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An objection against Marian devotion dealt with.

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  • #31
    There very well may be. But even if you want to take the throne or chair metaphorically, I don't see how it would apply to the people who were executed with Jesus. They weren't ruling. They weren't feasting. They weren't honored.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
      There very well may be. But even if you want to take the throne or chair metaphorically, I don't see how it would apply to the people who were executed with Jesus. They weren't ruling. They weren't feasting. They weren't honored.
      Right. This only makes sense if you read the entire gospel narratives: the kingdom of God is not like the kingdom of the world; the first shall be last; the crown of the King is a crown of thorns; it's not about self-aggrandisement and power grabs but about suffering and self-giving love.

      And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

      Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
      Within this context, the cryptic reply to the James and John's attempt at power-grabbing that they "have no idea what they're talking about" makes complete sense. Those who sit at his right and left drink Jesus' cup, and are baptised with his baptism - his suffering unto death. When Jesus is "in his glory" he is on the cross, and those at his right and left hand are being crucified with him, which is hardly the glory or honour that the sons of Zebedee sought.
      Last edited by Paprika; 05-18-2014, 03:30 PM.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Paprika View Post
        Right. This only makes sense if you read the entire gospel narratives: the kingdom of God is not like the kingdom of the world; the first shall be last; the crown of the King is a crown of thorns; it's not about self-aggrandisement and power grabs but about suffering and self-giving love.
        I'm not aware of anyone claiming otherwise, though scripture does make adamantly clear that we won't be equally great in Heaven. Its just that greatness won't be measured by what the world accounts as greatness.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Obsidian
          If you guys can truly read that passage and glean from it that Mary automatically sits at Jesus's right hand because she is his physical mother, then you are both fools.
          Are you so stupid that you truly believe that I just said that, to Chrawnus, and that's what he said? You can't read scripture at all clearly. The Passage says nothing about Mary At ALL. The point is If you want to disprove it, then disprove it. Don't pick a random verse and state that it disproves it.
          A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
          George Bernard Shaw

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
            If you guys can truly read that passage and glean from it that Mary automatically sits at Jesus's right hand because she is his physical mother, then you are both fools.
            I stated on this exact thread that I don't agree with devotion to Mary, and you think I'm arguing that the passage you cited implies that she does?
            ~Formerly known as Chrawnus~

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
              The gospels and the letters are primarily about Jesus and Christian Fellowships. Again I'm not going to defend a Mariology based upon Sola Scriptura. While I think even a highly developed Mariology is completely consistent, even if you have no other sources, I don't think the Bible alone is enough to substantiate all of it in its entirety. All I'm doing in this thread is dealing with one sort of objection I encounter when I give a particular typology.
              Still, I would think that something this important, and something that touches on the topic at hand in 1 Timothy would at minimum be acknowledged if it's so important.

              Then there's the fact that one not need Sola Scriptura to at least see that there is an apparent* contradiction to the idea of Mary as our mediator to Christ, and the fact that Jesus is to be the only mediator we have.

              The exact same way that you can pray for me, and in some sense expect to have your prayer make an impact of sort. We know that prayers are effecacious, we don't merely do them as symbolic gestures, or out of pure submission. Its true that God isn't a coin slot machine, but he also made it clear that if we asked something of Him which was consistent with His will He would grant it.
              I have no reason to believe that dead Saints can hear our prayers at all. To go as far as to say that Mary is our mediator to Christ, when He is supposed to be the only one of mankind that can be a mediator between us and God, seems to directly contradict the verse in 1 Timothy. If anything I think it's too close to the prohibited act of seeking out the dead. Unless of course you can show that living Jews were allowed to contact say Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. after their deaths.

              It seems that even as early as Tertullian there were those that believed that those who have passed on before us can't hear us.

              Source: Tekton Article

              They also noted that Tertullian writes of "Paradise, the place of heavenly bliss appointed to receive the spirits of the saints, severed from the knowledge of this world" (The Apology, 47)

              © Copyright Original Source



              The article I am quoting from is here.

