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CATHOLICS: AUGUSTINE DID NOT BELIEVE IN THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION!

Posted by Job on July 14, 2007

Catholics claim that Augustine made the first explicit reference to the Immaculate Conception. http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/maryc3a.htm

The constant faith (tradition: paradosis) of the Church attests to the belief in the special preparation of the holiness of the person of Mary to bear in her body the most holy person of the Son of God.

Church Fathers:

  • implicitly found in the Fathers of the Church in the parallelism between Eve and Mary (Irenaeus, Lyons, 140? – 202?);
  • Found in the more general terms about Mary: “holy”, “innocent”, “most pure”, “intact”, “immaculate” (Irenaeus, Lyons, 140?-202?; Ephraem, Syria, 306-373; Ambrose, Milan, 373-397);
  • Explicit language: Mary – free from original sin (Augustine, Hippo, 395-430 to Anselm, Normandy, 1033-1109);

Note that they do not give the language given by any of these people, including Augustine. Why? BECAUSE IT IS A LIE!

http://www.justforcatholics.org/a182.htm

Immaculate Conception And The Church Fathers

Question: The Church Fathers believed in the Immaculate Conception. St Augustine writes this about Mary: “With the exception of the holy Virgin Mary, in whose case, out of respect for the Lord, I do not wish there to be any further question as far as sin is concerned, since how can we know what great abundance of grace was conferred on her to conquer sin in every way, seeing that she merited to conceive and bear him who certainly had no sin at all?”

Answer: Read out of context, this bare quotation seems to prove that Augustine believed in the immaculate conception of Mary. In fact, it was Pelagius, the great heretic, who taught such a thing, not Augustine. Augustine believed that all humans, all the descendants of Adam, are conceived in sin, with the singular exception of Jesus Christ, who was born of the virgin mother, Mary.

In this particular writing, he is answering the Pelagian argument that there were many saints who lived a perfectly moral life. The question is about their conduct and not their conception. Augustine answers, in part:

He then enumerates those ‘who not only lived without sin, but are described as having led holy lives, — Abel, Enoch, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua the son of Nun, Phinehas, Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Joseph, Elisha, Micaiah, Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, Mordecai, Simeon, Joseph to whom the Virgin Mary was espoused, John.’ And he adds the names of some women, — ‘Deborah, Anna the mother of Samuel, Judith, Esther, the other Anna, daughter of Phanuel, Elisabeth, and also the mother of our Lord and Saviour, for of her,’ he says, ‘we must needs allow that her piety had no sin in it.’ We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin (Augustine, On Nature and Grace, Against Pelagius).

Augustine argues that none of the saints mentioned by Pelagius, except Mary, “lived without sin.” He believed that Mary was given grace to overcome sin and lead a sinless life. But please note that he is speaking about Mary’s conduct in life, and not about her conception!

Following Augustine, several scholastics also believed that Mary led a perfect life; and yet they denied the idea of her immaculate conception. Thomas Aquinas would be a good example. He believed that Mary was sinless throughout her life, “We must therefore confess simply that the Blessed Virgin committed no actual sin, neither mortal nor venial.” Yet he also affirmed that she contracted original sin at her conception: “For Christ did not contract original sin in any way whatever, but was holy in His very Conception, according to Lk. 1:35: ‘The Holy which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.’ But the Blessed Virgin did indeed contract original sin, but was cleansed therefrom before her birth from the womb” (Summa III: 27).

Elsewhere Augustine speaks directly about original sin:

It is therefore an observed and settled fact, that no man born of a man and a woman, that is, by means of their bodily union, is seen to be free from sin. Whosoever, indeed, is free from sin, is free also from a conception and birth of this kind. Moreover, when expounding the Gospel according to Luke, he says: It was no cohabitation with a husband which opened the secrets of the Virgin’s womb; rather was it the Holy Ghost which infused immaculate seed into her unviolated womb. For the Lord Jesus alone of those who are born of woman is holy, inasmuch as He experienced not the contact of earthly corruption, by reason of the novelty of His immaculate birth; nay, He repelled it by His heavenly majesty (Augustine, A Treatise on the Grace of Christ, and on Original Sin).

