Is Marian Devotion Dangerous?

Scripture prophesies and prescribes Marian devotion, and a careful reading of the New and Old Testament together shows that Mary is given a pride of place rarely (if ever) found in Protestant denominations.  But that is not the end of the story.  Protestants examining this evidence will sometimes be intellectually convinced, but will encounter a roadblock: isn’t Marian devotion dangerous? Doesn’t it threaten to interfere with our relationship to Jesus Christ?

That’s a good question to ask, and I would respond to it in three ways.

I. Test the Fruits

Elizabeth Boott Duveneck, Apple Tree Branches (1883)

First, consider the matter empirically: that is, test the fruits (Matthew 7:16).  We can see throughout the history of the Catholic Church, down to the present day, people who burned with love for Christ and who were deeply devoted to His Mother. That is, we see several cases in which Marian devotion seems to have helped, rather than hindered, a Christian’s commitment to Christ. Where do we see cases in the other direction? It’s no good citing nominal Catholics who wear rosaries while shamelessly sinning. All too many nominal Christians (Catholics and Protestants alike) wear crosses while dishonoring the Name of Christ. In those cases, the problem isn’t that a love of Mary got in the way of growth in Christian sanctity: it’s that they don’t have a genuine love for Mary or Jesus, or they wouldn’t mortally sin.

So what we should be looking for is someone who was committed to Christ, but after taking up proper Catholic Marian devotions, lost his faith, or at least, lost his zeal.  If such a person doesn’t exist, there don’t seem to be the bad fruit that we would expect from a bad tree. In other words, by the test laid out in Matthew 7:16, it seems that we can say that legitimate Marian devotion is good, since it produces immense visible good, and no visible evil.

By that same token, test the fruits of the virulently anti-Marian crowd.  See how well (or how poorly) their anti-Marian views exhibit the fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

II. Contemplate the Role of Mary

The New Testament depicts Mary as the Ark of the New Covenantthe New Evethe Temple Gate surrounding the New Temple, Christ, and the builder of that New Temple. What do all of these images have in common? Two things. First, all of them include purity: the Ark was too holy to even be touched (2 Samuel 6:6-7), Eve was created without original or actual sin, the Temple builder had to have bloodless hands (1 Chronicles 28:3) and no one could pass through the Temple Gate other than the Lord (Ezekiel 44:2-3).

Second, each of them is referential. The Ark is holy because it is where the Lord would come (Exodus 25:21-22). The same is true for the Temple Gate and its builder, since the Temple was filled with the Glory of the Lord (2 Chronicles 5:11-14). And sinless Eve is drawn from, and points back to, sinless Adam (Genesis 2:22-23). In other words, Mary is pure because Christ is Divine, and it is right that the person that Our Lord was physically connected to for 9 months be sinless… particularly given that sin cannot enter the presence of God in Heaven (Revelation 21:27).  This includes both external purity (Mary’s perpetual virginity), but more importantly, it includes her internal purity (her immaculate conception and sinlessness).

All of Mary’s life is in relation to her Son. Who among us can say the same?

III. Know Your Enemy

Revelation 12 has a fascinating depiction of the nature of Satanic attacks.  First, here is Rev. 12:1-6, with a heavenly depiction of the Mother of God:

Woman of the Apocalypse,
Hortus deliciarum (1185 A.D.)

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; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. 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; 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, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. 

Her Male Child is Christ, of course. If that wasn’t plain enough from context, the reference to Him ruling with an iron scepter is to Psalm 2:9. Reading Psalm 2:7-9 makes it clear that it’s referring to the Only Begotten Son, and this Psalm is explicitly applied to Christ in Acts 13:33.  The dragon is Satan (Rev. 12:9):

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world — he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 

And here is how Satan reacts to losing (Rev. 12:13-17):

And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had borne the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river which the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. 

