The Place of Mary in Classical Fundamentalism (Pt. 1)

Author: Rev. Peter Stravinskas


Rev. Peter Stravinskas

(Part 1)

To discover the place of Mary in classical Fundamentalism1 requires one to move back to the Protestant Reformation, inasmuch as Fundamentalism regards itself as a direct descendant of that theological tradition, or as John Mark Reynolds puts it, Fundamentalists "are historic Protestants."2 Our first concern, then, is to determine the status of Marian doctrine and devotion among the Reformers. Second, it is necessary to see if Fundamentalism is in continuity with its Reformation pedigree. The guiding hypothesis of this chapter is a modification of that of Charles Lees: "In modern dialogues between Catholics and their separated brethren, it is often ignored that, historically, the Protestant Reformers did not attack devotion to Our Blessed Mother; that such an attack came from their successors."3 It is also the guarded conviction of David Wright that "the Churches that look back to the Reformers have on the whole been less affirmative about Mary than most of the Reformers themselves."4

The Protestant Reformation and Mary

1. Martin Luther

The lion's share of such a discussion must be centered on Martin Luther, inasmuch as he is commonly acknowledged as the "Father of the Reformation." Therefore, the question of the Reverend William Cole's magisterial article is quite <ad rem>: "Was Luther a devotee of Mary?" The Reverend Thomas O'Meara sets a sober tone for this process of discernment:

During any discussion of Luther and the Blessed Virgin we must keep uppermost in our minds that there was development in his ideas, a change more or less drastic in each aspect of Marian theology. This development had its beginning in Catholicism; it passes through contradictions, struggles, and uncertainties, and terminates in a new Marian viewpoint, one which Luther decided was Christocentric, biblical, unexaggerated, and edifying.5

Cole cautions against imagining Luther's "being preoccupied with Mary. He was critical in the measure in which Mariological declaration conflicted with what he considered essential points: the primacy of grace, the transcendence of God, the unique Mediatorship of Christ, etc."6 An important point to ponder is that, in the very heat of the debate, "in the resolutions of the 95 theses Luther rejects every blasphemy against the Virgin and thinks that one should ask for pardon for any evil said or thought against her."7 Cole also stresses the necessity of using official Reformation documents, like the <Apology to the Augsburg Confession>, to make a formal determination regarding Luther's mind on this topic, adding to that the suggestion of taking into account Lutheran praxis after the fact:

[Luther's] custom of preaching Marian sermons on the Marian feasts continued in the Lutheran Church a hundred years after his death. Following the example of Luther other great songwriters of the Reformation glorified the greatness of Mary's divine maternity. This lasting piety towards the Mother of God found an outlet in piety so that generally the celebrated pictures of the Madonna and her statues from the Middle Ages were retained in Lutheran churches. According to Heiler, it was only the spirit of the Enlightenment with its lack of understanding of the mystery of the Incarnation, which in the 18th century began the work of destruction.8

Picking up the fact of Luther's preaching on Marian feasts, Cole observes with no small degree of irony that "the Reformer preached more about Mary than Catholic priests do in this era of the Church's history."9

At a doctrinal level, one finds "his acknowledgement of the perpetual virginity of Mary, that is, virginity before birth, in birth, and after birth, is explicit and he uses such formulas of Mariology as <de ventre clauso utero,> without the seed of man, ever-virgin."10 It is worth taking note of Wright's observation that Luther accepts this teaching "as a received assumption rather than a securely biblical deduction."11 In other words, Luther was not such an "absolutist" on the issue of <sola Scriptura,> as some might think. Wright also admits that of Luther's acceptance of Mary's perpetual virginity came a recognition of "the long-established universal belief in Mary's perpetual virginity, which was endorsed by all the Reformers virtually without qualification." And furthermore, this position even found its way into the marginal comments of the Geneva Bible of 1560.12

Quite remarkable, too, is that Luther "with considerable consistency down to the time of his death in 1546 accepted the immaculate conception of Mary."13 As far as the assumption goes, he "did not pronounce clearly on this subject, but was content simply to affirm it."14 Wright adds to this list the fact that " 'Mother of God' is a frequent instinctive usage for Luther," down to "the last years of his life." He goes on to mention that "Zwingli also endorsed it explicitly," even if Calvin "never adopted the phrase."15

When we come to the question of the invocation of Mary (or any other saints), the matter becomes more complicated. In Luther's <Explanation of the Magnificat> in 1521, he begins and ends with an invocation to Mary, which Wright feels compelled to call "surprising."16 In 1530, Article 21 of the <Augsburg Confession> states that "it cannot be proved from the Scriptures that we are to invoke saints or seek help from them,"17 even though there is no explicit denial of the possibility of the saints' intercession for the members of the Church on earth, nor any opposition to such a holding. The reason for the denial of the practice is twofold: It is not taught in Scripture; and conversely, it is taught in Scripture that Christ is the "one mediator . . . the only savior, the only high-priest, advocate and intercessor before God."18 A bit later, in Luther's <Apology for the Augsburg Confession>, he adduces a corollary deriving from the second point, namely, that it is essential and sufficient to invoke only Christ.19 In the <Articuli Schmalcaldenses>, Luther seems to argue that even if the saints can and do pray for us, the common people need to have this drummed out of their piety, so that the entire cult of the saints will eventually fall, with all its abuses finally gone.20 This is somewhat more nuanced than might appear at first blush. Is he, in fact, leaving open the door to some limited form of invocation, at least at the theoretical level? Siding with Stakemeier against O'Meara, Cole responds in the negative.21 The motivation for Luther's apparent (but not definitive) ban on the invocation of Mary and the other saints is rooted in four principles, which will be treated in another section: a) Scripture alone; b) God alone; c) Christ alone; d) Grace alone.22

The question becomes even more muddled, however, when one seeks to learn how this prohibition was, or was not, incorporated into the daily life of Luther and his followers. For example, he directed that the <Magnificat> was to be sung daily in all churches. While struggling mightily with the <Ave Maria>, especially because he was exercised over the failure of people to pray it correctly and with the proper attitude, he did concede that it could likewise form part of the prayer life of a true believer. He concluded, on the other hand, that the "extravagances" of the <Salve Regina> and <Regina Caeli> were "unevangelical."23

Luther was rather strong in proposing Mary (and other saints as well) as models for emulation. He regularly praised her virtues and held them (and her) up for imitation, especially as regards her exemplary living of humility, chastity and faith.24

Nor was Luther an iconoclast, for he strictly forbade the fanatical destruction of images and demanded at least a crucifix and a representation of Our Lady for his own use. He quite clearly did not see the Old Testament prohibition against images as having any application, so long as the images were not used in an idolatrous manner.25 Most interesting of all, perhaps, is the realization that his burial chamber in the Wittenberg church, on whose door he had posted his 95 Theses, was adorned with the 1521 Peter Vischer sculpture of the Coronation of the Virgin, with the inscription containing these lines:

<Ad summum Regina thronum defertur in altum: Angelicis praelatia choris, cui festus et ipse Filius occurrens Matrem super aethera ponit.>26

This "archaeological" fact would seem to speak volumes about Luther's final thoughts on the place of Mary in the life of a Christian.

