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Saturday, 1 August 2009

The Blessed Mother for Baptists

I've always thought that many Protestants actually betray their own sense of fidelity to Scripture when they bend over backwards to ignore the major female figure of the entire Bible.
Scholar says Baptists neglect lessons from Virgin Mary

A Latina theologian says overreaction to Catholic veneration of the Virgin Mary has caused Baptists to miss important biblical teaching associated with the mother of Jesus

Nora Lozano, associate professor of biblical and theological studies at Baptist University of the Americas, found potential liberation for women -- both Protestant and Catholic -- in Latin America and elsewhere by taking another look at the biblical story of Mary, Jesus' mother.

Lozano, a participant in theological conversations between the Baptist World Alliance and the Vatican, made the remarks in a presentation to the BWA Commission on Doctrine and Interchurch Cooperation at a meeting of global Baptists in the Netherlands.

She noted the Mexican story of the Virgin of Guadalupe -- a purported apparition of Mary to an indigenous peasant in Mexico City in the 16th century -- and how closely it ties the identity of the nation's Catholicism with Mary, who serves as a sort of "demi-goddess."

There are analogous Virgin Mary cults of devotion in other Latin American countries.

Lozano said Mexican Baptists and other Protestants, meanwhile, actively ignore Mary, to the extent of giving the biblical character short shrift.
"It seems that there is a consensus among these Baptists to disregard, neglect or reject the Virgin Mary," Lozano said...

Lozano said that embracing the "life-giving" aspects of Marian veneration can be both healthy for all women and a bridge between Latin American Protestants and Catholics, she contended.

Lozano pointed to two passages dealing with Mary in the Christmas story as recorded in Luke's Gospel: The angel's announcement to Mary that she would bear Christ (Luke 1:26-38), and Mary's song of praise to God, often called the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55).

Mary is not a passive presence in those stories, Lozano pointed out, but an active and willing participant in God's work who was "well aware of social injustices," she said.

"She is subject with a strong will and a social consciousness," Lozano noted.

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