original Sin and Taken into Heaven
According to the Immaculate Conception taught by RCC, was preserved free from original sin and after her life on Earth was taken up wholly into heaven, exalted by God to be queen and conformed to her Son, Lord of lords.
There is no Scripture in the canon that has Mary ascending to heaven the way that Enoch and Elijah did. Absolutely, we expect Jesus to be taken to heaven as described in Mark 16:19, Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:9. RCC seems to have added this idea into their theology.
Mary Participated in the Resurrection and Deliver Souls
RCC also teaches that Mary participated in the resurrection of Jesus in anticipation of all Christians’ resurrection, that by giving birth she maintained her virginity; in passing into heaven, she didn’t leave the world, but was joined to the source of Life; she conceived God and through prayer, will deliver souls from death.
There is no scriptural evidence for this either.
Mary Integral to Christian Worship and RCC Is Devoted to Her
RCC also holds that devotion to Mary is integral to Christian worship; it honors Mary with this devotion and hold that the Church has honored this devotion from the most ancient times, calling her “Mother of God,” and this special devotion is expressed to her at liturgical feasts and are the “epitome of the whole Gospel.”
This part of the Mariology truly goes too far. Just how Mary is involved in the worship of God is not completely described. However, it sounds a lot like idol worship just to say that Mary is integral to Christian worship (I’m even abhorred at the mention of this idea). Furthermore the idea of devotion to Mary is formulated and that makes her deity to the Catholic Church, which breaks the first commandment to have no other gods before Him. (Exodus 20:3).
Read also; I am free from the curses of men
In conclusion, the Mariology is false because it is based on philosophies derived out of incorrect exegesis of Scripture and – if I may speculate – out of a desire that Mary be greater than human, perhaps as Jesus is revered as superior to angels (Hebrews 1:4).
I implore us all to pray in the name of Jesus that the Father reveal to us the truth through the very scriptures that have been cited in support of the Mariology, showing us that it is the false teaching Jesus spoke about in Matthew 7:15. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing…
By Stephen D. Edwards
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