In noting Luther's absolute and unswerving adherence to the doctrines of Mary's perpetual virginity and immaculate conception, Wright suggests the reason as Luther's "holding more closely to the late medieval world of thought than Calvin."27

The very careful final verdict on Luther's Marian devotion is summed up by Cole, relying on the traditional categories of Roschini, thus:

I would submit that it is beyond all reasonable doubt that Luther <loved> and <venerated> (honored or praised) Mary personally and <imitated> the evangelical virtues he saw displayed in her life. Likewise, no one can doubt that he wished all Christians to follow him along these lines.

As for <gratitude> and <servitude> to Mary, only in the most restricted sense can any argument be adduced that Luther either recommended or practiced these parts of Marian devotion.

Finally, in spite of the fact that some scholarly opinion still maintains a contrary opinion, I would maintain that the Reformer eventually rejected any form of <invocation.>28 (emphases in original)

One last consideration might well be how contemporary Lutherans [and other Protestants] read and understand the Mariology of Luther and the other Reformers. Lutheran Sister Basilea Schlink seems to sum up the situation honestly when she writes about "how far the majority of us [Protestants] have drifted away from the proper attitude towards her, which Martin Luther had indicated to us on the basis of Holy Scripture." She links much of this difficulty to the rise of Rationalism, which "has lost the sense of the sacred. In Rationalism man sought to comprehend everything, and that which he could not comprehend he rejected." This insight is key since Fundamentalism arose, in large measure, as a reaction to the influence of Rationalism on traditional Protestantism. She continues: "Because Rationalism accepted only that which could be explain rationally, Church festivals in honor of Mary and everything else reminiscent of her were done away with in the Protestant Church. All biblical relationship to the Mother Mary was lost, and we are still suffering from this heritage." She then concludes in remorseful fashion:

When Martin Luther bids us to praise the Mother Mary, declaring that she can never be praised enough as the noblest lady and, after Christ, the fairest gem in Christendom, I must confess that for many years I was one of those who had not done so, although Scripture says that henceforth all generations would call Mary blessed [Luke 1:48]. I had not taken my place among these generations.29

The Reverend Raniero Cantalamessa notes that "after the Council, theologians from various Protestant denominations—Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, Evangelicals—made similar declarations."30 Certainly, the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue on Mary is at least tacit, if not explicit, admission of this as well, in addition to the works of many theologians cited in Section B of this chapter.

2. John Calvin

"To look at Protestantism today would make one think that, of all the Reformers, Calvin had inveighed most violently against Mary. The Churches stemming from Geneva have no Marian feast (except in European Communities which have accepted a liturgical reform), no word at all about the Mother of Christ. . . . Calvin's position, however is not that extreme."31 Calvin's approach to Mariology is a bit more radical than Luther's, but in its main lines, is not much different,32 although he senses a greater urgency to hem it in with more qualifications. For example, while adhering to Mary's perpetual virginity,

his more careful biblicism could insist on only Mary's refraining from intercourse before the birth of Jesus (i.e., her virginity <ante partum>). On the other hand, he never excluded as untenable the other elements in her perpetual virginity, and may be said to have believed it himself without claiming that Scripture taught it.33

In this connection, William J. Bouwsma makes the point that "among matters on which he [Calvin] discouraged speculation were the order of angels . . . and the perpetual virginity of Mary."34

With reference to the title "Mother of God," we learn that Calvin disproved of its use because "it promoted superstition." Wright continues by bringing the line up to date by saying that "what many Protestants identify as Mariolatry persuades them not to call her 'Mother of God'."35 What is interesting is that Calvin never "even cited the Greek term <Theotokos>."36 On the <Ave Maria,> Calvin commented that it should be seen as "no more than a word of congratulation."37

Did Calvin have anything specifically positive to say about Mary? Yes, he "commonly speaks of Mary as 'the holy Virgin' (and rarely as simply as 'Mary' preferring 'the Virgin', etc.)." Calvin "rarely depicts Mary expressly as a sinner" although he did object "to her specific exclusion from the reach of original sin by the Council of Trent."38 At Cana, for instance, Calvin considers the failing (sin) of Mary to have been her desire "to exceed humanity and to make herself an intermediary, which is to forget that grace is totally from God and at His disposal."39 Bouwsma recounts the charming story that "when Mary rebuked the boy Jesus for His truancy, Calvin apologized for her. 'The weariness of three days was in that complaint,' he explained."40 It seems that, often enough, Calvin went to particular lengths to assert that "Calvinists are not foes of Mary, but [that] they feel that they have given her true honor, whereas others have taken from God and given to Mary. Throughout Calvin's sermons on the Scriptures, there are occasional references to the dishonor rendered to Mary and to God by her various titles and by Roman theology."41

In Book III of his <Institutes>, Calvin deals with the mediation of Christ and the intercession of saints; his approach is rather carefully nuanced, with no outright condemnation or denial but with more concern about abuses, about the possible obfuscation of the unique intercession of Christ, or the attribution of divine powers to the saints.42

In formal doctrinal statements of the Reformed Tradition, we discover two of the Ten Conclusions of Bern (1528) to have relevance to our present discussion:

6. As Christ alone died for us, so He is also to be adored as the only Mediator and Advocate between God the Father and us. For this reason, it is contrary to the basis of the Word of God to direct worship to be offered to other mediators beyond the present life.