So when the devil realizes that he can’t defeat Christ, he attacks His Mother (Rev. 12:13), and out of hatred for her, persecutes the Church, since all of those who hold to the testimony of Christ are her children (Rev. 12:17).  To get to Adam, Satan attacked Eve. To get to Christ, Satan attacks Mary.

Conclusion

Understood properly, Jesus and Mary point towards each other, since love is not jealous (1 Cor. 13:4). Mary’s last words in Scripture about Christ are emblematic: “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5). So are Christ’s last words about Mary: “behold, your Mother” (John 19:27).  As Revelation 12 shows, it’s the devil who tries to separate Christ from His Mother, and His Mother from the followers of Christ.

So while I understand the hesitation that some Protestants (and even some Catholics) have towards Marian devotion, Scripture presents the continuous tradition of Marian devotion as a positive (Luke 1:48), while Satan is depicted as the one seeking to create a division between Mother and Son, and between Mary and the Church.

259 Comments

  1. For Is 66? Yes.

    The whole reason I brought it up is v. 7 is usually interpreted to be either Israel or Mary. I expected you to say Israel, and I was going to point out if the figurative birthing of Christ was painless to Israel then the woman in Rev 12 *could not be* Israel if you make that assumption.

    But instead of being cornered into affirming something good about Mary, you have denied the Messiah sets up the New Heavens and New Earth in Is 66.

    Is Mary rightly called Mother of God?

  2. All you have given me is your private interpretation and not your church’ interpretation. I still stand by my interpretation on Is 66:7-9. Nothing you have said has made me think differently. Again, where is the Messiah mention in 66 or 65? Just one verse would do.

    What does the term “mother of God” mean?

    1. Yes, absolutely. St. Luke was St. Paul’s partner, and St. Luke interviewed Mary for his Gospel. How else would we know the intimate details that are not found in any other Gospels, such as her pondering things in her heart? St. Paul sent St. Luke to interview Mary.

    1. It is my assertion that we are not to pray to another human being. The only one we are to pray to is God. Only God can hear. That’s why we pray to Christ and in His name alone.

    2. “Pray” simply means “ask.” Where in the Bible does it say that we are forbidden to ask other Christians to pray for us? In fact, I’m pretty sure Scripture says the opposite. See, for example, 1 Timothy 2:1-4.

    3. Yeah, I second that definition:

      “pray (v.)
      late 13c., “ask earnestly, beg,” also “pray to a god or saint,” from Old French preier (c.900), from Latin precari “ask earnestly, beg,” from *prex (plural preces, genitive precis) “prayer, request, entreaty,” from PIE root *prek- “to ask, request, entreat” (cf. Sanskrit prasna-, Avestan frashna- “question;” Old Church Slavonic prositi, Lithuanian prasyti “to ask, beg;” Old High German frahen, German fragen, Old English fricgan “to ask” a question). Related: Prayed; praying. Parenthetical expression I pray you, “please, if you will,” attested from 1510s, contracted to pray 16c.”

      http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=pray&allowed_in_frame=0

    4. Meyu,

      You said:
      Where do we see anything in their writings of any mention of her by name? Where do we see any of them exhorting believers to pray to her?

      Have you read in Scripture that Jesus is our example?

      1 Corinthians 11:1
      Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

      Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ. Therefore, as her Child, Jesus had to ask Mary for comfort, nourishment and protection from the elements. He is our example. Therefore we do the same.

      Now, most Protestants say, “She was His mother, not ours.” But you are mistaken. Jesus appointed Mary our mother. That is plain in Scripture. To be more precise, Jesus appointed Mary the mother of all whom He loves and all who love Him.

      First:
      John 19:26-28
      26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. 28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

      Catholics are taught to read Scripture as though God was speaking to us. Now, are you a beloved disciple of Christ? To put it differently, are you a disciple whom Jesus loves?

      Catholics would answer, “Yes” to that question and therefore accept Jesus command to take Mary as our mother and bring her into our home (i.e. heart).

