From Catholicism to Christianity Part 7: Mary of the Bible and Mary of Catholicism


( The following information is excerpted from T.A. McMahon’s article entitled Mary Who?,The Berean Call, October 1, 2000 )

“…The only trustworthy account of Mary is found in the Scriptures where information is presented by those who knew her personally and, more importantly, whose writings were under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Fewer than 90 Bible verses address the life of Mary.  In them we find a wonderful humble servant of the Lord who rejoices in Him as her Savior (Lk 1: 47)… Mary’s ministry was simply the birth and nurturing of the child Jesus. Once He reached adulthood, she played no influential part in His earthly service.  It’s at the wedding feast of Cana, which began the public ministry of Jesus, that her last words are recorded.  Fittingly, she tells the servants, ‘ Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it’ (Jn 2:5)… Mary then fades into the background.  The teaching that Mary was a perpetual virgin is contradicted by many verses (Mt 12:46; Mk 6:3; Jn 7: 3,5; 1Cor 9:5; Gal 1:19; Ps 69:8,etc.)…The Apostle Peter, a contemporary of Mary and regarded by Catholics as the first pope, wrote nothing about her. The Apostle Paul…made no mention of the alleged importance of devotions to Mary…  The Apostle John, who wrote the last book of the Bible and was given the care of Mary by Jesus Himself, says nothing about venerating her…Although mankind is being drawn into every kind of spiritual deception in the last days before the return of Jesus, it is especially sad that the real mother of Jesus, the remarkable ‘handmaiden of the Lord’ (Lk 1:38) is so terribly misrepresented, thereby drawing millions away from her Son… (excerpt ended).

What then does the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) believe about Mary? (all reference numbers in brackets are from the authorized Catholic Catechism)

Immaculate Conception according to RCC: “We declare…the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God…was preserved free from all stain of original sin…”[491]

(editorial note: contrary to popular opinion, this idea of Mary’s immaculate conception insofar  as the RCC is concerned is not referring to the virgin birth or Christ’s conception. Careful reading of the above statement demonstrates the attempt by the RCC at stating Mary was born sinless, making her equal to Jesus).

Biblical Response: the Bible declares that the consequence of Adam’s sin was that death (sin) spread to all mankind, including Mary.

Death in Adam, Life in Christ

Romans 5:12 (NKJV)

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (also Ps 51:5; Luke 1:46,47).

The Virgin Mother of God according to RCC: The Catholic Church teaches that, following the birth of Jesus, Mary remained an “immaculate and perpetual” virgin [266]

Biblical Response: “Mary was the mother of the human Jesus but not the mother of God; God can have no mother” (McCarthy p. 191). Mary also did not remain a virgin after Jesus was born; she had other children. Jn2:12; Mt 12:46; Mk 3:31; Lk 8:19; Mt 13: 55,56; Mk 6:3,4; Jn 7: 2-10; Jn 7:5; Acts 1:14; Gal 1:19; Gal 2: 9-12 – all make references to the brothers and sisters of the Lord. The original Greek word used speaks of a relationship of shared parentage.

The Assumption of Mary according to RCC: “In view of Mary’s sinless perfection, Roman Catholicism teaches that Mary’s body did not undergo decay at the end of her life but that God miraculously took her up to heaven” (McCarthy p. 188). This is known as the doctrine of the Assumption. When in heaven, God crowned her Queen of Heaven and Earth [966]. The Assumption of Mary is celebrated by the RCC as a Holy Day of Obligation.

Biblical Response: There are no scripture references that substantiate this claim. The Assumption of Mary is a tradition of the Catholic Church that has been elevated to the same level as Holy Scripture. In Matthew 15:6 Jesus states:” For the sake of your traditions, you have made null and void the Word of God.”

 Mary as Co-Redeemer according to RCC: The Catholic Church teaches that Mary “being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” (Second Vatican Council). According to the RCC, Mary’s sufferings at the cross were so intense that they brought her to the very threshold of death. She “participated with Jesus in the very painful act of redemption” [300] She is therefore called by the RCC “our co-redemptor” [304]. In addition, “just as Christ, because he redeemed us, is by a special title our King and Lord, so too is Blessed Mary, our Queen and our Mistress, because of the unique way in which she co-operated in our redemption” [Papal edict: Ad Coeli Reginam 307 – To the Queen of Heaven].

Biblical Response:  Scripture is clear in stating that the Lord alone is our redeemer. It is in God’s “beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1: 13,14). God justifies sinners “through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24). See also 1Peter 1: 18,19.

Mary, Mediatress of All Grace according to RCC: On p. 203 of his book James McCarthy states: “Roman Catholicism also teaches that Mary earned the privilege of being the one through whom God would dispense all grace to the world” [Ad Diem 308]. According to the Catholic Church, Christ “grants all graces to mankind through her,”[309] and “nothing is imparted to us except through Mary.”[310] The Church teaches that “nothing comes to us except through Mary’s mediation, for such is God’s will.”[313].

Biblical Response:

John 14:13-14 (NKJV)

13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. (See also: 1Pe 5:7; 1Tim 2:5).

Ironically, there are words spoken by Mary that the Bible entreats us to obey. She did not speak at the cross nor at the Tomb. Though her presence is recorded in Acts One, she is not named. The last words she did speak deserve to be heeded and in looking at them back over the centuries I think the Lord had a special reason for having them be her very last words. She is at the wedding of Cana. The public ministry of her son is just about to begin. With this miracle He will now  take center stage for all eternity. Like John the Baptist who knew when it was time for him to decrease and for Jesus to increase, this humble handmaiden demonstrates that her time is over with these words, “Whatever He saith unto you, do it” (Jn 2:5). And so Mary disappears into the shadows and Jesus becomes Lord of All…as it should be.

Work Cited:

Annotated bracketed references to Catholic doctrine were obtained from the current official Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Austin Flannery edition of Vatican Council II: The Concilar and Post Concilar Documents.

McCarthy, James G. The Gospel According to Rome. Harvest House, 2007.

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