What is Going on in the SBC?

I understand somewhat the dilemmas created by the communion’s troubled history of racism, but does honesty about the past require finding sustenance in Marian devotion? Here is how the authors of what is pasted below describe themselves:

Matt Emerson (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary ) serves as the Dickinson Associate Professor of Religion at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, OK and as Co-Executive Director of the Center for Baptist Renewal. His areas of interest include biblical theology, canonical interpretation, theological method, and Baptist theology.

R. Lucas Stamps (Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as Associate Professor of Theology & Christian Studies at Anderson University. He also serves as Co-Executive Director of the Center for Baptist Renewal. His areas of scholarly interest include Christology, the Trinity, and Baptist theology.

So I suspect these scholars are Southern Baptists.

Here is part of what Dr. Emerson and Dr. Stamps wrote about Protestants and Mary:

In Protestant thought Mary has been neglected, ignored, and sometimes even disparaged, but given the biblical data about her we think this is unfortunate. There are at least six typological categories and one dogmatic category we need in order to understand the biblical portrait of Mary:

Eve typology
Israelite Matriarch typology
Remnant of Israel typology
Lady Wisdom typology
The Skull-Crushing People of God typology
Ark typology
“The whole course of Christ’s obedience.”

If you follow the biblical citations that the authors use, they only have one from any of the New Testament epistles and that is to Eph. 5 where Paul compares wives to the church. In other words, most of the biblical argument for Mary relies on typological and perhaps some other literary tricks but it sure would be good to follow the Protestant practice of letting the clear passages interpret the obscure. And when it comes to Peter and Paul (or the author to the Hebrews), Mary is a no-show.

Hence the question, what’s going on in the SBC?

Postscript: the great thing about writing posts about Mary is that you don’t have to worry about violating the Second Commandment when looking for accompanying images.

Advertisements

48 thoughts on “What is Going on in the SBC?

  1. I was pleasantly surprised by the linked article: Mary is indeed greatly undervalued in Protestant churches today. Hard to find anything with which to quibble in the essay. It’s telling that DGH’s only criticism is that their cited Scriptures are *mostly* OT. That sounds like a broad evangelical argument against infant baptism or a Mainline argument against viewing homosexuality as sin. Like many aspects of Protestant doctrine, our devaluing Mary is as much an overreaction against Catholicism as it is anything else.

    Like

  2. There are a smattering of “Bapto – Catholics” at various Baptist (some SBC, some not) Seminaries, Universities and small colleges. I can’t see evidence that they have managed to get traction in the pulpit or pews as such, though mine is not the only Baptist Church ( though CBF, not SBC) where you can get ashes put on your forehead on a certain Wednesday if you like. Lots of the younger Baylor seminary grads have been influenced by some of the professors there and in the Department of Religion (Ralph Wood frankly embraces the term), though Baylor is not SBC. (I think you get a subscription to First Things when you matriculate at Truett Seminary or as a grad student in the Department of Religion).

    Like

  3. Mary as distraction from Machen’s racism?

    What’s going on in the OPC with Peter Van Mastricht who taught that there are three stages of justification and that in the third and final stage “in which believers gain possession of eternal life, good works have a certain ‘efficacy,’ insofar as God will not grant possession of eternal life unless they are present.”

    Is the “spirituality of the OPC church” a distraction from all those in the OPC who agree with Van Mastricht that good works are a necessary condition (consequent, not antecedent, to consenting faith which comes first) for “more and more” union with Christ and “more and more” justification before God?

    https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxbridge/she-said-yes/

    Like

  4. @ Mark:

    In your system, Is faith a necessary, consequent condition for justification?

    If so, then is faith a meritorious work?

    If not, then how else do you understand Jesus? “He who does not believe is condemned already for he has not believed in the name of the Son of God”

    Like

  5. Sean – it’s possible to correct errors in RCC Marian practice and doctrine without going to the opposite extreme.

    Mark – the article you liked was interesting and helpful. It has some key theological errors, but is still good food for thought (sic) on the Feast of Annunciation.

    Like

  6. Actually, this article is quite bad. It’s like they took all of the bad RCC ways of reading Scripture and have tried to bring them into Protestantism just in order to show how much they love Mary. Is Mary overlooked in Protestantism? Perhaps. But the answer isn’t this mess of exceptionally poor typology.