              There's also clear passages that God more often listens to the prayers of holy and righteous people. If Mary, who is arguably the holiest person ever to have been created by God, can hear our prayers, then she can mediate our prayers to Christ on account of the grace given to her by God.
              Wouldn't the answer be the same regardless of how righteous the person was if it aligned with God's will? I would say it's the content of the prayer that's important, not who's praying it. Even Jesus prayed that He might be able to avoid the crucifixion, but obviously that wasn't God's will.

              I won't deal with this too much, as nothing here is really a problem. I'm also a bit confused by what you write, as you start out agreeing that no woman is as blessed as Mary (and arguably no other man but Jesus I presume), you then seem to... disagree with Jesus? We don't hold her to be the highest of all women simple because she bore Christ, it wasn't the act of being Theotokos (Mother of God), that gave her that title. Among other things she suffered intensely and was extremely obedient, being among the three of the disciples who didn't flee during the crucifixion. The prophet Simeon said that her heart would be pierced by a sword, and he was likely referring to the day she'd watch Jesus suffer and die. Since the place in Heaven you get is proportional to what you gave up for Christ during your life, her place is arguably the highest for that reason since I'm very much sure she'd have taken his place on the cross if it was at all possible for her.

              So if you want to talk about faith in her Son, she's definitely got it. Unlike the disciples she had full trust in her Sons abilities during the wedding at Cana. She didn't always understand Jesus, but that's not a sin, and she never talks back to His rebukes. Then again even during that scene He did do what asked Him to do.

              Out of all the women in the world God chose her, to teach Jesus how to talk, walk and even pray to God. Even if you're not a Roman Catholic I'm not sure what other Christian in the world, even Paul, Peter and John, you'd place higher than her.
              I don't know where you get the idea that I'm disagreeing with Jesus. I'm saying that if she is as important as the RCC seems to make her, why didn't Jesus mention it here. He had another point at which He could have done so, one where, if I am understanding this right, she wasn't being quite as obedient as she was at other times.

              Mark 3:30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”

              31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.

              33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

              34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

              The way I understand it, this passage implies that all of them, including Mary, were thinking that what Jesus was saying was crazy.

              Mark 3:20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family[b] heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

              Is this the what you were talking about by saying that she didn't always understand Him?

              As for the rest, I wouldn't put any follower of Jesus above her as far as honor. I still don't think it's right to pray to her, or to anyone else other than God.

              I'll be back on this one because its a fair point that I need to address a bit more. As far as I remember all the mothers of the kings in Jesus ancestry became mother queens, which is Mary not being bestowed something similar albeit spiritually strikes me as off.
              I completely understand. I have way more time on my hands than you do, and it often takes me a while to formulate a full response to something as well. This one has actually taken me a bit longer than expected too.

              *I know that things that appear contradictory aren't always so. I'm trying to be more clear in my posts, so I thought I would make a notice of this point.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
                Still, I would think that something this important, and something that touches on the topic at hand in 1 Timothy would at minimum be acknowledged if it's so important.
                I'm sorry, but this assumes sola scriptura and I've already stated that I won't make a positive case for Mariology from scripture alone. I can at most show that she's prefigured, and she's held as both the first and is likely the greatest Christian alive (at least at the time of the first apostles). Even if it was important there's no reason to think that the apostles would have understood everything. The correct titles for Mary has taken millenia to get down correctly. Her title of Mother of God was only affirmed when Nestorianism was defeated.

                The idea here is that that all the teachings about her does exist as sacred tradition, all the teachings that weren't put down in the Bible. The evaluation of that can't be separated from the question of apostolic succession. So rather than having this discussion, I'd rather defend against one of the objections I hear about her.

