Author Topic: Questions about Mary  (Read 6456 times)

Dave Benke

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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #30 on: March 31, 2021, 05:37:59 PM »
Marie,

I think Luther’s thoughts here were based on his conviction that the pains of childbirth are the consequence of original sin; and that this pregnancy was exempted from that curse due to the sinlessness of both the way Mary conceived and of the Child she was carrying. I, by the way, hold that it is tradition and not Word of God, and hence nothing to be dogmatic upon.

It is true that this is tradition, and it's good of you to point that out, Will.  Biblically the pains of childbirth as a result of sin are not ascribed to the c(C)hild or the manner of conception, but to the woman.  Exemption from such pains leads to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, of Mary's exemption from original sin.  Immaculate Conception was declared doctrine of the Western Church in 1854.  Luther was no longer around and immaculate conception is a road heretofore not traveled by Lutherans, as far as I know.  Unless that's the road you're easing on down.

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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #31 on: March 31, 2021, 06:06:57 PM »
Well the idea was around, Bishop, a long time before it was declared a dogma by the pope! So, I think, you see Luther kind of holding the same idea as Thomas Aquinas: Mary conceived in body with original sin but cleansed at the infusion of the soul as you have in Summa III Question 27 Article 2 (though note that later, at times, Luther sounds like he attributes the sanctification to the moment of the overshadowing at the incarnation itself). This is different, of course, from the dogma that finally prevailed in Rome (the Franciscan one) that taught she was totally without sin from her conception also bodily. If you want to see how lively the discussion was, check Chemnitz’ Examen I:375-383 addressing the question of whether the Blessed Virgin was conceived without original sin. I love his conclusion:

But in this dispute I want nothing taken away from the dignity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For I embrace with the greatest reverence of mind what she herself sings: “Henceforth all generations will call me blessed.” I think that the Virgin Mary is rightly proclaimed blest if those things are attributed to her which are both in agreement with the Scripture and can be proved from there, so that the name of the Lord may be holy. No other celebration can be pleasing to her.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 07:06:01 PM by Weedon »

Dave Benke

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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2021, 07:26:36 PM »
Well the idea was around, Bishop, a long time before it was declared a dogma by the pope! So, I think, you see Luther kind of holding the same idea as Thomas Aquinas: Mary conceived in body with original sin but cleansed at the infusion of the soul as you have in Summa III Question 27 Article 2 (though note that later, at times, Luther sounds like he attributes the sanctification to the moment of the overshadowing at the incarnation itself). This is different, of course, from the dogma that finally prevailed in Rome (the Franciscan one) that taught she was totally without sin from her conception also bodily. If you want to see how lively the discussion was, check Chemnitz’ Examen I:375-383 addressing the question of whether the Blessed Virgin was conceived without original sin. I love his conclusion:

But in this dispute I want nothing taken away from the dignity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For I embrace with the greatest reverence of mind what she herself sings: “Henceforth all generations will call me blessed.” I think that the Virgin Mary is rightly proclaimed blest if those things are attributed to her which are both in agreement with the Scripture and can be proved from there, so that the name of the Lord may be holy. No other celebration can be pleasing to her.

Some of us on this board have heard all these thoughts many times late into the night.  They were offered by a Missouri Synod-raised and trained cleric who became a Roman Catholic priest.  The line moves through tradition, interwoven with philosophical underpinnings and pious thoughts, to the level of Marian devotion that encourages full apprehension and appreciation in the Roman Church. 

That direction was offered to me personally and I would think to others as a living open option, under the heading "the healing of the breach."  It was always offered in fraternal love.  It would not have been an uncomfortable fit for me - I think any Bishop worth his salt would desire to be under authority in the way offered by the Roman Church rather than under the authority of a Handbook and convention resolutions, a form of tradition less than authentically durable.  A decent number of my Missouri Synod Lutheran clergy friends and colleagues rowed up the Elbe and across the Alps to the Tiber and crossed it. 

