Mary as Mother of God..... please check my chat to help me

Status
Not open for further replies.

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
My friend is a baptist missionary who serves in a Catholic Third World Country. He said, "To say that Mary is the Mother of God is error. To say she is holy is blasphemy."

I replied that the NT calls the saints/believers holy, and so we can call Mary holy as well. And that the ancient church determined it was ok to call Mary the God-bearer.

I stated: She IS the Mother of God though, Theotokos. Please don't abandon historical Trinitarianism. And she is holy, and a great example for us, blessed among women.

He replied: You may not be aware of the context that I live in, which is Roman Catholic. "Holy Mary, Mother of God..." is the beginning of a prayer played by the cathedrals every day. When they say Mary is holy they are referring to the "immaculate conception" of Mary. As to historical Trinitarianism, the RCC have replaced the Holy Spirit with Mary. Mary gives birth to Jesus (the Son). She does not give birth to the Holy Spirit or the Father. Is Jesus God? Yes. But, is the fullness of the Trinitarian God-head found in the person of Jesus? No.

I replied:
you are still rejecting historical Trinitarian orthodoxy and are siding with Nestorious.
I usually try not to debate theology via Facebook, but this issue has been thorny among Baptists lately and I don't like where many are headed.
I am sure you probably agree with Turretin's clarifications, right? Just because Catholics pervert the title theotokos does not mean Mary is not the Blessed Theotokos. Maybe you should quote Turretin. He gets at the heart of your concerns without ever rejecting orthodoxy.
https://heidelblog.net/.../turretin-what-we-mean-when.../


He replied: When dealing with a culture that is cult-saturated, we cannot simply use the same terms (mercy, grace, faith, etc.) without defining them. When orthodox Christianity speaks of the "holiness" of a believer, it is clear that it is imputed/alien holiness. It is not by divine conception nor merit. It is fascinating that every Filipino had no problem understanding what was meant. RE: Turretin's quote: I certainly appreciate those me who have gone before and thought greatly about Scripture, but they are not authoritative. I can find verses that refer to Mary as the mother of Jesus (John 19:26-27, Acts 1:14, etc.). I find no verse that refers to her as the mother of God. That description is inaccurate and can only lead to confusion. Modalism comes to mind...Let me try it this way, please. Jesus is God but not all that is God is Jesus. It is like "water is blue but blue is not water" [a = b but b does not necessarily equal a). Jesus is the only member of the Trinity to have a physical body ("The Word became flesh..."). The Father and the Holy Spirit did not take on flesh. Therefore, Mary is not the mother of God (Trinity), but only of the Son. This seems plain and simple to me.

I replied:
Mary is the mother of the WHOLE Christ, not merely his human nature, and therefore, is properly called the Mother of God contrary to Nestorious and other heretics.
https://reformedcovenanter.wordpress.com/.../william.../

He replied: I will not engage in "copy-paste" discussion. I will talk to you. I ask you plainly, is Jesus the complete God-head? Do you accept that there are three different persons of the God-head? And if so, were all three persons present in the body in the womb of Mary?

I replied:
This is no copy-paste discussion. I am well-versed on this topic and you are following the error of Nestorius. Mary IS the Mother of God AND Mariolatry IS sin. Both are true. You don't combat Catholicism by becoming a Trinitarian heretic. You should clarify HOW Mary is and also is not the Mother of God.
No hard feelings but don't let the Filipino environment alter your orthodox Trinitarianism. I understand where you are coming from. It is hard.


QUESTIONS:

1 Why are baptists so bad with the Trinity?
2. What do you think of his comment that Mary did not bear God but only Jesus the Son?
3. How would you have handled this?
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
1. With some, not all (see Dolezal's excellent work) there is a desire for biblicism.
2. That is textbook Nestorianism.
3. God in the womb, God in the tomb.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
I find it troubling that he says, "Jesus is God but not all that is God is Jesus." Scripture directly contradicts this: "In Christ all the fullness of the Deity [some trans. Godhead] dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2:9). Sure, Christ is not the Trinity, but he takes that to mean that therefore the Son is not all God. All that God in his fullness is, Christ is. He is not "part" of God.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
I find it troubling that he says, "Jesus is God but not all that is God is Jesus." Scripture directly contradicts this: "In Christ all the fullness of the Deity [some trans. Godhead] dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2:9). Sure, Christ is not the Trinity, but he takes that to mean that therefore the Son is not all God. All that God in his fullness is, Christ is. He is not "part" of God.
Maybe he’s being unorthodox or maybe he’s affirming the extra Calvinisticum - the infinite cannot be contained by the finite.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
Maybe he’s being unorthodox or maybe he’s affirming the extra Calvinisticum - the infinite cannot be contained by the finite.
I'm not following as to how the extra calvinisticum—which has to do with the communication of attributes in Christ's human and divine natures—has any relevance to what this gentleman is saying.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
I see what Perg is saying and at the same time I am sympathetic to his interlocutor. Modern Catholics don’t mean what 4th and 5th century creedal affirmations meant, there’s been 1600 years of “development” within Romanist theology. They may use the right words, but their modern use of the right words needs to be filtered through the sieve of what they mean. And it is impossible to pat a Catholic on the back for saying phrases consistent with ancient creeds without implicitly affirming all the subsequent “queen of heaven,” “immaculate conception,” “co-redemptrix” blasphemy that is part and parcel of Roman teaching about Mary.

