“Meeting the Protestant Response,” #46: “Elizabeth simply uses the title lord in the sense of an earthly ruler. She’s referring to the fruit of Mary’s womb, Jesus, as her messianic king, not the divine messianic king.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard begins a new chapter in which he defends the notion of Mary as the “Mother of God” using Luke 1:43 as his proof-text:

“And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

Roman Catholics unreservedly identify Mary as the “Mother of God” in their veneration (aka worship) of her as the semi-divine Advocate, Mediatrix of all graces, and Co-Redemptrix. Evangelicals object to Mary being venerated/worshiped as the “Mother of God.” Mary was certainly the earthly mother of Jesus, but Jesus existed as the divine Son of God prior to His incarnation. To grant Mary the title, “Mother of God,” accords to her a heretical status that is not warranted by Scripture. We’ll touch upon the historical development of this “Mother of God” title farther below.


Protestant response #46: “Elizabeth simply uses the title lord in the sense of an earthly ruler. She’s referring to the fruit of Mary’s womb, Jesus, as her messianic king, not the divine messianic king.”

Broussard writes, “Protestant Bible scholar Walter L. Leifeld argues that we shouldn’t interpret (Luke 1:43) as a reference to Mary, “mother of God.” His alternative interpretation is that Elizabeth was referring to Jesus as the Messiah. He writes: ‘Nowhere in the [New Testament] is Mary called ‘mother of God.’ Deity is not confined to the person of Jesus (we may say, “Jesus is God,’ but not all of ‘God is Jesus’). She was, however, the mother of Jesus the Messiah and Lord.’ The evidence he gives is the fact that Luke frequently uses ‘Lord’ as a title, 95 out of 166 occurrences in the synoptics. And not every (occurrence) is charged with a divine meaning. Moreover, so Leifeld argues, Jesus is called ‘Lord’ elsewhere in the Lukan birth narrative in a non-divine way (‘For to you is born this day in the city of David a savior, who is Christ the Lord’ – Luke 2:11).”

Broussard’s response

Broussard concedes that Luke often uses kurios “Lord” in a non-divine way ( e.g., Luke 12:36, 37, 42, etc.). However, Broussard argues that in Luke 1:43, the writer is “drawing a parallel between Mary and the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant.” Broussard cites three OT passages as proof-texts for his assertion:

  • “And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” – 2 Samuel 6:9
  • “And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.” – 2 Samuel 6:5. Broussard’s suggests that David makes merry before the Ark of the Covenant just as Elizabeth celebrated the arrival of Mary.
  • “And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.” – 2 Samuel 6:11. Broussard’s argument is that the Ark of the Covenant was in the house of Obed-edom for three months, the same amount of time Mary resided with Elizabeth.

Concludes Broussard, “Since Luke is paralleling Elizabeth’s ‘mother of my Lord’ with David’s ‘the ark of the Lord,’ it stands to reason that Luke intends for us to take Elizabeth’s cry as a reference to almighty God.”

My response

Roman Catholics attempt to legitimize their Mariolatry by claiming Eve and the Ark of the Covenant as Old Testament prophetic types of Mary, but these are baseless claims using eisegetical sophistry. The Ark of the Covenant was in its entirety a prophetic type/symbol of Jesus Christ. The box or chest of the Ark contained the the jar of manna, Aaron’s staff, and the Ten Commandments inscribed on the two stone tablets. All of these items pointed to Jesus Christ. He is the Bread of Life and the Good Shepherd, and He kept the Law perfectly. However, on the exterior top of the Ark, between the two decorative cherubim, was the most important component of the Ark, the Mercy Seat. Once each year, the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies (the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle, and later, the Temple) where the Ark was kept and he atoned for his sins and the sins of the Israelites. The High Priest sprinkled the blood of a sacrificed animal onto the Mercy Seat to appease the judgement of God for past sins committed. The Mercy Seat was the only place in the entire world where this atonement could take place. This was a prophetic foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice – the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross for the remission of sins. The Ark was entirely about Jesus Christ. There isn’t one iota of prophetic foreshadowing of Mary connected to the Ark. It was all about Jesus Christ.

