Sunday, May 24, 2009

Attention, Catholic apologists:
Share Mary with a skeptical Evangelical

Evangelical blogger Neil Simpson takes issue with Marian devotion:

I have great respect for Dawn Eden’s pro-life endeavors and her promotion of abstinence [chastity, actually, which is to abstinence as lightning is to the lightning bug—Dawn] in her book, The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On. ...

But a sad side of her life transformation is that she has wholly embraced Catholicism and its false teachings. ...

Dawn recently had a link highlighting a video about a man struggling spiritually. He was crying out for help. Guess who saved him. Jesus? No, it was Mary. The "highlight" of the video was a vision of Mary that shifted to a statue of Mary. Just your basic idol worship.

I’ve read the Bible a bunch. I see remarkably few passages about Mary and none that even hint at the role the Catholic church ascribes to her. Granted, Protestants sometimes overreact the other direction and ignore her, but they are far closer to the truth than Catholics.

I submit that if a vision of Mary comes to you then it isn’t the real Mary. It is Satan, who is leading you away from the truth. [Read the full post.]
His blog takes comments, so this is an opportunity to share with Neil and his readers who Mary is in the eyes of the Church. I am leaving a comment referring them to my own post on the subject.

I think it is important to acknowledge that Neil's knowledge and instincts are right when he insists, "Mary can't save you." But he is wrong to think that the Church believes that the act of salvation comes from Our Lady. Just as a man who came to the Protestant faith could say that a fellow Christian's witness and prayers were the instrument through which the truth of Jesus' salvation touched his heart, so a Catholic who is devoted to Mary can say the same of her witness and prayers, which are powered by her eternal "Yes" to God.

As an aside, Neil seems to share the misconception of many Protestants in reducing Catholic doctrine on justification to "salvation by works." This is a common misreading of the Council of Trent that could be corrected by studying the council's decree on justification.