Mary A Perpetual Virgin?

One of the many false doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church is that Mary remained a virgin even after the birth or Christ. Where does this teaching come from and is there any merit to it at all?

The doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity first shows up in the early fourth century. It is curious that such a distinction would not be made prior to this. This is especially perplexing because the New Testament clearly refers to Jesus having siblings.

Now I want to make a distinction, we are not denying the virgin birth of Christ. That is clearly Scriptural (Luke 1:34). The birth of Christ was a miraculous event. What is in question here is the idea that Mary continued to be a virgin the rest of her life. So let’s look at the evidence.

The first piece of evidence is the telling of Joseph’s perspective in Matthew chapter one. It tells us in verse 25 that Joseph did not know Mary, meaning sexual intimacy, until after the birth of Christ. There would be no reason to make this statement if Mary were a perpetual virgin.

The second piece of evidence is, as stated earlier, the Bible states that Jesus had siblings (Matt. 13:55; Mark3:31, 33; John 2:12; 7:3, 5, 10; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:5; Gal. 1:19). The Catholic Church would state that these would not be blood brothers, they would be cousins or close friends, but there is nothing within the context of the text to actually suggest this explanation.

In short, there is no evidence to suggest, and no reason to believe, that Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Christ. The evidence is to the contrary. This is another way in which the Roman Catholic Church turns Mary into a sort of god and an idol as they do with declaring that she was sinless her entire life.

That’s What Christmas is All About!

As we are in the height of the Christmas season, I think back each year about the true meaning of Christmas. Yes, we have the lights, the gifts, the toys, the FOOD, the wonderful Christmas music. We have parades and parties. We have candlelight services and Christmas plays. But what is Christmas all about? What is the real significance?

It may surprise you that I am not going to say it is not about Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in a manger. That is certainly the main focus of what we remember, but that is not the real meaning and significance of Christmas. That scene is only a small part.

In fact, I do not even focus on Luke 2 at all for the underlying meaning of Christmas. I actually focus on John 1:14.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 ESV

The focus of Christmas is that God the Son took on flesh and became a man. He came into this sinful world to dwell among the wicked human race. He came to live a life that would end in tremendous suffering, pain, and death.

Christ came into this world to die for those who would believe in Him. To save them. To give them eternal life. To keep them from depths of Hell.

That is what we celebrate at Christmas. So, while we have all of our fun with our parties, movies, food, lights, presents, and everything else that goes with Christmas, let’s not forget what the real celebration is all about. After all, in the words of Linus Van Pelt, “That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.”

Was Mary Sinless?

Virgin of the AnnunciationA lot of focus during the Christmas season gets put on Mary as well as Jesus since she was his mother. There is a lot of incorrect theology about Mary, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church. One of these doctrines is the idea of the Immaculate Conception.

The immaculate conception often is misunderstood to mean the supernatural conception of Christ in Mary’s womb. I also misunderstood this in the past. But that is not what this term refers to at all. In fact, the immaculate conception has nothing to do with the birth of Christ. Instead, the immaculate conception deals with Mary. Specifically, it teaches that Mary was sinless and free from original sin.

There are two primary texts that Catholics use to make this claim. The first is Genesis 3:15.

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.

Genesis 3:15 English Standard Version

The main problem with using this text to define anything about Mary is that Mary is not found in this verse. The woman here is Eve, not Mary. Yes, Mary is part of Eve’s distant offspring through her descendants, but the only people mentioned in this verse specifically are Eve, Satan, Christ, and God the Father. So we can automatically throw this verse out with having anything to do with supposed sinlessness of Mary.

The other major text used by Catholics for the Immaculate Conception is Luke 1:28

And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”

Luke 1:28 (ESV)

In this verse they use the term favored one to claim that Mary was sinless. But how do they come to this conclusion?

First we must look at the underlying Greek for the term favored one and see whether or not it means sinless. The term is κεχαριτωμένη, which is pronounced kecharitomene. It is derived from the lemma χαριτόω (charitoo). But what do these words mean, and if they mean sinless, why are they translated as favored one?

The underlying Greek has a meaning of showing kindness, favor, giving grace, showing favor. So translators have gotten it right with favored one. But Catholics focus on one portion of this definition, giving grace. In fact, they argue that Mary was so full of grace that she did not receive original sin because she was “fully endowed with grace perfectly.”

But there is a problem with this viewpoint. First, being fully endowed with grace does not mean that you are sinless. All Christians are full of grace and favored and blessed. That is part of being the elect of God. Ephesians 1:6 uses the same word, charitoo, to describe all believers. Yet, all believers have original sin, and continuing sin that must be dealt with. Mary is no different.

The point is that there is no Scriptural basis for the Immaculate Conception. This is an invention and false doctrine of the Catholic Church. Mary was favored only in the sense that she was chosen to have the very special honor of giving birth to the Savior. She is not to be worshiped, not to be prayed to, she is a sinner saved by grace just like everyone else who is a part of the kingdom.