As for the history of this “Mother of God” title, there were those in the early church, the Nestorians, who claimed Jesus’ divine and human natures are completely distinct and separate. The Council of Ephesus in AD 431 affirmed the Scriptural view that Jesus is fully God and fully man in one indivisible Person. The council emphasized this doctrine by declaring that Mary was Theotókos (“God-bearer”), maintaining that she physically gave birth to Jesus, the indivisible God-Man. Over time, Mariolaters twisted this Theotókos into the “Mother of God” title, which places Mary in preeminence over Jesus Christ in accordance with Mariolatrous beliefs and practices. Yet the divine Son of God existed eternally before Mary was conceived. Mary was only a humble vessel used by God. She is not an exalted deity that the title “Mother of God” unsubtly infers. It’s regrettable that the members of the Council of Ephesus chose to use Mary and Theotókos as the basis for countering the Nestorian heresy. They did not foresee the widespread Mariolatry that would eventually flourish.

As for Elizabeth’s statement, “mother of my Lord,” in Luke 1:43, “this expression is not in praise of Mary, but in praise of the child whom she bore. It was a profound expression of Elizabeth’s confidence that Mary’s child would be the long-hoped-for Messiah” (Leifeld’s point – Tom).*

*The MacArthur Bible Commentary, 2005, p. 1274.

See the excellent article below for more information.

Got Questions – Is Mary the mother of God (Theotokos)?

Next week, Protestant response #47: “If you take some parallels with the ark, then you need to take all of them.”

Essentials of Catholic Theology – Lesson 7: Roman Catholic Mariology

Thanks for joining us this Sunday as we review Dr. Gregg Allison’s seventh of seven lessons comprising his “Essentials of Catholic Theology” course.

BiblicalTraining.org offers this online course free of charge. To find out how to access these free lessons, see my introductory post here.

Lesson 7: Roman Catholic Mariology

In this lesson, Dr. Allison does an excellent job of comparing the Biblical view of Mary, as a humble servant of the Lord who needed to be saved like the rest of us, to Roman Catholicism’s view of Mary as exalted semi-deity and Advocate, Mediatrix of all graces, and (unofficially) Co-Redemptrix. It’s amazing to me how Rome can examine two Biblical texts, Luke 11:27-28 and Matthew 12:46-50, which are clear warnings against Mariology and insist that they support Mariology. I’ve had Catholic bloggers write to me in the past insisting those two passages sanction Mariology. I scratched my head, like, “Huh?” They were insisting black was actually white, but such is the case with spiritual blindness. I’m so glad Dr. Allison touched upon those two specific passages in this lesson.

Lesson 7 Outline: The Roman Catholic Mariology



A. Mary’s personal history

B. Mary’s titles and honors


A. Scripture and tradition

B. Interpretation of Marian texts

C. Mary as the sinless mother of God provides no hope for sinful people


This lesson concludes the “Essentials of Catholic Theology” course taught by Dr. Gregg Allison, professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and offered by biblicaltraining.org that we’ve reviewed the last seven Sundays. This was a very informative course and I encourage all evangelicals who are curious about Roman Catholicism or who have erroneously heard or read that the RCC also teaches the genuine Gospel to make it a point to watch the seven video lessons for themselves.

I appreciate the work of Dr. Allison who regularly partners with Dr. Leonardo De Chirico and the Reformanda Initiative ministry. Dr. Allison has written two excellent books on Roman Catholicism:

Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment (2014) available at Amazon here.

40 Questions About Roman Catholicism (2021) available at Amazon here.

Reformanda Initiative Podcast, S2.E7: The Theological Pitfalls of Mariology

Welcome to this week’s installment of our Reformanda Initiative podcast series! I’m excited to present the ministry of Dr. Leonardo De Chirico and his associates at Reformanda Initiative as they examine Roman Catholic theology in order to inform and equip evangelicals.

Season 2, Episode 7: The Theological Pitfalls of Mariology

Show Notes

In this episode we examine the major theological pitfalls of Mariology in the Roman Catholic Church.
Note: Please excuse the recording irregularities, we were in separate locations and had to record the episode on Zoom.

