by John MacArthur
After his prophetic vision of the eternal glories of heaven at the end of the book of Revelation, the apostle John described how he was overwhelmed by what he’d seen.
And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.” (Revelation22:8-9)
The Roman Catholic Church has committed the same error as John, promoting a mere citizen of heaven to an improper place of authority and honor. Despite the overwhelming testimony of Scripture, the Catholic Church has elevated Mary—a self-described servant of the Lord (Luke 1:38)—to the same level as God, if not higher.
In his Ineffabilis Deus in 1854, Pope Pius IX established as dogma the immaculate conception of Mary, which preserved her from inheriting original sin. His concluding statements provide a good summary of the Catholic view of Mary.
Let all the children of the Catholic Church, who are so very dear to us, hear these words of ours. With a still more ardent zeal for piety, religion and love, let them continue to venerate, invoke and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived without original sin. Let them fly with utter confidence to this most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts and fears. Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless. Because, while bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race. And since she has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard.
Those words are echoed and expanded on throughout Roman Catholic history. Tradition dictates that Mary is part of the monarchy of heaven, soliciting grace and mercy from the Lord on behalf of sinners, and covering sin by distributing from her Treasury of Merit. She became a co-redeemer with Christ in His suffering on the cross, and is now a co-mediator alongside Him in heaven—essentially an alternative avenue of access to God. She replaces the Holy Spirit in bestowing aid and comfort to believers. In effect, she becomes an additional member of the Trinity.
That blasphemy stands in sharp contrast to what Scripture actually says about Mary, and even what she says about herself. Luke 1:46-55 records her humble reaction to the news that she would give birth to the Son of God.
And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things; and sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.”
The God she praised—the God of the Bible—does not need to be coaxed or wooed to distribute His blessings. He’s not harsh, distant, or indifferent—He’s gracious, righteous, and merciful. Rather than glorifying herself, she humbly worshiped the Lord.
Scripture actually has very little to say about Mary. There’s no description of her physical appearance, nothing about her life, her later years after Christ’s death, or her own death and burial. And when she does briefly appear with the disciples and the other believers on the day of Pentecost, she’s not an object of worship or even a leader in the early church—she’s just one among many. There simply are no biblical examples of anyone ever praying to her, honoring her, or venerating her.
Nor does she play a role in any biblical explanation of the gospel. Paul wrote a magnificent treatise on the doctrine of salvation that we know as the book of Romans, and all he said about the mother of Jesus is that she was “a descendent of David” (Romans 1:3). He’s even less specific in Galatians, another lengthy exposition of the pure, true gospel in which he simply said that Christ was “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4).
Contrast that with the unending Catholic volumes on the life of Mary, the miracles of Mary, the death of Mary, the apparitions of Mary, and on and on it goes. That’s why it’s often a shock for Catholics to read the Bible and see how little is actually said about Mary.
But that’s what happens when you elevate tradition to the level of Scripture and ascribe to men the infallible characteristics that only belong to God. It warps the truth of Scripture and distorts the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
God alone is our Redeemer, our Deliverer, our Benefactor, and our Comforter. He alone is to be worshiped, venerated, adored, and petitioned. The testimony of Scripture is clear.
Gather yourselves and come; draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; they have no knowledge, who carry about their wooden idol and pray to a god who cannot save. Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:20-22)
#1 Posted by
David Barrow | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
When one attributes to the virgin Mary (or anyone or anything else for that matter) the work which Christ alone has accomplished, the Christ of the Bible then becomes a lesser Christ, another Jesus as spoken of by the Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). And the glorious gospel then becomes another gospel. This is a damnable heresy (Galatians 1:6-8). The Jesus of Catholicism is not the Jesus of the Bible, just a satanic counterfeit who by the way is perpetually sacrificed in their sacrifice of the Mass. Do not be led astray by those who want to unify Protestants and Catholics. There is no fellowship between light and darkness. We need to rescue those who want to be rescued from the false Roman system, not embrace as brothers and sisters in Christ those who continue to love the Catholic Church. If we embrace them, not only are we participating in their evil deeds(2 John 9-11), we are deceiving them and leading them by the hand directly to hell. We too then become agents of Satan. He has succeeded in infiltrating the church, which is exactly his MO. We are warned about this all throughout the Bible. Satan camouflages himself behind political correctness and ecumenicalism (2 Corinthians 11:14-15), and makes it look unloving when we are not in unity with him. But we are not unaware of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).
#2 Posted by
Marsha Bejian | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
I guess my comment is more a question as a lot of people are focused on wheat is going on with the pope right now. I would like to know John MacArthur's thoughts on the prophecy of St. Malachy that so many people are talking about today. God bless!
