Why I Pray to Mary: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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87 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    I specifically asked Duane if he would write this up for us for two reasons.
    One is the issue that Protestants have with Mary and the other is the problem new Anglicans like myself have with this part of the tradition.
    As usual, he wrote it well.
    I think the traditions about Mary at least should be understood and respected…the analogies between the church and Mary fascinate me.
    Thank you, Duane.

  2. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks for the opportunity!

  3. Jean says:

    I think Mary’s name and role in the Apostles and Nicene Creeds are tremendous honors. In addition, we (Lutherans) sing the Magnificat during Vespers and Evening Prayer. So, she is called blessed by us. For Prayer, I would commend Matthew Six and Luke Eleven for instruction on Christian prayer. As far as discipleship, Mary is probably the model disciple in the New Testament and one could glean a lot on discipleship from the writings in the New Testament about her.

  4. Xenia says:

    A very heart-warming article, Duane, thank you so much for writing it and for Michael for encouraging it.

    Man, ten years ago I would never have imagined this article on PhxP.

    Christmas blessings to everyone!

    Holy Theotokos, pray to God for us.

  5. Michael says:

    “Man, ten years ago I would never have imagined this article on PhxP.”

    Me either… 🙂

  6. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks! It amazes me that so many are attracted to icons of the Theotokos, with no idea of the theology…

    BTW, when I sent the article to Michael, I did ask, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

  7. Michael says:

    I’m still in the exploratory stage of invoking Mary and the saints in prayer…it’s really hard to deprogram from evangelicalism and Reformed views on the subject.
    I’m very fascinated though…

  8. Xenia says:

    it’s really hard to deprogram from evangelicalism and Reformed views on the subject.<<<<

    Do you have a patron Saint? Possibly Michael the Archangel? You can talk to him, too.

  9. Michael says:


    I don’t have a patron saint yet…some have suggested Michael, others Francis.
    I would like to figure that out…and for Trey also.
    Trey isn’t as programmed as I am…he loves the idea…

  10. Duane Arnold says:


    I think The Angelus is a good place to start. Its use is about a thousand years old (in one form or another). In “The Practice of Religion” by A. C. Knowles, (1908) he refers to the Angelus as “the memorial of the Incarnation” and notes that “In the Mystery of the Incarnation we worship and adore Our Lord as God of God and we honour and reverence Saint Mary as ‘Blessed among women.’ In honouring Mary, the Instrument of the Incarnation, we really honour Christ, Who became Incarnate.” The Angelus is really a Christo-centric devotion.

  11. Michael says:


    So far, everything you have shared with me about the Marian traditions has been Christo-centric…and that’s a point many miss…

  12. Steve says:

    No need to deprogram on this one Michael. It’s a well written article and fascinating as you mentioned. But we only need to pray to our Lord unless we come to the conclusion that Mary is queen of heaven and sinless in her emaculate conception. I’ll never get there.

  13. Michael says:


    Do you ever ask a friend to pray for you?
    Same thing…

  14. Michael says:

    “unless we come to the conclusion that Mary is queen of heaven and sinless in her emaculate conception. ”

    Those conditions have never been placed on me by Duane or in the materials I’ve read.


  15. Duane Arnold says:

    “But we only need to pray to our Lord unless we come to the conclusion that Mary is queen of heaven and sinless in her emaculate [sic] conception.”

    … Or unless we see Mary as our sister in Christ, Mother of Our Lord, the Theotokos, whom we can ask to pray with us and for us, as we would any other brother or sister in Christ.

  16. Jim says:

    I’ve never asked a friend who has died to pray for me. It is not the same thing. Talking to the dead is not something that should be encouraged. Admire, esteem, and learn from their example, but prayer is to God.

  17. Michael says:


    They’re not dead…they are alive in the presence of God.
    I understand where you’re coming from, though…

  18. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Serious question – is there a present day pecking order in heaven? Can I ask my now departed Uncle Benny to pray for me?

  19. Duane Arnold says:

    Do the martyrs below the altar in the Apocalypse pray?

  20. Jim says:

    I didn’t say that they cease to exist, but by definition, they are dead. They are not omnipresent and I have no reason to believe that they can even hear us.

