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The Virgin Mary

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
October 2, 2020 12:01 am

The Virgin Mary

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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October 2, 2020 12:01 am

A distinctive feature of the Roman Catholic Church is their view of Mary. Today, R.C. Sproul considers how the mother of Jesus has grown in prominence over the centuries and has become enshrined by several dangerous errors.

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Coming up next on Renewing Your Mind. The vast majority of Protestants would certainly raise objections to viewing Mary as one who intercedes for us and appealing to marry because in this sense, this makes Mary a kind of mediator or of our redemption and Protestantism insists on this soul. You make media to Royal function of Jesus Christ. When we come to that portion of our careful study this week of Roman Catholic theology issued in his generator.

Perhaps the most controversy and it revolves around this question. How should we view Mary the mother of Jesus.

Catholics review her plaintiff and some even maintain the two plays a role in our redemption. Dr. RC Sproul examines how the Catholic Church came to that view and whether it supported by Scripture in this session will be dealing with the Roman Catholic view of Mary, which of course is been the subject of much controversy and debate, not only between Protestants and Roman Catholics but also there is an ongoing debate which we shall see shortly within the Roman Catholic Church concerning the role and the nature of Mary so will do that after we opened with prayer father Lord God. Again we come with praise and thanksgiving before your throne asking that our investigation into these matters that divide us may be honorable to the we may deal with these questions with integrity. We pray now that you will grant us an understanding of the historical developments of the doctrine of Mary, or we asked these things in the name of Christ.

So many of the issues that are of debate and those issues that serve to divide Protestant communities from the Roman Catholic Church in this day and age are issues that did not receive the formal sanctions informal express definition by the church until after the Reformation were saying that is the case and leave Roman Catholics declaration of their canons on justification that took place as part of the counterreformation. The notion of papal infallibility, which took place only in the latter part of the 19th century, and now we come to that area of controversy that deals with Mary obligee that is the dimension of theology of Mary which articles have not been defined except since also the 19th century the most important definitions coming in 1854, and then most recently in 1950, and we will consider some of those encyclicals.

In a few moments. Even though the formal definition of the role of Mary in the Roman Catholic Church is of relatively recent origin, concern, and indeed preoccupation with the person and work of Mary is something that is of great age and lengthy tradition within the Roman Catholic Church just to get a flavor of this let's look for a few moments at the popular manifestations of this Mary cultus within the Roman Catholic Church. The first and most obvious manifestation of the church's veneration of Mary can be seen in art history in the central domination of the figure of Mary, particularly in medieval art and even later in some degree in Renaissance art, but most especially in the medieval church church in the Middle Ages, we see the portrayal of the Madonna, and quite often the Madonna with child or the Madonna assisting in the dissent of Christ from across etc. we would go to the Vatican and we would see a very outstanding fresco there that features the Madonna, high and exalted on the wall with Christ and the father seated on either side of the Madonna we see the celebration of Mary in the music of the church historically in several hymns that are devoted to her. The most famous of which of course is the Abbe Maria with which I'm sure you're all familiar, even in popular music.

Mary has been celebrated.

I can remember back I believe was early 50s when the song our Lady of Fatima became a hit song. In fact, in those days you didn't talk about the top of the charts you talked about the hit parade and Psalms were listed according to their ranking on the hit parade and our Lady of Fatima rose very high on the hit parade of popular music in America.

That song of course celebrated Mary and it's not course by accident that we saw that revival of interest in Mary in the United States at that time. In light of the recent papal encyclicals that dealt with Mary right in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. At the heart of the liturgy is the Ave Maria for the so-called Hail Mary and in the celebration of the joyful mysteries in the prayers of the people of God in the Roman Catholic Church, the Hail Mary is a very important part of the liturgy of the church are familiar with the Hail Mary archer has two dimensions, Hail Mary, full of grace. Plus North among women. Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

And then what follows is holy Mary mother of God pray for us sinners now and the hour of our death. Amen. Now let's look at those two statements which have become prayers in the Roman Catholic liturgy and see which dimensions of those are part of the controversy between Protestantism and the Roman Catholic Church. Where does Rome get the statement. Hail Mary, full of grace. Blessed are thought among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Yes, Rod comes from the Scriptures themselves. This is simply a quotation from the New Testament so that the words themselves could never be seen as being repugnant to Protestant who held to the authority of Scripture. The use of the words. However, transforming this greeting Hail Mary, which is simply a greeting given to Mary, full of grace which we acknowledge that Mary was indeed held with Christ, blessed art thou among women. The Bible says all future generations will indeed call her blessed. There's no dispute there, and certainly blessed is the fruit of her warm Jesus we have no dispute about that that it should be used as a form of a prayer does raise questions for us that the content of the statement and of itself. There is no point of controversy.