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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2021, 07:46:20 PM »
I wonder, and perhaps I've missed it, whether the vision of Revelation 12 has been factored into the discussion of Mary's experience. There the Church/Mary experiences labor pains before bringing forth her Son.
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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2021, 07:53:27 PM »
Dr. Piepkorn, of course, would object to any Lutheran taking that route, Bishop. The breach will not be healed by embracing a hierarchy that declares itself free to transform tradition, even venerable tradition, into binding dogma and bans those who disagree. And make no mistake, that is what happened.

Ineffabilis Deus (1854) on the Immaculate Conception of Mary includes:

Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he thinks in his heart.

Munifcentissimus Deus (1950) on the Assumption of Mary includes:

Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.

Thus Rome has dogmatically ruled those who oppose the declaration of either Immaculate Conception or Assumption as divinely revealed dogmas have put themselves outside of Christ’s Church. THIS is one key reason why Piepkorn correctly and steadfastly opposed any Tiber crossing. In this, the great Dr. Piepkorn was right and his student RJN was much mistaken, in my view. To borrow a happy phrase from the pope (uttered in regard to the question of whether women may be ordained): “The Church simply lacks the authority to do so.” As with the Church, so with the Pope. The Pope “simply lacks the authority” to elevate ecclesiastical tradition to the level of dogma and to threaten with the anathema those who would dare to object. I, for one, will happily and joyously remain a Lutheran, even with all our messes.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 08:44:42 PM by Weedon »

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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2021, 07:58:33 PM »
Edward,

I’ve often wondered the same about Revelation 12. I believe those who held to the closed womb birth interpret Revelation 12 not solely in relation to the Theotokos, but as Israel-Mary-Church. And so the pain of bringing forth Messiah characterizes much of the history of Israel; and of course the fathers in several places note that whatever Mary was spared in the birth of the Child, she experienced plus much more at the foot of her Son’s cross. It’s not that she escaped all heart-ache. Love never can in this fallen world.

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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2021, 08:17:10 PM »
John,

See my opening post on this thread. St. Basil confesses that NO vital teaching hangs on the ever-virginity of Mary; Luther mocks those who make too much of it. But both men held it as a *tradition* that they regarded (and preached) as true and not being in conflict with the Sacred Scriptures themselves. But to dogmatically declare the tradition as out of bounds because it *could not* be true, is to fall into the ditch of Nestorianism, which would deny the possibility of the communication of attributes that would allow our Lord to leave His pure and kingly hall with the door still very much “closed.”

If it’s not clear, all I’m trying to do in this thread is to preserve the space in Lutheranism for those who HOLD to the tradition as a true tradition. To close that space to such is to disinvite Luther, Rhegius, Chemnitz, Gerhard, Lossius, and sundry others (and that would include me) from the Lutheran Church or to declare their allegiance to our Symbols somehow suspect. It’s also to part company with the overwhelming majority of our beloved ancient Fathers.

So, is it appropriate for a Lutheran to preach tradition?  I was taught that a pastor had better be able to rightly say "Thus saith the Lord" (meaning he had better have Scriptural basis) about the doctrinal content of his sermons.

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2021, 08:20:03 PM »
Yes, Luke 2:35.

That's a response to Will's post 35.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 08:30:51 PM by Rev. Edward Engelbrecht »
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Weedon

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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #38 on: March 31, 2021, 08:38:01 PM »
Steve,

I think it is perfectly appropriate for a Lutheran to reference a tradition of the Church in a sermon; of course, we do best always to mark that out in the sermon with a clear: “The tradition of the Church is...” and whatever other way we can make it clear that this is not a testimony from God’s infallible Word. I think that’s what the Formula intended with “as people believe” in reference to the closed womb; and “their [the lovers of Christ’s] testimony” in St. Basil on the perpetual virginity. I have frequently mentioned the tradition of St. Paul’s beheading and St. Peter being crucified upside down on June 29th, but I think I have always prefaced those comments in a similar way.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 08:41:53 PM by Weedon »

peter_speckhard

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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #39 on: March 31, 2021, 08:51:47 PM »
I think for RJN the guiding question was first, whether Rome was what she said she was. If so, then assent to any such doctrine followed as a matter of course, much the same way a Scriptural doctrine, no matter how difficult to understand, stands as infallible for sola Scriptura types.