                Then there's the fact that one not need Sola Scriptura to at least see that there is an apparent* contradiction to the idea of Mary as our mediator to Christ, and the fact that Jesus is to be the only mediator we have.
                Christ is the sole mediator between mankind and the Father, this is universally true and that's specifically what that passage is about. Unless you're going to say that Christ is the Father, which would actually deny the Trinity, there's nothing incoherent about a mediator between us and Christ.

                And try reading Timothy again, here let me quote you a passage, here's the passages preceding that quote:

                1 Timothy 2:1-4 (ESV)
                "1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

                So what is happening when I'm praying on your behalf? I'm not saying that I fulfill a unique role here, however if I carry your intentions to God, in some sense I'm mediating on your behalf. Same when we pray for our country, or for people going to abortion mills. If someone is an even greater Christian it seems their prayers would be graced more. If Mary is given a unique position to pray for us even more so, and is the highest rank in Heaven, then even more so. This doesn't cover all the ideas we have about Mary sure, but I hope you can see the soundness of it.

                I have no reason to believe that dead Saints can hear our prayers at all.
                Aside from sacred tradition however.

                If anything I think it's too close to the prohibited act of seeking out the dead.

                It seems that even as early as Tertullian there were those that believed that those who have passed on before us can't hear us.

                Source: Tekton Article

                They also noted that Tertullian writes of "Paradise, the place of heavenly bliss appointed to receive the spirits of the saints, severed from the knowledge of this world" (The Apology, 47)

                © Copyright Original Source

                The way to look at sacred tradition isn't to quote mine for things that support what you believe. You look at the big picture of what was generally taught at the time, and then you look at what the teaching magisterium confirmed is God inspired. The practice of praying to the saints to intercede for us goes back to the martyrs who died, who were all believed to have especially strong prayers.

                The article I am quoting from is here.
                I cut my teeth on Tekton apologetics when I first became a Christian, not a bad starting point to get your feet wet.

                Wouldn't the answer be the same regardless of how righteous the person was if it aligned with God's will? I would say it's the content of the prayer that's important, not who's praying it. Even Jesus prayed that He might be able to avoid the crucifixion, but obviously that wasn't God's will.
                And do you know God's will? Sometimes its God's will that you should seek out someone. I'm sure God could have just made Christianity a very private and internalised experience, however He seems to have in his mind communal efforts. We pray for each other, and if this goes on in Heaven... Unless I see good reason for it I don't get why people in Heaven would stop caring about us, or if they do care that they wouldn't pray for us, or if they do care and can pray that God wouldn't listen to them.

                We're talking about people who are completely righteous before God. There's not a single stain of sin on them clouding their minds. They're grace filled, perfected human beings enjoying the beatific vision. It seems to me that they wouldn't stop praying for people until there's no more reason to do so, and that won't happen until the end of time.

                I don't know where you get the idea that I'm disagreeing with Jesus.
                Woaw, sorry about that.

                "Then there's the fact that while Mary was blessed above all women, Jesus still didn't seem to give her the kind of honor being ascribed to her by the RCC. "

                I got confused about this, because I don't think Jesus in anyway says that Mary wasn't blessed. I misread you as implying that he meant this, but that you started out by asserting that she was the most blessed woman in existence. That's why I said I was confused about it, and I'm still not sure what you were arguing for.

                I'm saying that if she is as important as the RCC seems to make her, why didn't Jesus mention it here.
                Sola scriptura is speaking again. Jesus said a lot of things that never made it into the Bible, St John admits that he only wrote down the things he considered nescessary for the congregation he was instructing in the life of Jesus. They're primarily about Him; His life, death and resurrection. Mary is one of the few women mentioned by name. Just because its not in the Bible, doesn't mean it isn't there.

                And the gospels do have a very, very high view of Mary. She's the only person to have ever been saluted by an angel. Go back and compare her reaction to Zacharias, he fell down and cowered the moment he saw the angel, as did all the prophets, Mary first became afraid when she was told 'The Lord is with thee', likely because she knew what happened to the patriarchs who was told the same. She knew she would have to suffer.

