Marian Dogma and the Anglican Conundrum

Evangelical Anglicans are crying out against a proposed document that would give credence to the controversial Roman Catholic view on the Virgin Mary. The proposal was released last week in Seattle after six years of ecumenical talks between the two massive church bodies and seeks to backtrack on centuries of Anglican dissent over the place of Mary in Christianity.

In essence the statement says the Catholic dogma that Mary was born without original sin and was taken up to heaven without dying are “consonant with the teachings of Scripture.” The document also describes private devotions and prayers to the mother of Jesus as acceptable practices in the church.

Although this statement was made in a good-hearted effort to strengthen ecumenical ties between the two largest Christian faiths, it fails to uphold the emphasis on scriptural authority and the uniqueness of Christ that inspired the Reformation centuries back.

There is no clear basis in scripture that supports the Marian dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, and the Anglican Communion should not sacrifice scripture for slapdash unity.

The “Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ” document is now being examined by the Vatican and the Anglican Communion before being fully accepted as an authoritative statement. In the coming months as ecumenical dialogues continue between the two churches, leaders in the Anglican Communion should realize that scripture – not dogma – is what brings unity to the followers of Christ and firmly reject the document as a false attempt to place tradition before Christ.