Mariology & Mary Debate: James White vs. Robert Fastiggi

This is an excellent debate on a very serious matter.  The thesis of the debate is basically this: Does the devotion given to Mary detract from the glory of Christ?  Robert Fastiggi (Roman Catholic) says no.  James White (Reformed Baptist) says yes.  Call me bias, but Dr. White did a fabulous job in this debate, demonstrating from Catholic resources that the teaching of and devotion to Mary by Roman Catholics does indeed detract from the glory of Christ’s redeeming work.  Dr. Fastiggi’s argument basically amounts to him quoting Catholic sources that say that devotion to Mary is not to detract from Christ; but simply saying this doesn’t make it so (a point James White repeatedly brings up).  Actions do speak louder than words.  Dr. Fastiggi also makes various attempts to support Catholic dogma on Mary by referencing passages of Mary in the Scriptures, but his points require a stretch of the imagination.  Watch the debate yourself to find out what I mean.

The following is from the Compendium: Catechism of the Catholic Church, which will give you an idea of the view and devotion that Catholics have of Mary, as well as a foretaste of some of the things discussed in the debate:

Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church

196. In what sense is the Blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of the Church?

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the Church in the order of grace because she gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God, the Head of the body which is the Church.  When he was dying on the cross Jesus gave his mother to his disicple with the words, ‘Behold, your mother’ (John 19:27).

197. How does the Virgin Mary help the Church?

After the Ascension of her Son, the Virgin Mary aided the beginnings of the Church with her prayers.  Even after her Assumption into heaven, she continues to intercede for her children, to be a model of faith and charity for all, and to exercise over them a salutary influence deriving from the superabundant merits of Christ.  The faithful see in Mary an image and an anticipation of the resurrection that awaits them and they invoke her as advocate, helper, benefactress and mediatrix.

198. What kind of devotion is directed to the holy Virgin?

It is a singular kind of devotion which differes essentially from the cult [i.e. rites and ceremonies of religious worship] of adoration given only to the Most Holy Trinity.  This special veneration directed to Mary finds particular expression in the liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and in Marian prayers such as the holy Rosary which is a compendium [i.e. summary, epitome] of the whole Gospel.

199. In what way is the Blessed Virgin Mary the eschatological icon of the Church?

Looking upon Mary, who is completely holy and already glorified in body and soul, the Church contemplates in her what she herself is called to be on earth and what she will be in the homeland of heaven.

Hopefully the biblically literate Christian will immediately see that the titles and works attributed to Mary by Roman Catholics essentially parallel that of Christ and the Holy Spirit (see Jn. 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:13-15; Rom. 8:33-34; 1 Cor. 15; Col. 3:1-4; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Jn. 2:1-2).  I know of no other way of responding to this, except that this is utter blasphemy.  And, yes, it certainly does detract from the glory of Christ.


7 thoughts on “Mariology & Mary Debate: James White vs. Robert Fastiggi

  1. Hi fellow heir

    Thank you for this very useful synopsis. I watched the yesteryear YouTube debate yesterday. Yes, White did a masterful job. Thank our precious Lord for how He has used White through the years and hopefully will continue to do so.

    At first, I didn’t recognize the lanky hairy man until I heard his voice.

  2. Reblogged this on Grammargraph and commented:
    Here is James R White, the bane of all Arminians, this time Roman Catolics, in a debate on the RC doctrines of Mary. What have they done to the mother of my Lord!

  3. Pingback: Blessed is the man, O Virgin Mary, who loves thy name; thy grace will comfort his soul (Psalm 1): Blessed be the Name | OneDaring Jew

  4. Dr White says that Mary had a “passive” (at about 1.03′.46”) role, meaning that shes was passively an instrument of God. But this is wrong. She was ACTIVE instead because with her free will she said YES to God’s plan! She could have said NO, and incarnation would have not happen! Dante Alighieri points this out, very well in his Divine Comedy. I am surprised this crucial point was overlooked. As a consequence….all the importance she has been given since always by all Christians (the Reformation came much later; and the opposition to her role is quite new, historically speaking)
    I don’t know why Dr White kept reading that phrase of that prayer booklet which nobody knows. As a Catholic I know the Hail Mary prayer and that’s it. If any christian, Catholic or Protestant, doesn’t want to pray WITH Mary, it’s ok, too!
    God is trying to give us as much help as possible so that we are saved and we end up arguing about Mary?!
    I propose to move on…

    • Your statement, “She could have said NO, and incarnation would have not happen!” epitomizes the man-centered, Mary-exalting view of salvation that Rome espouses. The God of the Bible is the sovereign Creator and Redeemer, who works all things after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11) and who brings His plans to fruition, of which no man can frustrate (Rom. 11:33-36). By your own logic, Pilate, the Jews, and the Roman soldiers were also active participants in bringing about our salvation. Because if the Jews had not said, “Crucify him!,” and if Pilate had not given in to the Jews’ demands, and if the Roman soldiers had simply disobeyed their orders, there would have been no crucifixion. So maybe we should be thankful to them, make them saints, and entrust ourselves to them.

