>>Dr. John Ankerberg:why did these new ideas
about Mary develop? What is the reasoning behind these new views? Let’s examine the
first one: “Mary is the Mother of God.” Every Catholic knows that at the heart of
Catholic liturgy is the “Ave Maria” or the so-called “Hail, Mary.” Even if you’re
not Catholic, you’re probably familiar with the words, “Hail, Mary, full of grace. Blessed
art thou among women. Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” This is a very important
part of the liturgy of the Catholic Church. You probably also know the next part of it:
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now in the hour of our death. Amen.”
I want to ask you which words and thoughts in these short phrases have raised controversy
among Christians. First, what do you think about the statements, “Hail, Mary, full
of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.” Do you agree or disagree with these statements?
If you’re a Christian, you should agree. Why? Where did these words come from? They
come from Scripture. These are simply verbatim quotes taken from Luke 1:28 in the New Testament.
These words could never be repugnant to any Christian who held to the authority of the
Scripture. “Hail, Mary,” is simply a greeting given to Mary.
What about the words “full of grace”? Well, we acknowledge that Mary was indeed
filled with grace. The Bible says so. But we must remember that being full of grace
does not mean as Catholicism later came to teach – that Mary is completely sinless.
Why? Do you know that the Bible also says that such people as Stephen, Elizabeth, Barnabas
and others were also “full of grace”? Well, it does. Yet nobody has ever taught
that because they were full of grace they lived completely sinless lives.
Now, what about the words, “Blessed art thou among women”? Well, this is a true
statement. The Bible says that all future generations will indeed call Mary blessed.
Here, there’s no dispute. And certainly the words “blessed is the fruit of her womb,
Jesus,” no Christians can have any dispute about that. Only the fact that these words
are used in the form of a prayer to Mary raises certain questions, but as to the meaning of
the words themselves so far in this statement, in and of itself there is no point of controversy.