What are your beliefs about the Blessed Virgin Mary?

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by Anna Scott, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    I have encountered some sharp disagreements among Anglicans regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    So, what are your beliefs about the Blessed Virgin Mary?

    Please feel free to pick and choose one or more issues from this list or add some of your own for discussion:

    Mary as Theotokos or Mother of God‎
    Perpetual Virginity
    Assumption
    Immaculate Conception
    Mediatrix
    Co-Redemptrix
    Her Place within the Communion of Saints
    Requests for Her Intercession
    Veneration
    Other Beliefs/Doctrines


    I look forward to your responses.

    Peace and blessings,
    Anna
     
  2. Adam Warlock

    Adam Warlock Well-Known Member

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    Time to get myself in trouble. :D

    Mary as Theotokos or Mother of God‎
    I agree completely with St. Cyril of Alexandria and with the Council of Ephesus. Both Theotokos and Mother of God are appropriate descriptions of Mary, and they point us to the Son. I have found that many Americans are uncomfortable with both terms (especially Mother of God). I think this is because 1) Church History and Christology are hardly known, and 2) perceived abuses of the term "Mother of God" have caused people to ignore it or abandon it entirely. But these are important Christological concepts, and the terminology ought to be taught and maintained.

    Perpetual Virginity
    This teaching wasn't even really questioned until modern times. If the Orthodox, the Roman Catholics, and the Reformers are convinced of it, it would be arrogant for me to reject it without a very good cause. This teaching has persisted since the Early Church, and I am absolutely convinced of its truthfulness. Much like "Mother of God," this seems to be an issue that causes a great deal of needless bickering and misunderstanding. I'm not exactly sure why that is the case. I'll stick with the Church's understanding of this matter.

    Assumption
    The Assumption is a Traditional teaching that carries great significance for a lot of other Christians, and it has a place within the Anglican tradition as well. I guess I always sort of thought it to be true, but I haven't given it sufficient study. Yet.

    Immaculate Conception
    I struggle with this one. Providing a pure Ark for the Lord certainly has Old Testament backing. God can specially choose people while they are in the womb (note the example of John the Baptist). I see how the case can be made.

    Mediatrix
    This one bothers me. It seems to put Mary in the place of the Holy Spirit, although those who support it won't like my saying that. When Mary becomes a dispenser or intermediary in the reception of God's grace, one must wonder what role the Holy Spirit plays in that grace. St. Paul's writings on the Holy Spirit seem to be pointless if Mary occupies this role so completely. I don't agree with the Mediatrix theology.

    Co-Redemptrix
    Co-Redemptrix doesn't translate well into English. We can (and ought to) honor Mary's humble submission to the Lord. If I remember correctly, even St. Irenaeus referred to her as a cause of our salvation. However, his writings must be taken in context, as should the concept of the Co-Redemptrix itself. The Bible is full of people who submitted to God's plan or believed in God's promise, and who became ancestors of Mary. History is filled with people whose lives were used by God to accomplish his ends and ultimately our salvation. Mary's role in this, of course, is very special. It is unique. But are we to elevate her to a position where she is practically offering Christ herself and helping to dispense the benefits of his death and resurrection? That goes too far and I don't agree with it.

    Communion of Saints, Intercession, Veneration
    Having said all of that, I do think that she would have to be at the top of the list in the Communion of Saints. In fact, her place at the top is probably what leads to theological excess in her honor. God is the God of the living, and those who die in Christ are made alive. Revelation shows that the saints pray for us, and Mary is obviously among their number. I would like for her, and for all the Saints, to pray for the Church here in the world. Now regarding veneration, I'm not originally from an Anglican/Catholic/Orthodox background. I don't really know how to venerate saints. :D It does not bother me when other Christians do so, because they are honoring those whom the Lord has also chosen to honor. I don't like excessive parades with life-sized statues, but simple veneration of relics or icons can enrich one's devotional life (from what I have seen and been told).
     
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  3. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That's about it.
     
