Why don’t Protestants say the Rosary?
I'm a Catholic, and if you don't mind, I'd like to ask you a question about the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Why is it that Protestants don't honor Mary as Catholics do? The rosary, for example, is very biblical, yet most Protestants don't pray it. Why is this?
The answer is not difficult, but you might have a hard time understanding it simply because you have strong motivations to only see the Roman Catholic viewpoint. While I am not a Protestant, I'm only a Christian, I can show you what the Bible teaches on this subject.
The Rosary is actually a collection of creeds and prayers used, as the Roman Catholics state, as "a devotion in honor of the Virgin Mary." "Devotion" means an ardent expression of love, especially in a religious sense, showing a willingness to serve a god. While Roman Catholics mostly deny any intention of deifying Mary, yet they insist on using terms and performing actions that express just such meaning. They are not honest in the communication of their intent.
The Rosary consists of:
- The Apostles' Creed
"I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen."
- The Lord's Prayer
"Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen."
- The Hail Mary
"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."
- The Glory Be
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."
- The Hail Queen
"Hail holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen. "
Each of these becomes a series of ritualistic prayers, often uttered by rote and not from the heart of the person. The intention is that the one saying these prayers meditate on fifteen mysteries which really are not connected to the words being uttered. Strangely, Catholics deny that the Rosary becomes meaningless while stating they are saying words without thought of their meaning.
The Bible teaches very strongly that nothing is to be added to the word of God. "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:6-9). Because of this Christians reject creeds and statements of faith. Often such creeds have subtle errors. For instance, the Apostles' Creed says Jesus descended into Hell, but Peter states that Jesus went to Hades (the realm of the dead) and not Hell (the realm of eternal punishment). "For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption" (Acts 2:27).
The recitation of the Lord's Prayer ignores what Jesus stated. The prayer was never meant to be uttered word-for-word for all the age. It was a sample of what a prayer should be like. Jesus led into the prayer by saying, "In this manner, therefore, pray" (Mathew 6:9). One statement in that prayer, while true when first given, no longer applies. "Your kingdom come" refers to the establishment of Christ's church. Jesus pointed out that it was coming soon. "And He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power"" (Mark 9:1). And Jesus' words came true. On the day of Pentecost, the Kingdom was established and the church was formed. Thus Paul spoke of it as existing. "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Colossians 1:13). To utter the Lord's Prayer verbatim today is to deny that God accomplished His will in establishing the kingdom.
While the first two lines of the Hail Mary are roughly from the Bible's text, the last line is not. Catholics claim it is biblical in expression. However, the Bible never refers to Mary as the "Mother of God." The phrase contains implications that are not proper. It elevates Mary to a position potentially above Jesus -- which Catholics espouse when they state that Jesus, as a dutiful son, listens to his mother, even now while in heaven. Second, it is a prayer to Mary, a human woman who died nearly two thousand years ago. Yes, the Bible teaches us that we are to pray for one another, "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). But I don't go to my room and pray to a friend across town to pray on my behalf. If I need the prayers of someone, I go to them directly to ask them to pray for me. The reason is simple: one person does not know the thoughts of another. My friend would not know I wanted his prayers unless I told him. "For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?" (I Corinthians 2:11). To claim that any human, let alone one who has died, could know the thoughts of another is to claim they are diety because only God knows man's thoughts. "O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off" (Psalm 139:1-2). Besides, the Bible is very clear that those who have died are no longer aware of events on this earth. "For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share In anything done under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6).
The Hail Queen is very clear that prayer is being directed to Mary. It asks of Mary to do what the Bible states the Holy Spirit does for us. "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26). The word "pray" translates the Greek word proseuche, which refers to petitions to a god or worship. While Catholics speak of praying to Mary or a saint, they choose to ignore the implication of what the word "prayer" means. Finally, the Hail Queen states that Mary can offer mercy to us. Mercy not giving someone what they deserve. Only the one owed can do that. God is the Judge and only He can extend mercy. Mary is unable to do that for sinners.
You wrote that "Christians reject creeds and statements of faith." This is very odd, to say the least. How can you profess faith in any religion without a statement of faith?
It's called a Bible.