Augustine taught that no person born of natural procreation (“of a man and a woman”) is free from sin. With the exception of Christ, everyone since Adam and Eve were born in this way, including Mary. Therefore it is implied that Mary too was not free from original sin since she was conceived by a man and woman. Jesus is the exceptional case because of His unique conception by the Holy Spirit. Augustine emphasizes that the Lord Jesus alone did not experience the contact of the earthly corruption.

Other claims are that Christ’s siblings were from a previous marriage of Joseph, other claims are that His “brothers and sisters” were actually His COUSINS. You have this site http://biblia.com/encyclopedia/brothers.htm that claims the latter. Also this site claims that John Calvin supported this doctrine: The French reformer John Calvin (1509-1564):

It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of his Son, granted her the highest honor. … Elizabeth called Mary Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary as at the same time the eternal God. (Calvini Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Braunschweig-Berlin, 1863-1900, v. 45, p. 348, 35.)

Calvin also upheld the perpetual virginity of Mary.

At no point does that quote affirm that Calvin believed in the Immaculate Conception! That quote certainly does not say it! If he believed it, why not present a quote that says it? The hilarious thing is that they cite one of the very verses that disproves this lie in their defense: Mark 3:35. What does that speak of? When Jesus Christ was preaching and teaching things concerning the Kingdom, His MOTHER AND BROTHERS came trying to interrupt Him about some matter, and Jesus Christ refused. Matthew 12:46-50: “While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Repeated in Mark 3:31-34: “There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

Now this is the thing that would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. http://biblia.com/encyclopedia/brothers.htm uses this passage to claim that references to “brother and sister” in the Bible need not mean a person’s LITERAL brother or sister. So, in that context, the Bible is saying that they were NOT Christ’s brother. But it doesn’t just say brothers, does it? It says MOTHER too. So they thereby DENY THAT MARY WAS HIS MOTHER! Further still: the claim that you should pray to Mary because Jesus Christ will always listen to His mother, using His turning water into wine as an example? Well, Christ’s refusing to heed the Will of His Mother in this instance explicitly disproves that. To try to get around this, they try to use Galatians 2:20 to say that “we are all the mothers of Jesus Christ.” Except that Galatians 2:20 says nothing of the kind! It says “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” This is what they CLAIM that Galatians 2:20 says: “I already new that Jesus is my brother… but I never even had a thought that I am his “mother”… Jesus himself says it… and, really, you and I are “mothers of Jesus”, because the essence of Christianity is to have Jesus in us (Gal.2:20), and to give Him to others when we evangelize… it is the essence of motherhood.” on http://biblia.com/encyclopedia/brothers.htm. Even more explicitly: Matthew 13:55-56. “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?” They say “5- In Matthew 13:55: Similar statement is made as in Mark 6:3, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?”, being James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude in fact the same James, Joseph, Simon and Jude just determined to be cousins of Jesus, not His “flesh-brothers”.” So when they claim that James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas are not the actual brothers of Jesus Christ, THEY CLAIM THAT JESUS CHRIST IS NOT HIS MOTHER! How can you deny it? There is no way to deny it in any context, exegesis, hermaneutics, interpretation, etc. Denying that those refer to his brothers is denying that Mary was His mother!