  21. Steve says:

    I ask friends to pray for me but seriously never considered Mary my best friend. I’m probably closer to MLD’s uncle Benny. Neither one I have met but just thinking I might be able to relate to uncle Benny more. Curious was uncle Benny a Christian?

  22. Jim says:

    In other words, did Jesus teach us to pray or not? Is there one mediator or not?

  23. Duane Arnold says:


    Only one mediator, but many who pray for us.

    From the earliest years of the Christian era, those who died in the faith were still considered part of the Church. Martyrs and those of exceptional holiness had their graves marked with a cross and on the anniversary of their death a laurel wreath was often hung on the cross. (BTW, many believe that this might be the true origin of the so-called Celtic cross.) In time, by the third century, baptistries and churches were built on these sites. Moreover, Christians asked these martyrs and people of holiness to pray for them and with them, because they were still part of the Church.

  24. Xenia says:

    Steve, the Immaculate Conception doctrine is unique to Roman Catholicism and no one else, as far as I know.

    Some objections, with some answers:

    1. Objection: Mary is dead. Answer: God is the God of the living, not the dead. Jesus said He is the God of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac. Therefore, Mary is most certainly not dead. In fact, she (and all the saints) are more alive now than they were when here on earth.

    2. Objection: Ok, so she’s not dead. But there’s no way she can hear hundreds and hundreds of prayer requests. Answer: She dwells in heaven, where the conditions are quite different than those on earth. She dwells in eternity where time is not an issue.

    3. Objection: I will go straight to God, I have no need for an intercessor. Answer: Ok, but be consistent. Don’t ever ask anyone here on earth to pray for you. Stay away from prayer meetings, prayer chains, and most especially don’t visit the Prayer and Praise threads here on the PhxP.

    4. Objection: She was just an ordinary woman, a “tube” that Jesus just sort of slid through. God didn’t even use one of her eggs in His conception* and He doesn’t even have her DNA. She was just an incubator. There was no virtue in her even saying “yes” because she was pre-ordained and had no choice in the matter.** Besides, Jesus called her “woman” in a derogatory way. Answer: Just read Duane’s post, please.

    So basically, once you grant (and you must grant this) that Mary is alive and able to hear our petitions, your only objection is that you don’t believe she takes prayer requests. I believe she does because she is the Champion Leader of us Christians.

    * David Hocking said this to my CC pastor and myself personally. The three of us were having a conversation after one of his sessions and he said God didn’t use one of Mary’s eggs in His conception. My pastor, dumbfounded, said “where do you get that idea?” and Hocking said, in a very dismissive tone, “Go read your Bible.” So Hocking is a material heretic. If Jesus didn’t take on Mary’s flesh and did not have her DNA, He was not fully human… or even human at all, and therefore could not save us. Serious heresy there, David. Nestorianism at the very least.

    ** I heard this miserable idea at a Calvinist Bible study. We were reading the Annunciation passage and I said “I am so happy Mary said ‘yes!’ and the room went bonkers.

  25. Xenia says:

    I think I got ‘formal” and “material” heresy confused. I should have stuck with “heretic.”

  26. Michael says:

    I knew that this would be a tad controversial.
    I think it’s beneficial to learn from primary sources (like Duane and Xenia) about these practices instead of just what we learned in traditions that reject the practices.
    This is a learning and understanding opportunity, not a debate.

  27. Jim says:

    The temptation to get sucked in is great, so I’m bowing out, as I respect your right to believe what you want to believe. Merry Christmas PP!

  28. Xenia says:

    A note to readers who are not familiar with the RC doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. This is NOT the same thing as the Virgin Birth, which all (yes, ALL) Christians adhere to. The Immaculate Conception doctrine says Mary was born without the taint of original sin. Again, this is RCC- specific.

  29. Jean says:


    In my own spirituality, and in the circles where I share my faith, I am single minded in my desire to convey Jesus first and foremost as God’s gift, His mercy seat, His self-sacrifice for us. In Him, we have a gracious Father, a Father, the Lord of Hosts, who is well pleased with us.