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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2021, 08:59:39 PM »
Thanks, Peter. That’s helpful. What continues to be rather amazing to me is that Rome believes that all the rest of us are causing division in the Body by not submitting to the pope’s authority (RJN finally agreed with that obviously), whereas it is clear as the nose on my face (which is pretty darned unmissable!) that THE cause of disunity and division in the Christian Church has been for a very long time those very claims that Rome makes about herself and the authority of her bishop!

mariemeyer

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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #41 on: March 31, 2021, 09:06:22 PM »
I think for some the connection is simply a matter of logical necessity. For example, when people say Mary must have given birth in pain because Jesus is truly human, they make the Flacian error, as Will pointed out, of confusing the effects of the fall with human nature itself. A lot of it seems to go back to Second Adam considerations, with Mary, the type of the Church, as the new Eve. Just as Eve was taken from the unfallen Adam's side by a special, unique act of God unlike any other birth, so Jesus, in reverse of that, was taken from Mary (necessarily unfallen) by a special act of God unlike any other birth.   

Very well stated.

In both instances, the creation of the first woman from the first man and the Incarnation of Jesus the Christ from Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, God was at work doing what only God can accomplish.  According to Luther, Mary "got it." She understood that her giving birth to God the Son was about God and the nature of God to work from those the world regards as the "lowly."  How did she get it?...the Holy Spirit gave her insight into God's way of working in and through His creation, man and woman.

Luther writes,

"When the holy virgin experienced what great things God was working in her despite her insignificance, her lowliness, poverty and inferiority, the Holy Spirit taught her this deep wisdom and insight, that God is the kind of Lord who does nothing but exalt those of low degree and put down the mighty from their thrones, in short, break what is whole and make whole what is broken....

 "Just as God at the beginning of creation made the world out of nothing, whence He is called the Creator and the Almighty, so His manner of working remains unchanged."

Here Luther connects the continuity of how God works to accomplish His good and gracious will for mankind. The creation of the first man, Adam, from the dust of the earth was first and foremost about the  nature of God. So also, the creation of the first woman from  and for the first man reveals the nature of God to accomplish what God alone can do in response to the human need...in this instance, the man's need for a helper that would his true counterpart... bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh man's true counterpart

 Luther's Magnificat  Commentary provides insight into true knowledge of God's nature to"creatio ex nihilo.'

Luther writes, " The tender mother of Christ does the same here and teaches us with her words and by the example of her experience, how to know, love and praise God."  IOW, Mary teaches us, man and woman, to recognize how God has worked in creation from the beginning to now....if we would but listen to her and keep our eyes focused on God.

Mary, by her words in the Magnificat, teaches us to recognize how God is present working in and through man and woman to accomplish God's will for mankind... be it God's work of creating the first woman from and for the man or God's work of sending God the Son to be born of a woman by the power of the Holy Spirit for mankind.  The danger is that we focus on the man from whom God created woman rather than the God who accomplished what no human man could do.    When God the Son became incarnate from the virgin Mary, she  did not focus on herself.  She kept her eyes focused on the God who accomplished what no human man could have accomplished.  Luther writes that Mary teaches us to keep everything in the "right order" ... at the Incarnation of God the Son and the creation of man and woman. 

Marie Meyer

 

Dave Benke

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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #42 on: April 01, 2021, 09:00:32 AM »
Dr. Piepkorn, of course, would object to any Lutheran taking that route, Bishop. The breach will not be healed by embracing a hierarchy that declares itself free to transform tradition, even venerable tradition, into binding dogma and bans those who disagree. And make no mistake, that is what happened.

Ineffabilis Deus (1854) on the Immaculate Conception of Mary includes:

Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he thinks in his heart.

Munifcentissimus Deus (1950) on the Assumption of Mary includes:

Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.

Thus Rome has dogmatically ruled those who oppose the declaration of either Immaculate Conception or Assumption as divinely revealed dogmas have put themselves outside of Christ’s Church. THIS is one key reason why Piepkorn correctly and steadfastly opposed any Tiber crossing. In this, the great Dr. Piepkorn was right and his student RJN was much mistaken, in my view. To borrow a happy phrase from the pope (uttered in regard to the question of whether women may be ordained): “The Church simply lacks the authority to do so.” As with the Church, so with the Pope. The Pope “simply lacks the authority” to elevate ecclesiastical tradition to the level of dogma and to threaten with the anathema those who would dare to object. I, for one, will happily and joyously remain a Lutheran, even with all our messes.