Are Mormons to be affirmed for baptizing with the Trinitarian formula? Of course not, because their whole system is contra orthodoxy thus them using the right words means nothing.
 
Last edited:

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
I'm not following as to how the extra calvinisticum—which has to do with the communication of attributes in Christ's human and divine natures—has any relevance to what this gentleman is saying.
That Christ’s deity wasn’t totally crammed into the person of Jesus as if The Som of God ceased being omnipresent. Sproul draws a helpful diagram.

All that to say is that perhaps this man is affirming that the entire Godhead is not reduced to the man Jesus. Which is true.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
That Christ’s deity wasn’t totally crammed into the person of Jesus as if The Som of God ceased being omnipresent. Sproul draws a helpful diagram.

All that to say is that perhaps this man is affirming that the entire Godhead is not reduced to the man Jesus. Which is true.
Thanks, I'm following now. I think this is a different discussion. Perg's conversation has to do with theotokos, not the communicatio idiomatum. The question is not, "How do the attributes of Christ's human and divine natures relate?" but rather, "Can Mary be called theotokos?" If Perg's acquaintance is answering the former question, he is confused. If he is answering the latter, he is a heretic.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
In my mind, it is unfortunate that even Ligonier is having problems with this particular issue. The best treatment of the matter is in Hodge's ST. I used to be more sympathetic to the more Nestorian formulations. But when I read in Acts that God purchased the church with His own blood, and I realized that actions proper to one nature can be attributed to the person, which can then be referred to by the other nature, then the matter becomes clear. Mary absolutely is the theotokos. To be precise, she is the bearer of the God-man, and not in any way the origin of Jesus' divine nature. Historically speaking, Catholics would burn at the stake those who would not affirm that Mary is the theotokos. Therefore, from an evangelistic perspective, it actually makes perfect sense to agree with the statement, and then explain what is meant. As to whether Jesus exhausts the Godhead, all three of the persons fully exhaust the essence of God (which is personal, not impersonal). Your Baptist friend also needs to learn about perichoresis, the mutual indwelling of the person. Your friend verges on the heresy of partialism, in addition to Nestorianism.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
That Christ’s deity wasn’t totally crammed into the person of Jesus as if The Som of God ceased being omnipresent. Sproul draws a helpful diagram.

All that to say is that perhaps this man is affirming that the entire Godhead is not reduced to the man Jesus. Which is true.

That's how I took his statement, Ben. Of course, without further thorough discussion with him, it's possible that that's not what he meant. But I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, he's trying to explain how he must handle theological questions in a Roman Catholic context in a foreign country.
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Sophomore
If I were in conversation with a Roman Catholic asking me if I affirmed that Mary was Theotokos, I certainly wouldn’t agree without qualification. I wholeheartedly affirm it the way the early church did, but they were making a statement about the divinity of Christ. Papists using the same term are making a whole host of blasphemous statements about Mary.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
That Christ’s deity wasn’t totally crammed into the person of Jesus as if The Som of God ceased being omnipresent. Sproul draws a helpful diagram.

All that to say is that perhaps this man is affirming that the entire Godhead is not reduced to the man Jesus. Which is true.
Question: If Christ's deity is not totally crammed into the Person of Jesus...then where did the extra bits go that wouldn't fit?
 

