I n much of the Christian world, 8 September is recognised as the birthday of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Which, as a Mormon, was news to me. Compared with many other Christian sects, Latter Day Saints don't appear to pay much attention to Mary. We revere her as the mother of Christ, celebrate her sacrifices, and honour her as we do Eve or Sarah or other heroines of the scriptures, but we don't worship her.
Evangelical folks think we Catholics are "nuts" to believe Mary stayed a virgin after Jesus was born. Perhaps some modern Evangelists don't know that most of the early reformers including Martin Luther , Wesley , and Calvin , believed in Mary's perpetual virginity. These reformers are considered scriptural scholars 1 by modern Evangelicals. Yet despite being the founders of the reform, their views on this issue are in complete contrast to modern Evangelical thought. These reformers had no problem with scriptural references to Jesus' "brothers" while maintaining their conviction that Mary remained a virgin after Jesus' birth. Max Thurian not a Catholic says "In regard to the Marian doctrine of the Reformers, we have already seen how unanimous they are in all that concerns Mary's holiness and perpetual virginity.
Both the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Roman Catholic Church along with a few Protestant scholars , contend that Mary and Joseph, even after the birth of the Lord, remained celibate for life. This would suggest that at the tender age of three, Mary had considerable knowledge of human anatomy. It further hints that she understood the intricacies of sexual union. Moreover it indicates that she likely foreknew the fact that she would bear the Christ child, and that she perceived somehow that it would be inappropriate for her ever to engage in honorable intimacy with a legitimate husband.
I t is time for evangelicals to recover a fully biblical appreciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her role in the history of salvation—and to do so precisely as evangelicals. The question, of course, is how to do that. Can the evangelical reengagement with the wider Christian tradition include a place for Mary?