"All our messes" indeed.  ACP always hewed to the doctrine of the confessions as centered around the gospel.  He was unceremoniously ushered out the door by his denomination and its decisions and died before he could defend himself.  I wonder whether after his friendship and conversation with Avery Cardinal Dulles and others, and his illuminating presence in the Lutheran/Roman Catholic dialogs, what might have happened had he lived.  Is the gospel obscured in Roman Catholicism?  Are the biblicist tradition/convention resolution overlays in the LCMS less gospel-obscurantist than whatever might exist in Roman Catholicism?

This much can be said - we in the LCMS simply do not have among us theologians and practitioners at the level of RJN, ACP, Jarry Pelikan, Bob Bertram and several others in that category.  All left the fold or were expelled for thinking out loud about the Gospel.

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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #43 on: April 01, 2021, 09:17:40 AM »
Dr. Piepkorn, of course, would object to any Lutheran taking that route, Bishop. The breach will not be healed by embracing a hierarchy that declares itself free to transform tradition, even venerable tradition, into binding dogma and bans those who disagree. And make no mistake, that is what happened.

Ineffabilis Deus (1854) on the Immaculate Conception of Mary includes:

Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he thinks in his heart.

Munifcentissimus Deus (1950) on the Assumption of Mary includes:

Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.

Thus Rome has dogmatically ruled those who oppose the declaration of either Immaculate Conception or Assumption as divinely revealed dogmas have put themselves outside of Christ’s Church. THIS is one key reason why Piepkorn correctly and steadfastly opposed any Tiber crossing. In this, the great Dr. Piepkorn was right and his student RJN was much mistaken, in my view. To borrow a happy phrase from the pope (uttered in regard to the question of whether women may be ordained): “The Church simply lacks the authority to do so.” As with the Church, so with the Pope. The Pope “simply lacks the authority” to elevate ecclesiastical tradition to the level of dogma and to threaten with the anathema those who would dare to object. I, for one, will happily and joyously remain a Lutheran, even with all our messes.

"All our messes" indeed.  ACP always hewed to the doctrine of the confessions as centered around the gospel.  He was unceremoniously ushered out the door by his denomination and its decisions and died before he could defend himself.  I wonder whether after his friendship and conversation with Avery Cardinal Dulles and others, and his illuminating presence in the Lutheran/Roman Catholic dialogs, what might have happened had he lived.  Is the gospel obscured in Roman Catholicism? Are the biblicist tradition/convention resolution overlays in the LCMS less gospel-obscurantist than whatever might exist in Roman Catholicism?

This much can be said - we in the LCMS simply do not have among us theologians and practitioners at the level of RJN, ACP, Jarry Pelikan, Bob Bertram and several others in that category.  All left the fold or were expelled for thinking out loud about the Gospel.


Dave Benke

" Are the biblicist tradition/convention resolution overlays in the LCMS less gospel-obscurantist than whatever might exist in Roman Catholicism?
This much can be said - we in the LCMS simply do not have among us theologians and practitioners at the level of RJN, ACP, Jarry Pelikan, Bob Bertram and several others in that category.  All left the fold or were expelled for thinking out loud about the Gospel.


I don't know how in the world those guys ever left "the biblicist tradition/convention resolution overlays in the LCMS"  Seems like giving up bacon and eggs for breakfast or steak for dinner.    ;D

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

peter_speckhard

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Re: Questions about Mary
« Reply #44 on: April 01, 2021, 09:48:30 AM »
I have an 8th graders in our church and school who surprised me by deciding not to be confirmed this year. She has been a member for several years after growing up Catholic as a small girl, but her strong, traditional Roman Catholic paternal grandparents (her father died several years ago) remain a big influence in her life. She said she didn't have a problem with anything I was teaching, but she preferred the Catholic view of Mary and the Saints and was going to be confirmed Catholic instead, via CCD classes in high school. This is the first time I've encountered our relative lack of Marian piety being a stumbling-block to anyone. The more common hurdle for those who didn't grow up Lutheran is that we seem too Catholic.