*BEST OF DTB #114* The Catholic Defender: The Immaculate Conception

Posted by John Benko - December 8th, 2013

It was 27 January, 2007 I had been out with the Scouts as we went to a number of villages looking for weapons.

That had been a long day that was very beneficial to us as we were able to find weapons and get some key information.

Once we returned back to Base, I was able to take off and go to a scheduled class I was prepared to give.

The following is what I wrote on the Defenders of the Catholic Faith Message Board:

Beginning this morning, I was outside the wire on mission and didn’t get back until after 18:00 hours. I was in full battle rattle when I got to my room and grabbed my computer and speaker system and made my way to the Division Chapel which was about a mile away. I had to go by foot. I got there to find Father was there with the RCIA class which was real glad I was able to get there. Even though I was 45 minutes late, everyone stayed the whole time to watch the DVD on Mary. That was so cool. A non-denominal preacher happened to be in another room became interested in the subject matter so after I dismissed the class we talked for another hour. It was a good night of RCIA action!!!

As I walked back to my unit, it was night time, very dark. I heard the explosions in the distance, the gun fire. I reflected on some of the questions I covered at this evenings class.

I have Soldiers who were raised as Mormons, Church of Christ, Lutherans, Anglicans, Seventh Day Adventist, Baptists, Non-Denominational, Pentecostals, former Catholics, and non-believers.

They had various opinions based from what they were raised so their questions are very interesting as they were all sharing their journey to the Catholic Faith.

In one way, it reminded me of the first Christians who were Baptised that first day (Acts 2:41) St. Luke writes, “Those who accepted his (St. Peter’s) message were baptised, and about three thousand persons were added that day”.

I thought it was cool that we were continuing the work that Christ commissioned the Church to do.

The teaching on Mary was tonight’s main discussion and the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was a main issue. What a great reflection of the love of God and I continued to walk along my journey back to my room.


I thought of Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heal”.

I thought about that for a while, certainly God knew who this woman was when he said this. This woman can not be Eve as I’ve heard some think because her offspring did not conquer the serpent.

It was Jesus who conquered sin and death, St. Paul wrote, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38).

I felt that the Virgin Mary was the only one who could be the Woman of Genesis 3:15. This is the belief of the Early Church Fathers and the constant teaching of the Catholic Church.

Resting in this truth, my heart just came alive. I continued to reflect on the Immaculate Conception remembering that Gabriel was sent to tell Mary that she was this Woman.

This is very important. Compare the appearance of Gabriel to the Virgin Mary with when the Angel appeared to St. John. Revelation 22:8, St. John writes, “It is I, John, who heard and saw these things, and when I heard and saw them I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. But he said to me, ‘Don’t! I am a fellow servant of yours and your brothers the prophets and of those who keep the message of this book, Worship God”.

I thought about how St. John was with Jesus for three years learning and hearing the Lord’s teaching first hand. He was one of the Twelve, yet he lost himself with the appearance of the Angel.

Compare this with Mary’s response to Gabriel, an Archangel. The Angel first greets Mary with “Hail, Full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). I recalled the original Greek “Kecharitomene” means “having been” or “have already been” graced, Mary is “Full of Grace”, a past perfect participle.

Because God knew who the Woman of Genesis 3:15 would be, at the appointed time, God prepares the Virgin Mary from her very beginning to be the Mother of Jesus.

This does not mean that she didn’t need Jesus, she absolutely did, it is when she was free of Original Sin. It is a singular grace by God to the Virgin Mary that benefits all mankind.

She was protected by God from the Devil from the moment of her conception. St. John writes, “When the dragon saw that it had been thrown to the earth, it pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child (Jesus). But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly to her place in the desert, where, far from the serpent, she was taken care of for a year, two years, and a half year. The serpent, however, spewed a torrent of water out of his mouth after the woman to sweep her away with the current. But the earth helped the woman and opened it’s mouth and swallowed the flood that the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus” (Rev 12:13-17).


The Virgin Mary appears to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830 giving us the “Miraculous Medal” that shows Mary standing on the moon and the Devil under her feet.

