By Not Known

People have a way of forming a religion centred on an object, whether be it a supreme person, a deity-like animal, or an inanimate thing of mythical origin. The Bible warns against such worship of created beings rather than the Creator alone (Ex 20:3-4; Rom 1:25). Unfortunately, Christianity is also subjected to such cultist human propensity both in history and today. Biblical Christianity does not always agree with traditional and modern Christianity for the latter is not free from adulteration by human philosophies of religion.

Modern Christianity is not unfamiliar with examples of cult-following of charismatic leaders – preachers, Christian artists, etc. Some approaches to character studies in the Bible put undue spotlight on Biblical figures rather than on God. The danger is that we end up with a cult of Biblical figures (e.g. David and Paul), rather than true discipleship mirroring Christ.

Traditional Christianity saw undue prominence given also to Biblical figures and to extra-Biblical saints. The virgin Mary has been honoured by certain sectors of the Christian Church as the ‘mother of God’ and hence ‘exempt from all stains of original sin’. By implication, these put Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus the Christ, similar, if not above, in rank with the Trinity, and also without need for the saving work of Christ on the Cross. The tradition of singling out and entitling certain Christians to sainthood also put a big question mark on the Bible’s teaching in Ephesians 1:18 and 1 Peter 2:9.

In Biblical Christianity, we seek to know God as he has revealed himself in the Bible. We seek to know ourselves according to how God sees us. We seek to relate with God in the manner he has related with us and desires to be related to. In other words, our Christian beliefs and practices must be shaped and sanctioned by God’s word alone as the authority.

When it comes to Mary, the mother of Jesus, blessed as she was chosen by God to bear the Son of God (Lk 1:35,42), the Immanuel (Matt 1:23), Jesus was uncompromising in putting people’s perspectives in the right places (Jn 11:27-28; Mk 3:33-35). Mary, like anyone else, needed to repent of her sins and obey God. Instead of forming a cult around Mary the divine mother, let us learn from Mary, the disciple of Jesus who was numbered amongst the believers of the first Christian church (Acts 1:14).

Benson Goh