Will Evangelicals Hail Mary?

Article excerpt

THE SOURCE: "Evangelicals and Mary" by Tim Perry, in Theology Today, July 2008.

STARTING WITH THEIR OPPOSITION to abortion access, Catholics and evangelical Christians have a lot in common politically. But they still differ dramatically in their theology and everyday worship practices, and that is nowhere more apparent than in their reverence for Mary, the mother of Jesus. Among Catholics, the role of the Virgin has traditionally been central, among evangelicals, almost nonexistent. Now evangelicals are rediscovering Mary, writes Tim Perry, who teaches theology at Providence College and Seminary in Manitoba, for reasons both devotional and theological.

The near-universal veneration of Mary became a casualty of the Reformation. As Protestant leaders rebelled against the sacramental and clerical system of the established Catholic church, Mary was almost written out of their version of Christianity, to be mentioned only at Christmas, if at all. Even the Dutch reform-minded humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), no pushover for theological orthodoxy, thought that under the Reformation "not only have the abuses stopped, so has appropriate devotion. …

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