TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Editorials

October 18, 2013

May Mary not impede our unity

CORBIN — I would be delighted if someone honored my mother. Yet somehow some people feel if they honor Jesus’ mother they are dishonoring Jesus. It has always seemed natural and right to honor those who are outstanding servants of God. Even though I full heartedly respect the conscience and mind of all Christians, it is hard for me to understand how honoring God’s heroes is offensive to God. Confusing honor and worship may be the problem. Christians have little difficulty honoring godly pastors and people of their church families.

Most Protestants understand Mary as an ordinary woman who was called to perform an extraordinary task — to deliver to the world its solitary Savior, while remaining a virgin; God himself (“the Holy Spirit will over shadow you”) impregnating her. Universally Protestantism has adamantly defended  this miraculous virgin birth upholding the foundation of Christianity — Jesus is the Son of God.

This belief in the virgin birth is found in all Christian sects and denominations as the basic premise for understanding and believing in Jesus as divine; as able to redeem humankind from sin. So it is that all Christians celebrate unity in Mary’s divine role of bringing to the world its Savior.

Yet even more Christians (the non- Protestants of the world) have beliefs about Mary that go far beyond just a virgin birth; beliefs that go far before 16th century introduction of Protestantism to the world.

A summary of these ancient and still popular beliefs (held by some 80 percent of Christians — Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Catholics, partially by Lutherans and Anglicans):  1) Mary was always a virgin, before, during and after the birth of Christ. The New Testament Greek terms “brother/sister” refer to any blood relative. If Mary had other children, where were they at the crucifixion crises to comfort their mother? How do we explain Jesus on the cross entrusting his mother to the care of the Apostle John? 2) Mary was exempt from original sin, (Immaculate Conception) — called by the angel Gabriel, “full of grace, the Lord is with you”, countering the obvious contradiction of God’s sinless Son being born from a sinful mother. 3) Mary never died but was taken up into heaven bodily (Assumption), reasoning that God would not have the flesh from which his son received human life to see corruption. Also there is no record of Mary’s death or place of burial.

Most all Protestants find these above three beliefs about Mary as preposterous, sustained by obscure and remote evidence; interpreted as worshipping Mary instead of Jesus.  However, we Christians dare not violate the basic command of Jesus that we are to have love and unity, therein respecting all Christians in what seems true to them.

  Although most all Protestant leaders today see appropriate reference to Mary only at the Nativity scene, it is interesting that chief Protestant reformers — Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and John Wesley — held to Mary’s permanent virginity as well as honoring God’s numerous saints of the past.

In any case, a firm commitment to church unity is the prerequisite for us all to belonging to the church. May our different traditions and beliefs about Mary, the mother of Jesus, as well revered holy people in general, never deter us from Christ, his church or his Kingdom.

For me, my love for God compels me to give honor to those close to God.

The Rev. John Burkhart  Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of  psychology

jandmburkhart@yahoo.com blog at inspirationsandideas

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • LIKE IT OR NOT: MLB's All Star effort was a bust

    With the 85th edition of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in the books, I have to say I feel like the whole thing was a complete bust.

    July 18, 2014

  • THE WAY IT IS: Some local teams can make a run

    Well folks, our Little League All-Star action is beginning to wind down, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see two of the Tri-County’s resp

    July 17, 2014

  • LIKE IT OR NOT: It's been a very busy summer

    While a lot of people would expect the local sports scene to slow down in the Tri-County in the summer time, that’s not usually the case for us here at the Times-Tribune.

    July 16, 2014

  • John Ross.jpg May we all cherish those few WWII vets who still live

    I watch this old BBC program pretty often called “Are You Being Served?” It’s mostly out of syndication — what shows remain can be seen most often through PBS.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0502 Bobbie Poynter So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

    I never have been very good at saying goodbye — family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, community — for years you’ve had my back and in turn, I believe I’ve had yours.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie Ellis.jpg ‘Uh hummm!’ It’s been an interesting week

    One column can’t cover everything from a busy week of political events, but here are some quick takeaways from last week.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Let’s multiply our numbers like fleas do

    Last Saturday, my wife, Carmen, and I spent the day at the Kings Island theme park near Cincinnati, Ohio.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Not an earthly trace

    Just married (1897) and in his late 20’s, my grandfather was determined to make a living on a hillside farm covered in wilderness; much as his father had done before him in 1846  when he arrived from Germany.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Col. Mustard with the candlestick in Heaven

    One of my favorite movies is the murder mystery comedy “Clue,” which is based on the popular board game of the same name.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Now or Never

    A story is told of an old widower who decided it was time to find a new wife. He chose to look for this new bride through the obituaries column; identifying new widows.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide