The Roman Catholic Church officially teaches that Mary is the example, model, hope, and forerunner of the Church. This heretical teaching, which ascribes to Mary things that the Holy Scriptures only ascribe to Jesus Christ, can be seen in the following quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (First Image Books edition published 1995):
‘But while in the most Blessed Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle, the faithful still strive to conquer sin and increase in holiness. And so they turn their eyes to Mary’: in her, the Church is already the ‘all-holy.’ [#829]
After speaking of the Church, her origin, mission, and destiny, we can find no better way to conclude than by looking to Mary. In her we contemplate what the Church already is in her mystery on her own ‘pilgrimage of faith,’ and what she will be in the homeland at the end of her journey. There, ‘in the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity,’ ‘in the communion of all the saints,’ the Church is awaited by the one she venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother.
‘In the meantime the Mother of Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise she shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God.’ [#972]
The lack of Scripture for supporting such a concept of Mary is readily acknowledged by the student of Scripture who recognizes the Scriptures as their ultimate authority. The Roman Catholic Church actually quotes itself in the above quotes, drawing from Lumen Gentium, “Light of the Nations”. Two Scripture references are also supplied (Eph. 5:26-27; 2 Pet. 3:10). These verses, however, say nothing of Mary and therefore do not strengthen the assertions in the slightest. Of course, the Roman Catholic Church does not rely on Scripture alone as its ultimate authority in matters of faith and practice, but likewise has its so-called Tradition and the Magisterium (the teaching body of the Church) which defines what is and is not Tradition and how the Scriptures are to be interpreted. The purpose of this post, however, is not to get into that very detailed area. I simply wish to demonstrate from the Scriptures how the above statements regarding Mary’s role in relation to the Church are actually only true of Christ and therefore are to be recognized as being blasphemous teachings requiring godly repentance.
According to Scripture, it is in Christ that the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle. It is upon Christ that we fix our eyes, as he has gone before us as the founder and perfecter of our faith. The Church contemplates him, not her, when we consider what we shall be in the glory to come. He is the image and beginning of the Church, for we are his body and he is the head of the Church. Numerous Scriptures make plain this glorious truth (listed in canonical order):
Romans 8:29 “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Emphasis added.)
1 Corinthians 15:20-23 (cf. Col. 1:18) “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.” (Emphasis added.)
2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (Emphasis added.)
Ephesians 2:4-7 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Emphasis added.)
Philippians 3:20-21 “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” (Emphasis added.)
Colossians 2:10 “and you have been filled in him [‘made complete’; NASB], who is the head of all rule and authority.” (Emphasis added.)
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Emphasis added.)
1 Peter 2:21-23 “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” (Emphasis added.)
1 John 3:2-3 “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (Emphasis added.)
Whereas the Roman Catholic Church presents an exalted view of Mary, setting her up as the all-holy forerunner of the Church to whom we turn our eyes, the Scriptures abundantly teach these things as true of Christ and Christ alone. If what the Roman Catholic Church says of Mary is true, would we not expect to find it to be abundantly taught in the writings of the apostles? If Mary is as central to the life of the Church as the Roman Catholic Church makes her out to be, we would certainly expect to find such things being taught in the Scriptures when it speaks of the life of the Church. Yet, we find none of it. Why do we not find this Mariology being asserted and practiced in the book of Acts? Why do we not find this Mariology in the book of Ephesians which speaks so strongly on the nature of the Church? So on and so-forth. When we look in the Scriptures we do not find this Roman Catholic teaching of Mary. Instead, we find repeated references to and discussion of the glory and blessedness of Jesus Christ and the devotion that Christians are to have of him.
What do you put your trust in? An organization that quotes itself as authoritative, or in the self-authenticating, authoritative word of God? It alone is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16).