Saturday, May 14, 2011

The "Blessed Virgin" Mary

Sixteen-year-old Labib met a kindly old Cairo printer (Egypt), who challenged him to grow in his religious faith. The youth learned that there was more to his faith than the traditional religious ritual of his Coptic church. Through Salib Farag, he discovered a relational religion that builds on a personal relationship to, and faith in, Jesus Christ.

That friendship launched Labib on a lifetime journey. Eventually,Dr. Labib Mikhail devoted his life to studying and teaching the Bible and living as a Christian missionary, pastor, evangelist, and author. In his youth, Dr. Mikhail practiced the traditional adoration and veneration of the blessed virgin Mary, without question.

After Dr. Mikhail learned what the Bible really teaches about Jesus and “His blessed mother, the Virgin Mary,” he wrote a book entitled The Virgin Mary In the Light of the World of God. The book has been widely distributed in the Middle East, Africa, and South America.

The son of the kindly old printer is Dr. Nasser S. Farag, a Christian missionary-pastor, evangelist-educator, and author in his own right. The two men are longtime friends and have now collaborated, with Dr. Farag translating Dr. Mikhail’s book into both Spanish and English.

Our concern here is Dr. Farag’s translation into English by Nordskog Publishing, Ventura, CA., 2011. It is a small and simple book--128 pages. It includes twelve chapters, an eleven page glossary of terms and ideas, and a short bibliography. In addition, it contains brief but descriptive chapters by each man--Author--Translator--Publisher, which I found personally helpful in better knowing the producers of the book.

Since I was raised a Protestant Christian, and served widely in Ecumenical ministries, I failed to first recognize the significance of the book. I hold traditional Protestant views regarding both Mary and Joseph as highly favored, but do not venerate Mary or pray to her as a unique Saint.

On page 11, the author gave me this insight: “It is true that some so-called Christians who were not familiar with the Scriptures and were deceived by Satan went into a cultic belief that the Trinity consisted of Father God, Mother Mary, and their Son, Jesus. Islam rightly rejected this as their Quran states, ‘He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children when He has no wife?’ (Surah 6:101, The Quran Translation by M. H. Shakir).”

Dr. Mikhail walks us through twelve chapters as he takes us through the primary Bible passages that reveal Mary and her son Jesus. He answers questions like “Can Blessed Mary Be Another Mediator” along with Jesus, and “Was Blessed Mary Assumed Bodily into Heaven?” In the process, he deals with the titles given to Mary by the Catholic and Coptic Churches, and the prayers frequently prayed from the Prayer Books. Not to be overlooked are a couple of chapters that focus on the rumored appearances and the miracles of Mary.

All in all, this non-confrontational little book is simple to read, easy to understand, and solidly based on Scripture (only). Dr. James Earl Massey, recognized as “one of the 25 most influential preachers of the past 50 years” (according to Christianity Today Magazine), offers this pertinent blurb: “This is a relevant study clarifying Mary’s role and significance that should be read alongside F. J. Moloney’s Mary, Woman and Mother and Jaroslav Pelikan’s Mary Through the Centuries. I highly recommend it as a balanced and Biblical portrait.”

With a recommendation like that, you don’t need my encouragement. If you want an enjoyable and informative book that offers Mary the honor and exaltation due her, read this $12.95 book from Nordskog Publishers. Mikhail has authored 80 books in Arabic, English and Spanish. Farag does leadership training through his non-denominational Ministry, “Truth in Love,” He is based in South Texas and serves throughout Latin America, Mexico, Africa, India, and the USA.

With a fuller appreciation for the Virgin Mary, This is Warner’s World,

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