    Just to take one: Mary as the new Eve. That has a long tradition of interpretation but it is quite poor. Eve is the counterpart to Adam, but who is the Last Adam? It’s Christ. And who is His bride? The church. The church is the new Eve if there is one, and Mary is thus no more of a new Eve than any of the rest of us.

    Or Ark typology. Noah’s ark saved the seed from God’s wrath. Jesus doesn’t need to be saved from God’s wrath in the same way. The correspondence is very weak.

    These authors shouldn’t be teaching exegesis anywhere, let alone in a Protestant context.

    Like

  7. Robert – the typology of Mary as the New Eve has been around since the Patristic era. The inference that Mary is the New Eve is reasonable: both were given a choice between obedience and disobedience. Eve chose disobedience which led to giving birth to sinful mankind and ultimately death, whereas Mary chose obedience leading to the birth of the Savior and ultimately life.

    I agree that the ark typology is a bit strained and unnecessary.

    Like

  8. @ VV:

    You’re correct about the history, but I would consider Eve-as-Mary to be an example of patristic interpretation that showed the need for controls on typology.

    Eve was Adam’s helpmate and bride, “flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone.”

    Mary has no such relation to Christ.

    Like

  9. “I would consider Eve-as-Mary to be an example of patristic interpretation that showed the need for controls on typology.”
    Here’s what I don’t get about typology…. so what? So what if there are parallels between Eve and Mary. What do we get out of that that we can use to understand scripture more fully? I see its illustrative appeal…like any good analogy. But I don’t see how it provides reliable new information.

    The problem with using analogies (and I suppose this applies to typologies) is that it isn’t always so clear where the parallel breaks down. The way we tell is with external information that bounds the scope of the analogy. But if you have that information, how does the analogy provide extra information.

    So let’s take the example of Mary as the new Eve. If I assume that this typology is correct, why not infer that since Adam and Eve were equals that Christ and Mary are also equals? Adam and Eve collaborated to bring sin into the world. Does that mean Jesus and Mary likewise collaborated? Doesn’t that make her co-redeemer and thus worthy of worship? Of course not.

    In the case of Christ as the new Adam, Paul is revealing something new. It he isn’t illuminating existing information. And the scope of the parallel is defined in that revelation. I don’t see warrant for us digging through scripture to find our own typologies.

    What am I missing?

    Like

  10. D.G.,
    When groups leave the Justification of Faith Alone and Sola Scriptura what is left but mysticism and superstition?About your postscript! Doesn’t the dove represent the Holy Spirit? Wouldn’t the Westminster Confession be against this too or just pictures of men like Da Vinci’s The Last Supper?

    Like

  11. Jeff—In your system, Is faith a necessary, consequent condition for justification?

    mm-I agree with Berkhof and Boehl that God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect is in order to effectual calling and faith in the gospel which is in order to God’s justifying the elect sinner before God. I do not use the word “conditions”, but I also do not say that justification happens before or without faith in the gospel . Works
    are not “co-instrumental conditions” in a future justification, because I reject the disinctions in the system that says that faith before justiication is “instrumental” but that repentance (from false gospel to true gospel) is not “instrumental”. Or the distinction which says that continuing faith after justification is not “instrumental”

    jeff; If so, then is faith a meritorious work?

    mm-Not so, and of course I don’t use the word “merit” . Neither does anybody in this debate use “merit” to describe the conditions they think necessary for remaining in “the covenant”. Norman Shepherd and Gaffin and Beale, none of them. The idea is that, if you avoid the word “merit” (and perhaps the word “justification”) then you are free
    to teach a continuing 100 percent human 100 percent divine synergism, alll grace-enabled and God-enabled

    Jeff—If not, then how else do you understand Jesus? “He who does not believe is condemned already for he has not believed in the name of the Son of God”

    mm–I believe that we are all born in Adam, condemned already. The elect in Christ are still born in Adam, and continue to be condemned in Adam, until they are effectually called by the power of the gospel to believe the gospal and are then justified before God.

