Hey Protestants, how many of you know what the Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates?
If you said Jesus, you’re wrong. Nope, this Catholic celebration honors the church doctrine that Mary was not tainted by original sin. If that belief makes your eyebrows arch, you may not be alone. Catholics, who traditionally venerate Mary much more than Protestants, have a host of beliefs that today we may see as extra-biblical.
But that may be because Catholics’ understanding of the development of doctrine differs from Protestants, says Beeson Divinity School dean (and proud Southern Baptist) Timothy George.
“Catholics would say, ‘Everything we believe about Mary is somehow or other rooted or grounded in something that’s in the Bible,’” said George.
George doesn’t personally believe Catholic teaching on the immaculate conception, Mary’s perpetual virginity, or the idea she was assumed into heaven without physically dying—but he does think that Protestants should find a lot more to love about the mother of God.
George joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor-in-chief Mark Galli this week to discuss how Mary models discipleship, what the reformers thought of her, and whether or not Protestants should pray to her.