St Augustine said (354-430), “Since the devil is the head of original sin, this head it was that Mary crushed: for sin never had any entry into the soul of this Blessed Virgin, which was consequently free from all stain”.

As I kept thinking about this, I just wanted to reach out to God and thank him, even in this place. He has given us so much.


I couldn’t help thinking of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous identifying herself, “I am the Immaculate Conception”.

I thought of the wonders God has worked at Lourdes that even today miracles are happening.

I understand that several thousand people go to Lourdes France everyday from around the world.

God promised us signs and wonders through his presence among his Church. As I walked into our Orderly Room, I checked in so they would know I was accounted for. I stopped in talking with the duty personnel and I was overjoyed from all that I was involved in this night.

I could still hear mortar fire in the distance, machine gun fire sporatic, every now and then a real loud explosion, yet it could not dampen my spirit. I dedicated my prayer for those who were in the midst of the fight.

Looking back, what a blessing it was to paticipate in the journey of so many people wanting to become Catholic. Despite the danger we lived, I was consoled with this truth: “You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Recently, Islamic Terrorists have attacked Catholic Churches in Baghdad killing many. Please pray for the Church persecuted today.



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*BEST OF DTB #209* The Catholic Defender: Virgin Birth

Posted by John Benko - August 15th, 2012

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall be living on curds and honey by the time he learns to reject the bad and choose the good…” (Isaiah 7:14).

Isaiah wrote this sometime between 742-687 B.C. That was a long time before the actual arrival of Jesus Christ.

The Archangel Gabriel appears to Mary, “In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.

And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you”.

But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God”.

“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom there will be no end”.


But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man”? And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Luke 1:26-35).

Of this child, Isaiah had this to say, “For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, From David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever” (Isaiah 9:5-6).

Concerning this child, St.John writes, “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth” (Revelation 12:1-2).

The virgin birth of Our Lord is so closely connected with the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother that one would not exist without the other.

Mary is the woman of Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel”.

This is spiritual warfare being waged and the human race is caught right in the middle of it. Actually it is for the human race that the war is being waged. God’s love for mankind was the reason why Jesus came and died on the cross. It was for our sake.

As the serpent strikes at the Lord’s heel, he stands on the sand of the sea positioning himself to strike after the rest of Mary’s offspring, “those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus” (Revelation 12:17).

One attack of the serpent that I am recognizing comes from those who are challenging the Catholic Faith and the virgin birth.

I have friends who were former atheists who tell us that they would use these kind of arguments against all Christianity, they were not interested in fighting the Catholic faith in particular, but any thing associated with Christianity.

Some of the Anti-Catholics have taken up this rhetoric and have their own formation they home in against the Catholic Church. Some of it coming straight out of Paganism.

Here is an example of the information being given:

“Eurasian Land Mass”
1500.1200 BC Zoroaster-Born of a Virgin
1500-1100 BC Dionysis-Born of a Virgin in Greece, born in a stable, turned water into wine
1200 BC Krishna-Born of a Virgin
… 700 BC Indra-Born of a Virgin in Tibet
600 BC Gautama Buddha-Born of the Virgin Maya
600 BC Mithra-Born of a Virgin, in a stable on 25 December. His resurrection was celebrated at Easter.
600 BC Adonis-Born of the Virgin Ishtar in Babylon**
550 BC Quirness-Born of a Virgin in Rome
200 BC Attis-Born of the Virgin Nama in Phrygia
“South American Land Mass” Hun-Ytzamma-born of a Virgin, scourged, crowned with thorns, hung on a cross with rope,
died, was born 3 days later.

It would appear that the virgin birth of the Lord is not an isolated event? What is the difference from Jesus and what makes him stand out in this crowd of competing “gods”?

We know that Satan can appear as an “angel of light”, “And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. So it is not strange that his ministers also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

This is why St. John instructs us to test the spirit. 1 John 4:1-6 warns, “Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ came in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world”.

Those so-called gods coming from Pagan roots are former counterfeits and not true spiritual manifestations from God. The woman of Genesis 3:15 was a true prophecy of God to mankind.

God prepared this woman from her very beginning known as the Immaculate Conception. She was visited by an Archangel bearing upon her a great title, “Hail, full of grace”.

