Tom: Today we’re continuing our discussion about apparitions, particularly the apparitions of Mary, which have been going on over the centuries and are manifesting themselves around the world at an astounding rate these days. For example, the number of pilgrimages to the alleged visitation sites is staggering: 20-30 million to Medjugorje since 1981. Five million faithful visit Lourdes, France every year. A half million visit the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes here in the US. Five million travel annually to Poland’s shrine of Our Lady of Jasna Gora. Over a million people show up at the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima on the anniversary of that apparition. Each year, 20 million – now, last week I mistakenly said 5 million – no, 20 million visit the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Guadalupe, Mexico. A woman named Nancy Fowler has had as many as 100,000 people show up at her Georgia farm on any given day because of her alleged visitations of Mary. It’s been estimated that there have been more than 8,000 notable visitations of the Virgin Mary since the first century.
Now, Dave, before we get into the significance of those really astounding figures, the Mary who is supposed to be appearing is the mother of Jesus whom we know from the Bible. So let’s go over the biblical perspective of Mary. I mean, she certainly was blessed of women, but how far can we go with that?
Dave: Well, I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “how far can we go with that?” We do not rehearse this ahead of time, folks. Where would you take it? She’s blessed among women. She is the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. She was a virgin when He was conceived in her womb by the Holy Spirit. That does not mean that she is the spouse of the Holy Spirit as is commonly taught. She is not the mother of God as Catholicism claims. God existed long before Mary existed. She is the mother of the body that was formed in her womb by the Holy Spirit as God created the body of Adam in the Garden of Eden out of dust. And she gave birth to Christ; she nursed Him, but she’s not the mother of God, obviously – although Jesus is God, but He was God before He was born in her womb. So that’s a basic error.
Mary is not without sin. In Luke 1, she says, “I rejoice in God my Savior.” You don’t need a savior if you are not a sinner. She was not conceived immaculately…
Tom: Well, Dave, with regard to that, Mary being sinless – well, that’s the basis for the Immaculate Conception, which we’re going to get into, because that’s really a Catholic view, it’s not a biblical view. But with regard to her giving birth to Jesus, in Luke:2:22-24 it talks about the days of her purification, that she had to go to the temple to offer a sacrifice. It was a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons, and this was a sin offering. Why would she do that if she was sinless?
Dave: Well, she wouldn’t. And the Bible very clearly says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and the only sinless person is Jesus Christ himself, who is God. Now the idea that Mary, in order to give birth to Jesus, had to be sinless, and therefore for her to be sinless, she had to have an “immaculate conception…”
Tom: Some people think that that idea talks about her – the conceiving of Jesus, but it doesn’t.
Dave: No, the Immaculate Conception means that Mary herself was immaculately conceived without sin. But wouldn’t her parents have had to be without sin for her to be immaculately conceived without sin? The Catholic Church doesn’t go that far. If you did that, then you would have to go all the way back to Adam and Eve.
Furthermore, if Mary could be kept without sin all of her life, if she could be conceived without sin and kept without sin by God’s grace (some unusual grace from God, supposedly), then surely God could have done that for Adam and Eve. They were certainly far more immaculately conceived than Mary could possibly be, because they weren’t conceived at all! They were created fresh from the hand of God in the Garden of Eden in a perfect environment. And if God could keep Mary without sin by His grace, surely He could keep everyone without sin by His grace, and Christ wouldn’t have even had to die for us. We wouldn’t need His death. So it’s a false doctrine that gives a false understanding of a human being who, though she is the mother of our Lord, for which we honor her, and a very unusual – I’m sure very pure young woman who was obedient to the Lord and serving Him in every way she could, and she became the vessel of His birth unto this earth, yet she could not possibly be without sin.
Tom: Last week, Dave, I mentioned that Catherine Labouré in 1830 allegedly heard the words of Mary saying to pray to her, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.” Now, that was 1830. In 1854, Pope Pius IX made the Immaculate Conception official church dogma. Now, what’s interesting about that is, when it was made dogma, there were those who were not in favor of it – many cardinals, many princes of the church who were not in favor of it – but it passed; it went through. Then you have in 1858 an apparition appearing to St. Bernadette of Lourdes proclaiming, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” My point here is that this doctrine did not come from the Bible, it came from apparitions, which we’re concerned about.
Dave: Unfortunately, Tom, a whole lot more than that, of course, comes from the apparitions. The apparition to Catherine Labouré in Paris in 1830, this is known as Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Not only did she claim to be immaculately conceived, but she appeared with her foot on the serpent’s head, and that she is the one who destroys the serpent, and she is the conqueror of the serpent – which changes the meaning of the passage in Genesis:3:15 where God said that the serpent would bruise the heel of the seed of the woman, but the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head. In other words, a deadly wound to Satan would be delivered by Jesus, the virgin-born Son of God. But this apparition turned it around to say, “No, Mary is the one.” And as a former Catholic, you know that they minted a coin – in fact…
Tom: Right, the Miraculous Medal. I wore one for a long time.
