Saturday, May 16, 2009

Veneration of Mary Debate - Thoughts on Reflection - Part 7

This is the seventh section of my reflections on my recent debate on the veneration of Mary with Mr. William Albrecht. This one may discuss a few different miscellaneous points as I try to round up the last of my thoughts on the debate itself.

I. No Logical Link Between Mary's Being Blessed and Mary's Being Venerated

About 4 minutes into the debate, Mr. Albrecht makes the claim that Mary is called blessed in a different degree. Mr. Albrecht refers to the beatitudes where the followers of Jesus are called blessed. Then, Mr. Albrecht says: "But there is a great variance in degree when we compare those in the beatitudes and Mary." He doesn't really go on to support this, except to note that great things were done for Mary, and (according to Albrecht) because of these great things people are supposed to honor and venerate Mary.

First, there's no real logical connection between this being a matter of degree as opposed to simply a different kind of blessing. Second, there is no real reason to go from someone simply recognizing that God has blessed Mary to a person honoring or venerating Mary.

I didn't really go after this in the debate and perhaps I ought to have spent a few seconds explaining the fact that there is no comparison of degrees and no logical link between someone being blessed by God and someone deserving (or mandating) honor and veneration of men.

II. No Logical Link Between Loving the Brethren and Venerating Mary

Another odd argument that Mr. Albrecht used was one that basically said, that because Paul tells us to serve one another in love in the Epistle to the Galatians, that consequently we should venerate Mary. There's really no logical link there. The way in which we serve one another in love is not by engaging in any sort of religious veneration, such as offering up prayer or lighting candles and incense, but by meeting their needs. But Mary has passed into glory. She no longer has needs - or at least she certainly has no needs that we on Earth can meet. I mentioned this briefly in the debate, but perhaps I should have insisted that Mr. Albrecht justify himself more fully in this regard.

III. "Continue to be Graced"

There was an odd line that Mr. Albrecht took during his cross-examination questions, in which he asked about Mary continuing to be "graced." Mary was given a great honor, namely to be the mother of the Lord. But this was not like wearing a coat made from a shiny material called "grace" or something like that. The verb employed (as we have already discussed) relates to a past event that had (at the time the statement was being made) continuing effects. The past event was the dispensation of an enormous favor to Mary, namely the conception of our Lord in her womb. That had a continuing effect at the time the angel announced her pregnancy, namely that Jesus was in her womb. Mr. Albrecht appeared to be trying to suggest that the action of receiving favor from God was a continuing action, which it is not.

Well - that's about all for miscellaneous thoughts. Next up, I'm going to review what Mr. Albrecht has to say about the debate, as he's posted a video regarding the debate.

-TurretinFan

Friday, May 15, 2009

Veneration of Mary Debate - Thoughts on Reflection 5a

One Eastern Orthodox reader (he calls himself "orthodox" - we'll just call him "O") has provided five points against part 5 of my thoughts on reflection. He may be the only one to think this way, but just in case it may be edifying to others, here are some brief responses to his points:

orthodox has left a new comment on your post "Veneration of Mary Debate - Thoughts on Reflection...":

1) O's First Point: "Lack of an imperative only helps you if you want to argue that Mary is bemoaning the fact she will be called blessed instead of rejoicing in it."

My response:

a) O seems to have forgotten that the Romanist in this debate argued the verse as an imperative, suggesting that it is a command to call Mary "blessed" - or something to that effect. That's far from the meaning of the verse as has already been demonstrated.

b) Mary is clearly happy. Why on earth O thinks that anyone would need to think otherwise is totally obscure.

c) Mary's happiness is expressed, in part, by her comment about all generations considering her happy. It's not the other way around: she's not happy because other people will consider her to be happy. What an absurd concept that would be! Yet it is, apparently, the position that O wants to take, as though Mary were not rejoicing in Christ but in other people considering Mary happy.

2) O's second point: "How can a single word μακαριοῦσιν be an idiom? Idioms are characterised by a set of words."

I answer:

Idioms don't have to be more than one word. There are lots of counter-examples. One example in English is the use of "heart" for the seat of emotions. Another, and a more germane, example of a single-word idiom is the potential one previously discussed in Luke 1:28. One idiomatic usage of χαῖρε (Chaire) is as a greeting. As previously noted, it can convey either a literal sense of "Rejoice" or it can serve in an idiomatic capacity as a greeting.

