Sent by Leonard Alt:
Although it most certainly was not true of the early Protestant reformers, it is true for many Protestants today that emphasis on Mary takes away from the centrality of Jesus. The concept that Marian teachings actually and ultimately points to Jesus is a foreign one to them.
Rev. Charles Dickson, a Lutheran minister, comments on this in an article entitled; “Why all this fuss about Mary?”
“Having been raised in a traditional Protestant atmosphere, I was led to believe that Catholics placed far too great an emphasis on the Virgin Mary in their faith and practice and that such an emphasis deflected from the centrality of Christ. But in some 30 years of ministry in a Protestant tradition I have learned that just the opposite is true.
“By upholding the importance of the Blessed Virgin, Catholics do not minimize the importance of Christ, but actually emphasize and underline His mission…When the Church ceases to focus on Mary, it loses its focus on Christ.
“That’s the reason for all the fuss about Mary…As Protestant theologian J. Gresham Machen admitted, ‘The overwhelming majority of those who reject the Virgin Birth, reject also the supernatural content of the New Testament”(5).
The primary reason the Catholic Church calls Mary “Mother of God” is because in the fourth century there was a priest called Nestorius who was following some of the ideas of Arius who was denying that Jesus was God (Arianism). This was a denial of one of the two natures of Christ, Jesus both fully God and fully man. By proclaiming Mary as mother of God, the Church was saying that Jesus is in fact God. It was another way of defending the deity of Jesus.