8. It is contrary to the Word of God, contained in the books of the Old and New Testaments, to make images for use in worship. For this reason, they are to be abolished, if they are set up as objects of worship.43

Similarly, the Westminster Confession of 1646 says the following:

Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to Him alone; not to angels, saints, or any other creature; and since the Fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.44

The Reverend Thomas O'Meara sums up Calvin's Marian thought thus:

[His] comments on Mary center on a constant theological image—the transcendence of God: Mary must not obscure Christ. Mary must not be Mother of Divine Grace because grace is at God's disposal through Christ alone. And yet, we cannot say that Calvin was an iconoclast. In retaining belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary, in encouraging our imitation of her many virtues, in holding her to be free from most sin, he showed a certain balance. He should not have inspired the complete absence of the Mother of God in spiritual descendants.45

3. Ulrich Zwingli

What comes across in a brief survey of the Marian thought of Zwingli is that "generally on Mary [he] is nearer to Luther than one might expect," which is to say that he is "more Catholic" on this matter than Calvin.46

On the perpetual virginity of Mary, Zwingli not only holds to it, but defends it scripturally, with reference to the "shut gate" of Ezekiel 44:2. He apparently feels compelled to find biblical grounding for this teaching, lest he yield on <sola Scriptura>; thus Zwingli "believes he has shown that Mary's permanent virginity rests on biblical fact, not human decree."47 This doctrine had added significance for him as well; he considered it crucial that "Mary herself had to be free of any pollution of normal child-bearing—which hints strongly at the logic that leads to her own immaculate conception."48 On the <Ave Maria>, one finds that "Zwingli defended its use, but as praise, not prayer,"49 which can be perceived as a distinction without a difference to some. Finally, as regards the assumption:

In Zwingli's Zurich, . . . even the feast of the Assumption of Mary was apparently specifically retained—and Zwingli's successor, Bullinger, once confessed that Mary's "sacrosanct body was borne by angels into heaven," although he declined to take a firm stand on either her bodily assumption or her immaculate conception.50

Similarly, "Zwingli likewise often called Mary 'pure, holy, spotless', without offering an unambiguous commitment to either her immaculate conception or sinlessness."51

Anecdotal evidence suggests a very careful approach to Mariology at the level of practice. "His delicate Mariology was expressed in an early sermon <On the Perpetual Virginity of Mary> (1522) and came to light in the Zurich liturgy which retained the <Ave Maria>. . . ."52 Furthermore, it would seem that Zwingli had no fundamental objections to either statues or pilgrimages since "he joined a pilgrimage to Aachen [site of a famous Madonna] in 1517."53 By 1530, however, under the sway of Oecolampadius, a different story had emerged as all such Marian manifestations had been banned.54

4. The Reform in England

Wright feels comfortable in asserting, without fear of contradiction, that "the English Reformers probably to a man shared [the] conviction of Mary's perpetual virginity."55 Hugh Latimer, Miles Coverdale and Robert Barnes, all accepted this doctrine, as did Thomas Cranmer himself, who taught it as biblically founded. "They all proved it by Ezekiel chapter 44. Had they not judged it to be in Scripture, they would never have made it binding."56 Latimer also expressed strong support for Mary's immaculate conception.57 Charles Miller notes: "As regards the practice of invocation of the saints, and the Virgin Mary in particular, Herbert Thorndike (1598-1672), for instance, allows prayers to God which 'desire His blessings by and through the merits and intercession of His saints' precisely because in his view its practice is based on a theological perspective which 'all Christians from the beginning' have espoused implicitly or explicitly."58 Confirmatory of the preceding broad sweep of Anglican Marian devotion and doctrine is the recent address by the Reverend Roger Greenacre of Chichester Cathedral.59 At the same time, one must acknowledge that "all invocations to Mary were removed from the Book of Common Prayer in England."60

5. A Summary of Reformation Mariology

"Mary was not a central or prominent issue in the sixteenth century Reformation," declares Wright.61 But why? First of all, because most of the Marian doctrines were taken for granted and accepted. The Reformers' Marian concerns were more related to devotion than doctrine: "The Reformers' teachings about Mary were to a considerable measure a critique of piety and liturgy."62 O'Meara offers this careful summary evaluation of the situation:

It was the times with their changes in intellectual and cultural outlook, it was the very history of the Reform with its forgetfulness of the fullness of its Lutheran and Calvinist inheritance, which caused a Christian religion to come into existence without any place for Christ's Mother. We should remember that this was not the view of the Reformers, nor is it intrinsic to Protestantism.63

Fundamentalism and Mary

Having reviewed the principal Protestant Reformers' positions and attitudes toward Mary and the doctrine and devotion connected to her, it is now appropriate to examine similar areas within Fundamentalist theology. It is important, however, to divide this topic into two segments, with the first being that group of Fundamentalists one could classify as serious theologians and the other as apologists at best or anti-Catholic polemicists at worst. Our reflections are rounded out with reference to basic theological principles of Fundamentalists which obviate a more positive evaluation of the place of Mary on their part. This task can probably best be accomplished by proceeding along the lines of a "review of the literature."

1. Theological Works

The primary reference to Mary in Charles Hodge's three-volume, nineteenth-century work in systematic theology64 is under the rubric of strictures of the First Commandment, with the title of "Mariolatry." After an opening paragraph of praise for the Mother of Jesus, Hodge launches into an unremitting assault on what he calls "the deification of the Virgin Mary [by] the Church of Rome," identifying it as "a slow process." He sums up that process thus:

The first step was the assertion of her perpetual virginity. This was early taken and generally conceded. The second step was the assertion that the birth, as well as the conception of our Lord, was supernatural. The third was the solemn, authoritative decision by the ecumenical council of Ephesus, A.D. 431, that the Virgin Mary was the "Mother of God."65

He does agree, however, that "there is a sense in which the designation [Mother of God] is proper and according to the analogy of Scripture."66 He identifies the fourth step of Marian "deification" as "the dedication in her honor of numerous churches, shrines, and festivals; and in the introduction of solemn offices designed for public and private worship in which she was solemnly invoked."67 Writing just after the promulgation of the dogma of the immaculate conception, Hodge takes particular aim at this teaching, by citing its non-acceptance by Augustine, Anselm, Bernard and Aquinas.68 He also castigates the Church for her notion of Tradition and development of doctrine.69 In summarizing the results of the definition of the immaculate conception, he says: "She was thus placed, as to complete sinlessness, on an equality with her adorable Son, Jesus Christ, Whose place she occupies in the confidence and love of so large a part of the Roman Catholic world."70

F. F. Bruce contributed the chapter on "The Person of Christ: Incarnation and Virgin Birth" to Carl Henry's <Basic Christian Doctrines>.71 In a seven-page discussion of this topic, Mary is presented in only the most incidental of ways. The stress throughout is on the truth that "God did a new thing in the earth when His Son became incarnate, and the virginal conception was part and parcel of that new thing."72 There is also a heavy emphasis on the miraculous nature of this event. Hence, Barr's conclusion that "in Fundamentalism, there is much emphasis upon the virgin birth because it is thought to be a test case of miracle."73 No treatment of the person of Mary or even her faith occurs. He does not entertain in any way the vexed question, from the Fundamentalist perspective, of Mary's perpetual virginity, let alone any other Marian matters.74