      The reason that opposition to Mary’s role came late is because the Marian dogmas came late. They are not early Church teachings. And as time goes on they seem to get more and more extravagant.

      Dr. White read that prayer in that book because it is a perfect representation of what so many Catholics believe regarding Mary, and of their devotion to her. And as I recall, Fastiggi did not object to that prayer given in that book (correct me if I’m wrong though). Further, in another debate with Gerry Matatics, Matatics said that he hopes James White will say that prayer one day. And no, you’re not praying “with” Mary, you are praying TO Mary, and prayer is an act of worship, of whom God is to be the one called upon.

      “God is trying to give us as much help as possible….” Again, the man-centered view of Rome’s “gospel” comes out. You believe God is trying, but that it’s ultimate up to man. Such is the nature of the sacraments. We cannot move on, because what Rome believes concerning Mary, as well as the Mass (etc.), is contradictory to the Gospel of Grace found in the God-breathed Scriptures.

      • Hi! You sound angry. Are you?
        Mmh..What are the fruits of Mary devotions? Do you see any new Church division or more sainthood?
        I pointed out the Annunciation. If you compare it with Pilate and the Roman soldiers what can I say?
        The 1854 Dogma (immaculate conception = she was born without the original sin) and the 1950 one (Mary assumption to Heaven) don’t say anything about her role in the Church. A dogma is a putting in writing the opinion of the believers everywhere and in History since then, such as in 1950. The Pope sign it.
        In that debate on youtube and also now with you the main difficulty is the same as always since: that for you the Revelation can only be in the Scripture, while for the Catholic Church Revelation is about what people saw and heard and witnessed, too (Tradition). Revelation is therefore much bigger than what has been written down and keep extending (see the many Saint’s talks with Jesus and Mary for instance). It’s so much wider that Jesus and Mary even appear to our Muslim brothers and to atheists (e.g. father Alfonso Ratisbonne) still today.
        Because the time is short…

        • Did I write my previous response in anger? No, I did not. I did not say anything in that post that would suggest that I was filled with anger as I wrote. I did not call you names or use vulgar language or anything of that sort. Nonetheless, there is a righteous anger that God’s people are to have. For instance, Jesus was angry when he witnessed what was going on in the Temple, people selling and exchanging money in the outer courts when God’s Temple was to be a place of worship. They defiled God’s Temple. The Marian dogmas are a defiling of the truth of the Gospel, and because I love my Lord and His Gospel, yes, there is a sense in which I am angered at such teachings and devotions. They are wholly unbiblical. That does not mean I am to respond with anger, but with sound reasoning from the Scriptures.

          My purpose in bringing up Pilate, the Jews, and the Roman soldiers in regards to the crucifixion was in response to your expressed view that God can’t accomplish things unless mankind cooperates with Him. You explicitly expressed that with regard to Mary, basically asserting that she could have said No and therefore the incarnation would not have taken place, and I simply expanded your expressed principle to a broader audience so as to demonstrate its foolishness. I even quoted Scripture in support of my words. If you don’t want to respond to those Scriptures, what can I say?

          You said, “A dogma is a putting in writing the opinion of the believers everywhere and in History since then….” By this definition, the Marian dogmas should not be, because these Marian dogmas were not the faith of the early Church.

          You said, “that for you the Revelation can only be in the Scripture, while for the Catholic Church Revelation is about what people saw and heard and witnessed, too (Tradition).” This is a very simplistic, and even distorted view, of what we Protestants believe regarding the revelation of God and the Holy Scriptures. We too believe that revelation is about what people saw and heard and witnessed, but that these things were eventually committed to writing, for the better preservation and propagating of the truth, and for the strength and edification of the Church (1689 Baptist Confession of Faith 1.1; Ps. 119; Rom. 15:4; Col. 4:16; 2 Tim. 3:15-4:5).

          The simple fact of the matter is that much of what Rome teaches, and this especially includes the Marian dogmas, contradicts what is taught in Scripture. Much of what is true of Christ alone in the Scriptures is falsely attributed to Mary as well, thus leading to a diminishing of the glory of Christ and a distortion of the Gospel. One example will suffice for now. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

          “‘But while in the most Blessed Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle, the faithful still strive to conquer sin and increase in holiness. And so they turn their eyes to Mary’: in her, the Church is already the ‘all-holy.'” (829)

          Such teaching is nowhere to be found in Scripture. But what we do find in Scripture is that Christ is our perfect example and we are to fix our eyes on Him (Heb. 12:2-3; 1 Pet. 2:18-25). It is in Jesus, not Mary, that the Church is the “all-holy” (Eph. 1:4; Col. 1:22; 2:9-10).

          You can follow the Pope if you wish, but that way leads to destruction, not life. My hope and prayer for you is that you see the truth of the glorious Gospel that is found in the God-breathed Scriptures, and so repent of your sins and trust in Jesus Christ and His finished, perfect, and effectual work alone for your salvation (Jn. 5:24; Rom. 3:19-26, 28; 4:4-5; 10:4; Heb. 9:23-28; 10:11-14).

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