                Mark 3:30-34
                You have to understand that in Jewish culture women didn't make many public decisions for the family. Mary was not a matriarch, she was a carpenters wife. Its very telling that she's mentioned by name in that passage, but Joseph isn't. This is taken to be after he died. Its not farfetched to imagine that she was ordered by the family overheads to come out there in an attempt to reign in the publicly embarrassing family member. The same person who had mocked his own hometown when they didn't recognise Him as a prophet.

                She neither says nor does anything in it. We do know that she was a believer in her son, because she was there all the way through the crucifixion along with John. And she was sitting in the upper room with the apostles praying with them continuously when they received the Holy Spirit. However I'm not sure if you want me to defend her sinlessness here.

                As for the rest, I wouldn't put any follower of Jesus above her as far as honor.
                Do you agree that in Heaven we won't all be accorded the same amount of honour?

                *I know that things that appear contradictory aren't always so. I'm trying to be more clear in my posts, so I thought I would make a notice of this point.
                No problem I make plenty of mistakes as well, I try to be honest if I'm caught in them so I can learn and do better.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by Chrawnus View Post
                  I stated on this exact thread that I don't agree with devotion to Mary, and you think I'm arguing that the passage you cited implies that she does?
                  Umm The only response I have to you Chrawnus is that Obsidian has reached a whole new level of stupid.
                  A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
                  George Bernard Shaw

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                  • #39
                    Yeah, about to go to bed, so it will be at least until later tomorrow before I can get in a good response.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
                      I'm not aware of anyone claiming otherwise, though scripture does make adamantly clear that we won't be equally great in Heaven.
                      In the new creation, not 'heaven'.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
                        I'll do a little bit of setup before I get to the point.

                        Occasionally when I talk to protestants about whether or not Mary should be venerated as Catholics do, I usually point to the places in the Bible where we have some reason to see that God did give us an example of the position that she'd possess.

                        I never try to give a positive defence of traditional views about Mary from the Bible alone, since at the end its ultimately a matter of tradition and doctrinal authority. What I can do to someone who asserts Sola Scriptura, is that I can defend some aspects of it, this usually amounts to little more than defending that Mary is the Mother of God. I can also point to biblical passages that lend credence to traditional teachings.

                        In the Old Testament for instance you have Solomon seated in power, with his mother Bathsheba seated at his right hand as mediator.

                        1 Kings 2:19-21 (ESV)
                        19 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her and bowed down to her. Then he sat on his throne and had a seat brought for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right. 20 Then she said, “I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.” And the king said to her, “Make your request, my mother, for I will not refuse you.” 21 She said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as his wife.”

                        Song of Solomon 3:11 (ESV)
                        Go out, O daughters of Zion,
                        and look upon King Solomon,
                        with the crown with which his mother crowned him
                        on the day of his wedding,
                        on the day of the gladness of his heart.

                        Since a lot of Christology is given in the OT by it having analogies that preshadow it, and especially Solomon is given as a parallel, I don't think its unreasonable to see the role of Bathsheba as intercessor and mediator between the king of Solomon, as possible indicating the relationship Mary would have between Christ and man. We do see similarities: she's crowned queen along with her son, Solomon didn't say no to Bathsheba just as Jesus never says no to Mary, people bring requests to Solomon and she succours them, etc...

                        The objection then is that Christ, since he's all-knowing, wouldn't have any need of an intercessor. King Solomon might, in that he couldn't personally consider all of the problems of state on his own, and Bathsheba could handle the things he couldn't, and bring particular issues to him. To Christ, Mary is completely superfluous, and perhaps even detracts a bit, since instead of praying to her to intercede for us with Him we could pray to Him on our own.