My Comments

There are numerous theological pitfalls associated with Roman Catholicism’s Mariology, but in a nutshell, the RC Mary supplants Jesus Christ in His exclusive offices as Mediator and Redeemer. The RCC would vehemently protest that Mary doesn’t replace Christ, but “shares” in His offices, yet the great amount of piety the church devotes to Mary, both collectively and individually, reveals otherwise. Mary also replaces the Holy Spirit in His roles as Comforter, Counselor, Advocate, and Guide. Therefore, Mariology is an assault on Biblical Christology, Pneumatology, and Trinitology. For Catholics, Mary has been elevated to a position as the fourth and most beloved member of an anti-Biblical “Quarternity.” As the RI guys also discuss, Catholic Mary represents a degree of human goodness that Catholics must aspire to. This undergirds the RC theology that mankind is only spiritually wounded and rehabilitable rather than being sinfully depraved and totally unable to merit salvation.

Season 2, Episode 7: The Theological Pitfalls of Mariology
Featuring Leonardo De Chirico, Reid Karr, and Clay Kannard
December 10, 2020 – 39 minutes

Sorry, there’s no YouTube video version of this particular podcast.

Next week: Season 2, Episode 8: The Year of Saint Joseph

Reformanda Initiative Podcast, S2.E6: The Historical Development of Mariology and Marian Typology

Welcome to this week’s installment of our Reformanda Initiative podcast series! I’m excited to present the ministry of Dr. Leonardo De Chirico and his associates at Reformanda Initiative as they examine Roman Catholic theology in order to inform and equip evangelicals.

Season 2, Episode 6: The Historical Development of Mariology and Marian Typology

Show Notes

In part two we discuss how the Roman Catholic Church arrived at a fully developed Mariology from the Mary presented in the Bible. We also discuss how typology has been influential in the RCC’s understanding of Mary, especially with teachings such as the Immaculate Conception, the Bodily Assumption of Mary, Mary as Mediatrix, etc.

My Comments

As Dr. De Chirico mentions, Mariology (aka Mariolatry) entered into the institutional RC church via popular belief and practice. The pagan religionists of the ancient world had a strong affinity for the mother goddess and this was adapted into Marian “devotion” (aka worship). Mariology has no explicit Scriptural support, so RC theologians force-fit Marian typology into Old Testament passages (Mary as the new Eve, Mary as the new Ark of the Covenant) and extrapolate from single New Testament verses or short passages a complex Mariology (“Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’” – John 19:27). For those wishing to learn more about the syncretization of ancient pagan mother-goddess worship and nascent Roman Catholicism I recommend “The Virgin: Mary’s Cult and the Re-emergence of the Goddess” by British historian, Geoffrey Ashe.

Season 2, Episode 6: The Historical Development of Mariology and Marian Typology
Featuring Leonardo De Chirico, Reid Karr, and Clay Kannard
November 30, 2020 – 42 minutes

For the YouTube video version of this particular podcast, see here.

Next week: Season 2, Episode 7: The Theological Pitfalls of Mariology

Reformanda Initiative Podcast, S2.E5: An Introduction to Mariology and Marian Devotion

Welcome to this week’s installment of our Reformanda Initiative podcast series! I’m excited to present the ministry of Dr. Leonardo De Chirico and his associates at Reformanda Initiative as they examine Roman Catholic theology in order to inform and equip evangelicals.

Season 2, Episode 5: An Introduction to Mariology and Marian Devotion

Show Notes

In this episode we lay the groundwork for our discussion on Mary by underscoring the fact that Mariology and Marian devotion are intrinsic to Roman Catholic theology and practice. In other words Mariology is a core issue, not a peripheral issue that can be set aside and ignored. The intrinsic nature of Mariology is expressed in daily prayers to her, in shrines and churches dedicated to her, and pilgrimages to visit places of Marian apparitions that attract millions of Catholic faithful. We also briefly respond to the question, “Who is the Mary of the Bible?” and “How should evangelicals present Mary?”

My Comments

This episode is the first of three podcasts in which the RI guys discuss Mariology, i.e., “Mariolatry” for us more polemical types. When evangelicals think of Catholic quirks, what usually comes to mind is RC-ism’s focus on Mary, although its false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit is its deadliest heresy. The RCC has elevated Mary to semi-deity and accorded her the offices of Advocate, Mediatrix of all graces, and (unofficially) Co-Redemptrix. As the RI guys point out, it’s difficult to discuss Mary with Catholics because they base their worship (aka “veneration”) of her not on Scripture, but on RC “sacred tradition,” especially as they conflate their tender-hearted feelings of love for their human mother with their devotion to Mary.

