Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How important is the Virgin Birth?

In Mark Driscoll's book 'Vintage Jesus' he has a chapter on the virgin birth entitled "Why Jesus' Mom Needs to be a Virgin". Here is a quote that I'd like us to look at:

"...can a true Christian deny the virgin birth? Dr.Al Mohler has said: "The answer to that question must be a decisive No....Christians must face the fact that a denial of the virgin birth is a denial of Jesus as the Christ. The Savior who died for our sins was none other than the baby who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin. The virgin birth does not stand alone as a biblical doctrine [;] it is an irreducible part of the biblical revelation about the person and work of Jesus Christ. With it the Gospel stands or falls." (97)

Slightly taking this doctrine on different end is Rob Bell which Driscoll takes a quote form his book "Velvet Elvis" :

"...Rob Bell speculates that if "Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archaeologists find Larry's tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that that virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time," we would essentially not loose any significant part of our faith because it is more about how we live. To be fair, Bell does not deny that virgin conception of Jesus, but rather he does deny that it is of any notable theological importance." (97)

Based on the quotes above two ideas are being projected:
1) The Virgin Birth is important; with it the Gospel stands or falls.
2) The Virgin birth is not so much an essential in the sense that the Gospel stands and falls.

What do you think about the quotes? And with that how important is the virgin conception to our faith? I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

I will post N. T. Wright's take on this tomorrow because I'm too tired to think at the moment. I need sleep.


Mike L. said...

We could support Rob Bell's argument by recognizing that whoever wrote the first Gospel (Mark) was able to pull off an impressive story without a virgin birth scene (or any birth scene at all) and originally without ascension and post-resurrection scenes . That author didn't need those scenes to make the same case for Jesus as Lord.

Does Mark Driscoll expect us to assume that Christianity was ineffective during the 10 to 20 years before they added those allegorical scenes to the story?

Tremonti said...

That is actually a good case to make in response to Driscoll's leaning towards the importance of the virgin birth. The gospel of John also doesn't mention anything about virgin birth as well. Only Matthew and Luke note this. I doubt the virgin birth to be the definitive guide to understanding Jesus' divinity.

Hopeful Theo

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