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Faith/Spirituality Forum: Catholic vs. Lutheran

by Catherine Frakas 22 Jul 2001

Catholic vs. Lutheran QUESTION from Dave on September 16, 2002 Hello, I am a Lutheran and have been dating a Catholic woman and attending her Catholic church. I have a few questions: I heard a prayer during the service addressed to Mary, mother of God While I certainly see Mary as an important role as the earthly mother of Jesus, Mary is certainly not the mother of God. Did I misunderstand or does the Catholic faith see Mary as the mother of God? Also, in one of your forum discussions, you mention that Catholics do not believe in faith alone. Does it not say in the Bible that by grace you are saved through faith, not by works lest any man should boast. ? Does this not mean that by faith in Christ you are saved? I hope I am not seeming critical, I am just ignorant of the practices and beliefs within the Catholic church and would like to understand better the differences in our faith.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on September 17, 2002 Dear Dave:
Mary is indeed the Mother of God and the Church fathers going all the way back to the second century have taught this.
Jesus was God. Mary is the mother of Jesus. That is why she has that title.
Historically, one of the reasons that the Church used this title Mother of God was to emphsize and to coounter the heresy that Jesus was not God, but only human. At the time this heresy was a real problem. Thus the title Mother of God emphasized that Jesus was indeed God.
On faith alone. NO WHERE in the Bible does it say that salvation is by faith alone. NO WHERE.
Martin Luther, who was probably demonized from the accounts we read of much of his behavior and was certainly a profoundly arrogant and prideful took it upon himself to rip the Bible apart. He ripped out 7 books in the Old Testament; 7 books that Jesus read and loved. He wanted to rip out the book of James, Hebrews, and Revelations.
When he translated the New Testament into German he added the word alone to Romans 3:28.
What does the bible say about a person to takes away or adds to the bible?
Here is an actual quote from Martin Luther when he was confronted with why he added words to Romans 3:28:
You tell me what a great fuss the Papist are making because the word 'alone' is not in the text of Paul. If your Papist makes such a row about the word 'alone,' say right out to him: 'Dr. Martin Luther will have it so,' and say: 'Papist and asses are one and the same thing.' I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word 'alone' is not in the Latin or the Greek text, and it was not necessary for the Papist to teach me that. It is true those letters are not in it.... It shall remain in my New Testament, and if all the Popish donkeys were to get mad and besides themselves, they will not get it out.
Thus sayeth the profoundly humble Luther.
In fact the only place were the phrase faith alone appears in the Bible in in James 2:24 where is says we are NOT saved by faith alone.
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