      For the second part of this explanation, you need to be aware of other verses in Scripture.
      Genesis 3:15
      15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

      The seed of the Woman is not just Jesus. Let me show you:
      Revelation 12:17
      17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

      Do you consider yourself someone who keeps the Commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus? If so, then you are seed or a child of the Woman. That Woman is Mary. And therefore, Scripture says that all who fight the good fight on behalf of God in Christ, are children of Mary.

      God appointed Mary our spiritual mother. Jesus gave Mary to the disciples whom He loves. Therefore, as any good children, we ask our mother for that which Our heavenly Father provides us through her.

      Sincerely,

      De Maria

    1. Really? So Jesus was not God when He resided in Mary’s womb? Jesus was not God when He sat on Mary’s lap? Jesus was not God when He suckled at Mary’s breast?

      At which point did Jesus become God, then?

    1. His humanity is dependent on her since no human being after Adam and Eve has ever come into the world except through conception. Does the conception and birth make Mary divine?

    2. Meyu,

      You ask,
      What is a divine person?

      Our Heavenly Father is a Divine Person.
      Jesus Christ is the Son of God and a Divine Person.
      The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person.

      There are three Divine Persons in one Holy Trinity.

      Was Christ deity in any way dependent on Mary?

      No. Christ’s deity, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity existed before time began.

      What we are asking you is whether Christ’s deity dwelt in Mary’s womb? Did the Second Person of the Holy Trinity exist in Mary’s womb?

      Or was the fetus that would grow up to be Jesus Christ merely a human being?

      Sincerely,

      De Maria

  3. I can’t think of anyone who thinks Mary was divine.

    What part is troubling you with “divine person?” Do you need help defining “divine” or do you need help defining “person?”

    1. Lets cut to the chase. Does the mere fact that Mary was used by God to bring Christ into the world require her to be sinless? If so, what Scripture says this?
      Since God used Mary to bring Christ into the world via a miraculous conception was it forbidden for Mary to have sexual relations with her husband that would have produced other children? Is there anything in Scripture that would lead us to think this would have been forbidden by God or desired by Mary or Joseph?

    1. If Jesus was divine in His humanity He could not represent man since man is not divine. Here is how we must look at the humanity of Jesus:
      “6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
      7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
      8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

      “15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4

    2. meyu you said,

      Mary gave birth to the humanity of Jesus. Was Jesus in His humanity a divine person? Do the Scriptures call Him that?

      Yes.

      Matthew 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
      16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

      If Jesus was divine in His humanity He could not represent man since man is not divine. Here is how we must look at the humanity of Jesus:
      “6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
      7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
      8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

      You missed these important key words. In the LIKENESS OF MEN.

      “15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4

      You have missed the point because you do not know the Scriptures. In another place, St. Paul contradicts everything you have just said.

      Hebrews 9:16-17
      King James Version (KJV)
      16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
      17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

      In other words, as I understand it, God is the Testator. The One who wrote His LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT. In order for those things promised in His Testament to be of force. GOD HAD TO DIE.

      Isn’t that awesome!? God literally died on the Cross. God took human form in order that He could die in the form of a man. In so doing, the Old Testament was fulfilled and the promises activated.

      God, Jesus Christ, died on the Cross.

      Sincerely,

      De Maria

  4. I took your answer to mean no, Mary did not give birth to a Divine Person.

    The answer to your questions are as follows.

    Does the mere fact that Mary was used by God to bring Christ into the world require her to be sinless?

    It was not required.

    Since God used Mary to bring Christ into the world via a miraculous conception was it forbidden for Mary to have sexual relations with her husband that would have produced other children?

    It was not forbidden.

    Is there anything in Scripture that would lead us to think this would have been forbidden by God or desired by Mary or Joseph?

    Yes. This is because Scripture parallels Mary with the Ark of the Covenant, and it is forbidden to touch the Ark once it has the Shekinah.