    John 5:24 As many as who hear My word and believe Him who sent Me has lasting life and will NOT COME UNDER JUDGMENT but HAS PASSED from death to life. 25 I assure you: An hour is coming, and is now here,
    when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

    I think that John 5: 24 shows that there is no process of justification. Justification is NOT something you have more or less. Being placed into Christ’s death is NOT something that increases or decreases. But if you confess that “union” comes before justification, and if you say thaat “union” increases, I think the likely result will be something like “justified again every day” (or some days not justified, when you don’t have faith at the sacrament).

    as for the link to the false gospel of the Eastern Orhtodox, I don’t usually link to an essay because I like it
    http://64.37.112.2/os.html?article_id=712&issue_id=139

    Like

  12. @Cagle
    In your system, Is faith a necessary, consequent condition for justification?
    If so, then is faith a meritorious work?
    “Faith is a gift” -The Good Book, durrr

    Like

  13. SDB,

    Here’s what I don’t get about typology…. so what?

    I think it starts with the desire to understand how the OT points to Christ, Luke 24 and all that. The problem with a lot of the suggested Mary typologies is they point away from Christ.

    Like

  14. Sometimes things are not clear to people unless they can translate whatever you say into their own “confessional language”

    So, was I clear or not? I was merely attempting to find out what is going on in terms of the gospel in those Reformed Churches which are standing up for the spirituality of one of their two kingdoms.

    Is faith in a false gospel of future justification by works, is that faith a gift of God?

    Is faith in the true gospel by means of the righteousness of Christ or in order to have the righteousness of Christ imputed? 2 Peter 1: 1 Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ: To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with oursthrough the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ

    Mike Horton, Justification, volume 2, (New Studies in Dogmatics , p449)—Union with Christ is not actually an element in the order of salvation but an “umbrella term” for the order as a whole.

    Horton, p450—“The Holy Spirit grants us faith to be united to Christ.”

    Horton, p451—“Union is not a goal but the source”

    Horton, p455–“There is no union with Christ which is not union with the visible church”

    Horton, p467–”Calvin goes beyond Luther by stressing the more and more aspect of salvation.”

    Horton, p471—” Logical priority does not determine basis”

    Horton, p487—“the goal of union”

    Heidelberg Caatechsim Q.76. What is it then to eat the crucified body, and drink the shed blood of Christ? A…..but also, besides that, to become MORE AND MORE UNITED to his sacred body, by the Holy Ghost, who dwells both in Christ and in uu

    I hear tell that it’s not Christ who gives us the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit in us who gives us Christ. Because what the Holy Spirit does in us (throughout our Christian lives) is the logical “reality” which changes you so that God can then impute to you the hypothetically universal legal righteousness of Christ.as the basis. And it’s all somewhere there in the umbrella, except that “union with Christ” does also mean “what happens after when the Holy Spirit gives you faith.”

    I hear tell from OPC guys that reading Petrus van Mastricht can change your life.

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2018/09/how-one-book-changed-my-life.php

    Like

  15. Beale, New Testament Biblical Theology, p 516—My view is compatible with Snodgrass (Justification by Grace–to the Doers:An Analysis of the Place of Romans 2 in the Theology of Paul) who holds that justification excludes ‘legalistic works’ done to earn justification but inclues an evaluation of imperfect works done by us through the Spirit…

    Lane Tipton—“The transaction of imputation is situated within the broader REALITY of union by Christ by Spirit-wrought faith.

    Bradley Green, Covenant and Commandment, IVP, 2014, p 63—-“ Some think that Christ’s work must be kept totally and utterly sequestered from Abraham’s work and from our work. But it is not necessary to say that there are no conditions where grace reigns. Does it not make more sense to simply say that within a gracious covenantal relationship God moves his covenant people to obey him more and more?

    Rick Phillips —”I am a WTS union-with-Christ guy. Sanctification does not begin with justification or an appreciation of justification. Sanctification begins in the effectual call of Christ and its effect of regeneration within me….Union with Christ is by faith, so we must not put justification in the place of the real presence of Christ….just as it would be wrong to say that justification is the status gained from your sanctification, it is also wrong to say that sanctification is living out your justification…. Romans 2:6-7 is not hypothetical but actual. Paul means it when he writes, “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. Romans 8:13: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” The context in which this statement is made – Romans 8:13 – is one focused on sanctification. So in pointing out the necessity of good works we must pointedly SEPARATE IT from justification. Romans 8:13 is absolutely true, but it is not speaking of justification…..Sanctification is INSEPARABLY joined to justification, of course, through my union with Christ in faith, so that sanctification is never abstracted from justification