How about the second part. Holy Mary mother of God pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our death. Amen with any objections to saying of Mary that she is holy. Yes, I waive any objections to calling Christians saints good. I also not address. Mrs. Hellman is holy Dora mother of cavil and Howard's. We don't use that kind of language commonly in the Protestant church, but the call her holy does not necessarily indicate that you are worshiping somebody. Mary was holy. If she was a Christian she was holy. I'm a Christian I'm holy in the restricted sense in which the New Testament uses, how about the phrase mother of God, or does not come from comes from the Council of Ephesus for century ratified at the Council of Chalcedon, the one ecumenical Council was totally endorsed by virtually every church in the world Council of churches, including the phrase the focus but of course that was understood at that time, to mean the Atoka's that Mary was the mother of God, not in the sense that Jesus Christ received in any way. His divine nature, for Mary, there's no sense in this phrase.

Historically, that would indicate that Mary generates the divine nature of Christ. All that statement means historically at the Council of Chalcedon over against the heretics who were denying the deity of Christ is that Mary being the mother of Jesus is in that sense, the mother of God, since Jesus is God, and Mary is his mother touching his human nature is no confusion there Chalcedon that would indicate that this title been ascribed to Mary would describe any vague notion of deity to her but is simply articulates the fact that she was the earthly mother of the one who was God incarnate. The simple is that so I have to say that again. Historically there's been no Protestant objection officially to the title mother of God holy Mary mother of God, those terms could be used.

Obviously, to mean a lot more than what they were used that emphasis in the Chalcedon, but the words in and of themselves, properly qualified, properly defined, are not an occasion of controversy. Holy Mary mother of God have, but this pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Intercessory work of Mary.

Now that is an objection to the vast majority of Protestants, not every Protestant community, but the vast majority of Protestants would certainly raise objections to viewing Mary as one who intercedes for us either now or at our death and appealing to Mary because in this sense, this makes Mary a kind of mediator or of our redemption and Protestantism insists generally speaking on this so you make media to Royal function of Jesus Christ. We also have the mediatorial function of God the Holy Spirit, but outside of the Trinity. We are reluctant to use such terms as mediator of redemption. In addition to the use of this concept of Hail Mary in the liturgy we find the existence of shrines dedicated to the veneration of Mary throughout the world and we find two kinds of shrines, those which are public institutions to which people may make sanctioned pilgrimages tied in with the indulgence matter on a pilgrimage to Mary shrine may bring certain indulgences to a person who is working through their penance, but also there is the matter of private shrines, there is again the big fat in the 50s in America were Roman Catholic household was not doing his full duty unless it has some kind garden shrine statue a little grotto within their own yard a private place for the celebration of Mary course, the most famous shrines to Mary.

There are several less direct, but the most famous would include Lord Ace were certain miracles have been alleged to occur. Miracles of healing and also again and fought him off where Mary was allegedly seen by a couple of young girls and then an extremely strange phenomenon of the sign was allegedly witnessed by thousands and thousands of people and people who have gone there and claimed all kinds of miraculous cures from this small town in Portugal is are both very important celebrated shrines to Mary. Mary was supposed to have appeared at Lord Ace in 1858 to the girl there, I believe it was Bernadette. The fact and in the so-called song of Bernadette and she was supposed to have said to Bernadette, I am the immaculate conception. Interesting that the papal encyclical that confirmed the immaculate conception was published in 1854 and Mary appeared then publicly to ratified in 1858 at Lord Ace celebrations in her honor are done within the church there is the feast of the immaculate conception which is an annual feast time in the Roman Catholic Church, schools and churches have been named in her honor.

