The News From St. John

Pastor & Cindy will be out-of-town from Thursday, July 18th through Saturday, July 27th. This is for the LC-MS Convention in Tampa Bay, Florida where Pastor will be representing our congregation. Linda Wyneken will be covering the church office during this time. Pastor and the Elders are arranging for coverage for the Worship Service on Sunday, July 21st. Please contact the Elders if a need arises while Pastor is traveling. They can be reached at: Bobby Smith, (918) 864-4513; Ron Greif, (918) 269-4560; & Steve Wyneken, (918) 373-1135. As always Pastor can be reached on his cell phone, (918) 864-2022. 

Volume 13      JULY 2019      Issue 7 

Greetings in the name of our risen Lord! 
    While in New Mexico at the start of June I had a fascinating discussion with a very knowledgeable Roman Catholic layman. He was curious to know exactly what Lutherans taught on various topics. One set of questions led to me having a bit of an education on Catholic Doctrine. He asked “Did Jesus have brothers or sisters through Mary?” and “Do Lutherans believe that Mary was sinless and a perpetual virgin?” This led to a discussion on the Catholic Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Having never delved into the topic I assumed that it referred to the virgin birth of Jesus. Nope, I was wrong. See the note below for a more detailed answer. The short of it is that Mary’s conception was the Immaculate Conception and therefore she was without sin and remained a virgin until her death. She bore no other children during her life.
     Let me begin with the idea that Jesus had no (half) brothers and sisters. James is called Jesus' brother (see, for example, Galatians 1). His "mother and brothers" came to see him (Matthew 12; Mark 3; Luke 8). Yet many early extra-Biblical records claim that Mary had no other children, indeed, that she was Semper Virgo ("Always Virgin"). Often the Bible, as well as other texts, will use "brother" or "sister" for a close cousin or for a step- or half-sibling. "Father" often denotes a grandfather or more extended leap in the family tree (cf. the Jews claiming Abraham as their father). A familial title may also bespeak a spiritual relationship (such as Christians as Abraham’s descendants or Jesus' speaking of his "mother and brothers and sisters"). To dogmatically insist or deny that Jesus had siblings through Mary is to go beyond Scripture.
     I didn't do an exhaustive search of all of Rome's teachings before. However, the claim of the Roman Catholic Church is based in part upon a high regard for the person called by the angel "blessed among women." This is certainly a Biblical teaching--one that all Christians should agree upon. The Catholic Church also gives much weight to the testimony of the early believers and upholds centuries of tradition. My main disagreement with Catholic Mariology concerns her very nature--was she immaculately conceived and free from the sins and desires of this life? I find no Biblical evidence of this. Also, some of the push for confessing her perpetual virginity comes from those who believe that marital sexual relationships are, in and of themselves, sinful. This, also, I cannot find in Scripture.

Your Servant in Christ,

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John Lutheran Church, 607 S. E. 9th Street, Pryor, OK 74361 
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