This was foretold be the prophets of old. How do you judge a true prophet from a false prophet?

God told Moses, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kinsmen, and will put my words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him. If any man will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name, I myself will make him answer for it. But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die. If you say to yourselves, how can we recognize an oracle which the Lord has spoken? Know that, even though a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if his oracle is not fulfilled or verified, it is an oracle which the Lord did not speak. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously, and you shall have no fear of him” (Deuteronomy 18:18-22).

For those who want to resurrect these Pagan gods who bore likeness or held to similar attributes or claims of the Lord, know this: “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Psalms 95:7-8).


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*Best of DTB #169* Immaculate Conception debate show notes

Posted by John Benko - April 5th, 2012

These show notes correspond with this Blog Talk Radio program.


OPENING MONOLOGUE

The show notes for this debate can be found at tinyurl.com/7sqkvkm. This link will be posted in the chat room. If you have any questions, please email them to email@deepertruthblog.com.

In our first debate, my opponent made the charge that Mary is a goddess in the Catholic religion. In our second, he contended that Catholics “praise, worship and idolatrize Mary”. He has also stated this in several online debates and, even as I prepare this monologue, hours before our scheduled 4th debate, I am absolutely certain that I will hear this ludicrous assertion leveled yet again. Now, I am not saying this to get this debate off on the wrong foot, I’m saying it to get it off on the right foot. Let’s please dispense with the super-heated rhetoric and the endless supposition about gods and goddesses, pagans and hobgoblins and things that go bump in the night.

What the Catholic Church claims about Mary’s Immaculate conception is hardly extraordinary in the context of a God who placed eternity inside Her womb and who spoke the universe into existence. It also doesn’t elevate Mary any further than the way God chose to elevate Her as enunciated clearly in Scripture.

In these opening remarks, I will make the affirmative case for this doctrine. I will deal with objections during the question portion and in my closing remarks.

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception begins with a proper understanding of Grace.

Many protestants contend that grace is nothing more than unmerited favor. This view directly contradicts scripture. Grace is something we receive. It is something that saves us and enables us to do good.


2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed

John 1:16-17 From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, 17 because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Acts 15:11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they.”

Ephesians 3:2 if, as I suppose, you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit,

Ephesians 3:8 To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,

Ephesians 2:8-10
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith ; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God ; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Let us quickly summarize;

  1. With sufficient Grace, a person is capable of every good deed.
  2. Grace can only come from Christ, the Mosaic law could not provide it.
  3. All who are saved are saved by this grace.
  4. The church are the stewards of this Grace, both for our benefit and to preach.
  5. You cannot earn this grace, it can only be given as a free gift through faith.
  6. The purpose of this Grace is to enable us to do the good works that God has prepared for us to do.

It must be emphasized that Ephesians 2 does NOT state that Salvation is a free gift from God, as so many assert, it states that GRACE is a free gift from God.
This fact refutes the protestant notion of imputed salvation but that’s a debate for another day.

Let’s cut to the chase. By Grace you are saved, therefore, for a lack of grace you are lost. Those who do little good have little, those who do much have much. Those who don’t have any, commit unrepentant evil and are damned for it. Grace is necessary for Salvation and grace can be quantified.

Now that we have looked at this, let me outline what we hold to be true, with regard to how this grace applies to Mary.

1) Mary is saved by the same Savior you and I are.
2) Mary is saved by the same Grace you and I are.
3) By the reception of this Grace, Mary is no more made Divine than you and I are.
4) What differs is the timing and the degree of the Grace Mary received.
5) This special provision was provided by God for the purpose of Mary’s integral and crucial role in bringing us the Savior.
6) All of this can be deduced from Scripture.

When the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary (Luke 1:28), the first words he says to her are “Chaire, kecharitomene!” [Χαιρε, κεχαριτομενε!].

Let’s break it down. Chaire means Hail! It is a salutation of royalty.

In fact, it is used twice in the gospels with respect to Jesus

Matthew. 26:49, where Judas greets Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane with “Hail, Rabbi!”

