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Ginny Kubitz Moyer Answers:
What do other Christians believe about Mary (Baptists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, etc.)?
Christians believe that Mary was chosen by God to be the mother of Christ. In general, however, Mary plays a much less significant role in Protestant faiths than in Catholicism. In post-Reformation Europe, Protestants viewed Catholic devotion to Mary as excessive and non-Biblical. For many, that feeling has persisted over the centuries.
Though it’s hard to generalize, certain Catholic beliefs about Mary are rejected by most Protestants. These teachings include the Immaculate Conception (the belief that Mary was conceived without original sin), the Assumption, Mary’s perpetual virginity, and the role of Mary as intercessor.
In recent years, however, many religious writers have noted increased Protestant interest in Mary. This is attributed to several factors, including renewed efforts at ecumenism, the movement of many Hispanic Catholics to Protestant churches, and the impact of films such as The Passion of the Christ and The Nativity Story. Certainly, any discussion of Mary should build upon the beliefs that are common to all Christians. As the National Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote in their pastoral letter Behold Your Mother: Woman of Faith:
“We are convinced that all Christians share a basic reverence for the Mother of Jesus, a veneration deeper than doctrinal differences and theological disputes … Together we accept the Gospel respect for the Mother of Jesus, Handmaid of the Lord, woman of faith, model of prayer, servant of the Spirit.”