Mrs. B-N

Puritan Board Freshman
In my mind, it is unfortunate that even Ligonier is having problems with this particular issue. The best treatment of the matter is in Hodge's ST. I used to be more sympathetic to the more Nestorian formulations. But when I read in Acts that God purchased the church with His own blood, and I realized that actions proper to one nature can be attributed to the person, which can then be referred to by the other nature, then the matter becomes clear. Mary absolutely is the theotokos. To be precise, she is the bearer of the God-man, and not in any way the origin of Jesus' divine nature. Historically speaking, Catholics would burn at the stake those who would not affirm that Mary is the theotokos. Therefore, from an evangelistic perspective, it actually makes perfect sense to agree with the statement, and then explain what is meant. As to whether Jesus exhausts the Godhead, all three of the persons fully exhaust the essence of God (which is personal, not impersonal). Your Baptist friend also needs to learn about perichoresis, the mutual indwelling of the person. Your friend verges on the heresy of partialism, in addition to Nestorianism.
Can you (any of you) then refer me to resources that would explain all of this without requiring me to read thousands of pages or exhausting the issues? After I had children and began teaching them, I realized how little or incorrectly I might be understanding the Trinity myself. I've walked away from conversations about Christ the God-Man with them, and on further contemplation wondered if I or they were actually spouting heresy. My kids have a unique ability of not taking simple explanations as the answer when there are more complicated ones to be had. :) And honestly, having grown up Baptist, I think a lot of what I was taught about the Trinity and Christ's incarnation may have been wrong, or unclear and inconsistent to say the least. Recommendations are appreciated. Anything I can listen to or watch while I work around the house is convenient, too.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
Here’s a helpful article by Kevin DeYoung. Note the reference to the Heidelberg Catechism.

 

Mrs. B-N

Puritan Board Freshman
It’s in a video class he taught on the Lords supper. You can find it easily if interested.
I never would have searched Lord's Supper videos if you hadn't said that and considering the amount of Sproul videos available on any subject, finding it easily may or may not be the case.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
We should still be able to agree with what the Angel Gabriel said to Mary:

And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (Luke 1:28 KJV)

Now I think "Hail" isn't the best translation in modern English, which could be misunderstood.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Jesus is God but not all that is God is Jesus.
Sounds like a clear rejection of the Nicean Creed.

"God of God, Light of Light,Very God of very God,Begotten, not made,Being of one substance with the Father"

Not enough facts to judge whether the original speaker is a heretic, or merely ignorant.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Question: If Christ's deity is not totally crammed into the Person of Jesus...then where did the extra bits go that wouldn't fit?
Calvin may be helpful here:

"Further, when he says that the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ, he means simply, that God is wholly found in him, so that he who is not contented with Christ alone, desires something better and more excellent than God. The sum is this, that God has manifested himself to us fully and perfectly in Christ."

If I may add, scripture says that God dwells in us. This never means he is contained (crammed into) the finite, as if this were possible.
 

Brian T

Puritan Board Freshman
If I were in conversation with a Roman Catholic asking me if I affirmed that Mary was Theotokos, I certainly wouldn’t agree without qualification. I wholeheartedly affirm it the way the early church did, but they were making a statement about the divinity of Christ. Papists using the same term are making a whole host of blasphemous statements about Mary.

I'd have to agree with you here that, in the context with a Romanist or an eastern "orthodox" person, an agreement would have to be qualified.

Yes, it is true that Mary is Theotokos. But being 10 months removed from eastern "orthodoxy", I know what happens when you even say "Theotokos" in front of an EO person: they start crossing themselves, will fall to the ground in prostrations whilst saying "Oh Theotokos SAVE US!!!!" Thus, a whole lot of baggage accompanies that "Theotokos" label, both for the Romanists and the eastern "orthodox." (And the Mariolatry, BTW, is 100x worse in the latter than the former, which is why I am, unfortunately, almost allergic to the term just because of all the times I have heard it used in prayers for people's salvation).
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Can you (any of you) then refer me to resources that would explain all of this without requiring me to read thousands of pages or exhausting the issues? After I had children and began teaching them, I realized how little or incorrectly I might be understanding the Trinity myself. I've walked away from conversations about Christ the God-Man with them, and on further contemplation wondered if I or they were actually spouting heresy. My kids have a unique ability of not taking simple explanations as the answer when there are more complicated ones to be had. :) And honestly, having grown up Baptist, I think a lot of what I was taught about the Trinity and Christ's incarnation may have been wrong, or unclear and inconsistent to say the least. Recommendations are appreciated. Anything I can listen to or watch while I work around the house is convenient, too.
So, Hodge's discussion on the two natures of Christ was the best I have read. It isn't too long, even though it is in his rather imposing 3 volume Systematic Theology. The discussion itself is between 60-80 pages, if I recall. On the Trinity, I would read the discussion in volume 2 of Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics, which is about 80 pages on the Trinity.
 