    Nathan J. Langerak— “Consequent conditions” are new conditions of salvation imposed on the saved person because the person is now saved..
    https://rfpa.org/blogs/news/the-charge-of-antinomianism-3-against-an-unconditional-covenant

    Now because of the effect of regeneration inside you, you are more and more able to keep the consequent conditions

    Like

  16. “Sometimes things are not clear to people unless they can translate whatever you say into their own “confessional language””

    Perhaps for some. Other times things are not clear because the writer blends snark, sarcasm, and strings of quotes all the while avoiding plain language, coherent organization, and a concise point. Frankly, I rarely can make heads or tails of what you’re writing, and the copious quotes are almost never illuminating.

    Like

  17. I am saying that some in the OPC are teaching two different justiications. and that others are avoiding the word “justification” in describing “a future judgment based on Romans 2 reality” but at the same time suspending the assurance and “possession” of justication on continung “sanctification” and regeneration. On the one hand, “union” is supposed to be a big “umbrella” term, with no specific “chain-links” needed or desired. But on the other hand, they insist, “union” is not about being in Christ but rather about Christ being in us. “”Union” turns out to be one of the chains, the “link” just after faith but always before God’s imputation, so somehow we get faith before Christ dwells “in us” in order that justification not be of the ungodly, not even in the beginning. And because your regeneration continues and you become “more and more united to Christ”, your progressive jusitifcation is a process of which you can be sure.

    But in some locations in the OPC, it’s still politically necessaary to keep the word “justification” separated from the word “works”, except all agree that the “in us” and the “in Him” are like an umbrella (inseparable) except also the “in us” always comes first and has priority.

    Even though Romans 4 teaches that Christ died because of sins and was raised because of justification, it turns out that Christ was raised in order that the Holy Spirit would go through heaven and then ascend into our hearts if and when we believe. According to the paradigm I cam criticizing , the resulting believing (and working) makes it possible for God to impute to us Christ’s righteousness. I am trying to say that this paradigm takes the focus off what Christ already did in satisfying justice and places the focus instead on what happens in us in our future. But Christ’s substitution death already paid for all the sins of all the elect, and Christ’s once for all time death already purchased for all the elect their regeneration and faith in the true gospel (the not by works gospel).

    Mark Karlberg–”For someone to rely wholly on Christ’s finished work atthe cross, Gaffin warns, he has then cut himself off from the ‘whole Christ’ —the Christ who now is working out the benefits of atonement. What is obscured in Gaffin’s formulation is the fact that theapplication of salvation has already and completely been secured by Christ in his work of reconciliation. There is nothing future to be attained by Christ.”

    https://heidelblog.net/2014/05/berkhof-on-the-necessity-of-good-works/

    Like

  18. sdb – “Here’s what I don’t get about typology…. so what? So what if there are parallels between Eve and Mary. What do we get out of that that we can use to understand scripture more fully? I see its illustrative appeal…like any good analogy. But I don’t see how it provides reliable new information.”

    The point isn’t new information, the point is that we Protestants undervalue Mary and her role in redemptive history. Do Roman Catholics go too far in their veneration of Mary? Of course they do. But that does not excuse us from failing to acknowledge and to learn from a great heroine of the faith.

    Jeff and DGH – Gabriel greets Mary with a title, rather than a name: “favored one” or “blessed one” or “full of grace.” Regardless of the exact words, this is the only instance in the entire Bible where an angel greets someone by a title rather than their name. Also, a similar description (“full of grace”) is only given to one other person: Stephen, at the time of his death. Elizabeth calls her “blessed among women,” a very rarely used superlative (Jael in Judges 5 is the only other instance). The point is that Mary is described in unique terms in Scripture, so there is obviously something special about her and her role. DGH is obviously correct that she is blessed only because of what Christ did for her, as she acknowledges in the Magnificat.

    Like

  19. Vae victis: “the point is that we Protestants undervalue Mary and her role in redemptive history.”

    What then is her value? Aren’t all the elect favored, blessed and full.of grace? Or do some of us only have limited quantities of favor, blessing and grace? if that’s the case, we have work to do to close the gaps. And that sounds very much like Roman Catholic theology.

