She became the Mother of God, in which work so many and such great good things are bestowed on her as
pass man’s understanding. For on this there follows all honor, all blessedness, and her unique place in the whole of mankind, among which she has no equal, namely, that she had a child by the Father in heaven, and such a Child… Hence men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God. (Luther’s Works 21:326ff)
Lutherans hold Mary in high esteem. Luther dogmatically asserted what he considered firmly established biblical doctrines like the divine motherhood of Mary while adhering to pious opinions of the Immaculate Conception and the Perpetual virginity of Mary along with the caveat that all doctrine and piety should exalt and not diminish the person and work of Jesus Christ. By the end of Luther's theological development, his emphasis was always placed on Mary as merely a receiver of God's love and favor. His opposition to regarding Mary as a mediatrix of intercession or redemption was part of his greater and more extensive opposition to the belief that the merits of the saints could be added to those of Jesus Christ to save humanity.
Martin Luther Edit
Despite Luther's harsh polemics against his Roman Catholic opponents over issues concerning Mary and the saints, theologians appear to agree that Luther adhered to the Marian decrees of the ecumenical councils and dogmas of the church. He held fast to the belief that Mary was a perpetual virgin and the Theotokos, the Mother of God.[need quotation to verify] Special attention is given to the assertion that Luther, some three-hundred years before the dogmatization of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX in 1854, was a firm adherent of that view. Others maintain that Luther in later years changed his position on the Immaculate Conception, which at that time was undefined in the Church; however, he maintained belief in Mary's lifelong sinlessness.Regarding the Assumption of Mary, he stated, that the Bible did not say anything about it. Important to him was the belief that Mary and the saints do live on after death.
The centerpiece of Luther's Marian views was his 1521 Commentary on the Magnificat in which he extolled the magnitude of God's grace toward Mary and her own legacy of Christian instruction and example demonstrated in her canticle of praise.
Mother of God Edit
Luther believed that the person Jesus is God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, who was incarnated in the womb of his mother Mary as a human being, and since, as a person, he was "born of the Virgin Mary". He believed that Mary is the Theotokos the God-bearer. Martin Luther said:
This belief was officially confessed by Lutherans in their Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, article VIII.24:
Perpetual virginity Edit
Luther accepted the idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary. Jaroslav Pelikan noted that the perpetual virginity of Mary was Luther's lifelong belief,and Hartmann Grisar, a Roman Catholic biographer of Luther, concurs that "Luther always believed in the virginity of Mary, even post partum, as affirmed in the Apostles’ Creed, though afterwards he denied her power of intercession, as well as that of the saints in general, resorting to many misinterpretations and combated, as extreme and pagan, the extraordinary veneration which the Catholic Church showed towards Mary." For this reason even a rigorously conservative Lutheran scholar like Franz Pieper (1852–1931) refuses to follow the tendency among Protestants to insist that Mary and Joseph had marital relations and children after the birth of Jesus. It is implicit in his Christian Dogmatics that belief in Mary's perpetual virginity is the older and traditional view among Lutherans.
Immaculate conception Edit
In 1544 Luther said: 'God has formed the soul and body of the Virgin Mary full of the Holy Spirit, so that she is without all sins, for she has conceived and borne the Lord Jesus.' Elsewhere, "All seed except Mary was vitiated [by original sin]." When concentrating specifically on Mary herself as the Mother of God, Luther acknowledges God's singular action in bringing her into the world, but in making general comments about the universality of human sinfulness, he includes her among all the rest of humanity.
Queen of Heaven Edit
Throughout his lifetime, Luther referred to Mary as the "Queen of Heaven", but he warned against people using the term too much.
Luther composed a number of venerational poems, which focus on Mary's virginity. He also translated old devotional Latin hymns on Mary into German. They express in various ways the incarnation of God through a virgin:
The Lutheran views on the veneration of Mary were interpreted differently by different theologians over time. Key is his interpretation of the Magnificat of Mary, which to some is a relic of the Catholic past, but to others a clear indication, that he maintained a Marian piety. Luther states in his Magnificat, that one should pray to Mary, so God would give and do, through her will, what we ask. But, he adds, it is God’s work alone. Some interpret his Magnificat as a personal supplication to Mary, but not as a prayerful request for mediation. An important indicator of Luther’s views on the veneration of Mary are not only his writings but also approved practices of Lutherans during his lifetime. The singing of the Magnificat in Latin was maintained in many German Lutheran communities. The Church Order (Kirchenordnung) of Brandenburg, Bugenhagen Braunschweig and other cities and districts decreed by the royal heads of the Lutheran Church, maintained three Marian feast days, to be observed as public holidays.[need quotation to verify] It is known that Martin Luther approved of this. He also approved of keeping Marian paintings and statues in the Churches. Luther did, however, say that "Mary prays for the church". He also advocated the use of the first half of the Hail Mary (that is, "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.") as a sign of reverence for and devotion to the Virgin.