Orders of mission helpers of nuns, etc. have also been named in her honor. And as I said, certain titles have been ascribed to her, one of which is the title fee. Atoka's two other titles that I may mention just in passing is the title Co. redemptive tricks. This title is one that has been given to Mary, but it is a title that has not yet in any way been officially sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church in the title itself is a question of dispute within the Roman church again will look at that in a moment when we examine Vatican II another title. It's a common title for Mary is Marter Missouri Concordia mother of sorrows, mother of miseries calling attention to Mary's participation in the passion of her own son, but that's the popular background than this.

I said the papal encyclical's that have defined Mary apology are not things that occurred de novo in the life of the church suddenly and without warning it and appear in a vacuum, but there is a whole long history of development and popular veneration of Mary within the church. And that's what I just want indicate to the atmosphere of the popular approach to Mary within our own day. Now let's look at the official pronouncements of the church concerning Mary F already mentioned earlier, Pius the Knights encyclical in 1854 in which the Immaculate Conception was defined and let me ask you if I can.

What is the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception right so often I find this among Protestant.

He was the worst Immaculate Conception in the since the virgin birth of Christ and has reference the fact that Mary was a virgin when she had Jesus as a baby and I know again all Christendom has confessed belief in the virgin birth. Individuals of course have repudiated the main body of Christians has always affirmed the virgin birth because of its been clearly taught in the New Testament. The Immaculate Conception does not do with Mary's bearing Jesus that has a do with Mary's birth and Mary's conception in the womb of her mother, Anna, that Mary was conceived without sin. The point here is that Mary was born without original sin, and that this was necessary in order to see Mary as living a life of sinlessness and so behind the concept of the immaculate conception is the affirmation of the church of the sinless life of Mary Ellen encyclical and that concept of immaculate conception has raised an enormous problems within the world of Protestants. Why one of the issues there concerning the immaculate conception asked that if Mary were free of original sin, and if she lived a sinless life, why wouldn't he be must, his mother be sinful in order for him to be human. Must he have two sinful parents in order for him to be human archivist and want to catch you at night to have a human nature. Yes, but must it be sinful was Adam a human being before he fell for God to be sinful to be human. All at this party and is under treatment near their head here as you say, make writing would give her the senator. What else she would not need a Redeemer located in the Parmalat. The wells were positive benefits will accrue from time to the problem of her dying. What else could be that some of the old covenant if she is a sinless person through and through. She herself could be the champion of our redemption and shape in some degree, and this is one of the reasons why it's been since 1854 that the whole question of Co. redemptive tricks has come into being because Mary is really adding something of her own merits and obedience to the obedience and the merit of her son again will look at that more closely in the second.

Incidentally, the supreme theologian of the Roman Catholic Church. The Dr. Angelica's St. Thomas Aquinas in his day repudiated the notion of the sinlessness of Mary. Appealing to the Magnificat as his biblical grounds for denying the sinlessness of Mary now is a couple of points that are significant there. One is that that indicates that as early as the Middle Ages there was a movement in a public movement to speak in terms of Mary as being immaculate. Sinless free original sin. That sort of thing. So again that's not a new idea in the Roman Catholic Church, but when St. Thomas dealt with it he rejected it because of Mary's words in the Magnificat. My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit thus rejoice in God my Savior saying that that speech by Mary's ordained and inspired by the Holy Ghost and Mary is confessing in the Magnificat her own dependence upon a Savior and if she were sinless. They of course would not need a Savior now Roman Catholic Church is faced with the embarrassing situation of their supreme theologian had at one time in history denied this doctrine that is now become a day. File doctrine of all faithful Catholic people how to they responded theologically and historically in an exegetical way they can argument this way. First of all, St. Thomas was speaking before the doctrine was defined he was not speaking infallibly. He was merely theologian great theologian be sure, but not infallible. And had Thomas know that the church had defined it. Accordingly, he certainly would have believed that on the basis of the feed a simplicity tone that is an implicit faith in whatever the church declared, so there's that answer to the question. The other answer is that he could've been wrong as they often answer the question about his objection, the biblical objection.

What about the exegetical question of Mary saying I rejoice in God my Savior. All exegetes of Rome very quick to point out that the term Savior doesn't always mean one who saved from sin, you can be saved from other things and that salvation can mean a broader sense in the Bible and experience of benefits at the hands of God and indeed Mary did receive great benefits and that since God was her Savior. That is, he was her benefactor.

