Vol. 6, No. 5
~ Page 7 ~
Mariolatry (Gr. Maria, Mary, and latreia, worship) is the "worship of Mary." Something is worse than the worship of Mary, namely, slander. A university professor writes that Mary was a "sexually questionable woman." Gregory Alan Tidwell has refuted the professor:
To insinuate that she [Mary] was morally loose is insulting not only to this godly woman, but to the very act of the incarnation. What Scripture describes in terms of tender beauty is transformed into a scandal of the gutter. A miracle of untold wonder is explained away as a tale of common filth (Gospel Advocate, April, 1993).
If Jesus was born of two earthly parents, he was wholly human, and no more divine than the rest of us. If Jesus was wholly human, he was not raised from the grave, nor can he raise anyone else. Christianity without the virgin birth is reduced simply to a social Gospel for this life only.
However, as infidels attempt to destroy the beautiful history of Jesus' virgin birth, the Catholic Church (both Roman and Orthodox) exalts Mary above all women, above all the angels, even to the status of deity, in seven ways:
1. Because the Catholic Church holds to the false doctrine that all babies are sin-infected even before birth, which would include Mary's baby Jesus, their theologians were forced to invent the "Immaculate Conception" doctrine that Mary herself was the one exception in all history to be born sinless. If Mary were born sinless, she would have no sin to hand down to her baby. Accordingly, Pope Pius IX in 1854 issued the papal bull Ineffabilis Deus. But biblically, all babies are born free of sin (Ezekiel 18:20; Matthew 19:14).
2. The Catholic Church, asserting that Mary as a three year old made a vow in the temple to live in "perpetual virginity," not only is asserting an impossibility of a three year old child knowing anything about sex, but also falsely makes virginity a perpetual virtue. Biblically, virginity is a virtue before marriage (1 Corinthians 6:9; 7:2), but not after marriage (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed is unstained" (Hebrews 13:4).
3. The Catholic Church teaches that Mary, like Jesus, was sinless. Biblically, only Jesus lived entirely without sin (Romans 3:23; Hebrews 4:15). Mary sinned in not searching for her 12-year-old son for a full day (Luke 2:44).
4. Despite the fact that two tombs are shown to tourists where Mary's body lies, one in Jerusalem near the garden of Gethsemane, and one in Ephesus, where she lived in John's house, "her bodily assumption into heaven after her death became an article of faith in 1870" (David Anderson, "Religious News Service," in The Oregonian 5-22-93), for Roman Catholics, and in 1950 was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII in a papal bull Munificentissimus Deus. Accordingly, Roman Catholics celebrate August 15 as "The Feast of the Assumption."
5. The Catholic Church teaches its members to pray to Mary as their intercessor, but biblically prayers are directed only to God and to Jesus (Ephesians 5:20; Acts 7:59). "There is one God, and one mediator between God and human beings, the human being, Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). But Catholics are urged: "Flee to Mary. The Son will listen to the mother, and the Father to the Son." The "Ave Maria" ("Hail, Mary") is an easy and popular prayer.
On July 27, 1975, Scott Little, Lois McCord and I were in Florence, Italy. A tourist guide took us to the Catholic Cathedral. In the auditorium the guide related this unbelievable incident; she said a lady came in alone one morning to kneel and to pray. High above near the ceiling some painters were working. They looked down and saw her, but she did not see them. As she was quiet in prayer, a painter spoke loudly, "I am Jesus," and kept saying it. Suddenly the lady looked up and said, "You shut up; I am talking to your mother!"
6. In more exaltation of Mary, she is called Dei Genetrix, the "Mother of God." True, Jesus is God (John 1:1; 20:28), but Scripture never calls Mary the "Mother of God," a title that elevates her to the status of deity.
Simply to call her the "mother of Jesus" (John 2:1, 3; Acts 1:14) leaves her entirely human. Many other titles that put Mary above the human level are heaped upon her: "Mother of the Church," "Mary the Mediatriz," "Mary the Protectress," "Helper of All Mankind," "Mary the Mother of All Believers" and "Our Lady Queen of Martyrs."
But Jesus did not exalt his mother above other women. On one occasion, as Jesus taught in a house, someone said to him: "Look! Your mother and your brothers stand outside and want to speak to you." Jesus responded, "Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother and sister and mother" (Matthew 12:47-50; Mark 3:35).
On another occasion, an excited woman exclaimed to him, "Blessed is the womb that carried you, and the breasts that nursed you!" Jesus replied, "Blessed are they who hear and keep God's word" (Luke 11:27-28).
7. People all over the world have reported appearances of Mary. The Vatican has not approved all of them, but has approved so-called appearances at "Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima" (James D. Davis, Knight-Ridder News Service, The Oregonian, 5-22-93). With each sighting, some say, comes a miracle. Many priests reject the "purported apparitions," while one says, "We need some maternal nagging" (Davis, ibid.).