Ever Virgin

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by drfuss, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. drfuss

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    I just read a book that says that John Calvin, Martin Luther, Zwingli and Wesley, believed that Mary was "ever virgin". It gave no documentation or references to prove it. I think this belief is something the Catholic church came up with. Anyone else heard of the reformers believing that Mary was "ever virgin".
     
  2. Tom Bryant

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    Part of the problem we have with looking back at the Reformers is that they were coming from RCC but they were fighting primarily for the great doctrines of faith alone, grace alone etc.

    They may have believed that Mary was perpetually a virgin as a leftover from Catholicism. I've not seen anything from them that says they did. But I wouldn't judge them too harshly if they did. They were doing "triage" in order to save the major doctrines.
     
  3. drfuss

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    No intention to critize the reformers. As much as Calvin is discussed/debated on this baord, one would think that this would have come up before if indeed Calvin believed in Mary being forever virgin.

    Wesley came years after the others listed in the OP. By that time, things like the ever virgin issue should have been sorted out.

    I can see where Luther may have believed Mary to be ever virgin, since he was a priest trying to reform the Catholic church. However, Calvin and Wesley were never a part of the Catholic church as clergy.
     
  4. drfuss

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    I just found some quotes from Luther, Calvin and Zwingli on another forum. I am still wondering about Wesley since he came along many years later.

    Marting Luther:

    "Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . I am inclined to agree with those who declare that 'brothers' really mean 'cousins' here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers."
    Pelikan, ibid., v.22:214-15 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539)

    John Calvin:

    "Helvidius displayed excessive ignorance in concluding that Mary must have had many sons, because Christ's 'brothers' are sometimes mentioned."

    Harmony of Matthew, Mark & Luke, sec. 39 (Geneva, 1562), vol. 2 / From Calvin's Commentaries, tr. William Pringle, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949, p.215; on Matthew 13:55

    "Under the word 'brethren' the Hebrews include all cousins and other relations, whatever may be the degree of affinity."
    Pringle, ibid., vol. I, p. 283 / Commentary on John, (7:3)

    Ulrich Zwingli:

    "I have never thought, still less taught, or declared publicly, anything concerning the subject of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our salvation, which could be considered dishonourable, impious, unworthy or evil . . . I believe with all my heart according to the word of holy gospel that this pure virgin bore for us the Son of God and that she remained, in the birth and after it, a pure and unsullied virgin, for eternity."
    Thurian, ibid., p.76 / same sermon

    Do the Calvinists and the Lutheran still believe that Mary was forever virgin? If not, when did they change?
     
  5. Winman

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    The problem is that false doctrine has been accepted by the church and passed down. You have to remember that many before Calvin, Wesley, and Zwingli believed and taught that Mary was a perpetual virgin, even explaining away Jesus's brothers in scripture. The true problem arises when men accept the teachings of men over scripture itself. Anyone who reads the scriptures without reading man's writings will naturally believe that Mary had relations with Joseph after Jesus was born and he had brothers and sisters.

    Matt 12:46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.
    47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.
    48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
    49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
    50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.


    This passage clearly distinguishes between Jesus's brothers and his disciples.

    The very next chapter gives the names of his brothers, and shows Jesus had sisters as well.

    Matt 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
    56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?


    Matt 1:24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
    25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.


    The word "till" in verse 25 proves Joseph had relations with Mary after Jesus was born.

    Men, even good men, often listen to and follow the traditions of men instead of believing the scriptures alone.
     
  6. Jerome

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  7. drfuss

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    Quote:
    but was most chastely conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the ever virgin Mary


    Interesting. According to the website, the Second Helvetic Confession was written in the 16th century. It is on the website of the current Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals that is supposed to include Baptists. It is not clear to me if the Alliance of Confessing Evengelicals have adopted the Second Helbetic Confession or it is just on its website.
     
  8. Jerome

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    What is the Alliance>Who We Are
    What is the Alliance>Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms
     
  9. Aaron

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    We're told that after Joseph took Mary as his wife, he "knew her not till she had brought forth her new born son."