The two-volume work of systematic theology by H. Orton Wiley, representing the Church of the Nazarene, in his reflections on Christology, takes cognizance of Mary, so that in her "human submissiveness and trust found its highest Old Testament expression." He goes on: "It was in Mary, therefore, that the protoevangelium given in Eden came to its fulfillment through the grace of the covenant."75 With some measure of inaccuracy, he declares that "Protestantism . . . uniformly rejected the <Theotokos>, regarding the expression, 'Mother of God' as objectionable and misleading."76 In a most dispassionate manner, he treats the doctrine of the immaculate conception in the context of original sin, giving its history and noting its dogmatic definition by Pope Pius IX.77 He makes no mention [neither affirming nor denying] of the virginity of Mary beyond the point of Christ's birth; the assumption is not found at all.

David Wright's introduction for his own <Chosen by God,>78 an attempt to deal with Marian issues in a serious manner, begins with the less-than-congenial talk about the "scriptural nakedness" of Catholic Marian statements.79 He does urge Evangelicals to "resist the temptation to indulge in Marian muck-raking," all the while moving on to the assertion that "Mariology labors under a crushing weight of religious crudity, vulgarism, and sheer crass superstition." Suspecting that someone might think he has not quite "resisted the temptation to indulge in Marian muck-raking," he assures the reader that his introduction is comparatively restrained and that he has "scarcely scratched the surface."80 That having been said, Wright avers that "at the same time, some of our [Evangelical] Churches must start calling Mary blessed for her part in the incarnation."81 He cites a passage from Von Balthasar:

Mary . . . belongs to the innermost circle of that human "constellation" around Jesus which is of theological significance. To regard her merely as a mother in the physical sense, without a spiritual relationship to her child, is untheological because it is inhuman.82

He views this evaluation of Von Balthasar in a positive light, but immediately cautions: "But it is Von Balthasar's second sentence that leads us to one of the nerve-centers of Mariological debate. If we accept that Mary's motherhood was not exhausted by her giving birth to Jesus, how much further does it extend?" He answers his own question: "I discern no mileage in a renewed Evangelical appreciation of Mary for her 'motherhood' of the Church, because its logical and exegetical bases are so flimsy."83 He concludes his opening remarks with a quotation from Ferguson's <Chasing the Wild Goose>:

The Iona Virgin, set with wonderful irony in the heart of the old masculine bastion, points us to a person who is neglected and feared by left-brained Protestantism, and exalted into a pseudo-goddess cum anti-sex symbol by the unhealthy wing of Catholicism. Mary needs to be liberated from the grizzly hang-ups and defensive positions of centuries, to be revealed as what the biblical tradition shows her to be: the person who par excellence opened herself in lowliness to One Who brings new life out of acknowledged impotence.84

Revealing his own ambivalence and apparent desire to move out of some of that "left-brained Protestantism" without simultaneously moving into the exaltation of Mary as "a pseudo-goddess," he ends with the trenchant remark: "I will settle for that."85

Wright's essay on "Mary in the New Testament" can be described as carping at best, failing to take seriously alternative data or possibilities, unlike the major ecumenical work of the same title.86 In discussing whether or not there were "brothers and sisters of Jesus," he agrees that "this question has added piquancy for Evangelical Protestants because the sixteenth-century Reformers were united in answering it in the negative, even when, as in Calvin's case, no interest was apparent in what has always been assumed to be the flip side of the question—namely, the perpetual virginity of Mary."87 He spends much time on Pope John Paul II's <Redemptoris Mater>88 and his biblical method which, according to Wright, "requires . . . careful analysis, because at first sight the letter pays a great deal of attention to Scripture. It certainly cites numerous verses, and yet at the same time gives the overall impression of a private, privileged circle of understanding impervious to biblical challenge."89 He sarcastically refers to the Pope's handling of the Cana pericope as "displaying some extraordinary exegetical ingenuity."90 Strangely for one with Evangelical/Fundamentalist tendencies, he seems to side with that school of thought which suggests that the <Magnificat> "was not originally about Mary at all."91 This stance can only be chalked up to a prior disposition to strip the New Testament of any significant Marian dimension.

In developing the topic of the virginal conception of the Lord, Wright scores those who seek "parallels in occurrences of partheno-genesis" as "totally misguided, since we are dealing with a miracle and not a freak of nature."92 Like many other Fundamentalists, Wright's primary interest in this phenomenon is that it is a "sheer miracle."93 He comes up with an alternative nomenclature for the virginal conception, speaking of it as Christ's "Spirit-conception."94 At first blush, that carries some appeal until one realizes that its principal motive might be to marginalize Mary yet more, reducing her to nothing more than the biologically necessary receptacle for the God-Man's intra-uterine life. He cites with approval the Reverend Raymond Brown's conclusion on the historicity of the virginal conception of Jesus that "it is easier to explain the NT evidence by positing historical basis than by positing pure theological creation."95

He takes great pains to ensure that no one establishes a linkage between pagan heroic births and that of Jesus Christ. He argues: "It is inconceivable that early Christians drew their ideas from pagan mythology. . . . The view that pagan ideas had somehow been baptised into Judaism and hence found their way into Christianity is also very unlikely."96 His position is important, given the fact that many of his theological fellow-travellers, on the contrary, declare that Christian Mariology can only be understood in connection with paganism.97

In a somewhat irenic spirit, Wright admits that <Redemptoris Mater's> use of images of Mary as "the true believer, the perfect model for the Church . . . may have something to teach Protestant commentators, who have probably pitched the balance between the Mary of the nativity stories and the Mary of the later life of Jesus completely in reverse."98 He is also willing to entertain the prospect that all the problems may not be exegetical but may have to be "thrown back on more fundamental disagreements of a theological nature (for example, on the relation between Christ and His Church, or on the place of human cooperation in the accomplishment of salvation). . . ."99

The Reverend David Crump's essay, "The Virgin Birth in New Testament Theology," shares the basic orientation of Wright, especially in its failure to appreciate Mary as more than a mere receptacle or vehicle for the incarnation:

We see that there are no grounds for the exaltation of Mary as the mother of Jesus. She is unique only in her election (Luke 1:28, 30), not in her person. The one text in all of Scripture which might offer some sort of basis for Mary's commemoration is Luke 1:48. . . . However, Mary's self-reflection is circumscribed by Jesus Himself within this very Gospel. On the first occasion (so far as we know) of someone's actually calling Mary "blessed" Jesus quickly cuts short such aggrandisement of His mother with a lesson on the value of true discipleship. . . .100

He concedes, however, that "if Mary was a 'blessed mother', it was only because she became an obedient disciple of her Son; it had nothing to do with her virginity."101 Of course, the Church has always held that the corrective issued by Our Lord should not be negatively imputed to Mary, precisely because she was in truth "an obedient disciple of her Son"; virginity, in and of itself, does not guarantee holiness of life.