Matthew. 27:29, where Pilate’s soldiers mock Jesus with the greeting: “Hail, King of the Jews!”

Here, the Angel is clearly recognizing Mary as the fulfillment of the Old Testament Queen Mother, the Mother of the King. We’ll cover that in another debate.

Kecharitomene is actually a conjunction of three words- Ke, Charitoo and Mene.

Let us start with charitoo, and let us start with the King James Bible. charitoo is a variant of Charis. Including every variant of Charis, the KJV translates Grace 86% of the time. However, when the variant charitoo is used, the percentage rises to better than 96% with the only exception being- you guessed it- Luke 1:28 (link in the show notes). The oo variant at the end actually adds emphasis.

The prefix Ke actually states that something perfectly exists that was the result of a past action. An example would be “You are a college educated professor”

The suffix mene notes that the action was completed by another (in this case, God). Mary did not endue Herself with Grace, God did it.

Kecharitomene is literally “endured with perfected Grace” or, as every Bible prior to 1611 stated, and many after, “Full of grace”. This includes the Protestant bibles of Luther and Tyndale and proto-protestant Wycliffe. In fact, even the original KJV placed “endured with Grace” in the margin notes.

It is very clear that the KJV and other version have played polemic politics with the very text of sacred Scripture.

Χαιρε (which means both “Rejoice” and “Hail”) is the salutation, like the word “hello” in “Hello, Cathy!” The word that follows, κεχαριτομενε, is the direct address. In the previous example, the name “Cathy” is the direct address. A direct address is usually a name or title (or pronoun taking the place of a name or title) which represents the identity of the person being spoken to. Gabriel identifies Mary with a single term: not the name “Mary,” but the word κεχαριτομενε.

In other words, Gabriel is literally addressing Mary “Hail!, Full of Grace” as if “Full of grace” were here name. Kecharitomene is not merely grace but emphasized Grace, preexisting Grace, endowed grace and perfected Grace. In other words, Fullness of Grace and the complete absence of sin, even original sin.

The great Baptist Greek scholar A.T. Robertson exhibits a Protestant perspective, but is objective and fair-minded, in commenting on this verse as follows:

“Highly favoured” (kecharitomene). Perfect passive participle of charitoo and means endowed with grace (charis), enriched with grace as in Ephesians. 1:6, . . . The Vulgate gratiae plena “is right, if it means ‘full of grace which thou hast received’; wrong, if it means ‘full of grace which thou hast to bestow’” (Plummer).

(Word Pictures in the New Testament, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1930, six volumes, Vol. II, 13) Source

Greek scholar Marvin R. Vincent noted that even Wycliffe and Tyndale (no enthusiastic supporters of the Catholic Church) both rendered kecharitomene in Luke 1:28 as “full of grace” and that the literal meaning was “endued with grace” (Word Studies in the New Testament, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1946, four volumes, from 1887 edition: New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons; Vol. I, 259).

Even the Protestant amplified Bible states that the literal translation is “endued with grace”

In terms of making a linguistic refutation of the Catholic interpretation of Luke 1:28, it cannot be done. Now let’s address the practical case.

Whether or not you accept that Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant or the New Eve or the New holy of holies, there is one thing you cannot deny- between Eden and the Resurrection, to come in direct contact with God, for anyone but God’s high Priest, meant death. This was true for Uzzah, this was true for an unworthy Priest. In fact, a Priest entering the Holy of holies was secured with a rope so that his dead body, if need be, could be pulled out.

My protestant friends argue that Jesus could have been protected from the contagion of original sin, by God, even if Mary wasn’t sinless. I will gladly concede the point. God could have done this in some way, if He chose.

What cannot be argued, however is that Mary, if a sinful woman, could not share direct contact with the almighty Himself inside her. God cannot share the same space with sin. Direct access to God only occurs after the Resurrection when the veil in the Temple is torn in two.

However, perhaps the biggest reason why Mary’s immaculate conception was necessary was because of the necessity of her fiat.

Consider this.

The first woman, Eve had some pretty simple instructions. You can go anywhere you want, eat anything you want….but see this tree, right here? don’t touch it.

Eve, as you know, blew it.