And it gets even more ridiculous when you see the context Matthew 13:53-56: “And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?” Now, this very website says that “brother and sister” meant “brother and sister in the faith”. See “In the time of Jesus, and in our times, many Christians call themselves “brothers”, though they are not born of the same mother, they are simply “brothers in Christ”…
But still more: At that time, the Christians were not called “Christians”, but “Brethren of Jesus”… the term “Christians” started to be used in Antioch at the time of Paul, as the Bible says The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch (Act.11:26).” Well, if Jesus Christ’s brothers and sisters in the faith were cited by these unbelievers of Jesus Christ as being “with us”, THEN WHY DID THEY NOT BELIEVE? WHY WERE THEY OFFENDED BY HIS TEACHINGS? Having followers of Christ in their midst, accepted among them, would have been a reason for ACCEPTING Christ, not rejecting them! Did not Christ say that those who reject Christ reject His followers and vice versa? John 15:18-19 – “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” So if these people accepted the followers, the spiritual brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, and those whom they acknowledged were Christ’s followers and their acceptance of them with their own words (“and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us“) … that they accepted men AND women who came in His Name only to be rejected by and offended of Christ, THEN IT MAKES JESUS CHRIST A LIAR BY HIS OWN WORDS! BLASPHEMY! HERESY! APOSTASY! The makers http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/maryc3a.htm and http://biblia.com/encyclopedia/brothers.htm are already condemned, because they knew the truth right as they were purposefully elaborately telling a lie that defies all logic and reason. You know, God did say “Come now let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18) and a host of other scriptures that prove that believing in God does not require accepting a bunch of nonsense. Even Jonah and the whale, one of the most commonly cited things in the Bible that is stated as impossible and illogical: it has been proven that a human can indeed live inside the belly of a sperm whale for three days, and even longer (see
More Apologetics: Jonah And The Whale). But you know what else is illogical? Joseph. There would have been NO SPIRITUAL REASON WHATSOEVER for Joseph not to touch his wife. They assign a spiritual reason to MARY, but not to JOSEPH. I guess it is easier for Catholics to accept that Joseph went through life celibate despite being married because of their (ascriptural) celibate priesthood, and thereby associating virtue of with celibacy because of it: the scriptures do call Joseph a “just man.” Except there is one problem: Joseph wasn’t a priest. He had no religious role whatsoever. There was no mention of Joseph whatsoever after the last narrative of Christ’s childhood, when He was teaching in the temple. And this is totally unprecedented in scripture, by the way. God did tell Jeremiah not to marry, but there are no instances where God told a man not to touch His wife. As a matter of fact, did God or the angel tell Joseph not to touch his wife until Jesus Christ was born? Nope. It is recorded nowhere in scripture. “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” Matthew 1:19-25. Why not? Because the deed was done already. Jesus Christ had already been conceived in Miriam (Mary’s actual name in Hebrew) by God. It would have been perfectly fine for him to have relations with her, the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 had already been fulfilled, and people could have believed or not believed that God was the Father of Jesus Christ. (Further, it was commonly known that Miriam was already pregnant before Joseph consummated the marriage ANYWAY.) Joseph didn’t touch Mary because he chose not to, out of respect for God. But did not Paul tell husbands and wives that they should not abstain from sex except for a short time during fasting and prayer (1 Corinthians 7:4-5)?