The contribution of Tony Lane [a lecturer in Christian doctrine at London Bible College] to Wright's volume is valuable for its nuanced approach and for its willingness to place oneself in the patristic line of thought, which considered the virgin birth "to be both possible and fitting."102 He has a good appreciation of patristic thinking and of the implications of certain doctrines. For instance, he warns against a too-facile demand for a virginal conception on the basis that it guarantees a sinless Child. Such people, he says, "are therefore vulnerable to the countercharge that we also need a sinless Mother to explain the sinless Child. This easily leads to the doctrine of Mary's immaculate conception."103 He is also much impressed by Barth's grasp of the significance of the virgin birth, seeing "the distinctive point about [it]" consisting in "what is lacking." He goes on: "This is not primarily the sex act, nor even the sinful element in it, but rather active human participation." Lest the point be missed, he highlights the key aspect, namely, humanity's "merely receptive" stance before God.104 This is, as we have seen before, a recurring and favorite theme.

Lane discusses the Eve-Mary connections developed by Irenaeus, holding that this effort was "probably the innocent search for parallels."105 With perspicacity, he observes that "it does not require much imagination to see how this can be developed to the point where Mary is today seen as <'co-redemptrix'> with Christ and her <fiat> (Luke 1:38) is seen as a vital part of the salvation of humanity." He concludes: "Thus the virgin birth has served, in Roman Catholic theology, to pave the way to Mariology. Those who cannot accept the Mariological doctrine will naturally not consider this to be part of the genuine significance of the virgin birth."106

In reflecting on outcomes of an adherence to the virgin birth, he cites Barth's remark to the effect that "it might have been better for the Christian doctrine of marriage had there been no virgin birth." He argues, however, that "the virgin birth does not really exalt celibacy unless it is supplemented with the further doctrine of Mary's perpetual virginity." Very fairly, he concedes that "this doctrine is found already in the second century and was well established by the third century."107 In a carefully presented summation of the topic, Lane says:

That the virgin birth is less central is supported by the paucity of reference to it in the New Testament and by the fact that very little theological use is made of it there. But "less central" is not to be confused with "unimportant." Its inclusion in the creeds clearly implies that it was felt to be important. The Church should proclaim the virgin birth because it happened, because it is scriptural, and because it is a pointer to Christ and to His work.108

Dialogue is eminently possible and desirable with theologians who can produce such assessments.

In his chapter, "Mary, Mother of God?" Wright mixes attempts at objectivity with slurs, perhaps not even intended or perceived. He opens with this sober evaluation:

It is tempting for Christians who seek to base all their beliefs on Scripture to attack the exaggerated reverence for Mary in Catholic Christianity at its weakest points. . . .

But Mary's role in Catholic Christendom is by no means so vulnerable as to be shaken by fire directed at these sitting targets, nor so shallowly rooted as to be in danger of collapse if some of its more extravagant excrescences were cut back.109

In all likelihood, Wright would be surprised were someone to indicate that a Catholic might take offense at his reference to "extravagant excrescences" or to his mention on the same page of "galloping Marianism." What is clear, however, is that the author does not exhibit the naivete of some Fundamentalists,110 who proceed as though Catholic Mariology is nothing more than a pitiful house built on sand. He also demonstrates how deep-seated the difficulty is by observing how a most ancient title for Our Lady could have such partisan usage: "To be explicit, rarely if ever do Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists and many Anglicans and Lutherans speak of Mary as 'mother of God'." He paints the dichotomy starkly: "The committed and fervent use of this title is, however, perhaps the most significant common element in the Marianism of Anglo-Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism."111 What is his problem (and that of the many he represents theologically)? Very simply, a concern lest "a Mariological term [be] the ultimate test of Christological orthodoxy," which would, in his estimation, "turn history on its head."112 He finds "Mother of God" more irksome than <Theotokos> itself or even "God-bearer" because the latter formulations admit of "a certain singularity," whereas the former "has demonstrated its ability to extend its reach and to encompass the relationship between Mother and Son not only throughout His earthly life but even beyond it."113 Of course, all of this misses the very human point made by Cantalamessa: "Once a mother, a mother forever."114

Wright also finds himself in concert with Barth, who wrote:

As Christians and theologians, we do not reject the description of Mary as the "Mother of God," but in spite of its being overloaded by the so-called Mariology of the Roman Catholic Church, we affirm and approve of it as a legitimate expression of Christological truth. . . . The description of Mary as the "Mother of God" was and is sensible, permissible and necessary as an auxiliary Christological proposition.115

Willing to make allowances for Barth's acceptance of the title and having agreed to the critique of "a master," he feels compelled to add his own caveat: "We note his [Barth's] earnest concern to confine the designation to a precise Christological focus." He does grant that Mariology emerged "out of Christological roots."116 That statement of his, however, is intended more to demonstrate the subordination of Mariology to Christology (a valid enough point) and not to establish a genuine linkage.

To justify his own skittishness regarding the use of "Mother of God" or even <Theotokos>, Wright makes much of the fact that St. Augustine and other Church Fathers never used the title; he also defends Nestorius' refusal of the title on the grounds that he thought "it risked making Mary herself divine."117 Following up on that line of thought, Wright asks some probing questions:

What may properly be said of the Mother-Son relation beyond the incarnate life of the Son? Is an eternal intimacy between them to be asserted, on the basis of an (alleged) intimacy in their earthly relationship? Is the Son dependent still on His Mother, and does He still honor and revere her as a human son should his human mother? Can she influence Him the way a mother can her child? Is humanity taken up into the eternal Godhead not only in Christ, Who never ceases to be the God-Man, but also in Mary? Or does Scripture set certain bounds to the maternal role of Mary?118

Maintaining that "Mother of God" suggests affirmative answers to the above questions, Wright concludes: "Everything that Christ did and was, does and is, must also be in some fashion connected with Mary, because, on this understanding, Christ is inseparable from His Mother."119 He sums up the entire discussion thus:

And they [Evangelicals] are likely to remain properly nervous of calling Mary "the Mother of God." The "privileges of Mary" grounded in her "divine maternity" have in Catholic Tradition at times seemed to threaten even an expansion of the Trinity into a quaternity. Biblical Christians are right to be cautious and reserved.120

The reader will observe how petulant Wright becomes at this point, with his use of expressions in quotation marks, falling back on the discredited red herring of Mary's forming part of a divine "quaternity," and opposing "Catholic Tradition" to "Biblical Christianity."