Mary, on the other hand, had a very difficult assignment. Mary was to become pregnant in a time when the accusation of adultery meant stoning. Her only argument in defense? “I am carrying God”. That would go over well.

Yet, Mary simply said “behold the hand maiden of the Lord. be it done to me according to your word”

Mary said yes. She cooperated with God’s plan. Let me repeat that. Mary CO- Operated. There is that word “Co”. “Co” means “with”, not “equal to”, as some suggest.

God is the Operator, Mary is the Cooperator.God is the redeemer, Mary is the Co-redemtrix. God is the Mediator, Mary is the Co-mediatrix. These titles do not make Mary an Operator or a Redeemer or a Mediator. It simply states a simple and unarguable fact. Without Mary’s “Yes”, The redeemer doesn’t come. Without Mary’s “Yes”, there is no mediator between God and man.

Eve said “no” and sin entered the world. Mary said “yes” and salvation entered the world.

Now, the so-called “Bible alone” Christians will say that if Mary had said no, God would just find another way. That is a philosophical argument, not a Biblical one. There is no evidence God had a plan B and He didn’t need one. Jesus knew plan A was going to work because He poured enough Grace into His own Mother to ensure it.

Lastly, the Bible alone Christians will claim we invented this doctrine in 1854. Hogwash! The historical record is clear that the Christian church believed and guarded this doctrine from day one.
(Quotes in the show notes)



QUOTES





Justin Martyr

[Jesus] became man by the Virgin so that the course that was taken by disobedience in the beginning through the agency of the serpent might be also the very course by which it would be put down. Eve, a virgin and undefiled, conceived the word of the serpent and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, for which reason the Holy One being born of her is the Son of God. And she replied, “Be it done unto me according to your word” (Luke 1:38) (Dialogue with Trypho 100 [A.D. 155]).

Irenaeus

Consequently, then, Mary the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying, “Behold, 0 Lord, your handmaid; be it done to me according to your word.” Eve . . . who was then still a virgin although she had Adam for a husband — for in paradise they were both naked but were not ashamed; for, having been created only a short time, they had no understanding of the procreation of children . . . having become disobedient [sin], was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient [no sin], was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. . . . Thus, the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith (Against Heresies 3:22:24 [A.D. 189]).

Origen

This Virgin Mother of the Only-begotten of God is called Mary, worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one (Homily 1 [A.D. 244]).

Hippolytus

He [Jesus] was the ark formed of incorruptible wood. For by this is signified that His tabernacle [Mary] was exempt from defilement and corruption (Orat. In Illud, Dominus pascit me, in Gallandi, Bibl. Patrum, II, 496 ante [A.D. 235]).

Ephraim the Syrian

You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others, for there is neither blemish in you nor any stains upon your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these? (Nisibene Hymns 27:8 [A. D. 361]).

Ambrose of Milan

Come, then, and search out your sheep, not through your servants or hired men, but do it yourself. Lift me up bodily and in the flesh, which is fallen in Adam. Lift me up not from Sarah but from Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a Virgin whom grace had made inviolate, free of every stain of sin (Commentary on Psalm 118:22-30 [A.D. 387]).

Gregory Nazianzen

He was conceived by the virgin, who had been first purified by the Spirit in soul and body; for, as it was fitting that childbearing should receive its share of honor, so it was necessary that virginity should receive even greater honor (Sermon 38 [d. A.D. 390]).

Augustine

We must except the Holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honor to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin (Nature and Grace 36:42 [A.D. 415]).

Theodotus of Ancrya

A virgin, innocent, spotless, free of all defect, untouched, unsullied, holy in soul and body, like a lily sprouting among thorns (Homily 6:11[ante A.D. 446]).

Proclus of Constantinople

As He formed her without any stain of her own, so He proceeded from her contracting no stain (Homily 1[ante A.D. 446]).

Jacob of Sarug

[T]he very fact that God has elected her proves that none was ever holier than Mary, if any stain had disfigured her soul, if any other virgin had been purer and holier, God would have selected her and rejected Mary[ante A.D. 521].