    Like

  20. Blaine – in a redemptive sense, sure, we are all equally justified by virtue of Christ’s righteousness. It is also abundantly clear that there are exemplars of the faith and those with special roles within the God’s people. There were, among His elect contemporaries, disciples of Jesus and an inner circle of those disciples. There were Apostles. There were prophets and then especially important prophets (e.g. Moses and Elijah). Also see Hebrews 11. And of course there was Mary.

    Like

  21. VV, no disagreement there, God chose people for mighty roles and great deeds throughout redemptive history. We should be cautious though to not slip into veneration of these figures but to learn from them and about them through scripture.

    Like

  22. What does valuing Mary appropriately look like? Singing “Mary did you know”? A sermon about Mary’s yes during advent and highlighting her around Easter? What else? She doesn’t exactly figure prominently in the NT. If one is preaching exegetically there just isn’t much material to work with.

    Like

  23. VV, potato, pahtahto. But I’m not sure Mary is unique in that respect. The same could be said of Zephaniah, i.e. one doesn’t hear very much at all from him in most preaching. Minor prophets tend to not get as much limelight. Maybe Mary is just a minor prophet in the NT?

    Like

  24. I’ve heard an expository sermon on the Magnificat.

    If you’re in a Reformed church long enough, the preacher is going to preach through Luke. You’ll get a sermon then. I’m not sure how unusual it is not to have ever heard a sermon on the Magnificat.

    Like

  25. VV,

    I don’t know. It seems to me that Protestants do a good job overall of looking at Mary as an exemplar of faith. As far as I know, that’s about all we say about her.

    Maybe the problem isn’t our lack of value but that RCs and EOs say so much about Mary that our teaching, which is based on a paucity of information since Scripture doesn’t say much about her, looks small by comparison.

    Like

  26. The last time I heard a sermon on the magnificent was earlier this fall as our pastor was starting Luke. The only unusual thing about it was that we weren’t hearing about during advent.

    Like

  27. vv, with all the references to David and Christ as David’s greater son, David > Mary. Peter and Paul’s silence about Mary is deafening. If Protestants don’t pay attention to her they are only following the apostles.

    Like

  28. Galatians 4: 4 1 Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. 2 Instead, he is under guardians and stewards until the time set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the rules of the world. 4 When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law….

    Luke 3: 7 He then said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones

    Acts 19 Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” “No,” they told him, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 “Then what baptism were you baptized with?” he asked them.“With John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus

    Scott Clark—Some of them believed that Jesus did not receive his flesh from his mother Mary. God imparted to Jesus human flesh directly from heaven, they taught. In other words, Jesus shared human flesh with us but it was not flesh descended from Adam, like ours, but newly imported flesh from heaven, they taught

    https://heidelblog.net/2017/06/against-the-star-trek-christology/

    And now some seem to teach that Christ back in heaven has a resurrected body designed only for heaven above and not for the new earth coming. That way you can keep both kingdoms at least until you die, and Christ’s coming again a second time is not needed for entrance into a kingdom which always stays above

    Hebrews 9: the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.

    I Corinthians 15: 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 19 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. 20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those
    who have fallen asleep. 23 But each will be made alive in his own order—–:Christ, the firstfruits, and then after. , at His coming, those who belong to Christ.

    Like

  29. sdb and Robert – kudos to your churches if they teach Mary as an exemplar of the faith – I’ve never really been at a church that does, at least with any significant degree of emphasis. I’ve heard plenty of sermons on the spiritual virtues of Ruth and Esther and Hannah, but relatively few on Mary. Which is a bit odd since Mary is “blessed among women.”

    DGH – there is more to Scripture than Peter and Paul. Arguing from their silence leads down many roads you don’t want to travel.

    Like

  30. vv, so now you favor Mary and diss the Pope. You’re hard to read.

    I’ll also claim Jesus, Mark, John, Matthew, and Luke on my side. The NT is silent about Mary other than the birth narratives. And you want to build veneration of Mary from that, even when Jesus is clear that his disciples are his mother and siblings.

    So following Jesus’ teaching gets me in trouble?

    Your move.

    Like

  31. Sinclair Ferguson—-I have preached between four and twelve messages on the birth of Jesus during the month of December. That amounts to somewhere between 3% and 10% of my preaching being devoted to the Grand Miracle. Is that out of proportion? Surely not. When churches “ignore” Christmas, how much preaching and teaching are
    they likely to receive on the incarnation?