3) O's third point: "You say "Solomon's being considered blessed "by all nations" was primarily fulfilled by the respect he received from nations".... Errr, isn't respect and veneration synonyms? Isn't that the exact point?"

I answer:

What an amusing attempt to equivocate. If saying, "Wow, that king is really lucky to be so wise and rich" is veneration then I guess everybody who says "Wow, Mary was really lucky to have borne Jesus in her womb" is also venerating Mary, and we all venerate the winners of Lottery Jackpots when we call them happy too. What silliness!

While there certainly may be some semantic hopscotch that can be played among the words, people recognizing the wisdom and riches of Solomon is not religious veneration of Solomon.

4) O's fourth point: "The Magnificat is not inspired?! Wow, are we grasping at straws today. How do you know if any of Luke is inspired for that matter? So Mary botched up this one, eh?"

I answer:

a) Luke's inspiration is beyond question.

b) Not ever conversation and speech recorded in the inspired Scriptures is itself inspired. To take an obvious example, the inspired book of Job relates Satan's words to God. Nevertheless, no one in their right minds would think that Satan was inspired.

c) Why should it be shocking that Mary's monologue of happiness be uninspired? When Luke wants to tell us that Elizabeth was inspired, he does so. With Mary he makes no similar claim. And Elizabeth isn't a one-off instance for Luke: he also tells us the same thing about John the Baptist (Luke 1:15); Zacharias (Luke 1:67); the disciples at Pentecost (Acts 2:4); Peter (Luke 4:8); the disciples after Peter and John opposed the elders of Israel (Acts 4:31); Paul (Acts 9:17); and again Paul (Acts 13:9).

d) The term "botched" is so pejorative. Just because someone is not inspired and expresses their joy in hyperbolic language, we wouldn't normally say that they "botched" anything.

5) O's fifth point: "The rest of the article is straw man, since the debate was not about whether Mary is "shining little beams of blessing", but whether scripture teaches veneration of Mary. And your statement about Psalm 72:17 indicates that you just conceded this debate."

I answer:

If all that were involved in the Romanist veneration of Mary were recognizing (as Reformed believers do) that she was greatly blessed by God, then we wouldn't be having the debate in the first place. But the meaning of words is important, despite attempts by certain folks to equivocate their way to victory.

And that's also true of the term "blessed." It is important to distinguish between a view of Mary as "blessed" in the sense of irradiating a sort of spiritual energy, and Mary as "blessed" in the sense of happy, fortunate, or the like. The latter sense is Biblical, the former sense is a common (but unbiblical) superstition.

-TurretinFan

UPDATE: Mr. Burgess has chimed in with similar comments. He stated:
Who inspired Mary to say what she did? Who inspired Luke to write it? Why do you deny that the statement is an imperative command from God given the (known) answers to the above questions? Why bifurcate? It's pedantically disingenuous of you.
I respond line by line:

"Who inspired Mary to say what she did?"

People speak without inspiration all the time. See the discussion above.

"Who inspired Luke to write it?"

The Holy Spirit.

"Why do you deny that the statement is an imperative command from God given the (known) answers to the above questions?"

The statement is plainly not an imperative command to anyone who can parse the Greek word used. It is a simple indicative statement declaring what will happen (perhaps, as already discussed, merely by way of hyperbole) not what should, ought, or must happen.

"Why bifurcate?"

To bifurcate is to split into two. In context, it's a little unclear what Mr. Burgess is trying to suggest. If he is noting that I have distinguished between Luke being inspired to write Scripture and the people he records not being inspired themselves, it's actually an important distinction. Otherwise, you end up with absurdities like Satan being inspired, simply because his words are recorded in Scripture.

"It's pedantically disingenuous of you."

To be pedantic is to focus on trivial details and to be disingenuous is not to be open and frank. I guess Mr. Burgess' clumsily worded criticism is intended to suggest that whether or not Mary was inspired or the word is actually imperative is simply a trifling detail, and that by focusing on trifling details I'm somehow masking my real position. Well, despite Mr. Burgess' thoughts, it's neither a trifling detail (for the reasons already explained above) nor is it an attempt to hide my position (I've been candid about the position I advocate throughout this discussion). And, of course, if Mr. Burgess himself were sincerely interested in understanding what the text of Scripture said, he would not be inclined to characterize issues of inspiration and grammar as trifling details.

