Evangelical Pastor’s Lies And Deceptions Part V “Immaculate Conception”
By: Bro. Isahel N. Alfonso
I am not yet done in exposing Pastor Ballesteros’ false accusations against the Catholic Church as written in his book Important Questions and Answers. This time we’ll tackle his opposition to the dogma of Immaculate Conception. Upon reading his book Pastor Ballesteros did not provide any explanation for his opposition to this God given truth. He chose to simply cite two biblical passages that he thinks contradict the dogma of Immaculate Conception. What Pastor Ballesteros trying to do is to leave the interpretation of these passages to his readers. But that is a big NO NO in knowing the meaning or interpretation of a given passage, the scriptures condemns private interpretation.
Know this well no prophecy of Scripture can be handed over to private interpretation, since no prophecy comes from human decision for it was men moved by the Holy Spirit who spoke. 2 Peter 1:20-21
Since the Sacred Scripture was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit therefore it must also be interpreted under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And this is the task of the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the Church alone is the infallible interpreter of the Sacred Scripture (Mt.16:18-19, 1 Timothy 3:15). But Pastor Ballesteros violated this fundamental principle of Scriptural interpretation he wanted his readers to simply interpret on their own the passages he cited that appears to contradict the dogma of Immaculate Conception. The first Scriptural passage that Pastor Ballesteros cited is Like 1:46-48 which says;
And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults God my savior! Lk.1:46-47
Although Pastor Ballesteros did not provide any argument using the passage but basing on experience most Protestants would argue that since Mary admitted that she needs a savior therefore Mary is not Immaculate as what Catholics believed but she too is a sinner like us. With this kind of reasoning protestants are missing the point of this passage. Notice that Mary claimed Christ as her savior even before Christ died on the cross. Mary was redeemed in a most perfect and special way she was preserved free from all stain of sin. Another passage that Pastor Ballesteros cited is Rom.3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom.3:23
There are two interesting points that I can see in this passage. Consulting the Greek text the word that was used for “all” is “pantes” which describes a large number of people however it allows exemptions from “all” and that would be Jesus Christ and Mary. If St. Paul meant that each and every person without exemptions he could have use a more strict and restrictive Greek word which is “hapas”. But that is not the case St. Paul is trying to say that sin is universal, but universality of sin does not mean everyone has sinned, we have Jesus and Mary who have not commit any sin. Just as we say that the Catholic Church is universal but not everyone is Catholic. Now we turn our focus to the phrase fall short of the glory of God the Scriptures testified that there are only two people who falls not short of God’s glory and that is Jesus and Mary. In John 1:14 it says The Word was made flesh he lived among us and we saw his glory, the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father full of grace and truth. Co-relatively Mary too was called full of grace, Luke 1:28 The angel came to her and said, Rejoice!, full of grace the Lord is with you”. Very clearly the passages that Pastor Ballesteros used did not contradict the Marian dogma of Immaculate Conception rather it brings to light the biblical soundness of this dogma.
The Church do not teach that Mary’s sinlessness is by her own doing when the dogma of Immaculate Conception was defined by the Pope it was clear that Mary’s preservation from sin is a privilege granted by God in view of the anticipatory merits of Christ on the cross.
Wherefore, in humility and fasting, we unceasingly offered our private prayers as well as the public prayers of the Church to God the Father through his Son, that he would deign to direct and strengthen our mind by the power of the Holy Spirit. In like manner did we implore the help of the entire heavenly host as we ardently invoked the Paraclete. Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.” Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus
Everything God created is good (1 Timothy 4:4), when God created the first Adam the material (soil) that he used is pure and without blemish. In like manner the new Adam (Christ) was formed from pure and without blemish womb of Mary the new Eve. In Gen.3:15, God in the beginning of time already foreordained that Mary will always be in enmity with the devil, because Mary like God’s first creation was pure and without blemish. In the letter of Paul to the Hebrews it was stated that Christ shared the very flesh and very blood of Mary (Heb.2:14) and this flesh and blood that he took and soon offered to the cross is without blemish (Heb.9:14). Granting that Mary is with sin how can Christ offer an unblemished sacrifice of flesh and blood on the cross if the very flesh and very blood of Christ came from a defiled person? Thus God must have preserved Mary from all stain of original sin for her to give Christ a pure and unblemished flesh and blood to be sacrificed on the cross and redeem mankind.