    Ferguson—The best cure is for Christians to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. Speaking for myself, the more I have been able to hear or preach about Christ’s coming the more help I have received to focus on what really matters during December. Otherwise, I’m swimming against the tide with a Scrooge-like spirit (“Bah! Humbug!”). And if so I not
    only have no joy in celebrating the incarnation—I lose all sense of joy completely

    Like

  32. DGH – “the NT is silent other than the birth narratives.”

    Wow, really? You might want to brush up on your reading of the Gospels and Acts.

    Your list of people “on your side” doesn’t help you at all. Luke explicitly venerates Mary. Calling her “full of grace” or “favored” and “blessed among women” is the very definition of veneration. John records Mary’s last words as “Do whatever He tells you,” and Jesus’ last words addressed to a person were to Mary.

    Indeed, John 19:25-27 supports the New Eve typology. As you note, “Jesus is clear that his disciples are his mother and siblings.” In that case, Jesus calls Mary the mother of John, which implies she is the mother of all disciples, the way Eve is the mother of all humans/sinners. So I’ll gladly take the Gospel authors and Jesus Himself “on my side” in their veneration of Mary.

    Like

  33. “ I’ve never really been at a church that does, at least with any significant degree of emphasis.“
    Yeah, NYC is a bit of a parochial backwater…

    “As you note, “Jesus is clear that his disciples are his mother and siblings.” In that case, Jesus calls Mary the mother of John, which implies she is the mother of all disciples,”

    I’m not following here. Isn’t Jesus also calling John his mother and Mary his sibling? Doesn’t that make John Mary’s mother? Or perhaps his point isn’t the familial relationship among the disciples, but rather that the spiritual union with Christ is far more significant than blood ties. That strikes me as a much more natural reading of this text even if it implies a less significant role for Mary.

    What I don’t see is much of a role for Mary outside of the birth narrative. What am I missing in Acts?

    Like

  34. sdb – “What I don’t see is much of a role for Mary outside of the birth narrative. What am I missing in Acts?”

    Mary is mentioned by name as being present at Pentecost. The only other people mentioned by name are the disciples. So Luke mentions the named disciples + Mary + other unnamed women. Not a trivial item.

    “I’m not following here. Isn’t Jesus also calling John his mother and Mary his sibling? Doesn’t that make John Mary’s mother? Or perhaps his point isn’t the familial relationship among the disciples, but rather that the spiritual union with Christ is far more significant than blood ties. That strikes me as a much more natural reading of this text even if it implies a less significant role for Mary.”

    I’m not sure how you could possibly read the passage as Jesus referring to John as Mary’s mother. That reading does not make sense in any way. There is both a literal familial aspect to Jesus’ quote, as well as spiritual. It is literal because Mary was Jesus’ mother and verse 27 specifically notes that John cared for her after Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus choosing John makes practical sense in light of that fact that John lived to a very old age, unlike most of the other disciples.

    It is spiritual because it makes sense in light of Jesus specifically calling believers His brothers and sisters throughout the Gospels, and also because of the timing of the quote. Jesus said this right before His death on the cross. If making provisions for Mary was a purely literal/physical matter, He likely would have done so well before His imminent death. John specifically notes this occurred at the climactic point of redemptive history, adding a clear spiritual dimension to Mary as mother and John as son. It is a passing of the baton of sorts, to John as one of the key leaders of the Church, and Mary as his spiritual mother.

    Like

  35. “Mary is mentioned by name as being present at Pentecost. The only other people mentioned by name are the disciples. So Luke mentions the named disciples + Mary + other unnamed women. Not a trivial item.”
    So she is at least as important as Bartholomew. Where are all the sermons on ol’ Barth?

    “I’m not sure how you could possibly read the passage as Jesus referring to John as Mary’s mother.”
    I was going by memory and confused your reference to the text in Matthew 12, “And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.””

    The point here is that Mary and her other children are no more important than other believers. We are his mother, brother, and sister too.

    The text you cited from John is an awfully big stretch. Essentially he assigns John with care for his mother. Perhaps they hadn’t spoken since he had prayed that the cup pass from him? I don’t see any reason to take this as a sign that somehow Mary is John’s spiritual mother (whatever that would mean). Besides, wasn’t the passing of the baton to Peter? The keys and all that…

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.