    Compare 2 Samuel 6:2-14: with Luke 1:39-45,56:

    David “arose and went” to move the Ark.
    They’re in Judah (they start out from Baale of Judah)
    They’re in the hill country: Abinadab’s house is on one of these hills, and it’s navigating these hills that causes the ox to stumble, the Ark to totter, and Uzzah to touch the Ark, which causes God to strike him dead.
    David, vexed by the death of Uzzah, asks, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?”
    Obededom and his household are blessed by the presence of the Ark.
    David dances before the Ark.
    The Ark stays with Obededom for three months.

    COMPARE WITH:

    Mary “arose and went” to transport her and her Son to the household of Elizabeth.
    They’re in Judah.
    They’re in the hill country.

    Elizabeth‘s question mirrors David’s, but is asked out of joy, rather than vexation: “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
    Elizabeth is blessed by the presence of Mary (“the mother of my Lord”).
    John the Baptist dances in the womb upon hearing Mary’s greeting.
    Mary stays for three months.

    1. Where do the apostles make any connection with the Ark of the Lord to Mary? They don’t. If anyone is a type of Ark of the Lord it would be the Lord Jesus. The Bible teaches that the ark of the covenant contained the original stone tablets displaying the Ten Commandments, a pot of manna and Aaron’s rod through which God was said to have performed miracles.

      Here are some correlations that Jesus has with the Ark:
      1) Jesus is the Mercy Seat where God Dwells. According to Smith’s Bible Dictionary [1884], the mercy seat represented a “kind of throne of God, where he would hear prayer and from which he spoke words of comfort.” In Exodus 25:22, it is written that God said He would meet with and speak with the priests there. The New Testament teaches that all believers are priests since Christ shed His blood for the sins of the world.
      2) In Him we find a perfected law– the 10 commandments in the ark
      3) He is the manna that came down from heaven– Jar of manna in the ark
      4) He is the great miracle worker–Aaron’s rod through which God was said to have performed miracles.

      As you can see Jesus fulfills all these types in His life and ministry.

  5. You aren’t making a distinction between the Ark and what goes in the Ark.

    The Shekinah goes in the Ark.
    Jesus is the Real Presence.
    The Law goes into the Ark.
    Jesus is the Word.
    The rod goes in the Ark.
    Jesus is the rod of Jesse.

    But, Jesus was inside of Mary.

    She’s a more apt metaphor for the Ark, and Jesus is the Ark’s contents.

    Saying that Jesus was a human person that was an ark for his Divine Person is Nestorianism.

    1. She’s an intercessor. We see that at Cana. *If* The woman in Rev 12 is Mary, then she is a Queen.

      But if you concede she’s an Ark–I remind you the Ark was made without blemish.

    1. That is not true that the church is built on Peter. Here is what the church is built on: “20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” Eph 2

      Why would Rome be the church when there were other churches such as in Jerusalem and Antioch? Do you know that there is no record in the NT of Peter ever being in Rome? Secondly, Peter was the apostle to the Jews and not the Gentiles. It was Paul who was the apostle to the Gentiles and Rome was composed of gentiles.

    2. Actually, in the Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul says he desires to go to Rome but that “another man has already laid the foundation”. The other man is Peter.

      The idea that Peter was not in Rome is not really disputed by any credible sources.

      Also, Rome was the center of the world at that time. It wouldn’t make sense for Christ’s church to be “based” out of Antioch, Alexandria, etc.

      Just because Peter and Paul were apostles to Jews and Gentiles, respectively, does not mean that they never actually ministered to other groups. This should be obvious from scripture. After all, there is only one church.

    3. “another man has already laid the foundation”. The other man is Peter.” is not the supported in the least in Romans that it was Peter. Remember, Peter was the apostle to the Jews and would not have gone to Rome which is about 1500 miles away from Jerusalem. Most likely the churches in Rome were established by those who heard the gospel preached in Jerusalem in Acts 2. There are no records of Peter founding the church at Rome nor of his doing anything there except that he was martyred there.
      Joseph Fitzmyer has written the standard Catholic commentary on Romans. It’s a monument of erudition. Here’s some of what he says about the “founding” of the Roman Church.