Season 2, Episode 5: An Introduction to Mariology and Marian Devotion
Featuring Leonardo De Chirico, Reid Karr, and Clay Kannard
November 23, 2020 – 47 minutes

For the YouTube video version of this particular podcast, see here.

Next week: Season 2, Episode 6: The Historical Development of Mariology and Marian Typology

Mariolatry on prime time’s “60 Minutes”

The Sunday, December 18 edition of the CBS television news magazine, “60 Minutes,” featured a 14-minute segment titled, “Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes: Investigating medically unexplained cures.” Hmm, I was curious to see what tack the show would take regarding the Lourdes “phenomenon” and watched it. But first, some historical background.

In 1858, fourteen-year-old Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes, France claimed that Mary appeared to her eighteen times at the Massabielle Grotto next to the Gave de Pau River. Later that same year, Catherine Latapie of nearby Loubajac traveled to the Lourdes grotto and claimed to have been cured of paralysis of two fingers due to the intercession of Mary. The Roman Catholic church subsequently endorsed the “miracle” and the Lourdes apparitions and set about building an immense, 126-acre pilgrimage shrine with many imposing structures (three basilicas and twenty-five chapels). French officials and entrepreneurs in turn set about building transportation and accommodation resources at Lourdes to process the pilgrim throngs. Three-point-five million pilgrims per year (9589 per day) flock to Lourdes seeking a blessing or miracle from Our Lady of Lourdes. Blessed “holy water” from a spring at the grotto, purported to have miraculous healing properties, is sold throughout the world. Although Lourdes has only 14,000 inhabitants, its 350 hotels and 40,000 hotel beds make it second only to Paris in tourist accommodations in France. There are 200 souvenir shops in Lourdes selling Marian tchotchke. Marian apparitions are big business.

In the 14-minute “60 Minutes” segment below, it is claimed that 70 medical miracles have occurred at Lourdes since 1858. Let’s use a conservative estimate and say 100,000 of the 3.5 million pilgrims who visit Lourdes each year seek a medical miracle. That would work out to a total of 16,400,000 people who have traveled to Lourdes since 1858 hoping for a medical miracle. The actual number is probably much higher, but based on our conservative estimate, 70 confirmed cures in 164 years works out to only a .0004 percent cure rate. The human body is a miraculous creation. Illnesses deemed incurable and/or terminal have been reversed and cured by the body’s own immune system. The mind also plays a large, sometimes unexplainable role in health. Alleged “miracles” may not be miracles, especially when the scrutinizing medical experts are connected to the RCC. Missing in all of this is the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Genuine salvation in Christ is the only cure for mankind’s sin problem.

Marian apparitions and Marian worship/veneration contradict the teaching of Scripture. The Roman Catholic church syncretically adapted pagan mother-goddess worship into the worship of Mary beginning with the Collyridians of Arabia in the 4th century. The Collyridians got their name from the collyris (Greek: “cakes”) offered to mother Mary.

Check out the 14-minute “60 Minutes” segment below. If you are a born-again Bible believer the idolatry will grieve your soul. It’s revealing that Jesus Christ is mentioned only once during the course of this 14-minute segment and only as a “possible” source of a mystical “inner-voice” communication. For an objective examination of how the Lourdes scam became a national and international sensation, see my review of “The Happening at Lourdes: The Sociology of the Grotto” by Alan Neame, here.

“60 Minutes” presented a Catholic-biased view of the Lourdes apparitions and “miracles.” Why didn’t the journalism show demonstrate some balance in its approach and include a critique from an evangelical minister? Perhaps evangelical ministers who take a critical approach regarding Romanism are getting harder to find these days?

Above: One liter of Lourdes blessed “holy water” sells for $60 at Amazon.
Above: The large Gare de Lourdes train station processes thousands of pilgrims to and from Lourdes each day.
Above: A map of the grandiose, 126-acre Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes shrine visited by 10,000 credulous pilgrims every day.

An infallible Catholic dogma based upon a blatant translation error?

Every once in a while I come across a fact about Roman Catholicism that’s STUNNING in its implications, like the one below.


