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“The Other Extreme!”




     That Mary was the mother of God. Mary was a created being, wholly human. If she had been the mother of God, she would have had to exist before God. She was the mother of the fleshly part of Christ. Christ was divine and existed with God from the beginning (John 1:1)—“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Thus, Mary was not the mother of His divine being which existed before she was born. The Bible does not refer to Mary as the mother of God. In order to be a mediator between God and man, it was necessary for Jesus to be the Son of man as well as the Son of God. If Mary had been supernatural, then Christ would have been born of two divine beings and would not have been the Son of man at all.

     The teaching that Mary should be exalted and reverenced above other women. The question is often asked: “But doesn’t the Bible say that all generations would call Mary blessed?” It is true that Elizabeth said: “Blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:48). Surely all generations understand that Mary was blessed with a special and unique privilege. However, this in no way hints of the supernatural. Other women in the Scripture are called blessed. For instance, Leah said: “Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed” (Genesis 30:13). “Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Ken-ite be” (Judges 5:24). Jael was “blessed above women”, but no one has presumed to exalt her and reverence her unduly. The fact that Mary was called blessed in no way indicates that she was to be exalted or adored. There is a very noticeable absence of such emphasis in God’s Word. Mary is mentioned at the cross; then she is referred to briefly in (Acts 1:14)—“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” That is the last reference to her. Nothing is told of her death. Paul does not speak of her. Peter does not refer to her. Surely if God had intended for her to have the preeminence now ascribed to her by some, this emphasis would have been seen in God’s Word.

     The doctrine of the immaculate conception. This teaching originated in the fourth century, and there was much disagreement over it. Finally in 1854 it was decreed by Pope Pius IX to be a part of Roman Catholic dogma. What is this doctrine? It has nothing to do with the birth of Christ but rather concerns the birth of Mary. This is the Catholic explanation: “The Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from original sin in view of the merits of her Divine Son, and this privilege is called her Immaculate Conception” (The New Baltimore Catechism, No. 2, p. 32). It is contended that in order for Christ to be born sinless it was necessary for his mother to be free of Adam’s sin. Actually every child is born pure and free of sin. The guilt of sin is not passed from one generation to another (Ezekiel 18:20)—“The soul that sinneth, it shall die, The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” One may suffer the consequences of another’s sin, but guilt is not an inherent quality. For example, a drunken driver may hit a person and maim him for life. The victim suffers the consequence of the drunkard’s sin but in no way shares the guilt. We must someday die physically as a consequence of Adam’s sin, but we do not inherit his guilt.

     The inconsistency of the Catholic doctrine is seen in the following. If Mary had to be born free of sin for Jesus to be born sinless, then by the same logic it would necessitate that Mary’s mother be born sinless for Mary to have been born in this state. The same would be true of the mother of every generation all the way back to Eve. This violates their doctrine of hereditary depravity. So as they attempt to prove one of their doctrines, they disprove another one. Those who believe in the innocence of the newborn child have no such problem.

     The doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary. This has arisen from an effort to lift Mary out of the realm of the human. However, Mary had other children after Christ was born. “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? And his sisters, are they not all with us? (Matthew 13:55-58). “Joseph...took unto him his wife; and knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son” (Matthew 1:24-25). If she was not to be Joseph’s wife, why did she marry? It was not to become the mother of Christ. Would it have been godly for Mary to assume the obligations of marriage and then fail to live up to them? Such would have violated a principle of marriage stated in I Corinthians 7:3-5—“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinence.”

     The doctrine of Mary as a mediatrix is one of the dominant teachings of Roman Catholicism. In the “Hail Mary”, which is the principal prayer of the rosary, are these words: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” The Bible teaches, however, that Christ is our mediator: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus(I Timothy 2:3). This limits the work of mediation to one person, Christ, excluding all others. This settles the matter conclusively. We have a loving and sympathetic mediator (Hebrews 4:14-16)—“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” There is no need for another.

     The teaching of the assumption of Mary’s body. This is the contention that Mary’s body was never buried but that she was taken literally up into heaven. It was not until 1930, after centuries of discussion, that the Catholic Church declared this to be an official dogma. This teaching has no support whatever in the Scriptures and even violates the position of the Catholic Church in earlier centuries when bones alleged to be of Mary’s body were exhibited and even sold.



     In his youth, Christ respected and obeyed parental authority (Luke 2:51)—“And he [Jesus] went down with them [his parents], and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.” This was necessary in order for Him to set a perfect example. He learned the lesson of obedience to parents and obedience to God. Thus, when He asks us to obey, He demands nothing which He Himself was not first willing to practice. There is no lesson more fundamental. “Let thy child’s first lesson be obedience, and the second will be what thou wilt” (Benjamin Franklin). This is the kind of training Mary and Joseph provided for their son. His filial concern for His mother’s welfare was expressed at the close of His life. From the cross He commissioned John to care for His mother (John 19:26-27)—“When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!”—leaving again an example for all people in their responsibility to make provisions for their parents.

     Yet, did Christ exalt Mary above other women? Did He place great emphasis upon their earthly relationship? Did He ever refer to her as the “mother of God”? Not at all. It was quite to the contrary. Mary came to Him at the marriage feast in Cana and said: “They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come” (John 2:3-4). He did not call her Mother but rather called her Woman. This was the beginning of His public ministry. Now He was Her Saviour, more so than her Son. Her work had ended and His had begun. Mary understood this and replied to the servants: “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”

     On another occasion, “While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Matthew 12:46-50). Christ completely minimized the family relationship and emphasized the spiritual ties. He taught that those who do His will today are actually closer to Him than His mother and His brethren in the flesh.

     This is further seen on another occasion. “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). Christ mildly rebuked and contradicted the idea that His mother should be exalted in any special way. He stated again that those who do the will of God are more blessed than Mary.



     Mary recognized Christ’s authority when she said at the beginning of His ministry: “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it” (John 2:5). This is the most valuable lesson that we can learn from Mary. This one statement glorifies her more than the fact that she gave physical birth to Jesus. She faded into the background as the life and work of her Son blossomed and enlarged into God’s magnificent plan of redemption. Every godly mother would have had it so, and the way to honor Mary today is not by an attempt to pre-empt for her powers which God never ascribed to her but rather by obedience to her Son. If Mary and Christ were to speak to us literally today, no doubt both of them would express dismay and strong disapproval at the turn of events in the religious world concerning the position of Mary. Our access to God and our salvation from sin is through Christ only. Mary served as a link in God’s redemptive chain just as Abraham, David and others. She is not our Saviour; she is not our Advocate or Mediator; she will not be our Judge. These positions are held by the Son only.

     “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” This is not just merely a good suggestion given by Mary. It is a principle which is taught throughout the Bible, and our obedience or disobedience to Christ’s commandments will determine our eternal destiny. He is “the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:9). Before Him we shall someday stand in judgment to give an account of the deeds done in the body. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:31-32). Yes, the most important words ever given by Mary still ring down through the centuries to us today: “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”