      “In Acts 2:10 Luke lists among the ‘Jews and proselytes’ gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Assembly (or Pentecost [see the NOTE on 15:24]) ‘Roman sojourners’ (pace Brown [Antioch, 104n215], epidemountes does not mean ‘residents’ [of Jerusalem]; they were rather pilgrim ‘sojourners’). Acts 6:9 also knows of a ‘Synagogue of the Freedmen’ (Libertinon), that is, of liberti, Jewish slaves who had managed to gain their freedom in the Roman world (see Sanday and Headlam, Romans, xxviii). These freedmen could actually have come from anywhere in the Roman Empire, but many of them might well have been descendants of Jerusalem Jews taken to Rome by Pompey as prisoners of war in 63 BC, who came to form a great part of the Jewish population there,” J. Fitzmyer, Romans (Doubleday 1993), 29.

      There were 3 major centers for the church in the 1st couple of centuries. Those centers of power were Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome. It was not until centuries later that Rome became the dominant church. Keep in mind also that it was not until around 250 that the first bishop of Rome to appeal to Peter for authority was Stephen.

    4. In 110–only 10 years after the death of the Apostle John! Ignatius of Antioch wrote to the Romans, and admitted his inferiority to those who came before him, Ss. Peter and Paul: “I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles; I am but a condemned man: they were free, while I am, even until now, a servant.”

      Eusebius, writing in about the 320s, tells of how Peter and Paul were killed under Nero and buried in Rome. He says that this “account of Peter and Paul is substantiated by the fact that their names are preserved in the cemeteries of that place even to the present day.”

      But even better, he quotes a priest named Caius, writing in the early part of the 100s, who says, “I can show the trophies of the apostles. For if you will go to the Vatican or to the Ostian way, you will find the trophies of those who laid the foundations of this church.”

      In about 170, Bishop Dionysus of Corinth wrote to the Romans: “You have thus by such an admonition bound together the planting of Peter and of Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both of them planted and likewise taught us in our Corinth. And they taught together in like manner in Italy, and suffered martyrdom at the same time.”

      In 190, Irenaeus wrote in Against Heresies about the origins of the Gospels, saying, “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter.”

      And of course there’s the ossuary found in the last 70 years while excavating the Vatican that is inscribed Simon bar Jona. And the graffiti in the catacombs of the crossed keys…I could go on and on.

      “It was not until centuries later that Rome became the dominant church…”

      Pope Clement as Bishop of Rome exercised authority over and against the episcopacy of Corinth in his Epistle to the Corinthians. A latin bishop having authority over a Greek church, it bears repeating. That document was copied and disseminated from Africa to Antioch. That was while the Apostle John was still alive, (say 96 AD).

    5. Is there any reference in I Clement that Clement refers to himself alone as the supreme head of the entire church at the time? Did other churches at the time refer to Clement as the supreme head of the entire church at the time? The answers to these questions is, no. The churches at Rome at this time was composed of a plurality of leaders. There was not one man who was the supreme leader at this time.

    6. Meyu said:
      [—
      Is there any reference in I Clement that Clement refers to himself alone as the supreme head of the entire church at the time?
      —]

      “The church of God which sojourns at Rome to the church of God which sojourns at Corinth … But if any disobey the words spoken by him through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger.”

      Pope St. Clement of Rome, 1st Epistle to the Corinthians (A.D. 96)

    7. I forgot to add that when Pope St. Clement wrote that, St John the Evangelist was still alive on Patmos and closer to Corinth. Yet it was Pope St. Clement as the successor of Peter who was exercising authority and jurisdiction because Peter had the keys which were passed down in dynastic sucession…. just as they were by the High Priest in Isaiah 22:22 / Matt 16:19.

    8. Meyu asks:
      meyuDecember 21, 2012 12:38 AM
      What church is Paul referring to? Does he make any reference to the church at Rome?

