Yes, she is the Mother of God, a post wherein I may rant

Something About Mary Every Day In May series. Happy Mother’s Day!

(Lightly edited on July 25, 2020, to bring some things up-to-date.) Today is Mother’s Day and it’s also May, the month of Mary, so I’m studying the Church’s teachings about Mary because I am forever being accosted by people (even some Catholics) who do not understand what the Church teaches about the Blessed Mother. They don’t even know what the Church teaches, much less what it means. But to get Mary wrong is to get Jesus wrong. A flawed Mariology leads to a flawed Christology because the teachings about Mary are intimately bound up with the teachings about her Son, and the teachings about her Son are intimately bound up with the teachings about His Mother. 

To get Mary wrong is to get Jesus wrong. A flawed Mariology leads to a flawed Christology because the teachings about Mary are intimately bound up with the teachings about her Son, and the teachings about her Son are intimately bound up with the teachings about His Mother. 

The teaching that ruffles the most feathers among non-Catholics (and Catholics who are inordinately influenced by them and poorly catechized) is the Theotokos teaching: that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Theotokos, the God Bearer. 

Some non-Catholics will agree with the idea of the Blessed Virgin as the God Bearer (Jesus is God, His mother bore Him, so His Mother is the God-Bearer) up to a point. Then, in an amazing, neck-snapping reversal, they will swear up and down that she is not and cannot be the Mother of God. 

It usually goes something like this: 

Me: Lalalalala, tweet tweet tweet, post post post, lalalalala.

Non-Catholic (NC): You heathen, look what you tweeted! You worship Mary! She’s nobody, a mere vessel, and certainly NOT the mother of God.

Me: (Count to three, take a deep breath, send up a prayer that says, basically, HALP! Ahem!) Mary is the Mother of Jesus, right? 

NC (eyeing me suspiciously, I can feel it over the interwebs and it’s happened enough in Real Life, too, as he almost whispers a tentative): Yes.

Me (breathing more slowly now): And Jesus is God?

NC (reluctantly agreeing, sure it’s a trick): Uh huh.

Me: Then Mary is the Mother of God.

NC: NO WAY! You idolatrous heathen! You Mary worshiper! You pagan, you! Your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries!

Okay, well, they may not usually say that last part. Usually.

But you get the picture. I’ve gotten whiplash so many times from the sudden slamming of the mental brakes by the drivers of these arguments. And, to be clear, these are rarely arguments that I have sought. Okay, well, sometimes I do try to defend a friend. Or I’ll be minding my own business as I am so often when tweeting the Rosary threads. And pow! A non-Catholic will swoop in and drop what he or she thought, evidently, was a huge truth bomb in the midst of my nice little prayers and images of our Lord Jesus and His Blessed Mother. Not only are these messages not truth bombs, but they bomb entirely. They give evidence that the sender of such messages has no clue what the Church teaches or why; and they give evidence that the sender has little Christian charity and even less humility, too.

It’s not uncommon for tempers to flare in an argument and for one to say something one did not intend to say. But when one’s first words are aggressive and insulting, one can hardly blame that act on an argument (or conversation or even monologue) when one has intruded into a thread or conversation precisely so that one can hurl aggressive insults and over-the-top invective. I call these people drive-by trolls. Hit-and-run commenters. I cannot tell you how many times it’s happened to me and to my friends. And from conversations I’ve had and things I’ve read I know it’s not uncommon. 

“To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” — John Henry Cardinal Newman in Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. 

Since I do get involved in these conversations, I’ve decided to read at least two books this month on the subject of Mary. In earlier posts (here and here) I mentioned Brant Pitre’s latest book.* Here I want to mention one by Tim Staples, Behold Your Mother.* In it Staples is going to take the common arguments (and when I say common, I mean common, some are CENTURIES old and have been dealt with in councils and documents going way back) and take them apart, showing what the Church teaches, and why, and why it matters. This is valuable because often enough even when a non-Catholic listens to what is being said, and agrees up to a point, he almost always reaches a point beyond which he simply refuses to go, and he’ll often say, What does it matter? And this is my personal favorite: As long as we agree on the essentials, let’s just agree to disagree. 

Goodness, the first thing we have to do is identify what those essentials are (non-Catholics themselves do not agree on these). Then we’ll be able to see more clearly what we really do agree on and what the Church teaches as true, and what the consequences are of rejecting that truth. 

He’s mentioned some Church councils already so I’m hoping that he’s going to dig into those. As another convert said long ago, 

“To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.”

John Henry Cardinal Newman, in Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, page 8.

