By Dave Armstrong (8-16-11)
This discussion was condensed from a combox on a friend's Facebook page. Guy's words will be in blue; Brian's in green.
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Guy Duininck I can't support the view that Mary was born without original sin. . . . there is no scriptural evidence for this. I think that some would like to wish it was so and look for reason to make it so, but that doesn't mean it is so. . . . I think there should be one supporting scripture at least. Jesus' sinlessness is mentioned very often. . . . One clear scripture is very important......at least for me to even consider believing something of this import. :) . . . I really prefer that my doctrine come from the Scriptures. And in this particular case, I have not believed Mary had a sinless nature for 30 years and have not seen any Scripture evidence to support that she did. :) . . . And I'm not too interested in the "overwhelming tradition of the church." I'm interested in the Scriptures and what they say and don't say. . . . I prefer several clear NT scriptures for NT doctrine. . . . But for doctrine, I need 3-4 clear NT scriptures. Does Paul or any other NT writer even reference Mary?
Where are your "several clear NT scriptures" for the notion that all doctrines have to be established by "several clear NT scriptures"? Good luck (you'll need it, believe me).
I said that I....me.....prefer 3-4 clear NT scriptures.
Why? Where does that idea come from in the first place? Traditions of men and not Holy Scripture?
Brian Sleeman What are we told scripturally about 'evidence' that it should come from two or three witnesses - why then would God not expect the same 'verification' of His instructions - that the scriptures provide two or three references to support it has a 'prescription' of action and not just a 'description' of events?
Protestants build their entire rule of faith and theology upon sola Scriptura (the notion that the only infallible authority is Scripture, and in practice, that every doctrine needs explicit biblical proof to be believed at all), yet this idea is never found in Scripture anywhere (it was basically invented by Luther out of thin air, under pressure in a debate). So why the irrational double standard? You can base that false tradition of men on nothing whatever in Scripture, yet demand all kinds of explicit biblical proofs for every Marian doctrine, as if that is necessary, when there is plenty about Mary in Scripture: just not enough to your arbitrary taste. And what is there many Protestants don't or can''t see, under the principle of "no man is so blind as he who will not see."
Is the Virgin Birth of Jesus a very important, fundamental doctrine of Christianity?
Yes, and it was pointed to in various places. Are we told in multiple places to treat the virgin in any special way because she (as is every other creation of God) an implement for bringing about His Will? And does it anywhere say that the Virgin would herself be sinless? The conception of Christ was immaculate - not Mary herself.
I believe the Virgin Birth is mentioned in two places only in the New Testament: Luke 1:35 and Matthew 1:23. Paul never mentions it; the Gospels of Mark and John never do, nor do the rest of the NT books.
So by the usual hackneyed, fallacious Protestant reasoning, the fact that Paul doesn't mention the Virgin Birth would supposedly be a proof (if we consistently applied this false "demand") that it is a false doctrine, just as it is argued that Marian doctrines are false because Paul doesn't mention her.
We have two texts in two Gospels for the Virgin Birth. But we have the same amount for Mary's sinlessness: Luke 1:28 ("full of grace") and the texts that illustrate the ark of the covenant parallel. Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman also notes another fascinating biblical indicator:
Even created excellence is fearful to think of when it is so high as Mary's. As to the great Creator, when Moses desired to see His glory, He Himself says about Himself, "Thou canst not see My face, for man shall not see Me and live;" and St. Paul says, "Our God is a consuming fire." And when St. John, holy as he was, saw only the Human Nature of our Lord, as He is in Heaven, "he fell at His feet as dead." And so as regards the appearance of angels. The holy Daniel, when St. Gabriel appeared to him, "fainted away, and lay in a consternation, with his face close to the ground." When this great archangel came to Zacharias, the father of St. John the Baptist, he too was troubled, and fear fell upon him." But it was otherwise with Mary when the same St. Gabriel came to her. She was overcome indeed, and troubled at his words, because, humble as she was in her own opinion of herself, he addressed her as "Full of grace," and "Blessed among women;" but she was able to bear the sight of him. Hence we learn two things: first, how great a holiness was Mary's, seeing she could endure the presence of an angel, whose brightness smote the holy prophet Daniel even to fainting and almost to death; and secondly, since she is so much holier than that angel, and we so much less holy than Daniel, what great reason we have to call her the Virgo Admirabilis, the Wonderful, the Awful Virgin, when we think of her ineffable purity!
(Meditations and Devotions [posthumous], “Meditations on the Litany of Loretto, for the Month of May: I. On the Immaculate Conception,” May 5)