      He describes the Catholic Church.

      First, he describes a Church which is infallible (1 Tim 3:15; Eph 3:10).
      Then he describes a Church which is united (Eph 4:5).
      He also describes the doctrines of the Catholic Church which are distinctive from other churches:
      Purgatory (1 Cor 3:15).
      Eucharist (1 Cor 11:23-27).
      Communion of Saints (Rom 12:12-20).
      The Mass and the necessity to attend (Heb 10:25-31).
      The Sacrament of Confession (Heb 13:17).
      The Sacrament of Holy Orders (1 Tim 4:14).
      The Sacrament of Baptism (Titus 3:5).
      Justification and salvation by faith and works (Rom 2:1-13).
      Etc. etc.

      Sincerely,

      De Maria

  6. “That is not true that the church is built on Peter.”

    Did not Jesus Christ Himself say to Simon bar Jonah, “That you are Rock, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

    As far as theology of the Church, we know all of the following:

    1) Christ is the Cornerstone. Is 28:16
    2) Peter is a rock on which the Church is built. Matt 16:18
    3) The apostles and prophets are the foundation which is the Church is built. Eph 2:20
    4) The Church is the pillar and bulwark of Truth. 1 Tim 3:15

    Roman Catholics affirm all of those. Meyu denies at least point 2, and in doing so contradicts the very words spoken by Truth Himself.

    It’s not just the Roman Church that is the Church, but every Church in communion. Peter was the first bishop of Antioch and was succeeded by Euodius then Ignatius. James the Just then Symeon was bishop of Jerusalem. Consult with any good history, or even the writings of John’s disciple Polycarp or his disciple Ireneaus, bishop of Gaul–or Clement who succeeded Peter and Linus and Cletus as Bishop of Rome. They were all in communion with one another.

    Now the Scriptures do claim that Peter was in Rome. ” The [church that is] at Babylon, elected together with [you], saluteth you; and [so doth] Marcus my son.” 1 Pet 5:13 KJV

    Scripture calls Rome Babylon. See for example when the angel is telling John who the woman is with the name BABYLON on her head, he says she rests on seven hills, the “water” she sits on are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues, and finally the “woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” The only city to ever fit all of those descriptions at the time of John was Rome.

    Furthermore, Babylon DIDN’T EXIST ANY LONGER WHEN PETER WAS ALIVE!

    Isaiah said of the Babylonian Captivity:

    Isa 6 Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered, “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, Houses are without people And the land is utterly desolate, “The LORD has removed men far away, And the [fn]forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, And it will again be subject to burning, Like a terebinth or an oak Whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump.”

    This prophecy came true:

    The constant turmoil virtually emptied the city of Babylon. A tablet dated 275 BC states that the inhabitants of Babylon were transported to Seleucia, …. With this deportation, the history of Babylon comes practically to an end, …. By 141 BC, when the Parthian Empire took over the region, Babylon was in complete desolation and obscurity.

    Source: http://www.cemml.colostate.edu/cultural/09476/iraq05-007.html

    That the Jews that you insist Peter is evangelizing in the abandoned rock query of Babylon had been transported to Seleucia is testified to by Josephus. In 41 BC, Seleucia was the scene of a massacre of around 5,000 Babylonian Jewish refugees (Josephus, Ant. xviii. 9, § 9).

    Further historical evidence of Babylon’s desolation in fulfillment of prophecy is that in 197 AD when Septimius Severus marched across the empire to punish the Parthians, they came across the ruins of Babylon, totally deserted, “the hunting ground of wild animals.”

    Now as far as there being no Jews in Rome, we see they are expelled by Emperor Claudius. Acts 18:2 “And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.”

    Why were the Roman Jews expelled?

    Roman Emperor Claudius reigned 41 to 54 AD. Suetonius says “Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.”

    So it is precisely Peter’s evangelizing in Rome that gets the Jews kicked out!

