Monday, May 23, 2011
Book Review: The Virgin Mary in the Light of the Word of God by Dr. Labib Mikhail
Theologian, apologist, journalist, counselor, and evangelist Dr. Labib Mikhail puts decades of knowledge to writing this book that seeks to provide a clear picture of what the Word of God says about Mary, the woman who bore Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In under 160 pages, Dr. Mikhail examines what the Bible has to say about Mary as opposed to how some religions view her role and significance.
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to start off this review by stating that I am a former Catholic. I was a member of the Catholic Church for 30 years. I taught C.C.D. for 10 years, and directed our church's elementary C.C.D. program for 5 years. My decision to leave the Catholic Church was for very personal reasons, but doesn't reflect upon the Catholic Church as a whole.
I currently attend a non-denominational evangelical church; the same church I was married in almost 11 years ago. We believe that the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, is the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God.
It is also important to note that I was paid by the author's publicist to promote this book through a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not, however, include a review of the book.
Now that's all out of the way, let me get to the meat of my review. The Virgin Mary in the Light of the Word of God by Dr. Labib Mikhail is an excellent book if you're looking for information on how Mary is presented in the Scriptures. The author has obviously studied theology a great deal, he cites Scripture passages to back up what he says, and overall, I can't disagree with him.
That said, I see how this book could be controversial and only widen the chasm that exists between those who have given Mary a revered position in the Church and those who don't. While Dr. Mikhail gives Mary her full due as a blessed virgin woman who was chosen by God to bear the Savior of the world, he is forthright in dismantling basic tenets of the Catholic faith. Again, I don't disagree with what he says, I only wish that the style of writing was more compassionate and understanding.
I feel it's also important to mention, though, that this book was originally written for a non-American audience. It was geared toward Muslims in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, and those in Latin America. As the author and translator/contributor, Dr. Nasser S. Farag, point out, in Africa and Latin America, "nominal Christianity is at times only a thin veneer over-lying deeply embedded native pagan beliefs and practices." That would, in my opinion, be a good reason for the author to provide such a strong position on how Mary is viewed in the Bible. Yes, the book dispels the ideas that Mary acts as a mediator for Christians and should be prayed to along with the other saints; that Mary should be given exalted titles such as: Queen, the ladder of Jacob, the Bride (of the Lord of Glory), and the Holy of Holies; that she performed or performs miracles; and that she has appeared to people after her death. It also states there is no Biblical reference for the Immaculate Conception (Mary being born without original sin) or her body being assumed into Heaven. I have to say again, however, that if you are seeking to reach those nominal Christians, don't you have to make your arguments clear and leave no room for gray areas?
The Virgin Mary in the Light of the Word of God by Dr. Labib Mikhail is not going to be for everyone. If you are looking for a book that will help you understand Mary as viewed in the Holy Scriptures, then you'll want to buy this one.
Title: The Virgin Mary in the Light of the Word of God
Author: Dr. Labib Mikhail
Publisher: Nordskog Publishing
I received no monetary compensation for providing this review.