In many ways, this most articulate of Evangelical theologians exemplifies the problem of his school of thought: When lucid discourse has run its course, one begins to fall back on name-calling and alarmism. Wright's total exasperation and incomprehension surfaces when he cites a passage from E. L. Mascall: "The Christian returning from his Communion can repeat in a totally new sense the words of Adam, 'The woman gave me and I did eat'."121 Wright refers to Mascall as "an eminent theologian" and can term the citation nothing less than "startling." With only a little exaggeration, he continues: "When Evangelical Christians have recovered their breath before statements such as this one, which are by no means the utterances of the lunatic fringes of Marianism, they will rightly be provoked to think harder—but still biblically—about the Mother of Christ."122 What Wright cannot understand is that Mascall obviously sees not only the Eve-Mary parallel, but the Mary-Church connection as well, so that a Christian does indeed receive Holy Communion from the woman, Mary-Church. Not surprisingly does one discover a related insight from Irenaeus, namely, that one who cannot comprehend the birth of God from Mary cannot appreciate the Eucharist, either.123

Richard Bauckham's "The Origins and Growth of Western Mariology" is a good and objective overview of the topic. Quoting the 649 Lateran synod on the perpetual virginity of Mary, he acknowledges that "thereafter the standard formula used was 'virginity before, in and after giving birth'."124 He agrees that taking up <Theotokos> into the theological lexicon "proved a spur to Marian devotion."125 He offers a fair assessment of the trajectory following therefrom:

In Luke's narrative of the annunciation, Mary could be seen to have made the incarnation possible by her free consent to be the Mother of God's Son. Mary's obedience in faith comes to be seen as a lynch-pin on which the whole history of salvation hangs. Without her cooperation there would have been no incarnation and no redemption.126

What does Bauckham see as implications of the divine maternity? "The first is the idea that the human being who fulfilled such a role must have been, by God's grace, the most perfect of all human beings (other than Jesus Himself). The woman who was to give birth to the Son of God must have been endowed by God with perfect holiness."127 "This principle," he says, "was already at work in the period of the Fathers."128 "The second implication of Mary's 'divine maternity' may be usefully mentioned here, though it is not yet found explicitly in the Fathers. It is the notion that this role in salvation-history makes her co-redeemer, one who cooperated with God in the work of human redemption." He comments: "Here perhaps lay the greatest dangers of Mariological excess."129

On the matter of the invocation and mediation of saints, Bauckham calmly and confidently declares that "simple prayers to the saints began quite early in Christian history." He even offers a rationale for this practice: "Just as one would ask a fellow-Christian to pray for one, so it seemed natural, at the tomb of a martyr, for example, to ask the martyr in heaven to intercede for one." He then quotes the <Sub Tuum Praesidium> as the earliest Marian prayer available.130 He holds that "the developed cult of the saints was in danger of paganizing Christianity with a proliferation of figures of religious devotion." He goes on: "In the popularity of the mediation of Mary, there was doubtless also the desire for a heavenly mother-figure, to replace the mother goddesses of pagan religion and to balance the sometimes all too male, authoritarian images of God." In discussing the spiritual motherhood of Mary toward Christians, he explains that "it focuses attention not simply on Mary's role in the history of salvation in the past, but on her present role in heaven. . . . On this, the cult of Mary, with all its medieval extravagances depended."131

Bauckham views the doctrine of the assumption in the light of "the stories of Enoch and Elijah in the biblical tradition, and on later Jewish ideas about the assumption of other great figures of the biblical history, though the stories of Mary's assumption do not claim that she escaped death, only that her body and soul have already been reunited after death."132

Bauckham evinces high regard for St. Anselm, even speaking of "three fine and very theological prayers to Mary" composed by the saint.133 He sees Anselm's Mariology as rather healthy: ". . . the cult of Mary was not necessarily connected with a failure to grasp the significance of the incarnation. With Anselm it was quite the opposite." With great insight and sensitivity, he analyzes the situation thus:

He [Anselm] shows how the growing medieval emphasis on the humanity of Christ stimulated interest in Mary his Mother: Jesus our human Brother makes us children of His human Mother. It is not too much to say that many medieval Christians felt that, in becoming brothers and sisters of Jesus, they were adopted into His human family. They became not only adopted children of Jesus' divine Father, but also children of His human Mother, and even in a sense, as the medieval interest in all the other close and distant relatives of Jesus (biblical and apocryphal) suggests, specially relate to the rest of his human family. In the medieval imagination, the Holy Family on earth remained the Holy Family in heaven, uniquely associated with the divine Trinitarian "family" of Father and Son. Thus Mariology was part of an imaginative appropriation of the meaning of the incarnation as God's identification with us in our humanity through becoming one of a human family. This aspect of Mariology seems to exist in tension with an emphasis, which we shall notice was also strong, on the human accessibility of Mary by contrast with the remoteness of her Son.134

This analysis is seconded by Greenacre as he links Mariological development to the interest of the medievals (and Anselm in particular) in the sacred humanity of Christ.135

Knowing that some "biblical Christians" are horrified at the notion of having Mary stand in the breach for a less-than-approachable Jesus, Bauckham very fairly reminds them "of that degenerate form of Protestant atonement doctrine which contrasts the just Father and the merciful Christ,"136 so that it is clear that theological excesses are not the sole province of any one theological tradition.