    What is it about Jesus and our heavenly Father, which after joyfully forgiving us all our sins and adopting us as His children, clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, that we should point people to someone other than the Triune God with our prayers? Are we still too unclean to pray to our heavenly Father? Is God more willing to listen to Mary than to us? I honestly don’t get the underlying theology of either praying to Mary or asking her to pray for us. Either way, (1) the implication is that there is something lacking in my direct relationship with God, and (2) I am distracted from my direct relationship with God in Christ.

  30. Xenia says:

    Merry Christmas, Jim!

  31. Michael says:

    Merry Christmas, Jim!
    Grateful you’re still here, my friend!

  32. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I am much like Duane as I do not consider myself an evangelical or protestant as the meanings behind the terms are completely different from the way Luther conceived them in the reformation. (I usually catch crap for saying that with modern American Christians.)
    I do consider Lutherans to be the catholic church done right! (I usually catch crap for that one also.)
    I think anyone who does not confess in some form ‘Mary as the mother of God’ to have a failed Christology from the get go (you can guess I also catch crap for that one also.)

    However, I see nothing authorizing me pray to the dearly departed. In fact, to my understanding it gives (1) a false impression of God, that he is too busy and lets his jr associates handle things (2) praying to Mary and the saints is like piling on God and trying to force his hand by sheer number – “if I can get Mary and a bunch of saints praying with me, I have bettered my chances.”

    If I may say, it plays into the theology of glory – that by my actions I can move God.
    Just my thoughts – no one else needs to believe what I believe. 🙂

  33. Xenia says:

    Jean, your post, which I completely understand, reminds me of how I felt when I learned we were expecting our 2nd child. I was happy, of course, but I was also worried that the affection and attention that I was lavishing on Child # One would be splintered, and that I would be so distracted by the baby that I wouldn’t love him as much. I shed some tears over this. But what actually happened, as every parent discovers, is that the arrival of #2 actually INCREASED my love for #1. My devotion wasn’t splintered, it was enforced.

  34. Duane Arnold says:


    As I said above, Marian theology is very Christo-centric. I do not look to her as a mediatrix, but as one who stands along beside me in prayer… and that is as real to me as if I were kneeling with you in church and we were praying together.

  35. Michael says:


    It just means to me that I have more people praying for me…not a distraction at all…

  36. pstrmike says:

    Well written, Duane. I recognize that evangelicalism has ideals in their theology where I disagree. I also realize that there are areas in church tradition that I would disagree with as well.

    While I appeal to tradition at times in defending my theological views, I do so only if I feel there is a good sound biblical foundation that supports those beliefs.

    While I would agree that scripture and tradition does identify the uniqueness of Mary, the practices of honoring her- which are usually far and above all the other saints (and yes, I have some familiarity with the church calendar), is something I see as rooted in tradition, and does not convince me of the value or necessity of the practice.

  37. Duane Arnold says:


    I understand. My view is very much based in Scripture, Tradition and Reason. In seeing Mary honored as “the New Eve” (Justin Martyr) and the honor shown to her from the second century on, the tradition is almost contemporaneous with the formation of the canon. For me, that holds weight.

  38. Duane Arnold says:

    As a side note, on a pastoral level, I do not know of a single priest or pastor who has not had the experience of someone who has lost a loved one asking them, “I still talk to him (or her). Is that alright?” I’m not talking here about necromancy or ouija boards, but Christians who have lost someone. I have always said to them that death is a thin veil and that their loved one is still a part of the church, but now on the other side of that veil. While this usually passes in time, it is also a reminder that the qualities of a relationship – love, trust, etc. – transcends death. The Church in heaven is still part of the Church…

  39. ( |o )====::: says:

    The notion of praying to any human/saint remains a deal-breaker. It is why I cannot ever be a Roman Catholic.

  40. Duane Arnold says:

    G man

    Instead of “to”, how about “with”. Actually, you are already pretty close to doing exactly that when you pray, “thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”…

  41. pstrmike says:

    thanks Duane.

    At the risk of hijacking this thread, what was mentioned in having people pray for us is also a consideration, particularly in the wake of a media campaign to pray for a little girl to be raised from the dead. As I mentioned last week, I think part of the problem with that thinking is that we have to get as many people praying with us as possible for God to act. James the[biological] brother of Jesus (ok, half brother if you prefer) describes Elijah as praying fervently and the heavens shut up the rain. He prays again the the heavens open. There is no record of him getting as many people as he could to join him in prayer, nor any record of praying to Old Testament saints such as Moses or Abraham.