  4. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    Mother of God, and
    Her Place within the Communion of Saints.
     
  5. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate all the replies.Very interesting comments.

    As for my beliefs:
    Mary as Theotokos or Mother of God‎-Yes
    Perpetual Virginity-Yes. It is the Traditional view within Christendom.
    Assumption-Yes probably.
    Immaculate Conception-no
    Mediatrix-No
    Co-Redemptrix-No
    Her Place within the Communion of Saints-Yes----a place of honor among the Saints
    Requests for Her Intercession-Yes, but I've gone back and forth on this one. Though I have asked for Mary's intercession, I'm not really comfortable in asking. I hope she and all the Saints are praying for us.
     
  6. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    Adam,
    Thanks for posting the reasons for your beliefs.Very helpful to the discussion.
     
  7. Sean611

    Sean611 Well-Known Member

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    I have no problem with requests for the intercession of Mary and the Saints. I find it no different than asking for somebody else to pray for me if I need it or if someone asks me to pray for them. That said, I don't think anybody who is uncomfortable with it should have to, but I think it can enrich a persons devotional life (at least it does mine). I think we need all the help we can get and the more people we have praying for us, the better. :)
     
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  8. Adam Warlock

    Adam Warlock Well-Known Member

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    It looks like we're pretty similar in our beliefs!
     
  9. The Hackney Hub

    The Hackney Hub Well-Known Member

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    Mary as Theotokos or Mother of God‎: Yes
    Perpetual Virginity: Yes
    Assumption: Adiaphora (personally, no)
    Immaculate Conception: No
    Mediatrix: No
    Co-Redemptrix: No
    Her Place within the Communion of Saints: Yes
    Requests for Her Intercession: No
    Veneration: No
    Other Beliefs/Doctrines
     
  10. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    Great comments everyone!

    As Anglicans, we definitely have diversity in our beliefs. I think respectful discussion is so important, and that is certainly honored here.
     
  11. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    Stalwart,
    You summed that up nicely. :)
     
  12. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    Regarding the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

    I've had recent discussions about this with some friends. A few claim Mary had more children after Jesus, pointing to passages of Scripture that speak of the brothers and sisters of Jesus.

    What are your thoughts?

    Peace,
    Anna
     
  13. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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  14. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    Scottish Knight,

    Mary as Theotokos is a widely held view in Anglicanism--as you can see by all the Anglican posts on this thread.

    Anna
     
  15. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    I can see no objection to theotokos (God-bearer), It's a term I use myself, and I hope my question will not be seen as being provocative on here. I'm very conscious I'm here as an outsider, but I do think I raise a fair objection about the accuracy of the phrase "mother of God",( not theotokos which seems to me to be perfectly accurate)
     
  16. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    Scottish Knight,
    With all due respect, it was not my intention for this thread to discuss Anglican vs. Baptist beliefs. I'm a former Southern Baptist. So, I know where they stand on issues regarding The Blessed Virgin Mary.

    My intention was to understand the diversity of beliefs within Anglicanism.

    Peace and blessings, :)
    Anna
     
  17. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    As you wish, I will erase my question :)
     
  18. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    No need to erase. Someone else might want to discuss with you.
    Anna
     
  19. Jerome

    Jerome Member

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    Hello Scottish Knight,

    Most theological quibbles occur over a misunderstanding, or a misrepresentation, of the use and meaning of words. Where the Church has translated theotokos as "Mother of God" the Church has meant nothing other than that she bore Him into this world, i.e. she is the God-bearer. It is in this way that Mary forever remains the Mother of God because Christ has not abandoned the flesh He received in her womb, but instead has received all authority from the Father to fill all things and to rule heaven and earth. Once the term "Mother of God" is set in the context of its use throughout the Church's history, then it is certainly just as--if not moreso--"accurate" as God-bearer.

    Yours in Christ,
    Jerome
     
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  20. kestrel

    kestrel Member

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    I believe she is an extraordinary example of the work of Grace and a model of virtue
     

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