#3 Posted by
David Dejonge | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
John: I am challenged by your anger at the Roman Catholic Church. I have in the past purchased all of your commentaries, listened to your sermons/ podcasts bought your books and so on it has gone.
For the last 7 years I have done intense study on what you refer to as the 'dark ages' and what I have found is that your commentaries, indeed your leadership of perhaps millions leaves out an enormous amount of recorded history.
To simply prooftext and pass judgement upon millions of souls (without the historical and archaeological evidence to balance out your scripture) does not in any way paint a complete picture. The church fathers fought diligently against heresy and also created an infrastructure for the frame work to protect The Church from falling into a pit of Satanic ritual as you have eluded to.
Because scripture says little about Mary, the Mother of God, does not mean you can throw out the rest of recorded history about her and condemn those who know it.
Could one simply grab one a section of the constitution and make an accurate assessment of American history without knowing the thought, fight for freedom and context that created it? Yet alone make that assessment 2000 years removed from that history.
Your passion and search for truth could be admired but to pave your path to clarity by elevating yourself to the supreme judge of millions in the world creates and promotes further division, anger and hate. None of these are of God and are opposite to the fruits of the spirit.
To have your opinion is one thing but to assess inaccurate Christian history and use your position of influence to the masses is another. You can have your own opinion but you cannot have your own facts.
There are indeed countless topics of Christian history that are not recorded in the Bible. And theology is molded around these. Your commentary series is admissible evidence itself that one cannot simply rely on scripture only.
Holding yourself in the position of judging and condemning the woman who gave birth to the God you claim as Lord is in contrast to any scripture you could possibly find to support your commentaries and attacks on souls that claim Jesus Christ as the only God in accordance to Romans 10:9.
To also grab the darkest historical sins from fellow Christians and condemn those now living within that faith for the sins done generations ago lacks any 'grace to anyone'.
I have met many wonderful Germans and Japanese people but I have never looked at them and said you are not worthy because of what happened during WWII.
While scripture does not paint a vivid picture of what happened to Mary (or many of the other key players from the NT) it does paint a clear picture of how a church should be organized. If you look to that organization as well as the history and veins of fact that can legitimately be traced to the founding fathers you and your followers would clearly see a contrast to much of what you are teaching this week.
#4 Posted by
Beth Varley | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
I just wanted to say that the Scriptures Pastor MacArthur gave about the "queen of heaven" really shows how God feels anout lifting u p anyone but the one true God. They were Jer. 7:16-20 and Jer. 44:15-23. I have also been taught that Nimrods wife called herself the queen of heaven. Is this who they are talking about in Jer.?
#5 Posted by
steve lincoln | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
#7 Posted by
Janice Noland | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
Thank you, Pastor MacArthur, for writing this! I am almost in tears as I read it. The title Redeemer and Savior belongs to Christ and Christ alone. “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11
I get sick to my stomach every time I hear some say Mary is the “Mother of God”. Mary is not the mother of God. God does not have a mother. He was not created or procreated. God has always existed and that includes God the Son, Jesus Christ, the 2nd member of the Godhead. He existed as God in all eternity past (John 1:1). He came to earth and along with his Deity became a Man, being born of a virgin. Mary then is the earthly mother of the Man Jesus, no more. It is a great honor for her to be used by the Holy Spirit in such a way, but she herself is not God-like. But when you continually refer to her as the “Mother of God” it is a short jump to assuming she is like God, even equal to God, which is heresy of the worst kind.
#8 Posted by
Brad Weidenhammer | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
In response to David's #3 post...
It is no wonder David you are offended and in my opinion confused when you accept "history" and other sources as Truth. The scriptures are the only source of TRUTH, true Truth as Francis Shaeffer called it.
Jmac is correct when evaluating any truth claim, ie Mariology, using scripture alone.
Keep up the good work John. Continue to be bold.
#9 Posted by
Jeremiah Johnson (GTY Admin) | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
I'm not an expert on the prophecy of St. Malachy, but it seems that it's widely discredited, even among Catholic historians. There will always be some sort of "tea leaves" that people use to anticipate or predict the return of the Lord and the end times. It's important for believers to remember Paul's exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2--"Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night."--and stay busy with the Lord's work until His return.
#10 Posted by
Corey Fleig | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
In direct response to #3 by David Dejonge, I am gratified that you (David) are bothered by Dr. MacArthur's position. I hope it forces you to think about the primary reasons why the Reformation was borne.
What Dr. MacArthur is doing, is he's elevating Scripture above history, above the Church Fathers, and above catholic testimony, indeed above all men. This is what Martin Luther did.
I'm sure you're aware that in the last 20 years the debates between Protestants and Catholics have succeeded in identifying the real crux of all disagreement - from Bellarmine to Keating, Ott to Hahn, Romanism unabashedly *denies* the supremacy and sufficiency of Scripture for our rule of faith. Tradition and The Church actually has more authority over Scripture. This much we already know.
