Mary Worship (Part 2 of 4)
By Dr. David Reagan
During this Christmas season, how should we deal with Mary, the mother of Jesus? Should she be worshiped or respected? Adored or ignored? Magnified or belittled?
For a fresh, fascinating, and biblical viewpoint, I was delighted to interview on Christ in Prophecy Pastor Glenn Meredith of the Brookhaven Church located in McKinney, Texas. Glenn is one of the most anointed and gifted preachers I have ever encountered, and so I am sure you will be challenged by the answers he gave to these questions concerning the adoration of Mary.
What are some of the unbiblical misconceptions made about Mary?
Glenn Meredith: A whole branch of theology exists within the Catholic religion called Mariology. Mariology is the study of Mary. Quite a number of doctrines that Catholics believe center around Mary.
One of those doctrines is called the Immaculate Conception. I’ll be honest, for most of my life in ministry I would hear that term Immaculate Conception and thought I agreed with it because I misunderstood and thought that the term was referring to Jesus’ miraculous conception. Jesus was born of a virgin and so He was miraculously conceived. Catholics and I agree.
But, when I studied the Immaculate Conception a little bit longer, I began to realize the teaching was not talking about Jesus’ conception. Rather, the Immaculate Conception doctrine is instead talking about Mary. When Mary was conceived in her mother’s womb, the Catholic Church has been teaching that she was conceived without original sin. They claim she was born without a sin nature. They believe that she lived literally without the “stain of sin” throughout her entire life. Catholics believe that Mary was conceived and born without a sin nature and went on to live a sinless life.
Dr. Reagan: Yes, and we need to understand, in the Catholic faith doctrines are not necessarily based upon the Bible. No biblical evidence exists for the Immaculate Conception of Mary, absolutely none whatsoever. Even Catholics will tell you that their doctrines don’t always derive from the Bible, but rather they come from the grassroots. Purgatory is another concept that came from the grassroots. They will actually admit that over several hundred years people at the grassroots began believing on their own that, for example, there is just no way we can go to Heaven unless we suffer for our sins. The Catholic Church eventually adopted that view. Doctrine comes from church councils and declarations by the Pope, and they don’t necessarily have to be biblically based.
The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary developed over hundreds of years, and it wasn’t until 1854 that Pope Pius IX finally made this an official doctrine of the Catholic Church. This move by a pope became the first step in trying to turn Mary into a goddess. It presented Mary as someone equal to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
The first step in deifying Mary was to claim she was born without any sin nature whatsoever, and then remained sinless all of her life. The claim that Mary led a sinless life is very interesting, because in Luke 1, just after Mary had conceived the Christ child, she goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Once there Mary sings a song. The song is very interesting. In Luke 1:46-55 Mary sings, “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Mary herself proclaimed that she needed a Savior. Just like you and I need a Savior, Mary claimed she did as well, all the while rejoicing that she would be giving birth to the Savior.
For 20 years I broadcast over the radio all over the United States. The station I received the most response from was based in Crowley, Louisiana. A tremendous number of evangelical Christians listened to that station. Every Christmas back then I would record a special program about Mary. I would talk about how we’ve ignored her, and how important she should be remembered, and how she stood out as a model to teenage girls. Then I’d get to the end and I’d say, “But, you have to understand one thing, Mary was a sinner just like all of us, and she needed a Savior just like all of us.”
I tell you the truth, I was buried knee deep in mail from Southern Louisiana threatening my life. These folks threatened to send me to the deepest, darkest parts of Hell. Why? Because a lot of good Catholic people from there listened to my radio program. The very idea that Mary might have been just a normal human being was beyond comprehension to them. The Catholic Church has built her up over the centuries to becoming almost a god!
In the third segment of my interview with Pastor Glenn Meredith concerning Mary’s position in Christianity, we will continue to look at some of the unbiblical misconceptions made about Mary.