THE QUERIST COLUMN
May 1, 1997 Issue
by Ronny F. Wade
Question: Does Luke 1:48 teach that we are to worship the virgin Mary?
Answer: The verse in question reads "For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." This verse is a part of Marys response to Elizabeths statements in the preceding verses, often referred to as The Magnificat or The Virgins Hymn. It is a beautiful piece of inspired poetry in which Mary details her joy, and gratitude for being chosen to fulfill a part of Gods eternal plan. The prophecy that future generations would call her "blessed" was certainly true, and is an indication that she was fully aware of the import of what God was doing through her. To suggest from this that we are to worship Mary, is totally beyond the teaching of this passage. J.W. McGarvey remarks" Mary was blessed in her motherhood, Abraham in his covenants and promises, Paul in his apostleship etc., but none of these human beings are to be worshiped because of the blessings which they received. Rather we should worship God, from whom these their blessings flow." Mary was blessed for the role she played in bringing the Son of God into this world. However to suggest that because of this she should occupy a place equal to that of our Lord or God Himself, is without foundation in the scripture. Adam Clarke commented "All generations shall call me blessed...This was the character by which alone she wished to be known; viz. The blessed or happy virgin. What dishonor do those do to this holy woman, who give her names and characters which her pure soul would abhor; and which properly belong to GOD her Saviour! By her votaries she is addressed as Queen of Heaven, Mother of God etc.. titles both absurd and blasphemous." The doctrines of the Catholic Church regarding her perpetual virginity, being intercessor between God and men, and the object of worship for all men have no basis in scripture whatsoever, and should be rejected by all Bible-believing people.
Question: What scriptures teach that miracles have ceased?
Answer: First of all a word about miracles in general is in order. People today, from time to time, refer to almost any event as a miracle. For example, when a person escapes from an accident someone will say "its a miracle he survived." Or when an individual recovers from a serious illness one might remark "her recovery was a miracle." It is the belief of this writer that such statements, while sincere and well-intentioned, are both misleading and mistaken. Such recoveries are not miracles at all, only the result of natural law and/or God working through such laws to bring about the desired result. In Bible times a miracle represented "works of supernatural origin and character, such as could not be produced by natural agents and means." (Vine) Frequent mention is made of such events throughout the New Testament scriptures. When the church was established in Acts 2, the message of inspiration regarding salvation, Gods plan for the lives of His people, etc. was vested in men. These men were divinely and miraculously empowered by the Holy Spirit with the message of truth. Before the end of the first century, inspiration was transferred from these men to a Book, the New Testament scriptures. The Book then became the source of instruction and an authoritative standard for making known Gods will and way. During the period of time when the message was in men, all kinds miraculous signs were supplied by God to prove the authenticity of their message. These miracles provided these men with credible and acceptable evidence of the divine origin of Christianity. These powers were received in two ways. First of all there are two recorded instances of Holy Spirit baptism. (Acts 2:1 and Acts 10:44-48) All other miraculous manifestations of power by the Holy Spirit were the result of the Apostles laying hands on someone for the purpose of imparting such gifts. These gifts were nine in number according to I Cor 12:7-11. All the miraculous gifts of the first century were temporary. God never intended that they last forever, only as long as inspiration resided in men. Paul in I Cor 13:28-31 declared them to be inferior to the "more excellent way," teaching that they would be removed when inspiration had been fully transferred to the book. (I Cor 13:8-13) The apostles analogy of his childhood is designed to show that just as he grew to manhood from being a child, the church would also progress from its childhood state to one of full-grown maturity where such supernatural aids would be unnecessary. Do we have miracles today? No we do not. Can men today speak in tongues supernaturally? Can they heal the sick? Can they prophecy by the power of the Holy Spirit? No they cannot. Why? Because all such miraculous gifts and manifestations have ceased. Inspiration is complete. God directs us through his word. Note carefully in the verses cited above that Paul plainly declared that "prophecies would fail," "tongues would cease." When? When that which is perfect is come. When the perfect law of liberty arrived in its completeness, the need for such powers no longer existed. And "now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity."
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Worship - of Mary
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