The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them
to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
February 1, 2015
1) The Development of Mariology (Greg Litmer)
2) Is God the Author of Confusion? (Leslie G. Thomas)
3) News & Notes
The Development of Mariology
by Greg Litmer
"Nothing is more distinctly Catholic than devotion to the Blessed
Virgin Mary." So states J.D. Conway in the authorized Catholic work,
"What the Church Teaches." Those familiar with the outpouring of
devotion toward Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the numerous
doctrines concerning her in Roman Catholicism recognize the
truthfulness of Conway's statement. The purpose of this article will
be to seek to determine the source of this Roman Catholic devotion
to Mary and the authority for their Marian doctrines. Well do I
remember my days as a student at St. John's the Evangelist in
Cincinnati, Ohio. Each May, one eighth-grade girl would be chosen
from her class to receive the honor of placing a crown upon a statue
of Mary that stood in the churchyard. The entire school took part in
the procession leading up to the climax which was her crowning. It
was a marvelously inspiring ceremony, and as a child it never
occurred to me to ask where it came from. Yet such a question is
important. Did God authorize in His Holy word such devotion to Mary?
Did He teach the various doctrines concerning her therein? Or is the
entire system of Roman Catholic Mariology entirely man-made and
without divine authority?
Mary in the Scriptures
Mary, the mother of Jesus, appears in the following New Testament
passages: She is found in the narratives concerning the events
surrounding Jesus' birth, Matthew 1 and 2 and Luke 1 and 2; we read
of Mary at the wedding feast in Cana, John 2:1-11; we read of her in
the event described in Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:32-35; we read of
her at the cross of Jesus in John 19:25-27; and, finally, we read of
Mary in Acts 1:14 in the upper room in Jerusalem. The passage in the
first chapter of Acts is the last time that we read of Mary. There
she is said to be joined with the disciples and other women in
prayer and supplication along with the brethren of Jesus.
In the twenty-two books of the New Testament that follow the Acts of
the apostles, Mary is not mentioned. John, who was entrusted with
her care by Jesus, does not mention her in any of his three epistles
or in the book of Revelation. There is no place of prominence, no
position of extraordinary honor, given to Mary in the pages of God's
word. At no time can we read of prayer being offered to her or
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia gives this summation
of what we can learn about Mary from the Biblical accounts
concerning her. It says,
"The sum of the matter concerning Mary seems to be this: The mother
of Jesus was a typical Jewish believer of the best sort. She was
deeply meditative, but by no means a daring or original thinker. Her
inherited Messianic beliefs did not and perhaps could not prepare
her for the method of Jesus which involved so much that was new and
unexpected. But her heart was true, and from the beginning to the
day of Pentecost, she pondered in her heart the meaning of her many
puzzling experiences until the light came. The story of her life and
of her relationship to Jesus is consistent throughout and touched
with manifold unconscious traits of truth. Such a narrative could
not have been feigned or fabled."
There is absolutely no indication in God's word of anything that
even remotely resembles Roman Catholic Mariology. Where did it come
from? How did this system of veneration grow into what it is today?
As It Developed
It is safe and correct to say that the early church knew nothing of
what has come to be called Mariology. Standing in sharp contrast to
the Biblical account, there appeared certain apocryphal writings in
the latter part of the second century that greatly expanded upon
Mary's role and did so in legendary fashion. The most prominent of
these was called "The Protoevangelium of James." In this work all
sorts of things about Mary are stated, such as the names of her
parents, that she stayed for a time in the temple as a little girl,
a rather imaginative story about her birth, and it also states that
she remained a virgin throughout her life. Roman Catholic
authorities have rejected this work as spurious, and yet have
absorbed many of its legends into their system of Mariology.
As time went on, many other writers added other elements to the
story. It is interesting to notice that a "church father" who is
often quoted by Roman Catholic authorities as a Roman Catholic
source raised his voice against these legends and denied that Mary
remained a virgin throughout her life. His name was Tertullian and
he died in 222 A.D. There is a picture of Mary found in a catacomb
in Rome that is dated from the latter part of the second century.
The necessary conclusion is that for a least 150 years after the
establishment of the church, there was no special attention paid to
Mary. It was not until the middle of the second century that legends
concerning her began to appear.