I’m currently reading an interesting examination of Roman Catholicism – “Exodus from Rome: A Biblical and Historical Critique of Roman Catholicism” (2014) by Todd Baker. A review of the book will be forthcoming, but Baker brings to light a very interesting circumstance that deserves a post of its own.

On July 18, 1870, the First Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic church issued the doctrinal constitution, Pastor Aeternus (“Eternal Shpherd”), which declared the pope is infallible under certain limited conditions. The doctrine of papal infallibility asserts that the pope cannot err or teach error when he speaks on matters of faith and morals, ex cathedra, or “from the chair” of the Apostle Peter—that is, in his role as supreme teacher of the church. The RCC asserts the Holy Spirit directly assists/guides the pope when “he proclaims by a definitive act some doctrine of faith or morals.”

Some non-Catholics and even Catholics mistakenly believe the doctrine of papal infallibility applies to everything the pope says, but it’s supposedly only when he speaks ex cathedra, in his capacity as supreme teacher of the church, is the pope alleged to be infallible. So when has the pope spoken ex cathedra? Although the Roman Catholic church has been in existence for 1500 years, Catholic theologians can only agree on two papal declarations as being ex cathedra and infallible: Ineffabilis Deus (“Ineffable God”) of 1854 in which pope Pius IX defined the immaculate (free from original sin) conception of Mary and Munificentissimus Deus (“The most bountiful God”) of 1950 in which pope Pius XII defined the assumption of Mary bodily into Heaven.

None of the above is Biblical, but now that we’ve gotten the papal infallibility basics out of the way, we can get to RC-ism’s papal infallibility very-sticky-wicket that Todd Baker pointed out.

In Ineffabilis Deus, pope Pius IX declared that Mary was conceived without sin and lived a sinless life thereafter. Pius IX appealed to Genesis 3:15 as his primary Scriptural proof-text. However, Jerome (d. 420 AD) had mistranslated Genesis 3:15 as part of his Latin Vulgate. Below is the translation of Genesis 3:15 from the 1899 edition of the Douay-Rheims English Bible (formerly the official RC English translation), which was based upon Jerome’s Latin Vulgate mistranslation:

“I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”

Jerome’s interpretation had Mary as the victor over Satan. However, Jerome had mistranslated the masculine Hebrew pronouns as feminine.

The RCC eventually acknowledged its interpretation of Genesis 3:15 was incorrect. The New Revised Standard Version Catholic Bible (1989) translates Genesis 3:15 as:

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

The verse prophetically declares that Jesus Christ, not Mary, will strike the head of/defeat Satan. Yes, RC Bible scholars now acknowledge that Jerome mistranslated Genesis 3:15.

Let’s now get back to Pius IX. In Ineffabilis Deus, Pius appealed to Jerome’s mistranslation of Genesis 3:15 in support of Mary’s alleged immaculate conception as sinless co-victor with Christ over Satan. He wrote:

“Hence, just as Christ, the Mediator between God and man, assumed human nature, blotted the handwriting of the decree that stood against us, and fastened it triumphantly to the cross, so the most holy Virgin, united with him by a most intimate and indissoluble bond, was, with him and through him, eternally at enmity with the evil serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and thus crushed his head with her immaculate foot. – for the full text of Ineffabilis Deus see here.

This is important, folks. Understand this. There is no ambiguity. What we have here is an allegedly infallible decree by an allegedly infallible pope that was at least partially-based upon an admittedly erroneous translation of a Scriptural text. It’s crystal clear from the evidence that Pius IX was not under divine guidance when propagating the dogma of the immaculate conception. His argument was a false premise partially-based upon an erroneous translation. If Pius IX had been infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit as the RCC claims, he would have certainly discerned that his church’s interpretation of Genesis 3:15 was faulty. The evidence is irrefutable. Ineffabilis Deus and Pius IX are proven to be fallible beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I’m indebted to Todd Baker for alerting me to this papal infallibility sticky-wicket. Of course, the dogma of the immaculate conception of Mary is altogether un-Biblical as I’ve addressed many times in the past (see here). Today, I just wanted to focus on how this Genesis 3:15 mistranslation quandary absolutely debunks the RCC’s claims of papal infallibility.