    Sometimes our thinking on prayer gets skewed a bit, and we place more confidence in the amount of prayer we offer rather than to the God we are praying to.

  42. Xenia says:

    Duane, likewise, I have never been to an evangelical funeral where the pastor didn’t make some reference to “Aunt Jane is watching us from heaven as we (sing her favorite song, fix her favorite dish for the meal afterwards) etc. I don’t think they put a lot of thought into the theology, they just naturally, as a Christian, burst forth with this kind of thing. God bless ’em!

  43. Jim says:

    The article is titled, “Why I Pray to Mary”, not “with”.

  44. Duane Arnold says:


    Yes, we see the prayers of the solitary believer, and we also see the prayers of those “agreeing” together. I think much of our praying together is not about results as much as it is the love and support of others…

  45. Steve says:

    Thank you Xenia for elaborating on difference between EO and RCC especially regarding the emaculate conception. I learned something new today. My question to Duane is what do the anglocatholics in his tradition believe about the emaculate conception? Or better yet what do you Duane personally believe about the emaculate conception? Was Mary sinless when she was born or did she also have original sin?

  46. Duane Arnold says:


    Indeed! When I say the Angelus, I pray to Mary that “I might be found worthy of the promises of Christ”…

  47. Duane Arnold says:


    The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was promulgated by the RCC at the end of the 19th century. That being said, it is hinted at starting with Ambrose and Augustine. Luther believed it for much of his life. I think it was a theological construct to emphasize that although Christ was fully human, he was also without the taint of Original Sin. I think this is one of those mysteries which cannot be defined by dogma…

  48. Jean says:


    “When I say the Angelus, I pray to Mary that ‘I might be found worthy of the promises of Christ’…”

    As you can probably imagine, in my Scripture, tradition and reason, this is an abomination. Not necessarily the prayer to Mary, but the prayer itself. I too should bow out at this point.

  49. Duane Arnold says:


    Not all of us are fully formed monergists…

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Not all of us are fully formed monergists…”
    There is no such thing as a ‘not fully formed monergist’ – you are either pregnant or not.
    A not fully formed monergist is a synergist.

    I am not saying one is good and the other not – I am just saying it is dishonest to straddle that fence.

  51. Duane Arnold says:


    If we consider monergistic salvation and synergistic damnation seriously, I imagine that I’m not the only one straddling the fence… and, btw, that’s expressing honesty, not dishonesty as in your insulting comment.

  52. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    anything that disagrees with your view or comment is an offence or an insult. Don’t be such a Gen Z.

  53. Duane Arnold says:

    OK, Boomer. Try making your point without insulting others… if you can.

  54. Xenia says:

    Praying with Mary and all the Saints (I like “with” better than “to”) is a delightful experience but it is not a requirement.

    This is baking day over here. I just rolled up my chocolate Yule log and it only cracked a little. I can make repairs with frosting. I still have to bake some woodland creature cookies for decoration and find a few little pine cones. It’s saturated in Cointreau, by the way, very delish.

    Also to bake today: Little fruity pound cakes for the neighbors and some gluten-free hot-cross buns for tomorrow.

    The 25th is actually St. Herman of Alaska’s day over here in Siberia but we always have non-EO family members coming and we want to preserve their joy of a family Christmas. But no roast beef til Jan 7. We will be serving salmon (while we still can).

    For Jan 7 I’ll make another Yule log to take to Fr. G’s house, along with a platter of BBQ chicken, where we will spend the day, after Christmas Liturgy, as always. He has 25 grandchildren running around so it’s always a lively event!

    So all in all, not a day to bicker about the Blessed Virgin Mary but rather a day to rejoice!

  55. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I asked a serious question earlier that I think went unanswered (if answered I missed it). Is it just as effective to pray to / with my departed Uncle Benny as it is to pray to / with Mary and / or the saints?

  56. Duane Arnold says:

    A serious answer…

    “…even now, among us, he is quibbling over the worship of saints and what the saints are conscious of in heaven. Thus, too, I would solve the question about adoring and invoking God dwelling in the saints. It is a matter of liberty, and it is not necessary either to do it or not to do it.”