So what you're reacting to is Dr. MacArthur's commitment to teach *only* those things that are God-breathed, and no more.
Obviously, Rome claims that the Church through history has more to say. But far from establishing a patrine concensus, more and more study of early church history demonstrates that most early church fathers were as committed to Sola Scriptura as Dr. MacArthur is. But even if they weren't, would that change anything? Scripture is authoritative even if all men are wrong.
Your reaction to discussion of Mary is a perfect example. Scripture teaches that Mary is a normal woman who had children after Jesus in the normal way. Scripture says that. Rome teaches otherwise. You have chosen to believe what your Church has said, and even if it is at odds with Scripture, you support the Church.
This is why Grace to You exists, and why the commentaries exist. The Church is not at all what Rome has made it. Its authority is derivative to Scripture, not the other way around.
I write all this because we need to make the root problem really clear. This is about Scripture's authority.
Either the Apostle Paul wrote "don't go beyond what is written" and meant it in support of Sola Scriptura, or he meant something else.
That is the war, and Grace to You is committed to upholding the testimony of Scripture as God-breathed and fully authoritative.
Catholic popes, from Clement to Benedictus, have no authority to add to Scripture via tradition or alleged church authority.
The disagreement you have with MacArthur is good, because it reveals something about the way we treat Scripture. I pray you will see that Scripture as God-breathed is authoritative, and the Church is her servant, not her master.
Keep it up!
#11 Posted by
Lena Peterson | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
So do you believe that Mary, the Blessed Virgin, magnifies the Lord?
You think that scripture says very little about Mary but think about how much scripture Mary was the source for. Where do you think the gospel writers got the information about the Annunciation, the conception of St John, the Visitation, the Magnificat that you quoted, the trip to Bethlehem, no room at the inn, the birth of our Lord in the stable, laying him in a manger, the worship of the magi and shepherds, the star of Bethlehem, the presentation when Mary met Simeon and Anna, the flight into Egypt, finding Jesus in the temple, Jesus’ first public miracle at the wedding at Cana and the list goes on. Where did they get this info??? It was from Mary.
By the way Catholics DO NOT worship Mary, this is absurd. Catholics are just as aware as Protestants that Mary was a human creature. We honor her in imitation of Jesus, He obeyed perfectly the IV commandment, “Honor your father and your mother.”
#12 Posted by
Keith Bence | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
Comment deleted by user.
#13 Posted by
Keith Bence | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
In response to #3...
There is so much that is misguided in this post/reply to John's message.
John seeks to compare the clear teachings of the Roman Catholic Church (as quoted from the official Catechism, church documents, papal teachings, etc.) with the clear teachings of Scripture. His judgments are not levied on the basis of his subjective personal opinion but as objective contradictions to what God's eternal judgment declares (His Word). John is doing exactly what Scripture commands all believers to do: to be Bereans of things taught as "truth" and to judge with a righteous judgment (John 7:24).
And please don't misread his words. His (and the Scripture's) condemnation is not against Mary herself but upon the Roman Catholic Church's veneration and exaltation of Mary to be co-Christ alongside Jesus. John rightly recognizes Mary as "citizen of heaven", but he also rightly recognizes Roman Catholic teaching on Mary as a "blasphemy".
Praying for increased discernment and a trust in the sufficiency and authority of God's inerrant and infallible Word.
By His Grace, For His Glory
#14 Posted by
Bjuster Baarlik | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
2nd response to David #3:
Hello David. In your last sentence you said to John MacArthur: ".......you and your followers would clearly see a contrast to much of what you are teaching this week".
Just to make sure you understand clearly, I would like to mention that John MacArthur has zero followers. The people you think are following John, are only following Jesus, together with John himself.
#15 Posted by
George Trimble | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
"And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.
But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." - Luke 11:27-28
There is the testimony of the Lord Himself.
G. A. Trimble
#16 Posted by
Jonathan Albert | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
After reading this article, I happened to bounce over to ttb.org and read Vernon McGee's booklet on Elizabeth, "the first person to worship Jesus." In it, he addresses the problem of Mary worship at about the middle of the document. I think it would somewhat help this debate by reading his viewpoint, in common parlance:
#17 Posted by
Chris McCarthy | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
I was raised catholic and remember the conversations with my family members about Mary not having sin and that prayers to her were because it was showing a sense of humility and not being so proud as to go to the Son of God. But they were conversations by my beloved family without the knowledge of scripture. I never heard the prayer of Mary mentioned but see it posted above from the gospel of Luke.