Postscript: The painting above is just one example. There are literally hundreds (thousands?) of Catholic paintings, statues, and illustrations depicting Mary standing victoriously upon Satan/the serpent, all based upon Jerome’s mistranslation of Genesis 3:15.

Throwback Thursday: Critique of Mariolatry quickly turns into ecumenical hug fest

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on October 1, 2016 and has been revised.


The Cult of the Virgin: Catholic Mariology and the Apparitions of Mary
By Elliot Miller and Kenneth B. Samples
Baker Book House, 1992, 188 pages

1 Star

“The Cult of the Virgin” is a semi-interesting examination of Roman Catholic Mariolatry. Catholicism’s elevation of Mary to semi-deity as Mediatrix and (unofficially) Co-Redemptrix has absolutely no scriptural foundation and seriously detracts from the work of Jesus Christ. I especially found interesting the chapters on Medjugorje and the other alleged Marian apparitions.

However, a serious problem with this book is that the authors, Elliot Miller and Kenneth Samples, approach Roman Catholicism as a legitimate branch of Christianity. Both authors are connected with the Christian Research Institute (CRI), an evangelical apologetics ministry that researches cults and non-Christian religions. The founder of CRI, Walter Martin, stated in 1980 that “if any Catholics are saved they are saved not because of the Roman Catholic Church, but in spite of it.” Since the death of Martin in 1989, CRI has progressively softened its stance toward Catholicism. Despite Rome’s many unscriptural doctrines, CRI declines to categorize Catholicism as a heretical church. Hank Hanegraaff,* Martin’s successor, believes that while Rome teaches several doctrinal errors, it is, at its core, a Christian church. There’s a recording of Elliot Miller, co-author of this book, on YouTube stating it’s possible for Catholics to be saved by following official Catholic doctrine (see here).

But for many evangelicals who remember the reasons for the Reformation, it’s still quite clear that the gospel of Rome is fundamentally different from the Gospel of Jesus Christ of the New Testament. For Rome, salvation comes by receiving its clergy-administered sacraments and by obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!). In contrast, evangelical Christians believe the Biblical message of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Is justification by faith or by works? It can’t be both (Romans 11:6). Yes, Rome does espouse a few orthodox doctrines, but its position is wrong on so many others, most importantly regarding justification and salvation, that it doesn’t warrant the respect and legitimacy offered by Miller and Samples.

The accommodating authors even go so far as to include a short rebuttal from popular Jesuit priest, Mitch Pacwa! They introduce Pacwa by asserting that his “manner of life evidences a strong personal relationship with Christ” (p.161). Hmm. As a Catholic priest, Pacwa teaches the Catholic faithful that they must merit their salvation by receiving the sacraments and by refraining from mortal sin. Even one unconfessed “mortal” sin dooms a Catholic to an eternal hell. How does that square with having a “personal relationship with Christ” who came to save sinners, not self-righteous, works-religionists? Pacwa is a fiercely conservative Catholic apologist who has frequently debated evangelical Christians and appears regularly on the conservative Catholic EWTN cable network. I have personally witnessed Pacwa on EWTN promoting the Catholic doctrine of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Search Amazon for books authored by Pacwa and you’ll find he has written many, many titles which promote Catholicism’s standard, unbiblical doctrines, unchanged since the Reformation. By embracing Pacwa as a “brother in Christ,” Elliot and Miller are burying their heads in the sand since Pacwa and his church clearly teach a “different gospel” of sacramental grace and merit. Speaking as an ex-Catholic who left religious ritualism and legalism for the GOOD NEWS! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, I am perplexed by Elliot’s and Miller’s blindness.

Rome has changed none of its core doctrines since the Reformation, so why do some evangelicals now embrace it? Co-author Samples has pointed elsewhere to theologian Peter Kreeft** as an example of a Catholic who allegedly “holds the Reformation in high regard” and supposedly believes the Gospel of grace. As a Catholic, Kreeft is obliged to believe God’s salvific grace is dispensed through the sacraments like water from a tap. Search Amazon for books authored by Kreeft and you’ll find an amazing number of titles written by him which all promote Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and works-righteousness.

