Mary the perpetual virgin?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by John Toppass, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. John Toppass

    John Toppass
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    Would teaching that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was a perpetual virgin be considered a heretical teaching?
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    I don't think it's heretical. It's pretty silly considering Jesus has brothers as described in the Bible.

    Heretical isn't a casual term to toss around (not saying you are.) Heretical things go to the core of our beliefs, to the foundations of our doctrine, things that are in disagreement with explicit New Testament teaching. :)
     
  3. Old Union Brother

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    I'm not really sure where this question is coming from.

    If you want the scripture that describes his brothers and sisters here it is:

    Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
     
  4. Zenas

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    I'm not sure where this question is coming from either. A casual reading of the gospels suggests that Mary had other children but it is not competely clear. The argument that Mary remained a perpetual virgin would go something like this:


    1. Scripture never says that Mary had other children. We can only infer this on account of Scriptural references to brothers and sisters of the Lord. However, in the narrative of Jesus being left behind in Jerusalem at age 12, there is no mention of any other children.

    2. Reference to brothers and sisters would certainly include the possibility that these people were "half siblings", i.e., children of Joseph. In fact, this belief prevailed in the early church until the time of Jerome (d. 420). Jerome concluded that these brothers and sisters were in fact cousins. In Hebrew and Aramaic there was no specific word for "cousin" and the relationship was either designated "brother" or it was shown by language such as "son of my father's brother", etc. For example, Genesis 14:14 (KJV) refers to Lot as Abram's brother; in Genesis 29:15 (KJV) Laban calls Jacob his brother; in 2 Kings 10:13-14 (KJV) the 42 captives of Jehu call themselves brothers of Ahaziah. Indeed it is possible that some of the "brothers" of Jesus were half-brothers and others were cousins.

    3. When the angel announced the coming birth of the King of Israel, Mary's response was, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" The implication here is that Mary had already committed herself to remain a virgin. The angel did not say when this birth was to take place and Mary was espoused to Joseph at that time. If she had planned on having sexual relations with Joseph, she would be doing so shortly and it would not be a mystery how this birth was to occur. However, if she planned on remaining a virgin all her life, her question to the angel was perfectly reasonable.

    4. None of the early church fathers advocated that Mary had other children. On the other hand, many of them advocated her perpetual virginity. Of particular note among this group were Athanasius (d. 373), Jerome (d. 420), Ambrose of Milan (d. 397) and Augustine (d. 430).

    5. The early reformers, including Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Wesley all advocated the perpetual virginity of Mary.

    6. The strongest indicator that Mary had no other children is contained in John 19:26-27, where Jesus places the care of his mother with John. If Mary had other children, this would have been unthinkable at every level imaginable. Not only would it have been highly insulting, it would have been impossible. Jesus the man would have had no right to do this.

    The only difficult Scripture for those who advocate the perpetual virginity of Mary is Matthew 1:25 ("but [Joseph] kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son"). The implication is that Joseph had sexual relations with his wife after the birth of Jesus. But the language of the Bible does not bear this out. For example, consider 1 Corinthians 15:25, "For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet." Should we infer that He ceases to reign after He has put all His enemies under His feet? Likewise, we need not infer that Joseph had sexual relations with his wife after the birth of Jesus.

    So no, it is not heretical to believe that Mary always remained a virgin. It is matter of conjecture and interpretation, much like position of the millenium in the study of eschatology, or the idenity of the souls who came out of their graves and wandered around Jerusalem after the earth quake.
     
  5. freeatlast

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    Yes it would since scriptures teach that she had children other then the Lord.
     
  6. jaigner

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    This is not drastic enough to be considered heresy. Heresy is false teaching that compromises the basic tenets of Christianity.

    It does seem kinda strange.
     
  7. freeatlast

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    No that is your definition of heresy. The word "heresy" in the Bible simply means, "an opinion or choice." Many of the doctrines circulating in today's churches are merely opinions or beliefs, not based upon the Word of God. In regards to Christianity anything contrary to what the bible teaches is heresy. It does not have to be about a major doctrine.
     
