John Wesley on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

I believe that he was made man, joining the human nature with the divine in one person; being conceived by the singular operation of the Holy Ghost, and born of the blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as before she brought him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin.

via Written in 1749.

The letter is filled with warmth to Roman Catholics and even suggests that if we cannot think alike, let us love alike. Wesley was an Anglican, until the day he died. This means he would have said the anglican rosary. Have we as his descendents lost something in leaving Marian veneration behind?

Taking a different position, I think Mary had other children; however, it is interesting Fr. John’s belief here. How startling this might be to many modern “biblical” United Methodists.


Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

3 thoughts on “John Wesley on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

  1. I also like how he said that Jesus’ conception was solely done by the Holy Spirit (which I guess Jesus blew on his mom’s uterus). I guess the Holy Sprit can make babies, he just can’t house them. Not unlike many dads today.

  2. There is a very good reason why Mary could not have had other children after Jesus. The terms ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ in the Bible refer to relatives who are not ancestors, and they tell us nothing about whether all of them or none of them were Mary’s children, or whether some of them were and, if so, which of them.

    Mary’s womb had been overshadowed by the very power of God and his glory (now the Body of Christ) filled her womb as it had once filled the Tabernacle. Any child she might have conceived with Joseph would have contracted original sin and, as an enemy of God, would have died in her sanctified womb.

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