I have been reflecting again, during this Advent season, about the person and mission of the Virgin Mother. I have quietly been doing this for the past twenty years or so. Perhaps no doctrinal thinking more quickly divides Protestants from Catholics and Orthodox Christians. Don't misunderstand me. I do not believe all the Marian dogmas affirmed by the Catholic Church, especially the two affirmed in the 19th and 20th centuries. (I do understand the rationale for these doctrinal deductions/conclusions but I am not convinced that they are either essential or faithful to Scripture or the historic creeds!)
At the same time I believe that most evangelical Protestants are quite deficient in their understanding of Mary. This means that their theology of the incarnation is also deficient because the two are clearly related in historic Christian thought. The two were plainly related in the practice of the early church. This is why the church concluded, in council, that Mary was "the mother of God, " not simply "the mother of Jesus." If you say something like this today you will very likely be attacked for false devotion to the Holy Mother, if not for some kind of heresy. This is a most unfortunate response to the historic Christian faith and orthodox understanding. Thankfully a number of serious Protestant theologians have been addressing this issue over the last five years or so. At least two or three well-written popular books, by some of our best theologians, come to mind.
A Catholic brother recently sent me a link to a blog post by Daniel Tomberlin, a Pentecostal scholar. Tomberlin has done some helpful thinking and writing about the Virgin Mary. I commend this post to you with great appreciation. We can and should love and regard this great woman of faith.
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