E day certain blessing started and give to anybody else that doesn't mean salvation in the sense of being saved from sin. That is a possible interpretation of that passage linguistically and somewhat strained to somewhat force but nevertheless we can't retaliate with an absolute exegetical case against then in 1950, Pius XII encyclical munificent to seamless days. This papal encyclical defined the bodily Assumption of Mary into heaven. But Mary was taken up into heaven, bodily and already at this present time participates fully in what the church is called the resurrection. Fiona's harness, the resurrection of the body which all believers look forward to in the future.

Christ was the firstfruits of those who been raising the dead. Mary herself in this encyclical experience resurrection and was taken bodily into heaven as late as 1950 and 1953 in 1954, two papal statements are important. One entitled Fulghum's Corona. I will write these for you need the titles and the other one, Adco, LI reg known defined for the church, the coronation of Mary as Queen of heaven.

So we've had these matters defined since the Reformation immaculate conception and sinlessness of Mary, the bodily Assumption of Mary into heaven, the coronation of Mary in heaven as the queen of heaven raining with the king who is Jesus has been crowned king, and he reigns with his mother as the maternal Queen on some other papal statements that are more or less obiter dicta statements statements that are part of other encyclicals but were not directed specifically for the definition of Mary elegy include the following statement from Leo the 13th who said quote he would consider it a great blessing when all our exhortation have the effect that to each believer. There is nothing more sacred or more dear than the veneration of Mary. Nothing more sacred or more dear than the veneration of Mary Pius XI. Writing in concurrence with Pope Benedictus.

He said and I quote with Jesus. Mary has redeemed the human race. There is the notion, which is quoted again and again by advocates of the term Co. redemptive tricks.

There is in papal print Pius XI says with Jesus, Mary has regained the human race again just to give you one more taste of modern statements regarding Mary. I would like to read the conclusion of Pius XII encyclical mystically core porous Christie which we talked about the other day which identifies the Roman Catholic Church with the body of Christ the end of that encyclical is a lengthy statement on the role and the function of Mary. It was she the second Eve the second knee who free from all sin, original or personal and always most intimately united with her son offered him on Golgotha to the eternal father for all the children that statement there is perhaps the most repugnant statement that is ever come out of the Roman Catholic Church regarding the role of Mary that it was Mary who offered the father on Golgotha, the perfect sacrifice. There is a wide gap between how Roman Catholics and Protestants view the mother of Jesus, and it was Dr. RC Sproles firm conviction that recognizing that difference has eternal consequences. Listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Friday were glad you joined us that we have been airing all week RC series on Roman Catholicism revealing the doctrines that are at the heart of the Catholic Protestant divide. RC taught the series in five messages and would be happy to send all of them to you is part of what recalling the Reformation resource Drive.

It includes six additional teaching series, along with 60 books and several digital editions of table talk magazine.

Contact us today with your gift of any amount will be glad to send it to you. Our number is 800-435-4343. You can also make your request and give your gift online and Renewing Your and today is the last day were making this offer available again are web addresses Renewing Your and her phone number is 800-435-4343 and let me thank you in advance for your generous gift of any amount. It's only through your donations that were able to present teaching like this by the way, we have other resources that can help you understand the Roman Catholic, Protestant divide. My colleague Barry Cooper hosted a podcast each week called simply put its theology. In simple terms.

In one episode very address the Catholic concept of purgatory. What happens to Christians when they die while they await the resurrection of the ability resurrection guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus 2000 years ago will. Historically, there have been several different tolerances to this one on sent from Roman Catholicism is the idea of poetry. According to this idea. Christians who die, but who is still imperfectly purified must undergo a set time of punishments in poetry until such time as they'll pure enough to be with Christ.

Another onset is the idea of soul sleep which is a state of personal unconsciousness and temporary separation from Christ, but both of these ideas for which tools of scriptural teaching. One theologian amusingly notes the history of the doctrine of the intermediate state shows that it's hard for theologians and people in general to stay within the limits of Scripture and also tend to be wiser than they can be.

You'll enjoy Barry's weekly podcast again is called simply put, each episode is about five minutes in length, and you can or on your favorite podcast app.

Well, talking about putting things in simple terms, there is one word that shines a bright light on this divide between Protestants and Catholics. That word is the loan. What is next week as we examine the five solos of the Reformation part of RC series chosen by God is beginning Monday here on Renewing Your Mind

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