She had a correct view of her sinful condition because she views God as her savior. Just like the tax collector in Luke 18 she is aware of her sinful condition. She also does not mention any of her own deeds but looks totally to the hand of God in her life and to the nation of Israel. She magnifies God's Grace. She knew her Old Testament. She calls God the Mighty One. Her faith in God alone to keep his promise to the nation of Israel with the Messiah has helped me to see that She believed in Grace alone through faith alone in God alone as revealed in scripture alone. Her prayer is recorded in scripture for us as in New Testament and unfolds the plan of salvation through Christ alone.
#18 Posted by
Lena Peterson | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
In response to Trimble #15
So the Holy Spirit inspired our Lady to say that all generations shall call her blessed. You seem to think that in this passage Jesus contradicts that. Jesus cannot contradict the Holy Spirit, clearly you don't understand the passage.
It seems you don't understand the importance of Mary in salvation history either. She had free-will. The significance of "Let it be done unto me according to thy word" cannot be understated. She could have said "no", then we would have no savior. Her obedience to our Lord (and all of our obedience) is very much more important than even being the woman that bore Him. Keep that in perspective when you read scripture and try to walk away thinking that you don't have to keep the 10 COMMANDMENTS (not the 10 suggestions that show how weak you are).
So, on the one hand you want to say blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it but on the other hand you want to say that it doesn’t matter if we obey the word of God (some of you say we can’t keep it, this passage, Lk 11:27-28, shows we can and we are expected to). You can’t have it both ways.
#19 Posted by
Eizabeth Prata | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
I find it interesting that the last recorded words of Mary in the bible are in John 2:5.
"His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (ESV)
Far from being royalty, co-redemptrix, or in any way an influence on Jesus due to their relationship in the flesh as mother and son, the Miracle at Cana signaled a shift. See more here in John's wonderful sermon "Christ's First Miracle."
#20 Posted by
Daniel Wilson | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
God never had a father or mother....... No one created Jesus... not Mary...
Oh.. found something.. :) Hope it's helpful.. Amen..
English Standard Version (ESV)
Jesus' Mother and Brothers
46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.[a] 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
#21 Posted by
George Trimble | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
In response to Peterson #18
Please do not presume to know what I think. I quoted the Luke 11:27-28 passage to be considered along with the other statements in this thread. It does not represent my totality of thought on the matter. I also don't understand why you are lecturing me about the 10 COMMANDMENTS. You do not know anything about me. I must say though that putting COMMANDMENTS in caps got my attention.
May the Lord bless you real good.
#22 Posted by
Lena Peterson | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
It is interesting that she said that. That is precisely why the Blessed Mother is such a great saint, because she always points us to her Son.
#23 Posted by
David Dejonge | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
So many to respond to.
First you do recognize that the scriptures you are referring to were canonized by a unified Holy Catholic church that had a pope and were voted on by Bishops?
Second a set of scriptural texts did not exist at the time the NT was written and was not decided on until the first ecumenical council.
As Lena states accurately- the scripture you hold true to states that Mary should be called blessed among all women. Little different than the leader of a Satanic instrument.
Bjusters statement: "Just to make sure you understand clearly, I would like to mention that John MacArthur has zero followers. The people you think are following John, are only following Jesus, together with John himself." Really? Interesting I think many Catholics (and others) would say that about the Pope.
Corey Fleig- thanks for the post- whew that is alot to respond to.
OK see above- which came first scripture or the church?
Scripture does not teach that Mary was just a normal women.
If scripture is all sufficient why does anyone need a sermon? A commentary? A speaker? A symposium? Another denomination (over 40,000 now exist birthed from the reformation).
No where in the Bible does it say or support Sola Scriptura 2 Timothy 3:16 was referring to the old testament as the NT was still being written.
And: "In direct response to #3 by David Dejonge, I am gratified that you (David) are bothered by Dr. MacArthur's position. I hope it forces you to think about the primary reasons why the Reformation was borne."
I am not bothered by his position. I am bothered at the lack of supporting historical evidence to support it. To have an opinion is great. To present opinion as historic fact (to many) while it disagrees with historic fact is another.
Google church history timeline. What did Christ and the Apostles quote from? Did it include the Apocrypha?
If you are at peace where you are then be at peace. If you want to dig into this then explore more than one voice on it. Work through this and make a balanced decision.
History. History. History. Learn it, know it, live it.
I appreciate the passion JM has for his ministry, he has a great ability to teach. But to teach without compassion and the entire story- is that truly teaching? Thank you GTY for allowing me to voice my opposition to this series- that I do greatly respect and reveals the solid character that we all strive for. Kyrie Eleison.
#24 Posted by
Charles Pack | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
In response to Lena Peterson #11: Do you really think Mary was the source of Scripture? You are sadly mistaken. The Holy Spirit is the source of Scripture. The Scripture is God-breathed. I would suggest you read the Bible to discover the authorship of the Word. The catholic church may attribute it to Mary but God certainly does not.