Dave: Millions of Catholics wear it. In fact, the apparition told her to mint this medal, and there you see the woman – not Christ the conqueror, but the woman conquering the serpent with her heel on the serpent’s head. Now, the problem is that this false teaching of Mary then elevates her to a position that she never took in the Bible, that the Bible does not give to her, so that she becomes the one to whom Catholics look.
For example, let me quote from both the Catechism and the Vatican II. It says, “The virgin has long been known as the Mother of God” (now, listen to these words carefully) “to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs.” Now, if Mary can protect all Catholics from all dangers and supply all needs, then she must be omnipotent, omnipresent… In fact, the apparitions say – “Mary” says – “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So now we have a Mary who is with all Catholics at all times. She is omnipotent. She can protect them from all problems. She can supply all their needs, and therefore to whom they pray.
And, Tom, you know, we’re not trying to jump on Catholics. We’re certainly not jumping on the Mary of the Bible who is to be honored, but this is not the Mary of the Bible. And as a former Catholic, you know that I would say thousands more prayers are offered to Mary than to Jesus and God the Father combined. Why do people go to Mary? Because apparently she’s more sympathetic and she has all power. She’s Queen of Heaven; she can grant anything. And I’ve even had Catholics…I say, “Well, why do you go to Mary?”
They say, “Well, if you want something from someone, you go to his mother, and she will put in a good word for you.”
My response is, “Look, if you and I are friends and you want some favor of me, and instead of coming to me, you go to my mother to ask her to put in a good word, what does that say about our friendship? That is really an insult to me.” And Christ is the one who died for our sins on the cross. Paul said, “The Son of God, who loves me and gave himself for me,” then to go around to someone else, to his mother, to put in a good word – that is an insult to Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, I don’t need to have someone put in a good word for me as far as salvation is concerned, because Christ died for my sins. He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden. I will give you rest.” He is pleading with people to come to Him. He died for all. He wants to offer – He does offer pardon and salvation to all. Then to suggest that I need someone to plead with Him to save me…
The apparition at Fatima, for example, says, “I will assist you with all the graces necessary for salvation at the hour of death if you keep me company in the rosary five Saturdays, and you go to Mass, and so forth…” And this is not disparaging Mary, who is in heaven – Christ’s mother, His earthly mother – but she would never say that! The real Mary would never suggest that she needs to assist anyone with the graces necessary for salvation!
Dave: Let me just finish – Christ is our Savior! He paid the penalty! Salvation is provided by His grace! Now, why would Mary then suggest that she would assist us with the graces that come from Christ alone?
Tom: Dave, for our listeners out there who maybe have just – this is their first program that they’ve joined – the heart of this is to search the Scriptures. The name of the program is Search the Scriptures Daily. What you’re saying – that Mary or these apparitions are suggesting – where do we find them in the Scriptures? Mary, as you said, she was a meek, humble, obedient handmaiden of the Lord, and when we look at all the things that the Scriptures say about Mary, you don’t find any of this. What doctrine did she offer throughout the Scriptures?
Dave: Well, she was never an intermediary in the Bible. The Bible very clearly says there is one God and one mediator between God and men: the Man Christ Jesus. It’s to Christ I go. He taught us to pray to the Father in His name. Unfortunately, Catholics have been taught, “Yes, while that is true, but there is a mediator between us and Christ. We need Mary to mediate for us with Christ.”
Now, Tom, let me just read some scriptures…again, please understand we are not disparaging the true, real Mary of the Bible. In fact, we honor her, and it is dishonoring to her to suggest that she would usurp a position like this. But let’s read just from the Scriptures. This is Luke:8:19. Christ is a very busy Man; there are crowds around Him, and He doesn’t have time, you know, to even eat, and His family’s concerned about Him. Luke:8:19: “Then came to him his mother and his brethren.” By the way, the Scriptures say she did not continue to be a virgin.
Tom: Yeah, she was not a perpetual virgin.
Dave: No. It says Joseph…in Matthew 1, it tells us that because Joseph – he was going to put away Mary. She was pregnant now! He had had no relationship with her, and he was going to put her away quietly. He wasn’t going to make a public thing out of this, and the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Fear not to take Mary your espoused to you as your wife. She is [with] child of the Holy Ghost. She’ll bring forth a Son. You’ll call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” It says, “He then took her to him as his wife, and he knew her not until she brought forth her first child, her first son, Jesus.” Now, “knowing…” you know, he went into his wife and knew her – this is a biblical expression…
Tom: Well, the New American Standard says, “But Joseph kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a son, and he called his name Jesus.”
Dave: Yeah, well, that’s what the King James says in other words. So this is what the Bible says. Now we must we insist then [that] we’re going to elevate this woman, and we’re going to insist that she was a virgin?