-TurretinFan

Veneration of Mary Debate - Thoughts on Reflection - Part 6

This is the sixth part of some reflections on the recent debate conducted with Mr. Albrecht on the subject of the veneration of Mary. One of the topics that came up briefly in the debate was the subject of calling Mary, the mother of Jesus, "Mother of God." As I noted, such a title is not Biblical and is actually somewhat against the Biblical description of Jesus as being motherless with respect to his divinity. Connected with this, someone has recently asked me directly two questions, which help to explore this issue a bit more.

Someone asked: "Do you believe that Mary was the MOTHER OF GOD?"

I believe that Mary is the mother of Jesus, who is both God and Man, in two distinct natures and one person. Mary thus had, in her womb, the God-man and she is properly called Theotokos (the God-bearer). Mary, however, was only mother to Jesus' humanity, since only his humanity was derived from her. Thus, Mary was not the mother of the divinity of Christ, and consequently although the phrase "Mother of God" could be interpreted in an orthodox way, it is misleading title that requires clarification.

I think Theodoret put it well in his letter to Ireneaus (Letter 16 - obviously, this is not to the famous Irenaeus, but to another bishop of the same name), when he wrote:
What does it matter whether we style the holy Virgin at the same time mother of Man and mother of God, or call her mother and servant of her offspring, with the addition that she is mother of our Lord Jesus Christ as man, but His servant as God, and so at once avoid the term which is the pretext of calumny, and express the same opinion by another phrase?


It is not a Biblical term and it is not a term favored by many of the fathers before the 5th century. Thus, for example, I cannot find any place in Augustine's genuine works where the term is used, nor likewise among Origen's authentic works. It is not a term used (to my knowledge) by any of the fathers of the first three centuries, including the Apostolic fathers.

Although I have noted above that I could not find the term in any of Augustine's genuine works, I did find a single usage of it among a work of Pseudo-Augustine, De Assumptione Beatae Mariae Virginis (probably 9th century) (Augustinini ... Opera Omnia, Volume 6, 1147). It also used in other ancient forgeries, including the Apocalypse of the Virgin, the Protoevangelium of James, the Revelation of Paul, the Gospel of Nicodemus, and Pseudo-Peter-of-Alexandria.

The same person also asked: "Also, do you believe this title is appropriate to be used towards Mary?"

Hopefully the discussion above has largely answered this question. As a description of the fact that Mary bore Jesus and Jesus is divine, it is descriptive. However, it has a tendency to be understood in a very exalted way, a way designed to treat Mary as particularly special or important. It leads toward the worship of Mary, which is one reason it is inadvisable. Another reason it is inadvisable is that it suggests that Mary is the mother of the Godhead (and of both the human and divine natures of Jesus' person), and not simply of Jesus and particularly his human nature.

It is important to remember what Theodoret wisely noted, namely that with respect to Jesus' humanity, Mary was His mother, but with respect to Jesus' divinity, Mary was His handmaid by her own confession. Is the title potentially ok? I think Turretin put it well when he said:
The "Son of the living God" cannot be called the son of Mary according to that in which he is the Son of God. But because he assumed the human nature from her into unity of person, he is rightly and truly called also the son of Mary in this respect. Thus Mary can truly be called theotokos or "mother of God," if the word "God" is taken concretely for the total personality of Christ consisting of the person of the Logos (Logou) and the human nature (in which sense she is called "the mother of the Lord," Lk. 1:43), but not precisely and abstractly in respect of the deity. Thus she is called the mother of God specificatively (i.e., of him who is God), but not reduplicatively (as he is God).
Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 13:5:18 (p. 310 in the Dennison edition).

-TurretinFan

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Veneration of Mary Debate - Thoughts on Reflection - Part 5

This is the fifth segment of my thoughts about the recent debate I had with Mr. William Albrecht on the subject of the veneration of Mary. In this section, I'll be discussing the issue of "all generations shall call me blessed" (Luke 1:48), which came up during the debate.

One reason that this came up was because Mr. Albrecht seemed to suggest, well, to state, that the comment about all generations calling Mary blessed was actually a command to all generations to call Mary blessed. As I brought up in the debate, it is not a command.

The wording of the KJV is a little bit ambiguous: in English "shall" can be an imperative verb or it can simply be a future indicative. However, in Greek there is no ambiguity: μακαριοῦσίν (makariousin) is a future active indicative (i.e. it describes, it does not command) verb. It means to "consider blessed" or "count as fortunate."