I have found that to be true. Most of the errors I commonly hear have been made—and answered and settled—centuries ago. Some study will keep one from making those same errors again. Hopefully, some study can keep one from making new errors, too. (I’m leaving room for there to be errors I’ve never heard of. Man is ingenious when it comes to ways to obscure and miss the truth and to misrepresent it, too.) More of this in the days to come. Stay tuned.


Get a copy of Behold Thy Mother, by Tim Staples. *Amazon Affiliate links. See Full Disclosure below.

Paperback*

Kindle*

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10 thoughts on “Yes, she is the Mother of God, a post wherein I may rant

  1. It is against the Bible to teach God would have had a mother. Perhaps you would like to discuss if the chicken was first or the egg. The Bible is very clearly God was the first ever Spirit Being, having no flesh, bones or blood. It was That God Who created everything, long before even Maria was born. She was never there in the universe to create God. She herself is a creation of God and a child of God, like her children, inclusive Jesus, were children of God.

    Where would be written in Scripture that Mary created God or even gave birth to God? And in case she gave birth to God or became with child, how would that have been possible?

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      1. Sorry, but according the God of the Bible, Jesus is His son and not a god son, because according to the God Who no man can see, there is only One True God above all gods, and that is Jehovah, the God of Israel, who is the God of Abraham, the God of Jesus and his disciples.

        I would agree with the fact that Mary or Myriam is the mother of the Nazarene Jeshua or Jesus Christ, the sent one from God, who himself very well knew his position and prayed to his heavenly Father, Whom Jesus considered greater than himself.

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          1. Okay. In the meantime you might think about your Jesus being God, Who as an eternal Being cannot die, though at the wooden torture stake (according to you) called at himself asking why he had abandoned himself (which is a very weird question to ask yourself!) And what use would such an acting or showpiece have?

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            1. Okay, I’m back and visitors are gone. Now I can take a moment to think and respond.

              • First, I wonder if you read my post. The irony that you would respond to it the way you have is worthy of note, I think.

              • Second, I don’t know where you get your interpretation of Scripture or which translation you are using. It matters.

              • Third, you are a Christadelphian, correct? Have you ever asked yourself where the Scriptures came from? If you want to go back to the truly early Church, then why not use only the Scriptures they had? Which would be the Old Testament, the New Testament did not begin to be written down until Paul began writing his letters. And the various books were not approved and compiled into what we know as the Bible until a few hundred years later. If you want to use the Scriptures as compiled and handed down by the Church, it stands to reason that you would accept, or at least find out and consider, what the Church has to say about her Scriptures, including her interpretation of them.

              • Fourth, where do the Scriptures claim that Jesus was/is God? Short answer: Everywhere. Long answer: Jesus is recorded doing things that no one but God can do. He makes several I Am statements. He claims to be the Bridegroom and the Bridegroom in His tradition, as recorded in the Old Testament, is God. John’s Gospel makes the claim explicitly, though Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own version of it (and the whole Bible) so they can deny His divinity. Do Christadelphians have their own version of the Scriptures? If not, then which version are you using? I use several, but mostly the RSV2CE, then the NABRE, Navarre, and Douay-Rheims.

              I’ll await your reply before I go on any further. Thanks for reading and commenting on the blog and for this dialogue. May His peace be always with you, Marcus.

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              1. Dear Lee,

                You write ” I don’t know where you get your interpretation of Scripture or which translation you are using. It matters.”
                I have hundreds of Bible translations in several languages, which I use as study material and several languag books to help me for understanding the way of thinking in a certain language. (A very important matter for a Biblestudent, what I am.).

                A little bit further you write: “Have you ever asked yourself where the Scriptures came from? If you want to go back to the truly early Church, then why not use only the Scriptures they had? ” By which you want to create the impression the Bible came from the church, which is not at all true.

                The Bible is the infallible Word of God. God’s Word given to mankind by the use of different writers, herdsmen, prophets, kings, judges and priests as well as a few rabbis like the Nazarene Jeshua or Jesus whose words were notated by his followers.

                You are right to assume I am a Christadelphian and as a brother in Christ I am, with my fellow brethren following the teachings of the Jewish rabbi Jeshua ben Josef, better known as Jesus Christ, the sent one from God, whom we consider to be the Messiah and the one declared by God to be the son of God (and not like you consider him to be God having come down to earth to fake his death and so called to save people whilst he lets them still suffer so much.).