#25 Posted by
Marie Ann | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
Where were you guys a few days ago when I was arguing that it's all about grace, faith and WORKS?!
Daniel Wilson (#20) cites Matthew 12:49: “He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For WHOEVER DOES THE WILL of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
The verses cited take nothing away from the Blessed Mother, who as Lena Peterson pointed out, did do the will of the Father.
Catholic teaching does NOT teach, as John MacArthur states above, that Mary “becomes an additional member of the Trinity.” That’s really offensive actually.
Thank you, Daniel and George. Better late than never!
#26 Posted by
Cameron Buettel | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
Please explain how God's ordained plan of redemption could have been thwarted by Mary if she had chosen not to comply with God? If you really believe this you are, in effect, denying God's sovereignty over all things.
Secondly, please explain what you mean by suggesting that we can keep the Ten Commandments? Is that what you think Jesus meant by hearing God's Word and keeping it? Do you think it is possible for people to live a sinless life? Saying that the Ten Commandments are humanly achievable conversely denies our need for Christ to fulfill them on our behalf.
Thirdly, nobody has suggested that Luke 11:27-28 contradicts Luke 1:42. Jesus' words, "Yea rather," means yes she is blessed but those who hear the word of God and keep it are even more blessed. Jesus was actually saying that obedience to Him holds a more honorable place of blessing than being chosen to carry Him in the womb during His incarnation. This totally discredits the idea that Mary's blessedness somehow equates with her having a special place in heaven where she performs the role of a mediator between God and man.
#27 Posted by
Daniel Wilson | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
Peterson, you said....
"By the way Catholics DO NOT worship Mary, this is absurd. Catholics are just as aware as Protestants that Mary was a human creature. We honor her in imitation of Jesus, He obeyed perfectly the IV commandment, “Honor your father and your mother.” "
No where in the passage God wants us to honor the dead......not even Mary... Jesus is God. He made the 10 commandment for us humans, not for God for He is good and no sin is in Him.. Mary was a sinner as we are sinners before God...
Frankly, I seen Catholics honor and pray to Mary for divine peace..
Praying for you.. :)
#28 Posted by
Daniel Wilson | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
Marie... Mary did'nt know Jesus was God yet at the time.. even Jesus' half brothers did'nt believe Jesus is God as well..
#29 Posted by
Daniel Wilson | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
oh... forgot one more... we are no longer saved by the Law, but by God's grace for the price He paid from dying on the cross for our sins. He rose that we may have life.
#30 Posted by
Bill Graham | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
I am a former RC so I know the situation quite well. Here is something to ponder: "We don't worship Mary. We just pray to her, attribute to her the Divine ability to hear thousands of prayers at the same time, focus on her, put statues of her all over the place, carry pictures of her in our wallets, make up stories about her, obsess on reported visions of her, go on at length about ways to live in devotion to her, and give her un-Biblical titles. But we don't worship her." (Credit to Dan Phillips at TeamPyro).
C'mon folks. If we call a tail a leg how many legs does a dog have? It doesn't matter what you call it, the dog has four legs. Call it what you want, prayer is a form of worship. Building statues is a form of worship. Wearing scapulars is a form of worship. Mary is worshipped, plain and simple. Here's an idea: the time you normally spend venerating (but not worshipping) Mary, give it to the Lord of Lords. Is there anyone worthy of supplanting him? Is He not worth all of our love, worship, honor, and praise?
#31 Posted by
David Dejonge | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
I saw some people come off that cruise ship that had no electricity- they kissed the ground, knelt down and lifted their hands up in gratitude to be home. I don't think they were worshipping America.
Definition of VENERATE
: to regard with reverential respect or with admiring deference
: to honor (as an icon or a relic) with a ritual act of devotion
Definition of WORSHIP
chiefly British : a person of importance —used as a title for various officials (as magistrates and some mayors)
: reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also : an act of expressing such reverence
: a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual
: extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem
#32 Posted by
Adam D | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
@Lena & all catholics reading these replys,
Why stop with your exaltation and worship of Mary, why not trace it back to other biblical mothers? Without these mothers fulfilling their part, Mary would not have been born:
Sarah: Gen 17:16 "And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”
or the first mother Eve: Gen 3:20 "And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living."
Using the argument that "she gave birth to Jesus, so she has some special status or power" is absurd. Just as with many others in the bible who followed God's plan, they were EMPOWERED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. You are giving Mary the credit that the HOLY SPIRIT deserves.
Mary was a mere human as any of us are. By God's grace she was chosen to carry out a specific task to bring forth God's redemption plan through Christ. Just as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, David etc were before her.
I pray that the Lord open your eyes to the catholic church and have you run, not walk, as fast as you can out of there.
