27 November 2007

Calling Her Blessed (sort of).

Today, J.I. Packer supplies the ECT essay concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary (see below):
Also, I think I should announce here where I come from conventionally. I do not believe in Mary’s immaculate conception, nor her perpetual virginity, nor her assumption, nor the appropriateness of prayer to her. As an Anglican, I have been drilled in the liturgical use of Mary’s song, the Magnificat, and have long taught that we should notice how she celebrates God as her Savior and should think of her as head of the line of sinners, saved by the atoning death and resurrection of her own son.
Here's the whole thing. Two things as an immediate reaction. Nothing the Catholic Church teaches about St. Mary, including especially and explicitly her Immaculate Conception, precludes her celebration of God, and more precisely her Son, as her Savior, "saved by the atoning death and resurrection of her own son" (indeed, that is largely the point and predicate of the Immaculate Conception dogma, as Fr. Oakes makes clear in his essay). Secondly, it is interesting to note that Dr. Packer presents his essay as "a plain Bible study" - his only theological source - a source which leaves theology at the mercy of the theological/biblical studies guild.

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Packer, a saint walking among us, a few years ago after he spoke at a conference in Nashville sponsored by Tennessee Anglican Council group. The theme was, of course, "Anglicans and the Authority of Scripture."


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