Mrs. B-N

Puritan Board Freshman
So, Hodge's discussion on the two natures of Christ was the best I have read. It isn't too long, even though it is in his rather imposing 3 volume Systematic Theology. The discussion itself is between 60-80 pages, if I recall. On the Trinity, I would read the discussion in volume 2 of Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics, which is about 80 pages on the Trinity.
Thank you! I will check those out!
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
But being 10 months removed from eastern "orthodoxy", I know what happens when you even say "Theotokos" in front of an EO person: they start crossing themselves, will fall to the ground in prostrations whilst saying "Oh Theotokos SAVE US!!!!" Thus, a whole lot of baggage accompanies that "Theotokos" label, both for the Romanists and the eastern "orthodox." (And the Mariolatry, BTW, is 100x worse in the latter than the former, which is why I am, unfortunately, almost allergic to the term just because of all the times I have heard it used in prayers for people's salvation).
Exactly. Some here give RCs and EOs way too much credit. As if we all mean the same thing when we utter the same words. As if most of them - or even a significant minority of them - have any idea of these pure ancient expressions without the additional meaning that’s been piled on over the ensuing centuries.

Perm’s friend may be a clumsy theologian - in fact I’d bet he is - but I think he’s on to something in terms of understanding functional practical use age of the terms even if some here want to insist that the term means what it meant in the ye olden days of antiquity.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
Perm’s friend may be a clumsy theologian - in fact I’d bet he is - but I think he’s on to something in terms of understanding functional practical use age of the terms even if some here want to insist that the term means what it meant in the ye olden days of antiquity.
I understand what you’re getting at, and I agree. We need to understand the term correctly. However, there is a difference between wanting to nuance a term and denying the term altogether. In this case, the former is just theology; the latter is heresy. The gentleman with whom Perg is having this discussion seems to deny altogether that Mary is theotokos. That is heresy.
 
Last edited:

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I'm not a fan of rejecting orthodox language simply because it has been deformed by Christian communions. In fact, when a Roman Catholic apologist came to my door years ago, it was the Definition of Chalcedon that I brought him to in order to challenge him on the Church's view of the Lord's Supper in which they attribute divine attributes (e.g. ubiquity) to the human body of the Son of God.

Chalcedon is often approached as if the two natures of the Son of God is the central theological concept. It is actually the One Person that is emphasized and then the two natures are discussed to reject errors.

It confesses:
"One and the Same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten; acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably..."

The idea that all that is God is not in Christ dives and/or separates something that is true of the One Christ, Son, and Lord.

We don't want to likewise "confuse" the natures and so the definition affirms that Mary is the mother of Christ respecting His humanity, but we also do not want to separate or divide the Person Himself as if one can say that Mary was the mother of Christ but she wasn't the mother of Christ. By that I mean that we would say she was *only* the mother of Christ and not the mother of God. Christ is Lord is Son is God. This is what Lane is driving at when he points out that the actions of the One Person, whether touching His Divinity or humanity, are One Person. When Thomas touched Christ's hands and confessed: "My Lord and My God" he was worshipping God, not part of God, not merely the human nature. He was touching God with all the appropriate distinctions that we do not confuse the natures themselves while affirming the One Person.

The solution to bad doctrine is not to change catholic (small c) language, but to demonstrate how perversions of Christianity undermine those important distinctions.

I don't worry about Roman Catholics being confused about infant baptism and stop teaching or practicing it. I reform their understanding and the work of reformation is to recover the faith once for all delivered to the Saints.
 
Last edited:

Rome2Geneva

Puritan Board Freshman
I'd have to agree with you here that, in the context with a Romanist or an eastern "orthodox" person, an agreement would have to be qualified.

Yes, it is true that Mary is Theotokos. But being 10 months removed from eastern "orthodoxy", I know what happens when you even say "Theotokos" in front of an EO person: they start crossing themselves, will fall to the ground in prostrations whilst saying "Oh Theotokos SAVE US!!!!" Thus, a whole lot of baggage accompanies that "Theotokos" label, both for the Romanists and the eastern "orthodox." (And the Mariolatry, BTW, is 100x worse in the latter than the former, which is why I am, unfortunately, almost allergic to the term just because of all the times I have heard it used in prayers for people's salvation).
Greetings from another former EO. I took a few year detour through the EO after coming out of romanism. Liturgically the EO appears to be worse than Rome when it comes to Mariolatry with the constant cries for her to "save us." Dogmatically though I think Rome is unsurpassed in their Mary worship. I actually once saw an orthodox apologetic site accuse romanists of Mary worship if you can believe that.

More to the point I believe that Mary is most definitely Theotokos. Sadly Rome and "orthodox" use this truth to construct a completely unbiblical system of mariolatry.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top