This, of course, leads to the second part of this post. As with the "highly favored" issue I dealt with in the previous part, there seemed to be a view either that the verb means "shall call [me] 'blessed'" as though "blessed" were a nickname, or that the verb conveys a sense that people will somehow bless Mary. Neither of these two views is right.

In fact, both miss the point of Mary's comment entirely. Mary is excited and happy. She is speaking exuberantly. There is no particular reason to read Mary's comment literally rather than hyperbolically. After all, this is a reported statement of Mary's: not commentary by the inspired author.

Furthermore, we have other similar statements in Scripture, which suggest that this Greek word is essentially conveying a Hebrew idiom:

Psalm 72:17 His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.

Malachi 3:12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

And sure enough, the Greek word in the LXX translation of these verses is "μακαριοῦσιν." Psalm 72 is a Psalm for Solomon (title), it is the last of David's psalms (last verse), and it is a Messianic Psalm like so many others. The preliminary fulfillment of the Psalm was David's son, Solomon (and he was greatly blessed by God). The major fulfillment was in the Messiah, David's son, Jesus - who was also greatly blessed by God.

Solomon's being considered blessed "by all nations" was primarily fulfilled by the respect he received from nations as far away as Ethiopia. It's not really that literally every nation considered Solomon blessed, but that he was considered blessed far and wide.

But whether Mary's statement should be taken literally or not, it's worth noting that Mary's statement of praise (sometimes taken to be a song) is reported to us, but is not identified as being inspired. Elizabeth's statement is described as inspired, but not Mary's.

Nevertheless, even if we assumed that Mary was also inspired, and even assumed that she should be taken literally, the statement is simply declaring that all generations will count or consider Mary as a person who has received something good from God. She received an enormous blessing. This is certainly true.

For some reason, though, people seem to take this as though the blessing were radiation and Mary were sort of glowing with blessing, shining little beams of blessing in every direction. Nothing of the sort is suggested from the word employed. It just means something great happened to her. We consider her a happy person. That's the approximate sense conveyed.

None of that would, could, or should lead one toward a veneration of Mary, the mother and handmaiden of the Lord.

-TurretinFan

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Limited Atonement - Response to OneTrueChurch

In the following video, I respond to a video from “OneTrueChurch” on the topic of Calvinism and Limited Atonement (link). OneTrueChurch calls (in the title of his video) Calvinism a “Heresy” although he does not explain why he thinks that, and picks on Limited Atonement as key to the whole issue of Calvinism (much to the chagrin of my Amyraldian listeners and readers, no doubt).

Jerome (347-420) on Matthew 20:28: He does not say that he gave his life for all, but for many, that is, for all those who would believe.

Hilary of Arles (401-449) commenting on 1 John 2:2: When John says that Christ died for the sins of the “whole world,” what he means is that he died for the whole church.

Augustine (354-430): Hence things that are lawful are not all good, but everything unlawful is not good. Just as everyone redeemed by Christ's blood is a human being, but human beings are not all redeemed by Christ's blood, so too everything that is unlawful is not good, but things that are not good are not all unlawful. As we learn from the testimony of the apostle, there are some things that are lawful but are not good.

Chrysostom (349-407) on Hebrews 9:28. “So Christ was once offered.”: By whom offered? evidently by Himself. Here he says that He is not Priest only, but Victim also, and what is sacrificed. On this account are [the words] “was offered.” “Was once offered” (he says) “to bear the sins of many.” Why “of many,” and not “of all”? Because not all believed, For He died indeed for all, that is His part: for that death was a counterbalance against the destruction of all men. But He did not bear the sins of all men, because they were not willing.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on Hebrews 9:27-28: As it is appointed for each human being to die once, and the one who accepts death’s decree no longer sins but awaits the examination of what was done in life, so Christ the Lord, after being offered once for us and taking up our sins, will come to us again, with sin no longer in force, that is, with sin no longer occupying a place as far as human beings are concerned. He said himself, remember, when he still had a mortal body, “He committed no sin, nor was guile found in his mouth.” It should be noted, of course, that he bore the sins of many, not of all: not all came to faith, so he removed the sins of the believers only.

Bede (672/673-735) commenting on 1 John 2:1: The Lord intercedes for us not by words but by his dying compassion, because he took upon himself the sins which he was unwilling to condemn his elect for.