  57. Steve says:

    MLD, I asked you if uncle Benny was a Christian.

  58. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, for the conversation let us assume he was. Can we ever know for sure?

  59. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane – we have all seen this Luther “quote” used by the RCC to prove that worshiping Mary and the saints is proper.
    Is this your belief that we should worship the departed?

    My question was easy – is my Uncle Benny a saint that I would pray to and perhaps even worship? Is it not better for me to pray to someone like him who actually knew me?

  60. Steve says:

    I think we can know for sure Mary was a Christian.

  61. pstrmike says:

    Actually, as I gave all this more thought, it is mysterious to me. I won’t derail the thread anymore, but I wonder if the church collectively and universally really understands much about what they assert. There are many holes in the sails. How much chaff is mixed in with the wheat? Makes me wanna join G-man and go “red letter only.”

    ” . . . Thus, too, I would solve the question about adoring and invoking God dwelling in the saints. It is a matter of liberty, and it is not necessary either to do it or not to do it.”

    I think that ‘s where I can land the plane.

    I’m off for the day. mld, say hello to Uncle Benny for me!

  62. Michael says:

    I think we all understand that some tradition object to this sort of prayer.
    I’m ok with that.
    I’m not ok with being disrespectful toward either “side”…it’s not necessary.
    I can rejoice in our common salvation and pray with all the brethren…

  63. Duane Arnold says:

    “Is this your belief that we should worship the departed?”

    I was quoting Luther, not myself… and if you bothered to actually read the article, you would have read this in regard to Mary: “…who was worthy, not of worship, but of veneration.”

  64. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, I think you purposely make things difficult. I asked simply if Mary and the Saints are in a special category to be prayed to / with, or if all the heavenly departed can be prayed to – you replied with a common quote from Luther the RCC used to validate Mary and Saint worship.

  65. Duane Arnold says:

    Well let’s see… you go from Uncle Benny, to Mary, to the saints, to the heavenly departed… golly…

    As the article was on Mary, I wrote, “If one honestly approaches Scripture and tradition, there is little doubt that there is something unique about Mary.”

    …And if the quote from Luther bothers you, I can provide you with several more…

  66. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The Luther quotes don’t bother me. I am sure he is wrong in many areas as are you. I just figured you quoting him about worshiping the Saints was your way of telling me what you believed.
    In the end, I will stick with Jesus and the apostles who all 100% tell us or show by example to whom we should pray (and it’s not Mary.)
    As I said earlier, no one needs to believe what I believe.

  67. Duane Arnold says:

    “As I said earlier, no one needs to believe what I believe.”

    Thank God for small mercies…

  68. Em says:

    Have not read the complete list of posts on this interesting tread, but an immaculate conception would have defeated the purpose of the incarnation…

    Praying to Mary when we have access to the throne of God the Father by Jesus the Christ… seems to me to not grasp the standing AND the responsibility that is ours by adoption

    Dunno, though, do i ? ?

  69. MM says:

    Ok Interesting and thank you Michael for posting this and allowing people to comment.

    Personally I understand the idea, but believe it is not consistent with the Biblical narrative. Admitting that my ability to debate the subject with those who from an academic/scholarly stand point would be futile on my part, I find the practice more a part of the religious synchronization than any solid biblical exegesis.

    So what are my beliefs?

    In contrast to many Cristian traditions I find nothing to compel me to believe the dead, Saints or Mary, have the ability to actually “hear” my prayers. What I do find compelling are the continued words in the text pointing to direct prayer to God, in the name of Jesus, and the remembrance of those who have gone before us in the faith.

    Basically I find there is no need for any form of intermediary, beyond Jesus, between God and man. With that said one must be compelled to both honor and remember Mary and the fact God chose her to bear the Son. It is not to be take lightly in any way.

    She is blessed and should be called such by all subsequent generations.

    BTW, the title is “Why I pray to Mary,” and yet the body of the article actually contrasts with what we (Okay I) think of when prayer “to” Marry is brought up.

    Thank you Duane.