                We believe Jehovah is not a liar and as such always says the truth. It is Him Who declared Jesus to be His beloved son:

                “30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. 31 And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God.” (Lu 1:30-35 ASV)

                “21 Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that, Jesus also having been baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, as a dove, upon him, and a voice came out of heaven, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. 23 And Jesus himself, when he began [to teach], was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the [son] of Heli,” (Lu 3:21-23 ASV)

                “10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens rent asunder, and the Spirit as a dove descending upon him: 11 And a voice came out of the heavens, Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased.” (Mr 1:10-11 ASV)

                “For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there was borne such a voice to him by the Majestic Glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased:” (2Pe 1:17 ASV)

                At your question “Do Christadelphians have their own version of the Scriptures? I” I can tell you that every Christadelphian is allowed to use any version that they want or prefer to use, in whatever language they want to read the Book of books.

                Several of our brothers, like me, worked in translating committees or helped by the editing and publishing of certain Bible translations. As such those Bible versions on which we also receive part of the copyrights we use more in our eccelsiae. As such you might find all over the world the Holy Bible – Authorised (King James) Version Wide Margin Version from the Christadelphian Advancement Trust being used, as well as the Diaglott.
                Of the more contemporary versions you might find the ESV Bible of which we also co-operated.

                At my ecclesia site you shall be able to find that we use the ASV as our standard Bible for English, the Willibrord Bible 1978 Translation for Dutch, in Afrikaans the 1975 and 1988 translation, for German the Elberfelder 1871 translation and for French the Louis Segond 1910 translation, but also regular the TOB Version.

                For the Dutch Brethren site and in our Duch services we use the Canissius Translation as well the Nieuwe Bijbelvertaling (the New Bible Translation) of which I too was one of the many members from different denominations at the translation and correcting committee.

                At other sites and at the Jewish brethren their synagogues they use the Torah scrolls (in Hebrew) as well as the Jewish Bible Translation, plus the Wetboek van God (Law Book of God = Torah), the Orthodox Jewish Bible Version and the Orthodox Joodse Bijbelvertaling, all three books of which I also am a researcher and contributing translator.
                In Hebrew and Dutch they also use the Pentateuch with Haftaroth in the translation of Jitschak Dasberg (The 1907 translation) and the Jewish Study Bible (Torah, Nevi’im and Kethuvim)

                You shall notice we do focus a lot at the ancient Scriptures, written before Jesus was born, because we do believe they should be the basic of our faith and of the faith of every follower of the Jewish Nazarene teacher Jeshua ben Josef (Jesus Christ).

                He did not need the Catholic Church, which did not exist yet, nor used the New Testament (because that was not written yet), and held himself to the Only True God, the God of Israel, the God of Abraham Who is a singular Spirit Being no man can see and live. (Exodus 33:20).

                “And he said, Thou canst not see my face; for man shall not see me and live.” (Ex 33:20 ASV)

                It is to That God Jesus prayed and taught people to pray to. (Look at how Jesus prayed on the mpuntain of olives and how he urged God not to have Jesus his will done but God His will. In case Jesus is God than the will of Jesus would be the will of God.)

                That Jesus, the son of man, is recorded doing things that no one but God can do should not be so particular. Also some prophets before him could do that (like getting people out of the dead). Jesus was the authorised one from God and as such could do things in the name of God. (Matthew 28:18; John 5:27).

                “And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.” (Mt 28:18 ASV)

                “and he gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man.” (Joh 5:27 ASV)

                As so many Trinitarians, you come up with the “I am”, something you yourself and so many others all over the world say so often. Do you mean that when I ask you “Are you Lee, the person I am writing to?” and reply, like you walso would say so often at the phone, to others “I am”, that you are God?!?

                Jesus never said he is the “I Am that I Am” or “I Am the Being of being” or “Ia am Who I am”) namely like God said that He is “Eh-heh-yeh ashair Ehheh- yeh” (I Am Who I Am).

                When Jesus said “Ani Hu (I am He)” he gave the one questioning the answer that he was the one they spoke about. The same as we would reply with “I am” or say ‘I am him” or “I am her”. Jesus also replied with “I am” and much more often with”I am he” mentioning that he was the one where was been spoken off. (Him saying that is in English Bible often translated with the short form “I am” instead of wirting “I am him” or “Yes that’s me”.

                Jesus never claimed to be God, about Whom he was sure that he himself was lower than the Highest of all to Whom he would go, not to take His place but to sit next to Him, for being a High priest for God and a mediator between God and man. (Do not forget, one can not mediate for oneself, but well between two or more parties.)