This madness came into the church by way of the demon of asceticism (book definition of which is the practice of austere self-discipline, voluntary undertaken, in order to achieve a higher or spiritual ideal). Over time, because of their celibate priesthood, Catholics took to claiming that there was some spiritual benefit or virtue to a lifetime of celibacy. And of course, once they decided that celibacy was a sign of righteousness and spiritual power, they did not want to deny anything spiritual to Mary. Well, the only thing in the Bible that even speaks of a lifetime of celibacy (other than in comfort to eunuchs and never married widows, which Joseph and Mary were not) was Paul saying “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman” and “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that” in I Corinthians 7. But he negates it with “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband“in reference to the former verse and “But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment” to negate the latter one! Again, Jeremiah was told by God not to marry only because of the horrible conditions that he was going to face during his life as a result of Israel falling into captivity and because he had a very tough job to do and could not afford the distraction. It was a situational accommodation completely unrelated to Jeremiah’s spiritual standing; not to protect any virtue on his part. And again, God told Jeremiah not to marry at all, rather than to marry and not consummate it. Er, telling people to get married and not consummate would violate 1 Corinthians 7:4-5, which would make God’s Word contradict itself. So, if it was not God’s Will for Mary to be touched by a man, why did God send an angel to prevent Joseph from putting her away? And by the way, let us deconstruct Matthew 1:20, shall we? “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Now why would the angel say that if Matthew 1:19 called Joseph Mary’s husband? “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.” Simple, under Jewish law at the time (and in most every other culture in every other time) A MARRIAGE IS NOT COMPLETED UNTIL IT IS CONSUMMATED! That is why if you marry someone and they refuse to consummate, you can actually go before not only a judge but even a church and have it annulled, no questions asked, on that basis! Until the marriage is consummated, you are still BETROTHED! See Matthew 1:18 – “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” THEIR MARRIAGE WAS NOT OFFICIAL BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT YET COME TOGETHER! Therefore, it was possible to “annul” the marriage at this stage. But the angel came and said “don’t annul your marriage. Take her as your wife.” And that puts Matthew 1:25 into context, especially when paired with Matthew 1:24. “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” I repeat, THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE THE MARRIAGE OFFICIAL – TO “TAKE SOMEONE AS YOUR WIFE” – IN THAT CULTURE WAS BY CONSUMMATING IT. So, what does the Bible say? The angel said “take her as your wife” and that Joseph “did what the angel had bidden him.” So, far from Mary remaining a virgin because it was God’s Will, JOSEPH HAD SEX WITH MARY BECAUSE GOD SPECIFICALLY TOLD HIM TO! Even if you have no knowledge of how a marriage has to be consummated before it is considered valid in any culture, still, there is the simple fact that the narrative makes no sense. Why? Because Matthew 1:18 called Joseph her HUSBAND. So why else would Matthew 1:19 say the angel told him to take her as his wife? Now I have heard the explanation given that Jewish marriages are a process of rites, and that the final marriage rites had not yet been given regarding Joseph and Mary, and the marriage was not official until all the rites had been completed, and that the engagement could be broken off at any time before the final rites take place. Well, Catholics, if you are going to use that explanation, then you are bound by this: THE FINAL RITE IS CONSUMMATION, AND YOU AREN’T CONSIDERED OFFICIALLY MARRIED UNTIL THAT TAKES PLACE! And it is impossible to deny this. First, you have Jewish history http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-126076053.html. Then you have MODERN CATHOLIC CHURCH DOCTRINE THAT ALLOWS FOR ANNULMENTS IF MARRIAGES ARE NOT CONSUMMATED http://www.rcab.org/Information/Annulment/marriage7.html. Catholics may try to evade this by claiming that non – consummated marriages may be declared valid upon mutual consent, but that is a modern invention of both civil law and religious custom. It was not the case in Judaism in the time of Joseph and Mary! Quoting from the encylopedia document: “Consummation was essential to complete the marriage and to incorporate the bride into her husband’s family.” (Letusreason.org makes this same case here: http://www.letusreason.org/RC5.htm). So, in order to justify their doctrine that Mary remained a virgin, they by logical extension claim that A) Jesus Christ was born out of wedlock to a couple of glorified roommates and B) Mary was not the mother of Jesus Christ. Well, you can believe Catholic teaching if you choose. Me, I will believe the Bible. Sola scriptura!

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6 Responses to “CATHOLICS: AUGUSTINE DID NOT BELIEVE IN THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION!”

  1. It amazes me how you go on +on about the teachings + doctrines of the RCC. There are millions upon millions of souls out there who don’t accept Jesus as the Son of God, let alone Saviour of humankind. You try to convert the converted. What example are you setting to those who closely watch the goings on within a very divided Christian community, who use ‘hate speech’ to try to prove their point. You rip Jesus Christ into pieces. You place Him in your little box + present him to other Christians. May God have mercy on you all!

    • Marcus said

      Catholics, too, need the Gospel, because the many errors of that quasi-Christian body endanger the souls of its members. I disagree, Nana, that members of the Roman Catholic Church are to be considered “converted” simply by reason of being Catholic. There is no kindness in failing to condemn error. Jesus himself condemned error harshly in his preaching to the Jews during his lifetime. Kindless consists in telling essential truths even when doing so is not welcomed by those whose hearts are hardened.

    • Ifeanyi Hilary said

      nana thanks very much. the church today is more towards ecumenical realization and achievement, let us all-Christians- burn with the zeal of contributing to the everlasting community of which Christ prayed for in John 21:17 ‘at all may be one’. Marcus how can you prove that catholics are not Christians. my people say, don’t bit the hand that feeds you.

  2. Ifeanyi Hilary said

    what a great skill of creativity you have put in to this work. you have just presented a false idea of what st Thomas Aquinas said about the immaculate conception of Mary. he holds that the Immaculate virgin Mary was conceived with out original sin but was subject to the consequences of the human nature.please do well to understand what he is saying and don’t go about confusing issues.

    • Ifeanyi,

      Hi hope you are well. The award for creatity should go to the Catholic Church for such things as purgatory, the making of saints and Mary in demigods, the positioin of cardinals and pope, a seperate class for preists and so on.

      You can either follow the Bible or follow the catholic church but you cannot do both! Ultimately what Augustine says makes little difference to me as this Imaaculate Conception is again nowhere to be found in scriputre.

      Love,

      John Kaniecki

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