#33 Posted by
Adam D | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
The primary Catholic argument against sola scriptura is that the Bible does not explicitly teach sola scriptura. Catholics argue that the Bible nowhere states that it is the only authoritative guide for faith and practice.
While this is true, they fail to recognize a crucially important issue. We know that the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible declares itself to be God-breathed, inerrant, and authoritative. We also know that God does not change His mind or contradict Himself. So, while the Bible itself may not explicitly argue for sola scriptura, it most definitely does not allow for traditions that contradict its message.
Sola scriptura is not as much of an argument against tradition as it is an argument against unbiblical, extra-biblical and/or anti-biblical doctrines. The only way to know for sure what God expects of us is to stay true to what we know He has revealed—the Bible. We can know, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that Scripture is true, authoritative, and reliable. The same cannot be said of tradition.
The Word of God is the only authority for the Christian faith. Traditions are valid only when they are based on Scripture and are in full agreement with Scripture. Traditions that contradict the Bible are not of God and are not a valid aspect of the Christian faith. Sola scriptura is the only way to avoid subjectivity and keep personal opinion from taking priority over the teachings of the Bible.
The essence of sola scriptura is basing your spiritual life on the Bible alone and rejecting any tradition or teaching that is not in full agreement with the Bible. Second Timothy 2:15 declares, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/sola-scriptura.html#ixzz2M9VVfPsA
#34 Posted by
Eizabeth Prata | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
Lena #22, in regards to Mary being a blessed saint because she points to the Son,
1. The “saints” are the body of Christ, Christians, the church. All Christians are considered saints. Mary is no more and no less a saint than other believers who were sinful but redeemed by Jesus. You can read more here, it's got the scriptures. http://www.gotquestions.org/saints-Christian.html#ixzz2M9n7JANF
2. Our job as saints is to point to Christ, to glorify Him in all we do. Mary was doing her job as we must do ours- glorify and point to Him as the author and finisher of our faith and the savior of the world.
As we go through this world, we represent another Kingdom (John 18:36), and it is our responsibility to reflect the “official position” of heaven- that is what 'pointing to' means to me. Mary was no more, no less a saint than other believers, sinful but redeemed by the finished work of Christ. Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/ambassador-for-Christ.html#ixzz2M9nb9ytw
3. Did you read or listen to the sermon about the Miracle at Cana from pastor MacArthur that I posted? And how her relationship with Jesus changed at that point? Please do, it is a wonderful exposition. Just terrific.
Mary is not co-redemptrix, is not sinless, did not ascended bodily, or any other thing. She was chosen by grace to be the fleshly vessel in which Christ was gestated and born, and if there is any example to be taken from her, it is her humble submission to God's plan for her and her glorification of HIM through it.
#35 Posted by
Chris Carney | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
In response to #10 Posted by Corey Fleig:
Why is there so much division in the protestant church? How many protestant denominations are there now? Thousands and thousands – it seems every day a new denomination is formed, all it takes is one person in “Pope John’s Church” to say “I agree with everything John MacArthur teaches except xyz so I’m going to start up a new church it will be called John MacArthur –xyz.” The problem is, once you abandon the true Church and reject its authority, by default you become the authority.
Everyone with a copy of the bible and an opinion effectively becomes their own "pope" - interpreting Scripture as they see fit. Or, they choose to follow an “authority” like John MacArthur. Unfortunately, the less they know about history and tradition the more likely they are to misinterpret the Scriptures and fall into error.
The Catholic church is the oldest living institution on the planet with an unbroken apostolic succession going all the way back to St. Peter and Jesus Christ Himself – that alone is miraculous. Where will John MacArthur’s “startup” church be in 100-500-2000 years? Will it still be around? Or will it have divided and spawned another thousand churches? John tells us that “there shall be one fold and one shepherd” and Paul tells us to “avoid those who create dissensions” and he urges “that there be no divisions” among us and that we “be of the same mind, united in heart, thinking one thing” … only the Universal Church can claim this unity!
St. Irenaeus (AD 200) “… the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole word, yet guarded it, as if she occupies but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth.” Against Heresies 1, 10 ,2.
Eusibius of Caesarea (AD 4th Century): “but the brightness of the Catholic Church proceeded to increase the greatness, for it ever held to the same points in the same way, and radiated forth to all... with sobriety and purity of the divine teaching as to conduct and thought.” Ecclesiastical History 4,7, 13.
St Augustine (AD 392) “The Catholic Church is the work of Divine Providence, achieved through the prophecies of the prophets, through the Incarnation and the teaching of Christ, through the journeys of the Apostles, through the suffering , the crosses, the blood of the death of the martyrs, through the admirable lives of the saints…. When, then, we see so much help on Gods part, so much progress and so much fruit, shall we hesitate to bury ourselves in the bosom of that Church? For starting from the apostolic chair down through successions of bishops, even unto the open confession of all mankind, it has possessed the crown of teaching authority.” The Advantage of Believing 35.
