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  #1  
Unread 18th March 2011, 03:57 PM
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How do Lutherans view Mary?

I have just finished the 4th week of classes in our Lutheran Church. We will be joining when classes end in 2 weeks. We haven't really approached the topic of Mary yet. Can someone tell me how Lutherans view Mary? (My husband and I were both raised RCC). My husband asked me if we join the Lutheran Church is he still allowed to say Hail Mary's?
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  #2  
Unread 18th March 2011, 05:20 PM
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Mary | The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

Q. I've heard that Martin Luther believed in Mary's immaculate conception, in her perpetual virginity and in praying to her. Is this how Lutherans still view Mary today?

A. Like Luther himself, Lutherans hold Mary in high esteem for the chosen role she played in God's plan of salvation. Lutherans have never objected to denoting Mary as the "Mother of God" (theotokos, "God-bearer"), since she was the mother of Jesus and Jesus was and is indeed God. Since the Son of God was and is sinless, it is evident that some miraculous "exception" was made in the conception of Jesus through Mary that prevented original sin from tainting the Christ-child. This accounts for Luther's comments about Mary being "entirely without sin" (as far as the conception was concerned). Lutherans today are not bound to Luther's personal views regarding how this was accomplished; in any event, it is clear from Luther's other and later writings on Mary that he did not hold to the view that Mary was personally devoid of all sin (which would mean that she would have had no need of forgiveness or salvation). Luther also held to the semper virgo (the perpetual virginity) of Mary. This, again, is a personal view to which Lutherans today are not bound. Scripture is not clear on this matter, and Lutherans do not regard it as a theological issue.

In his early years Luther was still greatly influenced by his rigorous Roman Catholic and monastic training. In his later writings he clearly rejects invocation to Mary and/or the saints as having no Scriptural mandate or promise. None of this undermines the opening sentence of this e-mail, which should be underscored as the final word on this issue.
As for Hail Mary, check this out: http://www.christianforums.com/t1147107/
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  #3  
Unread 18th March 2011, 09:17 PM
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The pre-Trent 'Hail Mary' is OK, although it's rarely if ever done.
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Unread 19th March 2011, 11:08 AM
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Former Catholic here.....


Some personal thoughts:


1. Mariology was not an issue in the Reformation. Some of the views were not dogma yet and none of this involved the issues to which the Reformation was addressed. While Mary is mentioned - altogether in passing - a couple of times in the Lutheran Confessions, it's not addressed at length or dogmatically because again it just wasn't an issue.


2. Luther (and the Lutheran Fathers in general) held to the common Catholic views OF THE DAY. Luther rather passionately embraced the perpetual virginity of Mary and seems to embrace the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary. However, it also seems that he (and Lutherans in general) did not regard these as DOGMAS. According to my Lutheran pastor (and I have no personal confirmation of this or sources to reference), there were Lutherans of the day who did NOT teach these things and they were NOT rebuked or excommunicated or defrocked (although they were often passionately disagreed with) - all suggesting that these were not regarded as dogmas but rather as "pious opinion."


3. Lutherans embrace Mary as the Mother of God and certainly as a virgin at the birth of Our Lord. Beyond that, I do not think there is anything of a doctrinal or standard teaching.


4. Many in my Lutheran congregation are former Catholics (about half) and a lot of us use terms like "Our Lady" or "the Blessed Virgin" and no one seems to have any "issues" with that at all.


5. PERSONALLY (and I really mean, just personally) most of these things are just totally off my radar. I LOVE Mary - I revere and adore Her and regard Her as Chief of the Saints - but I find these RC dogmas just plain moot. Who cares how often married couples have sex - why is that so very, very, very important and critical to our salvation? I don't know how often She did (IF AT ALL) - I just don't know why THAT should be a huge, extremely important issue to me (heck, i don't even know how often my parents have sex - AND I DON'T WANT TO KNOW). Was Mary born immaculately or did She ascend into heaven upon Her death or undeath (whichever it was)? I don't know. Frankly, I just don't have a clue why it matters. ONE of my "issues" with Catholicism is how it - at times - just goes on and on and on and on with DOGMA that is baseless and moot. But, NONE OF THAT detracts from my love and admiration for Her. I can love my earthly mother without knowing all the details of her intimacies with her husband - and I can love my spiritual Mother without knowing that.


I HOPE that helps a bit.....


Pax


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  #5  
Unread 19th March 2011, 09:19 PM
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Thanks so much everyone. I spoke with our pastor and he just said that what my husband does in his private prayer time is fine. Just to know that during service we would not hear the Hail Mary. My husband is fine with that.
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Unread 19th March 2011, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by gracefulone1980 View Post
Thanks so much everyone. I spoke with our pastor and he just said that what my husband does in his private prayer time is fine. Just to know that during service we would not hear the Hail Mary. My husband is fine with that.
May I ask which church body your church belongs to?
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Unread 19th March 2011, 10:41 PM
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We have not officially joined yet, as I am still taking classes, but I *think* LCMS...if that's what you mean...
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Unread 19th March 2011, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by gracefulone1980 View Post
We have not officially joined yet, as I am still taking classes, but I *think* LCMS...if that's what you mean...
It's disturbing that an LCMS pastor would say it's alright to pray the Hail Mary. It contradicts what we believe.
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Unread 20th March 2011, 01:18 PM
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He did tell me that he does not know much about the prayer to give a real answer on why the prayer shouldn't be said. He is going to get back to me on this at our next class. He did say that Lutheran's would not typically say that prayer or pray to Mary, but he said he would not tell another person how they could pray in their private moments. He said that he was glad to hear that he prays and that was more than some people do.

I suppose what my husband struggles with is that saying the Hail Mary/Rosary were a big part of what he was taught growing up (also the same for me) in a Roman Catholic Church. I still remember after confession as a 12 yr old child sitting in the pews saying my penance of X amount of Hail Mary's and The Lord's Prayer. It's quite a change for us. I am okay with this and I understand the different views on Mary and I agree. My husband on the other hand is struggling a little with all of this. He is confident that he wants to leave the RCC, but some of the differences have been hard for him because it's not what he is used to.

The pastor did seem a little leary on saying what he said, but he said just to make sure that he (my husband) understood that Lutherans do not say those prayers. However, he didn't feel comfortable telling someone how to pray in private. I am still learning, so I am not sure if that was an acceptable answer on the matter or not.

Originally Posted by DaRev View Post
It's disturbing that an LCMS pastor would say it's alright to pray the Hail Mary. It contradicts what we believe.
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Unread 20th March 2011, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by gracefulone1980 View Post
He did tell me that he does not know much about the prayer to give a real answer on why the prayer shouldn't be said. He is going to get back to me on this at our next class. He did say that Lutheran's would not typically say that prayer or pray to Mary, but he said he would not tell another person how they could pray in their private moments. He said that he was glad to hear that he prays and that was more than some people do.
I am having a lot of difficulty with what your pastor is telling you. We are most certainly not to direct prayers to anyone other that God. Praying to Mary or any other "saint" is a form of idolatry, whether in public or in private. A pastor has every right to direct on'es private prayers away from things that are contrary to Scripture and the Confessions.

If the pastor says he is glad he prays, it doesn't seem as though he cares who your husband is praying to. I'd ask if he thinks it's OK to pray to Allah, or Buddah, or St. Cecilia if your back hurts.

I also wonder what seminary he attended, being as he doesn't know anything about the "Hail Mary" and why it shouldn't be prayed. That's basic stuff that's taught to confirmands.
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