Romanos the Melodist

Then the tribes of Israel heard that Anna had conceived the immaculate one. So everyone took part in the rejoicing. Joachim gave a banquet, and great was the merriment in the garden. He invited the priests and Levites to prayer; then he called Mary into the center of the crowd, that she might be magnified (On the Birth of Mary 1 [d. ca A.D. 560]).



Closing remarks

Once again, The show notes for this debate can be found at tinyurl.com/7sqkvkm. This link will be posted in the chat room. If you have any questions, please email them to email@deepertruthblog.com.

The principal objections to the doctrine of the immaculate conception are, in my view, unfounded and they were certainly unfounded in the minds of those who gave us the Bible and before.

In fact, it is often said, “Show me evidence of someone praying to Mary in the Bible”. I can do better than that. I can show proof of a prayer to Mary as Theotokos (Mother of God) that predates the Bible by about 150 years! (picture in the show notes)

On to the objections;

  1. Mary needed a Savior. Of course she did. In fact, the coolest thing about the Immaculate conception is that the savior saved the mother before the mother brought forth the savior who created the Mother. Wow! I have a headache!
  2. It makes Mary a goddess. Nonsense. Evil Knieval couldn’t make that leap. God prepared Mary for a specific job. God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. Bringing God to us through a purified human vessel only shows God’s greatness all the more. Mary spoke true of herself saying that her soul magnifies the Lord. (Luke 1:46)
  3. The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The Greek Word Pantes means “all mankind”.In context it is referring to all types of people, not every person. Otherwise, it would include babies- born and pre-born and Jesus Himself- an indefensible position.
  4. If Mary was conceived immaculately, her mother would have had to have been, and her mother and so on. Seriously? The one who held back the Red Sea and protected three Jewish boys from the furnace, the one who brought down Jericho’s walls and protected Jonah in a whale, and stayed the Lions from devouring Daniel, could not keep Satan’s grubby hands off His own Mother? come now.
  5. Didn’t the Catholic church invent this doctrine in 1854. No. The councils of the church do not invent doctrine, they defend doctrines against challenge. It is quite interesting that it took that long for anyone to seriously challenge this doctrine.
  6. Romans 3:10 says there is none righteous, no not one. Not one? I’ll give you two- Zechariah and Elizabeth, who Luke call Righteous and blameless before God. Paul says “It is written- there are none righteous”. He is quoting Psalm 14, talking about the fool who says in his heart there is no God.

Pretty amazing stuff if you ask me.


Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of they womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.


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Immaculate Conception show notes

Posted by John Benko - December 11th, 2010

These notes accompany the Blogtalkradio show on the Immaculate Conception of Mary. They should be used in conjunction. You may need to hit the pause button from time to time as you listen.

At about the 6:30 mark, we mention that Catholic Sacred tradition puts Mary’s birth date at September 8th. Link. As a matter of tradition, the date of Mary’s birth is not something established as doctrine we are bound to adhere to. Nevertheless, Catholics do believe that The Holy Spirit leads our Church to all truth, in accordance with Jesus’ promise (John 16:13).

Again, according to Christ’s own words, we believe that what the Catholic binds on earth is bound in heaven (Matthew 16:19). Obviously, this question of authority divides Protestants and Catholics. Protestants adhere to a doctrine known as Sola Scriptura which stipulates that the Bible alone is a Christian’s rule of faith. Catholics believe this doctrine is wholly untenable from either a logical or historical perspective.

However, the most ironic fact of all is that the idea that Christ’s truth is revealed to us by Scripture only is a direct contradiction of what Scripture teaches (John 21:25, 2 Thessalonians 2:15). There is not a single verse of scriptural support for the idea of the formal sufficiency of Scripture. Don’t believe me? Try and find one.

As a Catholic says this, he is often accused of being in opposition to the Scriptures. Nothing could be further from the truth. Catholics fully aknowledge that the Scriptures are a form of the inspired, inerrant Word of God.

Where we differ from Protestants is that we reject the notion that God speaks to us only through Scripture and we reject that Scripture is a matter of personal interpretation (2 Peter 1:20).

For a better understanding of why Sola Scriptura is a false doctrine, I invite you to listen to this show in your leisure.