                “27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. 28 Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe. 30 I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing in me; 31 but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” (Joh 14:27-31 ASV)

                “17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh even until now, and I work. 18 For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only brake the sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner. 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and greater works than these will he show him, that ye may marvel. 21 For as the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even so the Son also giveth life to whom he will. 22 For neither doth the Father judge any man, but he hath given all judgment unto the Son; 23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father that sent him. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself, even so gave he to the Son also to have life in himself: 27 and he gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, 29 and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment. 30 I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
                31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32 It is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33 Ye have sent unto John, and he hath borne witness unto the truth. 34 But the witness which I receive is not from man: howbeit I say these things, that ye may be saved. 35 He was the lamp that burneth and shineth; and ye were willing to rejoice for a season in his light. 36 But the witness which I have is greater than [that of] John; for the works which the Father hath given me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” (Joh 5:17-36 ASV)

                “Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I came forth and am come from God; for neither have I come of myself, but he sent me.” (Joh 8:42 ASV)

                “Jesus said unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Henceforth ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Mt 26:64 ASV)

                “And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” (Mr 14:62 ASV)

                “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken unto them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” (Mr 16:19 ASV)

                “For David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,” (Lu 20:42 ASV)

                “But from henceforth shall the Son of man be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” (Lu 22:69 ASV)

                “25 For David saith concerning him, I beheld the Lord always before my face; For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; Moreover my flesh also shall dwell in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul unto Hades, Neither wilt thou give thy Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou madest known unto me the ways of life; Thou shalt make me full of gladness with thy countenance. 29 Brethren, I may say unto you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set [one] upon his throne; 31 he foreseeing [this] spake of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he left unto Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear. 34 For David ascended not into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet. 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.” (Ac 2:25-36 ASV)

                “Him did God exalt with his right hand [to be] a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins.” (Ac 5:31 ASV)

                “55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.” (Ac 7:55-56 ASV)

                “For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, [himself] man, Christ Jesus,” (1Ti 2:5 ASV)

                “and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better than [that of] Abel.” (Heb 12:24 ASV)

                Jesus never is declared to be God, niether in the Old nor in the New Testament. Also concerning the power it is made clear who governs who.

                “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (1Co 11:3 ASV)

                “And when all things have been subjected unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subjected to him that did subject all things unto him, that God may be all in all.” (1Co 15:28 ASV)

                We, Christadelhians, do believe Jesus could sin, but did not, which means he always spoke the truth and did not tell lies. We do know Trinitarians like to twist his and His Fathers Words, but we think we should consciously consider all the words of the bible in unison with each other, and as such no parts of the Bible contradiction each other.

                Hopefully some of those verses quoted here, shall get you to think about your Trinity faith and shall you get up for looking more on what is really written about the Biblical characters, El Elohim Hashem Jehovah, the God above all other gods, and Jesus Christ the son of God and son of man, who gave himself to God as a ransom offering for mankind.

                That God may guide you and bless you

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                1. I’m not going to try to reply to all you wrote. I will take one part because I think it all, or most of it, boils down to this.

                  You wrote:

                  A little bit further you write: “Have you ever asked yourself where the Scriptures came from? If you want to go back to the truly early Church, then why not use only the Scriptures they had? ” By which you want to create the impression the Bible came from the church, which is not at all true.

                  My reply:

                  The Scriptures did not fall out of the sky and they were not written merely by various men and then gathered together randomly. Even that would imply that someone gathered them. And someone did. The Church. The Church was there before the New Testament writings ever began to be written. And those writings were written by men in the Church for the Church, to be read in the Liturgy, and to address the needs of those in the Church. And the writings of the Old Testament were also gathered and approved by the Church for her use.

                  Knowing the Biblical languages can be useful, of course. But a faulty Christology and a nearly absent Ecclesiology will get you nowhere or will get you somewhere off the mark by miles, lightyears even. This view of Christianity, Church history, and the Scriptures you’re presenting reminds me of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’m sure there are some differences but mostly it seems to me that both groups reject the Church and in so doing, reject something vitally necessary for understanding the Scriptures and Christ and Christianity and the whole Christian endeavor, which is to say, the making of saints.

                  I pray you will continue to study and pray, Marcus, with the goal of really seeking the truth. I know where the truth is to be found because I found it. Or it, or, more correctly, He found me. Rejecting the divinity of Christ is another error that makes one miss the mark. I pray that you will see that and that the Holy Spirit will help you see it.

                  May the Lord bless you and keep you, Marcus, but not in error. May He lead you to Himself in Truth and Grace. Peace be with you.

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    1. Glad it helped, sorry you’re sick. I’ve fallen asleep & have done the same thing. Took me all night more than once to pray 5 decades. But we keep at it. God bless you, dear sister. 🙏❤️📿

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