Summing up his grand sweep of Mariological history and bringing it to the present moment, Bauckham provides this critique:

To the authorities and theologians of the last three decades, it has been left to moderate the admitted excesses of Marian devotion, to reinterpret the traditional dogmas to some extent, and to balance Mary's cooperation in the work of salvation with an emphasis on her role as a model of Christian faith and obedience. Indeed, the truth of the former is coming to be seen to lie wholly in the latter.137

In "Mary in Recent Catholic Theology," the Reverend Julian Charley offers a stern critique of Pope John Paul's <Redemptoris Mater>, especially its use of Scripture. While admitting that "it is unfair to lift out a number of sentences in this way as if they typified the whole document" and that "much of it contains good and helpful exegesis," he nonetheless complains that "the overall impression is a picture of Mary that bears little resemblance to what we find in the New Testament. It is far more than a mere difference of emphasis upon the New Testament materials. Mary is extolled to a height that conveys almost semi-divine status, despite all the protestations to the contrary."138 He highlights "three particular difficulties" for Evangelicals as they behold Mariology:

First, Catholic interpretation of Scripture reads into the Marian texts far more than strict exegesis would allow. Subsequent developments are claimed to be implicit in the Scriptures. Secondly, it follows that the Marian dogmas, which are asserted to be God-given revelation, raise the whole question of the teaching authority of the Church. The magisterium claimed authority to verify these subsequent developments as a matter of faith. Finally, it is hard to envisage how the unique position and glory of Christ as Savior of the world can be maintained for ordinary believers, when the veneration of Mary is given such prominence. Despite all protestations to the contrary, to the effect that a true devotion to Mary points to Christ, the scales seem to be tipped the other way.139

In a dialogue with Charley, one could respond that: 1) Protestant exegesis appears to find too little in the biblical text. 2) He is quite correct in locating one "difficulty" in the issue of authoritative teaching. 3) Given his proclivity and of others like him for phrases like, "despite all protestations to the contrary," one must ask if it is not important to take people at their word, unless and until the opposite can be proven?

Charley does conclude his essay, however, on a somewhat irenic note:

Too often this whole area of theology and piety has been regarded by Protestants as forbidden territory. Progressive agreement on the New Testament data is an important milestone, such as the Catholic/Lutheran study claimed. In the words of J. M. R. Tillard, "Mary is for all Christians the reminder of the profound meaning of their vocation." And what could be more beneficial than that?140

To be continued next issue . . .

Rev. Peter Stravinskas is editor of The Catholic Answer and author of several books including The Catholic Response and The Catholic Church and the Bible.


1 At the outset, it is important to note the following: a) Classical Fundamentalism refers to that theological movement which has its roots in the nineteenth-century reaction to liberal Protestantism, beginning within Presbyterianism and hence possessing a Calvinist heritage. It quickly crossed denominational boundaries, sallying into any community where the basics of Christian doctrine were under fire; b) The present research supports the assertion that "there is ultimately very little difference between the theological framework of Fundamentalists and Evangelicals" (Falwell, 6). Therefore, Evangelicalism is taken as a theological <locus> acceptable to Fundamentalism, congenial to it, and generally cited by Fundamentalist theologians with approval.

2 John Mark Reynolds, "Are Fundamentalists Really So Bad?" <New Oxford Review>, (October 1992): 5.

3 Charles Lees, "Archbishop Gawlina, Martin Luther and the Magnificat," <Mary Today>, (March/April 1965): 26.

4 David F. Wright, <Chosen by God: Mary in Evangelical Perspective> (London: Marshall Pickering, 1989), 123.

5 Thomas O'Meara, <Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology> (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1965), 113.

6 William J. Cole, "Was Luther a Devotee of Mary?" <Marian Studies>, (1970): 110.

7 Ibid., 116.

8 Ibid., 101-102.

9 Ibid., 182.

10 Ibid., 115.

11 Wright, 172.

12 Ibid., 169.

13 Cole, 121.

14 Ibid., 123.

15 Wright, 167.

16 Ibid., 178.

17 John H. Leith, ed., <Creeds of the Churches> (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1982), 78.

18 Ibid.

19 See Theodore G. Tappert, ed., <The Book of Concord> (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981), 230f.

20 See "The Smalcald Articles," <Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings>, ed. Timothy F. Lull (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989), 508-509. This reading of Luther's position is reinforced by the contribution of Gerhard O. Forde to the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue. See "Is the Invocation of Saints an Adiaphoron?" <The One Mediator, the Saints, and Mary>, ed. H. George Anderson, et al. (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1992), 327-338.

21 Cole, 158.

22 Ibid., 172.

23 See ibid., 183-190.

24 See ibid., 133ff.

25 See ibid., 190-191.

26 Ibid., 193-194.

27 Wright, 176.

28 Cole, 201. A summary view of Luther's Marian teaching by Eric W. Gritsch for the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue would seem to give added validity to Cole's judgments. See "The Views of Luther and Lutheranism on the Veneration of Mary" in <The One Mediator, the Saints, and Mary>, eds. H. George Anderson, et al. (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1992), 235-241.

29 Basilea Schlink, <Mary, the Mother of Jesus> (London: Marshall Pickering, 1986), 114-115.

30 Raniero Cantalamessa, <Mary, Mirror of the Church> (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1992), 131.

31 O'Meara, <Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology>, 126.

32 See Williston Walker, <John Calvin: The Organiser of Reformed Protestantism> (New York: Schocken Books, 1969). It is significant, for example, that in this most comprehensive analysis of Calvin's life and thought (nearly 500 pages in length), only one reference is made to the Blessed Virgin, and not as a point of contention.

33 Wright, 173.

34 William J. Bouwsma, <John Calvin: A Sixteenth-Century Portrait> (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 275.

35 Wright, 130.

36 Ibid., 167.

37 Ibid., 179.

38 Ibid., 175.

39 O'Meara, <Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology>, 133.

40 Bouwsma, 123.

41 Ibid.

42 See John T. McNeill [ed.], <Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion> (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), 874-887.

43 Leith, 130. In reality, there is a great deal of nuance and restraint in these articles. Particularly interesting is that the ban on images is not absolute.

44 Ibid., 217. O'Meara makes the following observation: "The Calvinist creeds emphasize the Virgin Birth and Mary's conception and bearing of God's Son; they omit, in contrast to their Lutheran counterparts, reference to the perpetual virginity and Mary's sanctity. They reject any invocation of her." [136]

45 O'Meara, <Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology>, 135.

46 Ibid., 167.

47 Ibid., 171.

48 Ibid., 170-171.

49 Ibid., 179.

50 Ibid., 178-179.

51 Ibid., 175.

52 B. A. Gerrish, <Reformers in Profile> (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1967), 133.

53 John T. McNeill, <The History and Character of Calvinism> (New York: Oxford University Press, 1954), 26.

54 Ibid., 84.

55 Wright, 172.

56 Ibid.

57 Ibid., 174.

58 Charles Miller, <Mary and the Eucharist: A Seventeenth-Century Anglican View> (Surrey, England: Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1992), 2.

59 See Roger Greenacre, <I Sing of a Maiden> (Wallington, England: Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1992).