Bede (672/673-735) commenting on 1 John 2:2: In his humanity Christ pleads for our sins before the Father, but in his divinity he has propitiated them for us with the Father. Furthermore, he has not done this only for those who were alive at the time of his death, but also for the whole church which is scattered over the full compass of the world, and it will be valid for everyone, from the very first among the elect until the last one who will be born at the end of time. This verse is therefore a rebuke to the Donatists, who thought that the true church was to be found only in Africa. The Lord pleads for the sins of the whole world, because the church which he has bought with his blood exists in every corner of the globe.

After dealing with the patristic evidence, I dealt with a logical critique of some of the objections to limited atonement. One of the objections is that Limited Atonement means that there is no chance for some people to be saved. I noted, however, that if we believe that God knows the future, he already knows who will be saved and who won’t be saved. Even if this is just simple prediction (it is not, of course, but even if it were) then it would be the case that it would be an infallible prediction. There is no chance that if God has foreseen you will be saved that something else will happen and likewise if God has foreseen that you will be lost.

Likewise, if God is said to “want to save everyone” then the question is, why doesn’t he? Cannot God save whom he wants to save by his grace?

We noticed that the only way out of these logical critiques is to blaspheme either the omniscience of God (by suggesting that God doesn’t know the future) or the omnipotence of God (by suggesting that God cannot get what he wants).

We concluded, therefore, that not only is the Calvinistic doctrine of Limited Atonement an historical doctrine of Christianity and the Biblical truth, it is an inescapable matter of logic reasoning from the nature of God himself.



-TurretinFan

Monday, May 11, 2009

Veneration of Mary Debate - Thoughts on Reflection - Part 4

This is the fourth part of a series of some reflections of mine on a recent debate with Mr. William Albrecht on the veneration of Mary. The issue I'd like to deal with in this post is the issue of Mary's being highly favored. This is an issue I would have liked to have addressed more fully during the debate.

There was some back-and-forth on the issue of the properly translation of the term κεχαριτωμένη (kecharitomeneh). Mr. Albrecht himself gave several renderings of it in his opening statement, I went with the KJV's rendering of it in my opening statement and criticized the Vulgate's mistranslation of the term. Then, later in the debate, Mr. Albrecht argued that the Vulgate's mistranslation is actually acceptable.

Here are some (But certainly not all) translations that are out there (words have been adjusted to their American spellings):

"highly favored" - American Standard Version, King James Version, Revised Version, Webster's Bible, International Standard Version, New International Version, 21st Century King James Version, Today's New International Version, World English Bible, Third Millenium Bible,

"favored one" - English Majority Text Version, English Standard Version, John Nelson Darby Bible, New Testament in Modern Speech, Young's Literal Translation, New American Standard Bible, Amplified Bible (primary reading), Rotherham, New English Translation, Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version,

"highly favored one" - New King James Version

"favored by the Lord" - God's Word to the Nations Bible

"favored woman" - New Living Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible

"who enjoy God's favour" - Jerusalem Bible

"freely beloved" - Bishops' Bible, Geneva Bible

"truly blessed" - Contemporary English Version

"full of grace" - Douay-Rheims Bible, Murdock's Translation of the Peshitta, Younan's Translation of the Peshitta

"[one] having been bestowed grace [or, shown kindness]!" - Analytical-Literal Translation

"to whom special grace has been given" - Bible in Basic English

"one having received grace!" - Literal Translation of the Holy Bible

"one receiving grace" - Modern King James Version

"The Lord ... has greatly blessed you" - Good News Bible

"The Lord has given you special favor" - New International Reader's Version

"You're beautiful with God's beauty, Beautiful inside and out!" - The Message

"The Lord has blessed you" (or possibly omitted) - New Century Version

(apparently omitted) - Worldwide English (New Testament)

What should be taken away from all of this? The only versions that translate the word as "full of grace" are those that are based on the Vulgate, either directly or by way of the Peshitta. None of the English translations that are based on the Greek come close to "full of grace" because that's simply not what is being conveyed by the participle.

Instead, the sense of the participle is that some special favor or blessing has been shown to Mary. In this case, the special favor or blessing is that Jesus is in her womb. Furthermore, this is not a favor that is deserved, it is a gracious favor. It is not as though Mary somehow was more holy than other women, and consequently obtained this blessing by merit, but instead it was according to the grace of God.