                        However a person who makes this objection doesn't make it consistently enough: To Christ, the Bible is completely superfluous; if he wanted he could just impart divinely inspired all the knowledge needed into the head of everyone walking around. To Christ, theology of any stripe is unnecessary, again he could simple have Christianity one large mystical experience. To Christ, prayers aren't needed, he already knows our hearts and what we want. The particular way He's chosen to teach us about the Kingdom of God, all go above and beyond what's needed and has much more to do with what is appropriate.

                        These are all only done by us because we have reasons to suspect that they are either things he's commanded (pray, worship), respect (the bible is authoritative), or something that we need since we aren't given mystical experiences (natural reasoning based studies of theology). Presumable all these things ultimate serve to glorify God more, if perhaps by distancing us from Him we're more aware of His kingly stature and our own lowliness in comparison.

                        If Christ has installed Mary as someone who in Heaven get special grace to mediate for us on our behalf, I don't think anyone can object to it on the ground because its not really needed.

                        If you take it consistently to the end point our own salvation isn't needed.
                        So, because one mother in one instance in Scripture acts (unsuccessfully) as an intercessor you're arguing that it follows that Jesus' mother must necessarily also act as an intercessor? Did I understand you correctly?
                        "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

                        "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                          So, because one mother in one instance in Scripture acts (unsuccessfully) as an intercessor you're arguing that it follows that Jesus' mother must necessarily also act as an intercessor? Did I understand you correctly?
                          He's saying that since there's a (strained) parallel here between the portrayal of Bathsheba and certain myths about Mary, somehow the parallel is a prefiguration and lends support to the myth.

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                          • #43
                            Yeah, that's kinda how I read the OP but it's inconsistent with the title or some of his subsequent responses. I wanna be sure I get what he's saying here.

                            "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

                            "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                            My Personal Blog

                            My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                            Quill Sword

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                              So, because one mother in one instance in Scripture acts (unsuccessfully) as an intercessor you're arguing that it follows that Jesus' mother must necessarily also act as an intercessor? Did I understand you correctly?
                              I think I should have avoided the whole setup because everyone is discussing that, and not the objection I wanted to deal with.

                              "Why would God want us to pray to Mary, when we can go straight to Him, its not nescessary. Bathsheba might have acted as an intercessor, but that's because Solomon isn't omniscient."

                              I object to the idea that because its not necessary, then that's a good reason to reject Mary as an intercessor on our behalf. I wanted to give the usual situation where I find people giving me that response. I think that was a mistake, and I'll try to avoid things like that in future posts.

                              And as I've said in the OP, in my response to Paprika and in my response to Cerebrum, I don't base Maryology on the bible alone. This was just an interesting typology that I sometimes bring up around protestants.

                              However when I do that I've heard a bad response "Even if Bathsheba would have acted as an intercessor into her role as queen mother, that's only because this was a limited human situation. Christ is unlimited, he doesn't need Mary to intercede for us."

                              But that's a really bad argument since it goes for just about anything we humans do to get us closer to God. Whether its praying, reading scripture, studying theology, posting on theologyweb, going to church, etc... in principle none of that is necessary. God could have arranged it otherwise.

                              It was this argument alone I wanted to discuss, and I thought it would be helpful to give the context for the responses.

                              So far no one has actually said whether they think the objection is good or bad. Hopefully its just bad, and glossed over since people here agree with me, and therefore they're discussing the context: the queen mother Bathsheba as a typology of Mary's role to her own Son.
                              Last edited by Leonhard; 05-18-2014, 07:31 PM.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Paprika View Post
                                He's saying that since there's a (strained) parallel here between the portrayal of Bathsheba and certain myths about Mary, somehow the parallel is a prefiguration and lends support to the myth.
                                I do see that parallel, but it was the objection "Why would God want us to pray to Mary, when we can go straight to Him, its not nescessary. Bathsheba might have acted as an intercessor, but that's because Solomon isn't omniscient." that I really wanted to discuss.

                                I'm not gonna copy paste it anymore. This is getting out of hand.

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