  7. There’s only one communion of Churches.

    Take Acts 9:31

    “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.”

    There are churches plural that are in communion, so we can call it the Church singular.

    In Greek, εκκλησιαι καθολης–Ecclesia Kataholis–The Church Throughout All.

    Rome has primacy among them as Irenaeus says “For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.”

    1. Rome did not have primacy in the first few centuries. As I have stated there were other churches at the time that were just as influential if not more so than Rome. Jerusalem is the first church of primacy while the apostles were alive because this was where Christ died and rose again.

  8. When Peter left Jerusalem after Herod Agrippa I tried to kill him, James appears as the principal authority.[14] Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–215) called him Bishop of Jerusalem.[14] A second-century church historian, Hegesippus, wrote that the Sanhedrin martyred him in 62.[14]

    In 66, the Jews revolted against Rome.[8] Rome besieged Jerusalem for four years, and the city fell in 70.[8] The city was destroyed, including the Temple, and the population was mostly killed or removed.[8] Though, according to Epiphanius of Salamis,[15] the Cenacle survived at least to Hadrian’s visit in 130. A scattered population survived.[8] Traditionally it is believed the Jerusalem Christians waited out the Jewish–Roman wars in Pella in the Decapolis. The Sanhedrin relocated to Jamnia.[16] Prophecies of the Second Temple’s destruction are found in the synoptics.[17]

    In the 2nd century, Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as a pagan city called Aelia Capitolina,[18] erecting statues of Jupiter and himself on the site of the former Jewish Temple, the Temple Mount. Bar Cochba led an unsuccessful revolt as a Messiah, but Christians refused to acknowledge him as such. When Bar Cochba was defeated, Hadrian barred Jews from the city, except for the day of Tisha B’Av, thus the subsequent Jerusalem bishops were gentiles (“uncircumcised”) for the first time.[19]

    The general significance of Jerusalem to Christians entered a period of decline during the Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire, but resumed again with the pilgrimage of Helena (the mother of Constantine the Great) to the Holy Land c. 326–28

    No, point of fact, Jerusalem was not the epicenter of Christianity in the early Christian centuries.

  9. Where did the first church council take place? Who made the final decision?

    In regards to Peter and Rome there is no evidence that before his death Peter actually served the church of Rome as its first bishop, even though the “fact” is regularly taken for granted by a wide spectrum of Catholics and others (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., pp. 25,29).

    We must conclude that the New Testament provides no basis for the notion that before the apostles died, they ordained one man for each of the churches they founded…”Was there a Bishop of Rome in the First Century?”…the available evidence indicates that the church in Rome was led by a college of presbyters, rather than by a single bishop, for at least several decades of the second century (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p. 80,221-222).

    1. Where did the first church council take place? Who made the final decision?

      Jerusalem.

      And after there had been much debate, Peter rose and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.” (Acts 15:7)

      That ends the debate. James, who is the Bishop of Jerusalem, concurs, explicitly citing Peter’s position. The Apostles are unanimous in their decision, and being a Council of the Church, carries the authority of the Holy Spirit. See Acts 15:28

      In regards to Peter and Rome there is no evidence that before his death Peter actually served the church of Rome as its first bishop…

      In the same friggin paragraph McBrien says “…there is increasing agreement among historians and biblical scholars that Peter did go to Rome and was martyred there…”

      Do you affirm this is true?

    2. I have no problem with Peter being martyred there if that is what the facts show. There is a problem with claiming that Peter was the supreme bishop of the entire church while at Rome. That claim cannot be sustained historically.

    3. Generally speaking, is it possible to have authority and not exercise it?

      If so, then I wouldn’t have to show from the historical record that Peter exercised authority over the entire Church while he was at Rome.

      What do you say to that?