The biggest problem with the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is this notion of personal interpretation and the false notion of formal sufficiency that is necessitated by it. The Protestant doctrine of formal security holds that anyone can- merely by his own efforts and the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit- read and properly interpret Scripture. Protestants hold that all doctrines sufficient for salvation are easy to read and understand and are found plainly and conspicuously on the face of Scripture.

Again, it is critical to note that this doctrine is in direct opposition to what Scripture suggests.

2 Peter 3:15 And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

It is not my intention to go into a dissertation on Sola Scriptura here but it is important to draw the lens back and understand that the Scriptures are only of use to you in accordance to the effort you are willing to invest in them.

If you want to understand how doctrines such as the Immaculate Conception are drawn from Scripture, you must be willing to move past sound byte apologetics and be willing to go a little deeper.

Continuing….

At about 12:40, we first touch on the significance of the Old Testament in understanding the New. Here is a show and corresponding show notes on Old Testament typology fulfilled in the person of Mary.

At about the 14:00 mark, Donald discusses the importance of the Covenant. A definition of a Covenant is very important. This is another sharp division we have with Protestants. Protestants see Salvation in terms of a doctrine titled Sola Christi or Christ alone. This doctrine is also false and wholly un-Biblical. God’s relationship with us is a covenant relationship that requires the cooperation and participation of human beings. Sometimes, this assertion, by Catholics, is derided as propagating a so-called weak Jesus. The weak Jesus canard is a shrewd avoidance of the plain truth that Christ’sjustice demands respect of our free will to accept or reject His plan of salvation.

Ignoring this fact is essential to dismissing Mary as a mere bit-player in the Salvation story.

At the 16:00 mark, we start explaining how Mary actually fulfills essential Old Testament models of roles intrinsic to the salvation story. Two primary roles are that of the Queen Mother and the Ark of the Covenant. The Queen Mother was the Mother of the King and interceded before him (Jeremiah 13:18, Jeremiah 29:2, 1 Kings 15:13, 2 Chronicles 15:16).

It is no coincidence the Jesus first public miracle was at Mary’s request (John 2:1-11).

More significant to the doctrine, however, is how Mary is the fulfillment of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament carried in it items which foreshadowed Christ. These items made the Ark so holy that to even touch it meant death.

2 Samuel 6: 6 And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there because he put forth his hand to the ark; * and he died there beside the ark of God.

Mary carried Christ HIMSELF and is the actual fulfillment of the Ark.

Revelation 11:19-12:5

19* Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2* she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. 3* And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. 4* His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; 5* she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,

Starting at 27:34, we begin to set up the Angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary by a simple discussion on the topic of Grace. For further information, please read sections VII and VIII of this article on the topic of Grace. Here was a show we did on it. Technical issues at the start.

At about the 29 minute mark, we talk about Concupiscence and how sin was brought into the world through the disobedience of the first woman. We then contrast that with how salvation was brought into the world through the obedience of the new woman.

We then focus on the natural dilemma that Salvation rests on Mary’s yes and how God would guarantee that yes answer while still preserving her free will. At 38:50, we make the point that Mary had to be totally predisposed to God’s will due to an abundance of Grace.

We then make the case that that is exactly the state the Bible tells us She was in.

The distinction between Mary’s boundless faith (Luke 1:38) and Zechariah’s failing faith (Luke 1:19-20) is stark. Elizabeth (Luke 1:45) and Jesus (Luke 11:27-28) both make a point of saying that Mary’s faith is the reason why she was so blessed. How blessed?

Blessed among all women (Luke 1:42) and for all generations (Luke 1:48). This blessing doesn’t detract from Christ…it magnifies Him! (Luke 1:46).

Lest you think I am taking liberties with Jesus’ words in Luke 11, think again.

At 40:22, we begin to talk about what the Angel Gabriel says to Mary in Luke 1:28. Here is the actual Greek, broken down. Verse 29 proves that the greeting was an astounding one.

The King James translates this verse wrong…intentionally. In it’s original margin notes, the KJV concedes that Kecharitome translates ”endured with grace”.

John 1:14

We hope that these notes help. Enjoy the show!


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