  70. Duane Arnold says:


    Currently having drinks with my bride, but will respond in due course…

  71. Duane Arnold says:


    The Church Fathers drew a distinction between “latria” (worship) and “dulia” (veneration). Worship belongs only to God, through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet there was a recognition of the veneration that was proper towards those people in the created order that God had used/touched/gifted in remarkable ways. As I said in an earlier comment, this took place in the immediate post-apostolic period, about contemporaneous with the formation of the canon of Scripture. Now, if tradition is simply considered of no use or importance, what you say makes sense. If, however, we look to the early church as a model, there is much to be considered…

  72. MM says:


    Tradition always plays a part in how and why we do things. It also colors the interpretations made of the texts. With this in mind the continual examination of practices and traditions which formed them is a good thing.

    I’m aware of your latest comment and admittedly fall in with those who believe many of the church’s traditions, even those traceable as early as the third century, may not be correct and the intent of God.

    Not sure how to put it more simply. But, I respect those who have decided to defend those traditions and practices. Just please don’t make them a test of faith in God.

    Thank you for your response. I do find these things interesting, challenging and enlightening my own understanding.

    PS. The thread on the impeachment really saddened me in the way it divided so many over such a temporal topic. I’d hope we could be more civil.

  73. Duane Arnold says:


    Agree, especially the post script. Have a blessed Christmas!

  74. Good article. My view is from where I live in my ‘hood, RCC from Mexico. The Virgin of Gudalupe, not Mary (or Maria by name). Jesus isn’t mentioned, but implied. The Virgin is primary, God is distant. Signs and wonders… from The Virgin. Syncretism, like the ofrenda for my kids’ GGM, ancestor worship. My D7 cried the other night about her GGM. I assured her that she would see her again on heaven if we believed in Jesus (in so many words). That was a tricky conversation.

  75. brian says:

    This was very moving, I find devotion to Mary very touching in some of the aspects I have seen it. I have seen many of those I have had the honor of working with especially devoted to her. In hours of deep stress, fear, anger, even one-time psychosis Marian prayers seem to help. The first time I ran into a Scott Hahn tract at church you would have thought the antichrist had shown up at church. Someone had left it on one of the pews. I mean we would leave Jack Chick’s psychotic rantings all over the place and think nothing of it.

    I always was terrified deep down about praying to Mary because it would send me directly to eternal perdition. The fact that I was already on the express train to hell just added to the abject terror. I have come to realize that I have an utter, abject, total, fearful, terror of God. Most of my prayers that deal with me personally are basically begging Him not to take me or mine out for just one more day. To actually act for something would and has made me physically ill at times.

    I mean when you hear wrath, wrath, wrath, wrath, wrath and on a good day, wrath. Once in a while, you would hear about grace when they were looking for spiritual scalps but for the most part it was constant wrath. You get the idea God literally and eternally hates you from the foundations of the universe. Mary not so much, but God He was/is/always has been ticked at us with a deep, eternal passion.

    Then I run into the students I work/worked with and I SEE the God of the universe, temperant and patient, loving, and moved by the smallest of needs the largest desires. Who woos us and gives us hope in the darkness. I come to find that if God actually approached us in His pure Divinity we would melt. The fear and terror of God folks felt when God would come close was not because of His anger wor wrath nor even our sin but because of who God is. I often wonder if Mary truly knew Jesus truly was/is as expressed in the song Mary Did You Know. I often wonder if she did, she does now in a way we cant understand. Such verses like Mark 3:21 when compared to the Magnificat in 1:48-50, some say Gen 3:15. I have come to find God cares about the small and the large in ways we can’t comprehend because He is outside of time while being in every moment. We can’t see Him but we are touched in every way by Him.

    In this advent season I wish, hope, and at times even pray we all see the light of Christ Jesus.

  76. shortpolock says:

    Did God stop answering your prayers Duane? That’s the only reason to pray to Mary.
    Mary doesn’t know you, btw. She is in the presence of the Lord and unconcerned with anything on this earth.

  77. Duane Arnold says:


    If you read the Revelation of St. John, those in heaven, in the presence of the Lord, are both aware and concerned…

  78. Babylon's Dread says:

    I don’t pray to Mary. I don’t particularly have an issue of invoking Mary in prayer and certainly no issue with speaking the blessing of Mary. She was/is indeed the most blessed of all women. Even as John was the most blessed of all the prophets and thereby the greatest man born of women.