The authors openly confess that “The Cult of the Virgin” is an effort to promote “ecumenical dialogue.” Miller, Samples, Norman Geisler (who wrote the forward to this book), and other compromising evangelicals can quibble with Catholics over issues like Mariolatry, but the bottom-line issue for evangelicals is Catholicism’s works-based justification, which is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Of course, Catholic apologists object to accusations that their religion teaches works-righteousness. They claim their teachings on salvation are also based on faith and God’s grace. But the truth of the matter is Catholics believe God’s grace, supposedly infused into their souls via the sacraments, enables them to perform meritorious works and avoid sin in order to merit their way to heaven. Despite the sophistry it all boils down to works and merit.

Hanegraaff and CRI have devoted a large amount of energy and resources to confronting the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and smaller groups, but the number of souls led astray by these cults are but a tiny fraction compared to the billions of souls deceived by the legalism of Rome.***

Notes from 2022:

*In 2017, supposed “evangelical” Hanegraaf “converted” to the Greek Orthodox church.

**I reviewed Catholic apologist, Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am a Catholic” in a series of posts from 2021 to 2022. You can find the index here. Throughout that book, Kreeft disparaged the “easy believism” of the genuine Gospel.

***This book is a blatant example of approaching the RCC “atomistically,” as Dr. Leonardo De Chirico and his associates at Reformanda Initiative have discussed in their podcasts that we’ve been reviewing recently. Adherents to the atomistic approach, such as Elliot, Miller, and Geisler, will often criticize aspects of RC-ism, but embrace it as a whole. In contrast, a “systemic” examination of RC-ism reveals that the institution is heretical at its core (propagating a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit) and that these secondary doctrines/practices, e.g., Mariolatry, are but dead branches extending from a dead trunk.

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #34: “‘Queen of Heaven’ Condemned”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next installment, the Catholic apologist completes his five-chapter section on Mary as he disputes evangelical Protestants’ arguments that the notion of a “‘Queen of Heaven’ (is) Condemned.”


The myth that Mary was crowned as “Queen of Heaven” following her “assumption” gained traction within Roman Catholicism in the 13th through 15th centuries. In his 1954 encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam (“To the Queen of Heaven”), pope Pius XII formally defined the belief. Catholics believe Mary is co-ruler of Heaven, reigning beside Jesus Christ, as well as being Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix. Protestant evangelicals object to this glorification/semi-deification of Mary as “Queen of Heaven” and often cite Jeremiah 7:17-18:

“Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger.”

God was angered by the Jews of prophet Jeremiah’s time who committed idolatry by worshiping a pagan goddess (most probably Ashtoreth) as the “queen of heaven.” Evangelicals contend that Catholics commit similar idolatry by worshiping Mary as the “Queen of Heaven.”

Broussard responds with three arguments:

(1) Broussard posits that God’s disappointment with the Jews for their idolatrous worship of the pagan “queen of heaven” cannot be applied in the case of Catholics and Mary. Broussard claims that Catholics rightly “honor,” not worship, Mary, because of her “exalted place” as the “Mother of the Savior.” Broussard cites 1 Timothy 5:17 and 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 as Biblical precedents for rightly honoring individuals.

(2) Broussard then reasons that (A) just because a pagan goddess was illegitimately referred to as “queen of heaven,” (B) it doesn’t prove that Catholics can’t legitimately refer to Mary using the same title.

(3) Broussard refers back to the Old Testament for examples of queen mothers in 2 Chronicles 15:16 and Jeremiah 13:18. He acknowledges that, in both examples, the person spoken of is evil, but contends that does not detract from their legitimate royalty. Broussard argues that (A) since there were legitimate queen mothers in the Davidic Kingdom, then (B) “it’s reasonable to conclude that Mary is the new ‘queen mother’ in the restored Davidic kingdom” (p.189).

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

(1) Catholics strongly object to accusations that they worship Mary. They claim to “worship” (latrīa, Latin) God alone, but rightly accord “veneration” (dulia, Greek) to the saints and hyperdulia uniquely to Mary. This is lexical sophistry. No Catholic can precisely distinguish between latrīa and hyperdulia. Catholics pray to Mary as their Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix for their salvation. Such practices are acts of WORSHIP. The honoring of pastors that the apostle Paul writes about in the two passages that Broussard presents as proof texts is certainly NOT the “honor” that Catholics bestow upon their semi-deified “Queen of Heaven.”

