Luke 1:28ff—Should Christians worship Mary?

Problem: The angel said Mary was the most blessed of all women, declaring to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” (Luke 1:28) Although the highest form of worship is reserved for God alone (latria), Roman Catholics believe that Mary should be venerated in a lesser sense (hyperdulia) as the most highly favored above all other creatures since she is the “Mother of God” and “Queen of Heaven.” Why do Protestants not give Mary her proper due?

Solution: Protestants do honor Mary as the blessed “mother of ... [our] Lord” (Luke 1:43). But for many reasons, we believe it is idolatry to worship Mary. First of all, Mary was a human being, not God. The Bible commands us, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Matt. 4:10).

Second, Mary confessed that she was a sinner in need of a Savior just like any other human being. She said, “my soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (see comments on Luke 1:46).

Third, the angel from God did not affirm that Mary was to be blessed over all women, but simply among all women. He declared only, “Blessed are you among women” (Luke 1:28, emphasis added). In practice many Roman Catholics have exalted Mary above all women, virtually to the place of God.

Fourth, the cult of Mariolatry grew in the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages, adding to her such titles as “Coredemtrix,” and “Queen of Heaven.” However, this manifests a pagan influence on Christianity patterned after the old Babylonian goddess called by this very name “the queen of heaven” in Jeremiah (Jer. 7:18; 44:17–19, 25).

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.