#36 Posted by
Mary Kidwell | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
God says in His Word that He will not share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8 and Isaiah 48:11). Yet His glory is robbed from Him when we focus on those He has used to carry out His plans rather than praising Him alone, the author of the plans. Throughout history, God has used both believers and unbelievers to accomplish His will (Ezra 1:1, Ezra 6:22). Even a king’s heart is a stream of water in the Lord’s hand and can be turned by Him wherever He wills (Proverbs 21:1)
While we can learn from the example of anyone who yields to the Spirit of God and submits to God’s will, let us remember that if we have obeyed God, we have only done that which was our duty (Luke 17:10) as each of us are unworthy servants, saved by His grace alone. Mary recognized her unworthy status. That was not false humility. She was a sinner in need of grace like every other human born (Romans 3:23). Her faith is a great example to us, but as Adam D (#32) pointed out, so is the faith of many others (see Heb. 11).
2 Cor. 4:7 states “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” Let God alone be glorified.
#37 Posted by
Orlando Delgado | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
#3 and #23, Kyrie Eleison writing on Behalf of David Dejonge, it is very interesting the way you defend Roman Catholicism and the theology they have defended for centuries.
There is nothing I can say to you that will make you change your view regarding how important it is that Scriptures must be upfront before any man.
I do believe that you have to dig deeper prior to the first ecumenical council (325), and surprisingly you will find that what the true church was reading from the second century up to early fourth century was what we know today as the NT, and that was the only way to know God. The Apostle Paul said to the church at Corinth that the spiritual gifts (speaking in tongues, miracles, new revelation) will cease. The only way to know God was thru men transformed by the Holy Spirit teaching others the Word and the Spirit again will make converts by the hearing of the Word. My point is that it was not the council of Nicea who established the canon, it was the Holy Spirit by those godly men of the First original churches.
I believe the issue with mariology in the eyes of the reformers and or protestants is that of the deity assigned to Mary. I love the story of Mary and in my meditation moments reflecting on her story is truly beyond description, how an almighty God had such love for her that he elected her to the mother of the incarnate Messiah, my Lord Jesus. What a thought. I cannot go any further with you because you do not believe or do not hold Scripture as inerrant and authoritative for salvation.
My prayer is that if one day the Lord would illuminate your heart and make you see different in regard to His Word.
#38 Posted by
Jean Pierre Canete | Wednesday, February 27, 2013at
Christ alone deserve the praise of men.
8 At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be [f]made well, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk. 11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.” 12 And they began calling Barnabas, [g]Zeus, and Paul, [h]Hermes, because he was [i]the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was [j]just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their [k]robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these [l]vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 [m]In the generations gone by He permitted all the [n]nations to go their own ways; 17 and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, [o]satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even saying these things, with difficulty they restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.
#39 Posted by
David Dejonge | Thursday, February 28, 2013at
Orlando Delgado thanks Orlando- no prayers needed. I and millions of Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians confess Jesus Christ as Lord of my life. I have dug way deeper than the first ecumenical council and their really is no support for sola scriptura. If you truly do the research you will see that the organized church had apostolic succession as well as bishops and was organized. The reason people refer to it as the dark ages is they choose to ignore the light that was their and claim it as dark. Read the didache, read the writings of ignatius or clement of Rome and you will see that Mary was held in high regard and is not part of the trinity. There truly is an enormous ocean to the faith of Catholicism and Orthodoxy that is being ignored in these statements and the blogs that paints a portrait of satanic ritual and perpetuates division among denominations, families and individuals. I find it tragic that history is ignored while judgement without evidence prevails.
#40 Posted by
Jeremiah Johnson (GTY Admin) | Thursday, February 28, 2013at
Chris (#35) and David (#39),
I'd strongly encourage both of you to listen to John MacArthur's sermon "The Pope and the Papacy." It's the second message in the series linked above under Related Resources. You can also find it here: http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-291/the-pope-and-the-papacy.
In it, John deals with the Catholic Church's claims of apostolic succession, going all the way back to Peter's supposed commission by Jesus.
#41 Posted by
Adam D | Thursday, February 28, 2013at
@ Chris #35
Being wrong for a long period of time does not add credibility to your beliefs. There are pagan religions (like roman catholicism) that have been around longer, does that make them also a viable belief system?
Also, you cannot reasonably say that the roman catholic church has not molded and morphed their catechism over the millenia. Even mass has changed over my lifetime, if it was perfect then wouldn't it be perfect now?
I agree with your argument in the fragmentation of the body of Christ, it is detremental to our purpose as a body. However, if you look within the main "denominations" in the Christian body they have an overwhelming majority in common moreso than different.