The mistranslation "full of grace" as well as several confused comments by Mr. Albrecht during the debate treat Mary as though she were an urn into which some stuff called "grace" had been poured. That's not what the text is conveying at all. Instead, it is simply indicating that something wonderful had happened to Mary, a great blessing had been given to her by God.

This is reflected in virtually all of the major English translations, as I've outlined above. Furthermore, as was mentioned during the debate, the verb is a perfect passive participle. That means that the participle is conveying information about a past act (in this case the conception of Jesus in Mary's womb) with continuing effects (her pregnancy).

Of course, after nine months, Jesus emerged from Mary's womb. At that point, the act of bearing Jesus in her womb was over. Mary continued to have an important role in Jesus' upbringing (breast-feeding and so forth), but eventually even that ceased as Jesus was weaned and grew from being a boy to a man.

So, as an historical matter, it will always be the case that Mary was the Theotokos - the God-bearer - the one who had in her womb the second person of the Trinity. It was truly an amazing and unforgettable experience.

But it is not as though grace was a powder that was sprinkled on Mary or that grace was in an IV drip that was given to Mary. It wasn't a golden dress she wore. Such an idea of κεχαριτωμένη (kecharitomeneh) misses the point.

Mary was highly favored. Mary was given an enormous privilege. Mary was given a tremendous blessing, she got to be the womb from which our Savior sprung. Children are always a gift from God, but this child was a more wonderful gift than any other woman has ever received from God.

Thus we should understand κεχαριτωμένη (kecharitomeneh) - not as suggesting that Mary was an urn full of grace, or a vending machine loaded up with grace, but as a woman who was given an amazing gift from God.

-TurretinFan

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Veneration of Mary Debate - Thoughts on Reflection - Part 3

This is the third part of a series of some reflections of mine on a recent debate with Mr. William Albrecht on the veneration of Mary (Part 1)(Part 2). Those posts dealt with whether "having been highly favored" is a title and whether the concept of veneration of Mary can be justified based on her being Jesus' mother. In this post I'll deal with an interesting theme I only brushed on briefly during the debate.

Early in the debate, Mr. Albrecht argues for the perspicuity of Scripture on this topic. He states: "Today I will make an attempt to come to the Scriptures as one who merely picks up the Bible and reads it and attempts to understand its plain meaning. ... We will see that no matter what denomination you come from you can see the plain truth of Mary in Scripture."

I was instantly reminded of what a Reformed apologist wrote hundreds of years ago in relation to those papists with whom he was dealing in the 16th century.
William Whitaker (1547-1595):
Indeed all the papists in their books, when they seek to prove any thing, boast everywhere that they can bring arguments against us from the most luminous, plain, clear and manifest testimonies of Scripture . . . For in every dispute their common phrases are,"”This is clear,"”This is plain,"”This is manifest in the scriptures, and such like. Surely when they speak thus, they ignorantly and unawares confess the perspicuity of the scriptures even in the greatest questions and controversies.
(A Disputation on Holy Scripture Against the Papists, Especially Bellarmine and Stapleton, trans. and ed. William Fitzgerald (Cambridge: The University Press, reprinted 1849), p. 401.)

As I pointed out in the debate, it is interesting how - when they are not dealing with the topic of Sola Scriptura, even those who deny Sola Scriptura recognize that it is perspicuous on many subjects. But it also important to recognize that just because Scripture is clear doesn't mean that there will never be any disagreements about what it says. As the same apologist pointed out:
For there is nothing in Scripture so plain that some men have not doubted it; as, that God is Almighty, that he created heaven and earth, that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, conceived of the Holy Ghost, and so forth: these are indeed plainly and openly set down in Scripture, and yet there are controversies about them. Things therefore are not presently obscure, concerning which there are many controversies; because these so manifold disputes arise rather from the perversity and curiosity of the human mind, than from any real obscurity. The apostle says that the minds of infidels are blinded by the devil, lest they should see that brilliant light and acquiesce in it: which is most true of our adversaries.
Id. at pp. 388-389.

However, as expected, Mr. Albrecht opened his closing argument, "I think that anyone who comes to the Scriptures without any preconceived notions or biases will find that ..." suggesting again that the Scriptures can clearly provide teaching on the subject.

It is a strange approach to the issue, and I think I adequately demonstrated that one cannot get veneration of Mary from the Scripture. In fact, to the contrary, Jesus disclaimed any special place of honor for Mary, making her and his brethren of only equal importance to all believers.

-TurretinFan