Virgin Mary and the Evangelicals
“The vast majority of Protestants, liberal or evangelical, have simply said nothing about Mary. Because to talk about Mary is to be Catholic and we’re not Catholic,” said Prof. Perry [Tim Perry is associate professor at Providence College and Theological Seminary in Manitoba], whose latest book is called Mary For Evangelicals. “We get her out of the box around Christmas time, preach a couple of sermons and then put her back in the box after Boxing Day [26 Deember] and we don’t see her again for a year. The reluctance is a hold over from the Reformation. We will accept what the Bible says about Mary, but we don’t want to say too much about her.”
He said the Protestant Reformation moved away from what was seen as a Catholic obsession with Mary. Catholics believe in her bodily assumption into heaven and that she herself was immaculately conceived – though Catholics believe that only Christ is divine. The Reformation rejected all notions of Mary not found specifically in the Bible. Somehow, though, over the generations, said Prof. Perry, many evangelical Protestants have pushed Mary aside and that has taken away from the richness of Christian belief.
He said that trend is even worse among liberal Christians who prefer to see Jesus as more of a teacher of spiritual truths and his birth being quite ordinary: “I don’t think it’s an embarrassment with Mary in particular, I think it’s an embarrassment with miracles generally.”
Extracted from National Post, 22 December 2007