Friday, March 18, 2005

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION:
A MACULATE DOCTRINE

The doctrine of "original sin." Churches that teach original sin teach that every newly conceived soul is blemished with the sin of Adam and Eve. Thus they argue that every body is born depraved, i.e. sinful, and already in a lost condition. This doctrine turns Paul's "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" into something more like, "for all have inherited sin and are short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). This false position fails to explain why Adam and Eve sinned if it takes a "darkened and sinful mind" to sin against God. So how does this apply to the virgin Mary and Jesus?

Catholics believe that Mary was born without spot or blemish: hence, "the Immaculate Conception." The Catholic Church's position on the virgin Mary is part of a long evolution of thought. Catholics believe that in order for Jesus to have been without sin (original sin), Mary would also have to have been without sin (original sin). Catholic's decreed that Mary must have been given special grace when she was conceived so that her parent's sin was not passed on to her. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains:

"In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus, of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX [The Pope] pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin."

It took 1850 years for the Catholic Church to make it official that Mary was preserved-unflawed and unblemished-from the stain of original sin. There is a type of equality in the Catholic Church between Jesus and Mary: Jesus did not sin and Mary was born without sin and remained a perpetual virgin; Mary was not distracted by the flesh. Their false teaching on Mary continues with the idea that she remained a "perpetual virgin" as they deny that Mary had brothers and sisters for Jesus through Joseph. Of course, the Gospels show otherwise.

Catholics hold this doctrine without solid evidence from Scripture. In their own words: "No direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from Scripture." To most Bible believers, such an admission as having "no direct or categorical and stringent proof..." would mean scrapping the whole idea: but not so for Catholics. The Catholic Church believes "original sin" is passed on to all children. Believing this led to the doctrine of the "Immaculate Conception" of Mary.

The Catholic Church relies upon a couple of verses to support their doctrine of Mary. Genesis 3:15 and Luke 1:28 forms the primary text of support for the "Immaculate Conception" of Mary. In the Genesis passage, God first speaks of the redemption of man through Christ, and the defeat of Satan. In this passage, God says there will be enmity between "you" (serpent) and "the woman" (Eve), and between "your seed" [devil's seed, DM] and "her seed" (the same 'her' as before, Eve). The next verse makes it clear that Eve is the woman when it warns that her punishment would be "...pain in childbirth" (Gen. 3:16). But Catholics decided that Mary is the woman in question. They must argue backwards that since "her seed" is most likely Jesus Christ, then the mother of Jesus is the woman in question. But the context doesn't allow that. We may reason that Jesus is the seed in question because the Bible points to Christ as victor over Satan, but there is no doubt that Eve, and not Mary, is the subject in question.

Catholics argue that only the sinless perfection of Mary explains the enmity between her and the Devil. The other passage, Luke 1:28, says that Mary was "full of grace." There is no Believer who doubts that Mary was a godly and virtuous woman; but this verse does not elevate Mary above human nature. Investigate for yourself. Study Genesis 3:16 and Luke 1:28 and answer if you think Mary was born different than any other. There is no Scriptural evidence for the "Immaculate Conception" of Mary. It is therefore a maculate, blemished, and stained doctrine of Mary that they hold to.

2 comments:

  1. Brother,

    You really misrepresent Catholic teaching in regard to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary. First, this doctrine is not explicit in Sacred Scripture. Just like the doctrine of the "Trinity" is not explicit. It is implicit. Clues have to be pieced together.

    Second, it was certainly "fitting" that Mary was preserved from OS but not required in order for Mary to have been the Mother of God (Jesus is divine, hence we call Mary the Mother of God).

    Third, Christians have always believed in the Immaculate Conception prior to its formal definition in the 19th century.

    Fourth, Mary needed a saviour just like everyone else except for Jesus. The Church does not teach otherwise. Jesus was Mary's saviour. God is outside of time. The grace of redemption was applied to Mary in view of the merits of Christ.

    Fifth, the Catholic Church does not hold Mary equal to Jesus. Jesus is God. Therefore Catholics worship God and Jesus alone along with the Eternal Father and the Holy Spirit. Catholics certainly "honor" Mary, but do not worship her. Without Mary we have no incarnation, no Holy Eucharist and so forth.

    If you want to blog about Catholic teaching fine. Please don't misrepresent it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Friend,
    It is not my intention to misrepresent anyone. I believe it is a sin to speak falsely of another. However, piecing together from Scripture the "Trinity" is much easier than Catholic doctrine on Mary.

    Scripture clearly states that there is one God. In Genesis, God said, "Let us make man in our image..." We are made in the image of God, and since Jesus and the Holy Spirit are shown to be God by their nature and work, then they must be persons of the godhead.

    But there is little in Scripture to support the sinlessness of Mary, which is what Catholics teach. The idea of an Immaculate Conception (not decided by the Pope until 1854) and the perpetual virginity of Mary is not decided by good hermeneutics. Instead, the Catholic doctrine of Mary appears to be an example of first coming up with the idea and then groping to find support in Scripture. No matter how "fitting" it would be, there is no place in Scripture that supports the Immaculate Conception.

    "Christians" have not always believed in the IC. If it were true, the Apostles of the first century would have spoken of it and certainly the Catholic Church would not have waited until the 1800's to make it official doctrine.

    Necessary is it, to Catholic reasoning, that Mary be sinless. From the Catholic Encyclopedia, it is said to be incongruous that the "flesh, from which the flesh of the Son of God was to be formed, should ever have belonged to one who was the slave of that arch-enemy, whose power He came on earth to destroy." (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm) It would only be "incongruous" if Adam's sin could dwell in Mary which could be passed on in the flesh.

    I do not mean to show any disrespect to the person of Mary. Because God chose her to carry the Son of God, she is blessed among women. But she was human and she sinned like the rest. Because there is no original sin which is inherited--only the temporal consequences--there is no need of an Immaculate Conception. It is as you said, her salvation was attained in the same way as anyone else's: by faith in the Son of God.

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