In the centuries that followed, various groups arose that denied the
divinity of Jesus as born from Mary. They taught that the child
conceived in Mary's womb was solely man and not divine until after
his birth. In response to this, the Council of Ephesus declared Mary
the "mother of God" in 431 A.D. From this decree the theologians
engaged in all sorts of speculations. By 449 A.D., we find Mary
being referred to as a perpetual virgin. The reasoning behind this
is not hard to understand. As the mother of God, surely purely human
seed would not taint her womb. From there the process of elaboration
continue with Mary being declared personally sinless and the
teaching that she ascended bodily into heaven. This process has not
stopped. Currently strides are being taken to have Mary declared
co-mediatrix with Jesus. Over the years, the Roman Catholic church
has given her the title of Virgin of Virgins, Gate of Heaven, Queen
of Heaven, Co-Redemptrix, Queen of Sorrows, Virgin Most Merciful,
and many, many others. The whole system has no scriptural basis.
Since there is no scriptural support for Mariology, as well as no
historical evidence to sustain it either, how does the Roman
Catholic Church justify it? I think a quote from the Manual of
Catholic Theology concerning just one doctrine in the system of
Mariology will explain their approach. It says, "Mary's corporeal
assumption into heaven is so thoroughly implied in the notion of her
personality as given by the Bible and dogma, that the church can
dispense with strict historical evidence of the fact." I suppose
that if that's the approach that one chooses to take, then the facts
make very little difference. In other words, the Roman Catholic
authorities believe their system of Mariology to be true because
they say it is true. ~
(Taken from "Catholicism Examined," edited by Greg Litmer and David
Riggs, Vol. 2, March 1985).
-- Via the Navarre Messenger, December 7, 2014
Is God the Author of Confusion?
by Leslie G. Thomas
Let us suppose that an evangelist comes to our community to conduct
a religious meeting and proceeds as follows:
At the first service, he preaches that salvation is by faith only;
but at the next he contends that it is by faith exercised in
obedience to the gospel, rather than by faith alone.
At the third service he tells people that they ought to baptize
their babies; but at the fourth service, he says that penitent
believers are the only scriptural subjects for baptism.
At the fifth service, he preaches once in grace, always in grace;
but at the sixth, he tells the people it is possible for them to
fall from grace, that some have fallen, and that the Bible tells
them how to keep from falling.
At the seventh service he teaches it is all right to have human
creeds; but at the eighth he declares that we should take the Bible
as our only guide in religion.
No thoughtful person would continue to listen to one preacher
preaching like that, but the majority of people are perfectly
willing for eight different preachers to preach these conflicting
ideas. They say that if one man should preach that way, he would
contradict himself and be inconsistent. But what kind of God do they
suppose we have if He endorses all these conflicting doctrines and
has sent out these preachers to present
-- via The Beacon, January 6, 2015
News & Notes
We are looking forward to having Jeff Carr as our guest
speaker next Sunday morning. He will be presenting a lesson
during the Bible class period, as well as in the morning worship
The surgery today (Feb. 3) went well for Melotine Davis.
Though it was a complete knee replacement, she is to also be up and
walking this day. Let those of us who are Christians continue
to remember her in prayer as she will remain in the hospital until
Friday and then be transferred to a rehab facility, where she will
be for a while.
Ginger Ann Montero is no longer having the abdominal pains
and will soon find out how things went in some recent testing.
Here are some others to be remembering in prayer:
Myrna Jordan, Mary Vandevander and Jewell Wilson (both at
the Satilla Care Center), Danielle Howard, Pat Seif (cancer),
Penny Medlock (glaucoma), Marie Turner, Jim Lively,
Cheryl Corbitt (seeking employment), Rex and Frankie
Hadley, Jesse Bailey (cancer), Deborah Medlock, Shirley
Davis, Dexter Roberts (cancer), Sue Wooten (at the
Baptist Village nursing home), Steve Vista (in very poor
health), Dolly Downs Moody (still has stomach pains and
platelets very low at 42 when they should be at least 140. Her
bone marrow is being slow in reproducing blood cells, following her
recent cancer treatments), Collen Henson, A.J. Joyner
(shingles on arm), and Garth Egger (passed out face first on
concrete, completely smashing his nose and requiring plastic
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom.
10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins
(Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet.
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can
be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
(Gospel Observer website)