60 Wright, 178.

61 Ibid., 161.

62 Ibid., 162.

63 O'Meara, <Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology>, 137.

64 Charles Hodge, <Systematic Theology> (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1973 [reprinted]) is still highly regarded by Fundamentalists and in use as a primary reference work in many Fundamentalist seminaries today (e.g., Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi; Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, the 1936 conservative offspring of Princeton Theological Seminary; Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Covenant Seminary in St. Louis). In a telephone conversation, the Reverend Kenneth Howell referred to Hodge as "<the> exemplar of nineteenth-century Calvinist orthodoxy at Princeton Theological Seminary."

65 Hodge, 285.

66 Ibid.

67 Hodge, 286.

68 Particularly worthwhile in response to this kind of objection is the recent contribution of the Reverend Marcus Hodges, O.P., <Why Did St. Thomas Aquinas Reject the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception?> (Wallington, England: Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary), 1992.

69 See Hodge, 288-290.

70 Ibid., 290.

71 Carl F. H. Henry, <Basic Christian Doctrines: Contemporary Evangelical Thought> (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962). Like Hodge's work, this is likewise an esteemed volume in contemporary Fundamentalist theological education.

72 Bruce in Henry, 129.

73 James Barr, <Beyond Fundamentalism> (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1984), 166. Even Ignace de la Potterie sees linkage between this doctrine and others. Thus he writes: "Three fundamental historical facts are inter-connected: the physical reality of the virginal conception, of the Incarnation; that of the miracles during public life; and that of the bodily resurrection of Christ. These are the pillars of the whole reality of the Word made Flesh. If doubt is cast on these facts, the ordinary faithful will find themselves confused, not knowing what they should believe." ["Exegesis: Awed and not Perplexed," <30 Days> (No. 11, 1992): 53.

74 It is interesting to note that even as recent a work as that of Walter Martin's [<Essential Christianity: A Handbook of Basic Christian Doctrine> (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1980)] deals with the matter in exactly the same manner.

75 H. Orton Wiley, <Introduction to Christian Theology> (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press, 1949), 145-146.

76 Ibid., 167.

77 Ibid., 103-104.

78 This work brings together the thought of many Evangelical theologians from various denominational affiliations but united in their Evangelical convictions, which seem to weigh in with greater depth and significance than their confessional adherence. Indeed, Wright asserts that "Bible-believing Evangelicals may have a distinctive contribution to make to Protestantism's encounter with Catholic Christianity over Mary" [Wright, 9]. The Reverend John McHugh's review of <Chosen by God> says that it "is a most serious book, severely critical of Catholic belief and practice, but never in a cheap, much less a polemic, manner." That assessment makes him conclude that "this is the book all Catholic members of the Society should read" [<Newsletter of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary>, January 1991, 5].

79 Wright, 2.

80 Ibid., 8.

81 Ibid., 10.

82 Hans Urs Von Balthasar, <The Office of Peter and the Structure of the Church> (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), 197.

83 Wright, 11.

84 Don Ferguson, <Chasing the Wild Goose: The Iona Community> (Glascow: Collins, 1988), 193.

85 Wright, 12.

86 See Raymond E. Brown, et al., <Mary in the New Testament> (New York: Paulist Press, 1978).

87 Wright, 19.

88 Several Evangelical authors seem compelled to advert to this encyclical, perhaps because its more overt "biblicism" has placed them on the defensive. Paul Schrotenboer originally wrote his balanced and intelligent <Roman Catholicism: A Contemporary Evangelical Perspective> (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1992) in 1987; in the subsequent edition, he felt the need to devote an entire appendix to <Redemptoris Mater>, albeit assigning a negative judgment to its Mariology.

89 Wright, 25.

90 Ibid., 29.

91 Ibid., 35.

92 Ibid., 51.

93 Ibid., 57.

94 Ibid., 52.

95 Raymond E. Brown, <The Birth of the Messiah> (Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co., Inc., 1977), 528.

96 Wright, 61-62.

97 See Section 2.

98 Wright, 24.

99 Ibid., 31.

100 David Crump, "The Virgin Birth in New Testament Theology," in <Chosen by God: Mary in Evangelical Perspective>, ed. David F. Wright (London: Marshall Pickering, 1989), 84. Crump is associate pastor of a Christian Reformed Church in Salt Lake City and teaches New Testament at the Utah Institute for Biblical Studies.

101 Ibid.

102 Tony Lane, "The Rationale and Significance of the Virgin Birth," in <Chosen by God: Mary in Evangelical Perspective>, ed. David F. Wright (London: Marshall Pickering, 1989), 95.

103 Ibid., 106.

104 Ibid., 107.

105 Ibid., 110.

106 Ibid.

107 Ibid., 111.

108 Ibid., 117.

109 Wright, 120.

110 See those discussed in the following section.

111 Ibid., 121.

112 Ibid., 122.

113 Ibid., 131.

114 Cantalamessa, 56.

115 Karl Barth, <Church Dogmatics>, I, 2 (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963), 138.

116 Wright, 131.

117 Wright, 130.

118 Ibid., 135-136.

119 Ibid., 136.

120 Ibid., 137.

121 E. L. Mascall, ed. <Mother of God> (London: Dacre Press, 1949), 43.

122 Wright, 137.

123 See Irenee de Lyon, <Contre les Heresies> [V, 2, 3] (Paris: Editions Cerf, 1969), 34-41.

124 Richard Bauckham, "The Origins and Growth of Western Mariology," in <Chosen by God: Mary in Evangelical Perspective>, ed. David F. Wright (London: Marshall Pickering, 1989), 143. Bauckham is a Reader in the History of Christian Thought at the University of Manchester.

125 Ibid., 144.

126 Ibid., 145.

127 Ibid., 146.

128 Ibid.

129 Ibid.

130 Ibid., 147.

131 Ibid.

132 Ibid., 148.

133 Ibid., 149.

134 Ibid., 151.

135 Greenacre, 1.

136 Ibid., 156.

137 Ibid., 159.

138 Julian Charley, "Mary in Recent Catholic Theology," in <Chosen by God: Mary in Evangelical Perspective>, ed. David F. Wright (London: Marshall Pickering, 1989), 207.

139 Ibid., 213.

140 Ibid., 214.

This article was taken from the Spring 1994 issue of "Faith & Reason". Subscriptions available from Christendom Press, 2101 Shenandoah Shores Road, Ft. Royal, VA 22630, 703-636-2900, Fax 703-636-1655. Published quarterly at $20.00 per year.