    However, in the kingdom, we have a greater revelation than John. In the kingdom we have equal access to the throne with even Mary. So I tread lightly on devotions to human saints. Catholicism is clearly flirting with idolatrous conceptions in extreme devotions to Mary and I am confident she would eschew such.

    However, I do stand with my brethren in Redding in their decision to pray for Olive. I do so because unlike most commenters here. I know them and know the nature of their stand. They come from hope and not despair, from victory and not defeat. It took me a few days to assess what was happening. I listened to my friends and that was enough. I heard nothing from the leadership that alarmed me. Grace and Peace.

    Hail Mary Dread

  79. Muff Potter says:

    Xenia wrote:

    My pastor, dumbfounded, said “where do you get that idea?” and Hocking said, in a very dismissive tone, “Go read your Bible.”

    I would have told Hocking right there:
    “I have read my Bible and don’t arrive at the same conclusion as you…”

  80. Michael says:


    I think Kate Bowler said it best in her piece for the Washington Post and on Facebook…
    I also wonder why this is the only time they’ve prayed for a resurrection…my guess is that others have died from the congregation…
    I have to go research who my patron saint is now…

  81. Babylon's Dread says:

    The first time I heard of anyone actually praying for the dead it was from the Anglican Bishop David Pytches who was impacted by John Wimber. Pytches wrote a couple book for his people. One, Spiritual Gifts and the Local Church had a chapter on “Raising the Dead.” It was actually a “how to” as I recall. Pytches was a vicar at St Andrews in Chorleywood, England. I was pleased to meet him in ’99.

    My church prayed for a resurrection 3 years ago when a dear friend died. Alas, I was out of town but blessed them in their desire. I think praying for resurrection is far more common than you imagine. I know it is not at all the first such effort at Bethel. It was simply the first one to be extended and to gain such public notice.

    Taking Jesus seriously will make us look foolish in many ways, but we try to avoid it. I tend to remain both Protestant and Evangelical simply because it has become so odious to be such. I also like to call myself a Christian for the same reasons.

    The things that get us riled are far less than the one thing that unites us; in the fullness of time God sent forth his son, born of woman… Blessed be everyone here and blessed is the one who is and was and is to come.

    Christmas Eve Dread

  82. Duane Arnold says:


    Wishing you a Blessed Feast of the Nativity!

  83. Jim Vander Spek says:


    Duane, I love your take on the rich British Christian tradition. Some time ago, I purchased the above Kindle collection. $2.99 for a whole library is quite a deal and fascinating from start to finish. The volume on Wycliffe as the fountainhead of the Reformation was an eye opener. The books are derided by Catholics as an anti-Catholic screed, but make a compelling argument that Protestantism has a rich history reaching back very early and with many roots. Do you consider Wylie a reliable source?

  84. Duane Arnold says:

    Actually, Wylie was a friend of my wife’s great-grandfather! That being said, he does have an extreme Protestant bias, but some of his profiles of the reformers are outstanding. As you might imagine, he is especially good with the Scots! John Moorman does a very good one volume history of the English church that is very good…

  85. Jim Vander Spek says:

    His volume on the Dutch church is the best I have seen. Hard to comprehend publishing this massive work during the era he lived.

  86. Bruce Wilson says:

    If Mary is so important to our Christian faith, why does she disappear from the New Testament after Acts 1? The only mention of her after Acts 1 is St. Paul’s statement in Galatians 4:4 “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law…” NIV St. Paul doesn’t refer to her by any of the titles later ascribed to her—she’s just a woman, surely a Blessed Virgin who bore the Babe of Bethlehem, but nothing beyond that.

    If Mary is so important to our Christian faith, why doesn’t a single New Testament mention her, and more importantly, provide some teaching or correction regarding her magnificent role in our temporal and eternal salvation?

  87. Duane Arnold says:

    Bruce Wilson,

    In terms of chronology, Galatians was most likely one of the earlier writings and the Gospels, Acts and Revelation were later. The letters of Paul provide very little narrative and, for instance, only quotes the words of Jesus in reference to the eucharist. The Gospels, likely written in the latter part of the century dwell on those things the writers considered important… and Mary is scattered all through those accounts…

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