  8. Logos1560

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    There is no real implication in Mary's response that suggests that she planned on remaining a virgin all her life. The Bible does not state how many months it was before the time that Joseph and Mary were to come together. The time could have even been a year away. That assertion or implication is reading something into the verse that is not clearly indicated.
     
  9. Logos1560

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    I think that your "likewise" is based on an incorrect or invalid comparison.
     
  10. jaigner

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    Do you happen to have any training in historical theology? Have you studied Patristics? The definition you gave falls far short of being accurate.

    Since that's your opinion, I guess you're a heretic by your own definition.
     
  11. Jerome

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    Did the "Reformers" consider believer's baptism heresy?
     
  12. Jon-Marc

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    I believe that ANYTHING that is contrary to scripture is heresy. It is certainly false teaching, and false teachings are heresy.
     
  13. freeatlast

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    Amen. :thumbsup:
     
  14. jaigner

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    Wow.

    Do you wonder if you or I believe something that is not the full truth? Do you think maybe some things are distorted by the noetic effects of sin and made difficult by translation. Or maybe we think some things are a huge deal when in actuality they aren't as huge as we think.

    I have a number of friends that believe in paedo-baptism. These are committed believers with a vibrant, contagious faith who feel led that infants should be baptized. If they are wrong about that, well, we as baptists are probably wrong about something else.
     
  15. freeatlast

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    Justifying another's wrong because we might be wrong in some other area is somethig that I am sure Satan loves for human reasoning. The people that hold to paedo-baptism and you say are "committed believers with a vibrant, contagious faith who feel led that infants should be baptized." They may feel led, but not by the Spirit so they cannot be "committed believers with a vibrant, contagious faith" since they do not hold to the evidence for baptism given in scripture. Yes they may be committed and they may have great faith, but neither stems from the bible in this area. In other areas they may be fine, but my guess is that if someone can error so greatly in this area, they cannot understand the falleness of man or the plan of salvation, certainly they must hold to many other things that are not biblical. Just because someone comes across loving and seems spiritual with many works does not mean they are full of faith biblically and being lead of the Spirit. If that were the case the the Dalai Lama would be one to listen to and follow.
     
    #15 freeatlast, Nov 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2010
  16. Winman

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    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.


    I think Matthew 1:24-25 prove both that Joseph had relations with Mary after Jesus was born, and that Mary had children after Jesus was born.

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

    The word "firstborn" in verse 25 strongly implies that Mary had children after Jesus is born.

    God is not incapable of fully explaining himself. If God had wanted to say that Mary was a perpetual virgin he could have plainly said so. If God wanted to say that Jesus was Mary's only child, he could have easily said so as well.
     
  17. Jerome

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    No Baptist I know takes believer's baptism so lightly.
    Sounds like something you would hear from a United Methodist minister:laugh:
     
    #17 Jerome, Nov 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2010
  18. Zenas

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    Yes, the Bible does say how many months before Mary and Joseph were man and wife. It was at least 3 months (remember the Visitation?) and less than 9 months (otherwise that trip to Bethlehem would have been quite scandalous). In any event, we can be reasonably sure that Mary knew when the wedding would take place. But Gabriel did not tell Mary the time in which she would conceive. She had no way of knowing whether it would be immediately or many years into the future. If Mary had been planning on having sex, the message would have been a no brainer. But if she did not, then her question to the angel Gabriel was certainly called for.
     
  19. Zenas

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    How so? I realize "until" can mean the end of an event or condition, but I'm just pointing out that it doesn't have to mean the end. It can be simply a time marker. For example, see Genesis 8:5:
    Should we read this to mean the water stopped decreasing at the 10th month? I'm just saying the use of the word "until" isn't dispositive of the question.
     
  20. percho

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    I'll go so far to say she had another son.
     

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