It is sad that many times these small inconsequential differences drive a wedge between Christians. Just to clarify, I do not consider the roman catholic church as part of the body of Christ. There may be saved individuals who for some reason associate themselves with the roman catholic church, but the institution itself a pagan cult
#43 Posted by
Jerry Bruno | Saturday, March 2, 2013at
@adam #41 You make an interesting statement: "There may be saved individuals who for some reason associate themselves with the roman catholic church, but the institution itself a pagan cult."
There MUST be truly born again, saved Catholics - I can't believe anyone would say there are NO saved Catholics. Unfortunately, the non-biblical practices of the Catholic church now make suspect those Catholics who are truly born again.
Thanks for your post.
#45 Posted by
Ian Day | Monday, March 4, 2013at
Excellent essay, Pastor.
Pithy and succinct.
One should read every verse of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelations.
If read with intellectual honesty, one finds zero support of Roman Catholic doctrine in this regard.
#47 Posted by
Ron Morales | Wednesday, March 6, 2013at
Thank you for this writing.It was informative and prayerfully it will give people thought as to where they are looking for the truth. It always has and always will be in the word of God!
God bless you all
and may discernment come to all who are being deceived
#48 Posted by
Christopher Coogan | Thursday, March 7, 2013at
Catholic Edition of the New Revised Standard Version
Excerpts followed by questions.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus, the Christ, appears to invite the humble to come to Him. Now that He is in Heaven, has this changed?
"Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.” (Luke 17:3,4)
Jesus, the Christ, instructs his followers to forgive a repentant believer. In other places, He makes it clear that His disciples are to be as their Master. So, is Jesus a hypocrite, instructing his disciples to do the very thing that he is resistant to do?
"Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. " (John 14:8-11)
Jesus, the Christ, makes it clear that the approachable, gracious, willing to forgive person they see in Him is the exact representation of God the Father. So, is the Father resistance and unwilling to forgive a repentant sinner who asks?
" accordingly Jesus has also become the guarantee of a better covenant. ... Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he has no need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for those of the people; this he did once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests those who are subject to weakness, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever." (Hebrews 7:22-28)
It's clear that Jesus, the Christ, ever lives to make intercession for true believers. It is also clear that there is no need to make additional sacrifices for sin.
Jesus invites us to come, is willing to forgive, not resistant, and ever lives to make intercession for us. What need is there for intercession by a catholic priest? Mary, the mother of Jesus? A number of saints? He is the only Advocate and Mediator supported by scripture.
#49 Posted by
Christopher Coogan | Sunday, March 10, 2013at
@ Lena #18 and other catholic blog readers.
I'm a little surprised that you focused on the 10 commandments. You do realize that the Mosaic law spells out what the 10 commandments mean through a number of books of the Pentateuch? They show what a Holy God requires? It's much more than the 10 commandments. If all the detail is understood, then one must realize there are many facets and depths that determine whether that commandment is being broken or not that may not be understood by the simply stated commandment. How God defines a thought, action, and motive is often far different than how a human being usually defines it. Certainly, you would agree with this.
By the way, if any facet of any of the commandments 2 through 10 are broken, then the first commandment is broken. All sin is ultimately against God. So, if you commit a sin that falls under the remaining 9 commandments, you have just shown that you do not love the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength in the moment you commit the sin.
The Prophets also show what God desires. Jesus often referred to "the law and the prophets". Do you have all the laws and principles listed somewhere so that you make sure you're obeying all?
There has only been One Who has kept the whole law and never broken it. While we should seek to be holy as He is holy - as He told us - this does not mean we are capable of perfect obedience, even though we may strive greatly out of gratitude for His love and mercy. We are human. Even a redeemed human is not truly capable of perfect obedience. That's why the Apostle Paul said,
"Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith." (Galatians 3:23-26 NRSV Catholic Edition)
If we are truly Christ's by faith, then we will want to do what's right in His sight out of gratitude. Every mature believer understands this and attempts to live this way, with the help of the Holy Spirit. However, keeping the law does not earn anyone points toward eternal forgiveness and eternal life. Instead, how we live is one indication of whether our claim of eternal life is legitimate (James 2).
Saying that we are to keep the 10 commandments and completely omitting the rest of the Old Testament is like saying that we are to keep the Sermon on the Mount but completely ignore everything else written in the gospels and epistles. Certainly, you did not mean this.
So, how are you doing with keeping the law? For catholics, they know they cannot receive the eucharist unless they go to confession or confess privately to God. See yourself getting to the point of not needing to be confessed? Ever known someone who reached that point?
Please read Galatians 3 in your catholic bible.
#50 Posted by
Ron Morales | Wednesday, March 13, 2013at
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