(2) I agree with Broussard’s contention that, in theory, the illegitimate usurpation of a title doesn’t ipso facto render the title to be illicit. However, nowhere in the New Testament do we find one verse that either explicitly or implicitly suggests that Mary is reigning as the “Queen of Heaven” and holding the divine offices of Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix. All of these claims for Mary evolved over time as part of Catholic “Sacred Tradition.”

(3) Broussard’s attempt to leverage the existence of queen mothers in the Old Testament as a “reasonable” proof for Mary’s role as “Queen of Heaven” is grasping at straws. Broussard conveniently ignores all Biblical passages that state that God does not share His glory or throne with another.

“I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other.” – Isaiah 42:8

Keep in mind that half of Catholics’ “religious devotion” is directed towards Mary, in some cases even more so.

“For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” – Isaiah 48:11

“‘And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” – Luke 4:8

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

“Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.” – Revelation 4:2

“Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” – Revelation 19:10

Mary humbled herself before God as His lowly servant (Luke 1:38), but Catholics have accorded her deific powers and crowned her co-regent of Heaven. We’ve previously discussed how Catholic Mariolatry is rooted in the syncretic adaptation of pagan mother goddess worship.

Who is the Queen of Heaven?

Next up: “One Mediator”

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #33: “He Knew Her Not…Until”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next chapter, the Catholic apologist continues his section on Mary as he counters evangelical Protestants’ arguments that Mary was not a perpetual virgin because Scripture says, “He Knew Her Not…Until.”


Celibate Roman Catholic clerics had a low regard for sexual relations within marriage and taught that Mary, their spotless “Queen of Heaven,” was a perpetual virgin.

“The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity* but sanctified it.” And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin.” – CCC 499.

Protestants counter by pointing to Matthew 1:25:

“but (Joseph) knew her not until she had given birth to a son.”

The verse indicates Mary and Joseph had normal marital sexual relations after Jesus was born. Broussard attempts to refute the Protestant interpretation with three rebuttals:

(1) Broussard posits that the word “until” (Greek – heōs) doesn’t necessarily signal a change in future status. As an illustration, Broussard offers the saying of one friend to another, “Be safe until I see you again.” The speaker in that case isn’t implying that his friend should be unsafe after they meet again.

(2) Broussard provides examples in Scripture where heōs – “until” or “to” – is used to indicate a select period of time without reference to change in the future, such as 1 Timothy 4:13, 1 Corinthians 1:8, and 2 Corinthians 3:15.

(3) Broussard argues that, framed in context with preceding verses, Matthew is “trying to persuade his audience (in Matthew 1:25) that Jesus’ conception and birth were miraculous, not to tell us what Mary did afterward” (p. 185).

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

Did you catch Broussard’s argumentation? He’s claiming that, paraphrasing Matthew 1:25, “Joseph didn’t have sex with Mary until she gave birth to Jesus” only means that Joseph didn’t have sex with Mary while she was pregnant, and doesn’t convey that he had sex with her afterwards.

We fully understand that heōs – “until” or “to” – doesn’t always indicate/signal a change in future status. But in the case of Matthew 1:25, the clearest interpretation is that Joseph and Mary began normal, marital relations after Mary gave birth to Jesus. Broussard’s argument that “but (Joseph) knew her not until she had given birth to a son” connotes the same lack of future change as “Be safe until I see you again” is lexical subterfuge.

Are there ANY Bible verses that either explicitly or implicitly teach that Mary was a perpetual virgin? No, there are not. The notion is based solely on Catholic tradition. We’ve previously discussed that the Bible teaches Jesus had multiple half-siblings. See here.

The Roman Catholic church’s low regard for natural sexual relations within marriage meant that Mary, the chaste and spotless Queen of Heaven, could never have been “soiled” by her husband. In contrast to Catholicism, the Bible honors the sexual union of husband and wife. The apostle Paul wrote under divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit that married believers ought not to withhold themselves from each other as the Roman church claims Mary and Joseph did.

“Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” – 1 Corinthians 7:5

*Included in the RCC’s doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity is the not-widely-known assertion that as she was giving birth to baby Jesus, He miraculously passed through her hymen without rupturing it, thus preserving her “virginal integrity.”

Is the perpetual virginity of Mary biblical?

What does the Bible say about sex in marriage?