Well, anyway, it says He had brothers and sisters. They say – those in Nazareth say, “Who is this carpenter? His brothers and sisters are here with us.” But this is back to Luke 18…I’m sorry, back to Luke:8:19: “Then came to him his mother and his brethren” (It’s not cousins, aunts, and uncles – his brothers and sisters) “and could not come at him for the press.” There are so many people around that His family can’t even get to Him. Jesus is doing His Father’s will. You remember what He said as a child of 12 when His parents found Him back at the temple: “Don’t you realize…” Well, the King James: “Wist ye not…?” The old English. “Don’t you realize I must be about my Father’s business?” Now, Jesus is about His Father’s business. He has a task to do, and He has left His family. He’s not just ministering to them; they’re not telling Him what to do. In fact, His brothers – you go to John 7, His brothers don’t…who are His brothers? These are His brothers born of His mother through Joseph now as their father, who – they grew up together in this family.
Tom: They’re named: James, Joses, Simon, Judas (not Judas Iscariot), and his sisters. This is Matthew 13.
Dave: They don’t believe in Him, John 7 says. Okay, so Jesus’ ministry: “It was told…” Verse 20: “And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without desiring to see thee.”
Jesus says, “Oh, wait a minute! Just a second, yeah! Let me stop everything and give my attention to my mother.” He doesn’t say that. What does it say? Verse 21: “He [that is, Jesus] answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are those which hear the word of God and do it.”
Now, go over to Luke:11:28 and see what it says…I’m sorry, let’s read from v. 27: “It came to pass as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee and the breasts which thou hast sucked. But he said [Jesus’ response], Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.” Now, you cannot find anywhere in the Bible that Jesus gives this special honor to Mary above other human beings who keep the Word of God. You cannot find it. It is not biblical, and it exalts her to a position that then causes people to look to her for something that she is not supposed to give, even salvation. Mary was a follower of Jesus. She was a disciple, and she was one who was to keep His Word, and Jesus clearly says on these two occasions: “She is not in any higher position than anyone else who keeps the Word of God.” This is what human beings must do, and she needed a Savior.
Now, what are we trying to do, denigrate Mary? No, we’re not!
Tom: Dave, we’re not only not trying to denigrate her, we’re really trying to be consistent with the Catholic Catechism. Let me give you a quote here: “Christian faith cannot accept revelations that claim to surpass or correct the revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions.” Now, they’re laying that off on others, but this is with regard to the apparitions, as well, and this is from the Catholic Catechism paragraph 67.
Dave: Now, Tom, let me just carry this on a bit so that we see the position that Mary has been given and how it undermines the gospel – it undermines the truth. I am quoting Pope John Paul II – he says: “All those who have at some time prayed to the Most Holy Virgin, even though they may have strayed from the Catholic Church, conserve in their hearts an ember of faith which can be revived. The Virgin awaits them with maternal arms open wide.” Now, you can see their faith is in Mary; nothing about those who trusted in Christ. But if you have prayed to Mary, then that has…somehow remains a seed within you, and she awaits you, even though you strayed from the Church. Not strayed from Christ – now it’s the Church and its Mary. But though you strayed from the Church, Mary still – if you have prayed to her, something has happened. There’s been a conversion in your heart to Mary, and she awaits you with maternal arms opened wide.
Now, the parish priest at Medjugorje, Father Slavko, he writes, “Mary’s presence and proximity to us is the main message of Medjugorje. The fact that people feel her presence and then through her God’s presence is the strength of Medjugorje. We should at all times continue thanking God for her presence and become yet more conscious that she is with us.” Now, I just ask a simple question: we’re trying to be biblical and logical – how can Mary, who is not omnipresent, how can she be with all Catholics? She can’t possibly be. So now Mary becomes the chief figure.
Tom, I never…
Tom: Well, the chief figure, Dave – let’s show you where this is going. This is from an apparition: The Lady of All Nations. I’m quoting: “When the dogma, the last dogma, in Marian history has been proclaimed, The Lady of All Nations will give peace, true peace, to the world. The nations, however, must say my prayer in union with the Church. They must know that The Lady of All Nations has come as co-redemptrix, mediatrix, and advocate. So be it.” Now, this is in 1954, and we can see just as with the Immaculate Conception, here is a doctrine – Mary, the co-redeemer with us – now is being promoted and pushed to become official Catholic dogma.
Dave: Tom, I would just plead with anyone listening: we’re only trying to be biblical. That’s our authority. We’re trying to be rational. The apparitions prove by what they say that this is not Mary. This is not the Mary of the Bible. This is not of God, but this is in fact a demonic delusion. They are impersonating Mary, because they say things…for example, I think we quoted it last week, Our Lady of Fatima said, “Many souls perish and go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifice for them.” Christ made the sacrifice upon the cross. A little Jesus accompanies – a baby Jesus – accompanies her, and he says, “There will never be peace in this world until this world is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of my Mother Mary in reparation of the sins committed against her.” That is as far from the Bible as you can possibly get.
Tom: According to the Scriptures, it’s not there.
Dave: Every apparition – almost every apparition comes with Mary’s peace plan for the world and says, “There will not be peace until the world is dedicated to my Immaculate Heart.” And even says, “How long can I hold back my Son from pouring out his wrath upon this earth?” He is the Prince of Peace! He brings peace! He bought peace by the blood of His cross, and here comes this apparition saying that she is the one who will bring peace to the world. This is not of God. This is not biblical.