    In other words, Joseph waited to have sexual relations with Mary till after Jesus was born. Whether she gave birth to any more children may be in question, but Mary and Joseph did have sexual relations.
     
  10. Aaron

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    But . . . I would gladly exchange my level of spirituality and error with theirs any day.
     
  11. Winman

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    I wouldn't. There is no way I am going to worship Mary.
     
  12. Aaron

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    That's the way. Stick with your own brand of idolatry! :thumbsup: :laugh:

    (They didn't worship Mary, BTW.)
     
  13. Winman

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    They didn't?

    Here's what Luther said of Mary.

    Luther said Mary was without sin. Jesus said there is none good but one, that is God.

    Matt 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

    If Mary was without sin, and Jesus said there is none good but God, then Mary would have to be God would she not?

    Augustine also believed Mary was sinless.
     
  14. Zenas

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    Reminds me of a Catholic joke I heard recently:
    :laugh:
     
  15. Zenas

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    You heard correctly. Wesley did in fact believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary. See below:
     
  16. olegig

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    IMO it really does not matter what those of the past thought or believed. But one has to think they did made advances in understanding in some areas, while still being tied to some old traditions.
    At times we all fall prey to a bit of cognitive dissonance.

    We all now have the luxury of being able to read and study for ourselves, so we can discern what they held that was in fact scriptural and what was not.

    I think scriptural discernment is much like mathematics in that we first must learn that three 5's added together equals 15 before we can learn that 3x5 equals 15.

    Perhaps we should just take what those before us said which is indeed scriptural and build on it, while giving them the benefit of the doubt in other areas rather than saying since they got something wrong; then they must have gotten everything wrong.

    It is only a strawman argument to say since Calvin was wrong about Mary or infant baptism, then he must have been wrong about other things as well.
    I think the only thing we really can learn from those before us is that we should measure everything against the scriptures no matter who proposed it.
     
  17. Aaron

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    Actually, the same could be said of any Christian. We are sinless by grace.

    That's beside the point. Luther retained some of the Catholic traditions concerning many things. He wasn't converted till 1519, two years after the famed 95 Theses event.

    However, his views of God's work in Mary and the reasons original sin could not be passed to Christ are no more superstitious than DeHaan's. (Less so, if you ask me.) I'm certain, that if you committed your theology to paper, we could find some doozies in your own thinking.

    I'd still trade my triumphs and failures for Luther's any day.
     
  18. Winman

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    Well, you know very well that the Catholics think Mary was always sinless, can that be said of any Christian?

    The Catholics had to come up with this, seeing how Augustine introduced the doctrine of Original Sin teaching that a person is born a sinner. Trouble is, sin is not a physical quality like hair or eye color, and you do not inherit sin from your parents (or Adam). But falsely believing that sin is inherited as physical qualities are, they had to teach that she was sinless or Christ would have inherited sin from her. One false doctrine leads to another without end.

    And you might trade places with Luther, I wouldn't.
     
  19. Winman

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    Well, it does matter, false doctrine is handed down from one generation to another. The doctrine of Total Depravity came out of the false doctrine of Original Sin.

    Jesus was constantly correcting false doctrine handed down by tradition.

    John 9:1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
    2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
    3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.


    We see that the Jews themselves falsely believed in the concepts of original sin, asking whether this man whom they knew to be born blind was born so because of his parent's sin or his own sin. And notice Jesus said neither he nor his parents sinned. The Jews also falsely believed that being born with a handicap was a judgment from God against that person or their parents.

    So, it matters a great deal what people taught in the past as future generations can receive false doctrine from them (and have).
     
  20. Zenas

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    Winman, you say sin is not inherited. Did you teach your children to lie? to steal? to fight? No, these things come naturally. We have to teach them to tell the truth, not to steal, not to fight, etc. So which is the natural state, sin or virtue? We were born with the proclivity to sin. Sin is inherited.
     

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