    4. Meyu,
      This is proven by the scriptural/historical account. As already explained when Christ gave Peter the keys in Matt 16:19. There is only one other place in the bible where keys are used, and that is in Isa 22:22 when authority is passed from the High Priest to High Priest in succession. All of the ancient Churches that were founded by the labors of Peter were considered Petrine in authority. That is why before Constantinople appeared, Rome, Antioch and Alexandria(via St. Mark who was Peters scribe) all had higher primacy than Jerusalem in the ancient Greek taxis. In fact when Constantinople inserted itself as second Rome above Antioch and Alexandria, it was very controversial because of their Petrine roots.

    5. Daniel-You are the one making the claim that Peter was the supreme leader of the church. You bear the burden of proof to support this. To do that, you will need facts that show this. Without facts, all you have is mere speculation and speculations are not arguments but mere opinions.

    6. Meyu,
      There have been many proofs given. Perhaps your bar is higher than the scripture provided, or the historical statements.

      “… the Church which presides in the place of the region of the Romans, and which is worthy of God, worthy of honour, worthy of the highest happiness, worthy of praise, worthy of credit, worthy of being deemed holy, and which presides over love…”
      St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Romans (A.D. 110)

      The Church of Rome “presides over love”. This statement is not clear on the extent of authority, but it is clear on primacy which came from Peter through Christ.

    7. Not so fast. How does the statement–“The Church of Rome “presides over love”. This statement is not clear on the extent of authority, but it is clear on primacy which came from Peter through Christ.” prove that Rome has primacy?

    8. In Catholic theology, the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. A simple scriptural explanation of this would be the road to Damascus where Christ asks Paul why he is persecuting Him. We all know Paul was persecuting the Church. There are other verses to expound on this as well, but I digress.

      So there is a two-fold context when looking at the statement of St Ignatius
      1) The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ.
      2) God is love, as St. John teaches us in 1Jn 4:8

      Knowing the above: To “preside over love” is to preside over the Mystical Body of Christ… The Catholic Church. This is also fitting considering the meaning of his ancient title, Vicar of Christ.

  10. And Meyu, your objections to Petrine Primacy are disingenuous.

    You insinuate it was James who decided the Council of Jerusalem. You acknowledge that the church government was at least a college of priests (the word priest comes from V.L. *prester “priest,” from L.L. presbyter “presbyter, elder,” from Gk. presbytero).

    How is ordination to be done?

    “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders [presbyteros] in every city, as I had appointed thee:”

    In other words, ordination was to be done by Apostles (like Paul) or their bishops (like Titus) by the laying on of hands, for Paul cautions “Lay hands suddenly on no man…”

    It’s the laying on with hands by the Apostles that one receives the Holy Spirit, as Simon the magician observed.

    Does your church have presbyteros ordained by someone who was ordained by someone etc. who was an Apostle?

    1. Here is James decided the first decision of the first council in Acts 15
      13 After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. 15 With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written,

      16 ‘After these things I will return,
      And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen,
      And I will rebuild its ruins,
      And I will restore it,
      17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
      And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’
      18 Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago.
      19 Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.

      BTW- there is no office of priest mentioned as part of the NT church. Nor is there any mention of the papacy as part of the leadership of the church in the NT.

    2. On the contrary Meyu. In that same Council, it was St. Peter who decided the outcome saying:

      7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

      8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

      9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

      10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

      11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

      12 Then all the multitude kept silence,….

      It is St. Peter who resolved the issue and the others, including St. James, obediently followed through.

      Sincerely,

      De Maria

  11. Worship of Mary is wrong . Jesus never said worship his Mom . None of the Apostles ever mention Marion worship . Mary can´t answer or even hear your prayers . The Bible says
    that satan can appear as an angel of light or in this case Mary . She had other
    children after Jesus . When Jesus was on the cross and looked at the Apostle
    John and his Mother and said Mother behold your son and then said to John son
    here is your Mother he was giving her into his care nothing more . That´s how
    Loving Jesus is , that even in His suffering He saw to the care of his Mother .
    You can´t be Christian and worship Mary . Repent Please .

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